Sunday, March 20, 2016

Top Santa Cruz Restaurants with Outdoor Dining

Spring is here and the weather is starting to warm up. What better way to celebrate the new season then to have a meal outdoors in the cool spring air while being warmed by the early season sun. Spring can bring some of Santa Cruz’s best weather for the year and what better way to enjoy it then to eat a scrumptious meal in the open air. This is by no means a comprehensive list of places to dine outdoors in Santa Cruz, but they are definitely a few of my favorites.

If you are looking for stunning views of the Monterey Bay, then this is the spot to eat. Linwood’s Bar and Grill, located in the main building of the Chaminade Resort combines great eats with stunning patio dining. Take in the views and enjoy the fine weather while sitting around one of their many outdoor fire pits and sipping one of their specialty drinks.  Chaminade tends to be a little pricey, so you may want to check out their happy hour, Monday – Thursday from 3pm-5pm.

A Santa Cruz staple, The Crow’s Nest sits on the edge of Twin Lakes State Beach and provides fantastic views of the beach and the Santa Cruz Harbor entrance. Crow’s Nest is actually two restaurants in one. Downstairs is the Crow’s Nest dining room, which features, fancier and more expensive plates. The real gem is upstairs in the Breakwater Grill, where you can get great deals on drinks and grub for a fraction of the cost of the downstairs dining room. The Breakwater Grill arguably has the better views, as it sits up above the beach and has sweeping views of the bay. If you are able to snag a table, you can enjoy outdoor deck seating with fantastic views, good food, great drinks, all while listening to the crashing waves in the background.

Aldo’s sits across the harbor from the Crow’s Nest and provides some fantastic outdoor dining. The majority of the seating for this restaurant is on a deck that sits over the calm waters of the harbor. It’s a great place to enjoy some sunshine and watch the boats come and go from the harbor. This is a great place for breakfast or brunch. Come early or plan to wait as it can be very busy on the weekends in summer.

The Crepe Place may not have an ocean view, but they do have a fantastic outdoor patio for dining. Situated on busy Soquel Ave, you  would never guess that there is a serene garden dining atmosphere at the back of this long time Santa Cruz establishment. Enjoy some great food or even some evening entertainment. The Crepe Place is often very busy on nights when they have live music on their outdoor stage.

Michael’s on Main may have one of the best non-ocean view dining options in Santa Cruz. Situated on the banks of the Soquel Creek, the restaurant/bar extends outside to a large deck under a canopy of trees, where sunlight filters through as you listen to the babbling creek below. Come here to enjoy a drink or some of their delicious cooking, either way you will not be disappointed.

Burger.  Aptos, CA
Not to be confused with the Burger. that is on Mission St. on the west side of Santa Cruz. The Aptos location as great outdoor seating and also is great for kids. Enjoy the warm weather and play some corn hole on the lower level of the restaurant. It is also a great place to kick back with some friends and have a beer, hang outside under the trees, and get to enjoy some true Santa Cruz flare. It also doesn’t hurt that they are one of the best burger joints in Santa Cruz!

I hope you can get out and enjoy some great outdoor dining from one (or all) of these fine establishments. If you have any other suggestions for great outdoor dining post a comment below!

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