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Lunch recommendations between San Francisco and Santa Cruz

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Arriving in San Francisco on Friday, September 12th at 11:30am. Plan on driving from SFO to Santa Cruz and need some lunch recommendations. Doesn't need to be fancy or ridiculously cheap, just worth my time and money. I've identified some spots in Santa Cruz, but unsure how long the drive will take (i.e. I don't want to eat lunch at 2pm). Can anyone suggest some places just off the Highway that might be worth hitting for lunch if we just can't wait until Santa Cruz? Looks like my route will take me on US-101, CA-85S and CA-17 before arriving in Santa Cruz.

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  1. You should also post this on the SF board which covers all of the towns you will be driving through until Santa Cruz. There is plenty of great food on that route. What tends to stand out are asian cuisines so if there is anything you can't find where you live that would be a good option and not something you will get in Santa Cruz.

    And if your final lunch option is not on 101, N101, W380, 280S, 85S, 17 is a far nicer drive with less traffic and not as complicated as it looks when written down.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Nathan P

      Lots of options in downtown Mountain View (take Shoreline exit, head left on Villa and park around Castro). Los Charros has killer, killer tacos and burritos al pastor, but probably the best thing to do is to stroll around and see what takes your fancy. Palo Alto (University Avenue exit) has a great downtown too; fancier stuff but parking is nuts. If you can hold out all the way to Los Gatos (should take an hour from SFO at that time), there's another batch of restaurants there. I like The Wine Cellar; Steamer's, Willow Street Pizza, Cafe Marcella.