I spent a couple of days thinking about my visit to the Crow’s Nest last Monday. I had not visited this Santa Cruz institution for more than a decade so I needed sometime to compare the place to those visits and to visits to other area restaurants.
After that consideration here is what I think: It is unusual to be wowed by a meal at The Crow’s Neat. And it is just as unlikely that you will leave feeling like you did not get your money’s worth.
The food is generally adequate, although the calamari was not as good as it should have been on the Monterey Bay coast. Service was fine, our order was taken quickly and appetizers, soup and entrees were nice spaced.
But I am not sure much has changed on the menu since I started going there in the early 1980s. Most of the dishes were quite heavy. There is no sandwich menu. There is a big salad bar which look fresh and well-kept. I thought it added to the 1970s vibe of the place.
I also think the place is in need of a bit of a remodel. The interior had a dark, heavy look…sort of like some of the chain seafood restaurants that were popular when I lived in western Pennsylvania in the 1970s.
But—and this is a big factor—the views from the Crow’s Nest are wonderful. I was with friends from the Midwest and they were delighted we got a table next to the windows. Even on a cool, blustery November day there was lots of activity on the beach and in the channel leading from the yacht harbor to the bay.
A couple more thoughts: There is lots of cheap parking, although I remember the lot being filled on busy days. Because the restaurant is on the yacht harbor it is kind of fun to walk around and look at the boat action after a meal. There Crow’s Nest sells reasonably priced t-shirts/sweatshirts for souvenir hunters.
In summary: If you are looking for a white tablecloth place to take business clients or out of town guest the Crow’s Nest is worth consideration. If food is more important to you check some of the Santa Cruz reviews for restaurants where most of the crowd source reviews do not emphasis the view quite so much.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.