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Jul 29th
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Best of Santa Cruz Food and Drink

best food1

Best Brunch

Harbor Cafe

The Harbor Café has been a Santa Cruz institution for more than 50 years.

Running Themes Harbor Café’s theme days include Mary Mondays (Bloody Marys), Banana Pancake Tuesdays, Taco Thursdays and Mimosa Fridays.
What do you do with a hungry sailor?
This Santa Cruz brunch mecca started as a neighborhood hangout for sailors and fishermen in the 1960s.
You’ll need a benedictionary Six different kinds of eggs Benedict can be found on the menu, including avocado and seafood varieties. | Leslie Patrick

Best Beer Selection, Sports Bar

best food299 Bottles
Slew of brews
In the last year, 99 Bottles sold more than 30,000 bottled beers and more than 120,000 draft beers.
Bubble Buddies Co-owners Dave and Mia Bossie have a combined 30 years of homebrewing experience and are two of the founding members of the Central Coast Zymurgeeks homebrew club. This is their first restaurant work.
Hop to It When Dave and Mia took over a year and a half ago, they ramped up the beer selection, which is currently at around 200 varieties. The previous owners often had trouble reaching and maintaining 99.
Big Huge Brew The restaurant will take part in the Big Brew, which comes to the Seabright Brewery’s patio May 3. Sponsored by the American Homebrewers Association, the event encourages people all over the world to brew the same recipes on the same day. Dave and Mia will have several homebrew setups and will be answering questions.
Even Bigger Brew? We all know that too much alcohol isn’t good for you. When a London brewery tank ruptured in 1814, it unleashed a 1.2 million-liter flood that destroyed two buildings and killed nine people. | Jacob Pierce

Best Restaurant SLV

best food3Casa Nostra
Our house
Pride of pasquale Chef and co-owner Pasquale Bianco on their most interesting dishes: “They are all interesting—not to be bragging about it.”
Benvenuto! A native of Italy, Bianco came to the United States 18 years ago.
It’s like Scarborough fair in here Bianco on his favorite spices: “Parsley, oregano, thyme, sage, basil. I could keep going and going.  I could keep going forever. Rosemary. Juniper berry, clove. Cinnamon sticks!”
Mozzarella from the source Casa Nostra gets its cheese direct from Italy. | Georgia Perry

Best Boba Tea

best food4Boba Cruz
Bubble Economy
Although no one knows for sure, bubble tea is thought to have originated in Taiwan in the 1980s.
Boba Fete Boba tea has many monikers: pearl milk tea, tapioca tea, boba nai cha, milk tea, bubble drink, momi and QQ—just to name a few.
Gimme Gimme Gimme The owners became addicted to boba tea while living in predominantly Asian communities in the Bay Area.
Natural Selection
While many boba teas can be rife with processed ingredients, in true Santa Cruz form, Boba Cruz uses only natural, organic and locally sourced products. | Leslie Patrick

Best Italian Restaurant

best food5Lillian’s Italian Kitchen
Cozy Quarters The Soquel Avenue restaurant’s seating area takes up just about 750 square feet.
In Homage
Chris and Matt Moreno started the restaurant with the help of their parents, Joe and Charlotte, and named it after their Grandma Lilly, who taught Matt to cook. Many of the recipes are taken right from their grandma’s cookbook.
Where the Heart Is “She was the greatest person ever,” Matt says of Grandma Lilly, who hailed originally from Yonkers, New York. “She would welcome any in the world and make them feel welcome in a minute. They’d probably have food in front of them in five minutes.”
Family Affair
Matt and his father Joe run the front of the house, while head chef Chris runs the kitchen. One of them is almost always there.
Pasta Forever Grandma Lilly died about a year before Lillian’s opened. Says Matt: “We were joking around about opening up a restaurant but she didn’t think we were actually going to do it or name it after her.”
Sure, You Can Stay The original plan was to start a takeout restaurant, but customers started sitting down and asking for water. | Jacob Pierce

Best New Restaurant

best food6WestEnd Tap & kitchen
Westside destination Opened in 2013 in the lavish space formerly home to Bonny Doon Vineyard’s Le Cigare Volant restaurant.
Worldly ways
Though California comfort food is on the menu, chef and co-owner Geoff Hargrave was influenced by both French and Japanese chefs under whom he worked.
Good spirits
Unlike a lot of taprooms, they also have a good wine selection. In addition to an array of beers, they serve almost a dozen different vintages.
Mood music
The Pandora music selections at West End reflect the feel of the night. “Black Keys is very fitting for here. Eric Clapton radio works,” says Hargrave. “Eddie Vedder radio works, a little more folksy. It all depends.” | Jacob Pierce

Best Deli

best food7Zoccoli’s Delicatessen 
Changes in store In 1948, Zoccoli’s opened for business, as a grocery store.
Counter measures
It wasn’t until the ’70s that Zoccoli’s started making the sandwiches that they are known for today.
All in the family
Zoccoli’s has survived earthquakes and trends to become one of the oldest family-run businesses in Santa Cruz, now operated by the third generation of Zoccolis.
After the rain
When downtown Santa Cruz flooded in 1955, the basement of Zoccoli’s was flooded with more than 2 feet of water.  | Leslie Patrick

Best Farmers’ Market

best food8Aptos Farmes Market at Cabrillo College
Like us in real life In 2011 and 2012, the Aptos Farmers’ Market was voted “America’s Favorite Farmers’ Market in California.”
One stop shopping The
market sells more than just fruits and vegetables, including fresh oysters, handmade sauerkraut and locally produced olive oil.
Look, sharp!
Need your knives, scissors or garden tools sharpened? There’s a booth for that.
That is so cheesy
The farmers’ market’s most cleverly named cheese: East of Edam. | Leslie Patrick

 

Best Cheese Selection

best food10New Leaf
Growing Family New Leaf has five locations in Santa Cruz County, one in San Mateo County, one in Santa Clara County and one in Alameda County.
Cheesy Comestibles North Coast Cheese is New Leaf’s own line of cheeses that are produced especially for their stores, and all their cheeses are rBST-free.
B Good
New Leaf is one of only two grocery stores in the world to achieve B Corporation Certification. This means that New Leaf has agreed to operate under the highest ethical standards, and is legally required to consider the impact their business decisions have on employees, suppliers, community, consumers and the environment. | Leslie Patrick

Best Teahouse

best food9Hidden peak teahouse
Owners David and Marilee Wright have been selling tea since 1999, when they started traveling to fairs and festivals as vendors. They opened Chaikhana Tea Culture in Santa Cruz in 2003, followed by Hidden Peak Teahouse in 2012.
Interior Decorating Serious thought went into every single thing that is in the teahouse. Noteworthy items include a 100-plus-year-old fence from a farm in China that a friend of the Wrights’ exported to the United States. They cleaned and stained it, and the beautiful wood fence is now used around the shop to tie the space together. “We’re really into remembering what it’s like to be surrounded by things made by human beings, not machines,” says David, who describes the teahouse’s style as “rustic refined.” One table is made from the shipwrecked remains of a boat that sank near China 300 years ago. “The cell structure has changed,” says David. “It’s not petrified, but it’s similar—it’s very dense.”
A Pupil’s Journey David (pictured) studies tea with an expert from China’a Yunnan Province named Master Wang. The Yunnan Province is home to puerh tea, the variety that Hidden Peak specializes in.
Keeping it Clean David says the lineage of tea he studies—and that the store focuses on—can be called “beyond organic.” It’s organically grown from seeds (not clones) in sustainable garden ecology settings, handmade, hand processed, and stored by the people who make it. “Storage makes or breaks a puerh,” says David.
Vintage Variety Hidden Peak currently offers upward of 50 vintages of puerh, as well as a variety of other teas.
Tea Here Now It’s a digital-free environment, and encourages people to return to a time when tea drinking was a time of relaxation and reflection. “We are so pleased to see that people are relying on us as a tranquil place to go and just be—to let go of your electronic devices [and] your to-do list,” says David Wright. | Elizabeth Limbach

Category Winners & Runners-Ups

AÇai Bowl

Café Brasil 1410 Mission St., Santa Cruz, 429-1855, cafebrasil.us
Runner-Up
Samba Rock

Appetizer

Hula’s Island Grill 221 Cathcart St., Santa Cruz, 426-4852, hulastiki.com
Runners-Up
Paradise Beach Grille, Crow’s Nest

Bagel

Bagelry 320 Cedar St., Santa Cruz, 429-8049; 1636 Seabright Ave., Santa Cruz, 425-8550; 4763 Soquel Drive, Soquel, 462-9888.
Runners-Up Firefly, Main St. Bagels

Bakery

The Buttery 702 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 458-3020, butterybakery.com
Runners-Up Gayle’s, Emily’s

Bar

Red Restaurant and Bar 200 Locust St., Santa Cruz, 425-1913, redrestaurantandbar.com
Runners-Up
The 515, Paradise Beach Grille

Sports Bar

99 Bottles 110 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz, 459-9999, 99bottles.com
Runners-Up
 Seabright Brewery, Britannia Arms

Barbecue

Aptos st. BBQ 8059 Aptos St., Aptos, 662-1721, aptosstbbq.com
Runners-Up Cole’s, Sid’s Smokehouse

Beer Selection

99 Bottles 110 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz, 459-9999, 99bottles.com
Runners-Up burger., West End Tap & Kitchen

Bloody Mary

Red Restaurant and Bar 200 Locust St., Santa Cruz, 425-1913, redrestaurantandbar.com
Runners-Up Harbor Café, Coaster’s Bar + Grill

Boba Tea

Boba Cruz 1101 Pacific Ave., Ste. C, Santa Cruz, 713-5363, bobacruz.com
Runners-Up
 Pacific Thai, Café Lena

Burger & Fries

Betty Burgers 505 Seabright Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-8190, bettyburgers.com
Runners-Up
burger., Jack’s

Burrito

Planet Fresh 1003 Cedar St., Santa Cruz, 423-9799
Runners-Up
 Taqueria Vallarta, Tacos Morenos

Bread (local/handmade)

Gayle’s 504 Bay Ave., Capitola, 462-1200, gaylesbakery.com
Runners-Up
 Companion, Kelly’s

Breakfast

Zachary’s 819 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 427-0646
Runners-Up
 Walnut Avenue Café, Harbor Café

Brewery

Seabright Brewery 519 Seabright Ave. #107, Santa Cruz, 426-2739, seabrightbrewery.com
Runners-Up
 Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing

Brunch

Harbor Café 535 7th Ave., Santa Cruz, 475-4948,harborcafesantacruz.com
Runners-Up
 Chaminade, Café Brasil

Calamari

Crow’s Nest 2218 E Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, 476-4560, crowsnest-santacruz.com
Runners-Up
 Shadowbrook Restaurant, West End Tap & Kitchen

Personal Chef

Zachary Mazi, 888-643-7941, www.yourfoodismedicine.net
Runners-Up Mark Gallagher at Affordable Chef Services, Tabitha Stroup at Friend in Cheeses Jam Co.

Cheese Selection

New Leaf 1101 Fair Ave., Santa Cruz, 426-1306, newleaf.com
Runners-Up
 Shopper’s Corner, Deluxe Foods

Chinese Restaurant

Yan Flower 617 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-2574, yanflower.com
Runners-Up Golden City, Canton

Chips and Salsa

El Palomar 1336 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 425-7575, elpalomarsantacruz.com
Runners-Up Manuel’s, Little Tampico/Taqueria Vallarta

Clam Chowder

Stagnaro Brothers 59 Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz, 423-2180, stagnarobros.com
Runners-Up
 Paradise Beach Grille, Riva’s

Cocktails

Red Restaurant and Bar 200 Locust St., Santa Cruz, 425-1913, redrestaurantandbar.com
Runners-Up
 515 Kitchen & Cocktails, Hula’s Tiki Lounge

Coffeehouse

Verve 1540 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz; 816 41st Ave., Santa Cruz, 475-7776; 104 Bronson St., Santa Cruz, 464-8141vervecoffeeroasters.com
Runners-Up
 Firefly, Coffeetopia

Comfort Food

Saturn Café 145 Laurel St., Santa Cruz, 429-8505, saturncafe.com
Runners-Up
 Rosie McCann’s, West End Tap & Kitchen

Cookie

Pacific Cookie Company 303 Potrero St. #40a, Santa Cruz, 429-9709, pacificcookie.com
Runners-Up
 The Buttery, Gayle’s

California Cuisine

Café Cruz 2621 41st Ave., Soquel, 476-3801, cafecruz.com
Runners-Up
 Paradise Beach Grille, Shadowbrook Restaurant

Cupcake

Buttercup cakes & farm house frosting 109 Locust St., Santa Cruz, 466-0373, farmhousefrosting.com
Runners-Up
 Roc’s Cupcakes, The Buttery

Deli

Zoccoli’s 1534 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-1711, zoccolis.com
Runners-Up
 Erik’s, Garden Liquor and Deli

Dessert

The Buttery 702 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 458-3020, butterybakery.com
Runners-Up
 Chocolate/Gayle’s, Shadowbrook Restaurant

Diner

Santa Cruz Diner 909 Ocean St., Santa Cruz, 426-7151, santacruzdiner.com
Runners-Up
 Saturn Café, Jeffery’s

Dinner

Shadowbrook Restaurant 1750 Wharf Road, Capitola, 475-1511
Runners-Up
 Paradise Beach Grille, Café Cruz

Dive Bar

The Redroom Cocktail Lounge 1003 Cedar St., Santa Cruz, 425-2994
Runners-Up Brady’s Yacht Club

Exotic Drinks

Hula’s Tiki Lounge 221 Cathcart St., Santa Cruz, 426-4852, hulastiki.com
Runners-Up
 The Red Restaurant and Bar, 515 Kitchen and Cocktails

Falafel

Falafel of Santa Cruz 1501 Mission St., Santa Cruz, 459-0486, falafelofsantacruz.com
Runners-Up
 Falafel Hut, Falafel House

Farmers’ Market

Aptos farmers’ market Cabrillo College 6500 Soquel Drive, Aptos, 728-5060, montereybayfarmers.org/aptos.html
Runners-Up
 Santa Cruz Downtown,Santa Cruz Westside

Frozen Yogurt

Top-A-Lot 738 Water St., Santa Cruz, 426-1375, topalot.com
Runners-Up
 Froyo, Layla’s World Yogurt

Greek Restaurant

The Greek 435 Front St., Santa Cruz, 466-9990, thegreekrestaurant.net
Runners-Up Vasili’s, Zameen

Grocery Store

Shopper’s Corner 622 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-1398, shopperscorner.com
Runners-Up
 New Leaf, Staff of Life

Happy Hour

Red Restaurant and Bar 200 Locust St., Santa Cruz, 425-1913, redrestaurantandbar.com
Runners-Up
Hula’s Tiki Lounge, Crow’s Nest

Hawaiian Food

Hula’s Tiki Lounge 221 Cathcart St., Santa Cruz, 426-4852, hulastiki.com
Runners-Up
 Pono, Aloha Island Grill

Hot Dog

Snappy 930 Almar Ave., Santa Cruz, 295-3610
Runners-Up
 Lucy’s Hot Dogs, Taylor’s

Ice Cream

Penny Ice Creamery 913 Cedar St., Santa Cruz, 204-2523, thepennyicecreamery.com
Runners-Up
 Marianne’s, Mission Hill Creamery

Indian Food

Malabar 514 Front St., Santa Cruz, 458-3023, Find Malabar Restaurant on Facebook
Runners-Up
 Sitar, Ambrosia

Italian Restaurant

Lillian’s1116 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz, 425-2288,lilliansitaliankitchen.com
Runners-Up
 Ristorante Italiano, Avanti

Japanese Restaurant

Mobo 105 S River St., Santa Cruz, 425-1700, mobosushirestaurant.com
Runners-Up Takara, Shogun

Kid-Friendly Restaurant

Kiantis 1100 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 469-4400, kiantis.com
Runners-Up
 Pono Hawaiian Grill, Carpo’s

Late-night Dining

Saturn Café 145 Laurel St., Santa Cruz, 429-8505, saturncafe.com Crepe Place, Santa Cruz Diner

Lunch

Zoccoli’s 1534 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-1711, zoccolis.com
Runners-Up 99 Bottles, Pono Hawaiian Grill

Martini

Red Restaurant and Bar 200 Locust St., Santa Cruz, 425-1913, redrestaurantandbar.com
Runners-Up
 Shadowbrook Restaurant, Café Cruz

Margarita

El Palomar 1336 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 425-7575, elpalomarsantacruz.com
Runners-Up
Olitas, Tampico

Meal for a Deal

New Leaf
1101 Fair Ave., Santa Cruz, 426-1306, newleaf.com
Runners-Up Staff of Life, Charlie Hong Kong

Mexican Restaurant

El Palomar 1336 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 425-7575, elpalomarsantacruz.com
Runners-Up
 Manuel’s, Tortilla Flats

Middle Eastern Restaurant

Laili Restaurant 101 Cooper St., Santa Cruz, 423-4545, lailirestaurant.com
Runners-Up
 Zameen, India Joze

Mojito

Red Restaurant and Bar 200 Locust St., Santa Cruz, 425-1913, redrestaurantandbar.com
Runners-Up
 515 Kitchen and Cocktails, El Palomar

Natural Food Store

New Leaf 1101 Fair Ave., Santa Cruz, 426-1306, newleaf.com
Runners-Up Aptos Natural Foods, Food Bin

New Restaurant

WestEnd Tap & Kitchen 334 Ingalls St., Santa Cruz, 471-8115, westendtap.com
Runners-Up
 Bantam, Kauboi

Outdoor Dining

Crow’s Nest 2218 E Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, 476-4560, crowsnest-santacruz.com
Runners-Up
 Paradise Beach Grille, Laili

Pizzeria

Pizza My Heart 1116 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 426-2511,pizzamyheart.com
Runners-Up
 Tony and Albas, Kianti’s

Pizza Slice

Pizza My Heart 1116 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 426-2511,pizzamyheart.com
Runners-Up
Pleasure Point Pizza, Rockers

Restaurant Ambiance

Shadowbrook Restaurant 1750 Wharf Road, Capitola, 475-1511
Runners-Up
 Red Restaurant and Bar, Paradise Beach Grille

Restaurant (Aptos)

Bittersweet Bistro 787 Rio Del Mar Blvd., Aptos, 662-9799, bittersweetbistro.com
Runners-Up
 Manuel’s, Café Sparrow

Restaurant (Capitola)

Shadowbrook Restaurant 1750 Wharf Road, Capitola, 475-1511
Runners-Up
 Paradise Beach Grille, Suda

Restaurant (Santa Cruz)

WestEnd Tap & Kitchen 334 Ingalls St., Santa Cruz, 471-8115, westendtap.com
Runners-Up
Crow’s Nest, Oswald

Restaurant (San Lorenzo Valley)

Cosa Nostra 9217 Hwy. 9, Ben Lomond, 609-6132, ristorantecasanostra.com
Runners-Up
Cowboy Diner, Oak Tree Restaurant

Restaurant (Scotts Valley)

Jia Tella’s 18 Victor Square, Scotts Valley, 438-5005, jiatellas.com
Runners-Up
Malone’s, Rumble Fish

Restaurant (Soquel)

Café Cruz 2621 41st Ave, Soquel, 476-3801, cafecruz.com
Runners-Up
Tortilla Flats, Michael’s On Main

Restaurant (Watsonville)

Cilantro’s1934 Main St., Watsonville,  761-2161, cilantroswatsonville.com
Runners-Up
Miyuki, Jalisco’s

Restaurant of the Year

Paradise Beach Grille 215 Esplanade, Capitola, 476-4900, paradisebeachgrille.com
Runners-Up
Shadowbrook Restaurant, West End Tap & Kitchen

Sandwich

Zoccoli’s 1534 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-1711, zoccolis.com
Runners-Up
Garden Deli, Erik’s Deli, Deke’s Market

Seafood

Stagnaro Brothers 59 Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz, 423-2180, stagnarobros.com
Runners-Up
Riva’s, Crow’s Nest

Small Plates

Soif 105 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-2020, soifwine.com
Runners-Up
515 Kitchen & Cocktails, Pono Hawaiian Grill

Smoothie/Juices

New Leaf 1101 Fair Ave., Santa Cruz, 426-1306, newleaf.com
Runners-Up
Café Brasil, Staff of Life

Steakhouse

Hindquarter 303 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 426-7770, thehindquarter.com
Runners-Up
Shadowbrook Restaurant, Point Chop House

Steak

Shadowbrook Restaurant 1750 Wharf Road, Capitola, 475-1511
Runners-Up
Hindquarter, Point Chop House

Sushi

Mobo 105 S River St., Santa Cruz, 425-1700, mobosushirestaurant.com
Runners-Up
I Love Sushi, Akira

Tacos

Tacos Moreno 1053 Water St., Santa Cruz, 429-6095, tacosmoreno.com
Runners-Up
El Palomar, Olita’s

Teahouse

Hidden Peak 1541 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-4200, hiddenpeakteahouse.com
Runners-Up
Quail and Thistle

Thai Restaurant

Sabieng Mission Street, Santa Cruz, 425-1020, sabiengthai.com
Runners-Up Sawasdee, Bangkok West

Vegetarian Cuisine

Dharma’s 4250 Capitola Road, Capitola, 462-1717, dharmasrestaurant.com
Runners-Up
Café Gratitude, Saturn Café

Wine List/Restaurant

Soif 105 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz,423-2020, soifwine.com
Runners-Up
Shadowbrook Restaurant,Paradise Beach Grille

Wine Selection/Store

Shopper’s Corner 622 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz,423-1398, shopperscorner.com
Runners-Up
Soif, Vinocruz

Winery (local)

Alfaro 420 Hames Road, Watsonville, 728-5172, alfarowine.com
Runners-Up
Hunter Hill, Bargetto, Bonny Doon

Wine bar

Soif 105 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-2020, soifwine.com
Runners-Up Vinocruz, Vino Prim

Comments (2)Add Comment
...
written by KCat-M, May 01, 2014
Having been a visitor to Capitola and the Paradise Beach Grille with my family on several occasions, we were never disappointed with the variety and great meals we had. I think being named" Restaurant of the Year " and the many categories Paradise was named "runners up" speaks for itself as to the fine eating establishment you have. Kudos to all that have helped make this honor yours!!!!
...
written by Pj, April 24, 2014
You SO forgot Otoro's sushi in scotts Valley & Sones Winery !!

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