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Santa Cruz Boardwalk Updates (and dinner nearby)?

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I'm headed to the boardwalk this weekend and looking for updates from last year. Is there anything good/better than before or anything that should be avoided?

I figure we (my adult son and I) will hit dinner somewhere else after we're done having fun and before we head home to the Bay Area. I generally don't eat spicy food so would appreciate any casual suggestions nearby.

Many thanks!

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  1. I think your best bet is to go to Riva on the wharf. I ate there a couple months ago. The food is OK,nothing to write home about. But the view overlooking Cowell Beach and Steamer Lane is still one of the best for me. They only take cash.

    3 Replies
    1. re: emglow101

      So you'd go there over any of the other restaurants on the wharf? Admittedly, not that many, but just looking at Google maps there is Ideal & Gilda's. Riva seems to have the most extensive menu, tho that isn't always a good thing.

      I would of course consider anything going northward, or on Pacific Ave which I know has many more choices but haven't dined in any of them. Depending on the time, I might just go over 17 towards home....

      Thanks for your response!

      1. re: alwayshungrygal

        Looks to be a nice day tomorrow. Best bet, head home over 17. I would avoid Pacific Ave.I have a problem with the people on the street.Have fun at the Boardwalk .

        1. re: emglow101

          Going on Sunday so it will probably be cooler. I get what you are saying about Pacific Ave. The only thing I like there is the gourmet cookware store.

          Thanks for the response.

    2. If you must eat on the wharf to see that view, I suggest Gilda's over Riva. Be aware that Riva's specialty is Latin American seafood, so if you don't want any spice, you're limiting your choices there.
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/906497

      But as emglow101 suggests, your best bet may be to head home and eat elsewhere. You could go up Hwy 1. I'm wondering how Davenport Roadhouse is these days . . . my report from two years ago,
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/760323

      3 Replies
      1. re: Melanie Wong

        Davenport is a great idea but I'm always reluctant to drive 1 north when it is dark. I've passed it many times but never stopped as I always go south on 1 when I go to Monterey/Carmel (at least 2x a year) and take the freeway home. Definitely a consideration, if the timing is right.

        Thanks for your response!

        1. re: alwayshungrygal

          What worked for you?

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Actually, we didn't make it down there. The weather was so blah and rain was in the forecast, we punted and stayed in the Bay Area. Will try again when my son comes back mid-July. Can't do the boardwalk in less than sunny weather!

            Thanks again for all the responses!

      2. Firefish Grill on the Wharf, Citrus City Grill, Zaccharys for breakfast, The Crows Nest for the beautiful views.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Coribdx

          Aquarius @ The Dream Inn is the place to go! :)

          1. re: Coribdx

            Went to Firefish and enjoyed the calamari steak almondine (tender, tart sauce, scarce but welcome crunch from almonds) and fish tacos. But yikes, the fish and chips looked great but they were awful: greasy, too much breading (some gooey, some crisp) and long forgotten fish in the middle. French fries were ok. Still I'd go back to try other things besides the f&c.

            1. re: miss louella

              I'm not suprised about the fish and chips. Greasy,with to much breading. I had the calamari at Rivas last week. Flavorless,with a dry breading.I have some freinds when they come into town like to eat lunch at the wharf. My go to is Gildas.The view and service are good. Fridays they have the cioppino,it's OK. Otherwise I order the club sandwich and fries.

              1. re: emglow101

                Agree with you on Rivas. And have gone to Gilda's and enjoyed it for what it was. Found the hits at Firefish more enjoyable (to us) than the hits at Gildas. Enjoy!