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Restaurant Review: Harry's Plaza Cafe

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 375054 helpful negative off topic

2013-02-16 12:09 PM

Took my family there over the Holidaz - The Vote from all 6 of us was thumbs down - I had the Omaha - tough and dry - to bad - won't go back for the food .....

 

 COMMENT 375056P helpful negative off topic

2013-02-16 12:17 PM

Same exact experience, yuck!

 

 COMMENT 375058P helpful negative off topic

2013-02-16 12:19 PM

Same here - Yuck - never again.

 

 COMMENT 375061P helpful negative off topic

2013-02-16 12:24 PM

I haven't been in about 2 years because it's not worth the price, but their fried chicken was really* *really good. I liked the white fish piccatta and the short ribs were yummy and not too fatty. I also always order my food with zero gravy or dressing or on the side. And their veggies seemed fresh and crispy cooked, two years ago...
As I said, not worth the cost though. So I'll continue to avoid.

 

 COMMENT 375065 helpful negative off topic

2013-02-16 12:31 PM

Guy/Gals harrys it in biz because of the STRONG drinks.:)

 

 COMMENT 375068 helpful negative off topic

2013-02-16 12:42 PM

Lauren,
You were way too kind and 65 is absolutely correct about it being all about the drinks. It's hard to believe with all the good restaurants in SB people will eat this junk. Maybe it's the nostalgia factor, they want to live in the past, even just for the duration of a meal.

Would love to see some reviews of the healthier, affordable restaurants that *do* deserve the local and tourist business, maybe The Natural, Sojourner, Silvergreen's etc.

Thanks for risking your health to bring us this honest review:-)

 

 COMMENT 375071 helpful negative off topic

2013-02-16 12:48 PM

What an odd review for here. Harry's has always catered to the blue hair crowd, so someone more in the usual edhat demographic probably would have enjoyed gumming that "steak".

 

 COMMENT 375081 helpful negative off topic

2013-02-16 01:06 PM

I feel like this review was written by Lauren to showcase her "humor". To write a "to be taken seriously" review on Harry's on a website frequented by SB locals is a joke in itself. People definitely don't go to Harry's for the "good food". Nostalgia, good drinks, the ambiance, photos on the walls .... I enjoy Harry's, been going there since I was a kid (same w/ my parents) its just a fun place to go & people watch while enjoying a good drink. Pretty sure the only people who go to Harry's for the "good food" are the 70+ crowd who don't know any different than their usual Saturday evening go to restaurant.

 

 COMMENT 375061P helpful negative off topic

2013-02-16 01:14 PM

Well said, 081. I'm sure I'll eat there a couple of times a decade til I die. It was the first restaurant I ever went to, when the French dips where a super deal.

 

 COMMENT 375096P helpful negative off topic

2013-02-16 01:31 PM

I love Harry's. The ambiance transports me into a earlier simpler time and place.

You are right, the food could use improvement. The trick is to know what they do well and then subsitute as needed. The friendly wait staff at Harry's is really cool with that. Try doing that at Joe's and the wait staff there will chew your head off. Joe's use to be the friendly dining experience that Harry's still is. And that's why locals still flock to Harry's.

 

 COMMENT 375097 helpful negative off topic

2013-02-16 01:47 PM

Used to go there regularly but not anymore. It has really gone downhill. My budget doesn't allow me to go out to eat frequently so when I do I want good food and service. It's really a shame. Harry is probably rolling over in his grave.

 

 ROGER DODGER helpful negative off topic

2013-02-16 02:08 PM

Only things I ever ate there were their Bread butter and salsa, and French Fries.. They were really good the pictures of your food look gross.

 

 COMMENT 375108P helpful negative off topic

2013-02-16 02:10 PM

Maybe Fred can write a "rebuttal" review?

 

 COMMENT 375112 helpful negative off topic

2013-02-16 02:16 PM

The shrimp look like they have drowned. Absolutely disgusting. And why does the steak have to be swimming in a pool of grease or gravy too? Is that really what they serve? Unbelievable.

 

 COMMENT 375129P helpful negative off topic

2013-02-16 02:55 PM

Lauren, not my experience. I have been eating there since the 70's when Harry greeted every customer and had his Townehouse up the hill. But even then you didn't go there for the food, we went because the drinks were huge, the atmosphere was somewhere between historical and hysterical and the bartenders were great. My wife and I still go there at least once a month, they still host almost all of my employee parties in the Ranchero Room and frankly the food has gotten a wee bit better. Their appetizers are fairly good, their burgers are pretty good, their salads are outstanding and their bread and salsa is always a hit. My wife misses their great chicken fried steak and I miss their fried scallops. But the bottom line is it's not about the food, it's about the drinks, the great staff, the drinks, the camaraderie, the drinks and the free history lesson you get on all of the walls. Oh and did I mention it's about the drinks? Hmmm, must be time for a drink right now!

 

 COMMENT 375133 helpful negative off topic

2013-02-16 03:08 PM

It's hilarious to hear folks try and defend Harry's by claiming "it's not about the food." BS! It's a restaurant first and a bar second. It sure is about the food!

Harry's is making its owners a killing. They should at least put a little effort into the food. We used to eat there once in awhile, buy don't any longer because the food's so bad.

Nostalgia is great, but it's a restaurant folks, not a museum!

 

 COMMENT 375137P helpful negative off topic

2013-02-16 03:35 PM

Harry's certainly won't be winning any culinary awards anytime soon, and it's the only place where I order like Sally from When Harry met Sally (I get the burnt ends, no bread, with onion rings instead of fries and cole slaw). It's like nothing I would normally make myself but there's something about it that's really awesome every other month or so. Add to it they make my husband's favorite drink and my kid can eat for $2, and it makes it a fun night out. Clearly it's filling a need in the city or it wouldn't always be packed.

 

 COMMENT 375146 helpful negative off topic

2013-02-16 04:15 PM

Part of the family LOVES Harry's. I honestly have no idea why. It had been years so I thought maybe I was just forgetting how good the food was and that is why I had not been back.

Nope, the french dip sandwich had nothing but stringy fatty "meat" in it. More the kind of stuff one cuts off and discards than eat. Nasty!

 

 COMMENT 375061P helpful negative off topic

2013-02-16 04:38 PM

Roger, don't forget the sour cream with green onions!! Used in place of butter as a bed for the salsa. Mmm mmm good. The only way I use sour cream besides enriching some broths, like borscht and boiled dinner (corned beef). Glad some people addressed the food in more detail.

 

 COMMENT 375159 helpful negative off topic

2013-02-16 04:55 PM

Harry's is indeed gross. And the food has been bad there since the 70s. If you like congealed masses of re-heated rubbery food, then you'll love it here. I never understand how people can rave about this.

I'm not a foodie and I eat a lot of places that aren't expensive or on the beaten path. But this place? I just. Don't. Get. It.

(I think the pictures of the food posted here are a great representation of how gross the food really is at Harry's.)

 

 COMMENT 375161 helpful negative off topic

2013-02-16 05:11 PM

What's happening at Harry's, is the same thing that happened to Joe's, pre Montesano. (The food went downhill but the drinks remained strong.) Joe's food has improved now for several years. Hopefully Harry's will do the same. If not, people will still go there.

 

 COMMENT 375162P helpful negative off topic

2013-02-16 05:20 PM

Harry's is Harry's. Either you are an old-timer with simpler (tough) meat and potatoes standards from an earlier era, or you are a gastronome obsessed with today's organic fresh orthodoxy foodie culture.
It's not really fair to apply the modern-day standard to Harry's. It's not, and doesn't want to try to be, a fresh vegetable or free range beef wonderland.
Drink up!

 

 COMMENT 375172P helpful negative off topic

2013-02-16 05:46 PM

I tried eating at Harry's a few times & it was never that good. I think Lauren's done a great job of describing (& picturing) the "Harry's Experience".

 

 COMMENT 375176P helpful negative off topic

2013-02-16 06:02 PM

This review was awful, and inexcusable attempt at humor. Please focus on the non-food novel and quit degrading SB eateries with your biased opinion. Coming from this blog of a site, I have already lost my appetite.

 

 COMMENT 375183P helpful negative off topic

2013-02-16 06:27 PM

I agree with 129P.

I don't agree that they have tough meat. My experience is the opposite. I think Harry's has the best meat sandwiches in town. I have found their hot roast beef sandwich and their corned beef or roast beef dip to be excellent. If you got a bad Omaha, say something.

 

 COMMENT 375196 helpful negative off topic

2013-02-16 07:11 PM

You order a hamburger patty with mushroom gravy and some simple shrimp dish and expect some epic food? BWWWWAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

 

 COMMENT 375199P helpful negative off topic

2013-02-16 07:27 PM

As Yogi Berra said about a St. Louis restaurant "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded." FWIW, I love eating at Harrys

 

 COMMENT 375204 helpful negative off topic

2013-02-16 07:47 PM

We gave up on Harry's a few years ago -- if one wants nostalgia go to Joe's downtown where the food is a bit better. Harry's is WAY over priced for the quality they offer.

 

 COMMENT 375208 helpful negative off topic

2013-02-16 07:57 PM

My kids like the food and atmosphere at Harry's. My wife and I like the drinks and atmosphere at Harry's. If we're going out for a drink, Harry's is great. if we're going out for a nice meal, then it's to somewhere else. None of the adults in the family goes to Harry's for the food. Harry's is what it is, and I don't think it wants to become great food.

 

 COMMENT 375061P helpful negative off topic

2013-02-16 08:20 PM

I must agree with 181 and 096 about ordering a hamburger patty! AKA salisbury steak. Bad choice. Know what to order. My family ate french dips there 30-40 years ago and decades later I had friends who had their name on a booth. It's a meet-upn spot with great salad, onion rings and other food. It's no way blue-haired, and I know lots of people who are silver or white-haired by 30 or 40 due to genetics. I always see 20, 30, 40 and 50 year-olds, and older there when I go. I mean, a whole range of people. Thank goodness those older can still make it out for a night!

How DO you tell 40 from 50 year olds? ( I'm SO old, I'm dying. I'm 50.)

 

 COMMENT 375213 helpful negative off topic

2013-02-16 08:21 PM

Crappy wait staff. Joes is much better. Young and non professional hosts and crap food. No wonder the drinks are stiff. You need a couple to drown out the negative. The pictures on the wall best part of harrys. It starts at the top with the owners and goes down to the wait staff. Not a friendly place to work for the servers. I don't expect much when i go there.

 

 COMMENT 375061P helpful negative off topic

2013-02-16 08:26 PM

I would like to hear from posters about what they ate. I've had some good meals there.

For local food info/recommendations, look at SB's own Restaurant Guy and Chow Hound. C'mon, if you're a foodie, you're not looking at Edhat!

 

 COMMENT 375221P helpful negative off topic

2013-02-16 08:54 PM

Harry's seems more like an entertainment destination than merely a restaurant. Kinda like Chuck E. Cheese, except at the opposite end of the age spectrum.

 

 COMMENT 375222 helpful negative off topic

2013-02-16 08:55 PM

You are telling me something that I have known for over ten years!

 

 COMMENT 375273 helpful negative off topic

2013-02-17 05:17 AM

Drinks fantastic, but stick to the appetizers if you're not happy with the food.

I guess I'm not as picky as many, but I never thought it was a gourmet joint anyway ,just a great place to have plain ol' good food.

 

 COMMENT 375284 helpful negative off topic

2013-02-17 07:19 AM

Burnt ends and a martini or a Mean Thai + kids meals for the kids = a very happy family experience in midtown. Harry's is the best! It's an institution and SB is fortunate to have it. I'm shocked by all these bad reviews.

 

 JEDHAT helpful negative off topic

2013-02-17 07:22 AM

213, Young and Non-proffessional hosts? Those are my friend's kids. I love seeing them there at their first job, all gangly and smiling nervously. Working at the place that their parents have been taking them to since they were barely walking.
I love everything about Harry's except the food, but you can't go wrong with the Grilled Cheese sandwich. Ask them to put dill pickles on it, all melted in there. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it. And I'm sure that when I go in, I'll see at least 2 or 3 pockets of friends. That's why I go there.

 

 FLICKA helpful negative off topic

2013-02-17 07:24 AM

I think the review was well written, an honest opinion of her experience. A little humor is welcomed, nicely done in this case. It really isn't terribly hard to cook decent food, no excuse for a resturant not to have decent chefs. Have some of the famous strong drinks and you'll think the meal is fine. Many people these days don't cook at home, so they really don't recognize good from bad in the cooking department. Looking forward to more reviews.

 

 COMMENT 375329 helpful negative off topic

2013-02-17 08:56 AM

Harry Davis must be turning over in his grave...he would be mortified.

 

 COMMENT 375333 helpful negative off topic

2013-02-17 09:04 AM

I was born in SB 50 years ago...the food at "Hairy`s" used to be awesome...Today [or these days],the cooks are all from the same country & buy from one of 2 distributers in town. 99% of SB`s eateries are pure garbage...From Montecito to Goleta,same cooks,same food,same crap & getting worse.

 

 COMMENT 375359 helpful negative off topic

2013-02-17 09:51 AM

I favor Joes. A drink & an Ohmaha.

 

 COMMENT 375360 helpful negative off topic

2013-02-17 09:55 AM

I like Harry's for the kitschy atmosphere. My game plan when I have to go (about once a year or so), is a good, strong drink, with a plate of scrambled eggs and bacon, and salsa on the side. They serve eggs all day, and there is little room to go wrong there. Eggs and martinis, anyone?

 

 JUST SAYIN helpful negative off topic

2013-02-17 10:47 AM

Ditto on the vegetables. It seems like they could at least use fresh, not frozen! I also have a family member who loves Harry's and I struggle through item after item on the menu. Thanks for the suggestion of grilled cheese. Really, Harry's, can't you put in a bit of effort with your food? I do love the atmosphere and I like a stiff drink as much as the next guy or gal, but food matters, too.

 

 COMMENT 375108P helpful negative off topic

2013-02-17 11:09 AM

Don't think she was reviewing attitude, presentation or landmark status, but the the _food_, which, ultimately, is what one expects to be described in a restaurant _review_.

 

 COMMENT 375133 helpful negative off topic

2013-02-17 11:26 AM

The burnt ends sandwich used to be better. It's gone downhill too. Now there's nothing worth eating, unless you like to eat beer with a spoon -- soup style.

The fact that the cooks are from Mexico has nothing to do with the bad food. The owner is in charge of the menu and is the one who buys the ingredients. The buck stops with him.

Hopefully management will get a whiff of all these negative reviews and make some changes!

 

 SEEDLADY helpful negative off topic

2013-02-17 11:51 AM

fyi--servers everywhere make fun of those 'difficult' guests. You just don't hear it when it's done in the back of the house or kitchen.

 

 COMMENT 375407 helpful negative off topic

2013-02-17 12:02 PM

If you go to Harry's during Fiesta or Cinco de Mayo, the specials list is ALL Mexican food, we discovered several years ago, they have really good Mexican food, better than the regular menu......I guess the kitchen staff knows what they're doing with these dishes...I've been going to Harry's for years, I agree, some things on the menu are mediocre, I usually get the hot wings and beef dip, always good, and fried chicken and chicken pot pies on the specials menu always great, and best drinks in town!

 

 COMMENT 375414P helpful negative off topic

2013-02-17 12:38 PM

If the wait staff spent as much energy on their jobs as they do on their cigarette breaks they'd be fabulous! -Lost count of how many times I have inhaled the second-hand smoke of the senior waitress ( her wuth the gold bow tie) as she's lugging on a ciggie outside the front door of Harry's!
The food is always disappointing! I can't eat theee any more. The drinks are strong but the female bar staff are rude, gossipy and more interested in their social lives than their jobs.
The only person who does a simple good job is the cute red-haired guy who seAts people!

 

 COMMENT 375414P helpful negative off topic

2013-02-17 12:41 PM

Tinkerbell-: ridiculous!

 

 COMMENT 375414P helpful negative off topic

2013-02-17 12:49 PM

They don't even have good horseradish for fheir " meat" - ask for horseradish and you get some sort of horseradish " dressing" - tastes like it is mixed with cheap mayo!

 

 DRBUD helpful negative off topic

2013-02-17 05:11 PM

I am astonished to read so many 'sour pickle' comments about Harry"s. We have been going there for years and even donated the fox bottle that is the first item on the upper wall rail. We love going on Wednesday nites and have a Mai Tai to go with their chile rellenos special. The service is excellent and everyone quite friendly. That's the reason so many of us 'blue hair' diners are seen there.
Why else would the place be doing great business every night!!

 

 COMMENT 375583 helpful negative off topic

2013-02-18 07:10 AM

Was just there last night. A friend wanted to treat a few to dinner as a thank you. My husband was laughing when he told me where we would be dining because he knows I'm not a big fan of their food. Yes, there is much room for improvement, but it's Harry's; a comfortable place to hang with friends and have a decent drink. I had the stuffed shrimp special last night with double vegetables instead of the rice pilaf; nothing to write home about, but good, vegetables were fresh, not frozen. I've never tried the french dip, but many diners were enjoying that last night, maybe that's the way to go.

 

 COMMENT 375081 helpful negative off topic

2013-02-18 10:11 AM

How about if you don't like Harry's leave it alone and don't eat there? They are obviously doing something right.

 

 COMMENT 375691 helpful negative off topic

2013-02-18 10:44 AM

Seems pretty simple to me, if you don't like the food - don't eat there. This review seems worth the money we paid for it -- NOTHING.

 

 COMMENT 375766 helpful negative off topic

2013-02-18 01:25 PM

A scary place if you are sober.

 

 COMMENT 375056P helpful negative off topic

2013-02-19 08:29 AM

Here's the deal guys, it's a review. Review's are opinions of the writer. Some agree, some disagree, but you shouldn't bash the writer for her opinion because it's just that... an opinion.

 

 COMMENT 376287 helpful negative off topic

2013-02-19 04:26 PM

I like the comment..."I was born in SB 50 years ago...the food at "Hairy`s" used to be awesome.

Hairy's? Really?

 

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