Romance abounds in the San Francisco Bay area of California. Planning a romantic evening out complete with wine, roses and love doesn’t get any better than in the quaint seaside village of Capitola, about an hour south on Highway One from the city of San Francisco. While not as well known as some of its neighboring cities such as Santa Cruz–Capitola offers hidden romantic world class dining for that special night out, each with its own unique ambience.
First on the list is the Crow’s Nest. Located in the harbor, this seaside restaurant offers indoor dining with coastal views. They also have heated patio where you are able to watch the fishing boats come in after a long day in the Pacific or relish in the beauty of a coastal sunset complete with sailboats breezing by.
The dinner menu offers fresh salad, creamy clam chowder, artichoke dip, and Tomato Basil Crostini for starters. Afterward there is a selection of fresh seafood such as Salmon and Sea Scallops. For the beef lover you may want to delight your palate with Herb-Crusted Filet Mignon, a house favorite.
If you really want to impress your date, contact the staff ahead of time and arrange a full service dining experience right on the sand. While this service can serve up to 250 people (making it a good choice for your wedding reception) there is no rule that it can’t be just the two of you with your toes in the sand, the sea breeze in your face, and the sound of the waves crashing just a few feet from you. You can even have live music to dance the night away. To request a private beach barbecue, call the banquet manager.
Address: Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor, 2218 East Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, CA 95062
Phone: (831) 476-4560
Next on the list is Bella Roma Café for authentic Italian food, prepared traditionally, and served in a romantic atmosphere reminiscent of a classic Italian villa. Bella Roma Cafe owner, Gaetano Balsamo, is also head chef. He takes great pains to serve the highest quality organic Italian cuisine. Most of their produce comes from locally owned organic farms in the Santa Cruz area, while specialty items may even come from as far away as Italy.
To start your meal off with tantalizing delights, try one of their antipasti’s such as Grilled eggplants marinated in balsamic vinegar with melted Gorgonzola cheese. Then you can delve into specials such as Linguine Tutto Mare or Tortelloni alla Buscaiola. Don’t forget to order a perfectly paired glass of wine with your dinner from their impressive collection.
If you want the ambience of sitting in a seaside café in Italy, Bella Roma offers more than fine dining. Call ahead and arrange for a rose at your table or a personal photo taken to remember your celebration. As an added bonus, if you are on a lover’s budget, they have early bird specials offering a buy one- get one at half price pasta special. Early bird dining is available from 5pm to 6pm Sunday through Thursday.
Bella Roma is located right in the village of Capitola where you can take a long romantic stroll on the beach after your meal, wander up the streets enjoying the unique gift shops in the village, and then make your way out to the Capitola Wharf.
Address: 316 Capitola Ave., Capitola, CA
Phone: 831 464-2608
The final selection for your romantic dinner in Capitola is the famous Shadowbrook. Park in the upper parking lots and walk to the entrance of one of the most unique features of this restaurant: a cable car elevator. After the ride to the top of the restaurant, you step into a collection of intimate rooms, overlooking Soquel Creek, with fern-lined paths, gardens, waterfalls, and trees growing right in your view. You feel as if you are in a secret garden hideaway. The Shadowbrook has been the number one romantic favorite for over a half a century in Santa Cruz County.
The menu offerings have something for everyone: Grilled Tofu Soba for the vegan, Sushi grade Tuna for a lighter fare, and tender, melt in your mouth steaks for the hearty beef eaters. Before you dive into your entrée, try one of their delicious appetizers of Baked Brie or Panko Crusted Ahi. Add a steaming bowl of Butternut Squash soup. And for dessert, try their creamy Crème Brulee or if you are feeling particularly devilish, go for the famous Shadowbrook Chocolate Meltdown.
Address: 1750 Wharf Road, Capitola-by-the-Sea, California 95010
Phone: 800-975-1511 or 831-475-1511
With each of these three romantic restaurants in Capitola, it is highly recommended that you place a reservation. For the Shadowbrook, it is possible they are booked more than a month in advance, so make your reservation early. The attire for the Crows Nest and Café Bella Roma is casual to dressy, and the Shadowbrook is dressy casual to dressy (no shorts or beachwear). Each venue offers generous portions and a range of moderate prices.
An evening of romantic dining is easy in Capitola, California. The hard part will be deciding which of these three best romantic restaurants in Capitola to choose from: The Crow’s Nest,Café Bella Roma, orthe Shadowbrook. Whichever you choose, your date will be impressed with your choice. It will truly be a night to remember.