Wine dinner and other news at Santa Cruz restaurant Johnny’s Harborside


Guests enjoying 2011’s benefit wine dinner at Johnny’s Harborside

Santa Cruz restaurant Johnny’s Harborside has several food and drink specials of note, and a benefit winemaker dinner in November (the restaurant does an annual benefit each autumn; each year it picks a different organization or program to support).


Winemaker Dinner Nov. 9

The winemaker dinner at Johnny’s Harborside is on Nov. 9 at 6:30 p.m. It features six food courses, each with a wine pairing from Joyce Vineyards, and benefits Cabrillo College’s Culinary Arts program. The cost is $75 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity. Seating is limited; for reservations call (831) 479-3430 or email


Johnny’s Chef Evan Lite and a team of culinary students will prepare the dinner; attendees will have the opportunity to speak with Russell Joyce, winemaker and owner of Carmel Valley’s Joyce Vineyards, plus educators from Cabrillo’s culinary program. Attendees will be seated “family-style” at long tables. Here are a couple course highlights to whet your appetite; note that menu items may change slightly. The first course is Trio of Pokes (Salmon, Ahi, Hamachi) with cucumber aioli, sesame sand, and spring roll wrap. The wine pairing is Small Batch Dry Riesling. The third course is Pan Seared Day Boat Scallop with uni risotto, butter braised leeks and fennel, and lobster broth. The wine pairing is 2011 Black Mountain Chardonnay, Santa Lucia Highlands. Other selections include Saffron Citrus Panna Cotta and Red Peppercorn Crusted Wild Boar Strip Loin. Other wines include 2010 Pedregal Vineyard Merlot, San Benito.


Wine benefit through January

Also: from Sept. 19, 2012 until Jan. 1, 2013, Johnny’s Harborside is donating funds from all Joyce Vineyards wine sales at the restaurant to Cabrillo’s program ($1 from every glass and $4 from every bottle).


Weekday lunch specials

Johnny’s has weekday lunch specials that rotate; each includes a petite or half sandwich with a small salad and a cup of chowder for $10.


Current selections

Monday: Jr. Cheeseburger with Grilled Onions, Secret Sauce, Shredded Lettuce & Tomato

Tuesday: Ceviche Tostada with Shredded Lettuce, topped with Sour Cream & Guacamole

Wednesday: BBQ Pulled Pork Slider with Buttermilk Fried Onions & Cider Slaw

Thursday: Grilled Chicken & Bacon Clubhouse Sandwich

Friday: Grilled Salmon Sandwich with Baby Greens Cucumbers & Tomato Caper Tartar Sauce


$20 Monday dinner

On Monday nights from 5-8:30 p.m., the restaurant has a special 3-course menu for only $20 – and that includes a sampler glass of wine! For each course, customers get to choose between two items. The wine is a 3-ounce pour and there are two choices (one red, one white). On one Monday in October, appetizers included grilled bruschetta with bufala mozzarella and tomato bacon relish and entrées included shrimp pasta with spicy ancho sauce.

Johnny’s Harborside, (831) 479-3430, 493 Lake Avenue, Santa Cruz 95062


M-Th 11:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Fri 11:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Sat 10 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Sun 10 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Brunch served Sat and Sun 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

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