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Jul 25, 2011 09:31 PM

Tell me about the restaurant's of Santa Cruz

I have lived here fifty five years . Can are food be more boring and overated. Where would you take someone close for to you for a comfortable and great meal ? I give up.

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  1. Have you tried the Bonny Doon cafe, The Cellar Door? They have a prix fixe menu for $40 which always includes great dessert. The kitchen is ambitious so there can be some missteps, but the food is rustic, always tasty and often great and never boring. I find dinner to be more consistant than lunch.

    Bonny Doon Vineyard
    328 Ingalls St, Santa Cruz, CA

    1 Reply
    1. re: budnball

      No, I will give them a try. I do like the Main Street Garden. Thanks

    2. Maybe some specifics on cuisine, price, atmosphere would help with suggestions.

      Here are a couple to consider given your vague criteria:

      Ristorante Avanti

      Soif Wine Bar

      Ristorante Avanti
      1711 Mission St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

      Soif Wine Bar & Retail
      105 Walnut Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

      1 Reply
      1. re: Scott M

        Been to Avanti they have been there forever. Very Good. Soif , Have not been there. The food? just looking for chefs who are compassionate about what they cook.

      2. How about Bittersweet Bistro in Aptos? If you frequent Cabrillo FM on Saturday's you're likely to see Chef Thomas Vinolus purchasing product for the restaurant & bistro. It's a beautiful space with a great bar area. I did my apprenticeship there and I can vouch for the delicious desserts.

        Bittersweet Bistro
        787 Rio Del Mar Blvd, Aptos, CA 95003

        7 Replies
        1. re: letsindulge

          Absolutely ! Bittersweet is spot on. Cabrillo F.M has everthing. As deep as you can go. Superior foods that are the best. Our location is best for growing the best in all of California, The US for that fact. I was in LA for the last month. They have nothing but, are way more original and struggle . And this should not even be a issue. Make are restaraunts step up . Praise Chris and his Salchichero. Help us rid of Lisa J from Good Times and the deep fried jalepeno from Saturn and put us on the map. Stir it up !!!

          1. re: emglow101

            Hey emglow101,

            Thanks for judiciously posting about your eats in LA. After visiting Santa Cruz last summer for a week, I was so impressed with the quality and freshness of the produce and other agricultural goods in SC. Heck - I was impressed by your local Costco's offerings in the beer and wine departments if that's any sign of how good things are up here. I think the Swift Street is a strong nucleus for so many great things to come down the pipe in SC and look forward to coming up your way next week for vacation - again. I'm taking notes from this thread and a few others to create an updated list of places to either revisit or go to for the first time - El Salchichero is on my primary list.

            We did enjoy our dinner at Cellar Door further down the complex and intend on visiting it once again. If your current thread can be bolstered by any more of your favorites, I'd appreciate it.

            El Salchichero
            402 Ingalls St #5, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

            1. re: bulavinaka

              Yea we do have some places. I guess I am just pouting with no M.C. Though I will be at my nephews house September 16th for one night in Culver City. Flying out the next day to Italy. I think I can bribe him to take me to M.C. Was at Salchichero Thursday . I havn't been there in a while. It's more beautiful than ever. Picked up his saucisson sec and perro calientes. Awesome ! I like the Main Street Garden Cafe in Soquel. Go for lunch. I had their pizza with pork belly cooked in their wood fired pizza oven. Thats outside on the patio. Also had the salumi plate with burrata cheese. Both very good.Their website is down right now. Nice area outside with the garden. Hope the weather warms up, foggy. Farmers market at cabrillo, $ 40 prix fix menu at the Cellar Door also sounds good. I'll do some ground work for you as you helped me out when I was in LA

              1. re: emglow101

                Thanks for the recs and the help. Between the Farmers Markets, Shoppers Corner and the bakeries, one can put together mighty fine meals in SC. But it's nice not to cook - most of the time - at least while on holiday.

                Shoppers Corner
                622 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz, CA

              2. re: bulavinaka

                re: bulavinaka

                could you elaborate on the Swift Street area please? Would love to see a post about this.

                1. re: toodie jane

                  Going off of my memory from last summer's visit, Swift Street seems to have the makings of a great destination for folks who love food, drink, and goods that feel more artisanal. I'm guessing Kelly's put this place on the map - it seems to be the epicenter of the general Swift Street/Ingalis Street area. It gets crowded and rightfully so. Most things we tried there are very good to great, the adjacent courtyard is very pleasant, and the ice cream window was a hit with our kids.

                  The various wineries that have opened up or being represented at the tasting rooms here is probably a way of bringing the wineries down from the hills and mountains, so to say. Unlike Napa/Sonoma, where one can pretty much take a straight shot down an easily navigable highway, I'm guessing only more inspired wine wonks are willing to take the drive up to these various wineries. We are willing to make the drive, but for us, the centralized tasting rooms are great because we have kids (12 & 9), and dragging them along on a wine tour and have them watch us sample wines is pretty boring if not torturous. We can go to Swift Street, they can hit Kelly's, we can spend 30 minutes hitting one of the tasting rooms, meet back at Kelly's, grab some stuff there and move on or have a meal.

                  Bonny Doon's Cellar Door Cafe is a nice addition to this area. We went for dinner on our last visit and truly enjoyed it. The service was very professional but not overbearing, the restaurant itself was casually elegant, the food was great, and of course the wine flights went well with our meal.

                  We did not have a chance to try Santa Cruz Mountain Brewery - I regret this as I've enjoyed their bottles here in LA - but we intend on stopping by this time - hit a tap or two - maybe leave with a growler.

                  With Kelly's Bakery and all the wine and beer offered here, I started to quasi-channel Omar Kayan, "a jug of wine, a loaf of bread and... charcuterie?" El Salchichero hadn't opened yet last summer, but I hear they're in full swing now. This to me was another major cornerstone for Swift Street, filling in another missing piece of a potentially superb culinary destination in the making. To have a butcher that does charcuterie is a fantastic addition. Poster emglow101 has praised this place so I am definitely dropping by hear as well.

                  We are heading up on Tuesday (08/09) and staying for about 10 days. I'm in the process of reviewing the related threads listed below and will update as time allows. I'm surprised I don't see a seperate thread on Swift Street yet. Maybe folks take this place for granted, as NorCal also has the Ferry Building and Oxbow. We in LA have very little to compare to these great venues. Santa Monica has a section of a rooftop level of the Santa Monica Place that recently opened known as "The Market," but the Chow reception in general has been luke warm and inconsistent. I can't help but compare this new venue to places like Swift Street in that The Market seems artificially contrived. The vendors and eateries vary from pretty good to average, but most are duplicates of places that already exist and one can get a near duplicate experience with about the same or less effort outside of this venue. Places like Swift Street have a natural evolutionary feel to them, where something started in an overlooked or neglected location, then something else moved in for another reason or that compliments the nucleus, and then the synergism just keeps going at a natural but nice pace.

                  El Salchichero
                  402 Ingalls St #5, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

                  1. re: bulavinaka

                    New Leaf Market on the end of Ingalls St is the go to grocery store on the westside,it's down the block from El Salchichero. Around the corner cheap eats is a Snappy dog. chips and soda from Garys hot dog cart in front of U Save liquor store next to Safeway $5.00 . Also, Las Palmas Taco Bar next to the Boardwalk and the Wharf. Plastic forks and paper plates. Family owned. Good for lunch. $