Food & Drink in Santa Cruz

50% Off Italian and Argentine Cuisine at Star Bene

Twin Lakes

$22 $11

(99)

Homemade pastas, seafood, and empanadas with local, organic meats and vegetables

Up to 50% Off at Rosie McCann's Irish Pub & Restaurant

Multiple Locations

$20 $12

Diners can feast on innovative Celtic cuisine served for brunch or lunch, or sip bottomless mimosas

40% Off Casual American Food at Davenport Roadhouse

Davenport

$30 $18

Restaurant inside an eco-friendly inn serves burgers, local wine and beer, and sustainably sourced seafood

$11 for Dinner at Chelitos Pupuseria

Eastside

$20 $11

(52)

Chefs stuff Salvadorian pupusas with vegetables, cheese, and meat, as well as craft Mexican tortas and sopes

Up to 47% Off at Margaritaville

Capitola

$43 $23

Baja burgers and slow-cooked tri-tip sandwiches; extensive collection of tequilas and organic margaritas

Up to 50% Off Italian Cuisine at Oak Tree Ristorante

Felton

$40 $20

(145)

Pastas and Italian entrees crafted from scratch with ingredients from local suppliers

40% Off Dinner at Yamamori Sushi & Grill

Scotts Valley

$25 $15

(96)

Along with sashimi, nigiri sushi, and a variety of rolls, Yamamori also has choices for vegetarians and those without a palate for raw fish

50% Off at Carmona's BBQ Deli

Watsonville

$20 $10

(39)

Burgers topped with guava-chipotle sauce; all-beef hot dogs; barbecue beef ribs with chili beans

Up to Half Off at Bikini Coffee

Watsonville

$4 $2.20

Patrons sip lattes, espressos, and other coffee drinks poured by bikini-clad baristas; sandwiches, pastries, and oatmeal also available

Half Off Tasting at Wargin Wines

Watsonville

$58 $29

Staffers pour tastings of petite sirah, late-harvest zinfandel & montepulciano-based blend while helping guests discern each wine's flavors

Half Off Wine Tasting at Roudon-Smith Winery

Watsonville

$70 $35

Winery uses traditional winemaking methods and careful selection of fruit

Up to 35% Off at Baskin Robbins

Los Gatos

$20 $13

Under new ownership, this location offers a large menu of ice cream cakes, pies, milkshakes, rolls, and more

Up to Half Off at Triple Seven Pizzeria

Rainbow

$20 $10

(202)

Gourmet pizzas with sourdough crusts made daily and combinations of fresh toppings

Up to 35% Off Traditional Japanese Cuisine at Hachi Ju Hachi

Madronia Historic

$60 $39

(210)

Innovative eatery that earned Michelin nods for Best Value and Charming Restaurant serves up dishes such as pork-belly stew and sushi

Up to 58% Off Wine-Flight Tasting

West Santa Clara

$30 $15

Guests can sample the libations and take in the Santa Cruz Mountains at the vineyard's charming tasting room

Half Off Italian Cuisine at Ristorante Da Mario

Saratoga

$30 $15

(113)

The Calabrian owner focuses on familiar southern Italian staples including housemade ravioli and meat lasagna

40% Off Upscale Pub Food at The Luxury Box

Campbell

$30 $18

Refined twists on classics such as deviled eggs, oysters, wings, gulf prawns, and brisket burgers

Up to 51% Off Wine and Wine Tastings

Campbell

$50 $25

(13)

House blends and vintages include California-style sangiovese, syrah, and cabernet sauvignon, which are often poured at Saturday tastings

50% Off Italian Dinner at Dishes Bistro & Grill

Marina

$40 $20

(96)

Local and international wines and beers complement fresh wild seafood, such as Monterey Bay King Salmon, and grass-fed steaks

Up to 52% Off at Marina's Take 'N' Bake Pizza

Marina

$25 $12

(12)

Get restaurant-quality pizza at home by ordering custom pizzas that can be baked whenever desired

Up to 43% Off Dinner and Variety Show

Multiple Locations

$100 $60

Magician Dan Chan leads a cast of comedians and illusionists during a dinner and variety show

40% Off Drinks at Homestead Bowl and The X Bar

Cupertino

$30 $18

Full-service sports bar with 25 draft and bottled beers, HDTVs, and lively karaoke inside a 32-lane bowling alley

Up to 56% Off at Sushi Omakase

Gilroy

$65 $30

(190)

A guided tasting of four cold sakes is followed by a shot of shochu, standard sushi rolls, and 750 ml. bottle of sake for the table

40% Off at Station 55 Bar & Grill

Gilroy

$25 $15

Eatery serves 12-ounce rib eyes and specialty burgers with sliced jalapeños and pepper jack, along with lasagna and breakfast burritos

Up to 61% Off Catering from Lucy’s Tamale Factory

Alum Rock

$340 $149

Masa and shredded meats are rolled by hand to cook up award-winning pork and chicken

Up to 80% Off Standup at San Jose Improv

San Jose Improv

$96 $20

Live_logo

Up-and-coming comics lure laughs in storied chain of comedy clubs that showcased such stars as Ellen DeGeneres and Jerry Seinfeld

40% Off New American Cuisine at SP2 Communal Bar + Restaurant

Downtown San Jose

$30 $18

(266)

Chef Ola Fendert helms New American eatery's kitchen, which serves the chef's ginger-soy-glazed baby back ribs and hand-crafted libations

38% Off Eclectic American Food at Billy Berk's

Downtown San Jose

$40 $25

(495)

Mojito skirt-steak sliders, crab-stuffed trout, and rustic flatbreads in a brick-and-timber building with a heated patio

Up to 50% European Cafe Fare at La Lune Sucrée

Downtown San Jose

$20 $12

(283)

Pastry chef Bettina Pope bakes puff-pastry quiches, flaky croissants, and crusty baguettes for gourmet sandwiches alongside handmade crepes

Up to 43% Off Nacho Fries or Five-Pound Burritozilla at Iguanas

Multiple Locations

$21 $12

(1644)

5-lb. 18-inch burritozilla featured on Man v. Food, stuffed with meats such as hand-trimmed angus carne asada or grilled marinated chicken

Half Off Mexican Cuisine at Plaza Garibaldi Restaurant

San Jose

$30 $15

(169)

More than 100 tequilas complement handmade regional dishes in colorful eatery with weekend mariachi performances

52% Off Lunch at Britannia Arms Almaden

Almaden Valley

$29 $14

Choose from lunch entrees of shepherd's pie or fish and chips with sodas at this British-style pub

Asian-Fusion Dinner at Mosaic

Downtown San Jose

$50 $25

Asian-fusion dishes, such as orange chicken and fried prawns in honey mayo, served in a lounge and outdoor plaza at historic downtown hotel

Up to 47% Off Pizza and Breadsticks at Checkers Pizza & Ribs

Paynes

$19.54 $11

(49)

Pizzas loaded with whole-milk mozzarella and topped with artichoke hearts, gyro meat, sun-dried tomatoes, or more

Up to 50% Off at New York Pizza

Alum Rock

$25 $12.50

More than a dozen gourmet pizzas plus calzones, salads, and sandwiches

46% Off at Hello Desserts

Gordy

$35 $19

Desserts ranging from custard and pudding to crème brûlée and ice-cream sundaes pair with smoothies, coffee, and other beverages

Up to 63% Off Wine-Tasting Class or Bottles of Wine

South San Jose

$70 $35

(18)

Sample cheese while learning about wines' provenance and flavors, or winery ships two bottles of a pinot noir with notes of plum and cherry

Up to 42% Off at Sonoma Chicken Coop

North San Jose

$25 $15

(315)

Join friends to feast on rotisserie chicken, oven-baked pizza, and angus steak

Up to 50% Off at Sapphire Hookah

South San Jose

$20 $11

Groups gather around hookah pipes in an ambient lounge to unwind while smoking shisha in their chosen flavor

Up to 54%Off at Pauly's Famous Franks N Fries

Downtown

$25.55 $13

(56)

Menu of more that 65 signature hot dogs includes the bacon-wrapped Mexico City dog and the jalapeño-topped Nacho Chip dog

Half Off Persian Cuisine at Saaghi Restaurant House of Kabob

Willow Glen

$40 $20

(70)

Beef stew with 16 different herbs; Persian yogurt with diced cucumbers and dried mint; saffron-and-lemon-flavored chicken

Up to 34% Off Casual Cuisine at Sonoma Chicken Coop

San Jose-Capitol Expwy

$53 $35

(213)

Chicken slowly heats, rotating inside a rotisserie while chefs hand toss salads, build sandwiches, and melt cheese atop oven-fired pizza

Up to 50% Off at Pizza California

Multiple Locations

$35 $20

(330)

Classic pizza combinations such as ham and pineapple, plus create-your-own options and signature pies including creamy pesto chicken

40% Off at Big T's Seafood Market Bar

Alvin - Burdette

$50 $30

(143)

Huge variety of fresh seafood including lobster, crab, and oysters served in a bright restaurant with draft beers and big-screen TVs

40% Off Breakfast Food at Scrambl'z

Cambrian

$20 $12

(670)

Omelets, benedicts, crepes, and waffles are prepared from scratch and served amid eclectic decor including a VW van that doubles as seating

50% Off Beverages and More

Central San Jose

$6 $3

Local businesses like this one promote thriving, distinctive communities by offering a rich array of goods and services to locals like you

Up to 50% Off at Myth Taverna & Lounge

Downtown San Jose

$30 $15

(244)

Housemade pita bread, imported olive oils, and greek yogurt heighten flavors of saganaki, souvlaki, and pastitsio

41% Off Italian Dinner at Vin Santo Ristorante

San Jose

$126.50 $75

(222)

Italian chef whips up traditional dishes from his home country, speckling homemade pastas with seafood and innovative sauces

Up to 57% Off Pretzels at Pretzelmaker

San Jose

$20 $9

Soft flavored pretzels or pretzel-wrapped hot dogs accompany sodas or waters

55% Off Wine-and-Chocolate Pairing

Sherman Cellars

$55 $25

(16)

Wine educators guide guests through tastings of red and white wines paired with local chocolates

Half Off at Klondike’s Pizza

Heritage

$20 $10

(44)

Family-owned local pizza place since 1985 dishes out dough layered with chicken, pesto sauce, and other toppings; salads and hot sandwiches

Up to 40% Off at Pizza Party

Santa Clara

$25 $15

Pizzas in bacon-chicken and greek veggie varieties emerge from the oven on traditional, gluten-free, or 20-inch Belly Buster crusts

Up to 42% Off Italian Cuisine at Mio Vicino

Santa Clara

$40 $25

(346)

California-inspired artisanal pizzas, seafood pastas, and Italian specialties fill tables in a cheerful, sun-yellow restaurant

40% Off Pizza & American Food at Last Chance Restaurant

Santa Clara

$20 $12

Varied menu includes pizza, burgers, and sandwiches such as the Malibu chicken at a laid-back restaurant with pool tables and arcade games

44% Off Vin12 Wine Event

Multiple Locations

$70 $39

(19)

Sacramento event highlights pinot noir and zinfandel, Santa Clara spotlights pinot noir—both feature 15+ wineries and 40+ wines to sample

50% Off Wine Tasting at Pierce Ranch Vineyards

New Monterey

$30 $15

(24)

Wine tastings held in a cozy bungalow near the coast of Monterey Bay; Portuguese and Spanish varietals

50% Off at Lugano Swiss Bistro

Carmel-by-the-Sea

$30 $15

(88)

Chef André Lengacher concocts creamy fondue, schnitzel & pan-fried lake trout at Swiss-inspired eatery with live music

Up to 42% Off an Italian Dinner at Loose Noodle Pasta House

New Monterey

$40 $26

(121)

Italian favorites include bruschetta, cioppino, beef tortellini, butternut-squash ravioli, and chicken marsala

Up to 53% Off Wine Tasting at Carmel Ridge Winery

New Monterey

$20 $10

(59)

Guests sample wines made from grapes grown with a minimum of human intervention and fermented in small lots of French oak barrels

Up to 52% Off Comedy and Appetizers at Planet Gemini

Casanova Oak Knoll

$30.95 $14.98

(31)

Duos or foursomes enjoy the comedic stylings of standup acts while munching on bar-style appetizers inside a warm, intimate club

45% Off Bar Fare at Cibo Ristorante Italiano

Old Monterey Business District

$20 $11

(138)

Happy hour features specialty cocktails and wine served alongside Italian-style small bites, such as meatball sliders and tomato bruschetta

Up to 50% Off at Alvarado Fish & Steak House

Old Monterey Business District

$30 $16

(104)

Italian and Japanese flavors infuse a menu of seasonal fish, grilled steaks, and housemade linguine

Half Off Burgers at 400 Degrees Gourmet Burgers & Fries

Carmel-by-the-Sea

$20 $10

(155)

American wagyu beef burgers, veggie burgers, and turkey burgers with toppings such as smoked bacon or crispy onions

46% Off at Village Corner Carmel Bistro

Carmel-by-the-Sea

$35 $19

(230)

Diners can enjoy dinner fare out on the picturesque open-air patio complete with a fireplace

45% Off at MYO Pure Frozen Yogurt

Multiple Locations

$20 $11

(179)

Choose from up to ten flavors of frozen yogurt, and top it with more than 70 topping options

45% Off Bakery Treats at Pastries and Petals

Pastries & Petals

$20 $11

Bakery treats customers to a selection of decorated cookies, macarons, festive cupcakes, and other baked goods along with café fare

Up to 55% Off High Tea at Eddison & Melrose

Monterey

$70 $35

(14)

High tea with, tea sandwiches, baked goods, and soup or salad

Up to 49% Off at Gumba's Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria

Downtown Sunnyvale

$62.85 $32

Cannelloni a la romana with ground veal and spinach, prawns and wild mushooms sautéed in sherry-cream sauce, and classic rigatoni

40% Off Baked Goods at Nothing Bundt Cakes

Multiple Locations

$20 $12

(539)

Bakers use high-quality ingredients to forge 10 flavors of bundt cakes, available with custom messages and decorations

Up to 78% Off at Rooster T. Feathers Comedy Club

Heritage District

$40 $12

(186)
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Variety of comedians who've appeared on late-night talk shows and comedy specials entertain audiences in the intimate club

40% Off Japanese Cuisine at Sushi Blvd

Sunnyvale

$25 $15

(201)

Guests clink glasses of sake over dinners of tuna, salmon, and shrimp sushi rolls, salted edamame, yakitori chicken, and pot stickers

Up to 31% Off Greek Dinner at Asteria Grill

Sunnyvale

$25 $17.25

(134)

Chefs create traditional Greek fare such as grilled octopus, meatballs seasoned with mint, and lamb-stuffed peppers

Half Off Steakhouse Food and Fondue at Rok Steakhouse

Historic Downtown Sunnyvale

$20 $10

(419)

Premium steaks and other exotic meats served seared and sizzling atop hot stones amid rustic, crimson tones and a full bar

40% Off Mexican Cuisine at El Caminito

Sunnyvale

$20 $12

(155)

Mexican meals prepared with low-cholesterol vegetable oil and chased with salt-rimmed margaritas in a family-run eatery

Papa John's Pizza – Up to 49% Off Pizza and Ice Cream

Multiple Locations

$25.73 $13

Pizzas with thick cloaks of sauce made from California-grown tomatoes, plus local IT'S-IT ice-cream sandwiches

52% Off Indian Cuisine at Park Balluchi

Old Mountain View

$25 $12

(97)

Chefs who specialize in northern Mughlai cuisine and traditional Punjabi cooking whip up saag paneer, goat biryani, and butter chicken

Up to 49% Off at La Salsa Fresh Mexican Grill

Multiple Locations

$10.08 $5.20

Mexican food served during breakfast through dinner includes eggs with chorizo, tacos and burritos, and fresh salads

Up to 54% Off Dinners at Village Kebab

North Los Altos

$71.85 $35

(54)

A European-trained Turkish chef prepares Mediterranean-style cuisine including lamb kebabs, falafel, tabbouleh, and baklava

51% Off Lunch and Dinner Ristorante Bella Vita

Los Altos

$20 $11

(102)

Gnocchi with homemade pesto sauce and brick-oven-fired pizza served inside of artful space with burbling fountains and hand-painted tables

Select Local Merchants

Laili: A User's Guide

Modern Afghan Cuisine | Farm-to-Table Recipes | Communal Dining Space | Open Kitchen | Idyllic Courtyard
Sample Menu
  • Starter: maush-awa, a three-bean soup with lentils, split peas, and qurut yogurt that Ann Parker of the Santa Cruz Sentinel called "one of the most delicious soups I've ever tasted"
  • Entree: lamb kebab with kabuli rice, mixed vegetables, and three chutneys
  • Vegetarian entree: pomegranate eggplant with saffron-infused basmati rice, chard, caramelized onion, and yogurt
  • Dessert: cardamom crème brûlée
The Focus: Wafi Amin came to the United States in 1975 to study and learn about the world, but while he was here, the Soviet Union invaded his native Afghanistan. So Amin decided to stay. Years later he opened Laili as both an homage to his homeland's culture and as an exploration of the flavors of the Silk Road—a 5,000-mile trade route between the Mediterranean and China.

Where to Sit: If the weather is accommodating, head outside. Laili is home to a courtyard so secluded that it can only be seen while riding in a helicopter or on Godzilla's shoulder. Amid its white tablecloths, ivy climbs toward light-draped beams, and palm fronds share space with flickering heaters. On rainy days, plant yourself indoors at one of the communal dining tables, where you can brush elbows with a cross-section of downtown.

While You're Waiting
  • Turn your eyes toward the open kitchen to watch the chef roll out naan dough with a giant rolling pin.
  • Appraise the precious Afghan jewelry that's the subject of a 16-panel photograph in the dining room.
While You're in the Neighborhood
Before: Read up on the Silk Road at Bookshop Santa Cruz, an independent staple since 1966 (1520 Pacific Avenue).
After: Settle in for a nightcap at 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall (110 Walnut Avenue), which has amassed an impressive collection of craft brews and strong Belgian ales.

101 Cooper St
Santa Cruz,
CA
US

When owners Vanessa and Ron Wilkerson were opening Samba Rock Acai Café, they encountered many roadblocks along the way. For instance, the city assessed there would be a $30,000 traffic-impact fee for their restaurant. So the duo improvised. They built an indoor bike parking area, reducing the fee while still providing customers a place to park their wheels. This is just one example in which Ron has defied what some might see as a career-ending set-back. In 1988, the former professional BMX Freestyle rider fell into a coma after failing to land a no-hander, no-footer trick on his bike. Though some might have given up after a life-threatening experience like that—he suffered short-term memory loss and even forgot some of the BMX tricks that he had pioneered—Ron got back on his bike. And if he hadn’t, he would never have traveled to Sao Paolo, Brazil, met Vanessa, married her, or opened Samba Rock Acai Café.

The menu at Samba Rock Acai Café pays homage to the country where the Wilkersons met and where Vanessa grew up. Blended Brazilian berries and mix-ins, such as bananas and peanut butter, make up the base for their acai bowls. They crown this base with toppings such as fresh fruit, avocado, coconut cream, and granola. Their smoothies also feature acai, as well as organic ingredients, which have never been tainted by spray tanners to look more appealing to customers. To round out their South American-inspired menu, they serve yerba mate—steeped leaves of the mate plant—with acai to sweeten each sip.

291 Water St
Santa Cruz,
CA
US

After a decade of researching and perfecting cookie recipes, Larry and Shelly Pearson opened Pacific Cookie Company in 1980. Their cookie operation has expanded since those early days, when they focused on just five flavors. They now whip together 13 flavors of cookies, each consisting of simple, quality ingredients, such as Guittard chocolate, pure vanilla extract, cane sugar, and unbleached flour. Cookies are dished out alongside scoops of locally-sourced favorite, Marianne's Ice Cream. If you can't make it to Pacific Cookie Company's Berkeley or Santa Cruz shops, don't fret. The company ships its cookies—along with gift baskets, cookie tins, and gift boxes—to customers around the solar system.


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Shop the Women in Business collection.


303 Potrero St
Santa Cruz,
CA
US

If you read Louie’s story, you’ll note that his middle name is Martini and his ex-wives include Marilyn Monroe, Katharine Hepburn, and Elizabeth Taylor. You’ll also read about his modest childhood in Portofino, Italy, where he frequented the harbors, mingled with fishermen, and dreamed of serving fresh fish at his very own restaurant. This intersection of lightheartedness and a passion for seafood defines Louie Linguini’s—regardless of what’s fact and what’s fiction.

The restaurant occupies a second-story building with a patio that overlooks the blue expanse of Monterey Bay. Fresh seafood pops up in many of the menu's descriptions, no more so than on the restaurant’s signature cioppino, which is a dungeness-crab, clam, mussel, snapper, calamari, and shrimp stew served with a choice of whole crab legs or crabmeat. The kitchen also yields Italian eats such as 12-inch pizzas, spaghetti and housemade meatballs, and linguini with shrimp, artichokes, veggies, and garlicky cream sauce. Fueling each meal is a selection of wines, draft beers, and specialty martinis and mixed drinks.

660 Cannery Row
Monterey,
CA
US

Nimbly darting through the forest of white-clothed tables in the Milano Ristorante Italiano dining rooms, attentive waiters carry platters of traditional Italian dishes and bottles of fine wines. In the kitchen, seasoned chefs labor over sizzling stoves, folding seafood, meats, and fresh vegetables into northern- and southern-Italian classics. Diners can sample baked pastas, veal dishes, and gourmet pizzas, such as the Milano, layered with pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, and peppers. Meanwhile, seasoned bartenders mix martinis, margaritas, and specialty cocktails as skillfully as a vindictive construction worker mixes concrete into his boss’s convertible.

Vibrant oil paintings speckle the restaurant's textured walls, adding to the rustic decor and looking down on tables hosting family outings and romantic first dates. Outside on the expansive patio, a brick fireplace illuminates tables of alfresco diners and the cascading water of the ornamental fountain.

555 Soquel Ave
Santa Cruz,
CA
US

Lisa Brighton baked her first treat—a peach cobbler—when she was just 4 years old. She had some help, of course, from her great-grandmother, Hazel, who taught her which spices to use and which spices to throw over her shoulder. Hazel also handed down several generations of family recipes and a passion for baking that’s been in the family genes for more than 100 years. Lisa puts it to good use at Starz Cupcakes, which she co-owns with her daughter Connie.

Lisa and Connie estimate that they make 220 different kinds of cupcakes, including 17 velvets—a new take on the classic red velvet—in ultra-bright colors such as coral, teal, and purple. They also bake gluten-free cupcakes for customers with gluten allergies, and sugar-free versions for sweets lovers on low-sugar diets. And the tiny cakes are as beautiful as they are delicious; each one is topped with a dollop of frosting and decorative trimmings such as sprinkles, chocolate chips, or coconut flakes.

1717 Mission Street
Santa Cruz,
CA
US