Off-Campus Dining

Location
Santa Cruz, CA
Undergrads
15,677
Tuition (in-state)
$36,294 ($13,416)
Admission Difficulty
Average
More statistics . . .
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Reviews

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2 College Freshman

Off-Campus Dining: I don't like the food options in Santa Cruz. There are a few popular spots other than the chains (the most popular chains being Taco Bell, McDonalds, and Dominos), but I don't really like any of them. There's a ton of cheap Mexican food, but most of it sucks. If you can afford to drop $40/person on a meal there are some good restaurants downtown

5 College Freshman

Off-Campus Dining: you can get more chice when u live off camps

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Off-Campus Dining: So many places that I still haven't tried!

4 College Freshman

Off-Campus Dining: It's pretty expensive, but there are locally owned restaurants everywhere. There are some chain places too.

4 College Sophomore

Off-Campus Dining: Options round the city are numerous and with coupon books they are not badly priced. Transportation is a little difficult due to waiting for a bus to show up. If you have your own vehicle this is a 5 star category.

1 person found this useful Report
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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 91st
    Best Off-Campus Dining Variety
  • 1320th
    Best Off-Campus Dining Cost

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Randy Silver
Hometown
Irvine, California
Major
Environmental Science and Economics
Grad Year
2015
View all previous student authors

Santa Cruz has some great restaurants worth checking out as soon as you get here. For such a small town, there is a variety of flavors and options, and every student has his or her own personal favorites. College students generally like cheap food, and the lowest-priced places in Santa Cruz are the taquerias or pizza joints. Sushi and Thai food are also popular in Santa Cruz, and there are plenty of restaurants to satisfy cravings for these Asian delights. Several good breakfast places are scattered throughout Santa Cruz, with the favorites being Café Brasil and Santa Cruz Diner.

When it comes to off-campus eateries, Santa Cruz has everything from fine dining to stuffing-your-face-with-cheap-food restaurants. There are restaurants with only vegetarian and vegan food, and there are also places that serve hamburger and steak sandwiches. When living in the dorms, eating off campus in Santa Cruz can be a wonderful break from the dining halls. Since the only on-campus food place not affiliated with the school is Joe's Pizza & Subs, going off campus for food is a treat. When friends or family come to visit, walking through downtown Santa Cruz can offer many food places to visit and show the uniqueness of this awesome city.

Facts & Statistics

Student Favorites
  • I Love Sushi
  • Saturn Café
  • Woodstock's
  • Zoccoli's Pasta House
24-Hour Dining
  • Ferrell's Donuts
  • Santa Cruz Diner
  • Saturn Café
Best Asian
Asian Rose Café
Best Breakfast
  • Café Brasil
  • Santa Cruz Diner
Best Coffee
  • The Abbey Coffee Lounge
  • Starbucks
Best Dessert
  • Marianne's Ice Cream
  • The Penny Ice Creamery
Best Healthy
Café Brasil
Best Late-Night
  • Santa Cruz Diner
  • Saturn Café
Best Mexican
Chipotle Mexican Grill
Best Pizza
  • Pizza My Heart
  • Woodstock's Pizza
Best Wings
  • Hindquarter Bar & Grille
  • Wingstop
Best Place to Take a Date
I Love Sushi
Best Place to Take Your Parents
El Palomar
Other Places to Check Out
  • 515 Kitchen & Cocktails
  • Aqua Bleu
  • Aquarius
  • Arby's
  • Bangkok Bistro
  • Betty's Burgers
  • Bittersweet Bistro
  • Burger
  • Burger King
  • Café Campesino
  • Café Gratitude
  • Caffé Bene
  • Caffé Lucio
  • Caffé Pergolesi
  • Catalyst
  • Coffeetopia
  • Cold Stone Creamery
  • The Crow's Nest Restaurant
  • Denny's
  • Domino's Pizza
  • Erik's DeliCafé
  • Fins Coffee
  • Gabriella Café
  • Gilbert's Firefish Grill
  • Golden City
  • Golden Palace
  • Harbor Café
  • Hula's Island Grill
  • Kelly's French Bakery
  • Khyber Pass Restaurant
  • Kianti's Pizza & Pasta Bar
  • Linda's Seabreeze Café
  • Lulu Carpenter's Café
  • Malabar
  • Ninety-Nine Bottles of Beer
  • Nite Owl Cookies
  • Noah's Bagels
  • Ocean City Buffet
  • O'mei
  • Pacific Thai
  • Panda Express
  • Phoenix Asian Restaurant
  • Pleasure Pizza
  • Quiznos
  • Real Thai Kitchen
  • Ristorante Italiano
  • Rosie McCann's Irish Pub & Restaurant
  • Samba Rock Acai Café
  • Santa Cruz Boardwalk
  • Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Co.
  • Shadowbrook Restaurant
  • Sitar Indian Cuisine
  • Subway
  • Sushi Totoro
  • Taco Bell
  • Tam's Restaurant
  • Taqueria Los Pericos
  • Taqueria Santa Cruz
  • Taqueria Vallarta
  • Theo's Restaurant
  • Verve Coffee Roasters
  • Yan Flower
  • Yogizmo Yogurt Company
Did You Know?
Loganberries were first grown in the hills of Santa Cruz by Judge J.H. Logan in the 1880s.

Grocery StoresWhat's This?

Costco
220 Sylvania Ave.
(831) 469-0961
www.costco.com
Monday–Friday 10 a.m.–8:30 p.m., Saturday 9:30 a.m.–6 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Food Bin
1130 Mission St.
(831) 423-5526
Daily 9 a.m.–12 a.m.
New Leaf Community Market
1101 Fair Ave.
(831) 426-1306
www.newleaf.com
Daily 8 a.m.–9 p.m.
Safeway
2203 Mission St.
(831) 420-0785
www.safeway.com
Daily 24 hours
Trader Joe's
700 Front St.
(831) 425-0140
www.traderjoes.com
Daily 8 a.m.–10 p.m.

Restaurant ListingsWhat's This?

The Abbey Coffee Lounge
Food: Coffee/tea
350 Mission St.
Price: $3–$8
Asian Rose Café
Food: Vegetarian
514 Front St.
(831) 458-3023
Price: $8–$15
Benten Japanese Restaurant
Food: Japanese, sushi
1541 Pacific Ave.
(831) 425-7079
Price: $10–$20
Cool Features: Great sushi and very friendly service. It's a great place for impressing parents or even a date.
Café Brasil
Food: Brazilian
1410 Mission St.
(831) 429-1855
www.cafebrasil.us
Price: $10–$15
Casablanca Inn & Bistro
Food: American, Californian
101 Main St.
(831) 426-9063
www.casablanca-santacruz.com
Price: $10–$20
Charlie Hong Kong
Food: Asian
141 Soquel Ave.
(831) 426-5664
www.charliehongkong.com
Price: $5–$10
Chipotle Mexican Grill
Food: Mexican fast food
550 River St.
(831) 295-6582
www.chipotle.com
Price: $5–$10
Chocolate
Food: American Café
1522 Pacific Ave.
(831) 427-9900
www.chocolatesantacruz.com
Price: $5–$10
The Crepe Place
Food: Crepes
1134 Soquel Ave.
(831) 429-6994
thecrepeplace.com
Price: $8–$15
Cool Features: The spinach crepe, Tunisian doughnut, and also has a full bar
El Palomar
Food: Mexican
1336 Pacific Ave.
(831) 425-7575
www.elpalomarcilantros.com
Price: $10–$20
Falafel House
Food: Middle Eastern
113 Walnut Ave.
(831) 459-9770
www.falafelhousesantacruz.com
Price: $5–$10
Ferrell's Donuts
Food: Baked goods
2227 Mission St.
(831) 457-2760
Price: $3–$8
Hindquarter Bar & Grille
Food: American
303 Soquel Ave.
(831) 426-7770
www.thehindquarter.com
Price: $10–$20
Cool Features: A great place to eat delicious steaks and ribs and enjoy a fun atmosphere
I Love Sushi & Tappen
Food: Japanese, sushi
516 Front St.
(831) 421-0706
Price: $10–$20
Cool Features: Great place for college students on a tight budget, popular for birthday parties or large groups and gives many free appetizers
Marianne's Ice Cream
Food: Ice cream
1020 Ocean St.
(831) 458-1447
www.lovemariannes.com
Price: $3–$8
Mobo Sushi
Food: Japanese
105 S. River St.
(831) 425-1700
mobosushirestaurant.com
Price: $10–$25
Oswald Restaurants
Food: American
121 Soquel Ave.
(831) 423-7427
www.oswaldrestaurant.com
Price: $10–$20
The Penny Ice Creamery
Food: Ice cream
913 Cedar St.
(831) 204-2523
www.thepennyicecreamery.com
Price: $3–$8
Pink Godzilla
Food: Japanese
830 41st Ave.
(831) 464-2586
www.pinkgodzilla.com
Price: $8–$15
Pizza My Heart
Food: Pizza
1116 Pacific Ave.
(831) 426-2511
pizzamyheart.com
Price: $10–$30
Planet Fresh Gourmet Burritos
Food: Mexican
1003 Cedar St.
(831) 423-9799
Price: $10–$20
Restaurante Los Pinos
Food: Mexican
2019 N. Pacific Ave.
(831) 425-2554
Price: $5–$10
Riva Fish House
Food: Asian
31 Municipal Wharf
(831) 429-1223
Price: $10–$20
Royal Taj
Food: Indian
270 Soquel Ave.
(831) 427-2400
www.royaltajsc.com
Price: $8–$15
Sabieng Thai
Food: Thai
1218 Mission St.
(831) 425-1020
sabiengthaionline.com
Price: $5–$10
Santa Cruz Diner
Food: American
909 Ocean St.
(831) 426-7151
www.santacruzdiner.com
Price: $5–$10
Saturn Café
Food: Vegetarian
145 Laurel St.
(831) 429-8505
www.saturncafe.com
Price: $5–$10
Shogun Japanese Restaurant
Food: Sushi
1123 Pacific Ave.
(831) 469-4477
Price: $8–$15
Starbucks
Food: Coffee/tea
2203 Mission St.
(831) 420-0781
www.starbucks.com
Price: $3–$8
Surfrider Café
Food: American
429 Front St.
(831) 713-5258
www.surfridercafe.net
Price: $10–$20
Cool Features: Popular for its "Hook" burger and American-style dining. It's a great option for vegetarians, as well.
Thai House
Food: Thai
353 Soquel Ave.
(831) 458-3546
Price: $8–$15
Walnut Avenue Café
Food: American
106 Walnut Ave.
(831) 457-2307
www.walnutavenuecafe.com
Price: $5–$10
Wingstop
Food: American, wings
845 Almar Ave.
(831) 454-9464
www.wingstop.com
Price: $8–$15
Woodstock's Pizza
Food: Pizza
710 Front St.
(831) 427-4444
www.woodstockscruz.com
Price: $10–$25
Cool Features: Fun upbeat place for college students, Wednesday Pint Night and Thursday Trivia Night
Zachary's Restaurant
Food: American
819 Pacific Ave.
(831) 427-0646
Price: $5–$10
Zoccoli's Delicatessen
Food: Italian deli
1534 Pacific Ave.
(831) 423-1711
www.zoccolis.com
Price: $5–$10

Student Polls

Rate the off-campus restaurants on the following topics    Based on 124 responses

Very poor
Excellent
  • Cost
  • Convenience
  • Healthy/organic options
  • Late-night options
  • Quality
  • Student discounts
  • Variety/number of options
  • Vegetarian/vegan options

How would you rate the diversity of off-campus dining options?    Based on 151 responses

  • 7% An endless repetition of the same few places.
  • 2% Mostly just chain restaurants and fast food.
  • 42% Enough variety to keep things interesting.
  • 50% A nice variety of local spots and ethnic cuisine.
4
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