3 nights in Santa Cruz
Need rec's for all meals. Spending 3 nights in Santa Cruz visiting student son. He works at Lulu's so coffee and pastries for at least 1 day are decided. But lunchs, dinners and a great breakast place are needed. One meal may include lots of 20-somethings, so inexpensive would be welcome for that meal! The other meals looking for great food, price a lesser issue.
I second Cafe Brazil for breakfast. There can be a wait, so get there on the early side. Try the feijoada. You can also split the pot of stew with a friend and get an extra plate with just the rice and sides for the dish. I love this.
College students love to bring the parents to the Crepe Place. I haven't been there in awhile because it seems like the kind of place you bring your parents when they're in town. There's something for everyone. It's just hard for me to spend that kind of money on a crepe when I can easily make crepes at home for next to nothing.
I haven't been to Zachary's in years. I always had an upset stomach (I won't get any more graphic than that) after eating there. I decided that it was the potatoes that did it and no longer had a problem once I stuck to oatmeal on those group breakfast outings. I don't recommend that restaurant.
I love the Silver Spur. Their food is great, and they have homemade muffins as a choice of bread.
Lillian's is also a great, casual place for dinner. They have a limited menu, but everything is great.
Sri is also good. Everyone I know who's been there loves it. They have a great dinner deal on Sunday nights where you get tons of food with drink and appetizer for $13. Mostly vegetarian, but they have some fish.
Vasili's is also a fun place by campus. Casual, lots of food, decent prices.
Sawasdee is also an inexpensive place. It's in Soquel, has good food, and the service is always good.
For somewhere a little pricier, I recommend Caruso's. It's tiny, but their pizza is great. Their fried calamari is light and not greasy. It's on the Capitola Esplanade. I love their marscapone and proscuitto pizza.
I used to live in SC and my family still lives there so I have my fav's that I have to hit when I take a visit. Zachary's (Pacific Mall) is legendary for their breakfast and the prices are not bad. For dinner, check out the Crepe Place for the amazing crepes and hippie decor...fun atmosphere The turkey crepe is like thanksgiving dinner in a crepe. Omei on Hwy 1 (westside of sc) has the most amazing Chinese food and it's not your "normal" chinese food...look up the reviews on the internet. Tyrolean Inn (dinner), a beautiful and short drive up Hwy 9, has the most amazing German food and the atmospher is a blast. A touristy thing to do is eat on the wharf so go to Riva Fish House...locals eat there. The calamari is addicitive and as is the gelato. Also grab a copy of the free newspaper Santa Cruz Metro and Santa Cruz Good Times as they have a decent restaurant listing. For lunch...sorry out of order...Aldo's at the harbor for their famous fish sandwich. Last of all, I would make lunch so you can enjoy the outdoors...go to Shopper's Corner to pick up supplies.
Have fun...I am hungry no.