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Playing Taps: Bartender Lanny Headrick serves up award-winning suds at Seabright Brewery, winner of this year's Goldie for best microbrewery.

Best Food & Drink

Readers' Choice Awards

THE OTHER EVENING, as we ravenously hopscotched across the county looking for a taqueria, pizza place, Chinese restaurant or deli that didn't have a line of patient patrons snaking out the door, I realized that living in Santa Cruz means never having to cook dinner at home. (Especially never on Sunday, as milling around on the sidewalk outside any restaurant or diner serving brunch has become our equivalent of going to church).

We love to eat out, take out and pig out--all while letting someone else julienne the vegetables, shred the cabbage, cube the tofu, bone the chicken and fillet the flounder. Best Food & Drink was our biggest Goldies category and drew the most fervent voting (and, frankly, ballot-stuffing so crude even the late Mayor Richard Daley would be embarrassed by it).

The triumvirate of local bakeries--Gayle's, the Buttery and Kelly's--battled cheek-by-croissant all the way to the finish line, although a few stalwarts stuck with Ferrell's Donuts. The barbecue category went sticky-hands down to Cole's, but some voters, blithely ignoring the rules, wrote in the Central Texas Barbecue--a fine establishment indeed, but the last time we checked the map, Castroville wasn't in Santa Cruz County. We were pleased to see Best Burger go to Jack's, definitely not to be confused with Jack in the Box (what were those 10 voters thinking?), whose spume of grill smoke has signaled lunch hour in downtown Santa Cruz for years. As for the lone voice of vegetarianism ("Meat is murder"), have you read what's going into bean sprouts these days?



Spread the Bread: Jill Heizman at the Buttery, one of the winners for best bakery.

Best bakery

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

SILVER The Buttery
702 Soquel Ave., SC, 458.3020

BRONZE Kelly's French Pastry
1547 Pacific Ave., SC, 423.9059
7486 Soquel Dr., Aptos, 662.2911



Taking Our Cue: Elayne Higbee of Cole's holds up some Goldie-winning barbecue.

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, 426.0313


Best beer on tap

GOLD 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

104 Walnut Ave., SC, 459.9999

SILVER Seabright Brewery
519 Seabright Ave., SC, 426.2739

BRONZE Rosie McCann's
Irish Pub & Restaurant
1220 Pacific Ave., SC, 426.9930


Best bread

GOLD Alfaro's Micro-Bakery
412 Riverside Dr., Watsonville
728.5815

SILVER Kelly's French Pastry
1547 Pacific Ave., SC, 423.9050
7486 Soquel Dr., Aptos, 662.2911

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


Best breakfast

GOLD Zachary's Restaurant
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
1 Chaminade Lane, SC, 475.5600

SILVER Zachary's
819 Pacific Ave., SC, 427.0646

BRONZE The Crepe Place
1134 Soquel Ave., SC, 429.6994


Best burger

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

SILVER Carpo's
2400 Porter St., Soquel, 476.6260

BRONZE Saturn Cafe
145 Laurel St., SC, 429.8505


Best butcher shop

GOLD Shopper's Corner
622 Soquel Ave., SC, 423.1696

SILVER Staff of Life
1305 Water St., SC, 423.8632

BRONZE Live Oak Supermarket
1665 17th Ave., SC, 475.3600


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 Jahva House
120 Union St., SC, 459.9876

SILVER Cafe Pergolesi
418 Cedar St., SC, 426.1775

BRONZE Lulu Carpenter's (a.k.a. Espresso Royale Caffe)
1545 Pacific Ave., SC, 429.9804


Best deli

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

SILVER Mike's Deli Cafe
1222 Soquel Ave., SC, 425.2328

BRONZE 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


Best desserts

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

SILVER Saturn Cafe
145 Laurel St., SC, 429.8505

BRONZE The Buttery
702 Soquel Ave., SC, 458.3020


Best french fries

GOLD Saturn Cafe
145 Laurel St., SC, 429.8505

SILVER McDonald's
Various locations

BRONZE Carpo's
2400 Porter St., Soquel, 476.6260


Best grocery store

GOLD Shopper's Corner
622 Soquel Ave., SC, 423.1696

SILVER Safeway
Various locations

BRONZE New Leaf Community Markets
2351 Mission St., SC, 426.1299
1134 Pacific Ave., SC, 425.1793
1210 41st Ave., Capitola, 479.7113
6240 Highway 9, Felton, 335.7322
13159 Central Ave., Boulder Creek, 338.7211


Coning Out: Lukas Holocher enjoys a treat at Marianne's, Readers' Choice for best ice cream.


Best ice cream/frozen yogurt

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

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

BRONZE Baskin-Robbins
Various locations


Best inexpensive restaurant

GOLD Charlie Hong Kong
1141 Soquel Ave., SC, 426.5664
6249 Hwy. 9, Felton, 335.9770

SILVER Taqueria Vallarta
608 Soquel Ave., SC, 457.8226
893 41st Ave., SC, 464.7022

BRONZE Saturn Cafe
145 Laurel St., SC, 429.8505


Best Italian

GOLD Ristorante Italiano
555 Soquel Ave., SC, 458.2321

SILVER Ristorante Avanti
1711 Mission St., SC, 427.0135

BRONZE Star Bene
2-1245 East Cliff Dr., SC, 479.4307


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 wine-tasting room

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

BRONZE Casa Rosita's
2608 Portola Dr., SC, 462.6116


Best microbrewery

GOLD Seabright Brewery
519 Seabright Ave., SC, 426.2739

SILVER Santa Cruz Brewing/
Front St. Pub
516 Front St., SC, 429.8838

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


Best muffins

GOLD Rebecca's Mighty Muffins
514 Front St., SC, 429.1940

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

BRONZE Blue Sun Cafe
1307 Hwy. 9, BC, 338.2105


Best natural foods store

GOLD New Leaf
2351 Mission St., SC, 426.1299
1134 Pacific Ave., SC, 425.1793
1210 41st Ave., Capitola, 479.7113
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 Shopper's Corner
622 Soquel Ave., SC, 423.1696

SILVER New Leaf
2351 Mission St., SC, 426.1299
1134 Pacific Ave., SC, 425.1793
1210 41st Ave., Capitola, 479.7113
6240 Hwy. 9, Felton, 335.7322
13159 Central Ave., Boulder Creek, 338.7211

BRONZE Staff of Life
1305 Water St., SC, 423.8632


Best new restaurant

GOLD Saturn Cafe
145 Laurel St., SC, 429.8505

SILVER Shogun
1123 Pacific Ave., SC, 469.4477

BRONZE Convivio Trattoria
655 Capitola Rd., SC, 475.9600


Best outdoor dining

GOLD The Crepe Place
1134 Soquel Dr., SC, 429.6994

SILVER Crow's Nest
2218 East 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
5401 Scotts Valley Dr., SV, 439.0880

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 Thai House
353 Soquel Ave., SC, 458.3546

SILVER Saturn Cafe
145 Laurel St., SC, 429.8505

BRONZE Cafe Cruz
2621 41st Ave., SC, 476.3801


Best restaurant service

GOLD Thai House
353 Soquel Ave., SC, 458.3546

SILVER Shadowbrook
1750 Wharf Rd., Capitola, 475.1511

BRONZE Casablanca
101 Main St., SC, 426.9063



Most Romantic: Gina Occhipinti and Shawn Kelley ride the cable car to the Shadowbrook in Capitola.

Best romantic restaurant

GOLD Shadowbrook
1750 Wharf Rd., Capitola, 475.1511

SILVER Casablanca
101 Main St., SC, 426.9063

BRONZE Gabriella Cafe
910 Cedar St., SC, 457.1677


Best salad

GOLD Fresh Choice
3555 Clares St., Capitola, 479.9873

SILVER Carpo's
2400 Porter St., Soquel, 476.6260

BRONZE Dharma's Restaurant
4250 Capitola Rd., Capitola, 462.1717


Best sandwich

GOLD Mike's
1222 Soquel Ave., SC, 425.2338

SILVER Erik's Deli Cafe
712 Front St., SC, 425.5353
1664 Soquel Ave., SC, 458.1414
102 Rancho del Mar Shopping Center, Aptos, 688.5656
1601 41st Ave., Capitola, 475.4646

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


Best seafood

GOLD Riva Fish House
Municipal Wharf, SC, 429.1223

SILVER Stagnaro Brothers
Municipal Wharf, SC, 423.2180

BRONZE Cafe Rio
131 Esplanade, Rio Del Mar, 688.8917


Best steak

GOLD Hindquarter
303 Soquel Ave., SC, 426.7770

SILVER Portola House
3326 Portola Dr., SC, 476.2733

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


Best splurge restaurant

GOLD Shadowbrook
1750 Wharf Rd., Capitola, 475.1511

SILVER Oswald
1547 Pacific Ave., SC, 423.7427

BRONZE Bittersweet Bistro
783 Rio del Mar Blvd., Aptos, 662.9799


Best sushi/Japanese

GOLD Takara
1800 Soquel Ave., SC, 457. 8466

SILVER Pink Godzilla
830 41st Ave., SC, 464.2586

BRONZE Mobo Sushi
105 River St., SC, 425.1700


Best takeout

GOLD Charlie Hong Kong
1141 Soquel Ave., SC, 426.5664
6249 Hwy. 9, Felton, 335.9770

SILVER Taqueria Vallarta
608 Soquel Ave., SC, 457.8226
893 41st Ave., SC, 464.7022

BRONZE Carpo's
2400 Porter St., Soquel, 476.6260


Best taqueria

GOLD Taqueria Vallarta
608 Soquel Ave., SC, 457.8226
893 41st Ave., SC, 464.7022

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

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


Best Thai

GOLD Thai House
353 Soquel Ave., SC, 458.3546

SILVER Real Thai Kitchen
1632 Seabright Ave., SC, 427.2559

BRONZE Bangkok West
2505 Cabrillo College Dr., Soquel, 479.8297


Best vegetarian offerings

GOLD Dharma's
4250 Capitola Rd., Capitola, 462.1717

SILVER Saturn Cafe
145 Laurel St., SC, 429.8505

BRONZE Blue Sun Cafe
1307 Hwy. 9, BC, 338.2105


Best wine list

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

SILVER Shadowbrook
1750 Wharf Rd., Capitola, 475.1511

BRONZE Casablanca
101 Main St., SC, 426.9063

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Best Food & Drink
      Critic's Choice

Best Arts
      Reader's Choice
      Critic's Choice

Best Music & Nightlife
      Reader's Choice
      Critic's Choice

Best Goods & Services
      Reader's Choice
      Critic's Choice

Best People & Places
      Reader's Choice
      Critic's Choice

Best Sports & Recreation
      Reader's Choice
      Critic's Choice

Best Write-in

Web Exclusive: More Goldies

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From the March 22-29, 2000 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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