Tag Archives: Gabriella Cafe

More Mother’s Day restaurants for the Santa Cruz area

Aquarius Restaurant – Photo courtesy of Aquarius Facebook page

Did Mother’s Day 2018 sneak up on you? Mother’s Day is Sunday – some restaurants in the Santa Cruz area, including Bargetto Winery, which only has one seating – are fully booked, but others are still available. Below are a few.

Refer to my May 3 article for a few Santa Cruz County restaurant highlights (plus one for Monterey), but I am not sure which of those still have reservations available.

Also, if you want something off the beaten path, Roaring Camp Railroads is hosting a brunch buffet ($39 adults, $29 kids) from 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. at Bret Harte Hall (last seating at 1). There are train rides to go on after brunch (diners receive $2 fare discount); visit this site.

As of 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 10, the following restaurants still had selected Mother’s Day brunch reservations available—these are based on a party of 4. Call or make reservations through OpenTable.com.


  • Chocolate the Restaurant (831) 427-9900
  • Ideal Bar & Grill (831) 423-5271
  • Jaguar Restaurant (831) 600-7428
  • Mozaic (831) 600-7428
  • Solaire Restaurant & Bar (831) 600-4545
  • Suda (831) 600-7068
  • Zelda’s on the Beach (831) 475-4900



  • Aquarius-Dream Inn (831) 740-8138
  • Café Cruz (831) 476-3801
  • Chocolate the Restaurant (831) 427-9900
  • Gabriella Café (831) 457-1677
  • Ideal Bar & Grill (831) 423-5271
  • Jaguar Restaurant (831) 600-7428
  • Mozaic (831) 600-7428
  • Pearl of the Ocean (831) 457-2350
  • Persephone (831) 612-6511
  • Solaire Restaurant & Bar (831) 600-4545
  • Suda (831) 600-7068
  • Zelda’s on the Beach (831) 475-4900


Follow me on:

Twitter @santacruzfoodie

Instagram @tarafatemiwalker

Facebook @santacruzfoodieexaminer




Eat soup Thursday & help Santa Cruz’s Homeless Services Center

A scene from the 2017 Soupline Supper (courtesy of Soupline web site)

Santa Cruz’s Homeless Services Center (HSC) invites the community to eat unlimited soup from dozens of local restaurants, caterers, and other food businesses from 5:30-8 p.m. Thursday, April 19, at the Cocoanut Grove.


The 19th annual Soupline Supper assists HSC as it helps families and individuals in our community find safe, permanent homes. Last year’s dinner helped 249 people find a permanent home. For $50 per person, attendees receive soup, salad, bread, and dessert. Wine is available for an additional donation. Kids’ tickets are $20. Buy tickets online.


Participating restaurants in 2018’s Soupline include 99 Bottles, Assembly, The Bagelry, Café Cruz, Erik’s Deli, Gabriella Café, India Joze, Kelly’s French Bakery, La Posta, Manuel’s, Oswald, Shadowbrook, Soif, and Walnut Ave Café. See full restaurant list at souplinesupper.org/restaurants.


The usual set-up is this: there are different tables around the perimeter of the room, all with large containers of homemade soup, with about a dozen available at any one time (selections rotate throughout the evening). Attendees walk around and choose which ones to sample. Public officials and other community leaders serve the soup. This year’s “Celebrity Ladlers” include local politicians Mark Stone, Richelle Noroyan, Cynthia Chase, Zach Friend, Ryan Coonerty, and John Leopold; and arts and community organization leaders such as Keisha Frost (United Way), Nan Mickiewicz (Dominican Hospital), Susan Nemitz (SC Public Library), Susan True (Community Foundation SC County) and Nina Simon (MAH).


Buy tickets and read more information online at souplinesupper.org.

Free parking after 4 pm is available at the Boardwalk lot across from the Cocoanut Grove.

HSC is a non-profit organization that partners with individuals and families to create pathways out of their homelessness into permanent housing. HSC’s vision is that homelessness in Santa Cruz County should be rare, brief, and non-recurring.

Event location: Cocoanut Grove, 400 Beach St., Santa Cruz

Follow me on:

Twitter @santacruzfoodie

Instagram @tarafatemiwalker

Facebook @santacruzfoodieexaminer




Local restaurants cook up soup benefiting Santa Cruz Homeless Services Center

A volunteer preparing dessert at Soupline 2010 – credit to Red Bat Photography via Soupline web site

A volunteer preparing dessert at Soupline 2010 – credit to Red Bat Photography via Soupline web site

Eat a variety of delicious soup from dozens of local restaurants and shops on Thursday April 24—the event benefits Santa Cruz’s Homeless Services Center.

The 15th Annual Soupline Supper and Benefit Auction is at the Cocoanut Grove at the Santa Cruz boardwalk from 5:30-7:30 p.m. For $25 per person or $50 per family (up to 4 individuals), you receive soup, salad bread, and dessert. Purchase tickets.

The event is set up with different tables where chefs serve their homemade soup, with about a dozen available at any one time (selections rotate throughout the evening). Attendees walk around and choose which ones to sample. Public officials and other community leaders serve as “Celebrity Ladlers.” There are lots of tables set up in the dining room where you can relax and enjoy your meal. Buy tickets and read more information online at the special Soupline site.

More than 40 participating restaurants in 2014’s Soupline include Aquarius, The Art Bar & Cafe at the Tannery, The Bagelry, The Buttery,  Café Cruz, Chaminade, Charlie Hong Kong, Crow’s Nest, Gabriella Café, Hula’s, Laili, La Posta, Manuel’s, Sawasdee, Shadowbrook, Soif, The Walnut Ave Café, and Zameen. See full restaurant list.

There is free parking after 4 pm at the Boardwalk lot across from the Cocoanut Grove.

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.

Date Night Santa Cruz expands to 14 restaurants in Aptos and Santa Cruz

Food from Aptos restaurant Au Midi, a participant in Date Night Santa Cruz

Food from Aptos restaurant Au Midi, a participant in Date Night Santa Cruz

Date Night Santa Cruz is a unique dinner-and-a-movie program that began last December, and it just expanded big-time. “In the short three months since launch, the program has gone way above and beyond our initial expectations,” says Ike Jablon, Director of Marketing & Special Events for Nickelodeon Theatres—which also encompasses the Del Mar & Aptos Cinema. “To celebrate, we’re adding nine new restaurants into the mix to make the perfect Date Night for just about anyone!”

Yesterday the number of restaurants involved increased to 14—great news for the local community! Here’s the skinny: customers buy a $50 product that includes dinner and a movie for two. The tickets can be redeemed any Monday through Thursday evening, except holidays and special events. When you purchase your Date Night package, you select which restaurant you are buying a ticket for (they are mostly in Santa Cruz, plus a couple in Aptos), but you can decide later which movie theatre you’re going to of the three in the “Nick Family.” Each restaurant gives customers a certain value to spend on dinner–usually $50. For more information, see the Nick’s Date Night web site.

Jablon created the program in partnership with The Downtown Association, and he is thrilled that so many restaurants have decided to collaborate. These include family-run French bistro Au Midi in Aptos, a perfect stop if you’re headed to Aptos Cinema. Michel Loubiere of Au Midi explains why he and his wife Muriel—the restaurant’s chef—joined the program: “I thought it was a good idea to promote the idea of going out at night and having a more cosmopolitan feel,” he says. “Dinner and a movie kind of remind me of a prix fixe dinner theater you can have in New York. I am happy to be part of it!”

More details:
Tickets for “Date Night Santa Cruz” all cost $50 regardless of the restaurant, and can be purchased at any of the partner restaurants or at the box offices for The Nick, Del Mar Theatre or Aptos Cinema.

Participating restaurants (in alphabetical order)
Au Midi
Café Rio
Café Sparrow
515 Kitchen & Cocktails
Louie’s Cajun Kitchen & Bourbon Bar

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

Santa Cruz and San Jose restaurants open or closed on Christmas, Part 2 of 2

Delicious Mojo Cauliflower at Aptos restaurant Booka, open on Christmas

Delicious Mojo Cauliflower at Aptos restaurant Booka, open on Christmas

Yesterday I published highlights for a few restaurants open on Christmas in Santa Cruz and San Jose. Here are several more.

Also, note some Santa Cruz restaurants will be closed just for Christmas (like Hula’s, closed on both Xmas Eve and Xmas Day, and Johnny’s Harborside & Crow’s Nest, both closing at 3pm Xmas Eve and closed entire Xmas Day) while some shut down for a few days over the holidays:

  • Charlie Hong Kong (closed evening of 12/23 when the food runs out, through 1/1/14 – reopening 1/2/14)
  • Sabieng (closed 12/23 through 12/26 lunch, reopening 12/26 at dinner)
  • Little Shanghai (closed 12/22 through 1/5, reopening 1/6/14 at 11:30 a.m.)
  • Café Iveta (closed 12/25 through 1/1, reopening 1/2/14)

Santa Cruz, Capitola & Aptos restaurants

Booka Restaurant & Bar
On Christmas Eve Booka is offering a prix fixe dinner menu, and on Christmas Day Booka will feature a prix fixe tapas menu. For reservations and information call (831) 685-9500.
8041 Soquel Drive, Aptos

Café Mare
Café Mare is open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Call (831) 458-1212 for reservations.
740 Front St, #100, Santa Cruz

Gabriella Cafe
Gabriella Café is open on Christmas Eve until 7:30 p.m. Call (831) 457-1677 for reservations.
910 Cedar St, Santa Cruz

Ideal Bar & Grill
Ideal is open Xmas Eve from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. with a regular menu. On Christmas Day, the restaurant is open 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. For dinner, it’s serving selections including slow-roasted prime rib, turkey with yams, stuffing, etc., and live Maine lobster. Call (831) 423-5271 for reservations.
106 Beach St at the Santa Cruz Wharf, Santa Cruz

Severino’s Bar & Grill
On Christmas Day the restaurant at Seacliff Inn has a buffet from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.  with Black Angus prime rib, Dungeness crab, roasted leg of lamb, and more. The cost is $39 for adults, $17 for kids 5-10, and free for 4 and under. For reservations and information call (831) 688-8987.
7500 Old Dominion Court, Aptos

Zelda’s is open on Christmas Day with breakfast at 7:30 a.m., and a holiday menu & dinner specials beginning at noon. Specials include traditional turkey or maple baked ham dinner ($16.95 adults, $10.95 kids). Call (831) 475-4900.
203 Esplanade, in the Capitola Village

San Jose

Il Fornaio
The restaurant at the Sainte Claire is open on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Call (408) 271-3366 for reservations.
302 South Market St (at the Sainte Claire), 
San Jose

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

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.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day at your favorite Santa Cruz or San Jose restaurant

Delicious Hawaiian Tuna Tartare at Lark Creek Blue on Santana Row

Delicious Hawaiian Tuna Tartare at Lark Creek Blue on Santana Row

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to enjoy a romantic meal at one of your favorite restaurants, whether it’s in Santa Cruz, San Jose, or another nearby area. See below for details for Valentine’s Day 2013 on Thurs. Feb. 14, and I’ll publish more restaurants in the next day or two.

Santa Cruz Area

La Posta

This downtown Santa Cruz restaurant is offering a special prix fixe dinner menu. It’s $65 for three courses; optional wine pairings are extra. Call (831) 457-2782 for reservations. Choices include appetizers Roasted beet sformato with sunchoke crema, walnuts and parmigiano or Duck confit, roasted carrot, fennel, mâche and brandied red currants, entrees Halibut with cardoon gratinata, spinach and saffron-fennel vinaigrette or Mushroom, squash and chard rotolo with ricotta, brown butter and sage; desserts Chocolate tart with rose gelato and pistachio croccante or Selection of Italian cheeses, fruit, nuts and local honey.

Location: 538 Seabright Ave, Santa Cruz

Café Sparrow

The Aptos restaurant is offering a Valentine’s menu with a la carte choices including its signature Peppered Filet Mignon plus lots of selections that aren’t normally offered. Call (831) 688-6238 for reservations. Choices include appetizers Seafood chorizo with roasted fingerlings and saffron aioli, Lomi ahi poke with wasabi mirin emulsion, and Fried gruyere risotto cake with cilantro lime, entrees Brie roasted bone in pork chop with house made apple butter, sweet corn tamale and Potato crusted California sea bass with berry beurre rouge, pecan & wild rice pilaf, and sides Green chile macaroni and cheese and Roasted brussel sprouts in vinaigrette with raisins & pine nuts.

Location: 8042 Soquel Dr., Aptos

Gabriella Cafe

Gabriella, in downtown Santa Cruz, is serving a four-course prix fixe dinner for $65. Call (831) 457-1677 for reservations. Highlights include filet mignon, duck breast, Dungeness crab, oysters, beet pasta, and chocolate torte.

Location: 910 Cedar St, Santa Cruz

San Jose

Lark Creek Blue

This Santana Row venue opened in August, replacing Lark Creek Restaurant Group’s Yankee Pier. It’s offering a three-course prix fixe menu for $55. Call 408) 244-1244 for reservations. Appetizer choices include Hawaiian Tuna Tartare with horseradish, soy, cashew crackers, sesame oil or Seared Scallops with artichoke puree, fried baby artichoke and lemon vinaigrette. Entrée choices include Grilled Ahi Tuna Steak with horseradish cream, tempura crumbs, chili Napa cabbage or Local Petrale Sole which is pan roasted and served with spinach, shoe string fries, brown butter, capers and parsley. I had the pleasure of dining at Lark Creek Blue in January, and I wholeheartedly recommend you visit the restaurant soon. In fact, two dishes that I greatly enjoyed are on the Valentine’s menu: the tuna tartare, which successfully balanced ultra-paper-thin fresh fish with a delicate flavorful sauce, and the grilled ahi, which included a very fresh, moist, and tender piece of seafood plus delicious chili-spiced cabbage that was perfectly cooked (next time I visit, if that cabbage is on the menu I’m going to ask for extra!).

378 Santana Row, Suite 1100, San Jose

Last-minute Santa Cruz food-related New Year’s information — plus contest

Seafood ravioli at Lago di Como Ristorante & Pizzeria



Here are some details on Santa Cruz restaurants and food-related venues, plus a contest where you can win a food-related prize (see end of article for details).



Refer to my articles on selected Santa Cruz and San Jose restaurants open on New Year’s:

A few more restaurants open for New Year’s:

  • Bantam
  • Crow’s Nest
  • Gabriella Café
  • Lago di Como Ristorante & Pizzeria
  • Shadowbrook


Closed for New Year’s (Eve and/or Day):

  • Casablanca (re-opening Jan 4)
  • Charlie Hong Kong (re-opening Jan 2)
  • Mission Hill Creamery (open until 1 a.m. New Year’s Eve until early morning New Year’s Day; closed the rest of New Year’s Day)
  • Kelly’s French Bakery (Open New Year’s Eve regular hours; closed New Year’s Day)
  • Tramonti (closed both NYE and NY Day)

Adjusted Hours:

New Leaf Community Markets – all locations are open both New Year’s Eve and Day, with shortened hours. See web site for exact hours (varies by location).




1) If you are one of the 12 people who won a prize during my recent “12 Days of Christmas” promotion, you are ineligible for this contest.

2) Pick contest A or B to enter – you can only enter one!

Contest AMichael’s on Main has graciously donated a certificate for two people to enjoy its Tuesday night food, wine & beer pairing series. The normal price is $25/person, so this certificate is worth $50. These events include live music and occur throughout the year on Tuesdays from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. The next series starts Jan. 8 and lasts through March 26. Here is the January line-up:

  • 1-8 We love Pork! In all it’s goodness….bring a bib for juicy pork spareribs, pork sliders, wedge salad with Corralitos bacon and more. Soquel Vineyards will be pouring and Ken Constable will be playing. Don’t miss it!
  • 1-15 Crab Feed with Guest Chefs Paul and Terry Gregory Quick! Before the season ends…Who can be satisfied with just one crab dinner? Not us. Reservations are required to be sure we have enough crab for everyone. Wines will come up from Monterey County’s Scheid Vineyards and music from Jay Alvarez.
  • 1-22 Cioppino – Soquel’s own Pinky Gilmore is known for her famous Cioppino. You usually have to wangle an invitation to her house for some but tonight she will make it at Michael’s. If you haven’t tried the Renwood Zin, now’s your chance. Also pouring the Lee Family Farms Verdelho. And they both go great with cioppino. Kevin McDowell will play guitar.
  • 1-29 Grandma’s House Come on down for some meatloaf, mashed potatoes and all the cozy comfort foods from Grandma’s kitchen. An old-time Soquel favorite, Bargetto Winery will be pouring and David O’Connor will play.

Contest BKelly’s French Bakery has generously donated a $25 gift certificate. Choose sweets, savories, or anything in between!

To enter, email your name to tfatemiwalker@yahoo.com and include the words “Contest A” or “Contest B.”

Entry deadline is Sun. Dec. 30 at 6 p.m.

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

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.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie

Santa Cruz restaurant Gabriella Café hosts literary salon series

Tagliatelle with chanterelles at Gabriella Cafe

Downtown Santa Cruz restaurant Gabriella Cafe hosts a monthly literary salon series, and the next event is on Tuesday, June 5 with author and UC Santa Cruz Russian history professor Peter Kenez the featured reader. Kenez is a Hungary native and a Holocaust survivor; he delivered the Spring Emeriti Faculty Faculty Lecture at UCSC in March.

Gabriella’s salons, which began in February 2012, are held on the first Tuesday of each month. Past speakers have included John Dizikes and poets Stephen Kessler and Lisa Ortiz; future speakers include Patrice Vecchione and Gary Young (the latter will be a special “bonus salon” in September on the 18th in addition to the regular salon on September 4).

Dinner with the speaker begins at 8 p.m., with readings/discussions starting at 9 p.m. over dessert. Call (831) 457-1677 to reserve a table. I enthusiastically recommend the food at Gabriella, which is created using lots of produce and herbs from local farms such as Live Earth, Happy Boy, and Freewheelin’. In the last few months I’ve had two great dinners and two fabulous lunches there. One favorite dinner entrée was tagliatelle with chanterelles, leeks, and gorgonzola. Lunch highlights included a unique and delicious cauliflower soup with crispy parsnips, and a flavorful feta-asparagus pizzetta.

The Details:
Literary Salon Series at Gabriella Café
First Tuesday evening of each month including June 5
910 Cedar Street, Santa Cruz 95060
(831) 457-1677

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie