Ma Maison - Aptos
We had a very pleasant dinner last night at Ma Maison in Aptos, our first time there. We live in HMB and are often in the Santa Cruz area and are generally disappointed in the offerings there. But this was a bright spot to us and the couple we dined with, and I thought it was just as good as Le P'tit Laurent, the newish bistro in San Francisco's Glen Park . The restaurant is in a small house and has a cozy, homey atmosphere, and there is quite adequate space between tables. There is a fireplace in the main dining room and a small bar in the front. Service was top-notch (we don't always encounter such good service in the SC area) and professional. Bread was delicious. My only disappointment was with the French onion soup, which tasted a bit bland. However, the entrees were all good: my Coquille Saint-Jacques had generous portions and the other diners were quite pleased with their duck with blueberry sauce and lamb shanks. A profiterole dessert was huge and our other diners enjoyed their creme brulee and sorbet. Bill came to approximately $212 for four people, which included two glasses of chardonnay, a bottle of La Foret Pinot Noir (I think it was about $36), four starters, four entrees, three desserts and two non-alcoholic drinks plus two coffees and one tea.
Web site is here: http://www.mamaisonrestaurant.com/
Thought I'd bump this thread up after getting an email from an old pal in Aptos. Here's his comments....
"Karen and I had a great dinner last night at Ma Maison, a nice French restaurant in the hood. Unlike most French restaurants the servings are reasonably sized. Tell the Chow Hounds. The $7 dinner salad is delicious and big. The Halibut was perfect, broiled, served with asparagus and wipped potatos. It's just now in season. Their specialty is lamb shanks and they are great."
I'm wondering if you have tried some of my favorite Santa Cruz places?
Bittersweet Bistro, Theo's, Aqua Bleu,Au Midi, O'Mei,Gayle's Blue Plate Special,
even Betty's at Seabright Beach for a burger and fries (all hormone free, and the bun is made by the Also's family, Sestri, and Soif?
We have some outstanding chefs in Santa Cruz and some really wonderful restaurants that are both varied and interesting, besides being delicious.
Come back soon and try some of these places if you haven't already.
Thank you for the suggestions. I have been to a few of the places you mentioned. I enjoyed O'Mei, and I have liked Soif, but at the time found the plates too small to be satisfying for a meal (haven't been there real recently, though). It also seemed quite expensive for what you got, though we liked the wine and food. I have been to Gayle's Bakery in Capitola -- is that what you are referring to? We like it, but the crowds are sometimes unmanageable and it is often hard to get a place to sit. We did go once to Sestri and thought it was just okay; again, rather overpriced for what you got. But I look forward to the others.
Thanks for your report of this tucked-away restaurant in Aptos. I guess I've refrained from trying it since I've heard some mixed things about the food from locals and I favor French bistro or Provencal-style cuisine over the style represented at MM. I'm glad that you and your group enjoyed it though. The total cost seems very, very reasonable given what you ordered and portioning.
There is a new French restaurant in Aptos called Au Midi that has been getting some buzz. It's owned by a couple originally from the French Riviera, and I've heard fairly positive things from a few locals. The female chef-owner especially has a knack for pastries, so it sounds promising. I like how their menu is fairly focused and all wines by the bottle are $7 per glass or $25 per bottle. It's not in the most atmospheric location being housed in a strip mall next to a karate studio and KFC, but it might be worth a stop when you're in the area again and want to try something new.
Au Midi website:
Oh, and Limoncello is a new Italian place that just opened at 503 Water St. to replace Il Trullo. The Italian chef has a following in the area from his Bella Napoli days, but I've never tried his food or the new place yet; early reports have been generally positive.
Has anyone out there tried Caffe Lucio at the corner of Ocean and Broadway yet?
Ma Maison Restaurant
9051 Soquel Dr Ste K, Aptos, CA 95003