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Jun 30, 2011 06:04 PM

budget dinner near Santa Cruz boardwalk?

I searched old threads for Santa Cruz & found mostly people looking for seafood or talking about Ristorante Avanti, pro & con.

I'm looking for a dinner place convenient to the Cocoanut Grove/boardwalk area, preferably for under $20/person total. We don't drink so that helps :) Also not big meat-eaters, so don't send us for burgers or BBQ. We like healthy, fresh, value. Willing to go over $20 for exceptional value.

By "convenient" I mean I'd prefer walking distance, or if driving, easy to get to -- not clear across town.

Thanks in advance for all suggestions!

Ristorante Avanti
1711 Mission St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

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  1. If you are seafood fans, Riva's on the wharf offers options in the $20 and under range without alcoholic beverages (cash only, though so be prepared). Alternatively, you could walk (about 20 minutes) or drive down Pacific Ave., the street that runs into the wharf, and hit downtown Santa Cruz, which has a number of options in the price range you mention, e.g., Asana Tea Cafe (on Lincoln just off Pacific), Betty's Eat Inn, Chocolate (next to Bookshop Santa Cruz), etc.

    1 Reply
    1. re: spiltinky

      Thanks so much for the tips, esp. the heads-up about cash only. Will report back...

    2. A belated report back: we went to Riva's & it was, sorry to say, pretty bad. Maybe we ordered the wrong things? Is this the kind of place where you should stick to things out of the fryer? We didn't get anything fried. I got trout, spousette got something with prawns. My trout was overcooked & bland, with a strangely sweet accompanying mushroom wine sauce. Spousette described the meal as "airplaney", which is one of the things I never want to have to say about food I'm eating. On the plus side, the view was great & the service fast, friendly & efficient.

      Riva Fish House
      500 Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

      3 Replies
      1. re: indigirl

        Oooohhhh, so sorry that you had an unpleasant meal there. Nobody should have to eat airplane food--not even on an airplane. In the past I've had the steamed clams, crab sandwich and a crab salad and they all were quite good. I'm glad you at least were able to enjoy the view, and I hope your next visit to the area brings a more favorable dining experience. I apologize for steering you in the wrong direction. :-(

        1. re: spiltinky

          No worries, you can't win em all!

        2. re: indigirl

          In the same time frame, we had a terrible meal at Riva too. Here's the report,