Go to Barbara's Fish Shack near Half Moon Bay. From San Jose go north on 280 or 101 until you reach Highway 92, then turn west until you reach Highway 1. Go North on 1 for 2 miles - Barbara's is in the Harbor at Princeton by the Sea.
Not fancy - sign on the wall says "If you have reservations you're in the wrong restaurant." Cash or checks, no credit cards.
Voted "Best Seafood Restaurant" year after year. It is the best.
Takes us 45 minutes to get there from my house - we make the trip frequently - it's THAT good.
If you want "atmosphere" - go elsewhere. If you want to eat excellent seafood, this is the place.
I recommend going for lunch (before 5:00 p.m.) - less $$$ and waiting.
Just went there on Jan. 1 - gotta start the New Year off right!!
IMHO the seafood restaurants in Santa Cruz pale in comparison, and I've eaten at most of them. I've never had anything other than a terrific meal at Barbara's.