Patch Picks: Top Five Esplanade Restaurants

As voted on by you, here are the best restaurants by the water in Capitola.

On Monday, we asked for your opinion on the best restaurants on the Esplanade in . Based on your votes, we have compiled this week's "Patch Picks." 

To be fair, after the top two responses, the field was very close, so number five on the list is a batch of honorable mentions. 

Do you agree with the list? This is a town of food lovers, so we know you've got opinions. Share them in the comments!

This mid-Esplanade staple won the poll by a mile, garnering 51 percent of the vote, and understandably so. Along with Stockton Beach Grille, Paradise offers the fine-dining experience that is otherwise lacking on the laid back waterfront row. With that, of course, comes higher prices than can be found most anywhere else in Capitola Village. Our recommendation: Haleakala Lava Flow Prawns or Angus Natural Flat Iron Steak.

After Paradise, Stockton Bridge Grille is certainly the second half of the Esplanade's one-two punch. The food is highly-rated, although perhaps not as consistently as that of Paradise. The one clear advantage it has to any other Village restaurant is the guarantee of spectacular ocean views from anywhere in the house. Stockton Bridge Grille offers small plates, separating the fare from Paradise a bit. Our recommendation: New England Clam Chowder or Curry Chicken Apple Quesadilla. Until Oct. 12, Stockton Bridge Grille is participating in Santa Cruz Restaurant Week. To see their three-course menu options, . 

The best thing about this Mexican joint is the pricing. For basic dishes, it's easy to get a meal under $10. Their more extravagant dishes, many seafood based, take a bit more out of your wallet. Tuesday night at El Toro Bravo is taco night, great for families coming off the beach to eat for $7 apiece. Our recommendation: Carne Asada Tacos or Tacos al Pastor.

Zelda's is all about convenience. They have a huge menu with food that will satisfy any age. Nothing is refined or over-the-top fancy by any means, but it's all got plenty of flavor and will get you from hungry to full. The huge beach patio is great for big groups, too. Our recommendation: Happy Hour, Monday through Friday, 2:30 - 5:30 p.m., $1.99 house margaritas.

5. Honorable Mentions: , ,  
The bottom line here is that there just aren't many, if any, bad options on the Esplanade. After a day on the beach, there is almost any kind of food you could ask for within walking distance. 


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