The Old Sea Harvest Restaurant Re-invented as the River Deck

Anyone who remembers the old Sea Harvest restaurant in New Smyrna Beach, Florida will remember the charm of a low key place that served up great food for an affordable price. After hurricanes destroyed the dock and possibly the restaurant itself, the place sat empty for a while. The Dolphin View took over the location at some point and we got take out when we were shopping for our home in the area.

Valet parking required at the River Deck restaurant in New Smyrna Beach Florida
Why all the valet parking at area restaurants?

The Dolphin View closed and every time we took the boat down this area of the Indian River we watched for signs of a new restaurant being built on this spot. Now, finally we have the River Deck. I was excited to learn that a well-known place had expanded to this location. The Ocean Deck is a well-known name in this area. As I understand it, the same owners have purchased the old Sea Harvest spot and opened the River Deck.

The new River Deck restaurant in New Smyrna Beach
Parking at the River Deck is Valet

Our Story of a Visit to the River Deck

We had been out fishing and boating most of the day. My son wanted some seafood for supper – we had caught nothing to keep. So he drove to the new River Deck restaurant, towing the boat, and tried to park along the roadway to be out of the way. A man came running down the road and told us we couldn’t park there. On the way in, I noticed that the entrances to the parking lots were blocked and announced “valet parking”. So the man, who apparently ran the parking area, signaled us to come down to the front of the restaurant. He told us that no trailered boat parking was allowed. My son said he just wanted to go in and grab some take out. The man said that he would allow us to park this one time, but generally it was not allowed.

This was nice of him. But all the while I was looking around the new parking area with newly planted palm trees and valet parking for all vehicles and thinking “Wow, this is nothing like the Sea Harvest”.

River Deck restaurant New Smyrna Beach
The new River Deck restaurant

What I Remember About the Sea Harvest

My ex-husband and I used to have an evening out and drive over to the beach to eat at the Sea Harvest (a photo). To get back to the blue building, there was a little road, which may have been dirt, hidden next to the Marina in New Smyrna Beach. You would drive down and park in the lot and go inside a not-so-fancy building to order your food. The meals were plentiful and the Grouper sandwich was popular because of all the fish that made up the filling. It was also very affordable. My ex (not an ex at the time) and I would sit at a rustic table on a rustic dock and watch the boats go up and down the River. It was a cheap way to eat good food next to the water. This place was typical old Florida, in my opinion.

From the Parking Lot, I Decided I Didn’t Like the New Place

The River Deck is quite a different atmosphere. The building was blue, but the resemblance ended there. I have not gone inside because I had to stay with the boat, but I did eat a $20 take out meal of fish sandwich and fries later at home. I thought it was overpriced. But the most disturbing thing was the outside. It was the fact that valet parking was required. We quit going to Outriggers mainly for this reason. Valet parking should be a choice. Now, maybe it helps with insurance, but this idea that cars must be parked by attendants certainly takes away from the old Florida charm for me.

Also, music played for all to hear. Now, call me old-fashioned, but if I want to hear music I will play what I like. When I go to a water-view restaurant maybe I just want to sit and talk and eat and enjoy the view. Once again, I did not go inside.

At a Florida restaurant I want to drive in, park and go eat. I want rustic. I want low-key and I want good food for an affordable price. I did not see this at the River Deck. And I never left the parking lot. I don’t plan to return, but we may pull up to the dock one day in our boat. Who knows. All I can say is that I am not eager to revisit.

The parking lot is right next to the New Smyrna Marina or is it the River Deck Marina? Here there were still signs of hurricane damage to the piers. I was surprised to see that the docks had not been fixed.

  • New Smyrna Beach marina deck damage from hurricanes
  • Dock damage at the NSB marina in Florida

Although we were allowed to park because it was a fairly slow time, the food was not impressive and the fact that valet parking is required really turned us off. It is not like the old Sea Harvest by a long shot. Florida in general is losing it’s old charm and too many businesses are catering to the wealthy northerners who expect something more, apparently.

Thank God we still have a couple restaurants left that have not changed to keep the visitors happy. Goodrich’s is a favorite and Breakers is still a rustic beachside place to eat.

See my list of places to eat on the water in New Smyrna Beach.

I’d rather eat here

Breakers restaurant on the beach

Quiet Day On The Boat

A hot and beautiful day on the boat took us to a remote river island, a stop in the ocean, and then…

Eating at the Dolphin View

For a while the old Sea Harvest restaurant was the “Dolphin View” and this is my review from a visit there back when it was open.

dolphin view restaurant
(UPDATE: The Dophin View has gone out of business and this blue building is currently empty.)

(*This place has closed down not long after I wrote this post.)

The Dolphin View riverside restaurant in New Smyrna used to be the Sea Harvest.  (As you can tell after reading this post, I was not highly impressed by the Dolphin View, and apparently I was not alone.)

I was out house-hunting and stopped to get some lunch to-go.  I stood in line outside to order, and it was HOT.  With only one group of customers in front of me, I still waited a while to order.  It was Saturday, and well before lunch time, so there were few patrons. As I stood there sweating, at least I could watch the weekend parade of boats head by.  Most were going north (to Disappearing Island?) up towards Ponce Inlet. Continue reading “Eating at the Dolphin View”

Surprised By a Little Seafood Restaurant in Oak Hill

deck view of intracaostal
Looking north

Someone told us about Goodrich’s Seafood Restaurant while we were visiting the Oak Hill area a week or so ago, so we stopped in for lunch.

It’s a little, out-of-the way place that sits right on the Indian River / Mosquito Lagoon.  They have indoor or outdoor seating, and we chose to sit outside on a picnic table.  Even though the weather was very hot, the sea breeze kept it comfortable enough.

Unfortunately I was having stomach issues that day, so I had only the crab patty appetizer. I would have liked to order a real meal.  My two sons were with me and they each had fish and chips.  Everything was very good.

My younger son, who has grown up mostly in the northeast asked, “What are hushpuppies?” Poor thing, he’s led a sheltered life.  The condiments and extra napkins were kept inside a fishing tackle box on the table, which added to the seaside atmosphere.

This place is really not so little… there are tables with thatched umbrellas, picnic tables,  and other tables under the extended porch roof, as well as a bunch of indoor seating.  The ladies room was super clean!  I look forward to going back when I can really enjoy a nice meal.

deck dock seaside restaurant
Looking South

It appears that one could bring the boat right up and dock it to go inside and eat, but no one did that the day we were there.

outdoor dining by the Indian river
Indian River view from the deck of Goodrich’s restaurant

The historic site called “Seminole Rest” is just a bit farther south. In fact, if you look closely you can see the orange roofs of the two houses on the property among that background clump of trees in the picture above.

We did make a trip back and I got some food photos.  Check out Goodrich’s online.


IMG_0769You may be interested in reading this article written by travel writer Bob Rountree who got a photo of a rare white pelican from his visit to this area. He also goes into more detail about this restaurant and surrounding area.

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