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About Aquarius - Dream Inn

Aquarius Restaurant offers spectacular oceanfront dining just off the beach in Santa Cruz, and is locally renowned as one of Santa Cruz's top dining destinations. The restaurant and lounge is truly a "window box on the sea", allowing guests to experience panoramic views that stretch north to one of the nations top surf spots – Steamer Lane, south to the majestic Monterey Bay and Peninsula and East to the Santa Cruz Mountains. The cool and breezy interior is especially romantic at night when the moon casts its glow onto the sea. Our California Coastal Cuisine is inspired by fresh and local products and produce, including local sustainable seafood, complemented by a regional wine list. Aquarius is a proud supporter of Fish Watch program, promoting sustainable seafood and clean oceans.

175 West Cliff Drive
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
View Larger Map

Dining Style:
Casual Elegant

Cuisines:
Contemporary American, Organic, Californian

Hours of Operation:
BREAKFAST: Monday - Saturday: 7:00am - 11:30am
LUNCH: Monday - Friday: 11:30am - 2:00pm
Saturday: 11:30am - 3:00pm
BRUNCH: Sunday: 7:00am - 3:00pm
DINNER: Sunday - Thursday: 5:30pm - 9:30pm
Friday - Saturday: 5:30pm - 10:00pm

Cross Street:
Bay Street

Dress Code:
Casual Dress

Price Range:
$31 to $50

Payment Options
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(831) 740-8138

Website:
http://www.dreaminnsantacruz.com/santa-cruz-restaurants

Entertainment:
Live Jazz with The Minus Third Trio, Thursdays and Saturdays from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm

Parking Details:
Hotel parking lot across the street from The Dream Inn, or complimentary valet parking.

Additional:
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Entertainment, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Outdoor Smoking Area, Private Room, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Special Events & Promotions:
For information regarding our banquet rooms, please contact Aurora Smith at (831)460-5008

Aquarius - Dream Inn Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

3.9

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

3.8

service

3.9

ambience

4.5

value

3.5

Noise

Quiet

76% would recommend it to a friend

Scenic View (12)
Waterfront (10)
Special Occasion (9)
See All
Good for a Date (8)
Good for Birthdays (7)
Great for Brunch (6)
Local Ingredients (6)
Sunday Lunch (6)
Fit for Foodies (5)
Live Music (5)
Great for Lunch (5)
Romantic (5)
Good for Anniversaries (3)
Bar Seating (3)
Creative Cuisine (3)
Handcrafted Cocktails (3)
People Watching (3)
Quiet Conversation (3)
Worth the Drive (3)
Business Meals (2)
Fun (2)
Healthy (2)
Neighborhood Gem (2)
Organic (2)
Casual (2)
Kid-friendly (1)
Cozy (1)
Vibrant Bar Scene (1)
Gluten Free Options (1)
Good for Groups (1)
Happy Hour (1)
Hot Spot (1)
Notable Wine List (1)
Spicy (1)
Disabled Access (1)
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763 reviews
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·Dined 2 days ago

If you want good food and drinks with a million dollar view this is the spot for you! I would highly recommend the brussel sprouts with balsamic reduction for starters, they were delicious and a very good portion to share amongst 2-3 people. Servers were attentive and friendly. The short ribs and prime rib were very good with polenta and fresh crisp baby green beans. We finished the meal off with a decadent chocolate ganache and berries. I thought this place was just for the tourists yet I was pleasantly surprised at the ambiance and great food and drinks! I will be back.

Tags: Fun, Romantic, Good for Birthdays, Good for Groups, Worth the Drive, Hot Spot, Special Occasion, Fit for Foodies
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food4
ambience5
service4
value5

 
·Dined 4 days ago

The front desk mentioned that the salmon was great. There was three in my party. We all had the salmon and it was excellent.

Tags: Local Ingredients, Fit for Foodies, Scenic View, Waterfront
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 11, 2018

The food was wonderful and presented beautifully. Our server was very friendly and professional! The dining room was quiet, and we were able to enjoy a nice conversation while enjoying the gorgeous view overlooking the beach. We will definitely be dining there again in the future!

Tags: Good for a Date
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 10, 2018

Went there by myself on Sat night (with a reservation) so that often starts service off on the wrong foot. My server had a huge party that was ahead of me, so it took way to Kong to get my first drink and order. Other did jump on to help my server, but service was still slow. The kitchen also backed up because of the large party.

Food was good to great, but appropriate for the price. Theview was good (would have been better if I could have gotten a window seat, but again being a singleton, I wasn’t the priority for prime two-tops).

I think couple or larger parties would have a better experience. It is a noisy space and while appropriate for families, that just amplified the noise level.

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food4
ambience4
service3
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 5, 2018

Great! Drinks are pricey...food is a bit overpriced as well, but we had a very good meal.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value2

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 2, 2018

I wanted to like this place, but sadly on this trip I could not.
The ambiance was nice with a view of the beach and wharf which is lovely, but the service started poorly and immediately when they forgot to bring the bread. Next they brought the wrong wine. A bad start of course, but the problems got worse when the food arrived. The Fried Avocado appetizer was not seasoned at all. Then, as if to compensate, the Clams were overly salty. The Duck Tacos came out cold on bad store bought tortillas and featured just a mediocre duck confit and a cloyingly sweet sauce... Nothing else. The “Cioppino” had almost no crab at all and actually appeared to be mostly salmon trim. The highlight was The fried Whole Fish which was a small sea bass and was actually quite well cooked and delicious.
Overall a disappointing experience, but I will be back in hopes that they can turn things around and make some much needed improvements.

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food2
ambience4
service3
value2

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 1, 2018

Very professional service, with good food, and obviously a fantastic view.

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food4
ambience5
service5
value3

vip
 (Central Coast)·Dined on January 29, 2018

We’ve eaten here often and always had a good experience. They make a killer Pisco Sour! For the first time, I actually found my meal a bit sub-par. I had steamed clams and the clams were fine, but the broth was exceedingly salty! Plus, it contained large soggy chunks of tomato that didn’t seem to add anything. Otherwise everyone with me enjoyed their salmon, their squash, their beet salad etc. bery very nice service that night.

Tags: Bar Seating, Casual, Scenic View, Business Meals, Great for Brunch, Great for Lunch, Handcrafted Cocktails
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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 20, 2018

Hostess seated us at one of the worst locations, noisy and a lot of foot traffic. We requested another table and were offered only slightly better. Other tables were reserved, but we also made reservations in advance. Food was good, waiter was great.

Tags: Scenic View, Local Ingredients
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food4
ambience5
service5
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 19, 2018

Being 6 of us, a Friday night and a special occasion, we made reservations. We arrived half an hour early specifically to have drinks in the bar. As a courtesy, we checked in with the hostess for our reservation and let her know that we wanted to have drinks in the bar first. She said that was fine. It took a really long time to get a waitress for our drinks. I asked what a particular alcohol was in a drink on their menu. I thought it sounded great and ordered the drink. After some time, the waitress came back and said it was something completely different. I had to change my order. The hostess came over before we even got our drinks and said our table for dinner was ready. We repeated our desire to have drinks in the bar first. She said they were having our drinks taken to our dinner table and our tab transferred to our dinner tab. Again we expressed our desire to have our drinks there and that we at least would like to close out our tab in the bar so our waitress would get the tip. She seemed inconvenienced and frustrated, and repeated that the tab would be transferred and our drinks taken to our table. Finally, she agreed to have the tab transferred back. Our drinks finally arrived. One of us had ordered a cosmo which came clear. A cosmo is supposed to be hot pink. The restaurant was not crowded when we sat down. We ordered several appetizers which were overpriced, but it was a special occasion. We asked for more bread and butter and were told they had run out. Who runs out of bread at 7:30 on a Friday night? After we were finished with our soup, they came back and said they had "found" some more bread. Probably gathered up from other tables. 3 of us had short rib which was not good and was 1 small piece of meat. 1 of us had the special whole fish which had weird seasoning. 5 of us had clam chowder which had an odd taste and lacked seasoning. The same 5 of us were up all night sick. We won't ever go back. Definitely do not go here.

Tags: Waterfront
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food1
ambience2
service1
value1

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 31, 2017

Heard amazing reviews of this restaurant so chose it over others for our first New Years in Santa Cruz. It started with a waiter who was clearly worn down from multiple seatings for the night that rarely appeared again through the evening. It took 45 minutes for the first course (a soup) to arrive, and subsequent courses arrived as the kitchen could handle (two hours in total). All in all, given expectations we’d hoped for based on others experience, I wouldn’t recommend this restaurant. Especially for what we paid.

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food2
ambience5
service1
value1

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on December 24, 2017

Excellent overall - delicious food, exceptional service, gorgeous sea views! My only wish is to have a few vegan options on the menu....they’d had 3 vegetarian options for breakfast but no vegan choices.

Tags: Great for Lunch, Romantic, Great for Brunch, Local Ingredients, Sunday Lunch, Waterfront, Fit for Foodies, Scenic View, Special Occasion, Good for Birthdays
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Greensboro)·Dined on December 23, 2017

TERIBLE... ordered an appetizer that consisted of tomatoes and cheese and 5 crackers. obviously there wasn't enough crackers so I asked for a few more and the waiter stated it was going to be another $2.00? What a joke the appetizer cost $13.00 and was very skimpy and then to charge another $2.00 that was ridiculous. Our food came and my fish was uneatable. I was so tired of the attitude from not only the waiter but the manager I decide not to complain anymore ... just wanted to get out of this place. There was so much salt on my fish it took the skin off my tong. My tong from the briny fish was still raw from the evening before the next morning.
Will never be going back!!!

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food1
ambience5
service2
value1

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 14, 2017

A friend was arriving from out of town. I gave him the names of few places to stay, including B & B's. He decided a room with a view on Monterey Bay.....The Dream Inn. So, we decided to make things convenient, made a reservation at Aquarius.

The service was very good.

The view was beautiful.

I haven't had such an uninspired meal in a very long time. All I want to say is almost tasteless
food preparation...........

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food2
ambience4
service4
value2

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 2, 2017

Outstanding dinner. The wait staff were attentive and on point. Everyone should check this place out.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Sunday Lunch, Healthy, Organic, Good for Birthdays, Creative Cuisine, Spicy, Notable Wine List, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 26, 2017

Waiter was spaced out and perfunctory. Still not sure if we were double charged for our meal, waiting to resolve with bank and manager. Waiter was rude to vegetarians, seemed to not understand why we would not want beef soup

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food3
ambience4
service2
value2

 
·Dined on November 25, 2017

Beautiful venue with amazing view! Loved the clam chowder.

Tags: Special Occasion, Worth the Drive, Live Music, Waterfront, Quiet Conversation, Scenic View
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food4
ambience5
service4
value4

 
 (Louisville)·Dined on November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving buffet was excellent. A great selection of veggies, cheese and fruit, a flavorful squash soup, plus all the traditional thanksgiving fare was offered. Dessert table was fully loaded. Service was good.

Tags: Waterfront, Local Ingredients, Good for a Date, Special Occasion, Romantic
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food4
ambience5
service4
value4

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on November 19, 2017

Great food (salmon, short ribs, pork chops). Beautiful view. Both completely over-shadowed by the TERRIBLE service - incredibly slow for a Sunday night at 5:30pm. Over 90 minutes to get our entrees. So glad we didn’t try a Saturday night. Tried to use OpenTable gift certificate, gave it to waiter at beginning when we ordered to avoid problems - wasn’t until half-way through our entree when manager came over to say we couldn’t use the certificate because, “...they don’t participate in that program.” Do not recommend going there unless there is a change in management.

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food4
ambience3
service1
value2

 
 (東京)·Dined on November 18, 2017

First time there. Very nice, spacious room with beautiful views. Nice cocktails (on the expensive side for a casual place - $14). The food was very disappointing. We had eggs benedict with crab meat - $19. The potatoes were bad, same as if they had been cooked the previous day and warmed up in a microwave. The eggs were cooked all the way through. However, the flavor of the eggs, crab meat and sauce were good and that is what saved the meal. Service was friendly.

Tags: Waterfront, Scenic View
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food2
ambience4
service3
value2

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on November 12, 2017

Ahi tuna was fabulous. Waitress helpful with menu and drink choices.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Waterfront, Happy Hour, Great for Lunch, Healthy, Vibrant Bar Scene, Scenic View, Business Meals, Special Occasion, Bar Seating, Good for a Date
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Las Vegas)·Dined on November 10, 2017

I booked this reservation six weeks in advance for my mother in laws birthday dinner. The only compliment I can give is that the hostess had our table ready at the window per my request. From then on it was all downhill. Our server basically ignored use. We had to ask twice and three times for water and bread refills. He talked up the special which was a sea bass that he said was for two people so two of the six of us shared it. Four of us received our meals and ten minutes later the sea bass special arrived on a huge cast iron skillet- the entire fish including head and tail. Clearly this is the type of dish that a server should explain and make sure the diner really wants. We watched as several other diners received cupcakes with candles but we received nothing for my mother in laws 80th birthday. When I spoke with the manager he had nothing at all to offer in explanation or recompense. What a disappointment and waste of $300. On top of it all, none of the food was really good and three of us had bad stomachs afterwards.

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food1
ambience3
service1
value1

vip
 (Richmond)·Dined on October 29, 2017

Quiet Sunday brunch... great view of Santa Cruz Main Beach! I had the huevos rancheros and they were amazing, along with the Bloody Mary. Our waitress forgot to ask about sugar for coffee and jam for toast but other than that the service was great. It seemed slow for Sunday brunch right on the beach but it was a cold cloudy day. Found parking on the street with no problems but they validate parking for their lot as well. Will definitely go back!

Tags: People Watching, Quiet Conversation, Cozy, Good for Birthdays, Sunday Lunch
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 28, 2017

One of the best meals I have had ever. The soup, appetizers and entrees were excellent and the service was impeccable. The view and setting is also exquisite.

Tags: Organic, Scenic View, Fit for Foodies, Good for a Date, Special Occasion, Live Music
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 23, 2017

The location and view is outstanding. Right on the main beach with huge windows/views. Service was good despite the waiter telling us he was the only one (others had called in sick). Food was acceptable. Definitely not a place for foodies. Lot's of potential, but the menu is short and simple and not very interesting. The dishes were OK, like a chef was cooking items that he was trained to do. Not creative. Would come back for ambiance, view for the right occasion - but probably for Happy Hour, not dinner.

Tags: Special Occasion, Waterfront, Scenic View, Romantic
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food2
ambience5
service4
value2

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 23, 2017

Birthday dinner for my mother

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food3
ambience5
service3
value3

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 21, 2017

Unfortunately the dinner was under par....2 ordered clam chowder & it came luke warm, barely. Another ordered scallops..3 came on the plate & it was smothered with bell peppers & tomatoes- not okay.
4th ordered portobello mushroom dinner & received a pork chop that was warm... they said you'll like it if your not a vegetarian... it was not our mistake but the waitress 's.
Our daughters birthday dinner was a bust👎

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food1
ambience2
service2
value1

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 21, 2017

OMG, the band in the bar was SOOOO LOUD. I had to yell my entire dinner. They need to dial that back until later - post dinner crowd. And we were pretty far into the dining room.

The food is good, not spectacular - the portions are small for the price. You could likely get a better value but you come here for the view which is a nice one.

The noise level needs some serious attention to make this a high end dining place and for me to go back.

Tags: Waterfront
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food2
ambience3
service2
value2

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on October 16, 2017

Restaurant Week opened our eyes to this restaurant! Great find! Thank you!!

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Casual, Healthy, Quiet Conversation, Comfort Food, Special Occasion, Good for Birthdays
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 15, 2017

Good food. Great service. Delicious cocktails. Beautiful view.

Tags: Fun, Vibrant Bar Scene, Scenic View, Waterfront, Special Occasion, Good for Groups, Handcrafted Cocktails, Hot Spot
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food3
ambience3
service5
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 15, 2017

The salmon was delicous, the salad about as big as a silver dollar, the service was very slow and the room very cold and the drinks very pricey.

Tags: Bar Seating, Romantic
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food3
ambience4
service3
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 15, 2017

We did the pre-fixed menu for Santa Cruz Restaurant Week. Food was tasty and delicious. Plates were just the right size and well balanced.

Tags: Authentic, People Watching, Seasonal, Great for Lunch, Hot Spot, Fun
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food5
ambience4
service4
value5

 
 (Philadelphia)·Dined on October 15, 2017

This place is all about he view. It is magnificent. Besides this, the food is quite ordinary and the service surprisingly amateurish.

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food3
ambience4
service2
value3

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on October 14, 2017

It is fortunate to have the opportunity to review this restaurant. The food was very good as well as the ambiance. But most impressive was the service. From the moment we arrived, the staff could not have been more accommodating. We were celebrating our 10 anniversary and our server in particular was too good to be true. Her name was Chelsea and she is absolutely the kind of person that any restaurant should be proud to have as the face of their place. Great job Aquarius, and outstanding job, Chelsea! Give that woman a raise and let her train the rest of the staff. You could do much worse than a house full of Chelseas. Thank you for helping to make our evening not only delicious, but special and particularly enjoyable! Keep it up!

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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 14, 2017

Jackie was a great server and Glen was an excellent manager. The bartender was quite quick as we waited for our table and the drinks were excellent. The portions were small but filling and plated nicely. The jazz trio was a nice touch as well Will definitely go there again.

Tags: Special Occasion, Fun, Good for Groups, Live Music, Kid-friendly, Healthy, Happy Hour, Fit for Foodies, Good for Birthdays, Handcrafted Cocktails, Waterfront
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food5
ambience5
service4
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 13, 2017

It was a beautiful restaurant, and they were kind to seat us after we changed our reservation from 2 to 4. Delayed us getting to a table by only 15 minutes on a crazy crowded night of Restaurant Week. I can say that the brussels sprout appetizer delighted my husband, he really enjoyed the Cioppino, and my daughter said that the Fish n Chips were great (after asking for fresh chips). My portobello mushroom entree was too acidic with the marinara & balsamic. After asking more bread I managed but not my night.
I should not judge the restaurant fully on this event week here in S.C. though. So we will go back and try again.

Tags: Sunday Lunch, Bar Seating, Special Occasion
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food4
ambience4
service3
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 13, 2017

Great food, well-prepared. Modern atmosphere, great view of the wharf.

Tags: Special Occasion, Late-night Find, Creative Cuisine, Hot Spot, Good for a Date, Bar Seating, Romantic, Scenic View
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food5
ambience5
service4
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 12, 2017

Had a great experience overall. Our waiter was good. Very helpful and attentive. The food was very good and view was beautiful. Will return.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on October 11, 2017

Wonderful dinner with beautiful views. Amazing dessert. Fun attentive staff

Tags: Good for a Date, Quiet Conversation, Scenic View, Romantic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 7, 2017

I really enjoyed my late night meal and was happy to find that many of their vegetarian options could be made vegan. So happy I went.

Tags: Late-night Find, Handcrafted Cocktails, Local Ingredients, Good for a Date, Good for Groups, Good for Anniversaries, Live Music, Paleo Friendly, Bar Seating, Good Vegetarian Options, Casual, Good for Birthdays, Seasonal, Special Occasion, Happy Hour, Business Meals, Gluten Free Options, Waterfront, Scenic View, Tapas, Hot Spot, People Watching
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

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