Dining Around in Santa Cruz County
Whether your culinary preference takes you to an outdoor market bursting with fresh produce, a romantic hideaway, or a bustling Mediterranean-themed sidewalk bistro, Santa Cruz County is the perfect gastronomic destination.
A farmer’s market for every day of the week, countywide.
U-pick farms along Highway 1 north of Santa Cruz, and in south county where visitors can pick their own olallieberries, strawberries, blackberries, apples and kiwi, among other seasonal items.
The kitschy “velvet Elvis” painting in the tiki room of Hula’s Island Grill in Downtown Santa Cruz.
Some of the best clam chowder, which can be found on the Santa Cruz Wharf.
A field-to-table dinner, one of the best ways to experience the culinary treasures of Santa Cruz County. Local farms host these events, as well as some full-service hotels.
Gourmet, organic sauerkraut, knife sharpening services, wood-fired pizza, cocoa beans and hand-crafted soap, among other unique items at farmer’s markets.
Delicious barbecue and festive drinks at Harbor Beach during the Crow’s Nest’s summertime beach parties, a casual way to dine al fresco.
An on-site quaint cable car tram which visitors can ride to the front door of the historic Shadowbrook restaurant.
Creative and delicious seasonal flavors at the Penny Ice Creamery, like honey lavender, black licorice pear, and summer corn, based on what local growers and producers offer at various times of the year.
Did You Know?
Santa Cruz County’s rich sandy soil combined with warm sunny days and cool foggy nights create one of the most distinctive geographical areas in California for fruits and vegetables.
Farmer’s markets are including outreach and educational programs so shoppers can learn more about where products come from, and how best to utilize what is in season. Markets offer on-site seminars on pickling, canning, gardening, and more.
Café Rio in Aptos – besides serving some of the freshest seafood in town – is exactly 50 steps from Rio Del Mar State Beach.
In the 1800s, freight yards in Watsonville moved tons of strawberries to San Francisco by train on a daily basis, while locally-grown apples were sold nationally and internationally.
When UC Santa Cruz first opened in the mid-1960s, master gardener Alan Chadwick created what grew to become the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems on campus. The Center works to develop environmentally and socially sound methods to produce and distribute crops.