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“Good food again! Our server bummed us out though.” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Cafe Rio Aptos

Cafe Rio Aptos
131 Esplanade, Aptos, CA 95003-4501
+1 831-688-8917
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Ranked #11 of 60 restaurants in Aptos
Price range: $12 - $32
Cuisines: American, Seafood, Californian, Bar
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Dinner, Reservations
Description: Local Favorite! Amazing views of the Monterey Bay, this restaurant has food for everyone...including Gluten Free Pastas, Steaks, Fresh Seafood, House made Desserts. You can also bring your tail wagging friend because the spacious heated patio is Dog friendly.
Santa Cruz, California
Top Contributor
175 reviews 175 reviews
109 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 75 cities Reviews in 75 cities
199 helpful votes 199 helpful votes
“Good food again! Our server bummed us out though.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2013

The Rio has come through some hard times over the years.
Like many tourist dependant businesses in our area they need the locals to get through the slow months. For the Rio, it seems they get a few good years and then a few not-so-good years.

Two of us walked in on a thursday night (6/13/13) about 7pm and the place looked pretty full. We wern't too surprised because it's that time of year for our area. The last few times we came here was about 2 years prior, and the food was not, repeat, was not worth the high prices. Though we did have a pretty good time, mainly because of our server.

This time though, the food was really good (seafood and steaks,, mmm mmm good) but our server, Cristina (impatient, snippy and unattentive) was not. Crappy service will kill repeat business instantly.

The Rio just can't seem to get it ALL right. There are so many good places in our area that consistantly give you their all (The Hind Quarter, The Point Chop House, The Cafe Cruz, The Crows Nest and more) theres no reason to gamble $75+ on a night out. We're out to dinner a minimum of 3 to 4x a month and we always appreciate (and reward) sincere service.

Just one local family's opinion.

Visited June 2013
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38 reviews from our community

81% Recommend
    12
    19
    6
    1
    0
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Faifield, California
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
29 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Excellent seafood!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2013

We were debating whether to go here after reading some of the past reviews on trip advisor but there were also some excellent reviews so we decided to try it. As another reviewer put it, the sand dabs were excellent! My husband had the seafood special which was shrimp raviolis with opah ( a nice white fish), sun dried tomatoes, and spinach. Also delicious! The waitress was very friendly and competent. I would highly recommend this restaurant. I hope to come back sometime and sit outside with one of the $10 special nights- it was rainy so we couldn't do that this time.

  • Visited June 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Watsonville, California
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“Bar and Patio Menu worth a visit”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2013

Nightly $10 specials. My wife is a devotee of Liguini and clams with a glass of wine on Tuesday night, I like the burger and brew on Monday.

Visited June 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“UNhappy hour”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

Hadn't been the Cafe Rio in a long time...last experience was less than stellar. Did re-con by trying the $10 Bar Menu on Tuesday evening. We both had the Linguini w/White Clam Sauce which comes with a glass of house wine. The linguini was very good, no oil slick at the bottom of the bowl like other places, the wine was o.k. Anyway, you can have the bar menu in the bar or out on the patio. If the weather is nice,opt for the patio. We made the mistake of eating in the bar-bunch of old local bar flies standing around slamming their bar dice cups betting on who would buy the next round. They seemed like they're "too at home" as if they were at someone's house & we felt like we were intruding on their turf. There was a TV on, but you couldn't hear it because of the loud noises from them. It seems that it's a bar first & the restaurant was an afterthought. The atmosphere was better at the Wild Buffalo Wings Sports Bar we went to last week. It really detracted from the overall upscale look of the restaurant and quality of the food. Might try again but only in the restaurant at the farthest table away from the bar or out on the patio.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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Watsonville, California
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
36 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Good food in fun atmosphere”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 26, 2013 via mobile

Have been here a few times since reopening. Happy to say food and service much improved . Not too many places to get good food so close to beach in Aptos area and Cafe Rio delivers. Sand Dabs excellent and seafood pasta specials always god and interesting. Mussels yummy and can have in different sauces. I love Pernod and garlic wine. Beet salad is fantastic and big enough for 2'. This is wise as you can save room for dessert. Coconut cheesecake is very good.
Fun bar for drinks and a bite and have bar specials daily for 10.00. If sunny, nice to sit in patio.
Parking can be an issue in summer because of beach, but be patient or park on side street. Nice to take a walk before or after dinner.

  • Visited December 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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