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Diners' Choice: Best Ambiance restaurants in Santa Cruz / Capitola / Aptos

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OpenTable
Updated June 05, 2024

Looking for restaurants with the best ambiance in Santa Cruz / Capitola / Aptos? You’re in the right place. Each month, OpenTable analyzes nearly 2 million global diner reviews from the past four months. We sort the results by location and category to help you discover new favorite restaurants. It's a great partnership: you reserve, eat, and review. We listen...and deliver the results for all to benefit. Enjoy!

A photo of Laili restaurant
4.7
4.7 (2792)
$30 and under
Mediterranean
Santa Cruz
About the restaurant
Laili is our expression of love through food and service. We offer a unique menu made up of fusion Afghani Mediterranean items that include kabobs, wraps, flatbreads, pastas, and spiced lamb and chicken dishes as well as delicious vegetarian options.

Laili Restaurant "BEST MIDDLE EASTERN RESTAURANT", Good Times 2023, Voted #1

Rich Mediterranean Flavors with a Unique Afghan Twist in the Heart of Downtown Santa Cruz.
Currently taking reservations for lunch and dinner, walk-ins welcome too.

Dine in our elegant, secluded, off street patio. Visit our website for event information.
Top review
YvonneS
Dined 7 days ago
The food was amazing! Everything we had was delicious. At our table we had the Mediterranean appetizer and the apricot chicken flatbread, both of which were absolutely wonderful. I had the pomegranate eggplant which was so good, I am now dreaming about it. My husband had the lamb shank, which was also terrific. We also had the chicken kabob and the trout on my table with our guests. Every single thing was absolutely delicious. We will definitely go back!
A photo of Jack O'Neill Restaurant & Lounge restaurant
4.5
4.5 (1885)
$31 to $50
Contemporary American
Santa Cruz
About the restaurant
Jack O’Neill Restaurant and Lounge is Santa Cruz’s best new destination for coastal California cuisine. The approachable and family-friendly vibe at Jack O’Neill Restaurant and Lounge will welcome hotel guests and locals alike.
Top review
Sonia
Dined on Jun 12, 2024
Great food with wonderful ambience. The staff was also wonderful!
A photo of Gabriella Cafe restaurant
4.7
4.7 (945)
$50 and over
Italian
Santa Cruz
About the restaurant
Zagat rated as "OUTSTANDING". Gabriella Cafe is a 50 seat, picturesque and romantic dining experience in downtown Santa Cruz.
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 4 days ago
Great restaurant for a romantic first date!! Lots of seating,great food and great service!
A photo of Sugo Italian Pasta Bar restaurant
4.7
4.7 (230)
$30 and under
Italian
Santa Cruz
About the restaurant
A European concept-restaurant of traditional Italian cuisine; a modern and dynamic service, that allows customers to enjoy fresh, organic and authentic italian food through a selection of appetizer, panini, pizza and salads, and obviously our specialty: "Pasta".
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 6 days ago
Simply amazing.. Sugo’s is fantastic, from the food to the staff. Every time we go, we feel welcomed and a part of the family. Would highly recommend to everyone.
A photo of la Posta restaurant
4.8
4.8 (2267)
$30 and under
Italian
Santa Cruz
About the restaurant
Select from a menu that features dishes composed of locally sourced ingredients as well as house-made pastas, naturally leavened breads and pizzas from our brick oven.

Because we rely on the bounty of the Santa Cruz farming community, our menu changes frequently and features a wide array of specials. La Posta’s all-Italian wine list includes autochthonous varieties from small producers, by-the-glass and by the bottle.

La Posta adheres to the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch Program and is a certified City of Santa Cruz Green Business.

We are so thankful for the incredible support from our customers and community.

We will continue to adjust our service based upon best practices for keeping our staff and community safe.
Top review
swenixvip
Dined 3 days ago
Another wonderful meal at la Posta, with spectacular wine!
A photo of Alderwood Santa Cruz restaurant
4.5
4.5 (589)
$50 and over
Contemporary American
Santa Cruz
About the restaurant
Alderwood, under the culinary leadership of Executive Chef Mikey Adams, is dedicated to providing a dining experience that strikes a delicate balance between the comfort and warmth of home and the vibrancy of the downtown dining scene. Our mission is to offer our guests an exceptional and memorable meal that is deeply rooted in our commitment to fostering a genuine connection between our open kitchen and the local community. We welcome you to join us for an unforgettable culinary journey that celebrates the essence of togetherness and exceptional cuisine.
Top review
NinaK
Dined 1 day ago
New chef, new menu. Delicious fare at reasonable prices. The oysters are on point. We enjoyed the chef bar open kitchen. A nice treat for Santa Cruz folks who are looking for a nice night out.
A photo of Suda restaurant
4.7
4.7 (364)
$31 to $50
American
Santa Cruz
About the restaurant
Pairing seasonal produce from local farmers with line caught fish and lean, hormone-free beef, the menu at Süda stays as fresh as the ingredients. With a variety of inventive dishes, including vegan and gluten free options, there is truly something for everyone.

The atmosphere at the bar is lively, while booths offer diners a more intimate experience making Süda the perfect place for a casual meal with friends or a night out with someone special. We are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner so you can enjoy fresh food whenever your heart desires.


Top review
DrJeanvip
Dined 7 days ago
The food was GREAT! So were the drinks. Not too expensive. The bartender was a hoot.,the servers were attentive. It was a little loud, they had a DJ. I’ll be coming back.
A photo of Zelda's on the Beach restaurant
4.3
4.3 (526)
$30 and under
Californian
Capitola
About the restaurant
Zelda’s restaurant is in the heart of Capitola Village. We are located on the beach with spectacular views of the Monterey Bay and Capitola Wharf.

Zelda’s Restaurant has been serving local customers as well as others from all over the world for the past thirty years. We offer indoor and outdoor dining with a beachfront deck where you can literally reach and touch the warm sand of Capitola Beach.
Top review
LorenaL
Dined 4 days ago
Great beachside deck to catch up with friends. The food was fabulous and the drinks were amazing.
A photo of Oswald restaurant
4.6
4.6 (1583)
$31 to $50
Contemporary American
Santa Cruz
About the restaurant
Oswald is a contemporary American restaurant and bar that focuses on the abundance of delicious ingredients found on the central coast of California. Oswald features an eclectic, international wine list and an exciting, seasonal bar program. While the decor is spare and modern, the atmosphere is comfortable and relaxed. Oswald features new art shows every two months.

We do have first come tables available in the lounge as well as bar seats.
Come by and see if there is a table or seat for you.
Top review
Conference
Dined 3 days ago
Overall nice experience. Rack of lamb and sides a little overspiced, overpowered the flavor.
A photo of Mozaic - Santa Cruz restaurant
4.6
4.6 (464)
$30 and under
Mediterranean
Santa Cruz
About the restaurant
We named our restaurant Mozaic because we wanted to capture the diversity of flavors and culmination of authentic Mediterranean dishes that we offer. We bring together the best of Mediterranean recipes from Greece, Lebanon, Turkey and Sicily, emphasizing Middle Eastern influence.

Our menu is hand-crafted after years of experience in the restaurant business knowing what people like. We make every dish completely authentic, utilizing 100 years old techniques that have been passed down through generations to bring you incredible flavor. COME AND TASTE THE DIFFERENCE We seek only the best, local ingredients. We use high-quality meats, like our Australian lamb tenderloin and select only sustainable seafood. Our lavash comes from an authentic Persian bakery.

Everyone wants family. Mozaic is a warm and inviting atmosphere where everyone can feel at home. Come enjoy our incredible and lush atmosphere.
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 7 days ago
Food was fantastic and service great.. really enjoyed it. Highly recommend
Explore Diners' Choice best of Santa Cruz / Capitola / Aptos
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