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03.26.08

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Best Food & Drink

Readers Poll


Bagel

GOLD
Bagelry
320 Cedar St, Santa Cruz. 831.429.8049.
1636 Seabright Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.425.8550.
4763 Soquel Dr, Soquel. 831.462.9888.
Bagels are only half the story at this sleek, streamlined, no-fuss home of freshly made soups, salads, spreads and, yes, hyperdelicious bagels. The egg salad is legendary, as is the albacore, the hummus and the dazzling array of flavored and spiced cream cheese possibilities. The Duke--a voluptuous arrangement of cream cheese, apple butter and cashews on a raisin bagel--is the stuff of inexpensive fantasies. Friendly and easy to like, the Bagelry is a top spot to park yourself for a lunch date.

SILVER
Noah's Bagels
1141 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.454.9555.

BRONZE
Bagel Café
216 Mt. Hermon Rd, Scotts Valley. 831.438.8280.

Bakery

GOLD
The Buttery
702 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.458.3020.
One of the favorite bakery/coffee places on the Eastside expanded itself last year into a pit-stop for full-on lunches and early dinners. The historic old Victorian now offers up fresh soups, salads, imaginative wraps and sandwiches--in addition to top quality espresso drinks--for on-the-spot noshing or carry-out. The famed zucchini muffin, lemon tarts and pecan sandie are still among the best sweet temptations available. But the poached egg breakfasts, Joe's Favorite Black Forest ham sandwich and Caesar salad lunches now have their own devoted followings.

SILVER
Gayle's Bakery & Rosticceria
504 Bay Ave, Capitola. 831.462.1200.

BRONZE
Kelly's Bakery
402 Ingalls St, Santa Cruz. 831.423.9059.

Barbecue

GOLD
Cole's BBQ
8059 Aptos St, Aptos. 831.662.1721.
770 26th Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.476.1900.

SILVER
Bruno's
245 Mt. Hermon Rd, Scotts Valley. 831.438.2227.

BRONZE
Hindquarter Bar & Grille
303 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.426.7770.

Bar Food

GOLD
Red Restaurant and Bar
200 Locust St, Santa Cruz. 831.425.1913.

SILVER
99 Bottles
110 Walnut Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.459.9999.

BRONZE
Seabright Brewery
519 Seabright Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.426.2739.

Breakfast

GOLD
Zachary's
819 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.427.0646.

SILVER
Walnut Ave Cafe
106 Walnut Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.457.2307.

BRONZE
Café Brazil
1410 Mission St, Santa Cruz. 831.429.1855.

Burger

GOLD
Jack's
202 Lincoln St, Santa Cruz. 831.423.4421.

SILVER
Betty Burgers
505 Seabright Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.423.8190.

BRONZE
Saturn Café
145 Laurel St, Santa Cruz. 831.429.8505.

Burrito

GOLD
Taqueria Vallarta
608 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.457.8226.
1101 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.471.2655.
893 41st Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.464.7022.
6272 Hwy 9, Felton. 831.335.4264.

SILVER
Tacos Moreno
1053 Water St, Santa Cruz. 831.429.6095.
303 Beach St, Santa Cruz. 831.427.2200.

BRONZE
Planet Fresh
1003 Cedar St, Santa Cruz. 831.423.9799.

Cheap Eats

GOLD
Charlie Hong Kong
1141 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.426.5664.
Open daily from 11am to 11pm, this spicy treasure specializes in huge flavors for cheap prices. Singapore street food meets pan-Asian fusion in a menu full of rice bowls and noodle soups. A memorable tomato-tamarind sauce highlights the colossal pad thai, and the spicy ginger beef sandwich served on Kelly's French roll is a global gourmet triumph. Order your choice of dish, and then choose a topping from vegan to juicy, messy hoisin pork and teriyaki salmon. Megavalue in flavor intensity.

SILVER
Taqueria Vallarta
608 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.457.8226.
1101 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.471.2655.
893 41st Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.464.7022.

BRONZE
Palomar Taco Bar
1336 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.425.7575.

Chinese

GOLD
O'Mei
2316 Mission St, Santa Cruz. 831.425.8458.
From its astute list of locally made wines to its small plate appetizers, O'mei continues to wow the taste buds, just as it's done for two decades. The sleek interior rewards adventurous fans of avant-garde Chinese cuisine with specialties ranging from plump red oil dumplings to a succulent ma po tofu. The Yuxian eggplant has changed lives, as had the tea-smoked sea bass and almost anything with black bean and garlic sauce. Desserts, such as the warm apple pastry, are outrageous and unexpected.

SILVER
Little Shanghai
1010 Cedar St, Santa Cruz. 831.458.2460.

BRONZE
Golden Buddha
4610 Soquel Dr, Soquel. 831.479.0788.

Coffeehouse

GOLD
People's Coffee
1200 17th Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.464.2739.
Friendly vibes and a can-do attitude characterize this comfort zone for caffeine hounds at the corner of 17th and Brommer. Vibrant house-blend beans fuel every espresso drink, to be partnered by myriad muffins, plump quiches and a variety of organic soups and croissants. Big couches, WiFi nooks, a kid's play area and outdoor patio seating offer all-day seduction. A true neighborhood pit-stop.

SILVER
Lulu's
1545 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.429.9804.
118 Cooper St, Santa Cruz. 831.429.5858.

BRONZE
Caffe Pergolesi
418 Cedar St, Santa Cruz. 831.426.1775.

Comfort Food

GOLD
Saturn Café
145 Laurel St, Santa Cruz. 831.429.8505.
For almost three decades this late-night, all-day vegetarian diner has been serving up instant comfort of the edible variety. The condiment-friendly menu is long on cheeses, salads, faux burgers, french fries and cheeses. Veggie corndogs, mac and cheese, fakin bacon BLTs and megasalads with vegan dressing all pair nicely with luscious ice cream desserts. Playful décor and rock & roll restrooms, plus inventive meat-free cuisine that caters to the munchies until 3am. Awesome.

SILVER
Santa Cruz Diner
909 Ocean St, Santa Cruz. 831.426.7151.

BRONZE
Gayle's Bakery & Rosticceria
504 Bay Ave, Capitola. 831.462.1200.

Deli

GOLD
Zoccoli's
1534 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.423.1711.
Landmark downtown deli offers a touch of the last century loaded with flavor freshness. Specialty sandwiches like the legendary Mediterranean, the Castroville--big on marinated artichokes--and the meal-sized muffaletta all turn lunch into a community event. Every deli salad imaginable fills the menu along with a fresh soup each day. Italian pastas, candies and sauces add to the carry-out temptation. Mostly it's a treat just to step back into the past and enjoy a genuine, family-run atmosphere.

SILVER
Erik's DeliCafé
1664 Soquel Dr, Santa Cruz. 831.462.1919.
155 Walnut Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.425.5353.
222 Mt. Hermon Rd, Scotts Valley. 831.438.4646.
1074 Green Valley Rd, Watsonville. 831.724.7575.

BRONZE
New Leaf Market
2351 Mission St, Santa Cruz. 831.426.1306.
1134 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.425.1793.
1210 41st Ave, Capitola. 831.479.7987.
13159 Central Ave, Boulder Creek. 831.338.7211.
6240 Hwy 9, Felton. 831.335.7322.

Desserts

GOLD
The Buttery
702 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.458.3020.

SILVER
Chocolate
1522 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.454.9547.

BRONZE
Gayle's Bakery & Rosticceria
504 Bay Ave, Capitola. 831.462.1200.

Falafel

GOLD
Falafel House
113 Walnut Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.459.9770.

SILVER
Falafel of Santa Cruz
1501 Mission St, Santa Cruz. 831.597.0486.

BRONZE
Falafel Hut
309 Beach St, Santa Cruz. 831.423.0567.

Fast Food

GOLD
Taco Bell
802 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.425.9113.
1405 Mission St, Santa Cruz. 831.425.9012.

SILVER
Jack's
202 Lincoln St, Santa Cruz. 831.423.4421.

BRONZE
Charlie Hong Kong
1141 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.426.5664.

French Fries

GOLD
Jack's
202 Lincoln St, Santa Cruz. 831.423.4421.

SILVER
Saturn Café
145 Laurel St, Santa Cruz. 831.429.8505.

BRONZE
Betty Burgers
505 Seabright Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.423.8190.

Ice Cream

GOLD
Marianne's Ice Cream
1020 Ocean St, Santa Cruz. 831.458.1447.

SILVER
Cold Stone Creamery
1129 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.423.7015.

BRONZE
Polar Bear
1224 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.425.1108.

Indian

GOLD
Royal Taj
270 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.427.2400.

SILVER
Sitar
1133 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.427.3000.

BRONZE
Malabar
1116 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.423.7906.

Innovative Menu

GOLD
Café La Vie
429 Front St, Santa Cruz. 831.429.6746.

SILVER
Malabar
1116 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.423.7906.

BRONZE
Aqua Bleu
1108 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.423.6999.

Italian

GOLD
Ristorante Italiano
555 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.458.2321

SILVER
Ristorante Avanti
1711 Mission St, Santa Cruz. 831.427.0135.

BRONZE
Kianti's
1100 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.469.4400.

Late-Night Eatery

GOLD
Saturn Café
145 Laurel St, Santa Cruz. 831.429.8505.

SILVER
Crepe Place
1134 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.426.6994.

BRONZE
Santa Cruz Diner
909 Ocean St, Santa Cruz. 831.426.7151.

Local Wine (Red)

GOLD
Bonny Doon Winery
3875 Bonny Doon Rd, Santa Cruz. 831.458.9691.

SILVER
Bargetto Winery
3535 N. Main St, Soquel. 831.475.2258.

BRONZE
Storrs Winery
303 Potrero St, Santa Cruz. 831.458.5030.

Local Wine (White)

GOLD
Bonny Doon Winery
3875 Bonny Doon Rd, Santa Cruz. 831.458.9691.

SILVER
Storrs Winery
303 Potrero St, Santa Cruz. 831.458.5030.

BRONZE
Bargetto Winery
3535 N. Main St, Soquel. 831.475.2258.

Mexican

GOLD
El Palomar
1336 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.425.7575.
Gorgeous landmark location, festive Mexican menu--this full-service dining palace has it all. The tequila list is endless (don't miss the midori margaritas), while spicy lunch legends include the crisp sope, creamy chicken tostada and signature snapper tacos. Salmon with guajillo sauce, and classic red pozole are among the menu stars, especially served with an order of warm house-made corn tortillas. The bar scene is lively and the all-day taco arcade offers fresh burritos, quesadillas, tacos and endless salsa.

SILVER
Little Tampico
2605 Main St, Soquel. 831.475.4700

BRONZE
Tacos Moreno
1053 Water St, Santa Cruz. 831.429.6095.
303 Beach St, Santa Cruz. 831.427.2200.

Microbrewery

GOLD
Seabright Brewery
519 Seabright Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.426.2739.

SILVER
Santa Cruz Mountain Brewery
402 Ingalls St, Santa Cruz. 831.425.4900.

BRONZE
Boulder Creek Brewing Co.
13040 Hwy 9, Boulder Creek. 831.338.7882.

New Restaurant

GOLD
Lillian's
1116 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.247.0390.

SILVER
Woodstock's Pizza
710 Front St, Santa Cruz. 831.427.4444.

BRONZE
Betty Burgers
505 Seabright Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.423.8190.

Outdoor Dining

GOLD
Crepe Place
1134 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.429.6994.

SILVER
Crow's Nest
2218 E. Cliff Dr, Santa Cruz. 831.476.4560.

BRONZE
Kianti's
1100 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.469.4400.

Pizza

GOLD
Pizza My Heart
1116 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.426.2511.
209 Esplanade, Capitola. 831.475.5714.

SILVER
Engfers Pizza
537 Seabright Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.429.1856.

BRONZE
Woodstock's Pizza
710 Front St, Santa Cruz. 831.427.4444.

Salad

GOLD
Dharma's
4250 Capitola Rd, Capitola. 831.462.1717.

SILVER
Hank's at the Hook
800 41st Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.479.3662.

BRONZE
Carpo's
2400 Porter St, Soquel. 831.476.6260.

Seafood

GOLD
Stagnaro Bros.
Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz. 831.423.2180.

SILVER
Crow's Nest
2218 E. Cliff Dr, Santa Cruz. 831.476.4560.

BRONZE
Riva's Fish House
31 Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz. 831.429.1223.

Soup

GOLD
Erik's DeliCafé
1664 Soquel Dr, Santa Cruz. 831.462.1919.
155 Walnut Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.425.5353.
222 Mt. Hermon Rd, Scotts Valley. 831.438.4646.
1074 Green Valley Rd, Watsonville. 831.724.7575.

SILVER
New Leaf Market
2351 Mission St, Santa Cruz. 831.426.1306.
1134 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.425.1793.
1210 41st Ave, Capitola. 831.479.7987.
13159 Central Ave, Boulder Creek. 831.338.7211.
6240 Hwy 9, Felton. 831.335.7322.

BRONZE
Dharma's
4250 Capitola Rd, Capitola. 831.462.1717.

Steak

GOLD
Hindquarter
303 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.426.7770.

SILVER
Café Cruz
2621 41st Ave, Soquel. 831.476.3801.

BRONZE
Peachwood's
555 Hwy 17, Santa Cruz. 831.426.6333.

Sushi

GOLD
Mobo Sushi
105 S. River St, Santa Cruz. 831.425.1700.

SILVER
Shogun
1123 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.469.4477.

BRONZE
Takara
1800 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.457.8466.

Taqueria

GOLD
Taqueria Vallarta
608 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.457.8226.
1101 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.471.2655.
893 41st Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.464.7022.
6272 Hwy 9, Felton. 831.335.4264.

SILVER
Tacos Moreno
1053 Water St, Santa Cruz. 831.429.6095.
303 Beach St, Santa Cruz. 831.427.2200.

BRONZE
Taqueria La Cabana
2332 Mission St, Santa Cruz. 831.425.7261.

Thai

GOLD
Sabieng
1218 Mission St, Santa Cruz. 831.425.1200.
Reliable and welcoming, this Westside neighborhood treasure has delivered its weight in lemon grass and chiles over the years. Somehow there's always room at this incredibly popular pit-stop for spicy Thai specialties and zesty take-away. The fiery tom yum soup and sensuous bean thread noodle salads share the spotlight with a kaleidoscope of curries. Fresh, colorful entrees power-dial taste buds to a world of jasmine rice, coriander and garlic. It all works.

SILVER
Thai House
353 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.458.3546.

BRONZE
Pacific Thai
1319 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.420.1700.

Vegetarian Menu

GOLD
Dharma's
4250 Capitola Rd, Capitola. 831.462.1717.

SILVER
Saturn Café
145 Laurel St, Santa Cruz. 831.429.8505.

BRONZE
Malabar
1116 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.423.7906.

Winery

GOLD
Bonny Doon Winery
3875 Bonny Doon Rd, Santa Cruz. 831.458.9691.

SILVER
Bargetto Winery
3535 N. Main St, Soquel. 831.475.2258

BRONZE
Storrs Winery
303 Potrero St, Santa Cruz. 831.458.5030.


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