Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.


598 E. Main St. (Chestnut St.) Send to Phone
805-643-6800 | Menu
A mix of elegant and casual dining in the restored and historic 1928 Groene Building on Ventura's main drag.

Dinner Tues.-Sat., Brunch Sun.

* Click here for rating key

Watermark , Ventura, CA

Watermark Restaurant Review

: A unique fusion of old and new (think preserved original details downstairs and a glass elevator ascending to a contemporary third-floor lounge), Watermark required years of work before opening in 2008. Murals of the Mission San Buenaventura set the tone and color scheme of the two-level formal dining room. Booths and windows are draped in burgundy velvet. The space once housed a bank; now the old vault is loaded with premium spirits. Chef Gary Daniel works closely with local farmers, fishermen and ranchers, and puts their products to good use. Spiny lobster from the Channel Islands is served with organic baby spinach, pistachio risotto and vanilla bean beurre blanc. A dainty pea tendril salad accompanies tender young lamb --- grass-fed, of course, and grilled to a rosy pink. On Friday and Saturday evenings, a seafood raw bar is available. Choose from several cuts of Prime beef, including center-cut filet and rib-eye. Watermark's interesting wine program offers mostly local and other domestic options, as well as a selection of wines custom-blended for the restaurant. Wander upstairs to the bar on the third level (called W2O), and you'll enter a modern world of blues and greens that echo the sea. Glass walls and a retractable rooftop bring the outdoors inside and afford long views of downtown Ventura and peekaboo vistas of the ocean. Hip cocktails and tapas are served up to a younger, more casual nightclub set.


GAYOT's Annual Restaurant Awards honor America's best chefs, as well as promising newcomers and a top restaurateur.