Watermark on Main
598 East Main Street
**Sorry, the Watermark is Closed**
If anything signals that our sleepy little beach community has turned a
new page, it’s the new swanky upscale restaurant on the corner of
Chestnut and Main Street. Watermark on Main is the collaboration of
long time resident, Mark Hartley and new-in-town Jim Rice. With Mark’s
expertise in Ventura historical real estate and Jim’s restauranteur
background, they have managed to create a posh dining establishment
that celebrates Ventura’s heritage.
Offering American cuisine such as Pan Seared Chicken Tapenade and
Lobster Pot Pie, the menu is as pricey as the names of these dishes
suggest. But the unique dining experience is well worth it. When you
first enter the restaurant your eyes are immediately drawn up towards
the vaulted ceiling with intricate
and ornate inlays. The decorative iron railing, dark woods and soft
lighting takes you back to early California when most land was owned by
rich Spanish settlers. The three murals that overlook the dining area
were originally painted in 1928 by muralist, Norman Kennedy. The murals
represent life in a mission village (incredibly these murals were
plastered over for nearly 30 years!).
It’s hard not to be drawn in by the Watermark’s stunning architecture.
The second floor offers cozy fireplace seating and terrace seating
bar area and out into Main Street. From the second floor, you can also
get a better look inside the glassed walled elevator shaft at the
striking Ventura photographs taken by Karen Hartley, Mike’s wife.
During our dining experience, we found the service was prompt and
attentive and what you’d expect at a top notch restaurant. Our dinner
bread basket came with three choice toppings: garlic butter, an olive
dip and sun-dried tomato spread. But I especially liked the avocado
vinaigrette that came with our pre-dinner salad which they kindly split
for us. For the main entree, Michael chose Grilled Mahi Mahi, topped
with coconut curry sauce and accompanied with
mango rice. The slightly mango flavor from the rice combined with the
curry sauce made a perfect blend of spice and sweet which didn’t
overpower the flavor of the Mahi Mahi.
I chose the Filet Mignon, which was an extremely tender cut
drizzled with cracked pepper demi-glaze and topped with shredded green
onions. The Parmesan crusted risotto cakes and creamy vegetable squash
made flavorful side dishes. Dessert consisted of cheesecake stuffed
strawberries incased in Belgium dark chocolate for me and the Chocolate
Torte for Michael. We usually split dessert too but the portions are
not big enough to share, which worked out well anyway since we got to
sample two separate heavenly desserts.
dinner we made our way up to the third floor where the W2O
hopping and standing room only! Mark’s 32-year connection with the
music industry (which includes being the Chairman of The Academy of
Country Music) makes this lounge a popular spot day or night with top
talent performers so it’s worth snagging your spot early.
The watermark also offers a brunch menu. Dress codes are
enforced after 5pm every day except Sunday. For men this means collared
shirts. T-shirts, shorts, beanies or baseball hats are not allowed
either. The restaurant is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Reservations
are highly recommended.
from Watermark On Main to Best Ventura