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[whitespace] Readers' Choice Awards

Crow's Nest Nest Best Thing: The view, the service, the atmosphere--readers love everything about the Crow's Nest at the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor.

Photograph by George Sakkestad


Best Food and Drink

WHILE THE DOTCOM industry and NASDAQ investors continue to eat crow, the rest of us enjoy the deck (Silver), the Service (Silver) and Seafood (Bronze) at the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor, which added up to a Gold for Best Restaurant Overall for local institution (although the food is anything but institutional) the Crow's Nest. In close competition was Ristorante Avanti, scoring a Bronze for Wine List, a tie Gold for Service and a Gold for Best Italian Restaurant--which resulted in a Silver for Restaurant Overall. The third leg of the culinary trifecta went to another venerable eatery: Shadowbrook, which was rated by readers a tie in Best Service and a Gold in letting go of what profits might remain from your portfolio after last week (Best Splurge).

When it comes to Sushi, Takara, newly relocated, proved to be the people's choice. For Burritos (truly the staff of life when cost effectiveness is paramount), Taqueria Vallarta, now with three locations, took top honors, and won a Silver (behind El Palomar) for Best Mexican Restaurant.

As for those voters who picked McDonald's French fries third (after Jack's and Carpo's), we can only think that their votes certify the conclusion of Eric Schlosser's new book, Fast Food Nation, which points to the homogenization of America's taste buds at the hands of a certain megacorporation.

Best Bakery

GOLD
Gayle's Bakery & Rosticceria
504 Bay Ave., Capitola
462.1200

SILVER
The Buttery
702 Soquel Ave., SC
458.3020

BRONZE
Emily's Good Things to Eat
1129 Mission St., SC
429.9866

Best Barbecue

GOLD
Cole's Bar-B-Q & Catering
8059 Aptos St., Aptos
662.1721
2590 Portola Dr., SC
476.4424

SILVER
Bruno's Barbecue
245 Mount Hermon Rd., SV
438.2227

BRONZE
Hindquarter Bar & Grille
303 Soquel Ave., SC
426.7770

Best Beer on Tap Selection

GOLD
99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall Beer Pub
110 Walnut Ave., SC
459.9999

SILVER
Seabright Brewery
519 Seabright Ave., SC
426.2739

BRONZE
The Catalyst
1011 Pacific Ave., SC
423.1336

Best Bread

GOLD
Alfaro's
412 Riverside Dr., Watsonville
728.0350

SILVER
Gayle's Bakery & Rosticceria
504 Bay Ave., SC
462.1200

BRONZE
Beckmann's Old World Bakery
2341 Mission St., SC
423.2566
104 Bronson St., SC
423.9242

Best Breakfast

GOLD
Zachary's
819 Pacific Ave., SC
427.0646

SILVER
Walnut Avenue Cafe
106 Walnut Ave., SC
457.2307

BRONZE
Linda's Seabreeze Cafe
542 Seabright Ave., SC
427.9713

Best Brunch

GOLD
Chaminade at Santa Cruz
1 Chaminade Lane, SC
475.5600

SILVER
Zachary's
819 Pacific Ave., SC
427.0646

BRONZE
Walnut Avenue Cafe
106 Walnut Ave., SC
457.2307

Best Burger

GOLD
Jack's Hamburgers
202 Lincoln St., SC
423.4421

SILVER
Carpo's
2400 Porter St., Soquel
476.6260

BRONZE
Pontiac Grill
429 Front St., SC
427.2290

Best Burrito

GOLD
Taqueria Vallarta
608 Soquel Ave, SC
457.8226
893 41st Ave., SC
464.7022
1101-A Pacific Ave., SC
471-2655

SILVER
Tacos Moreno
1053 Water St., SC
429.6095
303 Beach St., SC
427.2200

BRONZE
Jalapeños Taqueria
206 Laurel St., SC
457.0159
1201 Soquel Ave., SC
466.9739

Best Chinese

GOLD
O'mei Restaurant
2316 Mission St., SC
425.8458

SILVER
King Chwan Chinese Restaurant
415 Ocean St., SC
429.5898

BRONZE
Golden Buddha
4610 Soquel Dr., Soquel
479.0788

Best Coffeehouse

GOLD
Cafe Pergolesi
418 Cedar St., SC
426.1775

SILVER
Lulu Carpenter's
1545 Pacific Ave., SC
429.9804

BRONZE
Jahva House
120 Union St., SC
459.9876

Best Desserts

GOLD
Gayle's Bakery and Rosticceria
504 Bay Ave., Capitola
462.1200

SILVER
The Buttery
702 Soquel Ave., SC
458.3020

BRONZE
Saturn Cafe
145 Laurel St., SC
429.8505

Best French Fries

GOLD
Jack's Hamburgers
202 Lincoln St., SC
423.4421

SILVER
Carpo's
2400 Porter St., Soquel
476.6260

BRONZE
McDonald's
Various locations

Best Grocery Store

GOLD
Shoppers Corner
622 Soquel Ave., SC
423.1398 (groceries); 423.1696 (meat department)

SILVER
New Leaf Community Markets
2351 Mission St., SC
426.1306
1134 Pacific Ave., SC
425.1793
1210 41st Ave., Capitola
479.7987113
6240 Hwy 9, Felton
335.7322
13159 Central Ave., Boulder Creek
338.7211

BRONZE
Zanotto's Family Markets
700 Front St., SC
423.4994
14 Victor Sq., SV
438.4324

Best Ice Cream/
Frozen yogurt

GOLD
Marianne's Ice Cream
1020 Ocean St., SC
458.1447

SILVER
Polar Bear Ice Cream
1224 Soquel Ave., SC
425.5188

BRONZE
Baskin-Robbins 31 Ice Cream Stores
Various locations

Best Italian

GOLD
Ristorante Avanti
1711 Mission St., SC
427.0135

SILVER
Ristorante Italiano
555 Soquel Ave., SC
458.2321

BRONZE
Mama Mia's Family Style Italian Restaurant
6231 Graham Hill Rd., Felton
335.4414

Best Late-Night Eatery

GOLD
Saturn Cafe
145 Laurel St., SC
429.8505

SILVER
The Crepe Place
1134 Soquel Dr., SC
429.6994

BRONZE
Denny's Restaurant
1515 Ocean St., SC
426.4628
6014 Scotts Valley Dr., SV
438.2023

Best Local Wine

GOLD
Bonny Doon Vineyard
10 Pine Flat Rd., SC
425.3625

SILVER
Bargetto Winery
3535 N. Main St., Soquel
475.2258

BRONZE
Storrs Winery
303 Potrero, SC
458.5030

Best Mexican

GOLD
El Palomar
1336 Pacific Ave., SC
425.7575

SILVER
Taqueria Vallarta
608 Soquel Ave, SC
457.8226
893 41st Ave., SC
464.7022
1101-A Pacific Ave., SC
471-2655

BRONZE
Tampico Kitchen
820 Pacific Ave., SC
458.2821

Best Microbrewery

GOLD
Seabright Brewery
519 Seabright Ave., SC
426.2739

SILVER
Boulder Creek Brewery
13040 Hwy. 9, Boulder Creek
338.7882

BRONZE
Santa Cruz Brewing Co.
516 Front St., SC
429.8838

Best Natural Foods Store

GOLD
New Leaf Community Markets
2351 Mission St., SC
426.1306
1134 Pacific Ave., SC
425.1793
1210 41st Ave., Capitola
479.7987
6240 Hwy 9, Felton
335.7322
13159 Central Ave., Boulder Creek
338.7211

SILVER
Staff of Life
1305 Water St., SC
423.8632

BRONZE
Food Bin
1130 Mission St., SC
423.5526

Best Neighborhood Market

GOLD
Shoppers Corner
622 Soquel Ave., SC
423.1398

SILVER
New Leaf Community Markets
(See Best Natural Foods Stores for locations)

BRONZE
Food Bin
1130 Mission St., SC
423.5526

Best Outdoor Dining

GOLD
The Crepe Place
1134 Soquel Dr., SC
429.6994

SILVER
Crow's Nest
2218 E. Cliff Dr., SC
476.4560

BRONZE
Seabright Brewery
519 Seabright Ave., SC
426.2739

Best Pizza

GOLD
Pizza My Heart
1116 Pacific Ave., SC
426.2511
209 Esplanade, Capitola
475.5714

SILVER
Tony & Alba's Pizza
817 Soquel Ave., SC
425.8669
1501 41st Ave., Capitola
475.4450
226 Mount Hermon Rd., SV
439.9999

BRONZE
Round Table Pizza
Various Locations

Best Restaurant Overall

GOLD
Crow's Nest
2218 E. Cliff Dr., SC
476.4560

SILVER
Ristorante Avanti
1711 Mission St., SC
427.0135

BRONZE
Shadowbrook
1750 Wharf St., Capitola
475.1511

Best Restaurant Service

GOLD
(Tie) Shadowbrook
1750 Wharf St., Capitola
475.1511

Ristorante Avanti
1711 Mission St., SC
427.0135

SILVER
Crow's Nest
2218 E. Cliff Dr., SC
476.4560

BRONZE
Thai House
353 Soquel Ave., SC
458.3546

Best Romantic Restaurant

GOLD
Shadowbrook
1750 Wharf St., Capitola
475.1511

SILVER
Gabriella Cafe
910 Cedar St., SC
457.1677

BRONZE
Casablanca
101 Main St., SC
426.9063

Best Sandwich

GOLD
Zoccoli's Delicatessen
1534 Pacific Ave., SC
423.1711

SILVER
Erik's Deli Cafe
712 Front St., SC
425.5353
1664 Soquel Ave., SC
462.1919
102 Rancho del Mar Shopping Center, Aptos
688.5656
1601 41st Ave., Capitola
475.4646
222 Mount Hermon Rd., SV
438.4646
1074 S. Green Valley Rd., Watsonville
724.7575

BRONZE
Togo's
Various locations

Best Seafood

GOLD
Riva Fish House
500 Municipal Wharf, SC
429.1223

SILVER
Stagnaro's
59 Municipal Wharf, SC
423.2180

BRONZE
Crow's Nest
2218 E. Cliff Dr., SC
476.4560

Best Steak

GOLD
Hindquarter
303 Soquel Ave., SC
426.7770

SILVER
Crow's Nest
2218 E. Cliff Dr., SC
476.4560

BRONZE
Portola House
3326 Portola Dr., SC
476.2733

Best Splurge Restaurant

GOLD
Shadowbrook
1750 Wharf St., Capitola
475.1511

SILVER
Oswald's
1547 Pacific Ave., SC
423.7427

BRONZE
Casablanca
101 Main St., SC
426.9063

Best Sushi/
Japanese

GOLD
Takara
3775 Capitola Rd., SC
464.1818

SILVER
Pink Godzilla
830 41st Ave., SC
464.2586

BRONZE
Mobo Sushi
105 River St., SC
425.1700

Best Thai

GOLD
Thai House
353 Soquel Ave., SC
458.3546

SILVER
Bangkok West
2505 Cabrillo College Dr., Soquel
479.8297

BRONZE
Star of Siam
3005 Porter St., Soquel
479.0366

Best Vegetarian Offerings

GOLD
Dharma's
4250 Capitola Rd., Capitola
462.1717

SILVER
Saturn Cafe
145 Laurel St., SC
429-8505

BRONZE
Asian Rose
1116 Soquel Ave., SC
423.7906
1547 Pacific Ave., SC
458.3023

Best Wine List

GOLD
Pearl Alley Bistro & Wine Bar
110 Pearl Alley, SC
429.8070

SILVER
Gabriella Cafe
910 Cedar St., SC
457.1677

BRONZE
Ristorante Avanti
1711 Mission St., SC
427.0135

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Readers' Choice Awards

Best Music & Nightlife
Best Goods & Services
Best Sports & Recreation
Best Arts
Best People & Places
Best Write-Ins

Critics' Choice Awards

Jesse Davis: All the Shoes That Fit
Stuart Finch: Rock Balancing Act
Isabel Piekarski: Latin Dance Sensation
Juan Cuellar: Compassionate Warrior
Nate Brunskill: Film Fanatic
Warren Odell: Tour Guide to an Anomaly
Sarah Gerhardt: Woman Who Rides Mountains
Seema Weatherwax: Late-Blooming Photographer
Stephanie Smith: Student of the Sciences
Theo Paige: The Not.So.Mad Fiddler

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From the March 21-28, 2001 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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