best of santa cruz county 2019 food and drink Alderwood
Cover Stories

Best of Santa Cruz County 2019: Food & Drink

The best restaurants, happy hours, brunch spots and more

Alderwood was voted Santa Cruz's best new restaurant.

 

Best Breakfast /SLV-Scotts Valley

Auntie Mame’s 

  1.     Auntie Mame is an exuberant character in a 1958 auntie mame technicolor comedy based on a novel of the same name. She hosts frequent parties with bohemian guests, and her repeated motto is “Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!” 
  2.     At this classic American breakfast spot, you have a choice between hash browns and home fries.
  3.     Health-food trends may come and go, but Auntie Mame’s chicken fried steak and homemade biscuits and gravy is forever.
  4.     Kids can order a pancake shaped like a mouse face and play with toys while they wait.
  5.     Known for fast and friendly service and generous portions.

 

Best Brunch

Harbor Café 

  1.     Harbor Café has one of the biggest patio areas in town, with large picnic tables to accommodate hungry groups. harbor cafe
  2.     Start your weekend early with the mimosa specials on Friday, then extend it with $4 Bloody Marys on Monday. Recover on Tuesday with banana pancakes for $2? Yes.
  3.     Dogs are so welcome they get their own menu.
  4.     Vegetarians and vegans can get their fill here, too, with favorites like the veggie bene and Mexican tofu scramble.
  5.     If you have to wait for a table, you can do so with self-serve coffee or a drink from the tiki bar. Try the pomegranate or fresh-squeezed grapefruit greyhound and you’ll hardly notice your wait.

 

Best Cheap Eats

Charlie Hong Kong

  1.     Long before Bon Appetit began featuring the bowl as the superior plating method on their magazine covers, CHK was serving up their signature bowls of rice or noodles, proteins and fresh veggies with savory sauces for only $7. charlie hong kong
  2.     Charlie Hong Kong, named after the original chef, Charlie Deal, has been serving Southeast Asian street-food-inspired dishes in the heart of the Seabright neighborhood for 21 years.
  3.     The building was originally a 1950s ice cream stand.
  4.     They are a certified Green Business and passionately support local organic farmers.
  5.     CHK owner Carolyn Rudolph maintains a blog on its website, charliehongkong.com.

 

Best Clam Chowder

Stagnaro Brothers

  1.     The Stagnaro family emigrated from Italy in 1913, started their wharf business in 1937, survived the Great Depression, and have been a Santa Cruz staple ever since. stagnaro
  2.     Stagnaro Bros. is the largest fish market in Northern California.
  3.     Chowder is served in a cup or an edible bread bowl (the environmentally friendly choice).
  4.     Clams have been a source of food on the West Coast of California for thousands of years, and were the primary source of nourishment for the Chumash people native to Santa Cruz.
  5.     Located at the end of the Wharf, Stagnaro Bros. has a superb view of the Monterey Bay from their upper-deck lounge.

 

Best Desserts – Restaurant

Chocolate

  1.     Almost everything on the menu (including entrées) contains chocolate. chocolate
  2.     The restaurant grew from David Jackman’s experience as a pastry chef on a farm in Bologna, Italy during the height of the slow food movement in the 1980s.
  3.     They serve 10 kinds of hot chocolate, with non-dairy options available.
  4.     The natural chemicals in cocoa, called flavanols, have been shown to relax the blood vessels, improve blood flow and thereby lower blood pressure, according to a Harvard study.
  5.     The heated, plant-filled patio has become a beloved oasis on Pacific Avenue.

 

Best Frozen Yogurt

Top A Lot 

  1.     Ready with 49 toppings, Top A Lot offers a local alternative to plain frozen yogurt. top a lot
  2.     They have a buy-one, get-one-free special on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-7 p.m.
  3.     Flavors vary weekly, but the original fro-yo flavor, Euro Tart, is always available.
  4.     Avoid the mall, and get your kid’s picture with Santa at this family-owned establishment instead.
  5.     They are open until 10 p.m.—perfect for late-night munchies.

 

Best New Restaurant

Alderwood

  1.     James Beard finalist Miles Macquarrie curated the cocktail program to complement Chef Jeffrey Wall’s cuisine. alderwood
  2.     Dry-aging beef—like the 60-day-aged steak offered at Alderwood—transforms the enzymes into smaller, more flavorful fragments, and the collagen dissolves into gelatin during cooking, making it more succulent.
  3.     Now you don’t have to head over the hill for a steakhouse that delivers on flavor with a unique coastal vibe.
  4.     For $10 during one of their two happy hour options (4-5:30 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday; plus 9:30 p.m.-midnight on Fridays and Saturdays), you can get a delicious burger and a Miller High Life beer–Wall’s nod to service-industry workers—or take advantage of their fresh oysters for $1.25 each.
  5.     They do not charge a corkage fee on the first two bottles of wine. For each additional bottle, the fee is $25.

 

Best Restaurant / Santa Cruz

Oswald 

  1.     On special occasions like New Year’s and UCSC graduation, Oswald offers special set prix-fixe menus. Oswald best of santa cruz
  2.     Bring your date to Oswald for an unforgettable romantic dinner.
  3.     You can always find good spirits and good conversation at the bar.
  4.     Always go for the seasonal cocktail, which delivers a burst of (sometimes exotic) fresh-squeezed juice without fail.
  5.     It has been argued (including by some in the pages of GT) that Oswald has the best gourmet burger in Santa Cruz.

 

Best Sushi / Watsonville

Imura

  1.     Imura attracts patrons from all parts of Santa Cruz County. imura
  2.     In addition to sushi, Imura offers a full menu of Japanese and Korean dishes.
  3.     Imura grew from humble beginnings in 1992 and now employs over 30 people, many of them family members.
  4.     Great alternative to a sports bar for having a beer and watching a game.
  5.     The crunchy magana is one of the most popular sushi rolls on the menu.

 

Best Vegetarian

Dharma’s 

  1.     Originally named McDharma’s for being dharmavirtuous (dharma) fast food, but in 1984 McDonald’s began challenging the name in court. The David-and-Goliath battle went on for four years and ended with Dharma’s losing on a technicality in court.
  2.     The incident received international media attention, and owner Ben Shapiro says they are still McDharma’s, but the “Mc” is silent.
  3.     Rae Dawn Chong and Kenny Loggins are among its fans.
  4.     Known for huge portions that have impressed even fervent meat lovers.
  5.     All vegetarian, vegan optional. Dharma’s serves nothing with meat, fish or eggs.

 


 

Acai Bowl

Samba Rock Acai Café  

291 Water St., Santa Cruz, 458-2224

RUNNERS-UP Café Brasil, The Palm Deli

 

Appetizers

Hula’s Island Grill

221 Cathcart St., Santa Cruz, 426-4852, hulastiki.com

RUNNERS-UP The Crow’s Nest, Shadowbrook Restaurant

 

Bagel

Bagelry

320 Cedar St., Santa Cruz, 429-8049;
1636 Seabright Ave., Santa Cruz, 425-8550;
4763 Soquel Drive, Soquel, 462-9888, bagelrysantacruz.com

RUNNERS-UP Bagel Cafe, Main Street Bagels

 

Bakery

Gayle’s Bakery

504 Bay Ave., Capitola, 462-1200, gaylesbakery.com

RUNNERS-UP The Buttery, Companion Bakeshop

 

Barbecue

Aptos St. BBQ  

8059 Aptos St., Aptos, 662-1721, aptosstbbq.com

RUNNERS-UP Cole’s BBQ & Catering, Mission St. BBQ

 

Bar Food

Parish Publick House

841 Almar Ave., Santa Cruz, 421-0507;
8017 Soquel Drive, Aptos, 708-2036, theparishpublick.com

RUNNERS-UP 515 Kitchen & Cocktails, The Crow’s Nest

 

Bread

Companion Bakeshop

2341 Mission St., Santa Cruz, 252-2253;
7486 Soquel Drive, Aptos, companionbakeshop.com

RUNNERS-UP Beckmann’s Old World Bakery, Gayle’s Bakery

 

Breakfast

Zachary’s Restaurant (Santa Cruz)

819 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 427-0646, zacharyssantacruz.com

RUNNERS-UP Harbor Café, Walnut Avenue Café

 

Red Apple Café (Aptos/Soquel)

783 Rio Del Mar Blvd., Aptos, 685-1224, redappleaptos.com

RUNNERS-UP Silver Spur, Sunrise Café

 

Avenue Café (Capitola)

427 Capitola Ave., Capitola, 515-7559, avenuecafecapitola.com

RUNNERS-UP Cliff Café, Gayle’s Bakery

 

Auntie Mame’s (Scotts Valley/SLV)

3103 Scotts Valley Drive, Scotts Valley, 438-1840, auntiemamescafe.co

RUNNERS-UP Heavenly Roadside Café, Rocky’s Café

 

Cowboy’s Corner Café (Watsonville)

946 Main St., Watsonville, 761-8996, cowboycornercafe.com

RUNNERS-UP Beach Street Café, Red Apple Café

 

Brunch

Harbor Café  

535 7th Ave., Santa Cruz, 475-4948, harborcafesantacruz.com

RUNNERS-UP Chaminade, The Crow’s Nest

 

Burger

Betty Burgers (Santa Cruz)

505 Seabright Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-8190;
1222 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 600-7056, bettyburgers.com  

burger. (Santa Cruz)

1520 Mission St., Santa Cruz, 425-5300, burgerlovesbeer.com

RUNNERS-UP Jack’s Hamburgers, West End Tap & Kitchen

 

burger. (Aptos/Soquel)

7941 Soquel Drive, Aptos, 662-2811, burgerlovesbeer.com

RUNNERS-UP Carpo’s, Parish Publick House Aptos  

 

Betty Burgers (Capitola)

1000 41st Ave., Santa Cruz, 475-5901, bettyburgers.com

RUNNERS-UP East End Gastropub, Paradise Beach Grille  

 

Malone’s Grille (Scotts Valley/SLV)

4402 Scotts Valley Drive, Scotts Valley, 438-2244, malonesgrille.com  

RUNNERS-UP Bruno’s Bar & Grill, Cremer House

 

Wooden Nickel (Watsonville)

1819 Freedom Blvd., Freedom, 724-2600

RUNNERS-UP California Grill, Main Street Burger & Brew  

 

Burrito

Tacos Moreno (Santa Cruz)

1053 Water St., Santa Cruz, 429-6095

RUNNERS-UP Taqueria Vallarta, Taqueria Los Pericos  

 

Taqueria Los Gordos (Aptos/Soquel)

7488 Soquel Drive, Aptos, 688-0911

RUNNERS-UP El Chipotle, Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant

 

Tacos Moreno (Capitola)

1601 41st Ave., Capitola, 464-8810

RUNNERS-UP El Toro Bravo, Taqueria Vallarta

 

Los Gallos Taqueria (Scotts Valley/SLV)

18 Victor Square Ste. A, Scotts Valley, 439-9803

RUNNERS-UP Habaneros Bar & Grill, Taqueria Vallarta

 

El Frijolito (Watsonville)

11 Alexander St., Watsonville, 724-8823

RUNNERS-UP Cilantros Parrilla y Cantina, Super Taqueria

 

Calamari

The Crow’s Nest

2218 E Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, 476-4560, crowsnest-santacruz.com

RUNNERS-UP Riva Fish House, West End Tap & Kitchen

 

Caterer

Barbara & Company

2431 Chanticleer Ave., Santa Cruz, 426-6051, barbara-company.com

RUNNERS-UP Gordo Gustavo’s, Five Star

 

Cheap Eats

Charlie Hong Kong

1141 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz, 426-5664, charliehongkong.com

RUNNERS-UP Betty’s Noodle House, Taqueria Vallarta

 

Cheese Selection

Shopper’s Corner

622 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-1398, shopperscorner.com

RUNNERS-UP New Leaf Community Market, Staff of Life

 

Chinese Cuisine

Canton

900 41st Ave., Santa Cruz, 475-8751, cantonsantacruz.com

RUNNERS-UP Panda Inn, The Red Pearl

 

Chocolatier

Donnelly’s Chocolates  

1509 Mission St., Santa Cruz, 458-4214, donnellychocolates.com

RUNNERS-UP Mackenzies Chocolates, Chocolate

 

Clam Chowder

Stagnaro Brothers   

59 Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz, 423-2180

RUNNERS-UP The Crow’s Nest, Riva Fish House  

 

Coffeehouse (Independent)

Cat & Cloud

3600 Portola Dr, Santa Cruz;
Abbott Square, 725 Front St., Santa Cruz, catandcloud.com

RUNNERS-UP Lulu Carpenter’s, Verve

 

Cookies

Pacific Cookie Company

1203 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 429-6905, pacificcookie.com  

RUNNERS-UP The Buttery, Gayle’s Bakery

 

Cupcakes

Buttercup Cakes & Farmhouse Frosting

1411 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 466-0373, farmhousefrosting.com

RUNNERS-UP The Buttery, Gayle’s Bakery

 

Date Night Restaurant

Laili (Santa Cruz)

101 Cooper St., Santa Cruz, 423-4545, lailirestaurant.com

RUNNERS-UP Gabriella’s, Oswald  

 

Cafe Cruz (Aptos/Soquel)

2621 41st Ave., Soquel, 476-3801, cafecruz.com

RUNNERS-UP Home, Café Sparrow  

 

Shadowbrook Restaurant (Capitola)

1750 Wharf Rd., Capitola, 475-1511, shadowbrook-capitola.com  

RUNNERS-UP Paradise Beach Grille, Sotola Bar & Grill

 

Cremer House (Scotts Valley/SLV)

6256 Hwy. 9, Felton, 335-3976, thecremerhouse.com

RUNNERS-UP Ristorante Casa Nostra, Malone’s Grille

 

California Grill  (Watsonville)

40 Penny Lane, Watsonville, 722-8052, californiagrillrestaurant.com

Ella’s at the Airport (Watsonville)

100 Aviation Way., Watsonville, 728-3282, ellasinwatsonville.com

RUNNER-UP Cilantros Parrilla y Cantina, Jalisco Restaurant

 

Deli

Zoccoli’s Deli

1534 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-1711, zoccolis.com  

RUNNERS-UP Erik’s DeliCafe, Garden Deli

 

Desserts (Bakery)

Gayle’s Bakery

504 Bay Ave., Capitola, 462-1200, gaylesbakery.com

RUNNERS-UP Buttercup Cakes & Farmhouse Frosting, The Buttery

 

Desserts (Restaurant)

Chocolate

1522 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 427-9900, chocolatesantacruz.com

RUNNERS-UP Bittersweet Bistro, Shadowbrook Restaurant

 

Donut Shop

Ferrell’s Donuts  

2227 Mission St., Santa Cruz, 457-2760

RUNNER-UP Allbright’s Donut Shoppe

 

Falafel

Zameen

851 41st Ave., Santa Cruz, 713-5520, zameencuisine.com

RUNNERS-UP Falafel of Santa Cruz, Falafel House Downtown

 

Food Event

Greek Food Festival

Downtown Santa Cruz

RUNNERS-UP Clam Chowder Cook Off, Grazing on the Green

 

French Fries

Betty Burgers

1000 41st Ave., Santa Cruz, 475-5901;
505 Seabright Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-8190;
1222 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 600-7056, bettyburgers.com

RUNNERS-UP 515 Kitchen & Cocktails, West End Tap & Kitchen

 

Frozen Yogurt

Top A Lot Yogurt

738 Water St., Santa Cruz, 426-1375, topalot.com

RUNNERS-UP Cruz Creamery, Juicy Sweet

 

Greek

Vasili’s Greek Restaurant

1501A Mission St., Santa Cruz, 458-9808, vasilisgreekrestaurant.com

RUNNERS-UP Mozaic, Zameen Mediterranean Cuisine  

 

Hawaiian Cuisine

Pono Hawaiian Grill

120 Union St., Santa Cruz, 426-7666, ponohawaiiangrill.com

RUNNERS-UP Aloha Island Grille, Hula’s Island Grill  

 

Hot Dog

Gary’s Old Fashioned Snappy Dogs  

930 Almar Ave., Santa Cruz, 295-3610

RUNNERS-UP Happy Dog Hot Dog, Taylor Bros Hot Dogs  

 

Ice Cream

Marianne’s

1020 Ocean St., Santa Cruz, 458-1447;
218 State Park Drive, Aptos, 713-4746;
104 Stockton Ave., Capitola, 479-8888, mariannesicecream.com

RUNNERS-UP Mission Hill Creamery, Penny Ice Creamery  

 

Indian Cuisine

Ambrosia India Bistro

207 Sea Ridge Rd., Aptos, 685-0610;

6006 La Madrona Dr., #D, Scotts Valley, 713-5594, ambrosiaib.com

RUNNERS-UP Mumbai Delights, Malabar

 

Italian Cuisine

Lillian’s Italian Kitchen  

1148 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 425-2288, lilliansitaliankitchen.com

RUNNERS-UP La Posta, Ristorante Italiano

 

Juice Bar / Smoothies

New Leaf Community Markets

1101 Fair Ave., Santa Cruz, 426-1306;
1134 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 425-1793;
1210 41st Ave., Capitola, 479-7987, newleaf.com

RUNNERS-UP Amazon Juices, Staff of Life

 

Kid-Friendly Eatery

Carpo’s

2400 Porter St., Soquel, 476-6260, carposrestaurant.com

RUNNERS-UP Kianti’s Pizza & Pasta Bar, Woodstock’s Pizza  

 

Late-Night Eatery

Saturn Café

145 Laurel St., Santa Cruz, 429-8505, saturncafe.com  

RUNNERS-UP 515 Kitchen & Cocktails, Crepe Place

 

Mexican Cuisine

El Palomar (Santa Cruz)

1336 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 425-7575, elpalomarsantacruz.com

RUNNERS-UP Tacos Moreno, Taqueria Los Pericos

 

Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant (Aptos/Soquel)

261 Center Ave., Aptos, 688-4848, manuelsrestaurant.com

RUNNERS-UP Palapas Restaurant y Cantina, Tortilla Flats

 

El Toro Bravo (Capitola)

123 Monterey Ave., Capitola, 476-1553, eltorobravorestaurant.com  

RUNNER-UP Margaritaville, Taqueria Vallarta

 

Maya Mexican Restaurant (Scotts Valley/SLV)

3115 Scotts Valley Drive, Scotts Valley, 438-7004, mayasv.com

RUNNERS-UP Los Gallos, Taqueria Vallarta

 

Cilantros Parrilla y Cantina (Watsonville)

1934 Main St., Watsonville, 761-2161, elpalomarcilantros.com

RUNNERS-UP El Frijolito, Jalisco Restaurant

 

Middle Eastern

Laili  

101 Cooper St., Santa Cruz, 423-4545, lailirestaurant.com

RUNNERS-UP Mozaic, Zameen

 

New Restaurant

Alderwood

155 Walnut Ave, Santa Cruz, 588-3238, alderwoodsantacruz.com

RUNNERS-UP HōM Korean Kitchen, Primal

 

Patio Dining

Laili (Santa Cruz)

101 Cooper St., Santa Cruz, 423-4545, lailirestaurant.com

RUNNERS-UP Crepe Place, The Crow’s Nest

 

The Hideout (Aptos/Soquel)

9051 Soquel Dr, Aptos, 688-5566, thehideoutaptos.com

RUNNERS-UP Bittersweet Bistro, Cafe Cruz

 

Shadowbrook Restaurant (Capitola)

1750 Wharf Rd., Capitola, 475-1511, shadowbrook-capitola.com

RUNNERS-UP Paradise Beach Grille, Zelda’s on the Beach

 

Malone’s Grille (Scotts Valley/SLV)

4402 Scotts Valley Drive, Scotts Valley, 438-2244, malonesgrille.com

RUNNERS-UP  Cowboy Bar & Grill, Cremer House

 

Ella’s at the Airport (Watsonville)

100 Aviation Way, Watsonville, 728-3282, ellasinwatsonville.com

RUNNERS-UP Cilantros Parrilla y Cantina, Red Apple Café

 

Pizza       

Pizza My Heart (Santa Cruz)

1116 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 426-2511, pizzamyheart.com

RUNNERS-UP Bantam, Woodstock’s Pizza  

 

Pizza 1 (Aptos/Soquel)

253 Center Ave., Aptos, 684-1110, pizza-1.com

RUNNERS-UP Showtime Pizza, Upper Crust Pizza & Pasta

 

Pizza My Heart (Capitola)

2180 41st Ave., Capitola, 475-6000;
209 Esplanade, Capitola, 475-5714, pizzamyheart.com

RUNNERS-UP Pleasure Pizza, Village Host Pizza & Grill

 

Redwood Pizzeria (Scotts Valley/SLV)

6205 Hwy. 9, Felton, 335-1500, redwoodpizza.com

RUNNERS-UP Boulder Creek Pizza & Pub, Tony & Alba’s

 

Cassidy’s Pizza (Watsonville)

1400 Freedom Blvd., Watsonville, 724-2271

RUNNERS-UP Big J’s Pizza, Corralitos Pizza

 

Probiotic Drink

Vida Juice

fermentvida.com

RUNNER-UP Drink La Vie

 

Restaurant

Oswald (Santa Cruz)

121 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-7427, oswaldrestaurant.com   

RUNNERS-UP The Crow’s Nest, Laili

 

Café Sparrow (Aptos/Soquel)

8042 Soquel Drive, Aptos, 688-6238, cafesparrow.com

RUNNERS-UP Bittersweet Bistro, The Hideout

 

Shadowbrook Restaurant (Capitola)

1750 Wharf Rd., Capitola, 475-1511, shadowbrook-capitola.com

RUNNERS-UP East End Gastropub, Paradise Beach Grille

 

Cremer House (Scotts Valley/SLV)

6256 Hwy. 9, Felton, 335-3976, thecremerhouse.com

RUNNERS-UP Ristorante Casa Nostra, Cowboy Bar & Grill

 

Malone’s Grille (Scotts Valley/SLV)

4402 Scotts Valley Drive, Scotts Valley, 438-2244, malonesgrille.com  

RUNNERS-UP Jia Tella, Ambrosia Indian Bistro

 

Cafe Cruz (Soquel)

2621 41st Ave., Soquel, 476-3801, cafecruz.com

RUNNERS-UP Home, Tortilla Flats

 

California Grill (Watsonville)

40 Penny Lane, Watsonville, 722-8052, californiagrillrestaurant.com

RUNNERS-UP Cilantros Parrilla y Cantina, Ella’s at the Airport

 

Salad

The Crow’s Nest

2218 E Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, 476-4560, crowsnest-santacruz.com

RUNNERS-UP Cafe Cruz, Carpo’s

 

Sandwich

Zoccoli’s

1534 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-1711, zoccolis.com

RUNNERS-UP Garden Deli, Surf City Sandwich

 

Seafood    

Johnny’s Harborside (Santa Cruz)

493 Lake Ave., Santa Cruz, 479-3430, johnnysharborside.com

RUNNERS-UP The Crow’s Nest, Stagnaro Bros.

 

Cafe Cruz (Aptos/Soquel)

2621 41st Ave., Soquel, 476-3801, cafecruz.com

RUNNERS-UP Akira, Café Rio

 

Shadowbrook Restaurant (Capitola)  

1750 Wharf Rd., Capitola, 475-1511, shadowbrook-capitola.com

RUNNERS-UP Paradise Beach Grille, Zelda’s On The Beach

 

Ristorante Casa Nostra (San Lorenzo/SLV)

9217 Hwy. 9, Ben Lomond, 609-6132, ristorantecasanostra.com

RUNNERS-UP Rumble Fish, Sushi Blossom Scotts Valley

 

Fish House Bar & Grill (Watsonville)

972 Main St., Watsonville, 728-3333

RUNNERS-UP Cilantros Parrilla y Cantina, La Perla del Pacifico

 

Small Plates

515 Kitchen & Cocktails

515 Cedar St., Santa Cruz, 425-5051, 515santacruz.com

RUNNERS-UP Lúpulo Craft Beer House, Soif

 

Soup

Erik’s DeliCafé

1475 41st Ave., Capitola, 475-4646;
1664 Soquel Drive, Santa Cruz, 462-1919;
102 Rancho Del Mar, Aptos, 688-5656;
222 Mt Hermon Rd. J, Scotts Valley, 438-4646;
1074 S. Green Valley Rd., Watsonville, 724-7575, eriksdelicafe.com

RUNNERS-UP Shadowbrook, Staff of Life

 

Steak

Hindquarter Bar & Grille

303 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 426-7770, thehindquarter.com

RUNNERS-UP Alderwood, Shadowbrook Restaurant

 

Sushi/Japanese

Akira Sushi (Santa Cruz)

1222 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 600-7093, akirasantacruz.com

RUNNERS-UP Mobo, Shogun  

 

Akira Sushi (Aptos/Soquel)

105 D Post Office Drive, Aptos, 708-2154, akiraaptos.com

 

Sushi Garden (Capitola)

820 Bay Ave. #148, Capitola, 464-9192, sushi-garden.com

RUNNERS-UP Geisha Japanese Restaurant and Tea House, Takara

 

Otoro (Scotts Valley/SLV)

235 Mt. Hermon Rd. #G, Scotts Valley, 440-9040

RUNNERS-UP Rumble Fish, Sushi Garden  

 

Imura (Watsonville)

1994 Main St., Watsonville, 761-8799, imurasushi.com

RUNNERS-UP Miyuki, Sushi Garden

 

Taqueria

Taqueria Vallarta (Santa Cruz)

608 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 457-8226;
1221 Mission St., Santa Cruz, 426-7240, taqueriavallartaonline.com

RUNNERS-UP Tacos Moreno, Taqueria Los Pericos

 

Taqueria Los Gordos (Aptos/Soquel)

7488 Soquel Drive, Aptos, 688-0911

RUNNERS-UP El Chipotle, Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant    

 

Taqueria Vallarta (Capitola)

893 41st Ave., Santa Cruz, 464-7022

RUNNERS-UP Mijos Taqueria, Tacos Moreno

 

Los Gallos (Scotts Valley/SLV)

243 Mt. Hermon Rd. #A, Scotts Valley, 439-9507

RUNNERS-UP Habaneros Bar & Grill, Taqueria Vallarta

 

El Frijolito (Watsonville)

11 Alexander St., Watsonville, 724-8823

RUNNERS-UP Super Taqueria, Taqueria Mi Tierra

 

Tea House

Hidden Peak

1541 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-4200, hiddenpeakteahouse.com

RUNNERS-UP Tea House Spa, Well Within Spa

 

Thai Cuisine

Sawasdee

101 Main St., Santa Cruz, 466-9009, sawasdeebythesea.com; 
5050 Soquel Drive, Soquel, 462-5051, sawasdeesoquel.com

RUNNERS-UP Real Thai Kitchen, Sabieng

 

Vegetarian

Dharma’s

4250 Capitola Rd., Capitola, 462-1717, dharmasrestaurant.com

RUNNERS-UP Café Gratitude, Saturn Café

 

Winery

Bargetto Winery

3535 N. Main St., Soquel, 475-2258, bargetto.com

RUNNERS-UP MJA Vineyards, Stockwell Cellars

 

Wine List

Soif

105 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-2020, soifwine.com

RUNNERS-UP Shadowbrook Restaurant, Vino Cruz

 

Wine Selection (Retail)

Shopper’s Corner  

622 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-1398, shopperscorner.com

RUNNERS-UP Soif, Staff Of Life

 


PHOTOS BY KEANA PARKER

Contributor at Good Times |

Andrea is a freelance reporter with an ear for social and environmental justice stories. She has also spent over 15 years teaching students in both college and high school classrooms to become critical consumers of information and effective writers. She now lives in Seattle where she is learning all things Pacific Northwest.

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