Ideal Bar & Grill

4.3
100 reviews
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$30 and under
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Californian
Top Tags:
  • Great for Outdoor Dining
  • Scenic View
  • Good for Groups
Fun, family friendly dining with a beautiful view of Santa Cruz Main beach and the Municipal Wharf! We offer seating both inside and on our sunny deck! Come down and try our award winning clam chowder today!
Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Cuisines
Californian, Seafood, American
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Hours of operation
Monday - Friday: 11:00am - 9:30pm, Saturday: 8:00am - 10:30pm
Bar Open until 12:00am and 2:00am on Friday and Saturday
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Phone number
(831) 423-5271
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Payment options
AMEX, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Jesus Garcia
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Private party facilities
Our Beach Room can host up to 40 guests. The room features a private bar, views of the wharf, beach and ocean. It also offers a small private patio (weather permitting) that extends the inside bar area, making it perfect for any event! We have hosted various events here from rehearsal dinners, business meetings and wedding brunches to surprise birthday parties and charity events!
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Front Street
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Parking details
Parking is available on the Santa Cruz Wharf for an hourly rate and is just a short scenic walk to our location. There are also small metered lots across the street as well. We are walking distance to many near-by hotels.
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Public transit
The public bus stop is just across the street from Ideal Bar & Grill.
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Entertainment
We offer live music Friday & Saturday nights during the summer months and during special events throughout the year!
Additional
Bar Dining, Beer, Cafe, Cocktails, Dancing, Entertainment, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Late Night, Outdoor dining, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 100 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.3based on recent ratings
3.9
food
4.3
service
4.1
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Moderate
95% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
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5.0Dined 4 days ago

Service was great from the minute we walked in to the minute we walked out.
But the food was...amazing! My ten year old had the crab legs and said they were the best he's had(he has been eating them since he was 5 years old).
This is a great place to eat, very comfortable too.

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5.0Dined 5 days ago

Nice dinner in the evening, prime rib was outstanding!

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3.0Dined on August 6, 2018

A fine place but overpriced. Not unexpected given the location and convenience to the Boardwalk. Server was quite good though.

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5.0Dined on August 4, 2018

The food was amazing and even though it was busy, the service was great!

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4.0Dined on August 2, 2018

Everything was good. It was busy. The only thing I didn’t like was the oysters. I should have asked if they had mignonette...... they don’t.

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4.0Dined on July 29, 2018

I had dinner here for my birthday and had made reservations for my 8 guests, myself included. I believe everybody loved their food and thought our waitress was quite professional.

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4.0Dined on June 30, 2018

I did not like how they nickled and dimes you to death. $3.00 more if you asked for this, $6.00 to add this...... simple things

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2.0Dined on June 30, 2018

The food just isn’t that good. Weird seasoning on fish and chips, sea bass thin and dry. Mashed potatoes with chunks of skin ( regular potatoes not red or thin skinned). Food doesn’t seem to be the main concern. Anniversary was both checked and written in the table request but was completely missed or ignored. might try lobster night if we happen to be in SC on a Wed but otherwise, will probably not return.

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3.0Dined on June 29, 2018

Ok for a big group, but not great food

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4.0Dined on June 22, 2018

We had a great time. I share a birthday with one of my dearest friends. It has become a tradition, every year we celebrate together at Ideal Restaurant's birthday bash. With so many people in one place celebrating birthdays, as soon as you walk in the door, you feel the happiness. its festive without being too loud or irritating.

The food was good, reasonably priced and the service was excellent.

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5.0Dined on June 22, 2018

Ideal Bar & Grill hosts a Birthday Specials for those lucky people celebrating a birthday in any given month. My month was June and on the 3rd Thursday of the month is a free Birthday Prime rib dinner or 1/2 rack of baby back ribs. I had the prime rib which was great! You must buy and equal or lesser value entree. Great views, good for people watching and a must for the award winning Clam Chowder.

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3.0Dined on May 27, 2018

Soooo loud, food was terrible, thankfully I was only there to drink

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4.0Dined on May 13, 2018

Great casual place. Right on the beach, nice outdoor eating area. Close walk to Beach Boardwalk. Reasonably priced. Good Santa Cruz surfer beach atmosphere.

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5.0Dined on May 13, 2018

We were delighted by good drinks and a perfectly cooked steak with an excellent crust and lovely King Crab which was cut for us so easy to get to. It was chilly outside but we sat under the heaters and enjoyed watching people go by.

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5.0Dined on May 10, 2018

Breakfast special was good and a real bargain.

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5.0Dined on May 6, 2018

we came down for our sons baseball game. i had to change my reservation 3 times due to the game prior to my sons and then his game. you were very accommodating...we finally got there and the food was delicious...great menu choice and great server!!!!

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5.0Dined on May 5, 2018

Our server was kaitlyn . She was very nice , very friendly , great smile and awesome service . I will for sure be back to eat again .

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5.0Dined on April 22, 2018

We celebrated my daughters 2nd birthday. Our server was super nice and helped us make her feel so special. The food was good and the atmosphere was perfect for beachside dining.

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1.0Dined on April 7, 2018

Unfortunately, this night was a complete disaster!!! We have been going to this restaurant for years, at least 20 years that I can remember. Friday night is prime rib night, so I decided to have my birthday dinner there. Made reservations and everything was good to go, Until we sat down. No color crayons for kids anymore even though the kids menu has an activity page. The appetizers were so greasy and not very good, Dinner was ok for the adults. The food for the kids, my grandchildren was straight up disgusting. How in the world do you mess up a corn dog? Chicken nuggets?? They both tasted old, freezer burn, just absolutely horrible. I will say the service was absolutely horrible, we ordered drinks and had to walk to bar and get our drinks before our dinner was almost done. We will absolutely never go to Ideal again !!! Such a disappointment after years of being a faithful customer. Never again !! Food horrible, drinks not so good, service deplorable !!!

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1.0Dined on April 1, 2018

First 10 minuets no one came to our table once they did he stopped and said I will be right with you then 10 min later with no drinks we walked out!!!

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4.0Dined on March 31, 2018

I ordered the prime rib, medium and received rare to medium rare. Sent it back, and my partners was more than half way through her dinner when the prime rib returned. It was now well done, but I was hungry and my partner was almost done. The prime rib had good flavor just over cooked. I would still recommend the place and the prime rib.

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5.0Dined on March 31, 2018

Loved the prime rib special! Nice table by Santa Cruz Boardwalk. Daughter was glad for the kids’ menu. We would go again if in Santa Cruz.

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3.0Dined on March 18, 2018

A typically mediocre beach bar. It's all about the real estate. My fettucine was pretty much inedible although others enjoyed their salmon. Service was perfunctory but adequate.

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5.0Dined on March 17, 2018

Ideal bar and Grill is a great place to go after the she is beautiful 5k run. The restaurant is all about excellent service,food, and fun. Please enjoy and consider that it will be busy. The waitresses and waiters really care so pls don’t be too harsh on them for minor incidents; they will make it right. As far as a not so eventful day, Ideal bar and Grill is a fun place to go. Cheers and enjoy

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3.0Dined on February 25, 2018

the ideal bar seemed like a great place to dine at while there in Santa Cruz. We had a resravation was seated as soon as we got there one young lady came and took our drink order than a RUDE MAN CAME BACK FOR OUR DRINK ORDER because she only came back with water. After he brought our drinks back he took our order (RUDE) my food was wrong he did sent it back came back with it from there the services SUCKED FROM HIM THE REST OF THE EVENING FOOD WAS OK/GOOD HE NEVER CAME BACK TO CHECK ON THE TABLE WE HAD TO ASK OTHERS FOR THINGS WE NEEDED HE WAS JUST AWFUL.. IF I HAD TO DEAL WITH HIM I WOULD NEVER COME BACK.. BUT FOOD WAS OK/GOOD WE DIDNT HAVE ANY COMPLAINTS AFTER EVERYTHING WITH FOOD WAS RIGHT.. JUST A NOTE YOU MIGHT WANT TO SHARE WITH STAFF CUSTOMER SERVICE IS VERY IMPORTANT YOU NEVER KNOW WHO YOU ARE SERVING... GOOD DAY

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4.0Dined on February 24, 2018

First entree was sent back. Salmon was burnt. Changed to their fish special which was delicious.

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3.0Dined on February 24, 2018

Great clam chowder. Very lively and boisterous atmosphere.

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5.0Dined on February 14, 2018

We both got the lobster and New York with veggies and Toasted S’mores pudding and it was so delicious! What a great treat this Valentine’s Day! Also, we had the Calamari App and we both agreed it’s the best we have ever had!

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5.0Dined on February 14, 2018

Great Lobster! Not so good pot roast, not even close to my wife's.

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3.0Dined on February 7, 2018

We stopped in for the Wed. night lobster special. The food was good but the special only included the lobster and rice. Anything else, such as a side vegetable, was extra. Still a good value but service could be improved.

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4.0Dined on January 21, 2018

I enjoy going to Ideal Bar & Grill to watch sports and dine.
Especially this last time celebrating as well my 28th wedding anniversary with my adoring wife!

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4.0Dined on January 15, 2018

Our server was excellent, chef’s special was amazing, a great end to a fun day exploring the area:)

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5.0Dined on January 13, 2018

Our family of 6 adults and 4 little ones recently dined at Ideal Bar and Grill in Santa Cruz. It was across the street from our hotel which was perfect after an afternoon at the Boardwalk. They have a wonderful beer selection and many tasty food options on the menu. Our server was efficient, accommodating and fun! We all enjoyed the evening and will definitely return.

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4.0Dined on December 31, 2017

Our last dinner of 2017....and it was GREAT! We live in SC county and come out to IDEAL at least once a quarter. We like how consistent Ideal Bar & Grill is every time we come. The food comes out fast and hot. Being on the sand gives it great views of the water and the wharf. Our server, Megan, was AWESOME....top notch...she had such great customer service. We'd go back just to say hello to her!

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4.0Dined on December 31, 2017

We like Ideal Bar because we can easily walk there from our house. Varied menu.

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4.0Dined on December 27, 2017

Good. Won’t for special but they ran out. Ended up with more costly meal not what we wanted. Food was good. Just disappointed that didn’t get what was advertised. Will try again.

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3.0Dined on December 25, 2017

I came here with family on Christmas Day for dinner. We did have an enthusiastic waiter, however we were very sad to find that they were out of Ciopino and mashed potatoes. I had specifically chosen the restaurant for the Cioppino. The Christmas decorations were nice. The food was pretty good considering we couldn't get what we wanted!

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5.0Dined on December 25, 2017

We went to Ideal Bar & Grill because it was a fine restaurant with great ambience that was open at Christmas in Santa Cruz. We were very glad we did. There was Christmas football on the big TV's over the bar, but the volume was so low we couldn't hear it from our table 40 feet away. It has great family atmosphere, the service was awesome and very fast, and the food was excellent. Good selection of wines by the glass, and a great view of the Wharf and the Bay at night.

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4.0Dined on December 25, 2017

Best thing was the server. Helpful, friendly, and swift.

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3.0Dined on December 22, 2017

Nice restaurant on the beach near the Santa Cruz boardwalk. View of the bay. I ordered the sea bass tasted frozen and had no flavor. The clam chowder was good but was very thick. The calamari were good. You can find better value and better food on the wharf within walking distance of this restaurant.

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