Brit on the Beach

dining_britpieBritannia Arms expands to Capitola with bay views, breakfast and a few surprises

As it does in Aptos, Capitola’s Britannia Arms offers a combination of British, American and pub fare. Although decorated with a series of classic Guiness posters, from the architecture and view exuded a California beachfront aura.

Behind the fully occupied bar, bottles sparkled in impressive wooden shelving. From the elevated cupola room we could watch the Giants game while bright alternative rock from XM radio brightened spirits on a drizzly Tuesday evening.

The appetizer menu ($5.75 to $11.50) offers all of the Aptos pub’s favorites, including calamari and baskets of onion rings plus a couple of new items. The Ahi Tartare ($10.50) was delightfully presented and large enough to whet the appetites of four people. Cubes of fresh avocado, rose-colored fish, cilantro, green onions and red bell peppers were pressed into a large bowl and then unmolded onto a sweet soy glaze-drizzled plate and encircled with flaky, house-fried flour tortilla chips. With the nicely sized side salad of spinach, radicchio, red onions, tomatoes, cremini mushrooms, and herbed Italian dressing, the two of us were already feeling satiated.

New salads ($9.25) include a Wedge with apple wood-smoked bacon and Baby Arugula with beets, pecans and goat cheese.

I ordered a Malibu Storm ($6.50) based on the new Malibu Black Rum. Less sweet than the original and double the proof, it still lent the familiar coconut flavor to diet coke.

While barbecue items and pizzas were not available in Capitola, entrées included familiar burgers and sandwiches ($8.25 to $13.50), fish and chips, bangers, and homemade meat pies. In the Shepherd’s pie ($14), seasoned beef was served in an oval casserole, decorated with mashed potatoes and a slice of a fat tomato and heated until the cheeses melted. It was served with the vegetable of the day, a mountain of hot, plump green peas.

Scallop Piccata ($19.50) is one of the two pastas offered. Capers and green onion joined a dozen tender, medium-sized scallops and fettuccini in a light and mildly flavored cream sauce topped with shreds of sharp Parmesan. It was served with two hefty triangles of cheesy, freshly toasted garlic bread.

As it was the first day that dessert was available, I couldn’t resist a Warm Brownie ($4.75) made dining_britahiin-house by the head cook and served with a vanilla bean-flecked scoop of ice cream. A dollop of whipped cream slid off the hot shiny top of the aromatic fudgy indulgence. Its texture was akin to molten chocolate cake and its sweet chewiness adhered to the roof of my mouth.

The new weekend breakfast is based partly on that of Britannia’s predecessor, the Bluewater Steakhouse. Eggs Benedict on crostini ($9.25), the Swiss Scramble ($9.25) with spinach and avocado, and the Castroville Omelette ($10.50) join newcomers including a Seafood Omelette ($11) with shrimp and basil, and a traditional British Breakfast ($11.50) of eggs, banger sausage, English bacon and a side of either English beans, or grilled tomatoes or mushrooms.

The Britannia Arms of Capitola, 110 Monterey Ave., Capitola, 464-2583. Full bar. Open at 11 a.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. weekends. Visit britanniaarmsaptos.com

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