Took the girlfriend here for a romantic dinner and we had a great time (other than the screaming kids and their sorry excuse of parents). I can't understand why some of the previous reviewers were so harsh with this place. Hmm... Eating at this place over the Canada Day long weekend when Steveston has it's Salmon Festival is not a time to have high expectations of top notch service or food to come out fast. It's unreasonable.
Yes, granted, Shady Island looks a little run down, but I think it was one of the first restaurants to go up when that whole pier area was redeveloped. It does need a face lift/renovations.
As for kids, the place is not as kid unfriendly as it should be. I would like to enjoy a romantic dinner with my girlfriend without having to suffer through screaming kids, kids throwing food, and kids running around all over the place. If Shady Island is making an effort to keep these kind kids out as well as for their irresponsible parents, I'm all for it. As it stands, it seems like they'll allow kids in, but they just won't let people have strollers by the tables. I would have given 5 stars for ambiance if there wasn't any screaming kids.
As for food, yes, there are some issues. The oysters on the half shell were pretty small and mediocre. But the main course that my girlfriend and I had (the steamed seafood platter) was awesome. I've always enjoyed their Seafood Chowder here. I'm a little disappointed that they don't serve it in a bread bowl anymore. Their creme brulee was another high point. I do have to agree that the prices are a little high ($140 not including tip), but what would you expect for a full course dinner of appetizers, main dish, desserts and a bottle of wine?
The service was terrific. Our server was very attentive and apologized for the size of the oysters, but apparently those were the only ones they had in stock. We sent them back without any problems. It's not the server's fault that the oysters were small and he fixed the problem for us immediately. Again, I would have given 5 stars for service if the staff in the restaurant had booted out the screaming kids and their parents. Parents who have kids that cannot behave in a restaurant, should not be allowed to bring their kids into a restaurant nor should they expect to be allowed to so. Restaurants have a right to deny service to whomever they want. Dinning in a restaurant is a privilege, not a right.
Also, in regards to the oysters and fresh seafood, I wouldn't expect the restaurant to send somebody down to the docks and get some bigger ones off the boats that are selling seafood down there (as a previous reviewer indicated). Not only would that be a health risk (possible red tide infection), but most restaurants are required to purchase seafood from a reputable source and not off the back of some boat. Yes, I want to be served fresh seafood, but not at the risk of having that seafood being infected with some virus or sea louse.
All in all, Shady Island is a nice place for having a romantic dinner with a nice sunset view.