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“Good Food”
Review of Surfrider Cafe

Surfrider Cafe
Ranked #26 of 377 Restaurants in Santa Cruz
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: American
Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Reviewed February 27, 2012

I have been driving past this location and finally decided to stop for lunch. Glad I did. Had the turkey, mushroom and pesto sandwich. Yummy

1  Thank IrishGlamgram
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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129 - 133 of 145 reviews

Reviewed February 1, 2012

by either the beer or the food ........
(service was good, tho !)

We wanted to lunch at a brewery downtown, so Surfrider Cafe it was ......

I do like the fact that you can have a sandwich without the fries or other side; it's $2 for fries, salad or soup or $2.50 (I think) for the onion rings. I should have skipped the fries, but they were pretty tasty - nice and crispy .....

My husband ordered two beers, a porter and a stout. He wasn't too impressed by either as being flavorful. The stromboli sandwich looked light on the innards (meats). The clam chowder had good bits of clams; not overwhelmed by potatoes and he was struck by the quantity of carrots ......

The fish cake sandwich wasn't too bad, The cake fit the roll nicely.

I think that the reason for the average rating - it still seemed a bit expensive, even without the sides. The food was decent, but not outstanding, as were the beers. Nothng negative to say ........

The food menu is pretty extensive, as is the beer menu; perhaps they both might be for to another person's liking.

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Thank JKD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2012

We were on a quest for a bread-bowl of clam chowder and had our quest fulfilled here at a late evening meal after traipsing the streets of Santa Cruz just before Christmas doing some window shopping and last minute gift buying. 3 of us enjoyed the chowder while I enjoyed a veggie burger and beer which were delicious. The service was efficient and friendly. The ambiance was basic neighborhood friendly and while we are not from here we felt welcome. If you're looking for a solid meal at a reasonable price, look no further. aloha

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Thank arebow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 19, 2011

We found this by accident but it was great. Food was excellent ,casual atmosphere and prices very reasonable. Would highly recommend.

1  Thank denacat5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 11, 2011

It's hard to eat healthily & well on vacation. Unless you're in Santa Cruz. I had recently started on a no-junk diet before my vacation, & was worried about having to live on bad frozen seafood & crabcakes at the greasy tourist-trap restaurants on the Wharf for a week. But I found a flag for Surfrider Cafe on one of my Google Maps search-results for downtown, and the lead review said "healthy lunch at good prices", so I made a beeline for it.

Surfrider is located just down Front Street from the spa where I had just gotten my vacation massage (Tonic Spa, recommended btw!), and it is an easy walk coming from the Beach area. It's tucked cozily into a corner with other shops & restaurants, and it has a ramshackle Locals Only kind of vibe. SO laid-back, in fact, that service was extremely slow and spotty. It was late afternoon, postlunch, so there was only 1 girl on duty doing everything. She was pleasant enough; just not present enough. Luckily I was in relaxed mode and didn't mind the wait-- the atmosphere is beachy and relaxed, and there's entertaining surf memorabilia on the walls. And, to keep you occupied, they thoughtfully provide a whole box of Trivial Pursuit cards at each table, which you WILL find yourself unable to stop reading!

The food was worth the wait. The menu mentions specifically when ingredients are locally sourced and/or organic, but it looked to me like ALL the ingredients were fabulous to start with. Normally, you pay big bucks for local and/or organic sourcing at restaurants, but Surfrider's prices were still neighborhood-cafe-cheap. (Coming from San Francisco, I felt a little dizzy looking at such prices. ^^) I started with a small green salad, which came on a cheap kitchen plate just like Mom's, and which would have been a humble thing if it weren't for these blindingy gorgeous veg-- sugar-sweet heirloom cherry tomatoes, fresh cucumber, peppery greens. California bounty!

And since I'd read in reviews that the portion sizes were huge, I opted for the appetizer of 3 fish tacos-- locally sourced tilapia that had been flash-fried crispy with no batter. It came sizzled-fresh, on 3 fragrant corn tortillas, with salsa fresca and guacamole, and it was just the perfect lunch. Because I am not usually a fan of fish tacos at all, I surprised myself by falling in love with this dish at the Surfrider, and by STILL thinking about it now & then.

It took awhile to get my check and pay so I could leave, as per the aforementioned ghostly service. But I occupied my time by finding the bathroom, which was located through the bar and outside the building. (Note to anyone who was hoping for a luxurious in-house loo. ^^)

I would definitely come back to the Surfrider again-- in fact, it was all I could do NOT to eat lunch there on every day of my vacation, so I could give other restaurants a chance. Santa Cruz is full of great little off-the-tour-guide gems where you can eat healthily and feel like a local. I got a good vibe from this place.

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1  Thank JRuocco29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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