31 Municipal Wharf,
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
|Meals Served||Lunch, Dinner|
|Santa Cruz Take Out||Yes|
(from metroactive.com, Christina Waters) - Riva continues to welcome visitors and locals with its fine views, swift service and terrific seafood values
KEITH IS ONE of those picky seafood aficionados who demand bang for their buck. So when he raved about a recent dinner at Riva as "the best calamari I've ever had," I knew that's where we had to take our lunch meeting last week. Always a hassle-free setting, Riva has offered aid and comfort to weary tourists and famished residents from the day it opened its brass-trimmed doors. Clean, white tile walls seem to go with the fabulous saltwater vistas outside the huge picture windows--though the tile also contributes to a high noise level when the place is packed. And for good reason, Riva is always packed.
The diner-friendly menu is long on unpretentious classics, from grilled salmon and steamed clams to prawn cocktails and crab sandwiches. The bar invites the thirsty to sample more than eight beers on draft--a substantial selection by any standards--as well as sip world-class Bloody Marys while waiting for a panoramic window-side table.
We scored one of those tables around noon when Riva offered front-row seating for one of the most incredible displays of diving pelicans I've ever seen. The angular predators dove by the hundreds into invisible schools of sardines, followed by packs of seals and countless sea gulls--what a fabulous sight!
Positive Riva Fish House Santa Cruz Review:
Great the second time! The view has always been amazing and the main reason why I come here. The food was pretty good this time also. The fried seafood platter was good but not great. The waiter was hilarious. He forgot a scallop on the plate, so two minutes later he came back and dropped off a scallop. hilarious! The Crab/Shrimp sandwich is probably the best thing we had that day. The crab being the better of the two but both were seriously bomb! I had this scallop dish which was pretty good too. Lots of scallops! The Alfredo was a bit bland but still really decent. I was seriously fulllllll this time. Thanks Riva, will be back soon.
-Huy N., Milpitas, CA
Negative Riva Fish House Santa Cruz Review:
My fiance and I went to Rivas Fish house recently and were sadly disappointed. After so many positive yelp reviews we thought we were in on a Santa Cruz secret when we walked through the doors.
I know that the view is what usually draws people to restaurants on Wharfs, so it's not like I expected five star dining but I have to set the record straight. Many of the other yelp reviews were so misleading.
We had the shrimp cocktail to start which was really good and tasted fresh. The wine is cheap! So much less expensive than at other places I've dined at, and that was really exciting. But then we moved on to our meal....
The Stuffed Chili appetizer tastes like it has Pace Picante Sauce poured over it and the poblano itself also seemed to come from a jar...not fresh....
We ordered one of the specials, the Seafood Pueblo, (a seafood medley in a spicy broth similar to Ciopinno) and it was over cooked...the broth was nice though and I focused on that. We also had a steamed crab, which was accompanied by drawn butter. The butter tasted like it was old and had been left out on the counter to long, letting the oils go rancid...but the crab was fine. All of this gave me mixed feelings about the place. Half of it was okay....
I still had a good time though because, well, I'm not going to let bad food ruin my night..and I was in great company, which made it all the better to bear.
-Ms. J., Santa Cruz, CA
Average Riva Fish House Santa Cruz Review:
If you like fried calamari, this place has got the best! Big, thick, juicy, tender pieces. You can tell they are very fresh. Puts every other fried calamari I have EVER had to shame! I have not enjoyed the entree's here, however. They were on the bland side. So whenever I come to Riva's, I always get the calamari. The chowder bread bowl is also very good here.
-M.D., Campbell, CA