Tag Archives: Aquarius

Santa Cruz Restaurant Week Oct. 2-9 offers $25 3-course dinners

Food at Severino's in Aptos, one of more than 30 participants in Santa Cruz Restaurant Week 2013. Photo courtesy of SCRW Facebook page

Food at Severino’s in Aptos, one of more than 30 participants in Santa Cruz Restaurant Week 2013. Photo courtesy of SCRW Facebook page

Foodie alert: it’s time for the fifth annual Santa Cruz Restaurant Week where more than 30 local restaurants – from Aptos, Soquel and Capitola to Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley, Ben Lomond, and Felton – serve three-course gourmet dinners for only $25. And you can win a free Santa Cruz Restaurant Week dinner through my web site! Read end of article for details.
Special menus are offered Oct. 2-9, 2013,  and typically include three options for each course: appetizer, entrée, and dessert. Customers choose one selection from each course.

The 2012 Restaurant Week was very popular and a lot of fun for those of us who participated as customers! Restaurant reservations are recommended but not required.
I will post a few menus and at least one review in the next few days.

Restaurants that are participating, in alphabetical order:
• Aquarius at the Dream Inn
• Booka
• Café Rio
• Center Street Grill
• Chocolate
• The Crow’s Nest
• El Palomar
• Gabriella Café
• Hindquarter Bar & Grill
• Hoffman’s Bistro & Patisserie
• Hula’s Island Grill
• Ideal Bar & Grill
• Johnny’s Harborside
• La Posta
• Laili
• Linwood’s at Chaminade Resort
• Louie’s Cajun Kitchen & Bourbon Bar
• Main Street Garden & Café
• Michael’s on Main
• Oak Tree Ristorante
• Oswald
• Pearl of the Ocean
• Red Restaurant & Bar
• Ristorante Italiano
• Sanderlings at Seascape Resort
• Severino’s Bar & Grill
• Soif
• Stonehouse Bar & Grill at the Hilton Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley
• Süda
• The Point Chophouse & Lounge
• Tyrolean Inn & Restaurant
• Zelda’s On The Beach
• 515 Kitchen & Cocktails
For more information, visit the event web site.

This contest is open to readers of examiner.com and santacruzfoodie.com, but employees of Examiner.com are not eligible to enter.
PRIZE – One winner receives two $25 gift certificates for dinner at Center Street Grill during Santa Cruz Restaurant Week 2013. To enter, email your name to tfatemiwalker@yahoo.com and include the words “Santa Cruz Restaurant Week.”
Or post a comment to this article on my Facebook page and include “Santa Cruz Restaurant Week.”

Either way, the entry deadline is Thurs. Oct. 3 at 9 a.m. I will pull a name from all entries and notify the winner by email.

Center Street Grill’s 2013 Restaurant Week menu includes entrée choices of Grilled Salmon Puttanesca with capers, tomatoes, kalamata olives, mashed potatoes, and green beans, Seafood Fettucine with crab, shrimp, smoked salmon, mushrooms, and lemon cream sauce, and Grilled Pork Loin Chop with blue cheese & peaches, mashed potatoes, and asparagus.
On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Last-minute Father’s Day restaurants in Santa Cruz and Los Gatos

Lamb meatballs at Dio Deka in Los Gatos

Lamb meatballs at Dio Deka in Los Gatos

Father’s Day is Sunday – some restaurants in the Santa Cruz and Los Gatos areas are fully booked, especially since it’s also graduation weekend at UCSC – but others are still available. Below are a few that offer reservations via OpenTable.com.

A couple places worth mentioning that don’t take online reservations (you need to call for availability) are Bittersweet Bistro in Aptos and Dio Deka in Los Gatos. Bittersweet (831-662-9799) is serving Father’s Day dinner specials including several $15 steaks such as Top Sirloin with gorgonzola cabernet demi-glace, crispy onion rings, garlic mashed potatoes, and roasted asparagus, or New York Steak with cabernet demi-glace, garlic mashed potatoes, and sauteed garlic spinach. Dio Deka (408-354-7700) is serving special Father’s Day brunch items including Dio Deka Steak & Eggs with grilled prime filet mignon, poached eggs and sauce béarnaise; Keftethakia lamb meatballs, blistered grapes, Kalamansi yogurt and a light herb-broth; and Zambonopita – a crispy puff-pastry stuffed with Virginia smoked ham, green onion, feta, Kasseri and ricotta cheeses. Dio Deka is also open for regular dinner service that evening.


As of 10:30 p.m. on Friday, June 14, the following restaurants (listed alphabetically) still had selected Father’s Day brunch reservations available. Call or make reservations through OpenTable.com:

  • Aquarius (831) 460-5012
  • Café Mare (831) 458-1212
  • Chocolate the Restaurant (831) 427-9900
  • El Palomar (831) 425-7575
  • Hoffman’s Bistro (831) 420-0135
  • Lago Di Como (831) 454-8257
  • Laili (831) 423-4545
  • Main St. Garden & Café (831) 477-9265
  • Oak Tree Ristorante (831) 335-5551
  • Solaire Restaurant & Bar (831) 600-4545


As of 10:30 p.m. on Friday, June 14, the following restaurants still had selected Father’s Day dinner reservations available.

Eight out of the 10 restaurants listed above in “Brunch” are ALSO available for selected dinner reservations (El Palomar and Main St. are not). In addition, the four below are available for dinner. Please call restaurant directly or make reservations through OpenTable.com:

  • Johnny’s Harborside (831) 479-3430
  • la Posta (831) 457-2782
  • Michael’s on Main (831) 479-9777
  • Soif Wine Bar & Restaurant (831) 423-2020

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.



Local restaurants join forces for Soupline to benefit Santa Cruz Homeless Services Center

Soupline 2010 at the Cocoanut Grove

Soupline 2010 at the Cocoanut Grove

Eat a variety of delicious soup from more than 30 local restaurants on Thursday April 25, and you will benefit Santa Cruz’s Homeless Services Center.

The 14th Annual Soupline Supper and Benefit Auction is at the Cocoanut Grove at the Santa Cruz boardwalk, Thursday April 25, 2013 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. For $25 per person or $50 per family, you receive soup, bread, and dessert. The event is set up with different booths where chefs serve their homemade soup, so you can choose which ones to sample. Public officials, top executives, and other community leaders serve as “Celebrity Ladlers.” There are lots of tables set up in the dining room where attendees can relax and enjoy their soup and other goodies. Buy tickets and read more information online at the special Soupline event site.

More than 30 participating restaurants in this year’s Soupline include Sawasdee, La Posta, Manuel’s, The Buttery, Soif, Charlie Hong Kong, Walnut Ave Café, Zameen, India Joze, Crow’s Nest, Shadowbrook, and Aquarius. See full restaurant list.

The event also includes live music by local jazz duo NoNette, and a silent auction. Auction items include restaurant and spa gift certificates (such as Café Cruz, Linda’s Seabreeze Café, and Well Within), wine, performance tickets such as the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, and passes to places like Disneyland.

The Homeless Services Center is a community-supported non-profit organization dedicated to the coordinated provision of services for homeless persons. The goal of the Homeless Services Center is to provide both emergency and transitional services to homeless individuals that will enable clients to achieve self-sufficiency.

If you’re on Twitter, please follow me @santacruzfoodie.

More Valentine’s Day restaurants in Santa Cruz area and San Jose

One example of the food at Santana Row's LB Steak

One example of the food at Santana Row’s LB Steak

If you haven’t made your reservations for a special Valentine’s Day meal yet, I suggest you call immediately—and here are some more Santa Cruz area and San Jose restaurants to consider. Yesterday I posted an article on menus for Valentine’s 2013 (La Posta, Café Sparrow, Gabriella Café and Lark Creek Blue) if you need more options. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Santa Cruz & Soquel restaurant information


From Thurs. Feb. 14 through Sat. Feb. 16, the restaurant is serving a three-course prix fixe dinner for $48. Its regular menu will also be available; call (831) 460-5012 for reservations. Appetizer choices include lobster bisque with saffron, cream, and sherry. Entrée choices include Hawaiian ono with Bloomsdale spinach, fried plantains, and coconut-curry sauce, or grilled Colorado lamb loin with eggplant puree, baby fennel, oven roasted tomatoes, and marinated feta cheese. Desserts include cardamom crème brulee.

Location: 175 West Cliff (at the Santa Cruz Dream Inn), Santa Cruz

Johnny’s Harborside

This oceanfront restaurant is serving a four-course prix fixe dinner for $48; call (831) 479-3430 for reservations. Choices include starters such as Saffron Baby Clam Chowder or Warm Spinach Salad, appetizers such as Baked Oysters Rockefeller Crostini, entrees including Grilled Steelhead with potato crab croquette, braised kale, citrus crab crème, and Meyer lemon marmalade or Braised Boneless Beef Short Ribs with horseradish mashed potatoes, red wine demi glace, and gorgonzola butter, and desserts such as white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake or passion fruit panna cotta with vanilla mango compote.

Location: 493 Lake Ave, Santa Cruz

Michael’s on Main

The Soquel restaurant is offering a four-course prix fixe dinner for $45 per person; seatings are at 5:30, 7:00, and 8:30 p.m. Call (831) 479-9777 for reservations. Appetizer choices include baked oysters with spinach and bacon or steamed half artichoke stuffed with creamy crab dip. Main course options include pine nut crusted salmon topped with mint hollandaise or petite filet in pomegranate sauce.

Location: 2591 Main St, Soquel


This downtown Santa Cruz restaurant is serving a three-course prix fixe dinner for $55; call (831) 423-7427 for reservations and more information.

Location: 121 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz

As of Saturday evening Feb. 9, a quick glance at Open Table revealed that the following Santa Cruz, Aptos and Felton restaurants still had availability for dinner in the 7-8 p.m. range on Valentine’s Day:

· Solaire at Hotel Paradox

· Café Mare

· El Palomar

· Hoffman’s

· Hollins House

· Oak Tree Ristorante

· Sanderlings

San Jose restaurant menus


LB Steak

LB Steak San Jose is serving its regular lunch menu and a limited a la carte dinner menu, plus a $75 4-course prix fixe dinner menu with entrée choices of “Love Me Tender” with prime beef tenderloin, goat cheese soufflé, brandy and tarragon glace de viande; “Strip Tease” with a slow roasted New York strip loin, polenta with robiola cheese, wild mushroom fricassee; or “Abrazos y Besos” with seared scallops, celery root gratin, melted leeks, and caviar beurre blanc. All female customers will receive a complimentary rose and the restaurant will be decorated with roses. Call (408) 244-1180 for reservations.

Location: 334 Santana Row, Suite 1000, San Jose

Left Bank

The restaurant is serving its the regular lunch menu and a limited regular a la carte dinner menu, plus a $45 three-course prix fixe dinner menu with entrée choices of Butter Poached Maine Lobster Tail with sweet potato orzo, roasted butternut squash, Brussels sprout petals and fleur de sel truffle butter or Pan Roasted Filet Mignon with goat cheese and Yukon Gold potato purée, roasted baby vegetables and Béarnaise sauce (add a lobster tail for an additional $15). Call (408) 984-3500 for reservations.

Location: 377 Santana Row, Suite 1100, San Jose

Santa Cruz and San Jose restaurants open on New Year’s Eve, Part 1 of 2

Chef Ross McKee creates delicious food at Solaire in Santa Cruz

It’s the countdown to 2013 and the countdown to New Year’s Eve; do you have your restaurant reservations yet for Santa Cruz or San Jose? Here are details and menu highlights for a variety of venues; I’ll publish a few more tomorrow.

Santa Cruz Restaurants


Located at the Santa Cruz Dream Inn overlooking the Wharf, Aquarius is serving two meals on New Year’s Eve: brunch (7am-3pm) and dinner (5:30-10 p.m.). Also, a bar menu will be served from 11:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and the lounge is open for cocktails until 12:30 a.m. Aquarius has two dinner seatings for New Year’s Eve, one starting at 5 – 6 :30 p.m. and one starting at 9 p.m. First seating is $65 for three courses; second is $85 for four courses. The second seating includes a live DJ and vocalist Tammi Brown. Food selections include two mushroom veloute, slow poached lobster, grilled Colorado lamb loin, and chocolate cake with toasted pistachios, caramel sauce, and raspberries. Call 460-5012 for reservations or more information.

175 West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz


This restaurant is offering a special three-course prixe fixe menu for New Year’s Eve; the cost is $55. Appetizer choices include mushroom tart with arugula and balsamic reduction, and Dungeness crab with avocado and greens. Entrée choices include seafood stew with fennel, croutons and aioli, and roasted chicken with gnocchi and broccolini. Dessert selections include persimmon pudding with whipped cream, and chocolate souffle. Call (831) 423-7427 for reservations.

121 Soquel Avenue, Santa Cruz


Johnny’s Harborside

On New Year’s Eve, Johnny’s is serving a prix fixe, three-course dinner for $38 that includes a glass of champagne. Call 479-3430 for reservations; the first seating is 5 p.m. and the last is 9:30 p.m. Customers choose one selection from each course. Appetizer options include fresh local crab bisque and baby spinach & goat cheese salad with medjool dates and roasted beets. Entrée choices include crab-stuffed petrale sole and pepper-crusted flatiron steak. Dessert selections include a trio of mousse parfaits. You can also order a la carte items if you sit at the bar. On New Year’s Eve during the day, the restaurant is offering its regular menu from 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. On New Year’s Day, Johnny’s opens at 10 a.m. for brunch which is served until 2, followed by regular dinner service which ends at 9 p.m.

493 Lake Ave, Santa Cruz


The restaurant is open on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. 12/31: Hindquarter is open at 11:30 a.m. for lunch, and from 5 p.m. onward for dinner serving the regular menu plus holiday specials. 1/1: Closed at lunch. The dining room is open at 5:30 p.m. serving the regular menu. Call (831) 426-7770 for reservations.

303 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz

Solaire at Hotel Paradox

On New Year’s Eve Solaire is open from 4 p.m. – 1 a.m. A four-course tasting menu ($75) is available for dinner; reservations start at 8 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. and the table is then yours for the evening. The $75 per person includes party favors, live entertainment, dancing, and a champagne toast at midnight. On New Year’s Day Solaire is serving brunch from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. The restaurant will have an appetizer, salad, and dessert buffet with a la carte entrée selections plus unlimited sparkling wine or mimosas. Appetizers include fruit, cheese, antipasto, and vegetable crudite. Entrée choices include eggs benedict made with Glaum eggs (vegetarian and non-vegetarian versions are available), the Paradox burger (includes brioche bun and house ground beef), mussels with pernod, white wine, leeks, fennel, butter and herbs. Brunch is $28 for adults and $14 for kids ages 3-12. For reservations call (831) 600-4545.

611 Ocean St, Santa Cruz

San Jose Restaurants


LB Steak

The Santana Row restaurant is open on New Year’s Eve. It’s offering limited a la carte choices from its regular menu, plus a special $71.50 prix fixe four-course dinner (the prix fixe selections are also available a la carte). First course choices include trio of seafood crudo (yuzu and kampachi tartare, scallop ceviche, redfish escabeche) and prime beef tenderloin tartare. Second course choices include black truffle gnocchi, and third course choices include chicory-crusted loin of venison. Dessert selections include eggnog crème brulee with butter rum cookies. The last seating is at 11 p.m. Call (408) 244-1180 for reservations.

334 Santana Row, Suite 1000, San Jose


Amber India

Interested in Indian food to ring in the New Year? Amber India on Santana Row is providing a live band to accompany its always-delectable Indian cuisine. Dinner will include live cooking stations and wonderful tandoori kebabs. Call (408) 248-5400 for reservations.

377 Santana Row, Suite 1140, San Jose

Santa Cruz restaurants open on Christmas, and 12 Days of Xmas Giveaway Day 10: Hindquarter

Seared salmon with roasted cauliflower and brussels sprouts, yellow tomato purée at Aquarius, which is open both Xmas Eve and Xmas Day

It’s Day 10 of Santa Cruz Restaurant Examiner/Santa Cruz Foodie’s “12 Days of Christmas Giveaway.” Today’s prize is a $50 gift card from the Hindquarter Bar & Grille. See end of article for how to enter.

Hindquarter and many other restaurants in the area are serving special holiday meals on Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day, while some restaurants are closed. Here are some highlights.

Hindquarter: Open on Christmas Eve & Christmas Day. 12/24: Dining room closed at lunch, but bar is open at 11:30 a.m. for lunches, appetizers, etc. The dining room is open from 5 – 9:30 p.m. serving the regular menu plus holiday specials. 12/25: Closed at lunch. The dining room is open from 2 – 8 p.m. serving the regular menu plus holiday specials. Call (831) 426-7770 for reservations.

Aquarius is open on Christmas Eve (regular menu) and Christmas Day. On 12/25, there is a $55 4-course menu from 12:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. See web site for menu details. There is also a special kids’ menu available. Call (831) 460-5012 for reservations.

Michael’s on Main: Open on Christmas Eve. The bar opens at 2 p.m., and the dining room is open from 3 – 8 p.m. with a special set menu. Call (831) 479-9777 for reservations. Closed on Christmas Day.

Hoffman’s: Open on Christmas Eve, serving the regular menu plus an optional 3-course prix fixe menu for $38. See web site for menu; call (831) 420-0135 for reservations. Closed on Christmas Day. Hoffman’s is running a pie promotion until 12/31 (apple, marionberry, pumpkin, and pecan): buy one pie, get half off the second one. Normal price is $14; special price is $21 for 2.

Bittersweet Bistro: Restaurant open on Christmas Eve featuring regular menu plus nightly specials with first seating at 4 p.m. and last seating at 8 p.m. Call (831) 662-9799 for reservations. Café open 8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Both café and restaurant closed on Christmas Day.


Closed for the holidays:




Reminder — during the entire “12 Days of Christmas” promotion, each person can only win one prize.

DAY TEN PRIZE – The winner will receive a $50 gift certificate from Hindquarter in Santa Cruz.

To enter, email your name to tfatemiwalker@yahoo.com and include the word “Hindquarter.”

Or post a comment to this article on my Facebook page, and include the word “Hindquarter.”

Either way, the entry deadline is Sat. Dec. 22 at 5 p.m.

The drawing will take place that evening; the winner will be notified via email.


Santa Cruz & San Jose restaurants for Thanksgiving 2012, Part 2

Salmon entree at Lark Creek Blue in San Jose



Here are several Santa Cruz and San Jose restaurants – including Santana Row’s Lark Creek Blue – open on Thanksgiving, so you can make your reservations for dining out on Thursday, Nov. 22 if you aren’t in the cooking mood.


For a few other choices, see:

Santa Cruz Restaurants for Thanksgiving

Aquarius, open from 12:30 – 8:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, is offering a $45 prix fixe three-course menu for adults, and a special kids’ meal for $15. A local jazz trio will perform from 2:30 – 6:30 p.m. Appetizer choices include Pumpkin Panzanella with roasted pumpkin, apple, arugula, brioche, pepitas, and apple cider vinaigrette and Vanilla Poached Gulf Prawns with baby fennel, mushrooms, pancetta, and truffle cream. Entrée choices include Traditional Turkey Plate with chestnut and sage stuffing, potato puree, baby vegetables, rosemary gravy, and cranberry sauce, and Sweet Potato Gnocchi with lacinato kale, brown butter, mushrooms, and pecorino cheese. Desserts include Pumpkin Pie with cinnamon whipped cream and Maple Spice Cake with sweet mascarpone, pomegranate seeds, and orange-ginger syrup.

175 West Cliff (at the Santa Cruz Dream Inn), Santa Cruz, (831) 460-5012

Ideal Bar & Grill has a few options including Traditional Turkey Dinner ($18.95 captain’s portion, $14.95 adults, $9 kids): herb-roasted sliced turkey served with homemade gravy, maple-roasted yams, green beans and carrots, garlic mashed potatoes, stuffing, and orange-cranberry sauce. Another selection is Herb Crusted Prime Rib ($22.95 petite cut, $25.95 full cut) served with garlic mashed potatoes, green beans, and horseradish cream sauce.

106 Beach Street (at the Santa Cruz Wharf), (831) 423-5271

Café Gratitude is serving a free Thanksgiving feast with raw, vegan selections. The meal will be served from 12 – 3 p.m. and include a beverage, entrée, and dessert.

103 Lincoln Street, Santa Cruz, (831) 427-9583

Sanderlings has an all-day buffet; the price is $42.95 for adults, $19.95 for kids 2-12, and free for kids under 2. The buffet is open from 1:30 – 7:30 p.m. Selections include Spinach Salad with Crumbled Bleu Cheese, Glazed Pear, Caramelized Walnut, and Cranberry-Walnut Oil Dressing, Roasted Beets and Arugula Salad with Feta Cheese and Pomegranate Dressing, Cheddar -Corn Muffins with Jalapeno-Honey Butter, Domestic and Imported Cheese and Dried Fruit, Sweet Corn and Bacon Chowder with Sautéed Minced Onions, Sage Butter Roasted Turkey Breast with Apple-Sourdough Stuffing, Sorrel Seared Salmon with Large Pearl Couscous, Spinach and Cioppino Sauce, and Rosemary Roasted Prime Rib of Beef with Creamed Horseradish and Au Jus. The kids’ buffet includes turkey fingers and macaroni and cheese.

One Seascape Resort Drive (at Seascape Beach Resort), Aptos, (831) 662-7120

Michael’s on Main has dinner seatings at 3, 5, and 7 p.m. The restaurant is serving a 3-course prix fixe meal for adults ($28) and a special meal for kids 12 and under ($12). The adult dinner features choice of soup or salad, entrée choice (selections include oven-roasted turkey with sides such as garlic mashed potatoes and green beans with caramelized shallots, or Osso Bucco, or pistachio-crusted salmon), and choice of dessert (options include pumpkin cheesecake and cranberry orange bread pudding).

2591 Main Street, Soquel, (831) 479-9777

San Jose Restaurants

Lark Creek Blue on Santana Row opened on August 1, 2012 (it replaced Lark Creek Restaurant Group’s Yankee Pier which closed on July 15). For Thanksgiving, the restaurant has a special “Maine Lobster for the price of Turkey” promotion. Customers receive a 3-course prix fixe dinner, with either traditional Thanksgiving turkey plus “farmers market sides” or a pound-and-a-quarter live Maine lobster with “traditional accompaniments.” The price is $45 for adults, $22.50 for kids 10 and under (it’s half the size of the adult portion), and free for kids under 3. Lark Creek Blue will also be offering dishes from its regular menu including steak and seafood.

378 Santana Row, Suite 1100, San Jose, (408) 244-1244

The Fairmont San Jose is serving a special Champagne Harvest Buffet; seatings are from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. (every half-hour). The cost is $58 per adult and $29 per child 5-12, plus tax and 22% gratuity. Kids under 5 are free, and there will be a special kids’ buffet and entertainment. Buffet highlights: a selection of salads such as Artichoke, Oyster Mushroom and Fingerling Potato Salad with Shallot-Mustard Vinaigrette and Caesar Salad with Garlic Focaccia Croutons, hot options such as Sage Basted Roast Tom Turkey, Herb Roasted Sea Bass with Saffron Israeli Couscous, Lemon Butter Sauce, Smoked Bacon and Chicken Apple Sausage, a waffle station, an omelet station that switches to a pasta and mushroom station at 2 p.m., a carving station with prime rib and honey baked ham, and desserts including chocolate dipped strawberries and pumpkin pie. For full menu, see http://www.fsjholidays.com/.

170 South Market St, San Jose, (408) 998-3960



Santa Cruz Restaurant Week at Aquarius: $25 for 3 courses

Nicoise salad at Aquarius during a past Santa Cruz Restaurant Week

It’s the countdown to Santa Cruz Restaurant Week running Oct 5-12, with 3-course $25 meals from local restaurants including oceanfront Aquarius at the Dream Inn – menu below. Aquarius boasts fine cuisine by Chef Ross McKee; the restaurant promotes sustainable seafood via Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program.

Read my SC Restaurant Week event preview which includes a list of participating restaurants.

I will post several more menus and highlights in the next few days. Click here for SC Restaurant Week web site.

Special $25 three-course menu (beverage, tax, tip not included) for Aquarius from Oct 5-12:

First course

(Choose one)

Heirloom tomato salad with ricotta salata

Arancini di Riso with risotto, gruyere, prosciutto

Daily Inspired Soup (always vegetarian)

Second course

(Choose one)

Mostaccioli featuring olives, basil, tomato, grana padano

Wild Gulf Prawns with gnocchi, maitake mushrooms

Bistro Filet with red wine jus, roasted root vegetables, duck fat fries

Dessert course

(Choose one)

Artisanal Cheese with marcona almonds

Crème Caramel with heavy cream, caramelized sugar


Aquarius at Dream Inn: 175 W Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, make reservations at (831) 460-5012

Please follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Santa Cruz and San Jose restaurants open for Thanksgiving 2010

Yankee Pier in San Jose is open on Thanksgiving Day 2010

Although certain stores and commercials would have us believe it’s Christmastime, it’s actually almost Thanksgiving — so here are a few Santa Cruz and San Jose restaurants that are open on Thanksgiving, for your dining consideration.

Santa Cruz Restaurants

Ideal Bar & Grill Its Thanksgiving feast starts at 11am. Choose from Traditional Turkey Feast ($14.95): maple and sage roasted turkey breast served with homemade gravy, roasted yams, garlic mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, and orange-cranberry chutney or Herb Crusted Prime Rib ($21.95/14 oz., $24.95/18 oz.): slow roasted choice cut prime rib served with garlic mashed potatoes and green beans. Other selections include butternut squash soup and pumpkin pie.

106 Beach Street (at the Santa Cruz Wharf), (831) 423-5271.

Chaminade The Chaminade is serving Thanksgiving dinner from noon to 6pm. Reservations are required; call (831) 475-5600. The cost is $47.95 for adults, $16.95 for kids 6-12, and free for kids under 6. Selections include whole roast Tom turkey, stuffed roast lamb leg, prime rib au jus, pumpkin ravioli, and a large seafood display.

One Chaminade Lane, (831) 475-5600.

Bittersweet Bistro serves a Thanksgiving buffet from 12:30-6:30pm: $49.95 for adults, $19.95 for kids 6-12, and $5 for kids 5 and under. Make reservations now (831) 662-9799 and if you want an Early Turkey Discount, choose a 12:30 pm seating (Receive $10 Off per Adult). Buffet selections include Spanikopita, Beet, Lentil and Arugula Salad, Tossed Asian Salad, Maple Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, Baked Candied Yams, Teriyaki Salmon, Classic Glazed Corralitos Ham, Exotic Mushroom Carnaroli Risotto, Roasted Traditional Free Range Turkey with Pan Gravy, and a special kids’ table with Grilled Cheese, PB & J Sandwiches, and Chicken Fingers.

787 Rio Del Mar Blvd, Aptos, (831) 662-9799.

Aquarius is located in the Santa Cruz Dream Inn. The Aquarius Thanksgiving buffet will be available from 11am-9:30pm; please call (831) 460-5012 to make reservations. The cost: adults $49.95, children $19.95 – includes glass of champagne (for 21 and over), coffee, tea and soda. Buffet selections include Tomales Bay Oysters on the Half Shell, Wild Gulf Prawns with Bloody Mary cocktail sauce, Chilled Asparagus & Tarragon Aioli, Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, Sage Roasted Natural Turkey, Slow Roasted Prime Rib, King Salmon, Wild Mushroom Ravioli with Garlic Cream Sauce, Chestnut Stuffing, and Glazed Sweet Potatoes.

175 West Cliff Drive, (831) 460-5012.

Dharma’s is the place for a vegetarian Thanksgiving at your own house (restaurant is closed on Thursday so you need to pick up a day before). Dharma’s “Holiday Feast” entrée ($16.95) is breaded tofu stuffed with a wild rice medley, served with mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy, candied yams, a small side salad with honey-mustard dressing, and a side of cranberry-mango sauce. If you’re vegetarian you also might enjoy this recipe for Wild Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Shepherd’s Pies from renowned Greens restaurant Executive Chef Annie Somerville.

4250 Capitola Rd., (831) 462-1742.

Hoffman’s offers its regular menu plus holiday specials on Thanksgiving. Brunch will be 8am-2pm and dinner is 2:30-8pm. Reservations are strongly recommended. The restaurant and bakery also has Thanksgiving treats available to go, including pumpkin and pecan pies and pumpkin cheesecake.

1102 Pacific Ave., (831) 420-0135.

Also open on Thanksgiving: Gabriella Cafe (910 Cedar Street, 831-457-1677) and Sanderlings at Seascape Resort  (1 Seascape Resort Drive, Aptos, 831-662-7120). Call restaurants for reservations and more information.

San Jose Restaurants

Yankee Pier The Santana Row restaurant offers a Thanksgiving feast with a special “lobster for the price of turkey” promotion. Yankee Pier is serving a three-course prix fixe menu featuring a traditional Thanksgiving Turkey dinner or a Whole Maine Lobster dinner for $39.00 (kids ten and under: half portion, half price). You can make reservations for seatings between noon and 7:30pm; call (408) 244-1244. For a first course, choose either New England Clam Chowder with Dill Drop Biscuits or Yankee Salad with Hearts of Romaine, Fuji Apples, Sweet & Spicy Walnuts, and Shaft Blue Cheese. Dessert choices are pumpkin pie or a double chocolate brownie. In addition to entrée choices of lobster or turkey, an entrée of Alaskan Halibut is offered. The same menu is also available at its Lafayette and Larkspur locations. This special Thanksgiving feast is also offered at Yankee Pier’s Larkspur (415-924-7676) and Lafayette (925-283-4100) locations. Note: Yankee Pier supports the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program.

San Jose location: 378 Santana Row, Suite 1100, (408) 244-1244.

Left Bank This Santana Row restaurant is serving a four-course fixed price menu for $39.75 from noon-8pm (holiday items are also available a la carte; regular menu not available on Thanksgiving). Vegetarian and non-vegetarian selections include butternut squash with crème fraiche, chives, and roasted pumpkin seeds, Norbest natural roasted turkey with mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing, and brussel sprouts with lardoons, and smoked honey-mustard glaze natural rack of pork with leek and potato gratin and apple chutney.  A kids’ prix fixe menu ($9.99) will also be offered which includes a turkey dinner and ice cream sundae for dessert. The same menu is also available at the restaurant’s Menlo Park and Larkspur locations.

San Jose location: 377 Santana Row, Suite 1100, (408) 984-3500.

Other restaurants open in San Jose on Thanksgiving include Arcadia (100 W San Carlos St., 408-278-4555), The Grill on the Alley (172 South Market St., 408-294-2244), and McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood (170 South Market Street, 408-283-7200). Call restaurants for reservations and more information.

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