Pay $25 for 3 courses during Santa Cruz Restaurant Week at Gabriella Cafe

Vanilla bean panna cotta at Gabriella Cafe during 2012 Santa Cruz Restaurant Week

Santa Cruz restaurant Gabriella Cafe is participating in Santa Cruz Restaurant Week 2012, offering many delicious choices in its prix fixe $25 three-course menu.

It’s the fourth annual Santa Cruz Restaurant Week, which began Wednesday and lasts until Oct 10. Local restaurants including downtown Santa Cruz’s Gabriella Café, with first-rate cuisine created by Adrian Cruz, are offering special menus for eight nights. For more details, read my SC Restaurant Week event preview (includes list of participating restaurants).

I dined at Gabriella on Thursday night, and enjoyed it tremendously. For the first course I recommend the salad with roasted beets, chèvre, toasted pistachios, and vinaigrette. The creaminess of the delicious cheese juxtaposed perfectly with the crunchy nuts and beautiful beets. For a second course I selected beef tenders with dry farm tomato emulsion and roast fingerling potatoes. This dish was definitely satisfying, but when I had a bite of my dining companion’s tagliatelle—with vegetables including eggplant plus fresh mozzarella—I wanted to steal her bowl of food; it was that good. For dessert we shared the two available selections, chocolate espresso torte and vanilla bean panna cotta. Both were wonderful, the torte offering richness and decadence and the panna cotta, with specks of real vanilla beans, bringing a refreshing ending including a delicate balance of flavors.

Click here for SC Restaurant Week web site.

Note that menus on the site are not necessarily exactly what you’ll find when you get to the restaurant. For example, Gabriella’s Restaurant Week online menu mentions certain vegetables and cheese in the pasta sauce but upon arrival at the restaurant, there were a few changes (understandable for restaurants like Gabriella that seek out the freshest produce from farms and farmers markets).

Gabriella Cafe: 910 Cedar Street, Santa Cruz 95060, make reservations at (831) 457-1677.

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