We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Very disapointing....” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Surf House Cafe & Shop

Surf House Cafe & Shop
604 N. Lake Park Blvd, Carolina Beach, NC 28428
Improve this listing
Cuisines: American, Seafood, Oyster Bar
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch
Waxhaw NC
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
“Very disapointing....”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2013

We had high expectations with all of the glowing reviews on tripadvisor. We ordered a martini and a cosmo, the cosmo the waitress had never heard of and the bartender didn't know how to make nor had the ingredients to make. The martini I walked them through. They said the owner wanted to be more of a whiskey bar, Ok but don't eliminate an entire revenue stream, just have a nice choice of whiskeys and make sure people know about them. I ordered wine, it just said it was from California so I had no way of knowing what I was drinking. No wine list at all, again another grave error which will literally cost them. The food was mediocre at best. While the shrimp and grits had a nice flavor it was shrimp, grit cakes in a broth that covered everything, very weird, more like a soup. I ordered the Wahoo first but the waitress said it was going to be served medium rare which I was not having, it is supposed to be served when it flakes easily and that is not medium rare. Everyone was nice but terribly inexperienced, I wish they would get the training they need so they can be a real restaurant. In the meantime, I regret the money we spent there that night, our daughter was treating us and I felt bad for her. I will be a little more suspicious next time when reading trip advisor reviews which is unfortunate because I have been an avid fan for years and an active contributor.

  • Visited August 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

161 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Roanoke, Virginia
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
40 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Can't always trust the ratings.”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2013

As a new user of Trip Advisor, I used the customer ratings to find our dinner choice for our first night in Carolina Beach. The top-rated seafood restaurant was Surf House, so I was pretty jazzed to give it a shot. Let's just say the music died quickly.

First, we were greeted by a waitress who led us to a seat and said "do you want anything to drink besides water?" The statement was both discourteous and poor waitressing. You see, the restaurant is in the business of selling stuff, so one would expect the waitress to want to sell you a beverage rather than make it sound like an imposition.

Enter waitress number two. Friendly and helpful at first. However, once we received our meals she was gone. I could not get my water refilled because she was in a loooong conversation with another customer.

There was a waitress number three who did answer a couple of my wife's questions about specialty drinks on the menu, but she also found her way into a long sit down with a customer. The wait staff seems to be in dire need of training on the basic skills and expectations of the job.

We had an appetizer of Oysters Bienville which was all heavy breading with a tiny piece of oyster inside of bland panko.

My wife ordered brisket with asparagus, potatoes and what was supposed to be a jalapeno chimichurri sauce. This was not brisket by any definition with which I am familiar. It was pot roast and bad, fatty pot roast at that. The asparagus was almost inedible (and my wife has never met an asparagus she doesn't like), the potatoes were bland and their was no hint of jalapeno in the alleged chimichurri.

I ordered the shrimp n grits despite waitress #2's warning that it was very spicy. I'm not sure who got the spicy version, but it did not make it to my plate. My expectation for shrimp n grits is that the sauce has a kick. What I received at the Surf House was the kind of shrimp n grits that would be served in an institutional setting or cafeteria-style restaurant that caters to the elderly. The sauce was bland and the grits were in a tasteless cake (I would guess the grits were pre-made not fresh). Very disappointing.

One word: AVOID. The lack of cars in the parking lot tells you more than a high rating on Trip Advisor.

  • Visited August 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Over rated online.”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 23, 2013 via mobile

The bar tender didn't know how to make a martini. And couldn't make a Cosmo either. The app burnt ends was not crispy and had a sticky sauce which wasn't very good. The shrimp and grits were not traditional, grit cakes were used. It was disappointing all around. The workers were all very inexperienced and untrained.

  • Visited August 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bergamo, Italy
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Good food, terrible mojitos”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2013

After a long day of surfing, we were looking for great cocktail drinks to sooth our thirst... well the drinks were terrible. Time to fire the bar tender. Unfortunately at 6pm the restaurant was out of 1/2 of the menu. Fortunately, the chef was pretty good with what was left on the menu and with the substitutes, and the appetizers were great. Overall ok, but wouldn't go out of my way.

  • Visited August 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Burlington, North Carolina
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
47 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Great find!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2013

We wouldn't have found this place had it not been for TripAdvisor. Thanks!

The Surf House was a great place to take our family for dinner. We were looking for a seafood restaurant, and were thrilled to find one that didn't have a waiting line to be seated. The menu isn't extensive, but we all found something to order.

We ordered the Camp Oysters and the Pimento Cheese Dip for appetizers. Both were amazing! There was much more dip than chips, so we were very happy when our waitress offered to bring more chips to our table. The flavor combinations were unexpected but very good!

After seeing the Wahoo arrive that was ordered by the table next to ours, my husband decided to give it a try. He swore that he was still stuffed from a big lunch and would only eat an appetizer, but when his meal arrived, he cleaned his plate! It was cooked to perfection!

My son and I both ordered the Shrimp and Grits. I'm not generally a huge fan of Shrimp and Grits, but I ordered it because I was intrigued by the bourbon sauce that accompanied it. The meal was wonderful! It was the best Shrimp and Grits I've ever had...so good in fact that my husband also had 1/3 of it after eating his Wahoo that he hadn't planned to eat!

My daughter ordered the Chicken and Roasted Vegetables, which she loved. It was not as flavorful as some of the other recipes we tried, but it was cooked beautifully - not dry and very tender.

The service was good. Our waitress wasn't overly warm and friendly, but she was very attentive, so we had no complaints. The only down side (if there was one) is that the menu isn't very kid-friendly. But, the menu is published online, so I'd recommend checking it out if you have picky eaters dining with you. Aside from that, this place is definitely one I'd recommend.

Visited August 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Surf House Cafe & Shop also viewed

Carolina Beach, NC
Carolina Beach, NC
Carolina Beach, NC
Carolina Beach, NC

Been to Surf House Cafe & Shop? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Surf House Cafe & Shop, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.