Santa Cruz has seen a surge of culinary energy in the past few years, especially with casual yet classy romantic restaurants. Some old favorites remain, but a new guard of intimate eateries has emerged to take over this Top 10.
Soif Wine Bar has been around for a few years now, but thanks to its continually evolving menu and solidly constructed wine selection, it feels like a new restaurant with every visit. With delicate lighting, expert service, and decadent food, Soif steals the Number 1 slot on this list by a long shot. Not sure what to order? Ask your server for recommendations that will surely please. Share a few small plates, sample each others' main courses, and indulge your sweet tooth with sumptuous desserts.
Nothing sets the mood for love like good food, and Lillian's Italian Kitchen (Number 5) gets it just right. Hearty homemade dishes are the signature here, along with a cozy atmosphere and friendly service. Simple, delicious, and memorable, Lillian's is the perfect date spot.
Malabar (Number 8) hits all the right notes. It might shock some to see this vegetarian Asian fushion/Sri Lankan food as romantic, but Malabar's soft candlelit tables, leisurely pace, and inventive dishes set the right tone for a special night.
Some old standards, like the Casablanca, didn't quite make the cut. Being stuck in the past does no favors to couples with more discerning expectations for romance. Take a chance with these romantic restaurants, because just like love, sometimes risks pay off with the biggest rewards.
328 Ingalls St