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Ideal Bar & Grill, Santa Cruz, CA

Ideal Bar & Grill

4.4
4.4
240 Reviews
$30 and under
Californian
Fun, family friendly dining with a beautiful view of Santa Cruz Main beach and the Municipal Wharf! We offer out side seating on our sunny deck! Come down and try our award winning clam chowder today! Reservations are for our inside dining room only.

Make a reservation

2 people

10:30 PM


Order delivery or takeout

Options

  • Order online

Additional information

  • Dining style

    Casual Dining

  • Cuisines

    Californian, Seafood, American

  • Hours of operation

    Mon–Fri 11:00 am–9:00 pm Sat, Sun 9:00 am–9:00 pm Bar Daily 12:00 am–9:00 pm

  • Phone number

    (831) 423-5271

  • Payment options

    AMEX, MasterCard, Visa

  • Dress code

    Casual Dress

  • Executive chef

    Jesus Garcia

  • 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!

  • Neighborhood

    Santa Cruz

  • Cross street

    Front Street

  • 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.

  • Public transit

    The public bus stop is just across the street from Ideal Bar & Grill.

  • Additional

    Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Cafe, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Full Bar, Gender Neutral Restroom, Gluten-free Options, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Patio/Outdoor Dining, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Popular dishes

What 240 people are saying

Overall ratings and reviews

Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant

4.4
4.4 based on recent ratings
  • 4.3Food
  • 4.4Service
  • 4.3Ambience
  • 4.1Value

NoiseModerate

Loved For

  • San Francisco Bay Area

    Scenic View

  • Santa Cruz / Capitola / Aptos

    Good for Groups

  • Santa Cruz / Capitola / Aptos

    Hot Spot

  • Santa Cruz / Capitola / Aptos

    Great for Lunch

  • Santa Cruz / Capitola / Aptos

    Outdoor Dining

  • Santa Cruz / Capitola / Aptos

    Vibrant Bar Scene

Sort by

Filters

  1. S

    Sady

    San Francisco

    1 review

    1.0

    1 review

    Dined 5 days ago

    overall1food1service5ambience1
    Very bad food, very dirty place, very bad food, nothing appetizing.
  2. P

    Poppadop

    San Francisco

    7 reviews

    4.0

    7 reviews

    Dined on September 25, 2022

    overall4food4service5ambience4
    "Famous" clam chowder was as advertised--rich, creamy, and delicious. Seafood-melt sandwich on sourdough was also excellent. The only negative was the side of cole slaw--possibly the most tasteless cole slaw I've ever been served (we had to toss it out). Otherwise, great spot for lunch at the wharf!
  3. KE

    KimE

    San Francisco

    19 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    19 reviews

    Dined on September 23, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Gosh, could there be a more beautiful setting than the Ideal? We sat beachside on a sunny evening, enjoyed delicious food with wonderful service! Life just doesn't get better than this!
  4. JN

    JazzNdj

    San Francisco

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on September 12, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    Our waiter was really nice, we took forever to choose what we wanted to eat and he never rushed us. Hostess was as really nice as well. Wait for the deck seating!
  5. AO

    AnneO

    San Francisco

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 5, 2022

    overall4food5service5ambience4
    Food is excellent and came fast. Servers are very friendly.
  6. S

    Summer

    Hawaii

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on September 4, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    Our breakfast was so good. We actually had 8 around the table and it was easy to have conversations. We had a 9 o’clock reservation and arrived 10 minutes early. Just a comment they don’t open the doors until exactly 9. Got our table immediately.
  7. AB

    AngelaB

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on August 28, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    We came for an early dinner. Our waitress was great and our food was yummy! It definitely got a lot busier as we left.
  8. KT

    KeysTourist

    Philadelphia

    15 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    15 reviews

    Dined on August 26, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Great place to celebrate birthdays!
  9. RA

    RonA

    San Francisco

    35 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    35 reviews

    Dined on August 24, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    We gathered for my niece’s birthday on Wednesday and all enjoyed the lobster special. The food was excellent. I really liked the coconut rice which accompanied the whole steamed Main lobster. The wait staff was friendly and efficient. The view is fantastic. If we lived closer, I’d be there every Wednesday. Surprisingly, it was not crowded.
  10. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on August 21, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Great place to eat after a day by the beach!
  11. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Orange County

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on August 21, 2022

    overall5food4service5ambience4
    Our server Samuel was amazing! The food came out super quick and was tasty. The garlic with the garlic and Brie tray could’ve been cooked a little longer but everything else was great. Great location and a laid back setting.
  12. J

    Jessica

    Central Coast

    1 review

    3.0

    1 review

    Dined on August 20, 2022

    overall3food3service3ambience4
    It's a great location but the food was mediocre to bad. They managed to overcook an omelette, including burned broccoli, served with soggy bacon and lukewarm and soggy home fries. It was the worst brunch I have had in years. At least the coffee was generously sized and really good. Servers were was a bit rude too.
  13. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Dallas

    11 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    11 reviews

    Dined on August 6, 2022

    overall4food4service3ambience4
    Overall I was pleased with our meals. They have a wide selection of cuisine which can mean they don’t do any particularly well but we enjoyed everything. We asked for the clam chowder in the sour dough bread bowl as an appetizer. My wife had the steak Santa Cruz and I had the chicken parmigiana. Unfortunately we were waiting quite a while and the reason became evident when everything came out at once. Our waiter was not very attentive and runners brought the food. I feel runners lends itself to generally poor service as the main waiter forgets about you and the runner has no idea what’s going on and just wants to drop off the food. The steak came out cooked as ordered although with shrimp and other various veg on top it got lost. The mashed was a let down as it came straight from the steam table, in the ice cream scooped shape. Chicken parm seemed cooked to order in a pan. Typical pasta, a bit over cooked but ok. The addition of pesto sauce on the chicken was not needed and took away from the dish. Our reservation was through open table and outdoor seating is only an option as first come first serve. Luckily they were not busy so we chose to go the deck for the view Overall a great view and decent food makes it worth while.
  14. JD

    JaDa

    San Francisco

    68 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    68 reviews

    Dined on July 28, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Great experience! Food very tasty. Service very friendly but not overbearing. Would definitely recommend for a beautiful meal on the beach! Gorgeous view. Thank you
  15. M

    Michele

    San Francisco

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on July 25, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Friendly and quick service. Food was hot and delicious! Plan on returning when we come back to Santa Cruz!
  16. JB

    JosephB

    1 review

    2.0

    1 review

    Dined on July 24, 2022

    overall2food1service1ambience3
    Poor service. Substandard food that took almost an hour to get after ordering. Prices do not reflect the quality. Should charge 30% less. There are way better choices in that area for food. A solid NO for me.
  17. MR

    MarcaR

    San Francisco

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on July 24, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    The Ideal Bar never disappoints! We always love the food and service! The view is not bad either.
  18. KP

    KristenP

    Central Coast

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on July 12, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Great food, great cocktails, great service, great location! Great for kids too!
  19. BF

    BrFe

    San Francisco

    13 reviews

    5.0

    13 reviews

    Dined on June 19, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    We were able to make a reservation here for our family to celebrate Father's Day, while many of the wharf restaurants don't take reservations. With elderly relatives, we appreciated knowing we would be seated in a timely manner without a wait.
  20. MB

    MegB

    Los Angeles

    2 reviews

    4.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on June 12, 2022

    overall4food5service5ambience4
    The Good: Our meals were all really great. Big portions, very tasty, quick service and nice/hot when they arrived. Our waitress was excellent, as well as the staff that assisted her. The Lava Flow drink was really yummy...really really yummy! The "meh" part: Little disappointed in the seating, as I made a reservation on Open Table and specified it was for a "special occasion - College Graduation" - We were randomly seated in the middle of the room at a table that was still being wiped down. There were lovely window seats available and some "patio" seating - which we weren't offered to us at all. The noise level was overpowering in the center of the room, we could not hear the people across the table - which made it hard to have a conversation. Fun for a more casual time - but not great if you want to "chat" ;-)
  21. M

    Matthew

    San Francisco

    1 review

    vip
    1.0

    1 review

    Dined on June 11, 2022

    overall1food1service1ambience2
    The restaurant did not honor our reservation for a dining room reservation and seated us at a high-top in the bar area. We then had to wait about 15 minutes for service. The food came all at once, appetizer and meal, which was not requested. When it arrived, it was also cold. Not worth the price we paid.
  22. DP

    DanP

    Hawaii

    2 reviews

    4.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on May 26, 2022

    overall4food4service4ambience4
    Good seafood at the entrance to the wharf and less expensive than stuff on the wharf. Nice view of the pier and ocean
  23. RC

    RebeccaC

    Sacramento

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on May 23, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Service staff were amazingly good! I was early and they made every attempt to find me seating and proved excellent service. Overall, they helped make this a wonderful evening. THANK YOU!!!
  24. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on May 20, 2022

    overall5food4service5ambience5
    The server was nice and friendly and service was outstanding. The food was okay
  25. TK

    TrishaK

    San Francisco

    1 review

    vip
    2.0

    1 review

    Dined on May 8, 2022

    overall2food1service3ambience4
    The food used to be great here about 3 years ago. Really overpriced for the quality being served. It’s really sad that such a great restaurant has declined so much.
  26. VR

    ValerieR

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on May 7, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Our waiter was Amazing and always chekced on us. The drinks were really nice looking and tasted good! Will for sure be going back!
  27. RW

    RobinW

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on April 21, 2022

    overall5food4service5ambience5
    The servers were so welcoming and worked hard to anticipate our needs. So friendly! There is a Wed night Maine lobster special for about $27, but it is a tad rubbery. But my kabobs with fish and shrimp were wonderful. They accommodated my diet needs nicely. Other meals are in the $32-36 range but still nice. The fried calamari was the largest appetizer serving I have seen on the Santa Cruz Wharf and tasty! Would go back again for sure!
  28. RA

    RosemaryA

    San Francisco

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on April 17, 2022

    overall4food5service5ambience5
    The location is wonderful. It was a beautiful day. The food was Yum Yum! Will take out of town friends when they come to visit.
  29. G

    Ginger

    San Joaquin

    3 reviews

    1.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on April 13, 2022

    overall1food1service3ambience3
    Our sever was friendly - but the food was awful. We will not eat here again.
  30. MQ

    MelindaQ

    San Francisco

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on March 21, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Calamari was delicious! Horseradish Salmon was outstanding! Would definitely go back!
  31. S

    Saswan

    San Francisco

    2 reviews

    3.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on March 19, 2022

    overall3food4service4ambience4
    The music was so loud that we couldn’t hear each other talk. My poor five year old was very upset and they refused to turn the music down even though many customers were complaining about the volume being way too loud.
  32. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    5 reviews

    2.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on March 19, 2022

    overall2food1service2ambience5
    I had gone to this restaurant for dinner in February so decided to reserve for breakfast after the She Is Beautiful race. It was two of us. We arrived and were seated immediately, they had a DJ that was very loud, so in turn people had to talk to their friends/family loudly. It probably didn’t need to be that loud but the music was good. Now when we were there in Feb it was A LOT busier, outside full, inside full. Full menu available. Today? Basic menu with only certain items available. Disappointing. I ordered the French Toast, friend ordered the Guacamole Bacon burger. 1. Food came out in 10 mins….way too fast to prepare French toast and a well done burger fresh 2. Friend said burger had no seasoning, could tell it was frozen meat. 3. My French toast? Cold, tasted like toast with syrup. Like they popped bread in the toaster, dipped in egg wash them BARELY cooked it. The bread was very saturated. I can understand wanting to prepare for a large crowds but this place is ALWAYS busy with locals and tourists since pandemic lifted. Will return for dinner, but next year will probably head to a different spot after race.
  33. L

    Larry

    Los Angeles

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on March 4, 2022

    overall4food5service4ambience4
    I thought that the extra 4% automatic service charge made the price of the meal seem like a "bait and switch". I would prefer to have the price of food on the menu reflect the true price of the meal.
  34. K

    Kate

    Central Coast

    1 review

    1.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 23, 2022

    overall1food1service3ambience3
    Honestly was terrible and very over priced for the quality of food. Will not be returning back here
  35. MO

    MichelleO

    Unspecified

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 9, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    A bit pricey for what we had, but overall it was nice.
  36. LJ

    LauraJ

    San Francisco

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 1, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Good service, good food, good location and good ambience. Laid back atmosphere but good taste. Family friendly and lots of young people around. Would definitely come back.
  37. P

    Patti

    San Francisco

    16 reviews

    5.0

    16 reviews

    Dined on December 26, 2021

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Just had dinner at Ideal Bar and Grill. Good service, and the food was excellent. Drinks are always yummy and creative. Highly recommend if you like a casual vibe and fresh air.
  38. SM

    StanM

    1 review

    2.0

    1 review

    Dined on November 26, 2021

    overall2food1service2ambience1
    We ate here on Thanksgiving as we were just visiting, so maybe that was the issue.. Service was slow and indifferent. Food was average to poor and VERY Expensive! I guess you have to pay to eat next to the water! Would not recommend!
  39. b

    bridgettew

    Los Angeles

    16 reviews

    5.0

    16 reviews

    Dined on November 26, 2021

    overall5food4service4ambience5
    It was a great place to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner!
  40. JH

    JeffH

    1 review

    2.0

    1 review

    Dined on November 25, 2021

    overall2food1service2ambience4
    Went for Thanksgiving, had a special menu, couldn't accommodate scrambled eggs for our 4 year old, despite being on the menu, nor could they make mac and cheese for our 6 year old, again despite being on the menu. Thankfully we brought snacks for a beach day. All food was bland and flavorless.

Safety precautions

  • Cleaning & sanitizing

    • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
    • Contactless payment available

FAQs

You can order delivery directly from Ideal Bar & Grill using the Order Online button.

Ideal Bar & Grill is rated 4.4 stars by 240 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable.

Make a reservation

2 people

10:30 PM


Order delivery or takeout

Options

  • Order online
Google Map for Ideal Bar & Grill

106 Beach St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Additional information

  • Cross street

    Front Street

  • Neighborhood

    Santa Cruz

  • Hours of operation

    Mon–Fri 11:00 am–9:00 pm Sat, Sun 9:00 am–9:00 pm Bar Daily 12:00 am–9:00 pm

  • Cuisines

    Californian, Seafood, American

  • Dining style

    Casual Dining

  • Dress code

    Casual Dress

  • 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.

  • Public transit

    The public bus stop is just across the street from Ideal Bar & Grill.

  • Payment options

    AMEX, MasterCard, Visa

  • Executive chef

    Jesus Garcia

  • Additional

    Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Cafe, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Full Bar, Gender Neutral Restroom, Gluten-free Options, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Patio/Outdoor Dining, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine

  • Phone number

    (831) 423-5271

  • 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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