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Reserve a table
2
Tue, 06/12
20:00
Special Diets
Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options
Meals
Lunch, Dinner, Brunch
CUISINES
American, Seafood
FEATURES
Takeout, Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Seating, 有泊車位, Valet Parking, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Free Wifi, Table Service, Highchairs Available
Reviews (304)
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300 results
Traveller rating
168
70
37
21
4
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Time of year
LanguageEnglish
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Traveller rating
168
70
37
21
4
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All reviews oysters sea bass big eye tuna halibut cheeks fresh seafood crab salad bread ceviche seafood tower brussel sprouts sushi raw bar maple cheesecake scott's seafood wine list bar seating
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Reviewed 13 September 2022 via mobile

One of our favorite restaurants in Orange County is Water Grill and our favorite server is Nikki. The beautiful decor and the fresh seafood has no peer in this part of California but by far, the best part of our experience is Nikki. She is...friendly and attentive and seems to know what we need sooner than we know! The next time you want fresh seafood, stellar cocktails and too service, make a reservation at Water Grill… and ask for Nikki!More

Date of visit: August 2022
Helpful?
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 5 September 2022

Let me preface this by saying that we had visited this place another couple of times in the past and the service and food was good. However, last night's visit will sadly be our last. So: We walked in about 5 minutes ahead of our...reservation and they told us they were waiting for a table to clear. My wife asked them if we could sit at the bar and they said that'd be ok. They also told me they'd notify us by text (even though we were just a few feet away) when our table was ready. The person at the bar was, in one word, *excellent*. He was very knowledable with the drinks and was super polite/nice too. So this felt like a great start to our night! At some point we started feeling really hungry, when we realized we had been waiting for about half an hour without anyone giving us a heads-up. At the same time, we were noticing other people (incl. couples) getting tables. I walked to the hostess asking what's the status of our table and she said that a table had *just* been made available. The table they walked us to was a tiny one and to the side of the reustarant - when pretty much every single other couple was getting a larger one. I mentioned this to them, as well as the fact we had been waiting half an hour for our table. The lady brought a manager who told us they'd get a different table for us. We'd just have to wait a couple of minuts and they'd compensate our drinks for our wait. So we went back to the bar, waiting again. During our 20 minutes (!) there we kept noticing even more couples coming in and getting seats almost immediately. So I decided to walk to the manager and ask what's up with our table. He said they had *just* found one by the window. Between the time we walked into the restaurant and the time we actually sat down to a reasonably-sized table, 50 minutes had gone by. Our server was nice but seemed pretty busy. She took the order for our appetizer (oyster sampler - they were great) but then she didn't come back to get the mains order until we had eaten our appetizer and another 10-15 minutes had gone by. So there was a considerable wait between the end of the appetizer and the main course. At the end of mains and as the server came around to ask if we wanted dessert, we noticed a *giant* cockroach walking up the window. I pointed this to the server and a manager came by apologizing, saying they would remove the drinks or something off the bill. We skipped dessert, the bill came and, of course, nothing was removed/discounted from it. I don't really care for money and, even if either of the two managers I had spoken to last night had actually removed anything from the bill, my opinion (and this review) would almost certainly remain the same. But them not really doing anything did demonstrate an additional lack of respect to their patrons. I don't know if the people who work there are overworked or perhaps not trained enough (a common issue with many restaurants these days). But what I *do* know is that my wife and I typically visit restaurants about 2-3 times a week and have been doing so for god-knows how many years now. So we know a thing or two about the expected level of service - especially at establishments commanding the prices Water Grill does. If this was a local MacDonalds, I'd obviously not be complaining about the above. So, to summarize: we waited a long time for a table, they attempted to give us a crappy one, we waited some more, we waited for the server, we saw a cockroach a few feet from us and, despite manager assurances, did not getting compensated for any of the above. Because of this, we won't be coming back and we'll make sure to tell everyone we know about our experience.More

Date of visit: September 2022
Helpful?2  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 21 August 2022

Had dinner here before seeing Hadestown at the theater. Perfect way to start the evening. We have eaten at the Water Grill in LA but this was a completly different vibe, casual and relaxed. We ordered a lot of different items and ate family style,...sharing everything. We had the raw oyster plater and raw scallops. Both were soooo good!. Visiting the raw bar is an experience in itself. They even have secret menu items. They have tamari (gluten free soy sauce), just ask. I would recommend Water Grill for a great meal and a good time.More

Date of visit: August 2022
Helpful?1  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 15 August 2022 via mobile

Can’t go wrong with the Water Grill!! Top notch service and delicious seafood! It’s my favorite dining experience in Costa Mesa!

Date of visit: August 2022
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Reviewed 14 August 2022

this is a nice place with a happening vibe and high-end food and drinks. I'm a bit of a food snob and I was not super impressed with the food, especially with the high price tag. I rate the mac-n-cheese a 7 - decent, creamy/stringy/pasta...texture right BUT I didn't discern any high-end specialty cheese flavors, just kind of regular. the sea bass was cooked beautifully but didn't have much flavor and the butternut squash puree also pretty bland. I would probably not go back because the food didn't "do it" for me but the location and atmosphere do make it a good choice. our service was good as well.More

Date of visit: August 2022
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Reviewed 22 July 2022

One of the longtime favorites of this area, with the restaurant wedged between the mall and the business buildings.

Date of visit: January 2022
Helpful?1  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 21 April 2022

While this is a high end restaurant, the staff is very friendly and sown to earth. They cater to any need and were very helpful with suggestions. Fantastic seafood menu with many other options. Not cheap but certainly worth it.

Date of visit: April 2022
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Reviewed 29 March 2022

We've been guests at the Water Grill probably 6 times in the last year. This will be our last. Expensive noisy and low quality food and experience. The restaurant is beautiful so there's that. The bathrooms are filthy with no one attending them through the...evening. Greeters / Hostesses unwelcoming. The bread has so much salt on top it is not really edible. The Halibut was a puck, so hard tasteless and overcooked. The crab cakes that used to be awesome are now this, pressed out by a cutter and severely undercooked with a mushy texture. They look like an uncooked hash brown patty. What happened to the thicker hand formed cake with a caramelized crust for $22? Server was nice but all the rest made his service pretty negligible. A lousy way to finish off what otherwise had been a great day.More

Date of visit: March 2022
Helpful?1  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 28 March 2022

Food was great. Service was great. Decor was great. Came here for dinner to celebrate a friends birthday. Had reservations for 14 people. They were a little slow to seat us due to delays but we had drinks at the bar so it wasn’t too...bad. Ordered ALOT of food and everything was tasty, minus the “ceviche.” I didn’t eat it since I can’t do raw fish but my friends who did didn’t enjoy it. I liked everything I ate so for my experience it was 5 stars:)More

Date of visit: March 2022
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Reviewed 16 February 2022

Expected the food to be expensive, since it is everywhere. But not as expensive as it was for what we got. We actually went to Claim Jumper after "lunch" to have lunch because we were still hungry and there was no way we were driving...the bill up any higher. Haven't got a lot of nice things to say about food presentation or the service either, which was a standout fail. Retraining, please.More

Date of visit: February 2022
Helpful?1  
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Reviewed 14 February 2022

When we visit Orange County, we typically stay close to South Coast Plaza, so Water Grill is a natural choice at some point during the trip. Prior occasions have been uniformly very good. This one wasn't up to snuff. Service at the bar was slow,...as if the bartender was more interested in getting her sidework and prop done (we were there mid-afternoon). Then she poured us two glasses of flat Champagne at $24 a pop. Come on, Jessica. A bartender should be observant of sh*t like that. If the bottle has been open for a while, even the best Champagne stoppers won't keep the fizz in. Pour a little and either offer it to the customer for approval or taste it yourself to see if it has any life left. She seemed a bit put out to have to take it back and open a new bottle. To top it off, the balance of the old bottle went down the drain, rather than to the kitchen to use in Champagne vinaigrette. Somebody needs to do some training of the bar. We had two appetizers - garlic crab noodles and hamachi nachos. For $24, I expected more crab than noodle, but got the opposite. The $19 hamachi nachos were great, but not enough to overcome the other shortfalls and make the $100 bill (pre-tip) justified.More

Date of visit: February 2022
Helpful?1  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 27 January 2022

The building is beautiful. Structurally, it's very cool. A sort of see and be seen place. The food was good, but expensive. The seafood selection was interesting and expansive. A great place to drink and socialize. I would return for the vibe. The quality of...food is available elsewhere for a better price.More

Date of visit: December 2021
Helpful?1  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 15 December 2021 via mobile

Jenni our server was friendly and funny. The beet salad wedge salad and beer were good. Wine was good but very expensive for New Zealand. Fish tacos were so breaded could not taste the little fish that were in them. Big eye tuna did not...taste fresh and made hubby ill.More

Date of visit: December 2021
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Reviewed 29 August 2021 via mobile

During my last visit to Costa Mesa I missed out on the spot. I couldn’t wait to try their food and boy was I pleased. I stayed in Costa Mesa for seven days and I ate at this location six of those days. Service was...exceptional I ate at the bar each afternoon and each evening my bartender Derek was fabulous. I can’t wait to return and take my wifeMore

Date of visit: July 2021
Helpful?1  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 17 August 2021 via mobile

Beautiful place. Love the decoration and the ambiance. Waitress was really nice, friendly and helpful. Mussels was really good, a very portion We all Didn’t like the bread they serve. If u want to order crab, 2 legs should be fine for an adult and...specially u will be ordering appetizers. Sushi was ok to us not that good. As fo the raw and fried fish, it was really good. Vallet before 16:00 is for free. U need to reserve before goingMore

Date of visit: August 2021
Helpful?2  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Questions & Answers
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barbaradT5303OW
13 May 2018|
AnswerShow all 6 answers
Response from gatecrasher | Reviewed this property |
I don't know that I would wear really casual like shorts and flip flops. business casual is better.
2
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klmonsour
9 January 2017|
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Response from scottca075 | Reviewed this property |
Yes, the website has menus
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WATER GRILL, Costa Mesa - Restaurant Reviews, Photos & Reservations - Tripadvisor

Frequently Asked Questions about Water Grill

Yes, Water Grill offers takeaway services.

Water Grill is rated accordingly in the following categories by Tripadvisor travellers:
  • Food: 4
  • Service: 4.5
  • Value: 3.5