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May 5, 2006 06:03 PM

Seafood Rest in Santa Cruz

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Any good seafood recommendation for Santa Cruz? Or near by? Thanks!

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  1. Reva Fish House on the the wharf is nice, (it might be Riva).

    1 Reply
    1. re: Julieswan

      It's Riva, and although it isn't anything spectacular, it is very popular with the locals (read: guys who surf the Lane and their dates).

    2. I generally like the food and scenery at the yacht harbor better than the wharf. For simply prepared seafood in a casual environment, I like Aldo's down at the yacht harbor (see link). Only problem is that it's only open for breakfast and lunch (usually closes from 4-5pm) and that they're in the process of remodelling before the summer season. I think they're re-opening soon, but you should call.

      If you're wanting a seafood-centric place for dinner, I haven't tried it, but Johnny's Harborside is on the eastside of the harbor. It's more pricey ($15-20 entrees), but they seem to have good turnover as it always looks crowded. I'd avoid the Crow's Nest down there.

      I've only eaten at Stagnaro on the wharf and didn't care for it. Haven't tried Riva, but I would consider Carniglia's first. Please report back!


      1 Reply
      1. re: Carb Lover

        I checked chowhound before a quick jaunt to Santa Cruz yesterday, and was glad I did. I sat outside at aldo's and had the "appetizer" portion of steamed mussels. The portion was so huge I counted them so I could report back: 38 plump, tender sweet mussels for ten bucks! The broth was just so-so (and usually mopping that up with bread is half the pleasure) but the mussels were sure worth the trip. And as a bonus, a bird joined me for lunch, pecking away at my garlic bread right there on my table. One of the other patrons asked if the bird was going to split the check.

        Thanks for the recommendation!

      2. Aldo's at the yacht harbor is a very nice casual place. Walked by today and they reopen on May 11--with dinner for summer, much to the dismay of the local neighborhood. My husband & I tried Johnny's Harbor Side when it first opened and were dismally disappointed--very ambitious and not well executed, thusly untasty food. They may have improved. Riva House on the Municipal Wharf was great when it first started--back in the day and was a hole-in-the-wall place. It's now disappointing. The best, in my humble opinion, on the whart if Stagnaro's..fresh fish done expertly. The sides may be a bit dated, but it's been around for a long time...still doing fish great! It's surprising that SC doesn't have a fabulous fish place...the closest, again IMHO, is Pescadero, Duarte's...excellent.....or O'mei for Chilean bass...or my house for my husband's mouth-tempting baja fish tacos. Now, that's some cooking! Good luck!

        4 Replies
        1. re: deltagirl

          Thanks for providing the exact date of Aldo's reopening! I'm so excited to hear that they will be serving dinner through the summer. I always thought they'd do good business in the evenings...

          1. re: deltagirl

            and thanks for the Johnnys Harbor Side report. When I saw their menu I said wow, overly ambitous menu with too many ideas that probably won't be well executed resulting in not very tasty food. I'm dissapointed, but not surprised to hear your experience.

            I agree with you on Riva. If you have to go though, I think you are best off sticking to the simple grilled fish preps where they are not trying to some kind of calmexital cuisine.

            1. re: deltagirl

              Shadowbrook, south of Santa Cruz in Capitola is a great restaurant whose romantic ambiance cannot be beat. You ride a tram down the hillside to dine in the lovely restaurant along the creek. It's lushly landscaped and very attractive. The food is good; not great.

              There is not an absolutely fabulous sea food place in Santa Cruz that I know of. Casa Blanca across from the Boardwalk in Santa has really good food and Crows Nest is very popular.


              1. re: deltagirl
                Tamara Palmer

                I thought the food at Johnny's Harborside was great.
                I had the Mediterranean Mahi-Mahi. It came with Yukon Gold Potatoes, Apricots, Caper Berries ( they were huge I hadn't seen them that big before) and pepperoncini peppers. It had a white wine brown sugar sauce. I thought it was great with my viognier.
                We were their at sunset and it was really beautiful to see all the boats.

              2. Hula's Island Bar & Grill on Cathcart in downtown Santa Cruz (there used to be a Chinese restaurant in that location) has amazingly good seafood.

                It's a noisy, casual place with casual servers, but the service is good. Not too expensive. I think the seafood entrees are around $15-$20. Also has burgers, pupus, salads, all sorts of stuff.

                2 Replies
                1. re: harryd

                  I've been there once and thought our dishes were just ok. I thought the service was good and the vibe energetic when I'm in the mood for that kind of thing, so I'd give it another shot.

                  What specific seafood dishes have you enjoyed?


                  1. re: Carb Lover

                    I've found santa cruz seafood to be kind of dismal (except of course buying crab or salmon off the boats and cooking it at home. A true local treat.). We say the best seafood in santa cruz is in Monterey at Monterey Fish House (2114 Del Monte Ave). If you want great seafood this is a far sight better than the boring stuff available in SC. Huge list of specials and local treats. Monterey Bay Prawns with roe in them sometimes. And, baby octopus at other times. The Octo is fantastic and cioppino is nice. I had a whole fried rock fish and it blew my mind. It's small so make reservations and get ready to spend a little more than you would in SC.

                    One plug for SC seafood is fish and chips from the take out stand at Stagnarros on the wharf. Paying more inside is not worth it but the fish and chips are breaded not fried and make a nice outing. We used to get a basket or two and sit in the car and listen to the radio for a pleasant time.