Famed for its twenty-nine miles of beaches, Santa Cruz lures visitors with surf, sun, and a cheery, Coney Island-esque beach boardwalk. Yet, come mealtime, you aren’t limited to fried calamari and corn dogs. In recent years, Santa Cruz has upped its food and drink game while still maintaining its soulful surf and outdoor culture. Translation: you can enjoy gourmet Neapolitan pizzas in board shorts, and sip craft cocktails in flip-flops.
The region is engulfed by farmland — nearby Watsonville was the hub of frozen food packaging for much of the 20th century — and fresh, organic produce fills local menus. Plus, a recent explosion of craft breweries makes it one of the most exciting (if often underrated) beer destinations in California. You’ll even find local craft brews sitting next to cotton candy at the beach boardwalk.
The next time you head to the birthplace of mainland surfing, here’s where to get stoked on the latest in Santa Cruz’s contemporary dining scene.
Heading north instead? Here’s Eater SF’s guide to dining along the coast in Marina and Sonoma counties.Read More