Makai Island Kitchen & Groggery

3.7
58 Reviews
$30 and under
Hawaii Regional Cuisine
The makers of Riva Fish House bring you the foods, flavors, flowers, and fun of Hawaii and beyond. Makai Island Kitchen & Groggery is the newest restaurant and bar to open on the vibrant and storied Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf, a local treasure with national prominence that celebrated its 100th birthday in 2014. Formerly known as Carniglia’s, the restaurant space dates back to the 1950’s when the Carniglia brothers opened and operated a fish market. Makai Island Kitchen & Groggery is a locally-owned reflection of the Wharf’s continuing evolution as a place for culture, stewardship, and memorable experiences at the water’s edge, for locals and tourists alike.

Safety precautions

Cleaning & Sanitizing
  • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
  • Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
  • Sanitizer or wipes provided for customers
Physical Distancing
  • Limited number of seated diners
Protective Equipment
  • Waitstaff wear masks
What 58 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
3.7based on recent ratings
3.4
food
4.0
service
3.7
ambience
3.5
value
Noise · Quiet
100% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
OpenTable Diner
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 24, 2019
Overall3food3service5ambience4

I loved the ambience and decor of this restaurant and the service was great. However, we were freezing and had to go back to the car for our heavy coats. The food was OK but it was pretty bland and unimaginative for the prices we paid.

SK
ShawnK
Seattle
4 reviews
Dined on December 20, 2019
Overall3food2service4ambience3

A restaurant on the Santa Cruz wharf. Unique spinning bar. Great service, but the food was sub par. Obviously for the tourists. We went off season. I thought they might have more seafood but no. I won’t be back.

SM
SaraM
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on December 5, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

I enjoyed the crabcake burger special and their Alfredo is on par with my own

WN
vipWilliamN
San Francisco
53 reviews
Dined on November 17, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience4

It would be hard to recommend this restaurant, although nothing was terrible and some aspects were very good. The host and the servers were very friendly and kept checking back with us, and they gave my daughter a special birthday treat, but at the same time they seemed somewhat distracted and not altogether familiar with the menu. The food was hit or miss, with the soups (bacon clam chowder and artichoke) being real winners but with some of the other dishes (particularly the calamari) being very disappointing. The view is spectacular, and maybe it's a work in progress. If you're in the area and feeling lucky you might want to check it out, but I wouldn't go out of my way to go back.

H
vipHopk7791
San Francisco
49 reviews
Dined on November 17, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Good food...drinks and service!

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Enjoyed the view from out table, massive window that over look the west cliff. They have a platform that rotates, which was pretty cool. Enjoyed the crab cakes, and cehieve as our apps. Michelle was our server and she was amazing. Would come again

MT
2MuchTWO
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on November 5, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience3

Both of us enjoyed the food. It was quite delicious (Lobster roll and Grilled Salmon with fresh veges). Of course the view was beautiful I will most definitely go back.

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The lobster roll is the best I’ve had period. And I have had some outstanding ones.

SM
vipSusanM
San Francisco
26 reviews
Dined on October 22, 2019
Overall5food5service3ambience5

We went to Splash as part of the Santa Cruz restaurant week, and were glad we did. Jim ordered off the special menu and I ordered the Tuesday lobster roll special and all the dishes were yummy. The view is to die for as well, it wear your sunglasses as the late afternoon/early evening sun is very bright!

SC
SClocal
1 review
Dined on October 19, 2019
Overall3food2service3ambience4

The food was ok but rather bland. The steak was very disappointing as it tasted cheap although it was cooked properly. This place is a tourist restaurant. The locals eat elsewhere.

JA
vipJulianneA
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall3food1service3ambience3

The view can't be beat. The rest is just meh. It's the quintessential tourist trap.

BK
vipBeverleyK
San Joaquin
15 reviews
Dined on October 1, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The clam chowder was fantastic. The lobster roll sandwich, fries and coleslaw was the best!

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience3

Food was decent. Came at a good pace and hot. The waiter was efficient and cute.

JS
vipJocelynS
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall1food1service5ambience5

The service was excellent, but the food was pretty bad.

SV
SusanaV
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on September 1, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Loved the oyster options. Shrimp ceviche was wonderful. Large portions even the kids meals. Service was excellent and very knowledgeable. We even had the unique opportunity to see whales from our window seating view. Definitely will go again.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Shreveport
4 reviews
Dined on August 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent dinner!

Report
SF
vipSFgirl
San Francisco
25 reviews
Dined on August 28, 2019
Overall2food2service2ambience2

The dining room is not very inviting. Quite sterile. Needs warmth. The servers don’t wear a uniform and look sloppy. Tank tops are not appealing when serving food. The fish and chips were ok, pieces could have been larger. The coke slaw not flavorful and sweet potato fries over cooked.

We will not return.

W
Woowatkins
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on August 25, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This was our first time coming to this restaurant, and it exceeded our expectations. The food was all wonderful, and the service was honestly the best we’ve had. Our server, Jules, went above and beyond! He was extremely friendly, helpful and attentive. I’ve never had a server that was better. Ever. I will definitely be going back!!

J
Jennifer
Seattle
1 review
Dined on August 25, 2019
Overall3food3service2ambience4

This location is phenomenal, but we were not impressed with the food or service. The burger did not come with enough onions, and the salmon and salad were lack luster. The artichoke hearts were delicious. The service was poor because we ordered a drink and had to remind them several times, and in the end we just told them to cancel it because we were almost done with our meal. I think this new restaurant just needs to get its bearings.

CM
CraigM
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on August 24, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Service was outstanding, everyone was very friendly and genuinely seemed to care about their roles. Food was fresh with some delicious salad choices, and of course had to try the Beyond Meat burger. No complaints. Also, the view from this restaurant can’t be beat. Thanks for the experience.

OT
OpenTable Diner
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on August 16, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience5

Very good dinner in a really original Place.
The Mahi Mahi was delicious

MH
MicheleH
1 review
Dined on August 9, 2019
Overall2food2service4ambience5

Nice ambiance but the food lacks flavor. The service and the view are good but the food isn't. The clam chowder was so bland (like eating paste). No clam taste. The fettuccine alfredo was also tasteless. The kitchen needs to inorporate herbs & spices into their food- salt, garlic, parsley, etc. Too pricey for being tasteless. Boardwalk food would have been better.

MW
MaritaW
Minneapolis
2 reviews
Dined on August 7, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Loved the food, loved the service and loved the fact that you can view the seals through glass floor openings! Was overall a great experience!

SB
SamiraB
1 review
Dined on August 5, 2019
Overall3food2service5ambience3

The food is not that great and tastes as if a leftover. we ordered the salmon and the mahimahi plates which are $25 each and the plate comes with heated frozen vegetables and clumsy white rice and the fish is cooked without any flavors and it seems to be a frozen kind. I would go to a different seafood restaurant next time.

JG
JulieG
1 review
Dined on August 2, 2019
Overall1food1service1ambience2

Very disappointed in the experience... had a reservation but wasn't needed as they weren't as crowded as I would've expected on a Friday evening. Even with a reservation on a not-so busy night didn't get a window seating. Service was incredibly slow. Food was mediocre at best. Worst calamari appetizer I have ever had.... bland and overdone... kind of like deep fried cardboard.

TB
TraceyB
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience4

We love Splash. It's a great place to take out-of-town visitors. Get a table at the rotating bar for great views and the novelty of it. Friendly servers and a varied menu.

M
vipMeathead
Houston
38 reviews
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall4food3service4ambience4

Good casual dining option. Very nice views of the water.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall2food2service4ambience3

Cheesy and touristy.

D
Dalerici
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on July 23, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience3

Tuesday night for locals. Hot or cold lobster rolls. Service was efficient. Four of us ordered lobster rolls. Mine was lukewarm. A party of 20 diners occupied most of the servers and doubled the ambient noise. Dinner for four, one beer and one app plus tip was $120. Splash! has an extensive menu but dinner was a bust. Might try lunch after the tourists go home.

AS
vipAnnetteS
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on July 21, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Such a nice surprise! We had amazing service, the food was very good, and cocktails perfect. Love the decor, bright, modern and fresh- staff was so nice and personable.

J
Jkrsm
Orange County
8 reviews
Dined on July 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I’d never been to Santa Cruz but figured a Sat. Night in a beach city in July needed a reservation so used One Table -found Splash.
The seating we had was on a slowly rotating circle so our scenery including a lighthouse was kept constantly changing. It was very fun for such a location on a pier. We arrived an hour early but they were able to seat us after only 15 minute wait at the bar. They had several unusual beer choices which we enjoyed trying, as well as normal bar fare.
The entrees were delicious, I had lobster roll with butter, my husband had fish and chips. The ambiance and waiters were nice for the early evening, menu varied with tons of choices. Husband also had clam chowder that he said tasted so fresh.

C
Calitravelers
1 review
Dined on July 17, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience3

Just OK. Asked to be seated near a window and none were available. Our seat was noisy and food was OK. Need to have a better choice of bread ours was cold and dry!

RJ
RJSlaybers
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on July 12, 2019
Overall5food3service5ambience5

Great staff! Fun place to eat!

JC
JeffC
Richmond
1 review
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall2food2service3ambience1

Overall, the restaurant was not very good. The clam chowder tasted as if it had come from a can and had a weird aftertaste. My wife didn't finish hers. I got the clams and fehttuchini... The sauce was very loose and not terribly flavorful. There were a lot of clams in the dish (good) and there was only one that wasn't open (I know better than to try and open it) but overall the dish was pretty blah. My wife got the fish and chips. She said it was the greasiest and fishiest tasting fish she'd had in a while. She ate it with as much ketchup as she could put on it.
The restaurant has not been updated since the 60's (or at least it looks that way). The turntable that the bar and most seating is on is constantly spinning, which is fine, I guess... We just weren't expecting it.
The service was ok. Nothing special. My biggest complaint was the price. For the same price, we had an AMAZING meal on Pier 39 in San Francisco. I would NOT recommend this restaurant for anyone who has any taste or understanding of what good food tastes like.

h
hungrypuppies
San Francisco
14 reviews
Dined on June 21, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience3

Very light and lively venue. Windows all around bringing sunlight and cheer into the space. The building itself is much older than the interior remodeling and the original concrete floors are uncovered leaving a rather degenerated vibe to an otherwise welcoming visual atmosphere. The furniture is very plain but, again, the light and brightness of the walls and the nautical ornamentation hanging from the ceiling make the place ... well - happy. Splash is meant to be casual and fun with food that just about everyone can enjoy. We had tacos. Mahai mahai for me and pork for my wife. They were very tasty and more than enough food. Wine was reasonably priced and the service was punctual and friendly. Lots of families enjoying the friendly vibe. We had a window seat. The water, the returning fishing boats, the party sail boats and the beginning of a Santa Cruz dusk made for the evening's entertainment. Pretty darn fun place. We'd go back again.

MG
MariG
Houston
1 review
Dined on June 15, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience3

Service was good the noise level was moderate to loud do to young children around our table which was fine. We had dinner around 8:30pm and when the entrance door was left open either patrons leaving or coming in, it made it chilly and drafty. We had oysters Rockefeller which were AMAZING and friends had fish in chips that were good. Dry chocolate cake for dessert but overall the experience was nice.

SY
SYLVIAM
1 review
Dined on June 10, 2019
Overall1food2service1ambience1

The Young Lady Server DID NOT LIKE HISPANIC’s
We got there and ask her that we would start with Steam Clams and 1 Beer.. beer came other Food was brought, except her. She Totally ignore Us... no matter how much we tried to get a hold of her. We asked another server and he told her to no avail. We got up to pay and somebody else asked us what was wrong and he apologized and he would not charge us for the 2 BEERS. We only received one. Racism has no Place in the Restaurant Business, especially in Santa Cruz. We are driving down the coast and then some, hope this is the only worst Experience we have.

S
Soulefire
Houston
1 review
Dined on June 5, 2019
Overall3food1service1ambience3

Bad service from hostess/waitress, the 2 guys who also waited on us were great. Food was terrible including cold garlic fries and mushy lobster pasta.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on May 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Such a great restaurant! Great view, amazing food and the service was fantastic. Favorite place to eat on the wharf.

DM
DanielM
1 review
Dined on May 17, 2019
Overall4food3service5ambience4

Rotating bar and dining area is fun for changing scenery at sunset. Our waiter Jules really made the experience wonderful with good advice on dishes, prompt friendly service and great eye contact from across room to check on us. Made our birthday celebration warm and relaxed.

FAQs

Makai Island Kitchen & Groggery offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (831) 466-9766.

Makai Island Kitchen & Groggery is rated 3.7 stars by 58 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.