10 Of The Best Places To Eat In Santa Cruz, California

10 Of The Best Places To Eat In Santa Cruz, California

Santa Cruz, California is located right on the beach. This place of all places to get any seafood dish you want or need. Some of the best seafood in California comes from Santa Cruz and most of the restaurants are seafood based restaurants. However, there are a few other great restaurants that might make your travel experience.

1. Verve Coffee: for a hot cuppa and a chat

Verve Coffee
Source: Photo by Flickr user Shannon McGee used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Downtown Santa Cruz is a gem and, once discovered, it can’t be replaced. The coffee at Verve Coffee is marvelous – the building is extraordinary and relaxing.

The baristas are so nice and this is a great place to work, talk, relax, or even just sit down and meet other nearby coffee drinkers. Something about Verve Coffee makes the ordinary coffee seem…wonderful.

Verve Coffee

Address: 1540 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Contact: +1 831 600 7784

Website: Verve Coffee

2. Pizza My Heart: a mouthwatering experience

Dewey Weber Order Sheet, 1963
Source: Photo by Flickr user Tyler Karaszewski used under CC BY 2.0

If you want pizza by the slice, look no further than here. This place is loved for its mouthwatering pizza for an inexpensive price. The slices resemble that of Chicago style pizza, but in California!

With the view of the beach nearby, a huge pizza to fill your stomach, and perfect weather, what more could you ask for? Pizza My Heart really does have a “Pizza My Heart” in sunny Santa Cruz, California.

Pizza My Heart

Address: 116 Pacific Ave Ste B, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Contact: +1 831 426 2511

Website: Pizza My Heart

3. Kianti's Pizza and Pasta Bar: an inexpensive bite

At the inexpensive rate of 11-30 USD, Kianti’s Pizza and Pasta Bar has an endless amount of pizza and pasta just for everyone. This is a family oriented place - you can take anyone and everyone here. This restaurant is something to try if you want to go to a simple restaurant that is not overly fancy or overly sophisticated.

Pizza, Italian and a wine bar are all a part of this wonderful eating establishment - a wine bar for the moms and dads out there and pizza for the kids. There is nothing this place doesn’t have!

Kianti's Pizza and Pasta Bar

Address: 1100 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 9560

Contact: +1 831 469 4400

Website: Kianti’s Pizza and Pasta Bar

4. Caffe Pergolesi is a little bit of everything you need

Posted by The Perg - Caffe Pergolesi Coffeehouse on Friday, 18 February 2011

Update: Caffe Pergolesi is now permanently closed.

Open all day, every day from 7 am to 11 pm, Caffe Pergolesi is not only a cafe but as the oldest coffee shop in Santa Cruz, an institution. They also sell beer, wine, spirits, and tea – this place has been around a long time so don’t let the negative reviews fool you, this is the place to be.

Set in a beautiful turn of the century, Victorian house, Caffee Pergolesi is inexpensive and they have great vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free meals for everyone. So if you are going to Santa Cruz anytime soon – check this wonderful place out. They are delicious!

Caffe Pergolesi

Address: 418 Cedar St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Opening Hours: 7am - 11pm

Contact: +1 831 426 1775

Website: Caffe Pergolesi

5. The Picnic Basket: for a morning sandwich by the beach

Breakfast burrito “bowl” to go. 😍 . . . . #thepicnicbasket #santacruz

Posted by The Picnic Basket on Saturday, October 3, 2020

The Picnic Basket is only open from 7am - 4pm, and is the perfect place to sit down by the beach, people watch and eat a good meal. Make sure you get here early because certain items do sell out quickly. This is a popular place in Santa Cruz and you won’t want to miss out on what greatness it can add to your morning.

The Picnic Basket

Address: 125 Beach St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060-5412

Opening Hours: 7am - 4pm.

Contact: +1 831 427 9946

Website: The Picnic Basket

6. Tacos Moreno: a place for tacos and more

This is a place for Mexican food and is amazing, they sell chile verde, tacos, beans and rice, quesadillas and so much more.

One of the better Mexican places to check out in Santa Cruz, their burritos and al pastor get rave reviews. It is also inexpensive and worth the price. You’ll be wanting to order seconds because it’s so delicious!

Tacos Moreno

Address: 1053 Water St, Santa Cruz, CA 95062

Contact: +1 831 429 6095

7. Santa Cruz Mountain Brewery

Posted by Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing on Friday, 22 July 2016

This lovely gem of a place is something you do not want to skip out on. The vibe is relaxing and it’s a great place to just hang out and eat in. You do not need to worry about how to dress, how to act, or how to be – this is the place for unpretentious good times. The beer is great, the food is great and above all – the weather in Santa Cruz is always wonderful.

No need to look for another brewery, this is the one you need to hang out at. The locals are nice and easy to talk to. Fun on the weekends or weekdays, and like any other brewery – you can beer sample – and who doesn’t love beer sampling! The tasting room is open 11:30am - 10pm daily and they even brew root beer and kombucha!

Santa Cruz Mountain Brewery

Address: 402 Ingalls St Ste 27, Santa Cruz, CA 95060-5869

Contact: +1 831 425 4900

Website: Santa Cruz Mountain Brewery

8. Betty Burgers: change the way you think about burgers

The is probably the most famous burger join in Santa Cruz, California. Betty Burgers will make your mouth water and your palate crave more. This can be described as a regular American fast food joint, but it is so much more.

The prices are inexpensive and the onion rings are to die for! They are open all day, every day and you won’t regret a second helping at this place. It is relaxed and non-formal.

A great place to relax and eat a nice, huge, burger for dinner and hang out by the beach afterward.

Betty Burgers

Address: 505 Seabright Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95062-3748

Contact: +1 831 423 8190

Website: Betty Burgers

9. Laili Restaurant

Fancy a little Mediterranean cuisine with a little touch of the Silk Road mixed in? Then this highly-rated restaurant - with its selection of Mediterranean and Afghan infused dishes - is an excellent option in downtown Santa Cruz. Its gastronomic delights enchanted hundreds of past visitors, who loved its mix of seafood, lamb and vegetarian options, as well as the outdoor garden patio - which is located away from the bustle of the local streets and makes for a great spot to relax with good company on balmy summer nights. Indeed, those who opt for the choice of dining al fresco will likely not be disappointed, with a number of previous visitors hailing it the best patio in town.

Laili Restaurant

Address: 101 B. Cooper Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Contact: +1 831-423-4545

Website: Laili Restaurant

10. Zachary's: For tasty brunch in a downtown landmark

after breakfast
Source: Photo by Flickr user Robert Couse-Baker used under CC BY 2.0

A real favourite that cuts across all walks of life, Zachary’s is something of a food lovers paradise for everyone from locals and visitors to students. Its popular mix of breakfast, lunch and brunch options have made it a firm favourite for more than three decades. And with its mix of unique home-made fries, mouth-watering burgers and enticing specials - such as Mike’s Mess sourdough pancakes - you’ll likely soon join the legion of converts who swear by a morning meal at this popular downtown Santa Cruz diner.


Address: 819 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Contact: +1 831-427-0646

Website: Zachary’s

What's next?

View of city during Sunset
Source: Pexels

If you are traveling to Santa Cruz, California, anytime soon look no further than these amazing food places. Some of the best of the best are on this list and you won’t regret any of these for a second. If you are up for the challenge, give Betty Burgers a call!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our privacy policy for more information on how we use your data

Hiking, traveling, and writing are what I love!

 Want to contribute as a Local Expert?
Explore Santa Cruz
Good things are meant to be shared!