Santa Cruz restaurants?
Thank you to everyone who replied! We visited Santa Cruz on a Sunday and Monday. On Sunday we ate at Ristorante Avanti which was wonderful and able to accommodate my husband's dietary issues while providing ME with an absolutely delicious-no restrictions whatsoever-meal. Monday it turned out Osvalds was closed, but because of those issues, we ate at Surfrider where I had a very good burger and a delicious brownie with a scoop of Marianne's ice cream which almost made up for Penny Creamery being closed on Monday, (Later found out there is a kiosk on Pacific we could have gone to....oh well.) We got a great cup of coffee at Verve and a cupcake from Buttercream. And, BTW, we stayed at Adobe on Green Street which is a wonderful B&B. Thanks again!!!!
Things in Santa Cruz don't change all that quickly other than a plethora of new pizza places that have opened over the last year or so. Here's my up-to-date list of preferred places:
La Posta: Italian. Most consistently excellent restaurant in the area. Rarely a misstep. The wine list is all Italian in case that matters.
Soif: Some people claim it's expensive but for the quality, I think it's better value than Oswald. You can go entirely with small plates or there are entree sized plates as well. Amazing by-the-glass wine list, and all bottles from the shop are also available.
Bantam: wood-fired oven pizza on the Westside, along salads, pastas, etc. Crust has good chew and slight crispiness.
Oswald: I really like their burger, which is on the bar menu but you can order it in the restaurant proper as well. Excellent cocktails.
Other restaurants worth considering: Gabriella Cafe; Aptos St. BBQ; Sid's Smokehouse; Pizzeria Avanti; Ristorante Avanti; Laili Restaurant.
I don't think there are any destination-worthy Mexican places in town (on the level of the much-lamented Tepa Sahuayo) assuming one is coming from elsewhere in California. If one comes from a Mexican-deprived location, then Taqueria La Cabana or Taqueria Los Pericos are my preferred spots.
Other highly-recommended edibles: Verve (world class coffee); The Buttery (outstanding bakery); The Penny Creamery (ice cream); Sante Adairius Rustic Ales (world class beer - limited hours, so check carefully); burger (two locations, Westside and Aptos; the food is average but the Belgian and American craft beer selection is outstanding); 99 Bottles (excellent beer selection downtown, mostly American craft beer).