best of santa cruz county 2017 - 'pelican giclee' by doug ross
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Best Of Santa Cruz County 2017: Food & Drink

The best restaurants, happy hour, seafood, brunch, desserts and more

'Pelican giclee' by Doug Ross

 

Best Acai Bowl

Samba Rock Acai Café

  1. best of santa cruz county 2017 - samba rock acaiPlayers from the Warriors come in to Samba Rock almost every day to get their all-organic superfood acai bowls made with nutritious Brazilian ingredients.
  2. Ron Wilkerson, who owns Samba Rock with his wife, was a Hall of Fame professional BMX freestyle rider. Bike riders at Samba Rock are treated to indoor bike parking.
  3. This year is the restaurant’s 8th anniversary.
  4. They started a peanut butter acai bowl (called “Ayrton Senna” on the menu), which can be made with an extra scoop of peanut butter on top.
  5. All their bowls are named after famous Brazilians in history. ANDREA PATTON

 

 

Best Breakfast Santa Cruz

Zachary’s Restaurant

  1. best of santa cruz county 2017 - zachary'sIn 1985, UCSC grads Tom Watson and Cathy Kriege opened Zachary’s on a historic Pacific Avenue site as a way to stay in Santa Cruz.
  2. The building survived the 1989 earthquake after being yellow-tagged for a nail-biting six weeks.
  3. All of their bakery items are made in-house, including three kinds of bread, coffee cake, scones, muffins, hamburger buns and their famous jalapeno corn bread.
  4. Their eggs from Glaum Ranch are certified by the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF), and all of their menu items are prepared trans-fat free.
  5. Their one-of-a-kind sourdough pancakes and Belgian waffles are made with sour-starter dating back to the Alaskan Gold Rush. Ask the staff for the story—it’s worth it. JUNE SMITH

 

Best Brunch

Harbor Café  

  1. best of santa cruz county 2017 - brunch harbor cafeA Santa Cruz favorite for 50 years, Harbor Café was established as a local hangout for sailors and fishermen, evolving over the years into its current family-friendly reputation.
  2. Dogs are welcome on the patio, where they get their own brunch menu, including dog brunch favorites Lucky’s peanut butter cookies and pig ears.
  3. The heavily garnished spicy bloody mary is a local favorite, but they also offer a variety of mimosa flavors such as cranberry, pineapple, lemonade, and classic orange.
  4. Every day of the week there is a daily special, and their menu features local ingredients and products whenever possible.
  5. For $5 on Wednesdays, you can get a basic breakfast (bacon is $2 extra), and happy hour lasts all day. AP

 

Best Cookie

Pacific Cookie Company

  1. best of santa cruz county 2017 - pacific cookie companyFounded in 1980 by Larry and Shelly Pearson, with the goal of making the best, most affordable cookie in town.
  2. Fresh dough baked continuously throughout the day ensures a cookie straight from the oven.
  3. Cookies can be paired in-store with locally roasted coffee or Marianne’s ice cream, which is offered in 17 seasonal flavors.
  4. They also carry Mariposa Bakery’s artisan-crafted gluten-free, dairy-free and nut-free cookies.
  5. “Secret words” and giveaways can be found on Pacific Cookie Company’s Facebook page. JS

 

Best Cupcakes

Buttercup Cakes

  1. best of santa cruz county 2017 - buttercup cakesJan Wilson’s family business encompasses three generations, including her daughter Carren and granddaughter Hannah.
  2. Buttercup’s cupcakes are made from local organic ingredients prepared with no artificial coloring or flavoring.
  3. Savory lunch or brunch items are ready at 8 a.m. with cupcakes available by 10 a.m.
  4. Besides their $4 cupcakes and $2 mini-cupcakes, their packaged frosting is sold by pre-order.
  5. Cake-decorating classes are held throughout the year. JS

 

Best Sushi

Mobo Sushi

  1. best of santa cruz 2017 - mobo sushiMobo’s slogan is “Mind Altering Sushi,” which, because food and the act of eating are psychoactive, is literally true. It might have something to do with the sake bombs, too.
  2. Their most popular sushi roll is the Crunch Dragon, and their most exotic is arguably the Fancy Rainbow Roll.
  3. “Mobo” is what Japanese boys in the 1920s who adopted Western clothes and ideals called themselves.
  4. Mobo is famous for its sake bomb dominos on Friday and Saturday nights, in which a row of sake glasses knock each other into mugs of beer, which guests with proper ID then get to drink for free. The current record is 151, and, really, it’s a game that everyone wins.
  5. There is a “roll your own” sushi option on the menu so guests can express their creativity and show exactly how they roll. ANDREW STEINGRUBE

 

Best Hawaiian Cuisine

Pono

  1. best of santa cruz 2017 - pono hawaiian grillPono is a Hawaiian word and guiding principle that means to live with good morality and overall goodness, not only in personal and community relationships, but also in being good stewards of the Aina (land), Kai (ocean) and Honua (earth.)
  2. Their food truck, Holopono, serves many special menu items that are not served in the restaurant. The truck can be found on Instagram and Twitter at Holoponosc.
  3. Pono has live music every night. Friday nights are Island Vibe Fridays, featuring classic Hawaiian sounds and sometimes hula dancing.
  4. Yes, they have delicious poke, but they also serve an authentic Hawaiian plate lunch menu, which includes family-recipe teriyaki sauce, their own slow-roasted pork, and lau lau (taro or banana leaf stuffed with kahlua pork and fish).
  5. Your friends will never know that you staycationed when you post pictures from their propped photo booth. AP

 

Best Mexican Cuisine — Watsonville

Cilantros Parrilla y Cantina

  1. best of santa cruz 2017 - cilantros watsonvilleThe sope shells at Cilantros puff into a delicious pastry, unlike the more common flat cakes available elsewhere.
  2. They serve both family recipes—such as their famed aged skirt steak and homemade corn tortillas—and twists on contemporary favorites including ahi salad and a variety of fresh seafood.
  3. Bartenders whip up house specialties like el heffe, palomas and chavela, and Cilantros is known for its big tequila selection.
  4. Tuesday happy hours feature a live broadcast by KPIG with raffle prizes.
  5. There is mariachi music on Friday nights, and champagne brunch until 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. AP

 

Best New Restaurant

Home

  1. best of santa cruz county 2017 - home restaurant soquelCo-owner Brad Briske was opening chef for Main Street Garden, which was once located in this spot—giving special meaning to the new restaurant’s name.
  2. The dynamic menu changes daily, seasonally and according to what the local farmers markets are offering, but one thing is consistent: handmade pastas are made fresh every day.
  3. They are opening an outdoor patio in May near the garden, with the option of picnic-style seating on the grass. Also outside is a wood-fired pizza oven and, soon, a wood-fired grill.
  4. The menu always includes several small plate options for sharing so that guests can experience the bold flavor combinations for which Home is known.
  5. For $70 (and with a 24-hour reservation), diners can enjoy a nightly tasting menu served to small groups at a communal table in a side room of the restaurant. AP

 

Best Restaurant – Watsonville

Ella’s at the Airport

  1. best of santa cruz county 2017 - ella's at the airportElla King opened her fine-dining restaurant in the terminal in 2015, after running Café Ella for seven years.
  2. The menu features sustainable seafood, grass-fed beef, and area wines.
  3. There is live jazz every Sunday night from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  4. Weekly brunch (9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.) features some unusual items, like ricotta pancakes.
  5. A plan for five-course wine dinners is in the works. JS


 

Acai Bowl

Samba Rock Acai Café  

291 Water St., Santa Cruz,

458-2224

RUNNERS-UP Amazon Juice, Café Brasil

 

Appetizers

Crow’s Nest  

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

RUNNERS-UP Hula’s Island Grill, Shadowbrook Restaurant

 

Bagel

Bagelry

320 Cedar St., Santa Cruz, 429-8049;

1636 Seabright Ave., Santa Cruz, 425-8550;

4763 Soquel Drive, Soquel, 462-9888

RUNNERS-UP Bagel Café & Bakery, Main Street Bagels

 

Bakery

The Buttery

702 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 458-3020, butterybakery.com

RUNNERS-UP Companion Bakeshop, Gayle’s Bakery

 

Barbecue

Aptos St. BBQ  

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

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

 

Bar Food

515 Kitchen & Cocktails

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

RUNNERS-UP Crow’s Nest, Parish Publick House

 

Bread

Companion Bakeshop  

2341 Mission St., Santa Cruz, 252-2253, campanionbakeshop.com

RUNNERS-UP The Buttery, Gayle’s Bakery

 

Breakfast

Santa Cruz

Zachary’s Restaurant

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

RUNNERS-UP Harbor Café, Walnut Avenue Café

Aptos / Soquel

Red Apple Café

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

RUNNERS-UP Silver Spur, Sunrise Café

Capitola

Gayle’s Bakery

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

RUNNERS-UP Avenue Café, Cliff Café

San Lorenzo

Auntie Mame’s

3103 Scotts Valley Dr., Scotts Valley, 438-1840

RUNNERS-UP Heavenly Roadside Café, Mollie’s Country Café

Watsonville

Red Apple Café  

589 Auto Center Drive, Watsonville, 761-9551

RUNNERS-UP Café Ella, Cowboys Corner Café

 

Brunch

Harbor Café  

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

RUNNERS-UP 515 Kitchen & Cocktails, Chaminade

 

Burger

Santa Cruz

Betty Burgers

505 Seabright Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-8190, bettyburgers.com

1222 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 600-7056  

RUNNERS-UP burger., Jack’s Hamburgers  

Aptos/Soquel

burger.  

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

RUNNERS-UP Carpo’s, The Hideout  

Capitola

Betty Burgers

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

RUNNERS-UP East End Gastropub, Paradise Beach Grille  

San Lorenzo Valley

Malone’s Grille

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

RUNNERS-UP Cowboy Bar & Grill, Cremer House

Watsonville

Wooden Nickel  

1819 Freedom Blvd., Freedom, 724-2600

RUNNERS-UP Ella’s at the Airport, Main Street Burgers 

 

Burrito

Santa Cruz

Tacos Moreno  

1053 Water St., Santa Cruz, 429-6095

RUNNERS-UP El Palomar, Taqueria Vallarta

Aptos/Soquel

Taqueria Los Gordos  

7488 Soquel Drive, Aptos, 688-0911, taquerialosgordos.com

RUNNERS-UP El Chipotle, Manuel’s

Capitola

Tacos Moreno

1601 41st Ave.,Capitola, 464-8810

RUNNERS-UP El Toro Bravo, Taqueria Vallarta

San Lorenzo Valley

Los Gallos Taqueria

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

RUNNERS-UP Maya Mexican Restaurant, Taqueria Vallarta

Watsonville

El Frijolito  

11 Alexander St., Watsonville, 724-8823

RUNNERS-UP Cilantros Parrilla y Cantina, Super Taqueria

 

Calamari

Crow’s Nest

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

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

 

Caterer

Local Harvest Catering

504A Front St., Santa Cruz, 818-8482, localharvestcatering.com  

RUNNERS-UP Barbara & Co. Catering, Feast for a King Catering

 

Cheap Eats

Charlie Hong Kong

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

RUNNERS-UP Carpo’s Restaurant, Taqueria Vallarta

 

Cheese Selection

New Leaf Community Markets

1101 Fair Ave., Santa Cruz, 426-1306

1134 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 425-1793

1210 41st Ave., Capitola, 479-7987

RUNNERS-UP Deluxe Foods, Staff of Life Market

 

Chinese

O’Mei  

2316 Mission St., Santa Cruz, 425-8458, omeichow.com

RUNNERS-UP ABC Chinese Restaurant, Panda Inn  

 

Chocolatier

Donnelly’s Chocolates  

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

RUNNERS-UP Chocolate, Mackenzies Chocolates

 

Clam Chowder

Stagnaro Brothers   

59 Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz, 423-2180, stagnarobros.com

RUNNERS-UP Crow’s Nest, Riva Fish House  

 

Coffeehouse (Independent)

Verve Coffee Roasters

1540 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 600-7784

816 41st Ave., Santa Cruz, 475-7776

104 Bronson St., Santa Cruz, 464-8141

vervecoffeeroasters.com  

RUNNERS-UP Cat & Cloud, Lulu Carpenter’s  

 

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, Cutesy Cupcakes

 

Date Night Restaurant

Santa Cruz

Laili  

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

RUNNERS-UP Crow’s Nest, Oswald  

Aptos/Soquel

Bittersweet Bistro  

787 Rio Del Mar Blvd., Aptos, 662-9799, bittersweetbistro.com

RUNNERS-UP Café Cruz, Café Sparrow, The Hideout   

Capitola

Shadowbrook Restaurant

1750 Wharf Road, Capitola, 475-1511  

RUNNERS-UP Bella Roma, Paradise Beach Grille

San Lorenzo

Cremer House

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

RUNNERS-UP Casa Nostra, Malone’s Grille

Watsonville

Ella’s at the Airport

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

RUNNERS-UP California Grill, Cilantros Parrilla y Cantina

 

Deli

Zoccoli’s Deli

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

RUNNERS-UP Erik’s DeliCafe, Garden Deli

 

Desserts (Bakery)

The Buttery

702 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 458-3020, butterybakery.com

RUNNERS-UP Gayle’s Bakery, Kelly’s French Bakery

 

Desserts (Restaurant)

Bittersweet Bistro

787 Rio Del Mar Blvd., Aptos, 662-9799, bittersweetbistro.com

RUNNERS-UP Chocolate, Shadowbrook Restaurant

 

Donut Shop

Ferrell’s Donuts  

2227 Mission St., Santa Cruz, 457-2760

RUNNERS-UP Allbright’s Donut Shoppe, Dunlap Donuts

 

Falafel

Falafel of Santa Cruz

1501 Mission St., Santa Cruz, 459-0486, falafelofsantacruz.com

RUNNERS-UP Falafel House, Zameen Mediterranean Cuisine

 

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

RUNNERS-UP burger., 515 Kitchen & Cocktails

 

Frozen Yogurt

Yogurtland

1955 41st Ave., Ste. A4, Capitola, 462-3100

2117 Mission St., Santa Cruz, yogurt-land.com

RUNNERS-UP Juicy Sweet, Top-A-Lot Yogurt

 

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 Snappy Dogs  

930 Almar Ave., Santa Cruz, 295-3610

RUNNERS-UP Happy Dog, Taylor Bros Hot Dogs  

 

Ice Cream

Marianne’s  

1020 Ocean St., Santa Cruz, 458-1447

218 State Park Drive, Aptos, 713-4746

mariannesicecream.com

RUNNERS-UP Mission Hill Creamery, Penny Ice Creamery  

 

Indian Cuisine

Ambrosia India Bistro

207 Sea Ridge Road, Aptos, 685-0610, ambrosiaib.com

RUNNERS-UP Maharaja, Sitar Indian Cuisine  

 

Italian Cuisine

Lillian’s Italian Kitchen  

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

RUNNERS-UP Ristorante Avanti, 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

RUNNERS-UP Amazon Juices, Juicy Sweet

 

Kid-Friendly Eatery

Carpo’s

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

RUNNERS-UP Kianti’s Pizza & Pasta Bar, East Side Eatery  

 

Late-Night Eatery

Saturn Café

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

RUNNERS-UP Crepe Place, Santa Cruz Diner  

 

Mediterranean Cuisine

Laili

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

RUNNERS-UP Mozaic, Zameen Mediterranean Cuisine

 

Mexican Cuisine

Santa Cruz

El Palomar

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

RUNNERS-UP Casa Rosita’s, El Jardín

Aptos / Soquel

Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant

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

RUNNERS-UP Palapas Restaurant y Cantina, Tortilla Flats

Capitola

El Toro Bravo

123 Monterey Ave., Capitola, 480-7544  

RUNNER-UP Margaritaville  

San Lorenzo Valley

Maya Mexican Restaurant

3115 Scotts Valley Drive, Scotts Valley, 438-7004

RUNNERS-UP Café Carlos, Los Gallos

Watsonville

Cilantros Parrilla y Cantina

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 Mediterranean Cuisine

 

New Restaurant

Home

3101 N. Main, Soquel, 431-6131, homesoquel.com

RUNNERS-UP East End Gastropub, Ulterior

 

Patio Dining

Santa Cruz

Laili  

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

RUNNERS-UP Crepe Place, Crow’s Nest

Aptos / Soquel

Bittersweet Bistro

787 Rio Del Mar Blvd., Aptos, 662-9799, bittersweetbistro.com

RUNNERS-UP Café Cruz, The Hideout  

Capitola

Paradise Beach Grille

215 Esplanade, Capitola, 476-4900, paradisebeachgrille.com

RUNNERS-UP Shadowbrook Restaurant, Zelda’s on the Beach

San Lorenzo

Cremer House

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

RUNNERS-UP Cowboy Bar & Grill, Malone’s Grille

Watsonville

Ella’s at the Airport

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

RUNNERS-UP Cilantros Parrilla y Cantina, Jalisco Restaurant

 

Pizza   

Santa Cruz    

Pizza My Heart

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

RUNNERS-UP Pleasure Pizza, Woodstock’s Pizza  

Aptos/Soquel

Pizza 1

253 Center Ave., Aptos, 684-110, pizza-1.com

RUNNERS-UP Mangiamo Pizza & Wine Bar, Showtime Pizza

Capitola

Pizza My Heart

2180 41st Ave., Capitola, 475-6000

209 Esplanade, Capitola, 475-5714,
pizzamyheart.com

RUNNERS-UP East End Gastropub, Pleasure Pizza

San Lorenzo

Redwood Pizzeria

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

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

Watsonville

Cassidy’s Pizza

1400 Freedom Blvd., Watsonville, 724-2271, cassidyspizza.net

RUNNERS-UP Big J’s Pizza, Ella’s at the Airport

 

Restaurant

Santa Cruz

Crow’s Nest

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

RUNNERS-UP Laili, Lillian’s Italian Kitchen, Oswald   

Aptos/Soquel

Café Sparrow

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

RUNNERS-UP Bittersweet Bistro, The Hideout

Capitola

Shadowbrook Restaurant   

1750 Wharf Road, Capitola, 475-1511

RUNNERS-UP East End Gastropub, Paradise Beach Grille   

San Lorenzo

Cremer House

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

RUNNERS-UP Casa Nostra, Scopazzi’s

Scotts Valley

Malone’s Grille

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

RUNNERS-UP Mint, Otoro Sushi

Soquel

Café Cruz

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

RUNNERS-UP Home, Tortilla Flats

Watsonville

Ella’s at the Airport  

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

RUNNERS-UP California Grill, Cilantros Parrilla y Cantina

 

Salad

Crow’s Nest

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

RUNNERS-UP Carpo’s, Dharma’s

 

Sandwich

Zoccoli’s

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

RUNNERS-UP Garden Deli, Surf City Sandwich

 

Seafood

Santa Cruz    

Stagnaro Bros.

59 Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz, 423-2180, stagnarobros.com

RUNNERS-UP Crow’s Nest, Riva Fish House

Aptos/Soquel

Café Rio

131 Esplanade, Aptos, 688-8917, caferioaptos.com

RUNNERS-UP Café Cruz, Palapas Restaurant & Cantina

Capitola

Shadowbrook Restaurant

1750 Wharf Road, 475-1511, shadowbrook-capitola.com

RUNNERS-UP Paradise Beach Grille, Zelda’s

San Lorenzo/Scotts Valley

Otoro

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

RUNNERS-UP Casa Nostra, Rumble Fish

Watsonville

Fish House Bar & Grill

972 Main St., Watsonville, 728-3333, fishhousewatsonville.com

RUNNERS-UP Ella’s at the Airport, 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

155 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz, 425-5353

RUNNERS-UP Betty’s Noodle House, New Leaf Community Markets

 

Steak

Hindquarter Bar & Grille

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

RUNNERS-UP Café Cruz, Shadowbrook Restaurant

 

Sushi/Japanese

Santa Cruz

Mobo

105 River St., Santa Cruz, 425-1700, mobosushirestaurant.com

RUNNERS-UP Akira, Shogun  

Aptos/Soquel

Bittersweet Bistro

787 Rio Del Mar Blvd., Aptos, 662-9799, bittersweetbistro.com

Capitola

Sushi Garden

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

RUNNERS-UP Geisha Japanese Restaurant and Tea House, Takara

San Lorenzo

Otoro    

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

RUNNERS-UP Rumble Fish, Sushi Garden  

Watsonville

Miyuki Restaurant

452 E. Lake Ave., Watsonville, 728-1620

RUNNERS-UP Imura, Sushi Garden

 

Taqueria

Santa Cruz    

Taqueria Vallarta

608 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 457-8226;

1121 Mission St., Santa Cruz, 426-7240, taqueriavallartaonline.com

RUNNERS-UP Taqueria Los Pericos, Tacos Moreno

Aptos/Soquel    

Taqueria Los Gordos

7488 Soquel Drive, Aptos, 688-0911

RUNNERS-UP El Chipotle, Sofia’s

Capitola

Tacos Moreno

1601 41st Ave. W., Capitola, 464-8810

RUNNERS-UP Taqueria Tepeque, Taqueria Vallerta

San Lorenzo Valley

Los Gallos

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

RUNNERS-UP Los Amigos, Salsa’s

Watsonville

El Frijolito

11 Alexander St., Watsonville, 724-8823

RUNNERS-UP Mi Tierra, Super Taqueria

 

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, sawasdeesoquel.com

RUNNERS-UP Real Thai, Sabieng

 

Vegetarian

Dharma’s

4250 Capitola Road, 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 Alfaro’s Winery, MJA Vineyards

 

Wine List

Soif

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

RUNNERS-UP Oswald, Shadowbrook Restaurant

 

Wine Selection (Retail)

Shopper’s Corner  

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

RUNNERS-UP New Leaf Community Markets, Soif

 


MORE BEST OF 2017: SHOPPING & SERVICES | COMMUNITY LIFE | ARTS & CULTURE | HEALTH & RECREATION | MUSIC & NIGHTLIFE | EDITOR’S PICKS

PHOTOS BY KEANA PARKER

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