Johnny's Harborside

493 Lake Ave, Santa Cruz
(831) 479-3430

Recent Reviews

Christina V.

I have mixed feelings about this place. The food was actually pretty good, but we were barked at upon arriving at this place. After reading reviews, it seems that many people have also had this experience. Server/hostess was actually quite rude initially, but later warmed up with us. We ordered the fish tacos and salmon w/mashed potatoes and veggies. The fish is freshly caught every day--awesome. They don't have a drink menu, but they can make whatever you'd like. We had a Moscow mule and Negroni. His Negroni ended up being $17. He was not happy. He made a liquor substitution that would have been the same price and opted for the larger size. Really unreasonable. It was nice to have dinner by the water, but the quality of service and lack of transparency in pricing were disappointing. We would recommend checking when ordering drinks at the bar or when requesting any add-ons/substitutions with your meal.

Melissa G.

My daughter and I anticipated an exceptional meal this evening but unfortunately we were quite disappointed. I asked if I could substitute rice for one of the sides as I have a diet restriction but was informed that I couldn't substitute as they had a limited amount of rice. Really? How expensive is rice??!! So I ordered the fresh salmon which was undercooked, it was served on a mound of arugula topped with cold asparagus. What happened to the sautéed vegetables that I was told would be my side? So now they can substitute when they want? My daughter ordered the Ono and her dish was also undercooked. And the plating for both was really sad. And this is supposed to be a classy restaurant?? And then to add insult to injury they charged $$ for the rolls and the bill came to $100. Insulting!!

Molly G.

This place is outrageously expensive without even telling you. I ordered the fish of the day and it was $41. The fish was undercooked and the plate was a disappointment. They couldn't even accommodate us and change the sides for our dishes. The asparagus was cold. The server was so fake and went back on what she previously said. Honestly this place is so un santa cruz.

Caroline K.

Went for a late lunch at 3:30 and this was one of the only places open. The fish in the tacos was crunchy and fresh from the fryer. Decent portion. The ahi in the poke bowl was fresh and flavorfully spiced however the accompaniments were lackluster. The rice tasted a bit gummy like it had been refrigerated and there was a small piece of pickled watermelon, ginger, onions and arugula. More texture and crunch would have been welcome, maybe from chopped nuts, jalapeno slices, seaweed, etc. Friendly, attentive service and the beers on tap had funny names (baby giraffes). Nice views.

joshua carolan

Excellent food. The menu is very limited currently though, with basically just a lunch menu. They said it will be a while until they have a full menu again. I'd much rather go here that Crow's Nest!

Elizabeth B.

I'm very sad that this old favorite of mine has fallen so far. I took my dearest friend here tonight for her birthday, I was in town for a short visit and after not having eaten here in several years thought we'd try it. I arrived first and let the server know it was my friend's birthday. She asked if I'd like a beverage and I asked for a flavored seltzer but they didn't have any. I said then I'll just have water. She said 'still water? ' I said yes. She brought a bottle of water and then disappeared. After my friend arrived I asked for another menu, and then we were left alone for an inordinate amount of time. I finally asked another waitress to take our order and explain the specials, which she did. We were served fairly promptly and the food was ok, not fantastic. I had prawns and lentils which were very very spicy. Served with an HUGE portion of Brussel sprouts. I was disappointed that no birthday dessert was offered to my friend. Zero zip zilch. The check came with a $6.50 charge for water. I was shocked as this was not explained. When we protested, the waitress said 'she heard the other waitress offer me "tap or flat", basically calling me a liar. What the heck? I won't eat here again. What kind of place does that? Bad form indeed.

sylvie g.

We really Love the location of this restaurant, beautiful views of the boats and a perfect area outdoors on the parking lot ... the food is decent.. and we've been going during Covid many many times but the problem is the waitress.. she is rude, literally throws your food on the table and and shows zero appreciation of your business. I understand we're in the middle of a pandemic and it's more difficult to serve outside but I would prefer spend my money where it's appreciated.

Kelvin D.

I came here seeing the decent reviews and good prices expecting a nice lunch but boy was I wrong. I came shortly after they opened and ordered a couple orders of clam chowder that was listed for $8. After we ordered we went onto the patio and waited for what felt like 20-30 minutes with no word from the staff and we had to go back into the restaurant and ask them about it. They forgot about our order and said they would get on it. After a while we got out food and it was alright, nothing about the clam chowder itself was delicious but the small chunks of garlic bread they put in were admittedly delicious. We then finished and paid and ordered a couple of clam chowders for to-go and they charged us $14 per order of clam chowder, nearly double the listed price of $8 on the menu. They also charged us a service fee of 15% and when asked, they said that the extra $6 was because the to-go orders of clam chowder had more and let me tell you, that was not the case. Overall, the service was mediocre and the food was alright, but I was charged significantly extra for my food which was quite aggravating. I will most likely not be coming back to this restaurant.

Kevin McGinnis

Great place, good outdoor dining setup for the pandemic. They need to be allowed more space for tables.

Sharon V.

Yikes! This used to be one of my favorites for consistently flavorful seafood. I ordered the grilled prawn tacos and found myself forcing them down. The prawns were covered with some sort of paste that was so salty and spicy they were barely edible. I explained this to the server and asked her for some plain grilled prawns. She brought me a plate with 4 chilled prawns for which I was charged an extra $7. I enjoy spicy foods, but my mouth is still burning!

Robert D.

Love the quality of fish, but third strike tonight with another messed up takeout order. Each of the last three takeouts (two pre-covid) has had issues. Wrong sides, wrong preparation and wrong fish entirely. First two times I returned to have correct meal prepped, and the restaurant fixed it. But each time it's 15-20mins to prepare another. Tonight we opted to just eat what was given since we weren't ready for another wait. Would love to continue supporting the restaurant as the fish is fantastic, but errors are racking up and we are removing from the rotation.

Barb Bernard

love Johnny's and even through the pandemic they have kept their doors open. great service and yummy selection of fish, prawn, or chicken tacos. generous serving of salmon too. check it out!

Laysa N.

We decided to try Johnny's Harborside since we saw prior reviews of their oysters, calamari, and crab that looks tasteful. As we were walking up, we witnessed the hostess asking a nursing mother if she had a mask while she was walking back to her table where her husband was waiting. It was a little too much for the hostess to do that as the mom just finished nursing her baby in the parking lot. We walked up anyway and asked the hostess for a table. The hostess told us we could seat ourselves wherever. We sat ourselves down with our two daughters. The hostess came back and handed us one menu, scolded us to keep our masks on when there are servers around. She was enforcing masks instead of doing her job as a waitress. I could have sworn she was the mask police She came back several times to rush us to make our orders. I asked her about substitutes on my order and she did not want to make any reasonable accommodations. She was rude and unpleasant to us and the other couple. We did not feel comfortable, so we got up and left. Her whole vibe was nasty, you could just feel it in the air, and by looking at everyone's faces on the patio area that they would agree. Maybe we'll come back in the future after COVID when the mask police officer isn't working as a waitress at this restaurant.


Service was not great. I rather go elsewhere that appreciates my business.


Service was not great. I rather go elsewhere that appreciates my business.

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