Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 30th
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Holy Calzone

dining_MichaelsPizzaFreshly made dough is featured at Michael's Pizza and Pasta

he Gurga family, hailing initially from Italy, and then Georgia and New York where they operated successful Italian eateries, previously owned Michael's Pizza in Aptos. A year ago, Michael's returned, this time in Capitola.

At this casual eatery, order at the counter, grab some plastic cutlery and pick a table. Sodas are self-serve, as is iced tea ($1.65/$1.95), which was strong and refreshing.

The Greek Salad ($6.50), served on a large oval platter, included hearts of romaine, wedges of Roma tomato, chunks of red onion, kalamata olives, strongly flavored feta cheese, and a delicious balsamic Italian dressing.

The salad would have sufficed as a meal, but I smelled pizza and ordered the 14" purist's version. Beneath a smooth sea of melted cheese encircled by a lightly browned and soft bubbled crust, perhaps a bit underdone, was a thin layer of sweet, lightly herbed tomato sauce. I crumbled extra oregano and basil on the top of each chewy slice.

We returned for dinner to experience Michael's homemade Manicotti ($8.99), but they were out of it as well as the Linguine with Clam Sauce ($8.50). The dad on the bench seat next to us recommended New York Calzone ($8.99) which he guaranteed would feed the two of us.

From our vantage point we watched staff members stretch elastic dough blankets with their fists. The calzone, cooked on brown parchment, was constantly monitored. Our Garden salad ($3.95), pulled from the refrigerator, was served in its plastic clam shell container. The same nice balsamic dressing accompanied greens, tomatoes, carrots and red onions.

The custom-made calzone was worth waiting for, and the best I'd recently eaten. Thinly rolled dough of a 14-inch pizza was layered with toppings, folded in half; its edges gently sealed rather than folded and crimped. Toppings of creamy ricotta, thin ham, tasty red sauce, and cheeses were spread to the edges of the perfectly crisp crust which was sprinkled with Italian herbs. Every bite contained a wonderful sampling of the fillings. We had added Italian sausage and pickled jalapeños ($1.25 each) which provided wonderful spice.

On Monday nights, enjoy reduced prices on pizzas and Coors Light. The Wednesday night dinner special ($9.95) includes spaghetti and meatballs with a garden salad and fountain drink. At lunch, a slice of pizza, soda and garden salad is just $6.75. And on Sunday mornings at 11:30, classic cars convene for lunch.

Michael's also offers gluten-free pizzas.


Michael's Pizza and Pasta, 819C Bay Ave. (Nob Hill parking lot), Capitola, 476-0700. Beer and wine. Open Wednesday  through Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday 4 to 10 p.m. Closed Tuesdays. Visit


On Saturday Nov. 13, travel north to experience the Half Moon Bay Food and Wine Fare at the Oceano Hotel and Spa. Local restaurants will provide food samples at this admission-free event, with an additional cost for wine tasting.

Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association, Half Moon Bay Food and Wine Fare, Saturday, Nov. 13, noon to 4 p.m. 280 Capistrano Road, Half Moon Bay. Visit

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