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Ideal Bar & Grill, Santa Cruz, CA

Ideal Bar & Grill

4.1
4.1
222 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

June 2022
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8:30 PM


Booked 13 times today

Order delivery or takeout

Delivery

  • 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 222 people are saying

Overall ratings and reviews

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

4.1
4.1 based on recent ratings
  • 3.9Food
  • 4.3Service
  • 4.3Ambience
  • 3.5Value

NoiseModerate

Loved For

  • Santa Cruz / Capitola / Aptos

    Neighborhood Gem

  • Santa Cruz / Capitola / Aptos

    Outdoor Dining

  • Santa Cruz / Capitola / Aptos

    Vibrant Bar Scene

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Filters

  1. BF

    BrFe

    San Francisco

    12 reviews

    5.0

    12 reviews

    Dined 6 days ago

    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.

  2. 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" ;-)

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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!!!

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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!

  21. 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!

  22. 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.

  23. RA

    RosemaryA

    San Francisco

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on November 25, 2021

    overall5food5service5ambience4

    Checking the list before getting here would just be repeated here.

  24. MT

    MelanyT

    1 review

    1.0

    1 review

    Dined on November 21, 2021

    overall1food2service1ambience1

    No water brought, we asked for a bottle of wine the waiter brought to glasses of wine. When we asked him he said we’ll do you just want to buy these two glasses then a bottle of wine. Appetizer came out and as we started it the main course came right out. Guy tried bringing the check we asked for dessert menu then he rattled off ones that we shouldn’t order recommended the lava cake, it came out cold and dry. It was our anniversary the guy asked why we were there and we told him that. When we first got to the restaurant some guys was at the booth saying seat yourself when we started walking up the hostess asked what we were doing and then when we told her she told us I have no idea who that is or why he was there. Just overall bad experience

  25. CB

    CardiB

    San Francisco

    1 review

    2.0

    1 review

    Dined on November 14, 2021

    overall2food4service1ambience1

    Unfortunately, we were seated at a less than ideal table. We had no view, and we were facing a wall. And, our food took over an hour to arrive. The waitress was aware of this, yet she did not offer any kind of compensation for our long wait. We won't be going back.

  26. PO

    PaigeO

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on November 13, 2021

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Great food and loved the view. Went back the next night

  27. U

    Ukin

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on October 22, 2021

    overall4food3service3ambience4

    I booked a reservation for this restaurant through OpenTable and received a confirmation of my reservation. When I arrived at Ideal Bar & Grill they had no record of my reservation. I was fortunate to show up at a time when they could accommodate me. I always enjoy eating there.

  28. N

    Nicolle

    Los Angeles

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on October 17, 2021

    overall5food4service5ambience5

    It was my niece's 8th birthday and they set up balloons on the table! it was the cutest thing and she was so happy about it. I have gone here for my birthday twice before and I really like the food. It's a really great place to celebrate something! and the best thing, I could see the Raider game from my seat :)

  29. TJ

    TheJohnsons

    Sacramento

    12 reviews

    2.0

    12 reviews

    Dined on October 16, 2021

    overall2food1service4ambience3

    We knew it was a tourist trap and didn't expect much. The service was friendly and competent. The food was just terrible. The tasteless clam chowder was so thick with flour that you could stand a spoon in it. The hamburger was barely acceptable with tired wilted tomato and lettuce on the side. The fries were under-fried and limp. Also not very hot. The ribs were overcooked. They fell off the bone but were dry and tough. The less said about the cole slaw the better. But the very worst item on the table was the fish and chips. The breading was heavy with oregano (ick) and the fish had been fried to a tough deep brown. We told the server that it was inedible and asked to replace it with a burger. There was no offer to take the fish off the bill and we didn't ask. I'm assuming Ideal doesn't care about quality or return customers - the tourists were lined up around the block on a beautiful Saturday. Very expensive lesson learned!

  30. JT

    JuneT

    Orange County

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on October 7, 2021

    overall5food4service5ambience5

    It was a reunion of precious coworkers. We use to meet for lobster night from time to time. I wasn't surprised by the price increase but disappointed that the veggies are no longer included.

  31. HB

    HBGal

    Orange County

    134 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    134 reviews

    Dined on September 18, 2021

    overall4food4service5ambience4

    We sat on the patio. My salad was delicious and my husband enjoyed his seafood.

  32. CO

    CharlesO

    Central Coast

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 15, 2021

    overall4food4service4ambience3

    Food was good, the service was good; however, the parking is a little tricky.

  33. BR

    BethR

    San Francisco

    5 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on September 12, 2021

    overall4food5service4ambience1

    Food is excellent and you get a good portion! The restaurant is very loud so it would be good for large groups and families, but not for a couple. The acoustics make for hearing everyone nearby or any loud noise. Great location by the water and the wharf.

  34. d

    deborahoak

    San Francisco

    14 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    14 reviews

    Dined on September 10, 2021

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Great food in a beautiful spot.

  35. MD

    MichelleD

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 6, 2021

    overall4food5service5ambience4

    Overall great food and it was a nice dinner. We actually made a reservation and ended up sitting at the bar which was fine for us. The service was good and quick. I really appreciate the workers during this pandemic as it is busy with over aggressive customers and demanding needs with limited staff.

  36. NY

    NicoleY

    San Francisco

    4 reviews

    3.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on August 21, 2021

    overall3food2service3ambience4

    Food was pretty underwhelming. Staff was ok but definitely not all that attentive. When we arrived there was no hostess at the stand - for a solid 10 minutes. Waiter was just alright. It’s at the wharf entrance so it wasn’t a shock to have food that’s just mediocre. You’re paying for being right on the beach/wharf.

  37. DL

    DeeL

    San Francisco

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on August 7, 2021

    overall5food5service5ambience3

    Our waiter, Daniel was excellent. The food was yummy. The only draw back was how loud it was but I still had an excellent time!

  38. PG

    PurpleGirl

    San Francisco

    29 reviews

    3.0

    29 reviews

    Dined on August 1, 2021

    overall3food3service4ambience4

    Food was average; nice beach vibe and lovely to sit right at the beach. We had breakfast and it was good but didn't knock the socks off.

  39. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Las Vegas

    2 reviews

    1.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on July 30, 2021

    overall1food2service2ambience2

    Foods ordered is not great. Receptionist is not great.

  40. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    New York Area

    3 reviews

    3.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on July 22, 2021

    overall3food3service2ambience3

    Slow service, hard to find wait staff when we needed something, but food and dessert was good and the view is great. Fun overall atmosphere.

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 4.1 stars by 222 OpenTable diners.

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

Make a reservation

2 people

June 2022
Sun
Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
29
30
31
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
8:30 PM


Booked 13 times today

Order delivery or takeout

Delivery

  • 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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