Tag Archives: Lillian’s Italian Kitchen

“Dining in” at Santa Cruz County restaurants, June 19, 2020

Bacon & egg croissant from Gayle’s Bakery & Rosticerria
Photo courtesy of Gayle’s

So much has changed since my last article at the end of May, with restaurants now being allowed to open for dine-in service if they follow restrictions and social distancing guidelines. Here are some highlights of places that are open for onsite dining, whether that’s on an outdoor patio, in a dining room with limited seating, or both. Many of them are also still doing food to-go. I will try to publish an update in a few days.

Most of these are “listings only” but first, I wanted to share more details for a few local businesses:

Seabright Social, in the former location of Seabright Brewery (519 Seabright Ave., seabrightsocial.com) opened June 12 and features lots of outdoor seating plus some indoor seating. Hours are 11:30am-11:30pm daily (closed on June 22 for one day only). Reservations are recommended at 831-426-2739. After buying the brewpub and restaurant in 2019, local residents/co-owners Jason and Keiki McKay (who run Aptos-based Cantine Winepub in Aptos) and Jon Bates have done renovations to the building and the menu. Food includes salmon ceviche and a street taco trio with chicken mole, pork carnitas, and beef asada. Drinks include several Seabright Brewery draft beers, local wine, and a full bar.

Scrumptious Fish & Chips recently restarted its popups. Upcoming appearances include Steel Bonnet Brewery in Scotts Valley (5-8 p.m. on several Friday nights), the Scotts Valley (Saturday) and Live Oak (Sunday) farmers markets, and Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing in Westside SC. Visit https://www.scrumptiousfc.com/find-us for complete schedule.

The Palm Deli has its patio open again, with tables spaced appropriately, at 3000 Valencia Ave. They have returned to regular hours, opening at 7am every day, closing at 6pm weekdays and 5pm Sat-Sun. Visit https://www.thepalmdeli.com.

Hula’s Island Grill at 221 Cathcart St. offers the choice of dining indoors or on the lanai deck out front (takeout is also still available). They open at 2pm every day, and close at 8pm Sun-Thurs and 9pm Fri-Sat. Visit https://www.hulastiki.com/

Gayle’s Bakery at 504 Bay Ave. has newly extended hours of 7am-7pm daily and is now allowing socially distanced sit-down dining. Also, with online orders there is now next-day pick up (shorter wait time—when they first reopened, it was a two-day wait). Visit https://www.gaylesbakery.com.

May’s Sushi closed its 1800 Soquel Ave. location on June 1, and is now operating out of Sesame Korean Grill at 435 Front St. Both cuisines are still available, as the restaurants have the same owners. In addition, the owners announced they will be opening a new restaurant called Crazy Crab, adjacent to Sesame, which will feature seafood boils. Visit https://www.sesame-koreangrill.com/ or call 831-454-8355.

Vim at 2238 Mission St. reopened its dining room and patio on June 17, and it’s open 5-8pm Wednesday-Saturday and 10 am-1pm Sunday (Vim started doing Sunday brunch during shelter in place, and it was popular so they’re continuing now that they’re open for onsite dining). Visit https://www.vimsantacruz.com.

Mentone at 174 Aptos Village Way now offers first-come-first-serve tables outside in the parking lot on the weekend, from 3:30-7pm Fridays and 12-6ish Saturdays and Sundays. There is beer, wine, cocktails, pizzas, salad, and a variety of snacks.  Takeout pizza is available Wednesdays and Thursdays. Visit https://www.mentonerestaurant.com or call 831-708-1174.

Madrone Kitchen, a meal delivery business from chefs Reeny Marquez and Sean Adams, is doing Friday popups at Aldo’s (790 Mariner Park Way) from 5 p.m. to sellout. They sell food items while Aldo’s offers beer, wine and cocktails for sale.  Sample popup menu offerings include Mojo Shrimp Skewers with citrus garlic herb sauce, Cuban-style black beans, rice, and fried plantains. Madrone Kitchen also does weekly Sunday dinner delivery. Visit madronekitchen.com.

Although not yet open for “dining in,” Soif Restaurant and Wine Shop (831-423-2020, http://www.soifwine.com/) now has curbside pickup for food and wine from 4-8 pm  Wednesday-Saturday. They had stopped doing takeout in early April. Also, the May/June issue of California Bountiful, the magazine for the California Farm Bureau Federation, featured an article about Soif’s executive Chef Tom McNary with several recipes. Sister restaurant La Posta (831-457-2782, https://www.lapostarestaurant.com), formerly open Friday-Sunday, is doing pickup 4-8pm Thursday through Sunday. Also, there is a Thursday special: pizza or pasta with salad for one person, for $20.

Colectivo Felix now offers delivery Friday through Sunday to local residents (formerly only Fri-Sat). Empanadas are available by the half dozen or dozen, and they create a rotating variety of salads, soups, and desserts. Also, customers can now order a seasonal Ridge to Reef Organics produce box. Visit https://colectivofelix.square.site/ to order, or email info@colectivofelix.com with questions.

As always, please email tara@santacruzfoodie.com if you have information to share, or corrections, for future articles.

Open for “dine-in” service

Alderwood (831-588-3238 or 831-888-6901, https://www.alderwoodsantacruz.com)

Auntie Mame’s Café (831-438-1840, https://auntiemamescafe.co)

Belly Goat Craft Burgers (at Abbott Square Market on Front St., https://www.bellygoatburgers.com)

Bittersweet Bistro (831-662-9799, http://bittersweetbistro.com)

Blaze Pizza (831-607-2030, https://www.blazepizza.com)

Blue Bunny Tacos (at Abbott Square Market, https://www.instagram.com/bluebunnytacos)

Britannia Arms (831-464-2683, https://www.facebook.com/britanniaarmscapitola/)

Café Iveta (Westside and campus locations, iveta.com)

Café Mare (831-458-1212, http://www.cafemare.com)

Café Rio (831-688-8917, https://www.caferioaptos.com)

California Grill (831-722-8052, www.californiagrillrestaurant.com)

Chaminade’s “The View, A Treeside Restaurant” (831-475-5600, www.chaminade.com/santa_cruz_restaurants)

Chocolate (831-427-9900, https://chocolatesantacruz.com)

Coffeetopia (http://www.coffeetopia.com)

The Crepe Place (831-429-6994, https://thecrepeplace.com)

The Crow’s Nest (831-476-4560, https://crowsnest-santacruz.com)

Daisuki Octagon Sushi (831-316-5464, at Octagon by Abbott Square, http://daisukioctagonsushi.com/)

Dharma’s (831-462-1717, www.dharmasrestaurant.com)

East End Gastropub (831-475-8010, http://eastendpub.com/)

El Jardín (831-477-9384, https://www.eljardinrestaurant.net/)

El Palomar (831-425-7575, https://elpalomarsantacruz.com)

The Farm House (831-536-5363, https://www.farmhousewatsonville.com)

Firefish Grill (831-423-5200, http://www.firefishgrill.net/)

Gabriella Café (831-457-1677, http://gabriellacafe.com)

Holy Smokes Country BBQ (831-471-8787, https://www.holysmokescountrybbqandcatering.com)

HOME Soquel (831-431-6131, http://www.homesoquel.com)

Hula’s Island Grill (831-426-4852, https://www.hulastiki.com)

Jalisco’s (https://www.jaliscorestaurant.com)

Jeffery’s Restaurant (831-425-1485, https://www.facebook.com/Jefferys-Restaurant-2348536278713065/)

Kianti’s Pizza & Pasta Bar (831-469-4400, https://www.kiantis.com/)

The Kitchen at Discretion (831-316-0662, https://www.discretionbrewing.com)

Lago di Como (831-454-8257, http://lagodicomoristorante.com/)

Laili Resaturant (831-423-4545, www.lailirestaurant.com)

Lillian’s Italian Kitchen (831-425-2288, https://www.lilliansitaliankitchen.com)

Michael’s on Main (831-479-9777, www.michaelsonmain.com)

Mission Hill Creamery (831-508-0774, http://missionhillcreamery.com)

Mutari Chocolate (http://www.mutarichocolate.com)

Oasis Tasting Room & Kitchen (831-621-8040, oasissantacruz.com)

Olive Garden (831-462-0120, https://www.olivegarden.com)

Oswald (831-423-7427, http://www.oswaldrestaurant.com)

Oyunaa’s Mongolian Cuisine (831-469-9900, http://www.oyunaas.com)

Palm Deli (831-688-3354, https://www.thepalmdeli.com)

Pizza My Heart (https://www.pizzamyheart.com)

Pizzeria La Bufala (831-999-0301, at Abbott Square Market, https://www.pizzerialabufala.com)

Pleasure Pizza—East Side Eatery (831-6058, https://www.pleasurepizzasc.com)

Pono Hawaiian Kitchen & Tap (831-476-7458, ponohawaiiangrill.com)

Rosie McCann’s (831-426-9930, https://rosiemccanns.com/santacruz)

Roux Dat (at Octagon by Abbott Square, https://rouxdatcajuncreole.com)

Sanderlings at Seascape Resort (831-662-7120, https://www.sanderlingsrestaurant.com/menus)

Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing (831-425-4900, https://www.scmbrew.com)

Scopazzi’s (831-338-6441, www.scopazzisrestaurant.com)

Tortilla Flats (831-476-1754, https://www.tortillaflatstogo.com)

Tramonti (831-426-7248, http://tramontisantacruz.com)

Veg on the Edge (831-423-3000, at Abbott Square Market, https://vegontheedge.com)

Vino Locale Wine Bar & Tapas (https://www.vinolocalesantacruz.com)

Vinocruz Winebar & Kitchen (https://vinocruz.com, 831-426-8466)

Woodies Café (https://www.facebook.com/woodiescafeca).

Woodstock’s Pizza (831-427-4444, https://woodstockscruz.com)

Zachary’s (831-427-0646, http://www.zacharyssantacruz.com)

Zelda’s (831-475-4900, http://zeldasonthebeach.com)

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Santa Cruz restaurant news highlights

spinning plates food

Photo caption: Tasty food at the Spinning Plates event, prepared by Chef Carlo Espinas
Photo credit: Farnaz Fatemi

Some of this is newer restaurant news for the Santa Cruz area, and some older, but I thought it was all worth sharing!

The highly anticipated restaurant Assembly opened March 11 on Pacific Ave. — read my article about Executive Chef Carlo Espinas moving here from San Francisco. A couple dishes already being raved about are slow-cooked chicken leg with house-made chorizo, artichokes, white beans, and green olive relish ($15), and root vegetables with cumin, sunflower seeds, and wonderful Garden Variety sheep’s milk cheese from local Monkeyflower Ranch ($8). I haven’t been to the restaurant yet, but I got to sample Chef Espinas’ food at the Spinning Plates event in February. Everything was both delicious and beautiful, including a skewer of pickled quail egg, roasted beet, and brussels sprout, and a dish featuring braised chickpeas, artichoke, green garlic, and pecorino.  Assembly is currently open from 11am-10pm Tues-Thurs and Sun, and until 11pm Fri-Sat.  Starting March 22, it will open at 9am Sat-Sun for brunch.

The downtown location of Pizza My Heart, which coincidentally is on the same block as Assembly, underwent an expansion recently and it looks great. I was downtown last night for the Steve Martin show at the Civic, and lots of people were waiting in line at the popular pizza place for some quick dinner. I look forward to trying out a meal at PMH’s bigger space in the near future.

Santa Cruz harbor restaurant The Crow’s Nest has some great Mon-Thurs specials, valid at both lunch and dinner, and they’re ending Thursday, March 20 — although the “Deal With a View” dinner special, served only in the upstairs bar, is a favorite of mine and valid through May 22. Back to the main downstairs restaurant weekday specials: the Monday special is Filet Mignon, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, all-you-can-eat salad bar, and a glass of wine or martini for only $19.69. The Tuesday special is a lobster tail, vegetable, rice pilaf and all-you-can-eat salad bar for $19.69. For Wed-Thurs specials and other info, see the restaurant’s web site and look for seasonal specials.

Fans of family-run, top-notch Lillian’s Italian Kitchen in mid-town Santa Cruz may remember that the restaurant used to serve lunch Tuesdays-Fridays, and then it stopped this service. Like many others, I was saddened by this change. I recently discovered that the Tuesday-Friday lunch service is back: thank you, Moreno family, for listening to what your customers wanted!

Last November, I ate lunch at the (then-recently-opened) casual restaurant Mission St BBQ, which took over the former Mamma Lucia location. I definitely enjoyed my moist and tender spicy pork sandwich and side of coleslaw, and the restaurant was packed on a weekday. It had been open about a week at that point. When I drove past it at lunchtime during a couple recent weekdays, I notice it’s still drawing many customers. The restaurant now offers a weekly Wed. night Pint Night featuring draft beer specials.

Finally, I tried the new Westside Santa Cruz restaurant Your Place for a weekday brunch last month, and I was quite disappointed. It’s located in the former La Mission spot. My tofu scramble didn’t have enough tofu in it, but the vegetables were pretty good. My daughter’s pancakes were ok, but my husband’s chicken fried steak was terrible. The side of bacon we all shared was the one bright spot; it was flavorful and cooked well.

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