Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Jul 22nd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Soif’s Magic Touch

dn reviewSoif Restaurant and Wine Bar is still the go-to place for one of the best culinary experiences in Downtown Santa Cruz

When a restaurant has upbeat ambiance, a good vibe, courteous service and good food as well, then it’s not lacking for much. This is the case at Soif, and this is also what keeps the restaurant and wine bar at the forefront of diners’ minds when they’re looking for a reliable culinary experience downtown.

On a busy evening, as my husband and I waited for a table, we browsed Soif’s wine shop, which is part of the restaurant. There, one high table and a couple of stools outside the thrum of the main dining area make it a nice place to hang out. Olive oil and Gayle’s Bakery bread are brought pretty quickly, but minus napkins, as well as some Birichino Cinsault we ordered. I love that we are surrounded by hundreds of bottles of wine in the Wine Shop.

Soif has won praise for its modus operandi, which is to pair a different wine with each dish they serve. Although this is very helpful, it is merely a suggestion, and one can easily peruse their wine menu or simply check out the aforementioned wine shop to pick out something from the impressively large inventory. I especially like the Birichino varietals made by winemaker John Locke, who is also wine buyer for Soif, and we enjoyed his versatile 2012 Cinsault ($21), which went down very nicely with Executive Chef Santos Majano’s imaginative cuisine.

On transferring to a table in the main area, I ran into Edith Meyer sitting at the bar with a friend of hers—the talented local makes exquisite wedding cakes. Edith and her friend highly recommend the Shrimp and Grits ($15) served with chorizo and roasted cauliflower, which we promptly ordered. It turned out to be a very tasty appetizer, and my Texan husband especially loved the grits. Sipping wine from Soif’s own logo glasses, complete with a symbol of a bare vine—matching the artistic vines that hang on the ochre wall—is an added attraction, as is the simplicity of the restaurant’s minimal décor.

Hubby is thrilled with his Seared Scallops ($25), and asks for more of Gayle’s Bakery bread to have with the accompanying braised turnips, local hedgehog mushrooms and rhubarb/blood orange compote. When I tasted a forkful of his food, I agreed with his high rating of this innovative dish. My entrée of Ricotta & Nettle Ravioli ($19) was nicely prepared and served with asparagus, roasted mushrooms and caramelized onions. Sharing two heavenly desserts—an amazing Chocolate Sorbet with strawberries and crème anglaise ($9), and a Buttermilk Tart ($10) with rhubarb sorbet and strawberries—was a fabulous finale to a good dining experience. I had to forgo my favorite caffeinated ending—a cappuccino—because Soif prepares only French press coffee ($3.50). But my local Lulu’s coffee was so fresh, hot and delicious, especially with the amount of cream I added, that I was just as happy without the cappuccino.

There are so many things to love about Soif, especially its urban-but-casual atmosphere. It’s a great place to pop into for a small plate of something, such as artisan cheese, of which Soif offers an excellent variety, or just for a glass of fine wine to linger over. There are more than 100 wines to choose from here and the wine shop itself boasts an impressive inventory. All that, and a menu that changes regularly with seasonal specials, continues to make Soif stand out.

Take note: Soif also participates in Date Night Santa Cruz—Dinner & A Movie Specials for Two, the new concept of dining at local restaurants and getting two movie tickets into the bargain. Each restaurant offers around $50 to spend on appetizers, entrees, dessert or drinks. It’s an excellent deal. Visit thenick.com for more information.


Soif Wine Bar & Merchants, 105 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-2020. Soifwine.com.


Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

A Year of Creative Self-Expression

Wednesday, after a year in Cancer’s nourishing waters, Jupiter enters fiery Leo. Next Tuesday, the sun joins Jupiter in Leo. Leo is the sign of the three fires of life, of seeking our individuality, our gifts and talents. Life for the next year will be quite dramatic, expressive, creative and generous. Jupiter, the heart of Aquarius, is the planet of expansion and truth, distributing Ray 2 of Love and Wisdom.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 18

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

 

Art Files: Opposites Attract

Using found objects, Victoria May seeks beauty in dichotomy and tension, the creepy and absurd
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Posted

Desserts at Seabright’s La Posta, a pop-up breakfast, local ethnic cuisine, and a long-lost varietal 

 

What is the most outrageous thing you did as a kid?

Santa Cruz | Retired

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Loma Prieta’s Pinotage

Although drinking alone is not half as much fun as drinking with others, after a busy day of dashing around, I came home and poured myself a glass or two of Loma Prieta’s Pinotage 2010 (saving a bit for my husband). There’s something about taking that first sip of a worthy wine that gives one an all-over glow.