Happy Hour Monday - Friday 3pm - 6:30pm
Well Drinks, house wine and beers $1.00 off, $5.00 Margaritas
Sawasdee by the Sea Wesite ____________________________________________________________________
Sawasdee by the Sea
Sawasdee by the Sea is a Thai restaurant located on Beach Street close to the Wharf in the old Casablanca Restaurant building. There are two Sawasdee restaurants, one in Soquel and this one which has been open about six months. Their happy hour is 3:30 – 6:30 Monday – Friday.
One of the downsides of this location is the expensive parking – so bring lots of quarters when you come or park at Depot Park (the parking machine always seems out of order) and take a walk down.
Sawasdee is pronounced Sah-weed and means both hello and goodbye in Thai. It is located in a two story beach front building with a restaurant upstairs and the bar and deck located downstairs. The four tables on the deck were already filled, but Jo and I were happy to sit at the bar and talk with Chris the bartender. The interior is brightly painted and cheerful.
I was very excited to have a Thai Happy Hour because both Jo and I love Thai food. The happy hour drink specials are a $1 off beer, wine and wells and $5 margaritas. The big question on our lips was about the food specials, but Chris sadly informed us there are no happy hour food specials. What??!!!! NO FOOD? The disappointment expressed by Josephine and myself was clear. Chris agreed and said that he was trying to tell his boss, they need some food specials. Hopefully, this review will convince him! You must have food specials for happy hour – cheap eats to feed the cheap drinks - as Jo said or something along those lines.
Our disappointment was allayed by the generous drinks that Chris made for us. I had the margarita and Josephine had a vodka gimlet. The glasses were large and my margarita was both tasty and strong – just the way I like it. Chris was all you can ask for in a bartender – cute, friendly, attentive and he makes a good strong drink. 5 shots up for Chris!
We looked at the food menu since we were counting on hour happy hour being our dinner as well. We decided to split an order of two appetizers: fried calamari $8.95 and a prawns salad $9.95. Ouch! Not happy hour prices, for sure. In the meantime we had fun chatting with Chris and taking a few photos.
The food looked good when it arrived. The calamari came with a sweet and sour sauce and a white sauce. We asked Chris for extra sauces as it was served in an indentation in the plate and was hard to share. He was quick to comply. The calamari was just fair, even with the sauces. Not enough flavor. The prawn salad was delicious made with chili paste, onion, mint leaves, cilantro, chili and lemon dressing. It was a wonderful mixture of tastes. Our only complaint on the salad was that there were five prawns rather than an even six to split. We both love prawns.
By this time the deck had cleared out so Jo and I moved to an outside table with a view of the wharf. I decided to try a well bloody mary and Chris made it nice and spicy with Thai chili powder on the rim. Nice garnish, large glass, good kick to it – I was very pleased. We hung out and enjoyed the view, getting that nice happy hour buzz.
So in sum, on the plus side Sawasdee’s happy hour starts early and lasts until 6:30, has a pleasant ambience with a beach view, the drinks are good and the service is excellent. On the down side, no weekend happy hour, it’s fairly expensive without food specials, so if you are going for the happy hour make sure you eat first. Say hi to Chris and tell him J & J sent you!
Julie’s rating: 3.5 shots
Sawasdee by the Sea
beautiful October day in Santa Cruz. The kind you can really enjoy because most of the tourist are gone. I know we need them for our economy, but it’s nice to have Santa Cruz to ourselves for a change. I’m running a little late so I’m moving quickly down the wharf headed to the Casablanca Hotel near the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. The restaurant at the Casablanca has changed hands and is now known as Sawasdee by the Sea, a Thai restaurant.
I spot Julie who got there just before me and she’s busy snapping pictures of the outside. We get the customary shots of the signage outside and head in for happy hour. The main level has a nice looking dining area but we are headed for the bar downstairs.
The bar area is good sized, with a small bar, lots of tables and chairs and some corner booth type seating. Straight ahead is the small patio with 4 or 5 tables overlooking the volleyball nets on the boardwalk beach, the wharf to the right, the boardwalk to the left, and of course the bay straight ahead. It’s a beautiful location to sit back and enjoy food and drink.
We hit up the bartender about happy hour and he proceeds to tell us that the drinks are $1.00 off, well drinks, beer and house wine which isn’t bad but we were hoping for something a little cheaper for happy hour. O.K.so what about food, “Oh we don’t have any food specials for happy hour”. Excuse me…………..pardonne-moi………….did I hear you correctly? No special prices for food! I couldn’t believe it. They must be new at this. Our bartender Chris did say this was new for them so I’m sure they will come up with something soon food wise. So it took me a while to recover and a few gulps from my Vodka Gimlet but we decided that we needed to order some food. After all you need to feed the booze. So we ordered the fried calamari and a spicy prawn salad.
While we are waiting on the food we are enjoying our generously poured drinks. Julie got the margarita which is $5.00 for happy hour and she was pleased with the taste. My gimlet was on the rocks which was nice but I prefer it martini style and it had quite a kick to it. Good and strong but I changed to beer after that. Julie tried the Bloody Mary next and that was in a tall glass with lots of spice in it, just the way she likes them. I was surprised at the size of it, but it was good and spicy.
The food has arrived. The calamari is lightly breaded and in large strips or wedges almost. It has some tartar type sauce and a sweet dipping sauce. I immediately ask for the chili sauce bowls that you usually get in Thai restaurants to add extra spice to your dish and I add it to the sweet sauce. The calamari is a little tough and not much flavor in the breading but with the added zing in my dipping sauce it works.
The spicy prawn salad was delicious. The salad dressing had just the right amount of spice and flavor to it and the prawns were cooked just right. So we munched away and chatted it up with Chris and soon a table opened up outside so we headed out to enjoy the beautiful evening. We laughed and talked and we’re feeling happy. Not too much traffic going by and we still had some hunks on the beach playing volleyball so it’s all good.
All in all Sawasdee by the Sea has a great location and a nice seating area, but they need to work on their happy hour. The drink prices could come down a little more and please, please, please get some appetizer specials going on soon. It’s such a nice setting you need to get people to come by and stay for a while to enjoy it.
Jo’s rating: 3 shots!