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Dec 22, 2013 05:25 PM


We'll be in Capitola from the afternoon of 12/29 thru the morning of 1/1, staying at the Venetian.

I did some searches here, but most posts seem old. Any new info on good places to eat? Not looking for high end, because I feel we'd be disappointed, but hoping to find decent mid-to-low range places - aka, a good burger place, good Mexican, etc. We do have a kitchen, so we may cook a bit. I read about Gayle's bakery, seems like there are mixed reviews, and i'm not into baked goods myself. If we do want something fancier, is there any new info on Shadowbrook? I think if anything, we'd try the Rock Room, which seems more casual. Any idea if reservations are mandatory for that? How about Caruso's Tuscan (it's described as a hole-in-the-wall, which is fine)? Do people prefer Bella Roma Café? As for Mexican, how about Taqueria Agave, or El Toro Bravo? Breakfast joints? good eggs are all i'm looking for....

the only "nicer" thing I planned on doing was visiting Sante Adarius (contacted them, they're open until 7 on 12/29). any recent reviews?

While we're at it, any dive bars in town? Would really like a low key bar we can camp out in for NYE. my search for "dive bars Capitola" turned up bars in Soquel and Santa Cruz, and we don't want to drive... although we could cab it for the "right" dive bar.

any other tips, advice? Thanks in advance.

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  1. Recent article in the local independent on changes at the Rio Grill, just south of Capitola

    Cafe Rio
    131 Esplanade, Aptos

    The Point Market & Cafe just to the west of the village has breakfast burritos and advertise breakfast all day.
    23040 E Cliff Drive, Capitola, CA

    Manuel's in Aptos was our goto for Mexican food whenever we were in the area, haven't been in a few years.

    Grady's Market at 509 Bay Ave was our place for BBQ meats. Hear that the name has changed and sandwiches are now available.

    1 Reply
    1. re: PolarBear

      Thanks for the info, pb. I was hoping not to have to go to aptos to eat - we know aptos pretty well but not capitola. Thx again.

    2. Hi MC,
      Check out the Chaminade up on the hill overlooking Capitola. They have a patio with a great view of the ocean where you can get a drink and a bite. I haven't eaten there for a dinner, so I will stop short of recommending the full menu, but on a nice day, or even on a stormy one, it is a very nice spot.

      1 Reply
      1. Sticking only to Capitola proper, I like Mr. Kebab and Falafel in Capitola Village although they were closed for a while (their updated website seems to suggest they've reopened).

        Caruso's is somewhat old-school Italian. Many people really like it but I'm lukewarm on the style. Execution is probably good for what it is.

        Cava Wine Bar is adjacent to Caruso's and has a decent selection of by-the-glass offerings. Usually New World dominated, but with some Old World stuff as well. Food is limited to a few things like cheese and charcuterie but a reasonable place to hang out. I think there might be an arrangement to get food from Caruso's but that might be wrong or out of date.

        Sante Adairius is only getting better. World-class beer.

        Verve Coffee on 41st has world-class coffee.

        A few doors up is the Chill Out Cafe which has a wide range of tasty breakfast burritos. That would be my suggestion for breakfast but I haven't done an extensive search.

        Very slightly outside your boundary is the Silver Spur, which is probably the best breakfast in the entire greater Santa Cruz area. Lunch is pretty good too.

        For me the best burger by far in the area is at Oswald, but that's downtown Santa Cruz. I say it's worth the short drive but YMMV.

        1 Reply
        1. re: bouncepass

          thanks, bouncepass, all great info!!

        2. Don't know how you feel about third wave coffee, but since you're in the nabe, you might want to check out Verve. The location on 41st Ave is a couple blocks outside Capitola. Mostly I liked it for the Kelly bakery goods, better IMO than Gayle's.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Melanie Wong

            thanks, Melanie, i don't drink coffee, but the BF does. thanks for the tip about the baked goods too!

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              oh, and bouncepass did mention Verve to me already... so i'll be sure to tell the BF. thanks all.

            2. Did you discover anything Chow worthy for our next visit?

              3 Replies
              1. re: KatoK

                sorry Katok, i did not. we had to cut our trip short one day as i had a family emergency, so we didn't even get to check out Sante Adairius. since we only had two nights there, we had only one dinner out (i made fondue in our hotel for NYE). the BF wanted steak, so we ended up at Zelda's (we really did not want to drive). not bad, but the steaks were both overcooked, with sloppy-looking sauces. and i think the bc wedge salad had bottled dressing. we did split a very decent burger for lunch at Fog... Fog something, right in the village, in the same little strip as zelda's and margaritaville. good char on the burger, cooked right, and sitting on the patio overlooking the gulls and ducks bathing in the lagoon, with good fries and a glass of cab, it was a mighty fine lunch. simple bfast there the next day was good too, but don't waste your calories on the crabcake benedict - i had it Ny day, and couldn't even finish it.

                i did get a recommendation from a foodie/blogger friend for Cafe Cruz in nearby Soquel, so you might check that out. But it is SO lovely in Capitola i was not one bit sorry to not have had a chowhound experience each meal. hope you have fun! and if you find good eats, please report back, because i certainly want to return.

                1. re: mariacarmen

                  Sorry to hear your trip was cut short. We did spend a few hours on the beach on NYD and had a picnic, but I am sad to report that our attempt to visit the bar at Chauminade was a no-go because they were closed. Glad I packed the cooler with meats and cheeses. It was a lovely day with gorgeous weather, as you know and it was cool to send pictures to my friends in Chicago who were being buried in 10" of snow.

                  1. re: KatoK

                    oh, i misread - you were there the same time i was! it certainly was lovely weather we both had. glad you enjoyed too!