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2
Thu, 22/02
20:00

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RATINGS
Food
Service
Value

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CUISINES
American, Seafood
Special Diets
Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options
Meals
Lunch, Dinner, Brunch
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meals, features
Reviews (316)
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312 results
Traveller rating
177
71
37
21
6
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LanguageEnglish
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Traveller rating
177
71
37
21
6
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All reviews oysters sea bass fresh seafood shellfish crab bread ceviche steak raw bar valet parking large restaurant dining experience orange county birthday dinner south coast plaza server appetizers
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Reviewed 2 weeks ago

There is an age old argument as to which is the better way to prepare the perfect Lobster Roll; traditional style or “Connecticut” style. The Water Grill restaurant offers both styles and the one I opted for was, of course, Connecticut. And I can’t say...if they know how to execute the traditional style lobster roll but what a sorry mess the meal was that they served me. Let’s start with what a great lobster roll should be. A 1/4 pound of perfectly cooked lobster meat in butter and lemon piled into a toasted crisp and buttery bun and topped with fresh chives and, maybe, a touch of tarragon. Sides almost always include a creamy Cole slaw and French fries. Now, let’s break down the pitiful plate I was served. A tiny amount of tasteless lobster meat hidden in a mushy untoasted bun with a side of fries both overcooked and greasy and 4, count ‘em, 4 sad slices of a baby dill pickle. All for the low low price of $37. I thought maybe it was just me. Until I saw my colleague desperately adding salt and pepper to his lobster roll in a failed attempt to find flavor. Honestly, being mugged on a city street seems less of a crime than what took place here. I have been here for business meals in the past and the place never disappoints in being loud, overpriced and serving uninspired food.More

Date of visit: February 2024
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Reviewed 3 weeks ago

We came to the Water Grill for lunch having been here before some years ago. Had Calamari, Poke, and fish tacos. My only criticism was that there was too much batter on the fish otherwise everything was excellent. The service was very very good also,...and the restaurant has a great ambiance. I look forward to my next visit.More

Date of visit: January 2024
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Reviewed 22 September 2023 via mobile

One of our favourite restaurants when we come to Orange county. This one is just outside South coast plaza shopping center. Seafood without any compromise Service is superb, many parking options (not only the valet)

Date of visit: August 2023
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Reviewed 27 August 2023 via mobile

Went to the Water Grill with friends for cocktails and appetizers/ dinner! All 15 of us ended up leaving after only 30 minutes! I was accused of talking to loudly and they would no longer serve me. I was having a conversation with a friend...who is hearing impaired sitting right next to me so that he could hear me clearly. Our entire group was shocked not only that the manager felt that it was necessary to publicly embarrass a patron but then further it by insinuating that we were driving intoxicated (we all took Ubers). At this point my voice did raise out of frustration to levels that were very audible to the surrounding tables because they had shown complete disrespect and unprofessionalism. A few more calmer individuals had words with the general manager and another manager to try to get a bit more information at which point we overheard one friend sternly advising the manager that he made a not so nice comment. Not sure whether or not it came out wrong but either way should be beyond reproach. Needless to say, we all decided to leave and take our business elsewhere mid meal, mid cocktails, mid gathering. They packed up the food that hadn't already arrived, billed us and we left the establishment. Not really sure what is going on at Water Grill these days but they need to do better. Not a good look at all. We will not be recommending them to anyone. F on service!More

Date of visit: August 2023
Helpful?1  
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Reviewed 25 July 2023

I have eaten at several different WG locations, but this was my 1st time at the Costa Mesa location. I ate at the bar and ordered clam chowder and spot prawns. The chowder was nothing special and probably not worth the $15 they charge. But...the spot prawns were fantastic! I ordered a pound, which amounted to 8 prawns. They were simply grilled, and the char from the grill added a nice smoky flavor. Each one was huge and perfectly cooked. The meat was so tender and sweet. They were the best spot prawns I have ever had. It's hard to find spot prawns in general, and these were excellent. My advice if you go here is stick with the fresh seafood. It's expensive, but worth it.More

Date of visit: June 2023
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Reviewed 30 June 2023

We went for a birthday dinner. The first server we had was rude and unhelpful, so we asked the management to switch tables. They took care of it immediately and our new server, Mark, was amazing. The food was good. The sushi rolls were fresh...and delicious. The mussels, which in the past had been some of the best we've ever eaten anywhere, missed the mark this time since they were small and shriveled. We sent the salmon back because it did not seem fresh and made my daughter's mouth itch. The oysters and raw scallops were delicious. Overall, a nice dinner, would definitely come backMore

Date of visit: June 2023
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Reviewed 14 May 2023 via mobile

Outstanding restaurant with exceptional seafood. This is a large restaurant that has everything - wonderful bar, beautiful dining areas, and friendly service. The only complaint I could offer is that it is so popular that it is often full, so it can get noisy, but...it is worth it. Make certain you get reservations. Their Chilean Sea Bass is wonderful, and their oyster offerings are exceptional. You don’t go here for a quick cheap meal but for a fine dining experience in a comfortable setting.More

Date of visit: May 2023
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Reviewed 25 March 2023

This is a classy place. Yummy seafood and authentic wine. My girlfriend and I enjoyed our romantic dinner here. We had lobster, sea urchin, finsh and dessert. It's highly recommended to make reservation beforehand. Waiter was busy, nice and patient. You can do valet parking...or park the car in the mall area for a quick shopping before the meal.More

Date of visit: March 2023
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Reviewed 1 February 2023

We were stuck over in Orange County and decided to try this restaurant on the spur of the moment based on reviews. We arrived a few minutes before our reservation, and I noted they were not seating anybody until exactly their reserved time. It is...an enormous place with both indoor and outdoor seating (really a covered terrace with open windows). There were two bars, a raw bar and a lounge. The menu is equally large and consists entirely of seafood except for some steaks at the bottom. There is surely something for anybody with both appealing appetizers, raw bar, shellfish and fish dishes. You do not have to order enormous amounts of food. The oysters rockefeller were delicious, as was the clam chowder. The steamed Manilla clams with chorizo were tasty, but I probably would have skipped them if I knew the sauce was cream based. They were a little grittier than I expected and could have used an extra rinse. The crab cake was large. We really did fine ordering just a series of appetizers. What most stood out was the incredible service. The staff were always present and anticipating whatever you needed. The cocktails were fantastic and not watered down. My spouse had a dirty glass and the manager came over with a replacement, thanked us for letting them know and apologized with a new cocktail on the house. I do not normally order key lime pie at a restaurant, but this time it was creamy and the most delicious one I have had in a restaurant. It is moderately expensive as most good dining is in the area. They default to valet parking which is free during the day only. Out meal with drinks and desert came to $135 total before tip.More

Date of visit: January 2023
Helpful?1  
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Reviewed 27 January 2023

What a wonderful dining experience!! We've been here numerous times, and we enjoy consistently high quality food and service, and last night was no exception. Reception was fast and courteous, and we were escorted to our table by one of the managers. Nikki, our server...was efficient and friendly. My wife ordered a fish dish, requiring some changes, which the kitchen readily accommodated. My special "Chinese New Year" Whole Black Bass with the XO sauce was excellent. We look forward to our return.More

Date of visit: January 2023
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Reviewed 19 January 2023 via mobile

The seafood was amazing. It was as fresh as it comes. Although the dining room was a bit loud, the service and ambiance made up for it.

Date of visit: January 2023
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Reviewed 9 January 2023 via mobile

Our first time here. Our group was staying at the Marriott nearby and wanted fresh seafood. Open Table made the reservation simple. Excellent valet parking. Professional and friendly hostess(s). Great atmosphere. Perfectly prepared items. Fresh and delicious. Service from Tim was impeccable. We will return.

Date of visit: January 2023
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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
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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  
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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 as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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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|
Answer
Response from C_n_H_Pure | Reviewed this property |
Yes, the website has menus
0
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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