All of these restaurants emphasize local ingredients, and they also advertise in Edible Monterey Bay!
Hours, menu items and service protocols may have changed due to COVID 19, so please call ahead.
A new vegan/vegetarian dish at Persephone in Aptos features purple cabbage stuffed with sweet potato purée on a bed of lentils and oyster mushrooms, topped with baby leek jam.
7945 Soquel Drive
With a namesake like the mythic Persephone, this restaurant in Aptos proclaims its deep reverence for seasonal cooking. Themes central to harvest, winter and spring are core to Persephone’s story, and are reflected in the changing menu at this fine dining destination, where chef Cori Goudge-Ayer presents inventive, ingredient-driven creations. The restaurant is a family-run passion project, bringing together parents, siblings and a long history of culinary arts in a beautifully redesigned space overlooking Aptos Creek.
Sierra Mar at Post Ranch Inn
47900 Highway 1
Exceptional ingredients, many grown on site, deliver a unique gastronomic take on the Big Sur experience. Lunch offers a 3-course prix fixe menu, while dinner features a 4-course prix fixe menu. Choose from almost 3,000 different wines from the Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning wine list. Arrive before sunset for breathtaking views from this iconic restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling windows and cliffside terrace.
East End Gastropub
1501 41st Avenue
East End Gastropub is the newer baby sister to the popular West End Tap & Kitchen, but aside from sharing owners and chefs, East End’s beautiful, modern interior is entirely different from West End and offers its own robust, sophisticated, beer-friendly menu. Chef Geoffrey Hargrave has created dishes that are familiar yet innovative, such as crispy gigante beans with smoked creme fraiche and coq au vin. Share plates, pizzas and salads come in generous portions for a family-style meal. The restaurant also offers its own brews, along with local rotating taps and a strong wine list. Open Su 10:30am–9:30pm, Sa 10:30am–10pm, M–Th 4–9:30pm, F 11:30am–10pm. Brunch Sa–Su 10:30am–2:30pm. Happy hour M–F 4–6pm.
Margaritaville Capitola is dedicated to serving Mexican cuisine made from scratch with an emphasis on seafood. The dog-friendly patio is a great place to enjoy a margarita and Baja fish tacos and fresh ceviche. Other menu favorites are chile verde and chicken mole enchiladas. We are open for dining on our patio, interior dining room and Esplanade parklet. Online ordering, takeout and delivery are also available. Open daily 11am–9pm.
200 Monterey Avenue, Suite 2
Serving the local community and visitors alike in Capitola Village, Mijo’s Taqueria features bold and unique flavors in a new age taqueria setting. Chef Anthony Guajardo’s passion for cooking developed from being in his Mexican and Italian grandmothers’ kitchens growing up. Eager to combine his authentic family recipes with a modern culinary twist, he opened Mijo’s, conveniently located just a quick walk from the beach and available for dining in or ordering to go. M–Th and Su 11am–7pm, F-Sa 11am–7:30pm.
1750 Wharf Road
A Santa Cruz County landmark since 1947, the world-famous Shadowbrook continues to be an overwhelming favorite with locals and visitors alike. Its fine food, extensive wine list and unparalleled setting and ambiance have earned it numerous awards, including Northern California’s “Most Romantic Restaurant” and “Best Date Night Restaurant.” Gift cards and reservations available online.
Aabha Indian Cuisine
3690 The Barnyard
For authentic Indian food in Carmel, look no further than Aabha Indian Cuisine, which offers lunch and dinner daily at The Barnyard. Master chef Bhupender Singh has more than two decades of experience in creating tantalizing dishes, with expertise in balancing spices and complex flavors. Chef Singh began his career working at Bukhara restaurant in New Delhi, one of the 50 top restaurants in the world, later opening popular restaurants in the Bay Area and Sonoma.
South West corner of The Barnyard
Carmel’s neighborhood pizzeria for over 30 years, Allegro features eclectic award-winning pizza, as well as traditional Italian fare. With private dining rooms and patios, Allegro is a great spot for any event with complete meals to match any budget. Featuring pizza, pasta, seafood & steak as well as an array of new pub fare inspired by the on-site craft brewery. Kids make their own pizza, puppies eat free and gluten free, vegan & keto choices are available. Yes, we deliver!
Monte Verde Street at Seventh Avenue
Recently awarded a one-star Michelin rating and located within the romantic L’Auberge Carmel hotel, Aubergine feels like a trip to Europe. Executive Chef-Director Justin Cogley was named one of Food & Wine’s best new chefs of 2013. He has been nominated multiple times for a James Beard award, and it’s no wonder—he’s an eloquent and imaginative interpreter of coastal seasonal ingredients. Executive Pastry Chef Yulanda Santos delights with stunning and inventive desserts at this temple of fine dining.
Billy Quon’s SUR
3601 The Barnyard, Suite A-21
SUR is the latest restaurant for Bill and Teresa Lee, who over the years have created local favorites like Bahama Billy’s and Bixby Bistro at The Barnyard. Executive chef Herman Hernandez gets rave reviews for an exciting and eclectic menu. Favorites include his famous Southern fried chicken and waffles, fisherman’s bouillabaisse, fiet mignon, burgers and a variety of vegetarian dishes. SUR has a full bar and holds two happy hours nightly, from 3–6pm and 8–9pm, plus happy hour all night every Tuesday. A wide selection of local wines is available. SUR has a special doggie menu for canine patrons!
Earthbound Farm’s Farm Stand Organic Kitchen
7250 Carmel Valley Road
At its newly renovated Carmel Valley Farm Stand, Earthbound Farm’s 100% certified organic kitchen delights with housemade soups, sandwiches, a newly expanded salad bar, baked goods and fresh juices and smoothies. Food is available to be enjoyed on our beautiful grounds or for takeaway. Experience picturesque Carmel Valley as you stroll through Earthbound’s organic gardens and learn about its pioneering local heritage and commitment to organic integrity. And as always, pick up some fresh, local organic fruits and veggies. Visit website or check out Facebook for hours, special events and classes!
8000 Valley Greens Drive
Taste the fresh ingredients harvested from local farms and fisheries hand-selected by Edgar’s executive chef Brian Parks and exquisitely prepared by the culinary team. Edgar’s features casual elegance with its indoor and outdoor fireside dining against the backdrop of the golf course and Santa Lucia Mountains. It offers authentic California cuisine with hints of alternate influences, with modern takes on familiar classics using time-tested techniques. Voted “Best Restaurant on a Golf Course” by locals. Visit quaillodge.com/edgars for most up-to-date hours.
Folktale Winery & Vineyards
8940 Carmel Valley Road
Folktale Winery is renowned for its wines, but great food is also on the menu there. The winery offers small bites that are perfectly paired to its vintages, from the artisan cheese and charcuterie boards to Folktale’s deviled eggs with Baker’s bacon or Imperial caviar, and Niman Ranch meatballs. Salads and vegetarian options are also available, as is a selection of savory flatbreads. They’re just the thing to enjoy while taking in the idyllic beauty of the setting and enjoying a wine flight of Folktale’s finest. Tours and special wine and food pairings are also available by reservation.
From Scratch Restaurant
3626 The Barnyard
When a restaurant is called From Scratch, customers expect a meal prepared with the freshest ingredients and cooked to perfection. That’s exactly what you get when you dine at this charming family-owned spot. Breakfast is served all day, featuring hometown favorites such as eggs Benedict, made-to-order omelets, French toast made with homemade cinnamon bread and huevos rancheros. A variety of lunch specials is available, including soups, salads and sandwiches. A pet-friendly patio welcomes those who come in with furry friends.
Mission Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues
A more casual yet equally outstanding sister to Carmel’s La Balena, Il Grillo is staking out its own creative culinary personality with the addition of longtime local chef Brandon Miller. Homemade desserts are by Emily Garcia. Both Miller and Garcia share a wealth of local food knowledge and traditions shine through their cooking. Dinner menus are driven by local and sustainably raised ingredients, with beautiful and delicious results. Garden seating available.
Junipero Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues
Winner of EMB’s 2014 Local Heroes award for Best Chef/Best Restaurant, La Balena has a seasonal menu that changes daily but always expresses an inventive take on the rustic food of a Tuscan trattoria. The outstanding culinary team sources ingredients from local organic farms and prepares the restaurant’s pastas and slow-cooked meats from scratch daily. Owners Anna and Emanuele Bartolini have created an excellent Italian wine list and a warm, inviting atmosphere, complete with back garden seating.
Lafayette Bakery & Café
3659 The Barnyard, Suite E-22
Whether it’s a rustic loaf of bread or a delectable French pastry, you’ll find what you’re looking for at award-winning Lafayette Bakery & Café, a favorite stop for both locals and visitors to The Barnyard. Master baker Jean-Bernard Vial and the rest of the Vial family bring their French heritage to their authentic artisan breads and handcrafted pastries such as custard brioche and almond croissants. Coffee, baguette sandwiches and salads are also served with a smile.
Lugano Swiss Bistro
3670 The Barnyard
With authentic Swiss, French and German cuisine, and Old Country decor, it’s no wonder that Lugano is described as “an escape to Switzerland.” Chef André Lengacher brings the unique and robust flavors of his native country to a menu that includes schnitzel, pasta, Monterey Bay sand dabs and more. Or just indulge in Lugano’s famous fondues. A special menu is available for four-legged diners as well as a pet-friendly patio. Live music every Thursday night.
The Noodle Palace
3678 The Barnyard, Suite E-31
In search of the perfect pho? The Noodle Palace, owned by the Tran/Nguyen family, offers upscale Vietnamese and Asian cuisine with pho as the centerpiece, but also features a variety of other delicious selections that includes dim sum, bahn mi sandwiches, rice noodle soups and vermicelli bowls, and combination plates. Many vegetarian plates are also available. The Noodle Palace also offers catering for events and parties.
Rise + Roam
Mission Street and Seventh Avenue
Another unique restaurant by the Folktale team made its debut in January, bringing a whole new concept to the Monterey Peninsula. The casual eatery featuring a pizzeria and a bakery pairs the talents of executive chef Aaron Rayor and pastry chef Petra Jung, focusing on Roman-style pizza that is served by the meter on wooden paddles. Also offered are handmade pastas, unique salads and, for lunch, soups and sandwiches, as well as delectable cheesecakes, churros and other sweet treats.
Robata Grill & Sake Bar
3658 The Barnyard, Lower Level
Robata Grill & Sake Bar in The Barnyard has been a locals’ favorite for more than three decades, providing traditional Japanese cuisine and a sushi bar. The perfect place for any occasion, the restaurant features a full bar and wine list as well as a good selection of sake and Japanese beer. Robata welcomes private parties and offers catering as well.
Seventh & Dolores Steakhouse (7D)
Seventh and Dolores
The heart of this restaurant is a classic steakhouse, but with the energy and influences of coastal California and beyond. The restaurant, owned and run by the team behind Folktale Winery, is both a favorite neighborhood spot as well as a place to celebrate special occasions. Chefs choose all-natural meats from Niman Ranch that include 28-day, dry-aged beef, all humanely and sustainably raised, in addition to fresh local seafood and housemade desserts.
Waypoint Bar & Kitchen
8205 Valley Greens Drive
Inspired by The Peninsula Hotels’ Signature Motoring Events hosted annually at the Quail Lodge & Golf Club, Waypoint provides an authentic yet casual atmosphere featuring real motorcycles provided by the Moto Talbott Collection, motorsports-themed artwork by renowned local artist Molly McCall, and billiards and darts. Waypoint offers a café-style breakfast with a selection of craft coffee and teas, complemented by breakfast favorites that include fruit and yogurt, bakery items, eggs any style, breakfast sandwiches, buttermilk pancakes and an array of delectable sides such as applewood smoked bacon, chicken apple sausage, potato pancakes and more. In the evening there is casual, yet elevated fun fare complemented by a selection of craft beer, whiskey, wine and cocktails. Visit quaillodge.com/dining for the most up-to-date hours.
Jerome’s Carmel Valley Market
2 Chambers Lane
Already known for its specialty groceries, meats and fresh local produce, this beloved market is now serving classically French-trained chef Jerome Viel’s delicious hot prepared foods, sandwiches and mostly organic salad bar for eating at comfortable outdoor seating or takeaway. The offerings start with breakfast burritos, croissants and other French pastries in the morning, followed by favorites such as coq au vin, spaghetti carbonara and chicken enchiladas for lunch. On Friday afternoon, the big paella pan appears just in time to take some home for dinner. Open M–Sa 7am–7pm, Su 7am–6pm.
Lucia Restaurant & Bar
Bernardus Lodge & Spa • 415 W. Carmel Valley Road
Indulge in artisanal California country cuisine, award-winning wines and an expansive heated outdoor terrace with the finest restaurant view in Carmel Valley. Named for the Santa Lucia mountain range and wine appellation that beckons to the south, renowned chef Cal Stamenov serves both his signature tasting menu and dishes à la carte. Wine list is equally notable. A private chef’s table and wine cellar are also available. Open daily 7am–10pm. Saturday and Sunday brunch 11am–2:30pm. Curbside pickup also available.
Trailside Café and Beer Garden
3 Del Fino Place
Here, visitors will find the best local beer selection on the Central Coast, with 15 draft beers and one cider in rotation in addition to more than 50 bottled brews. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the café has an extensive menu including burgers, sandwiches, salads and evening entrées such as grilled salmon, chicken satay and stuffed portabellos. Live music in the beer garden on weekends, locals’ specials and a pet-friendly patio make it an area favorite. Check the website for special events and menu additions.
Whale City Bakery
490 Highway 1
Davenport’s artistic charm and oceanside location make it hard not to slow when you pass through on Highway 1. Those in the know always stop at the historic Whale City Bakery. The bakery tempts with housemade breads, pastries, muffins and pies—and that’s only the beginning! Whale City also offers a full restaurant that serves up comfort classics and other hearty dishes. The bar and live music every Thursday attract a loyal local following.
The Cremer House
6256 Highway 9
Housed in the oldest building in Felton, The Cremer House showcases progressive, made-from-scratch food and drinks with a nod to its historic mountain surroundings. This alehouse has filled a niche in the San Lorenzo Valley, bringing to this restored and revered property craft beer, cider and wine on tap, and combining it with organic and sustainable fare made with local ingredients.
Wild Roots Market
6240 Highway 9 • 831.335.7322 (Felton)
13159 Highway 9 • 831.338.7211 (Boulder Creek)
Wild Roots Market stocks 100% organic produce, natural groceries, organic meats and Fish-Wise-certified seafood all go into the prepared foods offered by the store’s full-service deli, salad and soup bar and juice bar (Felton only). Open daily 9am–9pm. Enjoy on the patio or take home.
The Cork & Plough
200 Broadway Street
It’s no wonder that The Cork & Plough is a favorite stop for travelers on the Hwy. 101 corridor and Salinas Valley locals alike. The downtown location is convenient; the hip, airy room and its massive tinted concrete bar are inviting; and the terrific food is prepared by chef/proprietor Travis Childers and his team with super-fresh ingredients directly from local farms. If you’re not the designated driver, don’t miss the cocktails crafted with housemade infusions by head bartender Rob Marshall or the wines and beers carefully curated by co-proprietor Anna Childers. Open Su, We,Th 11am–9pm, F–Sa 11am–10pm. Closed Mondays.
The Club Room
2 Portola Plaza
The Club Room inside the Portola Hotel & Spa offers a fresh, seasonal, breakfast buffet featuring made-to-order omelets, assorted housemade pastries and muffins, sliced cold cuts, fine artisan cheeses, bottomless mimosas and much more all for $22.95. Dine in the cozy fireside dining room, or breathe in the fresh coastal air on the outdoor, pet-friendly, heated patio.
the C restaurant + bar
InterContinental The Clement Monterey
750 Cannery Row
Step into the C restaurant + bar, and the bustle of Cannery Row will seem like a world away. Elegant yet relaxed, the C offers stunning ocean views from its floor-to- ceiling windows and oceanside deck. Executive chef Matt Bolton provides equally gorgeous food, imaginatively prepared from sustainably sourced seafood, meats and produce. Creative cocktails include international specialties, as well as sparkling wine flights from around the world.
2 Portola Plaza
Jacks Monterey offers “California Cultural Cuisine” and seats guests beneath the trees in a glass-topped atrium where they can enjoy the sun by day and the stars at night. Reflecting the palette of the Monterey Peninsula, the new space is decorated with ocean blues, driftwood browns and the greens of coastal flora. Chef Danny Abbruzzese’s new seasonal menu provides a melting pot of flavor profiles from the entire California coastline and other exotic locales.
Pacific Rolls & Bowls
475 Alvarado Street
The eatery that led the revival of Alvarado Street is now getting its own makeover. The Poke Lab is now Pacific Bowls & Rolls, with a new look and new menus. PBR continues to offer signature poke bowls as well as salads, nori rolls and bahn mi sandwiches. Pick your protein from among Kalbi barbecued beef, shoyu chicken, pork belly, ginger tofu, ahi tuna and more, and then select toppings and extras. Online ordering available. Check the Facebook page for updates.
Peter B’s Brewpub
2 Portola Plaza
Experience Monterey’s original craft brewery, Peter B’s Brewpub, located behind the Portola Hotel & Spa. Enjoy great food and award-winning handcrafted beers. Watch your favorite game on one of 18 HDTVs or enjoy the pet-friendly heated patio with fire pits.
Schooners Coastal Kitchen & Bar
Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa
400 Cannery Row
Sit out on the newly remodeled oceanside patio if you can, but it’s still considered seaside dining if you are seated inside the dining room, where polished wood, bay windows and seafaring décor seem like the interior of a sailing ship. Schooners Coastal Kitchen & Bar serves sustainable seafood and prime steaks. The restaurant takes a creative Californian approach to soups, fresh salads, sandwiches and wood-fired flatbreads, paired with a diverse wine list featuring local favorites.
Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa
1 Old Golf Course Road
Blending the beauty and bounty of Tuscany and California, TusCA executive chef Dan Elinan offers seasonally inspired menus made with fresh locally sourced produce. Try the Castroville artichoke fritters or entrées such as shiitake and fava risotto or cedar plank salmon with local bok choy rabe and Carmel Honey Co. miso.
Wild Plum Café
731 Munras Avenue
Located in Old Monterey in a vibrant and diverse neighborhood, the Wild Plum draws people from all walks of life with sustainable bistro fare based on organic and locally sourced produce, hormone-free Diestel turkeys roasted on site and grass-fed beef, local organic coffee and house-baked bread and pastries. Open for dine-in or take-out with hearty, healthy breakfast and lunch items; family value dinners for four available to go, including Chicken Pot Pie, Picnic Chicken and Taco Kit. Open daily 8am–3:30pm, closed Tuesdays.
Happy Girl Kitchen Co.
173 Central Avenue
The menu changes daily at Happy Girl’s airy and bright Pacific Grove café, but the food is always delicious, organic and reasonably priced. The sandwich of the day is $6.50, and a bowl of the soup of the day is $6. To drink, you’ll find kombucha on tap and freshly roasted Verve coffee brewed to perfection. Homemade baked goods include a daily scone, cookies and turnovers. Check the website for information on seasonal workshops. Open daily 7:30am–3pm, coffee and tea served until 5pm.
Jeninni Kitchen + Wine Bar
542 Lighthouse Avenue
Inspired by flavors of the Mediterranean, Jeninni Kitchen+ Wine Bar’s rich and decadent cuisine takes you on a journey from Morocco and Spain to the Levant, birthplace of owner and sommelier, Thamin Saleh. Don’t miss the charred octopus, lamb burger with signature eggplant fries and occasional paella nights and other special events.
701 Lighthouse Avenue
If you’re looking for a restaurant with playful, spectacular food and a scrupulous commitment to sustainability, this green-certified restaurant is hard to rival. The elegant dining room is celebratory yet relaxed, and the award-winning wine list features many sustainable names and is priced at retail. Chef Ted Walter’s menu is ever changing with the seasons, but always includes delicious organic local produce, inventive slow-cooked meats and an array of sustainable seafood choices.
545 Lighthouse Avenue
Owners Liz and Kelvin Jacobs welcome you to feast on the bounty of nearby waters and farms at their 100% local and organic seafood house, enjoying exquisite dishes like crispy sablefish and swordfish au poivre, accompanied by succulent native seaweeds. Fresh oysters, innovative salads, house-baked bread and sides like fingerling potatoes with poppyseed crème fraîche or baby carrots with wild nettle pesto, make this a dining destination. Did we mention English sticky toffee pudding? Or the live jazz on Friday nights?
The Lodge at Pebble Beach, 1700 17-Mile Drive
Overlooking the 18th hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links, The Bench at The Lodge at Pebble Beach delivers an eclectic menu inspired by international styles and methods, which uses the innovative technique of wood roasting and open-flame cooking. You can also enjoy one-of-a-kind craft cocktails, as well as an array of draft beers and wines by the glass.
The Lodge at Pebble Beach, 1700 17-Mile Drive
Overlooking the first tee of Pebble Beach Golf Links, Gallery Cafe offers a wide selection of breakfast choices, from light smoothies to omelets and pancakes. For a casual lunch, try the excellent burgers or choose from a delicious selection of artisan sandwiches, plus the best milkshakes this side of the 1950s.
Pèppoli at Pebble Beach
The Inn at Spanish Bay, 2700 17-Mile Drive
At Pèppoli, the scents of Italian herbs and spices fill the air, and the décor transports you to a cozy Tuscan villa. The menu is big and bold, ripe with traditional pastas, seafood and meats. The extraordinary wine list is matched by equally impressive dishes, including delicious desserts, all with stunning views of Spanish Bay.
Roy’s at Pebble Beach
The Inn at Spanish Bay, 2700 17-Mile Drive
It’s all about big flavors and the gorgeous ocean view at Roy’s at Pebble Beach. Fresh seafood is front and center, where sushi, sashimi and blackened rare Ahi tuna are prepared to perfection, but many exciting meat dishes and island salads are also featured on the extensive Hawaiian- fusion menu. Add a dynamic wine list, exceptional desserts and an energetic environment, and you have one impressive dining experience, all overlooking Spanish Bay.
Stave Wine Cellar at Spanish Bay
The Inn at Spanish Bay, 2700 17-Mile Drive
A combined wine lounge and retail shop, Stave Wine Cellar is a luxurious yet casual space that is ideal for special wine dinners or gathering with friends and colleagues. You can pair varietals by the glass with a menu of cheese and charcuterie plates. In addition to nearly 30 wines and eight craft beers by the glass, Stave has more than 200 wines for purchase by the bottle, including a wide selection of coveted bottles. A knowledgeable staff, including certified sommeliers are on-hand.
The Inn at Spanish Bay
2700 17-Mile Drive
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Sticks is the perfect place for seasonally diverse California cuisine in a lively sports bar atmosphere. Savor a tasty meal, a cold draft beer, specialty cocktail or one of the many appetizers, while enjoying sports on flat-screen TVs. Outside on the patio, enjoy seating next to a fire pit while soaking up gorgeous views of The Links at Spanish Bay and the Pacific Ocean along with nightly bagpiper music. Ask about specials and new menu additions.
Stillwater Bar & Grill
The Lodge at Pebble Beach, 1700 17-Mile Drive
Stillwater Bar & Grill prides itself in offering the freshest and most flavorful in sustainable seafood and organic produce. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner—or Stillwater’s famous Sunday Brunch—the menus are sure to delight. Shellfish lovers will marvel at the bountiful seafood tank, while those who prefer turf to surf can choose from a variety of meaty options. Each of these delectable feasts is enhanced by fantastic views of Carmel Bay and the 18th hole of Pebble Beach Golf Links.
The Tap Room
The Lodge at Pebble Beach, 1700 17-Mile Drive
The Tap Room is more than a legendary 19th hole with an outstanding selection of draft and bottled beers, vintage wines and top quality spirits. It’s also a world-class steakhouse serving up hearty all-American fare, from burgers to prime rib to filet mignon. Renowned for its extensive collection of prized golf memorabilia, The Tap Room is a comfortable and inviting place for watching televised sporting events or recounting your successes on the courses of Pebble Beach.
SAN JUAN BAUTISTA
Vertigo Coffee Roasters
81 Fourth Street
Artisanal coffee roasted on site as well as fresh pastries baked in-house, brunch items, local craft beers plus wood-fired pizzas have made Vertigo a locals’ favorite as well as a great find for visitors en route to the San Juan Mission, Pinnacles or other area attractions.
Bistro One Twelve
1060 River Street, Suite 112
Driven by the farm-to-table philosophy of French-trained chef Shannon Madison, Bistro One Twelve is the dining destination and gathering spot for the Santa Cruz Tannery Arts Center. Its “Decidedly Local, Aggressively Seasonal” menu is plant forward, with food layered to accommodate various dietary options. Breakfast, lunch and dinner with Taco Tuesday and Trivia Thursday; local craft beers and carefully curated wines available.
Charlie Hong Kong
1141 Soquel Avenue
Charlie Hong Kong has been providing the Santa Cruz community with healthy, sustainable, affordable and high-quality food since 1998. The colorful, casual eatery’s delicious fusion of Southeast Asian influences and the Central Coast’s local organic produce has made it an inclusive, family-friendly, neighborhood favorite. Its slogan is “love your body, eat organic,” and its cuisine is proof that fast food can be good for you. All signature dishes are vegan with the option to add meat or fish. Gluten-free modifications available. Dog friendly. Open daily 11am–11pm.
1522 Pacific Avenue
As its name suggests, there are all kinds of decadent chocolate desserts at Chocolate the restaurant, but this farm-to-fork local favorite is much more than a dessert spot. Meals at Chocolate are prepared with an emphasis on local and organic ingredients. From salads and soups, to dinners that include their very popular Chicken Mole, and hand-rolled Pasta Rosettes, it’s all about celebrating the best of the Central Coast. Cocktails made with Mutari cacao infusions and Santa Cruz-based Venus Spirits, ten kinds of hot chocolate and local wines and beer. Heated patio dining with seating for groups of up to ten. Take-out and delivery options are also available. Open daily 4pm–9pm.
The Crow’s Nest
2218 E. Cliff Drive
A perfect spot to enjoy lunch or catch a sunset over the harbor, the nautical-themed Crow’s Nest is a Santa Cruz institution that never goes out of style. There’s always something happening, from free seasonal Thursday night beach parties to comedy nights and happy hours. Famous for its salad bar and house-smoked salmon, The Crow’s Nest is a member of Seafood Watch and is a certified green business.
101B Cooper Street
Exotic flavors of the Silk Road are served in a stylish dining room decorated in eggplant and pistachio colors and on a hidden candlelit patio. Locals rave about Laílí’s homemade naan served warm from the oven with a selection of Mediterranean dips. There is a wide variety of deliciously spiced vegetable dishes and all meats are hormone free and free range. Open for lunch Tu–Su 11:30am–2:30pm, dinner 5pm–close.
538 Seabright Avenue
A cozy neighborhood bistro not far from the Santa Cruz yacht harbor, La Posta chef Dante Cecchini prepares traditional rustic Italian cuisine using local ingredients. The emphasis is on simple, seasonal selections, with the balance of the menu reflecting whatever produce is freshest right now. A sister restaurant of Soif Restaurant and Wine Bar, La Posta also o ers a great selection of wines.
Pearl of the Ocean
736 Water Street
Award-winning chef/owner Ayoma Wilen goes beyond the expected traditional spice-infused dishes of Sri Lanka, creating locally inspired daily specials using fresh, organic produce from farmers’ market produce and sustainably harvested seafood. Customer favorites include butternut squash curry, crab curry and wild salmon curry. To round out the flavor experience, there is a dizzying array of sides, like coconut leek sambal and kale mallam. The warm colors, altars and blessings that decorate the space help guests get a sense of Sri Lanka’s world-class hospitality, culture and beauty.
The Penny Ice Creamery
913 Cedar Street
Lines out the front door of its converted Spanish bungalow are evidence of Penny’s popularity. All ice cream, including bases, is made from scratch on the premises using local organic ingredients when possible. Dozens of exotic flavors rotate seasonally, but two favorites are chocolate caramel sea salt and strawberry pink peppercorn. Open daily noon–11pm. See also The Penny under Capitola.
The Picnic Basket
125 Beach Street
Across the street from the main beach, owners of The Penny Ice Creamery have opened an alternative to boardwalk fast food. Sandwiches, organic salads, coffee and beer, all from local food artisans, and of course Penny’s popular ice cream, are all on offer to eat in or outside with your feet in the sand. Open daily 7am–4pm. Expanded hours some weekends and holidays. Expanded hours during summer.
1108 Pacific Avenue
This festive taco spot draws its inspiration from food traditions around the world, with imaginative tacos created using the best fresh, local and sustainable ingredients. Great for a quick bite or gathering with friends and family. Choose from snacks, tacos, bowls and sandwiches on the menu, as well as draft beers, the Snap Rita, and specialty cocktails. Open Su–Th 11:30am–9:30pm, F–Sa 11:30am–10:30pm.
Soif Restaurant and Wine Bar
105 Walnut Avenue
Inspired by the offerings from local farmers and provisioners, executive chef Tom McNary’s cuisine shows California flair with super, seasonal dishes, all paired with local and exotic wines (and a great burger!). A cozy, new bar offers cocktails in addition to the best wine selection in town. The bottle shop next door provides a world-class selection of wines and a welcoming seating area for sipping and tasting.
West End Tap & Kitchen
334D Ingalls Street
At West End, perfect for any parent who is looking for a happy hour to satisfy the whole family, adults and kids alike can’t get enough of the duck fat popcorn, fried calamari and flatbread pizzas. A diverse, season-driven menu with offerings like seared scallops with mascarpone and lemon risotto, trumpet mushrooms, Marcona almonds and tarragon-basil vinaigrette, and a long list of craft beers, ciders and wine options make West End a Westside staple. The outdoor patio is perfect for people watching amidst the bustling Swift Street Courtyard.
Kitchen Table/1440 Multiversity
800 Bethany Drive
CLOSED UNTIL 2021. 1440 is the number of minutes in each day, and at the new learning destination in Scotts Valley, 1440 represents the many opportunities there are to be mindful in this life we live. That philosophy certainly translates to the food we choose to eat, which makes the onsite Kitchen Table a wonderful canvas for showcasing the vibrant, healthful and delicious ingredients we have available locally. Chef Kenny Woods, who came here from Arizona to be part of this unique project, brings an intensive and enthusiastic culinary background to creating plant-based menus that change with every meal, every day, for the diverse, global community that gathers here. Registration for a 1440 program, personal getaway or special event is required to dine at Kitchen Table.
3101 N. Main Street
Located in charming Soquel Village, HOME serves the finest local seasonal produce and locally raised animals used nose to tail, hand butchered by chef Brad Briske. The style is New American bistro and the setting is warm and welcoming, with a fireplace, plants and classic furnishings. The menu changes from day to day, and season to season. Begin the meal with house-cured appetizers such as duck liver pâté and HOME’s big green olives, then move on to inventive pasta dishes, seafood, and selections like Fogline fried chicken and dry aged strip loin. Complementing the meal are Santa Cruz area beers and ciders and Central Coast wines.
Pretty Good Advice
3070 Porter Street
9Talk about cooking from scratch—chef Matt McNamara goes the extra mile and actually grows most of the produce for his Soquel restaurant. The Michelin-star chef decided to create a restaurant with quality, affordable food, leading him to open Pretty Good Advice in the beginning of 2018. The hyperlocal, fast-casual restaurant features sandwiches such as Aaron’s Avocado Toast, a Korean BBQ sandwich, and the E.L.T. (roasted eggplant, lettuce and tomato), creative vegan burgers, and sides that range from butternut coconut soup to tahini ranch salad. Check Instagram (@prettygoodadvice) for updates! Open daily 8am–3pm.
55 Peckham Road
Visitors from all over love this third-generation, family-run farm business that popularized the “pik-yorself ” experience just east of Watsonville’s Interlaken neighborhood. Tour the farm, pick fresh apples or berries or watch the action inside the juice-pressing barn. No one leaves hungry if they spend time at the bakery-deli that pleases with its fresh pies, shortcakes and pastries, along with hearty sandwiches and box lunches. This family friendly experience is also a treat for kids, who will enjoy the wide-open spaces and the homemade popsicles. Open daily 9am–5pm.