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“Nice deck, food was disappointing”

The Pier Chowder House & Tap Room
Ranked #4 of 13 Restaurants in Point Arena
Price range: $10 - $15
Cuisines: American, Bar, Seafood, Pub, Soups
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups, Families with children, Scenic view, Bar scene, Kids, Local cuisine
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Television, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
alabama
Level Contributor
64 reviews
29 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Nice deck, food was disappointing”
Reviewed June 21, 2011

Stopped while driving up the coast and had a beer and lunch on the deck overlooking the pier. Great day and the view was pleasant as was the service. Unfortunately, either we ordered wrong or the kitchen was having a bad day. The oysters were particularily disappointing. Just have the beer and go on.

  • Visited June 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank marcnjerri
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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271 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    65
    108
    59
    21
    18
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Healdsburg, California
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Don't Bother”
Reviewed May 31, 2011

My husband & have loved this place for years, but it changed hands a couple of years ago and it sucks now. We have been twice (our bad) since they changed hands and both times we have had bad service from the waitstaff, they have been unfriendly, bordering on rude and completely not available. The food the 1st time was palatable, the food last week was disgusting. You would think that it would be difficult to ruin beer battered fresh fish. Wrong. The oil was old, the fish was old and they overcooked the fish and the onion rings. Somehow they seemed to undercook the fries that my husband ordered. The process of returning and attempting to get something else took nearly 30 minutes which is when I finally threw down some cash and threw up my hands and walked. Never again. I don't normally leave reviews, in fact this is my first, but I thought you all needed to know!

  • Visited May 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank AECNDAC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Rosa, California
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Not as good as before...”
Reviewed May 23, 2011

[Awesome, tripadvisor... my lengthy, detailed review was obliterated when I hit preview, so this rewrite might be missing some details]

A few weeks ago my husband and I took another trip to our favorite place to relax on the Sonoma coast, a cute little place we like to stay in Gualala. We were planning on frequenting the Chowder House again for most, if not all, of our meals (despite the 20-30 minute drive from the Seacliff Motel where we stay). If you've been to the area, you know the restaurant selection is limited at best, not great quality in most cases, and everything closes up by 8 or 9pm (possibly even earlier for the one tiny grocery store nearby), so a bit of planning ahead is key if you don't want to end up having to eat your road snacks for dinner :)

Sadly, we ate dinner here our first night and it was so disappointing we didn't return at all during the rest of our stay here, which really says a lot. I didn't even go back for the sweet coconut prawns that I have loved so much in the past but didn't order the first night, as our table was full of food and we figured we'd be back. To be honest, I didn't really want my memory of them to be destroyed, along with all our other favorites.

The best thing I can say is the bloody marys are still pretty yummy, although they are no longer served with a giant chilled prawn like before, just a sad little olive and cocktail onion. As some of you have observed, the bar serves beer and wine only. This exception is because they use a sweet potato vodka that is allowed with that type of license (see www.kusoju.com). The beers are still varied and tasty and the view of course hasn't changed.

The food, however, seemed microwaved and less than fresh. The chowder was pathetic! If I had to guess, there was about 25x more chopped carrots than clams. Certainly not the fabulous version that we've driven 100 miles each way for in the past (we take good food and birthday meals very seriously:)

Just not the same experience this time around. Our waitress said the owners hadn't changed but the management had, so hopefully they read some of these reviews and tighten things up, especially the food quality. As some reviewers have noted, service still declines a bit during the hour when all the locals gather for their after work beers. But in the past we have always felt very welcomed and never ignored. This time, the bartender that remembered us each time was nowhere to be found, and the waitstaff was unrecognizable. Our reception and service was lukewarm at best, and no one bothered to even look up when we left, let alone return our waves and thank yous.

I'm curious if anyone has tried the prime rib and/or sushi specials they still appear to have on Friday and Saturday nights LATELY? There's a chance those two formerly excellent meals are still up to par, since it appeared that the sushi was prepared by the owner herself (and when we had it before, it was literally the best sushi we've ever eaten). Please, please, please bring this place back to its former quality. It's really a shame to not find any good eateries along this beautiful part of the coast. (The one standout on this trip was Bones Roadhouse in Gualala, which has re-opened after having suffered a kitchen fire a few years back. I'll try to post a review as I have time.)

  • Visited May 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Gualala-la-la-Lover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
12 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Good place for kids, pass on the crab”
Reviewed May 22, 2011

We were sent here as a kid friendly recommendation and they were pretty good. The kids loved the fried calamari and they brought us avo to mash for our baby. We paid extra for the sweet potato fries and I loved them but the kids might have been too full of calamari to appreciate them. They also didn't really eat their battered fish but it could have been the same reason. My burger and onion rings were great, maybe the best onion rings I've ever had. Don't get the crab. Both crab eaters said it was less than fresh even though it came off the pier. They also said it tasted like the flavor had been boiled out. The staff was friendly and the kids really liked watching the surfers. Heads up no changing table we made do with the little table in the lady's room. Take a walk on the pier after dinner.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Slasko
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, GA
Level Contributor
173 reviews
121 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 100 helpful votes
“Harbor View w/Good Food”
Reviewed April 14, 2011

First you have to consider there are very few restaurants in Pt Arena, and most are not open early in the week. Then, being down on the water, and perched up on the second floor gives a great harbor view, until the sun goes down.
This is definately a place frequented by the locals, and being a very small village means everyone knows everyone. That sometimes results in spotty service as friends vist and chat with friends. The bar is often packed at sunset, so there's more visiting and catching up. Arriving after sunset can have the benefit of more attention from the serving staff. Luckily the daily specials are good and the kitchen is accomodating. If you want to take your time they're OK with that, there's no rush.
This part of the CA coast is mostly crabbing, with little fresh fish on any of the local menus. So, the crab cakes here are very good. The 'fresh fish' not as fresh as you'd find around a major fishing port.
But, overall, its an enjoyable experience out at a local place, with reasonable prices.

  • Visited April 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank JKoz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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