All of these restaurants emphasize local ingredients, and they also advertise in Edible Monterey Bay! Stop by for a free issue, and tell them that we sent you!
King City’s Cork & Plough, where head bartender Rob Marshall serves up cocktails made with the Salinas Valley’s bounty. Photo by Rob Fisher
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. Open W–Su 4:30–9pm.
Sierra Mar at Post Ranch Inn
47900 Highway 1
Executive chef Elizabeth Murray uses exceptional ingredients, many grown on site, to 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. Open daily for lunch noon–2:30pm, dinner 5:30–9pm. Advanced reservations required. Please note that dinner guests will not be admitted before 5pm.
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, recently renovated 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 the striped sea bass with fava beans and lobster broth. 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–Th 11:30am–9:30pm, F–Sa 11:30am–10pm. Weekend brunch 10:30am– 2:30pm. Happy hour M–F 4–6pm.
The Penny Ice Creamery
820 41st Avenue
Open Su–Th noon–9pm, F–Sa noon–10pm. See The Penny description under Santa Cruz for more.
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. Open M–F 5–8:45pm, Sa 4:30–9:45pm, Su 4:30–8:45pm.
Monte Verde Street at Seventh Avenue
Located within the romantic L’Auberge Carmel, a visit to Aubergine feels like a trip to Europe. Executive chef 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 fine seasonal ingredients. Executive pastry chef Yulanda Santos delights with stunning and inventive desserts. Open daily 6–9:30pm.
Basil Seasonal Dining
San Carlos street between Ocean and Seventh avenues
“Organic, local and seasonal” are not just buzzwords at Basil. This cozy restaurant in the Paseo Courtyard was awarded three stars from the national Green Restaurant Association. New chef, Mary Lester, and owner, Denis Boaro, continue to provide a full bar and great selection of California and Italian wines, including Old and New World. Check website for information on monthly winemaker dinners and other events. Many vegan and vegetarian entrées available. Heated, dog-friendly outdoor seating. Open daily for lunch and dinner from 11:30am, Sa–Su brunch 11am–2pm.
Covey Breakfast Restaurant
8000 Valley Greens Drive
Overlooking a pond and manicured grounds, the newly remodeled Covey Breakfast Restaurant includes motorcycles from the Moto Talbott Museum in Carmel Valley in a nod to Quail’s annual motorsports event, while chef Brian Kearns captures the essence of a home-cooked Carmel Valley meal. The weekday à la carte menu includes nourishing skillets, eggs benedict and huevos rancheros; on weekends, enjoy an enhanced American breakfast buffet. Both indoor and outdoor seating come with beautiful views. Open daily 6:30–11am.
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 our website or check out Facebook for hours, special events and classes!
Edgar’s at Quail
8000 Valley Greens Drive
Taste the fresh ingredients harvested from local organic farms that are hand selected by Edgar’s executive chef Brian Kearns and exquisitely prepared by his culinary team into the savory dishes available on its new menus. Set in the clubhouse of Quail Lodge & Golf Club, Edgar’s restaurant and bar features a casual elegance with its indoor and outdoor fireside dining located alongside the natural backdrop of the golf course and Santa Lucia Mountains. Edgar’s at Quail is proudly guided in the principles of sustainability by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch and focuses on local farm-to- table options. Open daily 11am–9pm.
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, based on local food knowledge and traditions. Dinner menus are driven by local and sustainably raised ingredients, with beautiful and delicious results. Homemade desserts are made by Emily Garcia. Garden seating available. Open M-Sa 5-9pm.
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. Open Tu-Su 11:30am- 3:30pm, 5-10pm.
Waypoint Bar & Deck
8205 Valley Greens Drive
Locals and visitors alike have an exciting and beautiful new spot to stop for a whiskey flight, local craft beer, creative cocktails, wines by the glass or bottle, and contemporary small bites and appetizers made with local, sustainable ingredients. The new Waypoint Bar & Deck offers monthly chef specials like “Bubbles & Birdies” (fried chicken and Champagne) and a tantalizing regular menu featuring such items as chef Brian Kearns’ beef Shortrib Nachos with Charred Avocado, Roasted Heirloom Carrots, burgers, flatbreads and duck fat fries. Also available for private events, rental fees apply. Open W–Su 5–10pm.
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. Enjoy live music Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday evenings and at Saturday and Sunday brunch. Open daily 7am–10pm.
Trailside Café and Beer Garden
3 Del Fino Place
Those needing to refuel after a day on the trail can head to Trailside Café for home-cooked meals in Carmel Valley. Beer lovers get to choose from 16 on tap, and sports fans can watch games on the HDTVs. Locals are treated to specials on Mondays and Tuesdays. On the weekends enjoy live music in the beer garden. Check out the calendar on its website for more details. Dog friendly in outdoor areas. Open daily 8am–9pm.
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. Open daily 6:30am–8pm.
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. Open Tu–Th, Su 11:30am– 9pm, F–Sa 11:30am–9:30pm.
Wild Roots Market
6240 Highway 9
13159 Highway 9
831.338.7211 (Boulder Creek)
Wild Roots’ 100% organic produce, natural groceries, organic meats and FishWise-certified seafood all go into the prepared foods offered by the store’s full-service deli, salad and soup bar and juice bar. 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 sous chef Will Bergeron with super-fresh ingredients direct from local farms. And 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– 11am–9pm, F–Sa 11am–10pm.
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 $19.95. Dine in the cozy fireside dining room, or breathe in the fresh coastal air on the outdoor, pet-friendly, heated patio. Open for breakfast daily 6–11am.
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. Open daily 6:30am– 10pm, Happy Hour 4–7pm Su–Th. Live Music F–Su noon–3pm, Th–Sa 6–9pm.
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. Open for lunch daily 11:30am–4pm, dinner daily 4–11pm, Sunday brunch with live music 11:30am–3pm.
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 hand-crafted beers. Watch your favorite game on one of 18 HDTVs or enjoy the pet-friendly heated patio with fire pits. Peter B’s is open daily with nightly Happy Hour from 4–6:30pm, as well as late night happy hour Su–Th 9:30–10:30pm. Open Su 11am–11pm, M–Th 4–11pm, F 4pm–12am, Sa 11am–12am. Sunday breakfast and football 9:30–11am (Sept.–Dec.).
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. Open daily 6:30am–11pm.
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 chef Matthew Zimny’s charred octopus, lamb burger with signature eggplant fries and occasional paella nights and other special events. Open every day except Wednesday, 5pm until close. Happy Hour—”sips and snacks”—4–6pm.
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. Open daily 5pm.
Point Pinos Grill
79 Asilomar Boulevard
With sweeping views of the coast and a relaxed clubhouse vibe, this scenic spot has blossomed under the direction of executive chef Dory Ford. For breakfast, choose from huevos rancheros, chicken fried steak and an array of tasty omelets. For lunch through dinner, enjoy dishes like Ale-Steamed Mussels and Crispy Fried Dry Rubbed Jerk Chicken Wings paired with craft beers, local wines or a house specialty cocktail. Open M–F 7:30am–7pm, Sa 7am–7pm, Su 7am– 6pm. Happy Hour is M–F 4–6pm.
569 Lighthouse Avenue
A joint effort by long-time Big Sur Bakery chef Philip Wojtowicz and Big Sur Roadhouse chef Brendan Esons, Poppy Hall has a relaxed vibe and beautiful poppy- strewn interior designed by de sola.barnes. With rustic California-meets-Mediterranean cuisine— think roasted rock cod, pork shoulder confit, oyster stew, salad niçoise and swiss cheese herb fritters—this is quickly becoming where the locals hang. Monday nights feature $1 oysters, and well-priced wines and beers, plus $17.77 corkage, guarantee diners will return. Save room for meringue clouds and candied pistachios. Open W–M from 5pm.
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, with 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 poppy seed crème fraîche or baby carrots with wild nettle pesto, make this a dining destination. Did we mention English sticky toffee pudding? Open Su–Th 5–9pm, F–Sa 5–9:30pm.
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. Open daily 11am–10pm.
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. Open daily 6am–2pm.
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. Open daily 5:30–10pm.
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. Open daily for breakfast 6:30–11am, lunch 11:30am–5pm, dinner 5:30–10pm.
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. Open Tu–Sa 2–10pm, Su–M 2–7pm.
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. Open daily 6am–9pm.
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. Open daily 7am–10pm.
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. Open daily 11am–12am.
SAN JUAN BAUTISTA
Vertigo Coffee Roasters
81 Fourth Street
Artisanal coffee roasted on site as well as local craft beers, wood-fired pizzas, brunch items plus pan dulce from El Nopal bakery in Hollister 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. Open M–Sa 7am–6pm, Su 8am–6pm.
515 Kitchen & Cocktails
515 Cedar Street
There’s nothing quite like rooftop dining—the expanse, the view, the feeling of being high above. In Santa Cruz, there’s no better place than multi-level 515 Kitchen & Cocktails to sip on an astounding cocktail with a witty name and nosh on inventive small plates while gazing down at Cedar Street, especially following the Wednesday farmers’ market, when there is unmatched hustle and bustle. You’ll even find some of that produce on your plate, seasonally crafted by chef Paul Queen, as well as in your glass, courtesy of bar manager Ethan Samuels. But if the outdoor vantage point feels too exposed, any of the cozy nooks or barstools upstairs, or calming tablescapes downstairs are sure to suit your mood. Open M–Tu 5pm–12am, W–F 5pm–1:30am, Sa 3pm–1:30am, Su 3pm–12am.
155 Walnut Avenue
Slated to open this fall, Alderwood is a neighborhood oyster bar and restaurant for people looking for a fun and friendly night on the town. Its emphasis is on cocktails and beef, with a wide variety of steaks cooked over the wood-fired grill. Partner and chef Jeffrey Wall—an Iowa native and previously opening chef at Atlanta’s top-rated Kimball House farm-to-table restaurant—believes in local sourcing and plans to make good use of the downtown Santa Cruz farmers’ market, practically across the street. Open T–Su 4pm–close, Happy Hour 4–7pm.
an epicurious lifestyle
104 Bronson Street, Suite 13
An event-based commercial kitchen and dining space in a carefully curated warehouse in the historic Seabright Cannery building, an epicurious lifestyle is available for unique private events and hosts a monthly, seasonal family-style dinner for 20 that is open to the public. Other public events also have a limited number of tickets; check the website for future dates and to sign up for email invites.
1108 Pacific Avenue
This full-service restaurant offers rustic California cuisine based on local, seasonal and sustainably sourced ingredients. Under the direction of founder Kendra Baker and beverage director Zane Griffin, satisfying food pairs with an intriguing selection of craft beers, wines and cocktails. Natural light in daytime and the soft glow of copper accents at night bathe community tables and comfortable nooks accommodating parties of all sizes. Open for lunch weekdays 11:30am, dinner W–Su until late, brunch 10am Sa–Su, closed M–Tu.
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.
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. Open daily for breakfast 7:30am–11:30am; lunch M–F 11:30am–2:30pm and Sa–Su 11:30am–3pm; dinner M–F 5pm, Sa–Su 4:30pm.
910 Cedar Street
One of the city’s most charming dining spots, Gabriella Café serves a California-Italian menu starring organic produce from local growers and the nearby farmers’ market, as well as humanely raised meat and sustainable seafood. An extensive wine list offers over 20 wines by the glass, including many by local winemakers. There is a candlelit patio and a cozy dining room that showcases the work of local artists. Look out for specials, like Oaxacan dishes served on Tuesday nights. Open for lunch M–F 11:30am–2pm, dinner daily 5:30–9pm, brunch Sa–Su 11:30am–2pm.
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, organic whenever possible, and all meats are hormone free and free range. Open Tu–Su for lunch 11:30am–2:30pm, dinner 5–close.
538 Seabright Avenue
A cozy neighborhood bistro not far from the Santa Cruz yacht harbor, La Posta chef Katherine Stern prepares Northern Italian cuisine using local ingredients— some foraged and some grown on nearby organic farms. Charcuterie is house cured; pasta, bread, and gelati are made in-house, while the balance of the menu reflects whatever produce is freshest right now. A sister restaurant of Soif Restaurant and Wine Bar, La Posta also offers a great selection of wines. Open Tu–Th 5–9pm, F–Sa 5–9:30pm, Su 5–8:30pm, M closed.
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. Open for lunch daily 11am– 2:30pm; dinner Su–Th 5–9pm and F–Sa 5–9:30pm.
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.
1220 Pacific Avenue
No typical Irish pub, Rosie’s emphasizes organic, local ingredients in its traditional Irish dishes like lamb stew, shepherd’s pie, corned beef and cabbage and fish and chips, as well as its California specialties such as grassfed burgers, coriander wild salmon, salads and fish tacos. Expect dozens of beers on tap— including local selections. All desserts are made in house, so save room for the Guinness-Ghirardelli chocolate cake. Open M–F for lunch 11:30am–4pm, dinner 4–10pm. Open Sa–Su for brunch 9:30am– 2pm, dinner 2–10pm.
Soif Restaurant and Wine Bar
105 Walnut Avenue
Inspired by the offerings from local farmers and provisioners, Soif ’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. Raw oysters and live jazz every Monday. Open Su–Th 5–9pm, F–Sa 5–10pm. Wine bar opens noon Tu–Sa, 5pm Su–M.
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 grilled ribeye with a tomatillo relish and sweet roasted corn cake, and an even longer 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. Open Su–Th 11:30am–9:30pm, F–Sa 11:30pm–10pm.
Kitchen Table/1440 Multiversity
800 Bethany Drive
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.
1901 Fremont Boulevard
Gusto owner Denis Boaro, owner of Carmel’s Basil Seasonal Dining and a native of Northern Italy, named the restaurant for the Italian word for taste and his enthusiasm for delivering delicious authentic Italian food and great service that can be seen in the happy faces of his diners. The bright red-tiled, wood-fired oven just inside the entrance sets the restaurant’s festive tone, making you feel like you are in Italy. Gusto specializes in fresh pastas, pizzas, housemade mozzarella as well as unique desserts using the best quality ingredients and organic flours from Italy. Our team strives to support local organic farmers, foragers and fishermen bringing you fresh, tasty and sustainable ingredients. Open daily 11:30am–2:30pm, 4:30–9pm.
1534 Fremont Boulevard
Meat-loving chef-owners Jason Balestrieri and Kevin Hincks have teamed up to create Monterey County’s first modern, artisanal butchery where in addition to selling cuts of sustainably and humanely raised meats and housemade charcuterie to bring home, they also offer deli sandwiches and other prepared foods to eat around a communal table right in the shop. Catering for any occasion also available. Open daily 11am–7pm.
55 Peckham Road
Visitors from great distances 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.