a VirtualTourist member from Sydney
We are spending a week in the Carmel/Monterey area and have allocated a day in Santa Cruz to see the boardwalk and other local attractions. If you were asked to nominate your favourite restaurant for us to eat at, where would you recommend. Cheers Matt
In Santa Cruz would be Shadowbrook. However, in Aptos is a place called Theo's where we had a great meal. Shadowbrook has a good view and good food. Theo's is a converted house with no view, but great food. If you don't feel like leaving the boardwalk try Stagnaro's on the pier just down from the boardwalk. We had a great breakfast there, but haven't tried anything else. It is pretty much an institution for the boardwalk. I think it has been there since the 1930's.
Stagnaro Brothers on the Santa Cruz pier. Good fish dinners, good views, see the seals and pelicans as you walk down the pier. I like the smoked fish plate appetizer.
Shadowbrook, as stated earlier, is always a good bet.
Downtown you could try Gabriella Cafe on Cedar Street. www.gabriellacafe.com This is perhaps the best quality in town.
The best new restaurant in Santa Cruz is the Hula Grill. It is not very expensive, but very good.
I know this is way beyond the posted date but for any others looking into this forum post, I thought I would add my 2 cents worth.
I too will jump on the Shadowbrook bandwagon. My best memories there are from a New Years Eve dinner then a walk on the beach at midnight. Back in 1989 going into 1990 the weather was quite warm and an all out fantastic night. The restaurant had long waits (almost 2 hours) for a New Years Eve dinner. How to get there? Take 41st Ave exit towards the beach off Hwy #1. Go down to Capitola Rd and turn left. Go straight until the road ends. You'll be forced to turn right or left but this is where you should park. The restaurant is straight ahead from Capitola Rd. Go down a trolley car. The food has always been very good.
El Palomar - Pacific Ave just north of Soquel Dr/Rd/Ave(whatever). There's a few parking garages near there or meter parking on the street. They have an awesome taco bar. I usually eat in the taco bar vs the restaurant but the restaurant is fine too. This is a more relaxed atmosphere. Lots of college students eat here and everyone else for that matter. A very popular place. The taco bar has a couple tv's, the adjacent bar area has a few tv's that usually show sporting events in the evenings (baseball, football, hockey, basketball, etc). Free chips and salsa. I recommend the margarita's but go with a premium tequila. By the way, this is my favorite restaurant. I've been coming here regularly for 20+ years.
Sabieng Thai Cuisine on Mission St (Mission St = Hwy 1) just south of the McDonald's and opposite side of the street. If you like Thai food, this is a great place to go. Usually quite busy in the evenings.
Sorry, I know this is late again, but if you're ever in the Monterey / Carmel area again, El Palomar restaurant in Santa Cruz has another restaurant in Monterey. El Palomar Monterey is located at 724 Abrego St.
I used to work in Monterey and lived in Santa Cruz. I came here after work but back then it was called Los Hermanos. The owner(s) were Jose and his two brothers. I believe it was bought out by one brother and then Jose eventually bought it back. We used to come watch Monday Night Football after work in the bar area. I knew about El Palomar Santa Cruz but never went there until after the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake which damaged most of downtown Santa Cruz. Jose shipped some of his staff from Santa Cruz to Monterey to work while Santa Cruz was rebuilding. It was then I met some of the Santa Cruz employees and talking with them that coaxed me into going to their restaurant vs Los Hermanos (El Palomar Monterey). Same - Same food, just different atmosphere. If you're in the monterey area, come here. You can't go wrong.