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“Go somewhere else.” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Joe's Crab Shack

Joe's Crab Shack
567 San Jon Rd, Ventura, CA 93001-3752
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Ranked #154 of 387 Restaurants in Ventura
Cuisines: Seafood
Dining options: Reservations, Late Night
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations, Late Night
Ventura, California
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Go somewhere else.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 5, 2014

Ventura offers up a lot of great choices for restaurants leaving you with no reason to waste your time or money on Joe's. I suppose it's a good family fun spot but it's way overpriced. Don't let its cliffside location fool you--there are much better sea views in town. My husband actually likes the food. I think it's okay. Their mixed drinks are about as strong as a Shirley Temple. If you want seafood, go to Lure (downtown), Brophy Bros. (in the marina) or the upstairs bar at Eric Ericcson's. Better yet- pick up some crab legs from the grocery store and make your own crab pot.

Visited July 2013
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70 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Ventura, CA
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Joe's Crap Shack”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 18, 2014

Had dinner here with friends after over 5 years away since the last experience was so terrible. Apparently nothing has changed. Even though we called ahead for a table for 6, we waited almost half an hour to sit. We kept being told just 5 more minutes by the incredibly inept teenagers at the front. The lobby area was so crowded we waited outside... they knew we were there because we kept coming back in to check if the table was ready, but no one came out to tell us when it finally was.

The ambiance in here is as cheesy as ever. And INCREDIBLY LOUD. I could not hear the person next to me, I had to read lips. I know the servers usually dance here on weekends. While we were waiting, a 'dance' song came on and one lonely server danced over by our table. It was kind of silly and since it was in front of the bar, other servers kept having to dodge her with their trays full of drinks. I think it's all just to distract you from how bad the food is? But I digress....

I ordered a strawberry margarita that tasted like it had no alcohol in it at all. I usually get a little buzzed after one drink and this did nothing for me. My friend ordered a patron margarita and said the same thing. Our server was very friendly and took our orders quickly. We then waited OVER AN HOUR to get our food. And then it arrived cold. I had some platter thing with fried fish, clam strips and fries. The fish was ok, the clam strips were very bready, there were more chunks of breading than clams. The best thing on the plate was the coleslaw... their coleslaw is yummy. Others in our group had the Garlic Hotpot and not only was there NO garlic flavor to speak of, the lobster was chewy and inedible, and the crab legs were skinny. All of it was cold. It's served in a pot with a lid!! How do you manage to serve that cold???

The manager came over and was very apologetic... he ended up taking 50% off our bill but considering how ridiculous the prices are here I still feel like we overpaid. Our server was kind and I feel bad that he has to be the person on the front lines between customers and the crap this restaurant is serving. Save your money and have REALLY good Ventura County fish at HK Seafood in the Channel Islands Harbor. Leave this place to tourists who don't know any better.

  • Visited May 2014
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
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So Cal
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Good for Kids”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 16, 2014

I don't eat seafood so the menu is a little rough for me. Usually in fish restaurants I get a salad with good made there blue cheese dressing and a baked potato, but this place had neither. So I think I had like a piece of corn, and I suffered thru a salad with ranch or something after sending back the side of blue cheese which was repulsive, sour, mostly mayonnaise and like from a bottle. Blech!

Meanwhile, my daughter and hub were in heaven. Okay, even I like that trash container in a hole in the middle of the table. And in Ventura, its hard to beat the view in or outside. And the play area I hate because it covers my daughter with white sticky rock and sand dust, but again, my daughter loves it.

The first pic shows the kids chicken strips meal with corn on the cob. It comes with part of the husk still there so the kids can peel it back and make a handle. And the other pic is of one of the kids desserts. Daughter really loved this. You can paint your rice krispy treat (shaped like a crab, by the way) with either caramel, chocolate or strawberry sauce. She is also eating an ice cream because neither costs that much so we were able to get both :)

  • Visited April 2014
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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Ventura, California
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“MEDIOCRE to the max”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2014

My recent visit for dinner will be my first and last as well. The wait time of 10 minutes was reasonable and my server was professional and attentive. -But the noise level, akin to the landing end of a runway, all the youngins' with cell phones plastered to their faces and the generally mid-to down-market patrons should have warned me that this restaurant was NOT catering to the more refined, better-informed diners of Ventura. The bowl of clam chowder was passable but so thick as to resemble pancake batter overloaded with potatos and underweight with clams. The clam strips were 95% barely cooked sugar-dough, agaiin, with tiny, tasteless clam "strips" and the Caesar salad was anything but-- being instead a simple and boring melange of a few leaves of iceberg lettuce, a couple of pieces of rock-hard hothouse tomatoes, a few croutons and a tiny plastic cup of some nondescript dressing. Joe's is the kind of place people come to who don't CARE what their food tastes like, but have plenty of cash to waste on mediocre fare because they really just don't know any better, and don't care that they don't know better. I do. That's why I'll never be back and will recommend Lure seafood restaurant downtown.

  • Visited April 2014
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
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Los Angeles, California
19 reviews 19 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Horrible service....food ugh”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2014

Other locations of Joe's Crab Shack provide a fun atmosphere with average food. the problem with the Ventura location is poor, slow service. Don't let the server get away...you may never see her again. The food was overcooked.....very overcooked. The location is great, it has a pretty view of the ocean.

  • Visited March 2014
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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