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

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OpenTable
Updated May 05, 2024

Looking for restaurants with the best overall cuisine 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 la Posta restaurant
4.8
4.8 (2253)
$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
LauraF
Dined 1 day ago
We love your restaurant and dine there about every six months. Last night was the best ever! Erica was a sweet and friendly server and everyone else who helped out was great. We shared both contorni (zucchini and snap peas), as well as the tagliatelle with lamb sausage and the chicken wrapped in prosciutto with the nettle polenta. Every bite just got better than the last! We finished by sharing the lemon ricotta cake with roasted strawberries and the dessert Moscato. Divine. Keep up the good work.
A photo of Laili restaurant
4.8
4.8 (2782)
$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
Djac
Dined 2 days ago
Been a while since visiting. Our party loved the service and food selections on the menu. Appetizers were amazing from the bread and dips, to Mantoo and also dumplings. I opted for the easer salad then bean soup with Lamb - amazing!!. Others had lamb burger, pasta with shrimp - all delicious. Sorry we waited so long ….Looking forward to next time.
A photo of Sugo Italian Pasta Bar restaurant
4.9
4.9 (226)
$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
Rickievip
Dined on May 20, 2024
Great food at a reasonable price. Good wine list and excellent service.
A photo of The Water Street Grill restaurant
4.8
4.8 (291)
$30 and under
American
Santa Cruz
About the restaurant
Our local restaurant in Santa Cruz Ca is Family owned, The Water Street Grill is a neighborhood Grill, steak,seafood,burger and wine-Beer Bar offering farm-to-table food, handcrafted drink and a selection of intriguing, affordable Firestone Drafted beers & great selection of wines. We have been more the 20 years in the Restaurant business, we are very committed our restaurant to treat customers with the most respect and let us also handle any event you having, will make it unforgettable moment.
Top review
DennisSvip
Dined on May 10, 2024
We had an amazing relaxing dinner. Food was delicious and our server, Shelley, made the experience memorable!
A photo of Gabriella Cafe restaurant
4.7
4.7 (940)
$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
We love Gabriella's! The appetizers and salads are outstanding. We are often too full to enjoy the main dish until the next day.
A photo of Cafe Cruz Rosticceria & Bar restaurant
4.7
4.7 (1939)
$30 and under
Contemporary American
Soquel
About the restaurant
Cafe Cruz is a popular and lively local restaurant. We offer casual/fine dining with a full bar, indoor and heated patio dining. Guests enjoy watching the "magic" created in our open copper-backed kitchen each night by our talented team of chefs. Notable features include many locally sourced foods, nightly sustainable seafood specials, and many creative salad and vegetable options. Our innovative pastas and sandwiches are always a hit.
Spit-Roasted meats are featured each night, cooked on a french Rotisol rotisserie. The lush garden room can seat larger parties of up to 35. Guests enjoy our warm friendly service, our many seating options, and exceptionally delicious food.

Top review
LarryL
Dined 4 days ago
The sole entree was overdone and I did not like the way it was seasoned. The sides that came with it were uninspiring. My wife’s Beyond Burger was very good and for a change it came out hot. Our server was very friendly and attentive to our needs. Overall we had a very enjoyable time with our friends even though my meal was mediocre.
A photo of Oswald restaurant
4.7
4.7 (1577)
$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
OpenTable Diner
Dined on May 19, 2024
A cozy place with delicious food. A little gem downtown. Quite pricey but the quality of experience makes up for it.
A photo of Chocolate the Restaurant restaurant
4.5
4.5 (65)
$30 and under
Californian
Santa Cruz
About the restaurant
At Chocolate the Restaurant, we provide an attractive dining environment for couples on dates, friendly meetings, family meals, and for groups up to 20. Dine outside on our covered, heated patio. Celebrate special occasions with up to 25 guests in our private street-side party room. Maybe start with Chocolate Martini or a Passion Fruit Margarita. Our slow-roasted meats, fresh baked pasta, delicious seasonal salads are all a prelude to our many chocolaty desserts. Our wine list focuses on local and on Italian wines. Our cocktails are all made from scratch; often using locally distilled spirits. We are at your service for dinner every night! Weekend lunches too. We are open every holiday except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
Top review
OpenTable Dinervip
Dined 1 day ago
absolutely fantastic. We were served by the owner himself! Very nice and did a great job explaining each dish and drink. Fabulous cocktails. Get the chocolate martini with tequila! Great chicken parm and even better chicken mole!
A photo of Mozaic - Santa Cruz restaurant
4.7
4.7 (462)
$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
Stubie
Dined on May 12, 2024
Delicious meal and excellent customer service. Plenty of space for large groups
A photo of Jack O'Neill Restaurant & Lounge restaurant
4.5
4.5 (1872)
$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
OpenTable Dinervip
Dined on May 20, 2024
Wonderful staff and food with great views. Really Loved the place
Explore Diners' Choice best of Santa Cruz / Capitola / Aptos
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