Scotts Valley/Santa Cruz Dinner/Lunch Recommendations
Originally I posted something similar for Scotts Valley/San Jose but someone was nice enough to point out that San Jose isn't close enough to go for a meal....
I will be in Scott's Valley 01/26 - 01/29 on business. I'm hoping that California chowhounds will be able to give me some recommendations. I would love to try some good sea food. I would normally try to do some research on my own but I'm in bit of a time crunch. I'm hoping you folks would help me out.
I'm staying at the Hilton Scott's Valley. I will have a car so I don't mind driving 20-30 miles from the hotel for a meal.
I would like to stay under $30 for dinner, under $15 for lunch and under $10 for breakfast but I don't mind spending extra for a good meal.
I will be working few miles away from the Hilton so let me know if there are any places close enough for a quick (about 1 hour) lunch.
Thank you in advance!
If you are willing to drive 20 to 30 miles for food, then Los Gatos is easily accessible (about 15 miles and 20 to 25 minutes - drive carefully over Hwy 17!) and certain parts of the South Bay are as well. Look at the SF Bay Area board for lots of suggestions. I would venture that Chinese, Japanese (especially, for me, ramen - Santouka, Kahoo or Halu) and Vietnamese are worth the drive.
In Santa Cruz, I would definitely second Avanti and Soif as my favorite places to eat, but under $30 is only achieveable without wine or with a rather modest appetite. For me both are worth the extra expense. For seafood, the calamari at Avanti is the best I've ever had and is only served when local squid is available. Both Soif and Avanti often have local fish on the menu - just ask. La Posta is Italian and with ownership related to Soif. Tuesdays is pizza or pasta + glass of wine for $15. I really like their pizza and pasta so this to me is very good value. It's still worth checking out even if not on a Tuesday.
If you're not from the west coast and interested in seafood, then I'd also suggest trying some Dungeness crab while you're here. Perfect season for this most delicious crab. But where to try? I usually cook it at home so maybe others have ideas. Soif often has a dungeness crab salad on the menu that you can't go wrong with. I haven't been to Aquarius; the only applicable dish right now is a crab wonton, which doesn't sound like a good prep for Dungeness to me. There have to be other choices.
For less fancy dinner, I've been really enjoying the hamburger at Oswald (dinner only) and it's not too pricey ($12 or so IIRC). Available at the bar only I believe. Lately I've been enjoying Aptos St. BBQ - ribs (pork for sure and I've heard good things about the beef) and tri-tip are best IMO. Serviceable Thai just down the street at Sawasadee. I rather enjoy Pizza My Heart (multiple locations including downtown Santa cruz), though I make sure to ask for my slices well-done to get a bit of char.
Best bargain lunch (do-able in just about an hour provided traffic is not unsually heavy) to me is Taqueria La Cabana (same shopping complex as O'Mei). Tacos are the way to go here. The carnitas range from good to amazing depending on the day. The snapper, shrimp, desebrada, cabeza and chicharron tacos also have their advocates. Agree thta Taqueria Santa Cruz on Soquel Ave is good for al pastor but I never found another taco that I liked all that much. Their carne en su jugo (soup with carne asada, avocado, limes, chiles) is pretty tasty, though.
I'm personally not a fan of O'Mei. Even y**pers are issuing complaints left and right. Aquarius and Cellar Door are on my list of places to try. Cafe Brazil is good but I don't think it's in the 1-hr lunch window. For a slightly longer breakfast, it would be a good choice. Ditto for Linda's Seabreeze Cafe (a couple of doors down from La Posta).
Cafe Brasil for pancakes, feijoada, and other great, unusal dishes.
Taqueria Santa Cruz – al pastor (off the spit)
1002 Soquel Ave
2316 Mission St
Aquarius Restaurant in the Dream Inn
175 West Cliff Dr.
On the higher end:
Oswald (French/American) no lunch
603 Front St. at Soquel
hello: search this board for Santa Cruz options, Scotts Valley is 10 minutes away from downtown Santa Cruz. Try the Cellar Door (I've not been, but I've heard good things) Soif (a favorite place for a taste or two of wine, small bites and the occasional fab. entree); Avanti, Buttery for lunch, Octagon for great coffee and tea + wireless(sometimes nice for the business traveler). so many more. I hope other Santa Cruz posters that have the lifestyles of going out more than me will post!