Photos: Yvonne Rew-Falk
These Santa Cruz County eateries make the most important meal of the day the most delicious, too. Whether your morning is action-packed or unfolding at a relaxed, weekend pace, breakfast is an essential ingredient. Nutritious smoothies before a morning surf session, hearty meals after an early bike ride, and casual brunches with friends—Santa Cruz has it all. Follow the locals and you’ll find these restaurants are the best bets for breakfast.
Linda’s Seabreeze Cafe
This busy Seabright favorite is known for filling breakfasts and a cheerful atmosphere. Breakfast is served all day and comes in the form of tasty omelets, French toast, pancakes, and much more. They also have intriguing specials, like the Hearts Ahoy, made with a flour tortilla with black olives, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, green onions and cheese. Most breakfast items cost around $8 to $10.
542 Seabright Ave., Santa Cruz, 427-9713, seabreezecafe.com. Breakfast served all day. Restaurant open from 6 a.m. – 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 7 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Santa Cruzans know the importance of fueling their bodies with healthy foods, which is where health-conscious hubs like Amazon Juices come in. This café is a great choice for a smoothie, juice, açai bowl, or breakfast sandwich. It’s affordable, to boot, with the most popular breakfast item—the breakfast sandwiches—available for only $3.25.
1066 41st Ave., Capitola, 854-2225, amazonjuices.net. Breakfast served all day. Restaurant open every day from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The Silver Spur Restaurant
The Silver Spur Restaurant may not be near the waves, but many a surfer knows it’s worth the trip to Soquel Drive for their home-style food with fresh ingredients and a diverse menu. The restaurant has cultivated a strong sense of community and a loyal fan base with its friendly staff and a line-up that includes scrumptiously satisfying homemade muffins, fluffy pancakes, French toast, omelets and more.
2650 Soquel Drive, Santa Cruz, 475-2725, scsilverspur.com. Breakfast served all day. Restaurant open Monday through Saturday 6 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Just a short jaunt from Pleasure Point, Paula’s is a longtime favorite among locals. Its excellent prices and hearty food will make both your stomach and wallet happy. One of their most popular breakfast items is the simple and substantial Basic Breakfast: potatoes, toast, and two eggs cooked however you want, for only $2.95. The unique and fun décor is another reason to stop in. Not only is the cafe surf themed, complete with old surfing photos and boards, there is also a renovated van out front where diners can enjoy breakfast in a rather
3500 Portola Drive, Santa Cruz, 464-074. Breakfast served all day. Restaurant open Monday through Friday 7 a.m. – 1:45 p.m. and from 8 a.m. – 1:45 p.m. on weekends.
This Westside staple is best known for its deliciously refreshing and healthy açai bowls. Açai bowls have become popular because of their yumminess and health benefits; the berries, known as Brazil’s “superfood” are a great source of vital antioxidants. However, Café Brasil goes far beyond just açai bowls and smoothies—they also have many types of omelets, scrambles, pancakes and authentic Brazilian food, most of which is available for between $8 and $10. Its popularity means a sizeable wait on weekend mornings, but it’s well worth it if you have the time to spare. If you are looking for a quick breakfast on the way to surf, try ordering ahead of time from their online menu or by calling.
1410 Mission St., Santa Cruz, 429-1855, cafebrasil.us. Breakfast served all day. Restaurant open every day from 8 a.m. – 2:45 p.m.
New Leaf Community Markets
Whatever vitamins or nutrients your body is craving, New Leaf’s Juice and Smoothie Bar has you covered. The market’s juices and smoothies are satisfying and nutritious and are always made with fresh, local, organic produce. The 41st Avenue location’s New Beet Café also dishes up egg sandwiches, bagels, breakfast burritos, organic oatmeal and—the most popular item on their breakfast menu—the açai bowl. The New Beet Café opens at 7:30 a.m., making it a perfect pit stop for some delicious and healthy grub before your morning surf sesh.
New Beet Café, 1210 41st Ave., Capitola, 479-7987. Breakfast served until noon. Smoothie bar open from 7:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. every day. Visit newleaf.com for other New Leaf locations.
DeLaveaga Golf Course Lodge
When the surf is flat, as it often is in Santa Cruz during the summer, some people turn to more terrestrial sports to get their workout. Golf appeals to a wide variety of people, and can be a fun social sport like surfing is for many. If you are looking to get a bite to eat before or after your tee time, DeLaveaga has an excellent restaurant in a prime location. It utilizes local farmers’ markets for fresh, local produce, creating specials based on what’s in season locally.
401 Upper Park Road, Santa Cruz, 423-7214, delaveagagolf.com. Breakfast served from 7 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. weekdays and until 2:30 p.m. on weekends.
Walnut Avenue Café
Conveniently located in the heart of Downtown Santa Cruz, Walnut Avenue Café is a favorite setting for relaxed mornings with friends or family. The food is robust and delectable, earning it the title of the “City’s Best Breakfast” by Sunset Magazine. It has both classic breakfast items like pancakes, French toast, omelets and various forms of egg and scrambles, as well as huevos rancheros and vegetarian options.
106 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz, 457-2307, walnutavenuecafe.com. Breakfast served all day. Restaurant open Monday – Friday from 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends.
Chill Out Cafe
Chill Out Cafe embodies all that is Santa Cruz. Located a hop, skip and a jump away from the break at Pleasure Point, it is a frequent stop for surfers looking for a quick, quality breakfast. They’re known for breakfast burritos, of which they offer 22 different varieties, including some vegetarian and vegan options. Their most popular is the Bacon and Avocado Burrito, comprised of scrambled eggs, cheese, hash browns, bacon, and avocado. All breakfast burritos cost around $7. They also have a range of hot drinks, including a wonderful chai that’s a perfect, mildly spicy blend. The atmosphere is fun, with large street-facing windows that flip open, providing an open dining experience. A beer garden is nestled out back—a relaxing little escape from the busy outside world.
860 41st Ave., Santa Cruz, 477-0543, chilloutcafesantacruz.com. Breakfast served all day. Restaurant open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. – 3 p.m. and from 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. on weekends.
Omnivores and herbivores alike flock to this vegetarian restaurant in Capitola. Their breakfast items are vegetar- ian plays on classic foods such as scrambles (made with tofu in varieties like curry, Thai, Greek and pesto), tofu rancheros, breakfast burritos, oatmeal, and hefty pancakes that can be dressed up with bananas, blueberries, or walnuts.
4250 Capitola Road, Capitola, 462-1717, dharmasrestraunt.com. Breakfast served until noon. Restaurant open every day from 6 a.m. – 9 p.m