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Best breakfast in Santa Cruz?

Lived in SC many years ago, and vaguely remember Zachary's for breakfast, and Linda's in the Seabright area. Going back for New Year's weekend and would love some recommendations. East side, west side, doesn't matter, as long as it's not Aptos or another city. Great breakfast with lots of choices...

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  1. Zachary's is still here and as good as ever (my pick for best in the area). The Linda formerly of Linda's Seabreeze out on Seabright has for quite a few years run the Silver Spur on Soquel. Info here:


    It's also really good (but note that they're closed on Sundays).

    1. Even thought I live in Aptos, I am not taking offense to your comment about staying away from our little town. Depending on what you are looking for - Hoffmans on Pacific Ave has good Eggs Benedict - if it isn't raining you could try Aldo's at the Harbor. If you should ever venture into Aptos, we walk to the Pixie market at Rio Del Mar Beach for home made breakfast burritos and mimosas.

      2 Replies
      1. re: cindyinaptos

        cindy, will be staying in Aptos in April, any faves?

        1. re: toodie jane

          Aptos doesn't have too many choices for breakfast. The best place for a traditional breakfast is probably the Red Apple Cafe. For a "bakery cafe" experience, the Farm is the place to go.

          I see that Sanderlings has breakfast. Has anyone tried that?


      2. Thanks :) I love Aptos, but we're trying to stay close to our hotel which is near downtown SC as we have a lot of committments in that area while we are there. Thanks for the suggestions!

        5 Replies
        1. re: Clare K

          Hoffman's or Zachary's would be good since they're both in downtown. Here's my brunch report from Hoffman's and a link to their website:

          I tried Zachary's for breakfast for the first time about a month ago and enjoyed it. Had the corned beef and hash w/ eggs which was tasty enough. Hey ahclem, what do you like at Zachary's?

          1. re: Carb Lover

            My favorite is actually the archetypical basic breakfast of fresh orange juice, perfectly fried over-easy eggs, their fabulously flavorful bacon, great home-fries and either the wheat toast or, even better, the jalapeno cornbread. Simple but sublime.

            1. re: ahclem

              Any healthy places to eat (breakfast or lunch) in Santa Cruz? I'm sure there must be a ton...?

              1. re: Clare K

                Brasil Cafe in Santa Cruz is excellent. We were in SC for 4 days this summer and ate bfast there daily! YUM!
                You must try the acai bowl! Almost every table ordered it. It is blended acai fuit with granola. Delicious. There is a huge variety of bfast choices, healthy! I believe the owners are Brasilian. You must go there!

                1. re: Displaced California Foodie

                  Yes, I like Cafe Brasil, and you remind me that I should go there before UC is back in session! Their fresh fruit juices are also a vibrant way to start the morning.

                  Website: http://www.cafebrasil.us/

        2. About 10 miles north of SC is a small town called Davenport. The Davenport Cash Store makes the best huevos rancheros I've ever had.

          1. I really like the Walnut Ave. Cafe at 106 Walnut. They serve really good breakfasts.

            1. Thanks for all your suggestions; We hit Zachary's the first day, and I have to say it was really bad. I guess I used to think it was great because I was a poor, starving college student back when I used to go there. I ordered their chili and eggs, which came with a side of their jalapeno corn bread. The chili (chicken and white bean that day) was bland, and the corn bread was a wet, tasteless brick of cornmeal. I had to ask for a side of the oatmeal molasses bread, which was as good as I'd remembered.

              The next breakfast was at Hoffman's Bakery. I had the chiliquiles. Someone needs to tell the chef with chiliquiles are. They certainly are NOT scrambled eggs with tons of chopped jalapenos and a handful of broken tortilla chips. There was no sauce on this at all - it was utterly tasteless and way too heavy on the jalapenos. My friend had the artichoke benedict, which she liked. And the free scones in the bread basket were awesome.

              We stopped by later at Clouds for a snack: The lobster potstickers, and the crab cake. The potstickers were okay, though the skins were way too thick and I couldn't tell that it was lobster inside. The crab cakes were like two, Bisquik hockey pucks with barely any crab in them. They were dense, hard and very bready.

              I got sick the next day (not from food, I think it's the flu) and had to bow out of the New Year's Eve dinner and drinks. My friends went to Red Restaurant, and said they found the food and service to be fantastic. Friends had the salmon dish, the portabello dish and the steak. Apparently I seriously missed out :( But I ordered a burger and fries via room service at the Coast Santa Cruz hotel, and it wasn't bad at all. In fact, sadly, it was the best meal I had in Santa Cruz.

              Actually the best meal was the morning we left - my friend decided to make her banana and oatmeal pancakes at her place since I was too sick to eat at a restaurant. Good stuff, served with artichoke sausages and fresh fruit.

              Hopefully my next Santa Cruz experience will be a better one.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Clare K

                Thanks so much for reporting back. Sorry to hear that your eating out experiences were disappointing and that you got the flu. I'm not surprised to hear that the best meal was one made at home; that's generally how I feel around here!

                We actually went to Zachary's for Sun. late brunch. I was glad that it wasn't too crowded and that we got seated right away. Among the three of us we ordered the clam chowder, Mike's Mess, and the gourmet burger w/ avocado and bacon. The clam chowder tasted ok at first, but it was too thick, floury, and mushy. Mike's Mess was good in a hangover treat kind of way, but I don't feel the need to order it again. The burger was probably the best item. Meat was cooked to medium as requested and toppings were all fresh. They make their own buns there which are nice and soft if a little too soft. I do like the vibe there and I'll have to return for the burger to see if it lives up to this time.

                I would stick to the European-American offerings at Hoffman's. No Mexican or Asian influenced items. I haven't had chilaquiles in the area, but I'm sure there are some good ones to be had at some place in Watsonville.

                The food at Red is really hit-or-miss. In fact, it's been mostly miss the last few times we've been. We like to go for more of the bar scene and their great beer list. I'm glad your friends liked it though. I've never eaten at Clouds and don't really have the desire.

                For breakfast next time, you could try Cafe Brasil or Aldo's.

              2. i really enjoyed "Crepe Place."

                1134 Soquel Ave
                Santa Cruz, CA 95062
                (831) 429-6994

                1. I have eaten at Zachary's many times in the past and enjoyed it. My husband and I ate there this morning and were disappointed. It was not as crowded as it usually is....a nice surprise. However, my husband's pancakes were served cold and my omelette had cold cheese inside....very little eggs and some of the eggs were still quite runny.