The Capitola area has so many delicious restaurants to explore for a romantic evening for two, a night out with friends, or a casual evening for the whole family. From fresh juice to authentic Italian food, we broke down what we think are the best restaurants (and our favorite things to order at those restaurants) in Capitola, Eastside Santa Cruz and Aptos. Hope you’re hungry!

Breakfast

Amazon Juices

Our picks: A traditional Acai Bowl, a thick blend of Amazon power fruit with strawberries, banana, apple juice and guarana syrup, topped with granola, strawberries and banana. Or the Gallo Pinto Rice Bowl with eggs, topped with caramelized onions, roasted bell pepper and Brazilian Salsa.  And don’t forget the juice and shakes. They’ve got a variety of fresh vegetable and fruit juices. Our favorites at the mango dois and ginger watermelon.

Avenue Cafe

Our picks: Carnitas Machaca Con Huevos or the famous Capitola Chaos, three eggs scrambled with bacon, mushrooms and home fries topped with sour cream, tomatoes, green onions and avocado… and a mimosa, of course.

Bittersweet Bistro

Located in Aptos, but so worth the drive! Our picks: Buttermilk Pancakes with caramelized brown sugared bananas, scrambled eggs, bacon  and a warm cup of coffee.

Chill Out Cafe

Our picks: Soy Latte and La Vida Loca Breakfast Burrito – scrambled eggs, turkey, swiss cheese, hash browns, green chilis, avocado, tomatoes and spicy sauce.”

East Side Eatery

Our picks: Guava mimosas and the Nasi Goreng, indonesian fried rice with two eggs, onions, chilies, garlic, sambal and kecap manis (contains shrimp). Insider tip: Sit on the patio on a sunny day and watch the people go by on 41st ave. Then walk off your breakfast with a stroll on nearby East Cliff after.

Paula’s

Our picks: 2 egg classic breakfast with coffee. This place has a very laid back Santa Cruz vibe. Try to snag a seat in the VW bus outside.

Lunch

El Toro Bravo

Our picks: Beef Tamale with chips and salsa. You have to get the salsa! It’s amazing. Take your food across the street to the beach and enjoy it over a view of the water.  

Paradise Beach Grille

Our picks: A great place to eat by the water in Capitola. Go for the deep fried buttermilk battered Northern Halibut Burger topped with monterey jack cheese, avocado and tartar sauce, served on a toasted kaiser roll with red leaf lettuce, tomato and onion paired with a chardonnay off of their extensive wine collection.

Surf City Sandwich

Our picks: This place has a huge selection of  craft sandwiches, it’s hard to choose just a few favorites! A top pick is the newer Korean Chicken Club which comes with grilled chicken breast fillet with Gochujang BBQ paste, bacon, mayo, tomatoes and kim-chee slaw on a sweet french roll. This place also makes their own homemade chips, as well as a crazy side called Beer Barnacles, which is tator tots, spicy habanero cheese sauce, bacon and scallions. It’s ridiculously good.

Zelda’s

Our picks: Go here on a sunny afternoon to watch the people having fun on the beach and take in the atmosphere of Capitola. Order the Fried Calamari, a Seafood Melt and a Lava Flow, their version of a Pina Colada.

 

Dinner

 

(Sushi from Geisha Sushi in Capitola)

Bella Roma

Our picks: Authentic Italian food to die for! Start with the Mozzarella Caprese. For the pasta dish, Tagliatelle alla Campagnola, followed by the lamb shank for the Secondi Piatti with a bottle of fine Italian red wine. Finish your meal with a cappuccino and tiramisu.

Cafe Cruz

Our picks: Cajun Fried Artichoke Hearts, Rotisserie Chicken with honey cured smoked Dijon aioli, Portabella Polenta, and a Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade Cocktail.

Geisha Sustainable Sushi

Our picks: Miso Soup, a bottle of Sapporo and the Unforgettable Roll – tempura’d prawn, garlic, basil, and macadamia nuts topped with house smoked salmon, o- nagi, avocado and toasted coconut.

Shadowbrook

Our picks: For a more casual dining experience, dine in the Rock Room Bar for Happy Hour.

On Tuesdays you can get 2 for 1 pizza and appetizers. Try the Portobello Fries and Baked Brie.

East End Gastropub

Our picks: Appetizer order of the Castelvetrano Olives or Balsamic Brussel Sprouts and the Roasted Summer Corn Pizza with mushroom, lime and cotija.

Zameen at the Point

Our picks: Gyro with lamb and beef. French fries with feta. Salads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Treats and Drinks

(Penny Ice Cream Toasted Marshmallow Fluff)

 

Penny Ice Creamery

Our picks: Double Scoop of Mint Chip Ice Cream and Chocolate Sorbet with Toasted Marshmallow Fluff on top in a homemade waffle cone.

Verve Coffee

Our picks: The Missile – an amazingly refreshing and sweet iced coffee drink. Or for a cold day, the Bowl of Soul – chamomile tea with steamed vanilla soy milk, nutmeg and honey

Nobu Brewery

Our picks: The classic Nubo Pilsner made with Noble German hops that give it a clean bitterness. Pair it with the cheese board. Come on a night with live music.

Suda

Our picks: Lots of great cocktails and treats here. Our favorite is the Chaos Theory Cocktail, or the Tea-Tyme Cocktail – Four Roses Bourbon, Amaro Di Angostura, English Tea, Abbotts Bitters and Thyme. And for dessert, the Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with a Salted Chocolate Magic Shell.