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About
What started as a fish market has ended up an amazing dish restaurant and bar. At Riva Fish House, we offer a view with flavor. Dine at our seaside haven on the Municipal Wharf in Santa Cruz today! When we gave up the fish market for the restaurant, our objective was to turn out the best possible meal at a cost working people with a family could afford. That didn't mean something they could handle but under stress. It meant, and still means, a really good meal and beverages at a really comfortable price. Our loyal and friendly staff now serves some of the best, award-winning seafood around. Voted Santa Cruz's Best Seafood Restaurant, we offer something for everyone. Try our chowder, fish tacos,
Special Diets
Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options
Meals
Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, Late Night
CUISINES
American, Seafood, Soups
FEATURES
Takeout, Seating, Parking Available, Television, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Accepts Credit Cards, Table Service, Waterfront
Reviews (494)
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465 results
Traveler rating
174
167
70
37
17
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LanguageEnglish
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Traveler rating
174
167
70
37
17
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All reviews seafood calamari coleslaw bread chowder sandwich great view window table sat at the bar the food is great wharf surfers bay parking
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Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

Great location and views. The food was good, however the the clam chowder bread bowl was disappointing (the bread was definitely not fresh). The service was not great, especially when the waiter asked if he could bring the bill when we barely started to eat...(I guess because his shift was ending)… this is not good hospitality by any standard… what if we had wanted a dessert afterwards?!More

Date of visit: August 2022
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Reviewed 3 weeks ago

We got an excellent view at the back window over the water so we saw the sunset. The staff could not have been more friendly and approachable. Food was fresh and cooked to a very high standard. Highly recommend.

Date of visit: April 2022
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Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

Omg. Dirty bar, very loud and inappropriate bartenders with high school silliness ( Diego says: "motherf**king this" - "motherf**king that") performing for customers sitting among dirty dishes without even a hello and successfully avoiding eye contact with those waiting for the dishes to be cleared...or place an order for a drink. Example: When is it a good idea to throw an empty wine bottle 5 feet into a trash can full of empty bottles? CRASH!! Come on, man! Shocking. Whoever trained tonights 7/17 Sunday staff should be talked to by the owner. No manager presence. Food was okay.More

Date of visit: July 2022
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Reviewed May 28, 2022

We are locals and have been going to Rivas since the 80s. We always went to locals night , up to covid days. We went back tonight and WHATS happened.?Our locals who used to work there are all gone. The service sucked Period. Bus boys...walking by without filling water. 1 waitress working 10 tables. we are bummed out. PETER whats going on.?place, tables were dirty, service sucked, pasta dish was terrible, vegis tasted like frozen vegis still cold inside. fish was ok, salad was old, o ya,, service sucked! We need to rethink our fav local spot. Maybe a new Manager Would help. He spent his time walking in and out of office, not working the customers like Rebecca used to.. Wow Im shockedMore

Date of visit: May 2022
Helpful?1  
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Reviewed May 26, 2022 via mobile

Have been here before. Had lunch with a beloved Aunt and the food was awesome. Love their fisherman’s platter, they are generous with the fish, you don’t end up with a plate and f stale fries. Everything is hot and fresh. We even got a...window table. Perfect afternoon, front staff is especially hospitable and easy to work withMore

Date of visit: May 2022
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Reviewed May 13, 2022

the bar/restaurant was reasonable busy, but we got a window seat. it obviously caters to tourists strolling the wharf. despite its being a fish house, I ordered the special, which was barbecued ribs, and they were actually pretty good. but my wife, thinking it was...a fish house, ordered the fish and chips, and thought they were rather sub-par. go figure.More

Date of visit: May 2022
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Reviewed April 2, 2022 via mobile

This is a highly over rated restaurant. The food is awful, the service was bad. I like spice so it wasn’t a problem for me, but my cousin doesn’t and most dishes on the menu are listed as “spicy”. Even the bread is bad. Do...yourself a favor and go elsewhere!More

Date of visit: March 2022
Helpful?1  
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Reviewed March 31, 2022

Most tables have a view of the ocean/bay, including what looked to be a prime surf area. Most service appeared to be a bit slow, though we had a great waitress who was on the ball. Good variety of food, about half entrees on the...spicy side. Two entrees, and appetizer and local bottle of wine plus tax and tip $115. Several other options nearby. Located 2/3 down the commercial pier. Parking available on pier and cheap ~ $1/hr.More

Date of visit: March 2022
Helpful?1  
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Reviewed February 26, 2022

Of all of the places on the Santa Cruz Wharf, this is one of my favorites. Great location with a beautiful view of the water with large windows in the restaurant. We had great service from start to finish. We were never rushed and she...checked on us to make sure we were taken care of. We have eaten here before and had their fried entrees. We started with a cup of their delicious clam chowder and bread. The size of the soup was more like a large bowl! This time I had the shrimp and crab salad. Nice fresh crab and shrimp on top of greens – wonderful salad for lunch. Hubby had the salmon and fries. They were both cooked to his liking. The view from our table was magnificent and we enjoyed the entire time we spent at lunch!More

Date of visit: February 2022
Helpful?1  
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Reviewed November 23, 2021

Nice restaurant on the pier in Santa Cruz. Food was excellent, and the portions and the prices were very good.

Date of visit: June 2021
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Reviewed August 7, 2021

A recent visit to Riva Fish House for dinner produced nothing that would make us want to go back. Food quality ranged between acceptable and poor. Salads containing brown-edged lettuce leaves that were way past their prime; rock-hard chunks of seriously under-cooked vegetables, mediocre fish...dishes were some of the issues we encountered. Service was average but there seemed to be no rhyme or reason as to which tables got bread and butter and which didn't.More

Date of visit: August 2021
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Reviewed June 18, 2021

Riva is a great choice fro seafood. The waits are not extreme and the food is great! I ate there twice in a week, one lunch and one dinner. I sat at the bar both times. Service was friendly and efficient. Prices were reasonable. Views...face west toward Steamer Lane (surfers), with decent sunsets.More

Date of visit: June 2021
Helpful?1  
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Reviewed May 29, 2021

Rica has a nice view, we ate inside. Our fish was fresh, but not special. I would say it was pricey for the quality. Our service was just OK. Best part -the view

Date of visit: May 2021
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Reviewed May 19, 2021 via mobile

This is a fun restaurant with a family friendly menu. We sat outside which was a mistake due to the passing cars on the pier, so try for indoor seating. The mahi tacos were good but spicy, crab and shrimp sandwich was huge, the chowder...was a bit bland, the oysters were very good, the cheese bread was just okay. Good drinks. Service was intermittent. Probably need to try another restaurant next time.More

Date of visit: May 2021
Helpful?1  
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Reviewed May 17, 2021 via mobile

The food was decent and lots of Gluten Free options. A bartender named Sasha was extremely rude to the point we almost left. She definitely needs some customer service training. A great guy named Jesse could see we were upset with her bad attitude and...he was wonderful, really made up for the bad experience.More

Date of visit: May 2021
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Questions & Answers
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Maria E
March 24, 2016|
AnswerShow all 7 answers
Response from Geminiwiners | Reviewed this property |
We didn't make a reservation for a party of two. A bigger party might want to make reservations.
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Frequently Asked Questions about Riva Fish House

Yes, Riva Fish House offers takeout services.

Riva Fish House is rated accordingly in the following categories by Tripadvisor travelers:
  • Food: 4
  • Service: 4.5
  • Value: 4
  • Atmosphere: 4