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Shoals Island Grill
6602 Old Pacific Coast Hwy, Ventura
Phone: (805) 652-1381

Reviews by the General Public

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Reviewer: Steve from Santa Barbara, CA
I work in nearby Carpinteria and eat lunch here every couple of months...the special occasions and important business discussions. The salads are all good, my favorite is the caesar with tiger prawns and garlic-cheese bread. They do a good job with the grill and with fish in general. The service is very friendly but the response time will slow if the crowd is larger than usual. It would be slightly pricey if you were in some suburb. But look: this is literally one of the nicest restaurant views on this planet. Come here when you're ready to slow down, savor some conversation, and enjoy one of the nicest spots on the Pacific Rim.

Great view, great service, great presentation- the food? meh
Reviewer: Santa Barbara Dianne from Santa Barbara, CA
I went to this restaurant with the hopes that I too would be as impressed as the regular customers I went with. Well, I ordered what I figured was a no-fail menu item, that is a turkey club sandwich and, in all honesty, I have had vending machine variety that were several notches above it in quality. The bread was, as the waitress fore-informed me, was store-bought, not from a bakery as their delicious comp sourdough bread was. The meats also seemed store bought (yes even the bacon seemed like it came from a package). I hate to be so negative here but for an 11.00 sandwich it was a major disappointment. To top it off the catsup that came with the french-fries was rancid tasting. Nice view and nice, but slow service though.

Finally a restaurant with great service
Reviewer: Sarah from Santa Barbara, CA
My boyfriend surprised me by taking me here. We had both grown restless with dining at the same restaurants and have decided to make it a point to not dine at restaurants twice until we get a taste of all restaurants that Santa Barbara has to offer. I must say...We went on a Sunday evening. The ambiance was great. We sat outside with the heater. Our waitress, Carissa (I believe) was the best I have ever had. I used to work in the F&B for a time and I was blown away at the attentiveness, and friendly attitude. The food was great, not the best, but definitely made me happy. They don't have the best wine selection, but don't let that sway you. This is a place that has won a special place in my stomach.

Excellent Food!!! Top Friendly Service =)
Reviewer: Palmira Reyes from Huntington Park, CA
My husband, our 4 1/2 year old, and I stayed at the Inn the first week of August on our way back from Santa Barbara and were extremely happy with both the food and the service. I ordered the Ahi Tuna for dinner and enjoyed it so much, I ordered it the next night too. My husband had the Sword Fish it too tasted absolutely delicious. My son ordered a pasta dish and loved it. He particularly enjoyed the steam vegetables served with it. My husband and I shared the mussels and while they were stinky, they tasted very good. All three of us had the clam chowder the following evening and we all three loved it. My husband ordered a seafood soup and while I have never been a fan of the hot seafood soup dishes, at my husbands insistence that I try this wonderful concoction, I must say that had we stayed a third night, I would have ordered it myself. It was simply divine. Let me tell you, my husband and I both love seafood and so we have plenty experiences to compare with. The ambiance of course was wonderful the ocean waves crashing against the cliffs, the sea breeze gently blowing through our hair and the candle light was very romantic. The only criticism I can think of is the furniture. Why not just have all teak tables and chairs? Our waitress had to put a folded cloth napkin under one of the table's legs to make it stable and the plastic lawn chairs, not the most comfortable. In terms of service, the "strange" language that was mentioned by a former reviewer was most likely Spanish since I had no problems understanding nor making myself understood to the Spanish speaking bus boy since I speak Spanish and come on really, even my non-Spanish speaking friends recognize Spanish when they here it after all we are in California!!! Anyway, the staff was attentive and friendly. They took time to chat and listen to my extremely, (cannot place enough emphasis on extremely) chatty four year old. The hostess even took the time to point out a native bird up on one of the Palm trees to my son and give him some information about it. She also took him to the kitchen to talk to the chefs when he mentioned and interest on "cooking" cupcakes and pizza when he grew up. I love this place and can say with certainty that I will be back next year for my anniversary in July.

Don't waste your money
Reviewer: Marjorie from Monterey CA
We made reservations here through open table several weeks in advance. When we got there, they couldn't even find our name. (It was there) Our table was not ready. After about 20 minutes, I went outside and my husband stayed in to wait for the table. After about 10 minutes he came to tell me that the table was ready. During that time, they gave our table away! When we finally sat down and ordered (lapsed time about 20 minutes)we had another wait of almost 20 minutes. The waitress finally came and told us that "some orders go right into the kitchen and some don't" ????? I ordered a Garden burger which was supposed to come with avocado.I got a cucumber slice instead. When I inquired about it, the first person I asked mumbled something in some strange language and the second person checked and said they didn't have any avocados. Needless to say, we will not return.

Lovely view, great food!
Reviewer: Donna from Irvine, CA
When we checked into the hotel, they asked if we wanted to make reservations for the restaurant. Those weren't necessary...on a weekday night in winter, it wasn't crowded at all. The two of us shared pan-fried scallops with lobster risotto and a caesar salad. It was the perfect light meal for two people, and the food was excellent. The only negative was paying $5 for a liter of Pellagrino...that's a bit pricey. Service was perfect. It's definitely worth a try!

Nummer 1
Reviewer: Kaveh Shafaati from Hannover, Germany
wir are coming from Germany, it is better than Italy or France. it is very good fish, very freshly, everything in the best way. we are pleased good-bye. we love food

great view, lousy food, mediocre service
Reviewer: Terence U from Ventura, CA
My wife and I have been driving past this place for years, and we always wanted to have dinner/lunch at The Shoals restaurant. The location is amazing, overlooking a small point at Mussel Shoals, just outside La Conchita with a man-made island just a half mile offshore. We arrived on our 1 year wedding anniversary for Sunday Brunch. The hostess seated us at a broken, plastic poolside table. Some of the tables had tablecloths and some did not. The drink service was fast and the bread arrived right away. Unfortunately, our entree's did not arrive for over an hour. The grilled Ahi Tuna was cold in the middle and did not come with wasabi like the menu said. I took a bite into the rice and tasted the scorched bottom of the rice cooker. My wife enjoyed her food but agreed that the Ceaser Salad was lacking something. The lettuce was yellow with no greens at all. The salad dressing was good but it didn't come with croutons as mentioned in the menu, again. For the price I assumed the food should have been prepared a little more carefully. Ok service and poor food preperation. I don't think we'll ever return there.

Love, Love, Love it!!
Reviewer: Anita Marer from La Puente
Location, location, location!! We stay at the Califfhouse for our anniversary almost every year. The restaurant is downstairs, no driving, just walk downstairs. The food is amazing, and the atmosphere, what better than to be sitting on the oceans edge enjoying great food. We're going back for our next anniversary. Can't wait!!


Good enough to come back to on our return from Santa Barbara
Reviewer: Pete Reinisch from Agoura Hills, CA
A great place to stop for lunch on the way to or from Santa Barbara. I had the Cioppino with fresh local mussels on the way up and on the return trip I had Poached Salmon. Both were excellent and reasonably priced. My wife had a salad both times and rated them as very good. The portions were large enough to take some home. The French Bread was fresh with a nice crisp crust.

don't waste your money. come for drinks and the view.
Reviewer: Chris Chan from Pasadena, CA
This was our first time here. In a nutshell, the view is beautiful, the service is friendly, and the ability of the kitchen chefs is decent, but they should be ashamed of the quality of their seafood. Just about everything tasted like it had been frozen for a decade. The clams were stinky, the sea bass spongy, and the mussels were dirty and full of hard particulates like they hadn't been thoroughly cleaned. The only bright point was the salmon. The meat was soft, flavorful, and melted in our mouths. First off, the good points. As expected, the view is sensational. That's why we came here, for the view, and for what we thought would be an exquisite dining experience. Also, the service was very friendly and quite attentive. We arrived at the restaurant for a sunset dinner. As soon as we came in we got a nice seat by the window, and a server came to fill our glasses with water. As we looked over the menus the descriptions sounded delicious. We decided to order the mussels appetizer to start, followed by the sea bass for me and the cioppino for my girlfriend. For dessert we planned on some ice cream, flambed banana, and reef shaped almond cookie concoction. I don't remember the name. I asked what the soup of the day was, and it turned out to be new england clam chowder. This is one of my favorites, so I asked if it was made fresh from scratch and the waitress assured me it was. This prompted me to order a bowl of soup as well. Well, the soup came first. It was a pinkish, mustard yellow color that you only get from canned clam chowder, like Campbell's. Fortunately, it tasted alright, and the clams were not too rubbery. Following the soup was the mussels appetizer. The tomato, onion, and white wine broth was quite good, but the mussels themselves tasted unfresh and unclean. Every single one of them had what I thought was sand, until my girlfriend pulled out a fair sized chunk of white calcification from one of them because she couldn't bite through it. We started to get worried at this point. The entrees came next. The cioppino looked delicious and the plating and presentation of the sea bass was pleasant. Except, the block of sea bass sitting on my the plate looked like it had been recently defrosted. When I took a bite of it I was surprised how spongy and tough the meat was. I've had truly fresh sea bass, and it simply melts away in your mouth. This was definitely the frozen variety. The mashed potatoes had the same consistency as the powdered ones you buy at your local grocery store. As for the cioppino, the mussels still had that white calcification in them. We didn't even touch those. The clams were tiny and stinky. The shrimp was flavorless and tough. The only good thing about the cioppino was the chunks of salmon. They tasted fresh and delicious. The meat was soft and tender, and we could really taste that unique salmon flavor. Everything else had been living in the freezer for months before ending up on our table. After we finished the entrees we got out of there quickly. We skipped dessert, paid the bill, and went on our way vowing never to return. For the price they charge, one would expect the seafood to be at least somewhat fresh.

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