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Need a rec for a really good restaurant in or very near Santa Cruz...

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Help! it seems that most of the restaurants in Santa Cruz are a mediocre -- is there anything that's really good? Capitola would be fine, but we prob don't want to drive as far as monterey. Can anyone help? thanks!

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  1. I went to both Carmel/Monterey and Santa Cruz last weekend and had an EXCEPTIONAL meal at Bonny Doon's Cellar Door restaurant in Santa Cruz.

    Briefly, here was my shared meal:

    - Boquerones
    - Padróns with smoked Chèvre
    - Smoked fingerling potatoes with aïoli (I almost didn't order these 'cuz I'm trying to stay away from carbs. Glad I ordered them).
    - Figs and house-made burrata with apricot confit. Glad there wasn't more of this; I would have gained five pounds on it alone.
    - Leafy greens with almonds. Perfect
    - Abalone with warm cabbage salad, celtuce and yolk. Delightful
    - Monterey squid with pork belly confit, quinoa and stonefruit - amazingly tender squid and delightful pork; great combination.
    - Ginger snap and sable cookies

    I saw some special chicken and waffles that were going out and wished I could have tried it...

    4 Replies
    1. re: CarrieWas218

      Look into Au Midi in Aptos. I would like to hear some feedback.

      1. re: emglow101

        I had lunch at Au Midi and adored it. It's just perfect food, prepared with love and warmth. It's a form of time travel, for me.

        I've had several meals at Bonny Doon Cellar Door—oh, SO good, though the padróns are not served classically, and I think all that smoke is overkill. Smoked padróns instead of straight-up cooked in olive oil with salt, and then smoked chevre on top of that. The smoked fingerlings, however, are probably my favorite potatoes on earth. I wouldn't order both at the same meal. And I would always choose the potatoes.

        I really wouldn't say most restaurants in the county are mediocre. Oswald has a world-class bartender, and a chef, Damani Thomas, who is amazing. Soif, La Posta, gee, SO many good places to eat, and much less expensive than The City. (Interpret "The City" to be anything you care to.)

        -----
        La Posta
        538 Seabright Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 95062

        Au Midi
        7960 Soquel Dr Ste E, Aptos, CA 95003

      2. re: CarrieWas218

        I was hoping you'd tell us about your meal at Cellar Door. Allegedly it went through a rough patch when the previous chef left for Oakland's Plum. Sounds fine now!

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          It was lovely and I would return in a heartbeat...

      3. >>it seems that most of the restaurants in Santa Cruz are a mediocre<<

        Just about any town has mediocre eateries of various sorts, right? La Posta and Cellar Door are not mediocre.

        -----
        La Posta
        538 Seabright Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 95062

        Cellar Door
        328 Ingalls St, Santa Cruz, CA

        2 Replies
        1. re: bulavinaka

          Oswald, Gabriella, Au Midi…none are mediocre. 'Tis snobbery of the big city that overshadows actual hands-on dining experience in a region with a surfeit of incredible organic farms.

          But fine, keep saying that to the world. It may be hit and miss, but this city/county is not necessarily "mediocre" unless you go to Shadowbrook or any of the other "popular" places that use Cisco and other industrial food products. Santa Cruz MOSTLY likes to keep it real.

          -----
          Shadowbrook
          1750 Wharf Rd., Capitola, CA 95010

          1. re: soquelcalifornia

            >>'Tis snobbery of the big city that overshadows actual hands-on dining experience in a region with a surfeit of incredible organic farms.<<

            >>Santa Cruz MOSTLY likes to keep it real.<<

            Couldn't agree more. Great town, great folks, great food and drink.