Aptos Food Guide: 10 Must-Eat Restaurants & Street Food Stalls in Aptos

April 15, 2018 Terina Blouin

Combining the redwoods and the sea into one idyllic setting, Aptos is a quaint town that serves as home to the forested Nisene Marks State Park, perfect for mountain biking and hiking. Historic Aptos Village features antique shops, restaurants and boutiques. For the perfect spot to picnic, barbecue, or take a seaside stroll, head to Seacliff State beach and walk to the end of the pier to see the S.S. Palo Alto, an experimental concrete vessel known as “the cement ship”.
Things to do in Aptos

1. Cafe Sparrow

8042 Soquel Dr Ste A, Aptos, CA 95003-4085 Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol French, American, Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options, Vegan Options Lunch, Dinner, Brunch +1 831-688-6238
Excellent
68%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 221 reviews

Cafe Sparrow

Reviewed By Patricia092900 - Scotts Valley, California

We went to Cafe Sparrow after many years and were not disappointed. The menu offers a wide range of seafood and meats from filets, rack of lamb to pork-chops and venison.
With a French twist in regards to flavorful sauces and varying spices Cafe Sparrow offers interesting dishes. We had venison and filet and both were cooked to perfection.
The service was attentive and prompt.
The setting is romantic and does not feel crowded. A great place for a romantic dinner.

2. Marianne's Ice Cream

218 State Park Dr, Aptos, CA 95003-4324 Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Wheelchair Accessible American +1 831-713-4746
Excellent
74%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 82 reviews

Marianne's Ice Cream

Reviewed By Kerry D - San Francisco, California

Okay, the beach was great, the golf was good, the weather was fine but the Ice Cream at Marinanne's was Off The Charts! How good? We went three times - to try a couple of flavors each time. CASH only and so worth it.
Pumpkin? Out of this world. Salted Carmel? The Best. My fav part of our vacation...kind of...

3. Gayle's Bakery & Rosticceria

504 Bay Ave, Capitola, CA 95010-2783 Takeout, Seating, Parking Available, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible American, Cafe, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Brunch +1 831-462-1200
Excellent
71%
Good
24%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 510 reviews

Gayle's Bakery & Rosticceria

Reviewed By lizwilliamsdesign - San Jose, California

Have been staying in Aptos and heard about Gayle's through friends. Definitely put Gayle's on your list of places to visit - you can eat in the restaurant on site or you can take food away. I've visited a few times now, and just grabbed some of their entrees to go where I warmed them up at home. Their packaged quiches, Bolognese Lasagna, and salads and desserts are so delicious and flavorful that we are now addicted to Gayles! We bought a chicken salad croissant sandwich that was the best we've ever eaten!! The packaged items in their fridges are equally divine. There is always limited parking and a bit of a wait for your turn but it is organized chaos and worth the wait. I highly recommend a visit here to eat, pick up a picnic lunch, or grab your dinner to warm up for later, followed by a delectable dessert. One stop shop!

4. Shadowbrook

1750 Wharf Rd, Capitola, CA 95010-2837 Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Private Dining, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar American, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, Late Night SGD 39 - SGD 39 +1 831-475-1511
Excellent
65%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
1%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 828 reviews

Shadowbrook

Reviewed By timteresa0 - Santa Cruz, California

We came here for their appetizer specials. They were really good, but it cost us more than one of their winter dinner specials. The appetizers are buy one get the less expensive on free. So basically, it's not the same priced one that's free. I woukd have gotten all the same priced items. I think next time I'll go and get A regular dinner. The atmosphere and service was superb, so it was worth every penny. The charm of this place is like no other in Santa Cruz.

5. Pacific Coffee Roasting Company

7554 Soquel Dr, Aptos, CA 95003-3820 Takeout, Seating, Wheelchair Accessible Cafe Breakfast, Dinner SGD 26 +1 831-685-2529
Excellent
55%
Good
38%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 26 reviews

Pacific Coffee Roasting Company

Reviewed By Richard D - Rio del Mar, California

This a CLEAN and TASTY place for a coffee and a snack.

Been here 20 + years. Always a gaggle of folks sitting around two or three tables chatting away harmlessly.

BIG bags of coffee beans meet you as you enter. They do all of their own grinding on premises.

Don't overlook the GELATO! Not what you might expect. The grandson LOVES it. (Me too.)

Pacific Coffee Roasting Company knocks the competition on its ear. It is a cut above.

6. Aptos Street BBQ

8059 Aptos St, Aptos, CA 95003-3986 Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol American, Bar, Barbecue, Pub, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner +1 831-662-1721
Excellent
56%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
2%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 192 reviews

Aptos Street BBQ

Http://www.aptosstbbq.com/

Reviewed By Jfdbuflop - United Kingdom

I get the idea and what they are aiming at but the actual reality was somewhat disappointing. Extremely slow, small portions, tasteless and to cap it all the band made it impossible to talk. Couldn’t hear a word. Maybe a one off bad night but for me I won’t try again.

7. Pizza My Heart

209 Esplanade, Ste A, Capitola, CA 95010-3380 Takeout, Reservations, Wheelchair Accessible Pizza, Fast Food, Vegetarian Friendly Lunch, Dinner SGD 26 +1 831-475-5714
Excellent
61%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 179 reviews

Pizza My Heart

Reviewed By Rod B - San Jose, California

Pizza My Heart is located right next to the beach in Downtown Capitola Village, so very easy access for quick, hot, and flavor-able food. Large slice's of Pizza, as well as the whole pizza if desired. They also have a special deal of a slice of Pizza and T-Shirt for $6. This is a walk up pizza place, so you have to either go back to the beach or sit on one of the benches overlooking the beach, they also have boxes to go as well.

8. Norma Jean's Coffee & Tea

8043 Soquel Dr, Aptos, CA 95003-3928 Takeout, Seating, Wheelchair Accessible Cafe Breakfast, Brunch +1 831-685-1236
Excellent
80%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 20 reviews

Reviewed By Richard D - Rio del Mar, California

Norma Jean's is not as fast as Starbuck's; stop and catch your breath. N.J's is not offering the same thing as every other Starbuck's around the world; try something different. Right next to the Bayview Hotel, it's just sweet; what else can I say?

9. Au Midi Restaurant & Bistrot

7960 Soquel Dr, Ste E, Aptos, CA 95003-3995 Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff, Serves Alcohol, Wheelchair Accessible French, European, Gluten Free Options Dinner, Lunch SGD 41 - SGD 66 +1 831-685-2600
Excellent
73%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 98 reviews

Au Midi Restaurant & Bistrot

Reviewed By Brian F - Las Vegas, Nevada, United States

Quiet and delicious. Surprisingly quiet on weeknights and delicious as ever. We find the quality of food and serving size to be exceptional. The value is in the flavors, service, presentation and selections. Our dinner bill with bottle of wine, two entrees and dessert was only $130 - this is unheard of for the quality.

10. Paradise Beach Grille

215 Esplanade, Capitola, CA 95010-3225 Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Takeout, Television, Highchairs Available American, Bar, Seafood, Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner, Late Night SGD 39 - SGD 39 +1 831-476-4900
Excellent
53%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
2%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 328 reviews

Paradise Beach Grille

Located on the water in Capitola Village, Paradise Beach Grille is the perfect place to enjoy lunch with a view or to finish a perfect day on the beach. We feature a contemporary menu with a Pacific Rim flare. Enjoy our famous Coconut Prawns appetizer, followed by either a Fresh From Hawaii seafood entree, or a Prime Natural cut of Beef. Choose from our extensive wine list, featuring many local Santa Cruz Mountain wineries, or choose from one of our many beers on tap. Whatever your pleasure, you are welcome with us in Paradise!

Reviewed By Amygdala1234

We stopped in to Capitola for lunch and a seaside stroll. Paradise Beach Grille was superb. A diverse menu of fresh food perfect for the whole family. From the Ahi, avocado, and mango stack and coconut prawns to their burgers, our meal was delicious. Service was also outstanding.

When the weather permits, dining on their open-air deck overlooking the water likely adds another reason to visit, although we elected to stay inside.

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