Reviews written by NativeCalGal
What a find!, 01/27/13 at 5:29 PM
This is just about my favorite place in Santa Cruz these days (now that Le Cigare Volant has closed). It is a gorgeous space with a spectacular garden seating area. Very sophisticated and smart. The food is called "silk road flavors", middle eastern in origin with some good old California thrown in. Everything is fresh and fairly simple. There are lots of appetizers, several selections for vegetarians as well as fish and meat eaters, flatbread pizzas and salads. The wine list is extensive. The coffee has cardamom in it and is lovely. Prices are very good. Please give it a try.
Not your run of the mill Mexican fare, 01/27/13 at 5:25 PM
It had been ages since I'd been here and a friend suggested it for lunch recently. I am glad she did! It is an independent restaurant with unique offerings that you won't find elsewhere. We shared some small plates: Chicken mole nachos with black beans, wild mushroom tamales and a pasilla chile stuffed with goat cheese and herbs, topped with a spicy red pepper sauce. The presentation of everything was gorgeous and colorful, a fiesta on a plate. Flavors were top-notch. The restaurant itself is very attractive and tropical in feel, and the service, while a tad pushy, was good. I will definitely be going again soon!
The best Indian in SC County, 01/27/13 at 5:20 PM
The food has been excellent every time I've eaten in or taken out. The owners are Nepalese, so there is a different flavor to some things than other Indian restaurants may have. The emphasis is on fresh. Their sag paneer is made with fresh spinach that is not heavily creamed, for example. They have an extensive vegetarian and even a vegan menu, and the tofu tikka and channa masala on the vegan menu are TO DIE FOR. The prices are good, portions fairly large and service attentive without being overbearing. They serve beer and wine and the place is in a cool, mid-century building. Go there!
Very good spot!, 01/27/13 at 5:08 PM
We tried this place for the first time around the holidays and really enjoyed it. There were two HUGE parties going on and very few tables for small parties, but we squeezed in near the bar and made do. It was convivial and fun, and there was a really good jazz combo playing. Imagine our surprise when we saw that the musicians were in their early teens!
We had cocktails first, very well-made, and ordered the calamari appetizer to accompany them. It was one of the best renditions of fried calamari ever. Light, not greasy, generous long strips. I had the Cobb Salad and again, it was one of the finest I've had, very fresh and generous with ingredients. One friend had the Chinese Chicken Salad and it was a work of art. She was very happy with it. Her husband had a steak with veggies and was quite satisfied. Prices were reasonable.
The reason I gave "overall experience" a 4 instead of a 5 is that the next day when I looked at my bank statement, the pending charge was for 20 dollars more than the bill. I had left a cash tip, and called the restaurant to inquire. I wanted to make sure they hadn't added on, and that our waiter had indeed received his Andrew Jackson. He said he had, and nobody seemed to be able to explain the extra charge. They suggested I check it on Monday and talk to my bank. By then, everything was fine, so who knows what caused that glitch. Just something to be wary of, and it might not have anything to do with the restaurant.
Food, service inconsistent; prices high, 01/27/13 at 4:46 PM
Sometimes the HQ is really good and at other times..... They are a steakhouse and are priced as such. Their blue cheese dressing is to die for, tangy and salads not overdressed. The "Black and Blue Ahi" appetizer is delicious. The nightly specials can be very good, especially the pork chops on Sundays. That being said, the last time we were there (a group of five of us), two of the guys ordered the "all you can eat" rib dinner. We had a 6:30 reservation. By 7:30, they were out of ribs!!! Inexcusable. What about people who had 8 pm reservations? They might have been planning to cook more ribs, but we weren't informed one way or the other. It seemed "that was it". Our guys had only had a couple of ribs apiece, so it wasn't like they needed to be "cut off" for fear of the restaurant losing profit. Simply bad business practice.
The lunch menu is completely different from the dinner menu--sandwiches and burgers and such. A little boring.
Gone are the glory days of O'Mei., 01/27/13 at 4:32 PM
O'Mei is a restaurant I have been frequenting since I was a teenager, WAY back when. The food once was consistently delicious, more intense and with wider variety than any other Chinese place I had ever known. The Gan Pung Chicken is tart and spicy and addicting. The Sichuan tea smoked noodles are a religious experience. If they have "Yellow Sparrows", a vegetarian dish, that night, try it! It's wide sheets of paper thin bean curd wrapped around wilted spinach and shaped to look like little birds. O'Mei starts the meal by bringing around a tray of small dishes for sale, which are a nice preview of coming attractions. The candied cashews, the wheat gluten rolls with soy beans, the hot-oil shredded carrots and the seaweed are to die for. O'mei serves beer and wine and has a nice little bar area.
The reason I didn't give O'Mei more "stars" are as follows: Over the years, the consistency of the food has declined. Last time we went, we ordered four dishes and two were good, one was fair and the other had clearly been made with too much broth/sauce and had been thickened with WAY too much corn starch to compensate. It was awful. The host/esses can be a bit snooty, as if they think they're in NYC or Beverly Hills (the servers have usually been great when I've been there). If you are getting take-out, expect more of this. O'Mei's take-out menu even lectures the customer about how take-out Chinese food suffers compared to eating in the restaurant, as if we've never had take-out before. The other issue I have is twofold. Their prices are very high for Chinese food, and the interior of the place is looking a little "down at the heel". One would think that some of that money could be reinvested in the restaurant so its looks befit its food. It was the first restaurant in Santa Cruz to have granite tables all those years ago, but now it's showing its age. It's just not "all that" in 2013.
Still a very good, charming spot., 01/27/13 at 4:05 PM
It had been years since I'd been to Zachary's, so when a friend was visiting, we had breakfast here. I like a restaurant that is in an old building with beat-up wooden floors and high ceilings; loads of character and charm. The food is god, too! We both had the Mike's Mess, a "skillet"-type thing with cottage fried potatoes, eggs, bacon, mushrooms, topped with sour cream, tomatoes and green onions. Big portions. The one complained is that we'd have liked our water refilled a little more often. That was made up for by the amount of time they spent making sure my friend got just the right T-shirt. They brought shirts out to him so he could see the colors. Very nice. Prices are a wee bit higher than some other breakfast places, but rents are high downtown. All is all, a winner!
Really gone down the tubes!, 01/27/13 at 3:26 PM
When this place first opened a couple of years ago, the food was much better--richer, more flavorful--and the prices were great (6 to 8 bucks for most items). Some friends and I went recently and it has quite slid downhill. First, the young woman who was the hostess/waitress needs some lessons in customer service. She took my drink order but not my companions' orders, and when we asked her about that, she replied, "I know but I brought water". As we ordered things, it seemed they were out of some. Instead of telling us what they had instead, she simply kept saying, "We are out of that". Okay, help us out here and guide us toward a similar item. After our food arrived, she never bothered to check back to see if everything was okay (for one thing, our appetizer came out cold, and it was not a cold app).
Next, the atmosphere could use improving. Little tea lights and a flower on each table go a long way. Instead, three chutneys were unceremoniously plunked down on the table in plastic squeeze bottles. I have never seen a place do this--usually they are in a trio of pretty little dishes. It was just bad.
As for the food, our leek and spring onion dumpling appetizer came out cold, perhaps from the yogurt topping not being brought up to room temp first. It also had ground beef on it, and it was supposed to be a vegetarian item (one in our party was vegetarian). Not good. When we brought this to the woman's attention, she just said, "I thought it said it had meat on the menu". Uh, no. There IS a meat version, but we ordered the veggie version. The lamb and spinach dish another friend and I shared was odd. The lamb was great --tender and it tasted like it had been nicely marinated -- but the spinach seemed to come out of a frozen package, with no spices or seasonings at all. Same for the mixed vegetable dish, which claimed to have "a rainbow of scrumptious flavors". Where were the flavors? It was as bland as it could be.
The only plus I can cite about this place is the prices have not gone up. I'd rather pay a couple of bucks more, though, and have the quality return. It really used to be quite good. What a disappointment.
A great, fun and creative place!, 01/27/13 at 3:07 PM
There is a reason Penny Ice Creamery is even packed on cold winter nights. They use only fresh, local and organic ingredients and they push the envelope with flavors. Burnt sugar; basil; pink peppercorn; bacon; plus the usual flavors. There is constant rotation of flavors, too, so you might go four times in a month and not have the same ones. You can sample anything before buying, get your ice cream in either a dish or a house-made waffle cone and sit inside the cute little place listening to the fun music (or on the patio) or take it and wander around town. When it comes to "local" and "organic", they are talking the talk AND walking the walk.
Finally tried it., 01/27/13 at 3:01 PM
This place is a little charmer! Old, rustic wooden floors, antiques, a few tables, local rags to read while you wait or drink coffee and have a bite. Their baked goods and sandwiches are lovely and they have a variety of drinks, not just coffee. You can even get a root beer float if you wish. Prices are reasonable and service is nice.
Glad to revisit this place!, 01/27/13 at 2:55 PM
I had not been here in about 10 years (just not in that part of town often) but came here to take a friend out for her birthday. I will not let another ten years pass again. I had my old fave, Beef a Cavalo, which is sort of like "Brazilian Eggs Bennie"-- grilled slices of baguette with a really nicely cooked, well-done steak atop it, two over medium eggs, a grilled, thickly sliced tomato and finally cheese melted all over it. It's served with home fries that have lovely herbs in them. I am usually a rare steak girl, but their well-done is PERFECTLY done--cooked through but still juicy. My friend had something similar but with avocado, and her husband had the polenta with egg and spinach. Everything was great, and the coffee is good and strong. Service was very attentive. Expect to wait for a table because it's a popular place. Prices are very reasonable--35 bucks for the three of us.
What a surprise!, 07/26/11 at 4:58 PM
Get take out--there is no atmosphere inside. What you will find, however, is good, fresh Chinese food prepared with restraint and delicacy. I decided to try it after reading a couple of Yelp reviews from folks who'd said they'd lived in China and liked this place.
Try the mu shu anything. The freshness speaks for itself. I have also tried the Singapore style rice noodles (light curry and mixed meats/veggies), the special chow fun and the egg rolls. All were quite good. Prices are low. This was a nice surprise.
Great casual breakfast/lunch spot, 07/26/11 at 4:52 PM
Heavenly is a great place for a casual breakfast or lunch, the perfect way to start the day with friends and loved ones. Omelettes are big and well prepared, with really good home fried spuds (garlic and onion in 'em). Pancakes are huge and fluffy. Their toast is from great quality bread, like the swirled rye. The sandwiches are really good and so are the fries--not too thin, not too thick, good and crispy (don't ask me their calorie count!).
They serve coffee, tea, soft drinks and a few "coffee drinks" but nothing too fancy. Prices are small, portions are big. They have a wonderful outdoor patio under a big tree, which is a nice spot to sit, as you are in a somewhat mountainous area.
Delicious food, great outdoor seating and a bar ne, 07/26/11 at 4:46 PM
Jia Tella's is a gem in Scotts Valley, next to Scotts Valley Market. The owners are not Cambodian but the cooks are--the owners used to work high tech over the hill and frequented Cambodian restaurants there before deciding to open one here. The owners and their kids will be the people waiting on you, which I think is a nice touch.
The food is fresh, fresh, fresh. If you like Thai food, you will like this. They are similar cuisines but this is not so fiery. Lemon Grass, ginger, garlic, tamarind all play key roles. There is a curry stew to die for--very mild and great on a cold day. Try the papaya salad--shredded green papaya that looks more like broccoli stems than anything. The dressing is fresh, light but spicy. I am a fan of the stir fried ginger and the lemon grass. All the noodle dishes are good and the garlic salmon is fantastic.
Jia Tella's does a nice job of representing beer and wine from the Bay Area. They have an outdoor patio and in Summer have live music from time to time. They recently leased the space next door and opened a bar, appropriately called "Next Door". Prices are a little high for a stir fry kind of place, but the portions are pretty generous. Please make a note to try this jewel of a place.
Very special little place., 07/26/11 at 4:37 PM
A friend and I tried this restaurant after my neighbors spoke highly of it. We were not disappointed. The owners are the same folks who own Soif downtown, so needless to say there is a great wine list and a focus on local, organic ingredients.
We has the most beautiful salad with watermelon radishes, kumquats, and strawberry, all thinly shaved over frisee. Gorgeous to behold and the flavors were delicious. Our entrees, fish with Israeli couscous and scallops with roasted fingerling potatoes, were incredible. The service was attentive and helpful but never overbearing. Prices are steep but the quality is very high. Try it.
Results 1 - 15 of 46