Aquarius at Santa Cruz's Dream Inn
Spent a couple of nights at the Dream Inn and decided to leave the car and try their new oceanside restaurant.
Open and airy, contemporary and fresh the decor was fitting of the style of the hotel. Every table has a fantastic view of the Pier and beach. Service was personable and professional. We had not a single complaint.
We been advised that Ahi Nicoise and the Hanger Steak were their best dishes so we went for it. Started off with a mezze plate that had hummus, tzatziki and olive tapenade. Perfect with lightly toasted flatbread. The beet salad had roasted Candystripe Beets, pt. reyes goat cheese with micro greens, grilled lettuce enhanced the Caesar and but it was the fresh tomato soup during heirloom season that was out of this world.
The entrees were prepared just right. Perfectly cooked. Interesting preparations matched with both soft and crunchy textures to add to the ahi and steak (tapenade and beans respectively). We shared back in forth and had the best of both worlds.
I believe menu items were local, organic and sustainable and
"Aquarius proudly follows the guidelines of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program."
Prices were in the higher range but not outlandish for the caliber of venue in this area. Entrees ranged from $17 - 27 with a "surf and turf" dish that was $38 but it was plenty big and rich enough for 2 people to split.
We skipped desert in favor a walk to the boardwalk for a ride on the big dipper and a choc dipped ice cream cone.
Don't mean to gush but we really had a great night and feel it's a good addition to the Santa Cruz dining scene.
Thanks for what I think is the first CH report on Aquarius! Glad to hear that the kitchen is executing well even though it's pretty new and that they have some seasonal influences on the menu. I'll probably test it out w/ a drink and some apps once tourist season dies down. Was it crowded when you went and would you recommend the Dream Inn? Did you try any of their cocktails or anything from the wine list?
I just viewed their website, and the brunch menu looks good. Would like to try their chowder, lobster roll, burger, and general seafood offerings. Will have to not forget about this place since I rarely go down to the wharf as a local.