First Resort

dining_sanderlingsThe coastal cuisine at Sanderlings, with fresh, local ingredients, is as nice as the view

At Sanderlings in Aptos, creative food is available 16 hours a day. Even the all-day menu is enticing with spicy Garlic Wings as a snack or a Grilled New York Sandwich for something more substantial. On my visits, each of the experienced staff members were punctual and polite.
At breakfast, porcelain vases of fragrant pastel sweet pea flowers adorned white tablecloths. Smooth jazz played in the north-facing dining room, which looks out over manicured shrubs and wooden patio seating toward spindly cypress trees, Monterey Bay and the cliffs of Santa Cruz. Sand-colored Spanish-style townhouses of the resort hug the cliff, framed by a eucalyptus forest.

The well-rounded menu ($9 to $15) offers Benedicts, Portobello Frittata and classics such as waffles and oatmeal. The Smoked Salmon Pizza ($10) was a 15-inch-long oval flatbread spread with rich basil pesto, dotted with melted cheese, topped with softly scrambled eggs and loaded with wide, thin slices of smoked salmon and balls of thick, lightly soured crème fraîche. A heaping cup of berries ($5) held five colorful varieties, a nutritious blend of tart and sweet flavors.
At lunchtime, whipped butter melted into soft, hot slices of sourdough bread, which was accompanied by thin, crisp breadsticks. Menu choices ranged from Baby Back Pork Ribs with potatoes and vegetables ($10) to Shrimp Louies ($15).
Classic Niçoise Salad ($15) included tiny aubergine-fleshed potatoes, meaty kalamata olives, hard-boiled egg, sweet, plump peas, seeded tomatoes and fresh green beans tossed in tart, red wine vinaigrette, and topped with a thick, medium-rare tuna steak. Next time I’ll opt for the more flavorful salmon.
Three choices were offered as Local’s Lunch Specials ($6.95). Crunchy fried batter-encased tender cod Fish and Chips. Excellent skin-on fries were cooked to perfection with notably crisp exteriors and soft middles. I thought the tart rémoulade, a traditional French mayonnaise, could have been more flavorful, but red onions were a marvelous addition to the side of traditional coleslaw.
The lounge at Sanderlings boasts an impressive selection of liquor including 8 ports, 14 Cognacs and 24 varieties of Scotch. The all-day menu includes appetizers, which range from Parmesan Truffle Fries ($8) to Chicken Caesar Salad wrapped in a spinach tortilla ($12). Fresh desserts include Meyer Lemon Tarts and Walnut Brownie Sundaes ($7), as well as milkshakes and smoothies ($10).
Happy Hour runs Sunday through Thursday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The $10 special includes a choice of two beverages and/or appetizers. Choose from well drinks, house wine, draft beer and four hearty snacks including Buffalo Chicken wings and Flatbread Pesto and Cheese Pizza. I sipped a glass of house Merlot while waiting for a quesadilla. Two browned triangles of a flour tortilla were stuffed with chicken breast and cheese, and served with guacamole enhanced with tomato, red onion, cilantro and jalapeño, tart coleslaw in light vinaigrette, and blended pumpkin-colored salsa seasoned with cumin and other spices.
Fridays and Saturdays feature a prime rib special ($19.95) and sushi and oysters are served early Friday and Saturday evenings.

Sanderlings Restaurant at Seascape Beach Resort, One Seascape Resort Drive, Aptos, 662-7120. Full bar. Serving breakfast from 6 a.m. (7 a.m. on weekends) until 11 a.m., lunch weekdays 11:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., weekend brunch 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., and dinner 5:30 p.m. to10 p.m. Visit sanderlingsrestaurant.com.
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