Restaurant 616 Atlantic Ave, Santa Cruz, CA
Slapping-fresh seafood and hearty breakfasts. When it’s cold everywhere else, this sweet harborside institution with the sunny deck is just right. When it’s too hot the umbrellas come out, and when Aldo’s serves dinner (starting Memorial Day weekend), so do the heat lamps.
505 Seabright Ave, Santa Cruz, CA
Why the long lines on the weekends? Must be the generous burgers slathered with “secret lube” that this newish Seabright stand serves up with bacon, cheese, guacamole and anything else a burger-lover might desire. Shoestring fries or onion rings accompany. Betty also serves exotically flavored shakes (like blackberry) made with local Marianne’s ice cream.
Charlie Hong Kong
141 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz, CA
Open daily from 11am to 11pm, this spicy treasure specializes in huge flavors for cheap prices. Singapore street food meets pan-Asian fusion in a menu full of rice bowls and noodle soups.
1134 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz, CA
Sweet and savory crepes and the famous Tunisian donut. Lush plants, twinkly lights, cool arbors for really hot days and heaters for chilly nights have made the Crepe Place—now a major indie music venue—a favorite outdoor dining spot for years. It’s also dog-friendly.
537 Seabright Ave, Santa Cruz, CA
A must-see waterfront meeting place, Crow’s Nest delivers unique coastal attitude and a lively menu of fresh seafood, aged beef and decadent pastas along with one of the top cocktail scenes in the area. The views of Monterey across the bay are especially romantic from the upstairs Breakwater Bar & Grill, a top spot for drinks with appetizers or hearty lunches throughout the week.
538 Seabright Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 95062
A beautiful Santa Cruz Italian restaurant, La Posta is known for creative renditions of fine Italian cuisine crafted from organic, locally and sustainably sourced ingredients. The menu changes frequently to highlight cuisines from the varying regions of Italy, and the wine list favors Italian producers with options to complement every dish. Stop in on Sundays to enjoy affordable prix fixe menus of family-style Italian cuisine.
Leo's Taco Bar
1710 Brommer St, Santa Cruz, CA
If you’re out near Pleasure Point and suddenly you and your soccer team find yourselves ravenous but short on cash, then by all means head on over to Leo’s Taco Bar, where the plates are gigantic and the prices are low.
Lillian's Italian Kitchen
1116 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz, CA
We started with prawns diavola and ended with decadent cannoli. In between we feasted on home-cooked Italian food, Jersey-style. A vibrant neighborhood haunt with no pretensions and plenty of gusto, Lillian’s Italian Kitchen has come into its own. Read review here
Linda’s Seabreeze Café
542 Seabright Ave, Santa Cruz
On any given day the menu and specials board at Linda’s Seabreeze Café are chock full of delicious treats: the Orange Poppy seed pancakes, Seabreeze Spuds, the Tex Mex Scramble and of course the cinnamon rolls, cooked in a muffin tin to give them a crisp, flakey exterior and soft, doughy interior. Of everything on the menu, though, the item that might serve as the best indicator of the governing ethos at Linda’s is the Mickey Mouse pancake. It’s the tip-off that eating here is less like being in a restaurant than like being a kid again and waking up for breakfast at your best friend’s house.
Linwood's at Chaminade
1 Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz, CA
Without a doubt Linwood's supplies one of the dreamiest, most soothing, positively Ligurian views available in Santa Cruz. The sapphire bay, dotted with white sails, all unfolds beyond the rolling green lawn and stands of eucalyptus adorning Chaminade.
519 Seabright Ave, Santa Cruz, CA
Coastal brewpub. Burgers, clam chowder, grilled eggplant and red pepper sandwiches plus the brewery's assortment of microbrews.
2-1245 E. Cliff Dr., Santa Cruz, CA
An authentic Italian restaurant that draws its menu from the owner's and chef's roots in Italy's Calabria.
Tony & Alba's
817 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz, CA
Inventive pizza specials are supplemented by pastas, soups and salads.