Santa Cruz Restaurants

 
Santa Cruz RestaurantsLooking for the best Santa Cruz Restaurants?
 
Below you will find restaurant reviews and roundups of some of the best restaurants by category, like our popular Best Pizza in Santa Cruz, and 10 Must-Try Sandwiches posts.
 
Santa Cruz, and the surrounding areas, have plenty of unique dining experiences. You won't find us covering many chain restaurants here. Luckily the local flavor in Santa Cruz far surpasses anything the chains can offer.
 
Downtown Santa Cruz is home to many of the top restaurants in the area, but you'll also find great seafood on the wharf, charming restaurants in the Capitola Village, and many great restaurants throughout Santa Cruz County.

Gluten Free Desserts in Santa Cruz

gluten free desserts in santa cruz

Gluten-free does NOT mean flavor free in Santa Cruz County.

Whether you are avoiding gluten by choice or if you have an allergy, you do not have to miss out on all things delicious! From gluten-free bakeries to salt-water taffy to lavender-infused ice cream, here is a list of gluten-free treats found in Santa Cruz. [Read more…]

The Dogs’ Dish: Your Guide to Dog-Friendly Restaurants in Santa Cruz County

dog friendly restaurants in santa cruz, ca

There was a long period of time when dogs weren’t allowed in downtown Santa Cruz.

Those dog days are over.

Not only are dogs now welcome downtown, but many restaurants invite them too. The dog friendliness doesn’t stop there.

We’ve compiled the Dogs’ Dish, a guide to over 100 dog-friendly restaurants where you can bring your dog as your +1 in Santa Cruz County.

This list is compiled by neighborhood, town and city.

We’ve also included a map so you can easily find each dog-friendly establishment.

If you know of any dog-friendly restaurants in Santa Cruz County that aren’t listed, please feel free to let us know in the comments. Tell us where you like to go! Include a pic of your pup if you like!

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Santa Cruz Brewery Breakdown

Santa Cruz Brewery Breakdown

Microbreweries and taprooms in Santa Cruz have become almost as ubiquitous as Starbucks over the past two or three years. However, unlike this multinational coffee megacrop, they’re all unique, small businesses that foster community and create really tasty artisanal beer.

We here at Santa Cruz Life are very excited about this new microbrewery trend and thought our readers could use some help narrowing down which one (or two or three) to visit each weekend or after a long day at work.

This is a comprehensive breakdown of the tasty microbreweries, alehouses, and tap rooms that Santa Cruz County has to offer.
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Family Dining on a Budget

family dining on a budget

Are you one of the many folks in the Santa Cruz area who is raising one or more kids?  If you’re anything like me, you probably accumulated a lot of debt with holiday shopping and travel! I thought it would be a great time to do some research and share a few tips on where to dine out for less money.

Please, please, please – if you know of any that aren’t on this list, share them in the “comments” section at the end of this article. [Read more…]

Best New Santa Cruz Restaurants: Roux Dat

Roux Dat Restaurant Sign

This is the final restaurant in our list of the Best New Restaurants in Santa Cruz in 2014. To see the full list, click here.

best new restaurants santa cruz 2014New Orleans-inspired Roux Dat, serving Cajun and Creole cuisine, is a small-yet-comfortable spot near Bed, Bath & Beyond and Trader Joe’s in Capitola. It’s in the former location of Yogurt Express.

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Best New Santa Cruz Restaurants: Mortal Dumpling

mortal-dumpling-santa-cruz

This is the sixth of seven choices for the Best New Restaurants in Santa Cruz in 2014. To see the full list, click here.

best new restaurants santa cruz 2014Chef Noah Kopito is the man behind Mortal Dumpling, which is mostly a restaurant that does pop-ups, including a regular Thursday gig. Every Thursday from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. you can find Mortal Dumpling at POPUP. For several months in 2014, they were at Front St. Kitchen on Monday nights from 6-9 p.m., but the final night at this location was Dec. 29, 2014 (Front St. is going through some changes).

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Best New Santa Cruz Restaurants: Midtown Cafe

Midtown Cafe Santa Cruz

This is the fifth of seven choices for the Best New Restaurants in Santa Cruz in 2014. To see the full list, click here.

best new restaurants santa cruz 2014Zac Craeger opened Midtown Cafe in January 2014. It’s primarily a breakfast and lunch place, although they are open “most Friday nights” (more on that later) and they do have beer and wine available. It’s a casual, friendly neighborhood spot. There is some counter seating by the front window, a few small tables inside, and plenty of tables in a relaxing back patio.

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Best New Santa Cruz Restaurants: Lúpulo Craft Beer House

Lupulo beer

This is the fourth of seven choices for the Best New Restaurants in Santa Cruz in 2014. To see the full list, click here.

Lúpulo Craft Beer House, owned and operated by Noëlle Antolin and Stuyvesant Bearns, is a tasting room, restaurant, and bottle shop that offers 16 rotating taps and over a hundred bottled beers.

best new restaurants santa cruz 2014The atmosphere is cozy, with tables and a bar. Whether or not you’re a beer lover, the food is definitely worth a visit. The menu changes with the seasons, as the owners are committed to sustainable food practices. “Our ingredients are organic, our meats are local and pasture-raised, and most our produce comes from the farmers market,” says Antolin.

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Best New Santa Cruz Restaurants: Kaito

Kaito Ramen House

This is the third of seven choices for the Best New Restaurants in Santa Cruz in 2014. To see the full list, click here.

Kaito opened in May in the former location of Pink Godzilla. The fact that the web site includes the word smile should tell you a lot: it makes chef/owner Koji Goto very happy to provide customers with first-rate, reasonably priced food.

best new restaurants santa cruz 2014The word Kaito means “Ocean Lover,” and it’s doubly appropriate: first, because of its iconic Pleasure Point location, and second, because there are many tasty seafood items on the menu.

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Best New Santa Cruz Restaurants: Back Nine Grill & Bar

Back Nine Grill & Bar

This is the second of seven choices for the Best New Restaurants in Santa Cruz in 2014. To see the full list, click here.

Back Nine Grill & Bar replaced the former Peachwood’s at The Inn at Pasatiempo. The restaurant opened in August after undergoing interior renovations, resulting in a pleasant ambience that is a vast improvement over Peachwood’s. Servers are friendly and knowledgeable.

[Read more…]