Bittersweet Bistro

4.6
49 Reviews
$31 to $50
Contemporary American
Recognized by locals as one of the top restaurants in Aptos and Santa Cruz County, we offer an American Bistro Cuisine with Mediterranean influences. Using high quality fresh ingredients with a special emphasis on local products and local farmers markets. Offering options from burgers to filet mignon, fresh sustainable fish, sauces made from scratch and an amazing house-made dessert selection. Notably our chocolate mousse or the dessert fantasy for your group. Our award-winning wine list compliments Chef/Owner Thomas Vinolus’ menus.

The ambiance is perfect for an intimate dinner or casual gathering with family & friends. Enjoy a local beer on tap in the lounge while watching one of your favorite sports or relax by the Koi pond with a handcrafted cocktail & bar bites. Enjoy the fireplace on our heated patio. We welcome you to dine with us and enjoy the warm knowledgeable friendly service accompanied by delicious food.

-Vinolus Family & Bittersweet
What 49 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on all time ratings
4.6
food
4.6
service
4.5
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
90% of people would recommend it to a friend
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JB
JanetB
Central Coast
15 reviews
Dined on April 11, 2020
Overall5food5service4ambience4

During the novel corona virus pandemic, we could only order take out for our 33rd anniversary. We ordered all starters: the asparagus speared with dipping sauce, a roasted pear salad, and a shrimp in aioli. The asparagus spears are cornmeal and sesame crusted with just a hint of sweetness, always one of our favorites. The salad, besides a roasted pear, had hazelnuts and blue cheese, good. The shrimp dish was much too sweet for my tastes, but the shrimp was succulent. They threw in a custard and a chocolate pudding that were both delicious and much appreciated!

RS
vipRalphS
San Francisco
54 reviews
Dined on March 6, 2020
Overall4food5service5ambience3

I can see returning in warmer weather to enjoy the large, pet friendly patio or possibly a sports event in the equally large bar area but as other posts pointed out the dining room experience was mixed. Food and wait service was excellent but bus staff was overly anxious to clear plates overall creating a rushed vibe. Ambiance was unsettled. We were seated in extremely close proximity to another party of 2 in an otherwise empty large dining room making us feel like Intruders on their evening and vice versa. The price for all menu items felt higher than the norm and there was a 4% surcharge on top of that for labor and operations. There are just better options for an evening out in Santa Cruz.

ES
vipElizabethS
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on February 22, 2020
Overall4food5service3ambience4

Great food, great ambience, comfortable. Only issue was feeling rushed by waitstaff — dinner arrived before we were done with the shared appetizer.

G
Gengar64
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall3food5service4ambience2

We love the food at Bittersweet. Our server was also very nice and did the best she could, but was challenged by the kitchen and hostess stand. The young lady seating us was not welcoming or polite and seemed to view us as an inconvenience, anxious to get back to prancing around the restaurant and having people notice her. The restaurant was extremely loud, which I know it is the new trend to simulate excitement and energy, but some noise-canceling panels would help a lot at Bittersweet. I recommend the deserts and beef stroganoff. In short, great food but the price point doesn't seem to line up with the experience.

BH
BrendaH
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on January 10, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This was my first time at Bittersweet. The Food, Service and Drinks were outstanding. Can't wait to go back. They even serve CBD Water...woo hoo

f
fab1
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on January 8, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The calamari was tender and flavorful with an old style tartar sauce that was terrific. The seafood puttanesca was the best I ever had. Service, atmosphere, excellent!

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 12, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great service with a smile, and they put out little decorations since they knew it was our anniversary.

DG
DonG
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 9, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Food was great; service was great; a bit pricey for Santa Cruz; noisy.

SG
vipStevieG
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on November 6, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Nice dinner at Bittersweet. Service was great. Food good. Ahi was ok, not the best cut.

p
pamica
Central Coast
4 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent service, delicious food. We’ll be back soon—

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 27, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Good food, nice place, we come by often (cafe and bistro)!

JB
JanetB
Central Coast
16 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

We come here to celebrate any special occasion as often as possible! The food is always fantastic! We really love the tempura long bean appetizer with spicy teriyaki dipping sauce. We shared the grilled fig salad with hazelnuts and a delicious balsamic dressing, and the ribeye steak with mashed potatoes and perfectly cooked veggies. We had creme brûlée for dessert. Our waitperson was very savvy, always with a great attitude, and she can handle anything! She didn’t hover and smother, but was always there just when we needed her!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Central Coast
52 reviews
Dined on October 10, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

They always do a good job at Bittersweet. Outside dinner this time of year is great

MC
vipMikeCurtis
San Francisco
44 reviews
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The Bittersweet Bistro is a regular stop for us when we come to Aptos. Food is always great, Wine list is very good as well. Desserts are simply amazing. Come once and you will come back many more times as well.

RR
RichardR
1 review
Dined on September 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Food was absolutely delicious. Service great. Total positive with parent visiting. Loved it! Can't wait to go back on a date.

FR
FRANKB
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on September 14, 2019
Overall3food2service5ambience4

I've been patronizing Bittersweet for a few years now. Initially their menu was uniformly good. Now it's very mediocre and the prices have gone up. Ambience is fine--like their dog friendly patio. Service was very fine. Food--not a good value. Will try some other places.

MR
MarieR
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on September 12, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience4

My husband and I recently ate at Bittersweet Bistro with a friend. We ate on the patio and it was beautiful. Our service was very good too. The food was good, not great, and the price was VERY expensive for what you get. We realize that the Aptos area is expensive but $10.00 for a side of mashed potatoes was over the top. We felt that all the pricing was inflated.

GD
vipGaryD
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 30, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience4

Too much garlic - and very few options to have the garlic removed from dishes...Like the restaurant and the ambience and the servers and food preparation was very good...a little overpriced for what was served however (my wife remarked 'overpriced Olive Garden') :)

g
vipgastronometer
San Francisco
22 reviews
Dined on August 23, 2019
Overall2food2service3ambience4

My wife and I made reservations and planned our first trip to Bittersweet Bistro hoping for a great dining experience. The space and ambiance is very nice, it has a country club feel to it.
The restaurant was mostly empty at 8pm on a Saturday night. We were seated at a very nice table by the window.
We ordered drinks from our server and I enjoyed a very well made Manhattan. Sadly, after our cocktails the evening starts to take a turn for the worse.
My wife ordered the hangar steak ($27) and it was decent but a bit tough. I ordered the salmon ($47) and it was not very good at all. It was not cooked, the middle was cold and the fish had no flavor. At first, I was like 'no prob, I like sashimi' - but the taste and texture of the fish made it inedible. I left 3/4 of the salmon on my plate. The server did not come by to check on us until 20 minutes after the meal was served. She certainly noticed that I did not eat the fish but did not say anything. Guess I should have spoken up, but I'm not a complainer, we just won't be back.

KH
KathleenH
Central Coast
7 reviews
Dined on August 11, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience3

We dine here fairly often and were very surprised that three of the menu items were not available. We understand that such a popular place can get very busy but three out of four seafood specials were 86'd by 6:15PM. The food we did receive was excellent and the service pretty good considering how busy it was. We'll come back when it's not so mobbed.

h
hwnz
Portland
10 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience4

Neighborhood bistro that we had yet to try, so we made a reservation. Nice ambiance but heavy furniture caused a bit of crowding between tables inside. The patio area is open and bright, nicely laid out and decorated. A bit stuffy inside on a warm day. Food portions are ENORMOUS, so it is a great place to share. Seasonal option of roasted nectarine salad was delicious. The chicken gnocchi, while decadent, left me full and bloated after 4 bites. The have a good wine list.

c
caligirl93619
New York Area
53 reviews
Dined on August 9, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

We came in for a nice evening out, and through no fault of the restaurant, was seated outside next to a very noisy table!! We finally did move and enjoyed our meal. The cocktails were spot on, the calamari crisp and delicious, and the pizzetta yummy!

B
vipBillymcc
San Francisco
45 reviews
Dined on August 3, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Our first visit based on Open Table and friend recommendation. It was anniversary dinner, and the staff made it special - extremely friendly and personal. Food was very good, ambiance romantic and traditional inside, and there is fun outside casual area that would be fun in summer.

B
vipBurner2returner
San Francisco
21 reviews
Dined on July 7, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We celebrated joint wedding anniversary with dear friends. The food and drink were nothing short of terrific. I asked the waiter if there were additional vegetarian choices not on the menu. As a result the chef made me a roasted vegetable medley with wild rice cooked in a papayote. It was remarkable , spiced and cooked perfectly. It added to an amazing dining experience. The desserts also super delicious. Will return again and again. Bittersweet will not disappoint you.

R
Rdub
Orange County
7 reviews
Dined on July 5, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

One of our favorite restaurants! Consistently good food with great presentation, options for small plates for smaller appetites, and great service. They also have a good variety of menu options - high end to basic and options including fish, chicken, beef, and vegetable options. Highly recommend!

SF
vipStanfordFan
London
181 reviews
Dined on July 3, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The dolce de leche cheesecake was our favorite thing of the whole meal. The Caesar salad was delicious, as was the pasta special, the chicken piccata and the salmon. I had the small portion of the salmon which was just perfect for me. The men in our group had the full portions of their main courses and were also happy with the amount of food.

DP
DavidP
1 review
Dined on June 21, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

There was a mixup placing our order, but the waitress was very apologetic and solved the problem as quickly as possible. Very nice dining experience.

PA
vipPAJan
San Francisco
30 reviews
Dined on June 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This neighborhood gem is consistently good. The wait staff is friendly and the cocktails and menu items varied, interesting and delicious. I love that you can order small portions for many of the entrees.

IT
vipInspectorTwelve
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on June 7, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Beautiful evening, I love the server, we weren’t rushed even though we came in right before closing and we had our dog with us who they also treated like royalty great food ordered the mushroom pizza and Crayfish artichoke dip... great!

CD
vipChefDoone
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on May 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It was my husband’s birthday and Bittersweet Bistro made it special, from the card and decorations to the free dessert, it was a great place to celebrate!

T
vipTerrie
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined on May 23, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

What a great place!! The food is great and the service was amazing!!!

JP
JulieP
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Beautiful courtyard and nice ambience inside. Great recommendations for food from staff and a decent wine list by the glass

AD
AudiDooty
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

About the best place in Santa Cruz County... very good food, great ambiance, excellent service.

KP
KathyP
Las Vegas
12 reviews
Dined on May 9, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We out in their beautiful patio, they allowed us to split appetizers, had champagne and wine. Great service, perfect meal but too full for dessert.

S
vipSpecial
San Francisco
31 reviews
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

We always enjoy our visit especially the desserts!

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on April 19, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Loved the beef stroganoff. We do enjoyed it meals. The service was exceptional.

KH
KathleenH
Central Coast
7 reviews
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Bittersweet Bistro is by far one of the best restaurants in Santa Cruz county. Wait staff was attentive and friendly without hovering. The food was excellent, everything fresh and cooked to perfection. They must have run out of gluten free bread as when we asked for it we were served a gluten free hamburger bun. We wished the server would have just told us they ran out or could not accommodate our request. It did not damper our dining experience, we just thought it was silly.

GD
GailD
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall2food3service3ambience1

Very loud, couldn’t have a conversation without leaning way across the table, hi prices and small portions, dessert was $14.50, it’s Aptos not San Francisco, it doesn’t warrant that kind of a price.

DW
vipDWood
San Francisco
30 reviews
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience4

We like the patio and the service but the food is dated and needs editing. Whenever we try something it seems like there is something that should have been left off- there are often competing flavors. It has nice ambiance and it's a convenient location for us but not someplace we often seek out because the food is just not great- just fine rather than great.

H
vipHanito
New York Area
29 reviews
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall5food5service3ambience4

This service can be a little uneven but this place rarely disappoints! The food is consistently excellent and they have an excellent wine list and wines by the glass selections.

FAQs

Bittersweet Bistro offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (831) 662-9799.

Bittersweet Bistro is rated 4.6 stars by 49 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.

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