Ideal Bar & Grill

3.9
107 reviews
icon/ic_price_rangeCreated with Sketch.
$30 and under
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
Californian
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
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
Cuisines
Californian, Seafood, American
icon/ic_clockCreated with Sketch.
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
icon/ic_phoneCreated with Sketch.
Phone number
(831) 423-5271
icon/ic_new_windowCreated with Sketch.
icon/ic_paymentCreated with Sketch.
Payment options
AMEX, MasterCard, Visa
icon/ic_dress_codeCreated with Sketch.
Dress code
Casual Dress
icon/ic_chefCreated with Sketch.
Executive chef
Jesus Garcia
icon/ic_private_diningCreated with Sketch.
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!
Open Google Maps
icon/ic_locationCreated with Sketch.
icon/ic_neighborhoodCreated with Sketch.
Neighborhood
icon/ic_cross_streetCreated with Sketch.
Cross street
Front Street
icon/ic_parking_detailsCreated with Sketch.
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.
icon/ic_public_transitCreated with Sketch.
Public transit
The public bus stop is just across the street from Ideal Bar & Grill.
icon/ic_entertainmentCreated with Sketch.
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 107 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
3.9based on recent ratings
3.6
food
4.0
service
3.8
ambience
3.6
value
Noise · Moderate
72% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
2
1
Sort by
Newest
Filters
SC
Las Vegas
2 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 2

A bit disappointing. Quality of food depends on what you order. My baked salmon was too dry, but the wife and daughter both enjoyed their Chicken Parmesan and fish dish. Island rice was excellent, and the baked potato fries very delicious. Our main problem was service. The waiter was a nice guy but not very attentive (and we aren't exactly high maintenance. Just check up on us once in a while.) Often he was too busy socializing with other waiters to notice us trying to get his attention. Eating on the patio was also a challenge since it was so dark. We took out our phones just to make sure the plates in front of us had what we ordered. 'Would probably not go back again - at least not to eat on the patio.

Report
Helpful
OT
Atlanta
1 review
Dined on October 6, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 4

The sea platter that I ordered as a main dish came first, I had to ask the waiter to first bring the clam chowder that I ordered and take the main dish back. Only five minutes later when I was only halfway with the chowder, the waiter came bringing the main dish again. Again I had to ask the waiter to take it back and wait until I had finished my chowder. I didn’t feel treated as a guest here.

Report
Helpful
DT
San Francisco
18 reviews
Dined on September 8, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

The kitchen was slammed, so the food came out later than expected. Overall, the restaurant is great.

Report
Helpful
a
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on September 1, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 3

Unfortunately the experience was not good. Our server was fine and tried hard. But, the kitchen let her down and made us wait for substandard fare. This was our third visit and yet this is the one that we will remember and not in a good way. After waiting close to an hour for our food to arrive, the burger was over cooked and another dish was missing some additional items ordered.

Report
Helpful
OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 17, 2018
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 2

I didn’t receive open table points for my reservation
Service was poor
No manager
Food was cold

Report
Helpful
MM
1 review
Dined on August 17, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 1ambience 3

Ideal used to be my favorite place to go in Santa Cruz. The last few times I've gone, I have regretted making the effort. The service is slow, server pays no attention. Main course arrived before appetizers. Then for we were only comped for one of them. Menu is limited (compared to past visits). You go to eat on the beach, you want sea food... not seeing your favorites only offered once a week. And never on the weekend.

We don't live in the area anymore. We traveled 400 miles for a weekend getaway. I have gone to Ideal for over 15 years. Sadly I have decided not to return again.

Report
Helpful
YA
1 review
Dined on August 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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.

Report
Helpful
R
1 review
Dined on August 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Nice dinner in the evening, prime rib was outstanding!

Report
Helpful
KC
Philadelphia
7 reviews
Dined on August 7, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

I thought the atmosphere ( laid back) and service was excellent at this waterfront restaurant. The ribs were the best I’ve ever tasted!

Report
Helpful
DM
1 review
Dined on August 6, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

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

Report
Helpful
DP
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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

Report
Helpful
J
San Francisco
17 reviews
Dined on August 2, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

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.

Report
Helpful
SK
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 29, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

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.

Report
Helpful
LR
1 review
Dined on June 30, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

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

Report
Helpful
r
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on June 30, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 3

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.

Report
Helpful
BP
San Francisco
22 reviews
Dined on June 29, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

Ok for a big group, but not great food

Report
Helpful
NB
1 review
Dined on June 22, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

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.

Report
Helpful
BA
San Francisco
24 reviews
Dined on June 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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.

Report
Helpful
OT
1 review
Dined on May 27, 2018
Overall 3food 1service 5ambience 2

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

Report
Helpful
L
Portland
1 review
Dined on May 13, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

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

Report
Helpful
C
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on May 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

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.

Report
Helpful
SA
Richmond
3 reviews
Dined on May 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Breakfast special was good and a real bargain.

Report
Helpful
v
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined on May 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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!!!!

Report
Helpful
OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on May 5, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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

Report
Helpful
MB
Seattle
2 reviews
Dined on April 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

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.

Report
Helpful
PC
1 review
Dined on April 7, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

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 !!!

Report
Helpful
KC
1 review
Dined on April 1, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

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!!!

Report
Helpful
GH
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on March 31, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

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.

Report
Helpful
CM
1 review
Dined on March 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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.

Report
Helpful
E
New England
40 reviews
Dined on March 18, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 3

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.

Report
Helpful
OT
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on March 17, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

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

Report
Helpful
OT
1 review
Dined on February 25, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 3

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

Report
Helpful
OT
San Joaquin
21 reviews
Dined on February 24, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 4

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

Report
Helpful
OT
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on February 24, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 3

Great clam chowder. Very lively and boisterous atmosphere.

Report
Helpful
OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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!

Report
Helpful
TD
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

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

Report
Helpful
m
Tahoe
10 reviews
Dined on February 7, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 3

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.

Report
Helpful
2
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 21, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

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!

Report
Helpful
JS
Calgary
13 reviews
Dined on January 15, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

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

Report
Helpful
LO
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on January 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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.

Report
Helpful
1
2
3