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Best of Santa Cruz County 2020: Food & Drink

The best new restaurant, juice bar, bakery and more

Find out what readers voted as the best food and drink.

Best New Restaurant

Barceloneta

  1. The owners are married duo Brett and Elan Emerson.
  2. Indulge in the variety with your friends and family as Barceloneta specializes in shared plates and bite-sized snacks. 
  3. Enjoy the food from the comfort of your home as this restaurant offers to-go services. 
  4. Be sure to take a look at the array of Spanish wines to savor with your meal. 
  5. Barceloneta makes reservations convenient. You can make a reservation online and select your time and preference of area to sit.

Denize Gallardo

Best Juice Bar/Smoothies  

Amazon Juices

  1. Amazon Juices is brought to us by the same owners of Cafe Brasil in Santa Cruz. 
  2. All juices are made from scratch, as Amazon Juices lives to fulfill their mission of serving “delicious, fresh, nutrient-rich fruit drinks and healthy food that help rejuvenate your mind and body.”
  3. The grand staple is the famous blended-fruit bowls that are so perfectly presented you can’t help but want to post about it on social media.
  4. Whether it is blended or freshly-pressed, there are additional add-ons and customizations available so you can personalize and cater to your needs. 
  5. If you are short on time be sure to stop by and pick up a bottle ready to go. 

Denize Gallardo

Best Date Night Restaurant (Watsonville)

Ella’s At the Airport

  1. Ella’s at the Airport is brought to you by Ella herself, who is also owner of Cafe Ella on E Lake Avenue in Watsonville.
  2. Enjoy fresh Italian and American cuisine while watching planes take off. 
  3. Date night can be any night here, but if you are looking for more than just candlelight be sure to check out their jazz and event schedule online to take your visit to the next level.
  4. Begin your date at their bar while waiting for a table or reservation. 
  5. Eat outside under the stars in their heated patio.

Denize Gallardo


Acai Bowl

Samba Rock Acai Café  

291 Water St., Santa Cruz, 458-2224

RUNNERS-UP Amazon Juices, Café Brasil

Appetizers

The 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, bagelrysantacruz.com

RUNNERS-UP Bagel Cafe, Main Street Bagel

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, 612-6655

companionbakeshop.com

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

Breakfast

Santa Cruz

Walnut Avenue Café

106 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz, 457-2307, walnutavenuecafe.com

RUNNERS-UP Harbor Café, Zachary’s Restaurant

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, The Cook House

Scotts Valley/SLV

Auntie Mame’s

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

RUNNERS-UP Heavenly Roadside Café, Rocky’s Café

Watsonville

Cowboy’s Corner Café  

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

Santa Cruz

Betty Burgers 

505 Seabright Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-8190; 

1222 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 600-7056,

bettyburgers.com  

RUNNERS-UP burger., Jack’s Hamburgers, 

Aptos/Soquel

burger.  

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

RUNNERS-UP Carpo’s, Parish Publick House Aptos  

Capitola

Betty Burgers

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

RUNNERS-UP East End Gastropub, Paradise Beach Grille  

Scotts Valley/SLV

Malone’s Grille

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

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

Watsonville

Wooden Nickel  

1819 Freedom Blvd., Freedom, 724-2600

RUNNERS-UP California Grill, Main Street Burger & Brew  

Burrito

Santa Cruz

Tacos Moreno 

1053 Water St., Santa Cruz, 429-6095

RUNNERS-UP Taqueria Vallarta, Taqueria Los Pericos  

Aptos/Soquel

Taqueria Los Gordos 

7488 Soquel Drive, Aptos, 688-0911 

RUNNERS-UP El Chipotle, Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant

Capitola

Tacos Moreno 

1601 41st Ave., Capitola, 464-8810

RUNNERS-UP Mijo’s Taqueria, Taqueria Vallarta

Scotts Valley/SLV

Los Gallos Taqueria

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

RUNNERS-UP Habaneros Bar & Grill, Taqueria Vallarta

Watsonville

El Frijolito 

11 Alexander St., Watsonville, 724-8823

RUNNERS-UP Cilantros Parrilla y Cantina, Ranch Milk

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 Five Star, Local Harvest

Cheap Eats

Charlie Hong Kong

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

RUNNERS-UP El Palomar Taco Bar, 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, Shun Feng

Chocolatier

Donnelly’s Chocolates  

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

RUNNERS-UP Ashby’s Confections, Mackenzies Chocolates

Clam Chowder

Stagnaro Brothers   

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

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 Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Co., 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

Santa Cruz

Laili  

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

RUNNERS-UP Gabriella, Oswald  

Aptos/Soquel

Cafe Cruz  

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

RUNNERS-UP Home, Café Sparrow  

Capitola

Shadowbrook Restaurant

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

RUNNERS-UP East End Gastropub, Paradise Beach Grille

Scotts Valley/SLV

Cremer House 

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

RUNNERS-UP Ristorante Casa Nostra, Malone’s Grille 

Watsonville

Ella’s at the Airport

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

RUNNER-UP California Grill, Cilantros Parrilla y Cantina

Deli

Zoccoli’s Deli

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

RUNNERS-UP Garden Deli,The Palm Deli

Desserts (Bakery)

Gayle’s Bakery

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

RUNNERS-UP The Buttery, Kelly’s French Bakery

Desserts (Restaurant)

Chocolate

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

RUNNERS-UP Bittersweet Bistro, Vim Dining & Desserts

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

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 Jack’s Hamburgers, 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

Happy Dog Hot Dogs

324 River St., Santa Cruz, 332-3057

RUNNERS-UP Gary’s Old Fashioned Snappy Dogs, 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 Road, Aptos, 685-0610;

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

RUNNERS-UP Mumbai Delights, Royal Taj

Italian Cuisine

Lillian’s Italian Kitchen  

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

RUNNERS-UP La Posta, Ristorante Italiano  

Juice Bar / Smoothies

Amazon Juices

1066 41st Ave., Santa Cruz, 854-2225, amazonjuices.us

RUNNERS-UP New Leaf Community Markets, Staff of Life 

Kid-Friendly Eatery

Carpo’s 

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

RUNNERS-UP Dharma’s Restaurant, Kianti’s Pizza & Pasta Bar  

Kombucha/Probiotic (Local)

Corralitos Brewing Company

2536 Freedom Blvd., Watsonville, 728-2311, corralitosbrewingco.com 

RUNNERS-UP La Vie, MeloMelo Kava Bar 

Late-Night Eatery

Saturn Café

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

RUNNERS-UP 515 Kitchen & Cocktails, Crepe Place 

Mexican Cuisine

Santa Cruz

El Palomar

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

RUNNERS-UP Tacos Moreno, Taqueria Los Pericos

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, 476-1553, eltorobravorestaurant.com  

RUNNERS-UP Margaritaville, Taqueria Vallarta

Scotts Valley/SLV

Maya Mexican Restaurant

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

RUNNERS-UP Los Gallos, Taqueria Vallarta 

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 

New Restaurant

Barceloneta

1541 B Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 900-5222, eatbarceloneta.com

RUNNERS-UP Pretty Good Advice, Vim Dining & Desserts

Patio Dining

Santa Cruz

Laili  

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

RUNNERS-UP Crepe Place, The Crow’s Nest 

Aptos / Soquel

Bittersweet Bistro

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

RUNNERS-UP Cafe Cruz, Michael’s On Main 

Capitola

Zelda’s On The Beach  

203 Esplanade, Capitola, 475-4900, zeldasonthebeach.com

RUNNERS-UP Paradise Beach Grille, Shadowbrook Restaurant

Scotts Valley/SLV

Malone’s Grille

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

RUNNERS-UP  Cowboy Bar & Grill, Ristorante Casa Nostra

Watsonville

Ella’s at the Airport

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

RUNNERS-UP Beer Mule, Cilantros Parrilla y Cantina

Pizza  

Santa Cruz   

Pizza My Heart 

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

RUNNERS-UP Bantam, Woodstock’s Pizza  

Aptos/Soquel

Pizza 1

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

RUNNERS-UP Mangiamo Pizza, Showtime Pizza

Capitola

Pizza My Heart

2180 41st Ave., Capitola, 475-6000;

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

RUNNERS-UP Pleasure Pizza, Village Host Pizza & Grill

Scotts Valley/SLV

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

RUNNERS-UP Corralitos Pizza, Pizzamia

Restaurant

Santa Cruz

Oswald

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

RUNNERS-UP The Crow’s Nest, Laili

Aptos/Soquel

Café Sparrow 

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

RUNNERS-UP Bittersweet Bistro, Persephone

Capitola

Shadowbrook Restaurant   

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

RUNNERS-UP East End Gastropub, Paradise Beach Grille

San Lorenzo Valley

Cremer House 

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

RUNNERS-UP Ristorante Casa Nostra, Scopazzi’s

Scotts Valley

Malone’s Grille

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

RUNNERS-UP Bruno’s Bar and Grill, Jia Tella

Soquel

Home

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

RUNNERS-UP Cafe Cruz, Tortilla Flats

Watsonville

California Grill  

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 Carpo’s, Dharma’s Restaurant

Sandwich

Zoccoli’s

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

RUNNERS-UP Garden Deli, Surf City Sandwich

Seafood

Santa Cruz   

Stagnaro Brothers   

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

RUNNERS-UP Johnny’s Harborside, Riva Fish House

Aptos/Soquel

Café Rio

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

RUNNERS-UP Cafe Cruz, Café Sparrow

Capitola

Shadowbrook Restaurant

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

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

San Lorenzo/SLV

Scopazzi’s

13300 Big Basin Way, Boulder Creek, 338-6441, scopazzisrestaurant.com

RUNNERS-UP Malone’s Grill, Otoro Sushi

Watsonville

La Perla Del Pacifico

458 Main St., Watsonville, 724-0993, la-perla-del-pacifico-mexican-restaurant.business.site

RUNNERS-UP California Grill, Maricos El Nayarita

Small Plates

Barceloneta

1541 B Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 900-5222, eatbarceloneta.com

RUNNERS-UP 515 Kitchen & Cocktails, Lúpulo Craft Beer House 

Soup

Staff of Life

1266 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-8632, staffoflifemarket.com

RUNNERS-UP Monster Pot, Zameen

Steak

Hindquarter Bar & Grille

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

RUNNERS-UP Alderwood, Shadowbrook Restaurant

Sushi/Japanese

Santa Cruz

Akira Sushi

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

RUNNERS-UP Mobo, Shogun  

Aptos/Soquel

Akira Sushi

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

Capitola

Sushi Garden

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

RUNNERS-UP Geisha Japanese Restaurant and Tea House, Naka Sushi

Scotts Valley/SLV

Otoro    

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

RUNNERS-UP Rumble Fish, Sushi Garden  

Watsonville

Imura

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

RUNNERS-UP Miyuki, Sushi Garden

Taqueria

Santa Cruz   

Taqueria Vallarta

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

1221 Mission St., Santa Cruz, 426-7240,

taqueriavallartaonline.com

RUNNERS-UP Tacos Moreno, Taqueria Los Pericos

Aptos/Soquel   

Taqueria Los Gordos

7488 Soquel Drive, Aptos, 688-0911

RUNNERS-UP El Chipotle, Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant 

Capitola  

Taqueria Vallarta

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

RUNNERS-UP Mijos Taqueria, Tacos Moreno 

Scotts Valley/SLV

Los Gallos

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

RUNNERS-UP Taqueria Los Amigos, Taqueria Vallarta 

Watsonville

El Frijolito 

11 Alexander St., Watsonville, 724-8823

RUNNERS-UP Ranch Milk, 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, sawasdeebythesea.com;
5050 Soquel Drive, Soquel, 462-5051, sawasdeesoquel.com

RUNNERS-UP Real Thai Kitchen, Sabieng

Vegetarian

Dharma’s

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

RUNNERS-UP Café Gratitude, Saturn Café 

Winery

Soquel Vineyards

8063 Glen Haven Road, Soquel, 462-9045, soquelvineyards.com

RUNNERS-UP Bargetto Winery, Beauregard Vineyards

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


Read the full e-edition of the Best of Santa Cruz County 2020 magazine: bit.ly/BestOf2020Print

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