Stagnaro’s on the Wharf in Santa Cruz has been there since I was a kid and long before that. I remember getting an apple juice back in those days along with a shrimp cocktail. Since then, I’ve replaced apple juice with tomato juice; aka a Bloody Mary.
It was evening and dinner was in order; a simple clam chowder and fish and chips.
I’ll say, for as cliché and touristy as it is, Stagnaro’s on the Wharf in Santa Cruz served up a fantastic fish and chips. Their clam chowder was a little too thick for me though. I’m guessing they’re heavy handed on potato starch or some other thickening agent. It was good, just not great. And considering I made a scratch clam chowder a week before, less than a mile from the wharf, mine was a lot better.
Back to the deep fried fish. Mixed white fish in a crispy breading, now that was tasty. Served with tartar sauce, lemon, and cocktail sauce the mixed deep-fried plate was a straightforward as it should be. Not greasy, not heavy, just simple. I didn’t eat many of the fries, but of the one I had, they were also deep fried properly.
Stagnaro’s is part nostalgia, part history, part tradition. It’s what we love about the place, some things don’t change, both in memory and reality.