The Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco

The 8 Best Lunch Spots Near Santa Cruz

Updated: May 2, 2022

These cafes, food trucks, and restaurants make lunchtime our favorite time in Santa Cruz! We analyzed the top blogs, restaurant review sites, and food publications to find the best lunches in Santa Cruz. If you need quick service tacos or you have time for a sit-down buffet you will find your next lunch spot here!

Find the perfect place

Hula's Island Grill and Tiki Room

American, $$, Santa CruzAmerican, $$Santa Cruz
Google: 4.4
Yelp: 4.0

Back Nine Grill & Bar

American, $$, Santa CruzAmerican, $$Santa Cruz
Google: 4.3
Yelp: 4.0

Erik's DeliCafé

$, Santa Cruz$Santa Cruz
Google: 4.3
Yelp: 3.5

Upper Crust Pizza & Pasta

Pizza, $, Santa CruzPizza, $Santa Cruz
Google: 4.3
Yelp: 3.0

If you travel further

The Redwood Sandwich

$, Scotts Valley$Scotts Valley
Google: 4.6
Yelp: 4.5

Pretty Good Advice

American, $, SoquelAmerican, $Soquel
Google: 4.6
Yelp: 4.5


New American, $$, SoquelNew American, $$Soquel
Google: 4.6
Yelp: 4.5

Heavenly Roadside Cafe

Tea & Coffee, $$, Scotts ValleyTea & Coffee, $$Scotts Valley
Google: 4.5
Yelp: 4.0

How did we curate these results?

Figuring out the best restaurants can take a long time. We pored over ratings for 28999 restaurants on Yelp and Google, 3104661 restaurant reviews in Santa Cruz and 2955 top lists and articles. We paid extra attention to what had to say, and applied our boam magic sauce. These spots have been featured in . Our engine uses real-time data to only show restaurants that are open and their available services, so you can stay safe on your terms. Nobody paid to get on this list, these restaurants earned their spots fair and square. We don’t recommend restaurants lightly, these 10 are really something special.


Pearl of the Ocean is the highest-rated vegan-friendly lunch spot in Santa Cruz.

Oyunaa's Mongolian Cuisine, Silver Spur, and Mozaic are the highest-rated lunch spots for a pick up meal in Santa Cruz.

Oyunaa's Mongolian Cuisine, Silver Spur, and Mozaic are lunch restaurants with outdoor seating in Santa Cruz.

Oyunaa's Mongolian Cuisine, Silver Spur, and Mozaic are the highest-rated lunch restaurants for a quick lunch in Santa Cruz.

Mozaic, Malabar Restaurant, and Back Nine Grill & Bar are the highest-rated lunch restaurants for delivery in Santa Cruz.

Drink pairing tips

  • Cilantro Chile Cooler and banh mi

    When considering how to best enjoy your banh mi, we would highlight how well a glass of Cilantro Chile Cooler complements the dish as it cuts through the fattiness of the sandwich.

  • The perfect match for your grilled fish steak

    Experts recommend pairing a grilled fish steak with a glass of Prosecco, a popular sparkling wine.

  • Enjoy banh mi with Kabinett

    For an elevated experience, pair your banh mi with Kabinett. This combination works particularly well because this white wine cools the jalapeno with the sweetness of the wine.

Interesting facts

  • A day for barbeque-lovers

    Love barbeque? So do people in The United States. The country celebrates National Barbeque Day every year on July 4.

  • Wallet breaking hamburger

    The hamburger which costs $5,000, can be ordered at the Juicys Outlaw Gril.

  • The first ever hot pot

    Where does hot pot come from? Mongolia and the creator was Mongols.

Parking information

Nobody likes to circle around the block looking for parking, especially if you’re hungry or in a rush. We’ve partnered with SpotHero, a digital parking reservation system to help make finding parking in Santa Cruz quick and easy.

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