The Five Best Restaurants in Capitola

Capitola, California, is renowned for its eclectic and vibrant dining scene that caters to a wide array of culinary preferences. From the romantic, historic ambiance of Shadowbrook Restaurant to the casual, beachfront charm of Paradise Beach Grille and Zelda’s On The Beach, the town offers a diverse range of dining experiences. If you’re looking to discover the five best restaurants in Capitola, keep reading!

Food enthusiasts visiting Capitola can savor everything from freshly baked goods at Gayle’s Bakery & Rosticceria to sophisticated wine and cheese pairings at Cantine Winepub.  For those seeking a festive atmosphere, Margaritaville and The Sand Bar provide lively environments alongside delicious Mexican and classic American bar fare. Upscale dining options like Stockton Bridge Grille offer refined culinary experiences, while East End Gastropub and Pizza My Heart cater to the casual diner with innovative gastropub delights and California-style pizzas. This rich mix of culinary establishments, set against the backdrop of Capitola’s scenic beauty and laid-back coastal vibe, makes the town a must-visit destination for food lovers and casual diners alike.

Shadowbrook Restaurant

Shadowbrook is a true culinary gem, renowned for its exceptional dining experience. Nestled on the banks of Soquel Creek, it is famous for its picturesque setting, complete with lush gardens and a charming cable car that transports guests down the hillside to the entrance. The restaurant offers a warm, romantic ambiance, enhanced by its dim lighting and cozy fireplaces, making it an ideal spot for special occasions and intimate dinners. The menu at Shadowbrook is a testament to classic American cuisine, featuring a variety of seafood, steak, and vegetarian options, all meticulously prepared and presented. The combination of its enchanting atmosphere, superb service, and delectable cuisine has established Shadowbrook as a landmark dining destination in Capitola, beloved by both locals and visitors alike.

  • Address: 1750 Wharf Rd, Capitola, CA 95010
  • Menu: Known for its American cuisine, Shadowbrook offers a variety of seafood, steaks, and vegetarian options.
  • Price Range: $$$
  • Ambience: This restaurant boasts a unique, romantic atmosphere with a cable car access and lush garden surroundings.
  • Popularity: Famous for its scenic location and historic charm, it’s a favorite for special occasions and fine dining experiences.
Shadowbrook Capitola

Shadowbrook Capitola

Gayle’s Bakery & Rosticceria

Gayle’s Bakery in Capitola, California, is a beloved culinary institution, celebrated for its delightful array of baked goods and hearty, homemade fare. Located at 504 Bay Avenue, this bustling bakery and rosticceria is a hub of community activity, where locals and visitors alike flock to savor the freshly baked bread, pastries, and an impressive selection of sandwiches, salads, and hot entrees. Known for its commitment to quality and use of locally sourced ingredients, Gayle’s offers a menu that combines comfort with sophistication. The atmosphere is casual and inviting, with a warm, family-friendly vibe that makes every visit feel like a trip to an old friend’s home. Its reputation for consistent quality and a wide variety of choices, from sweet treats to savory meals, has made Gayle’s Bakery a must-visit spot in Capitola for anyone looking for a satisfying and delicious dining experience.

  • Address: 504 Bay Ave, Capitola, CA 95010
  • Menu: Offers a wide selection of baked goods, sandwiches, salads, and hot entrees, with a focus on fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
  • Price Range: $-$$
  • Ambience: Casual and bustling, with a cozy, family-friendly vibe.
  • Popularity: Known for its delicious baked goods and casual dining, it’s a local favorite for both residents and tourists.
Gayles Bakery and Rosticceria

Gayles Bakery and Rosticceria

Paradise Beach Grille

Paradise Beach Grille offers a quintessential Californian dining experience with its stunning beachfront location and a menu that showcases the best of local cuisine. Specializing in fresh seafood, steaks, and a variety of Californian dishes, the restaurant provides a diverse range of options that cater to various tastes. The ambience at Paradise Beach Grille is relaxed and inviting, featuring an elegant yet laid-back setting where guests can enjoy the spectacular views of the ocean and Capitola Beach. This establishment is a favorite among both locals and visitors, not just for its delicious food but also for its prime location, making it the perfect spot to enjoy a leisurely meal while watching the sunset or observing the lively beach scene. Paradise Beach Grille’s combination of exceptional food, serene atmosphere, and picturesque views makes it a must-visit destination for anyone looking to savor the essence of coastal dining in Capitola.

  • Address: 215 Esplanade, Capitola, CA 95010
  • Menu: Features a diverse menu with a focus on Californian cuisine, including fresh seafood, pasta, and steaks.
  • Price Range: $$-$$$
  • Ambience: Offers a relaxed, beachfront dining experience with stunning views of the ocean.
  • Popularity: Its location and quality of food make it a go-to spot for beachgoers and those seeking a meal with a view.
Paradise Beach Grill in Capitola

Paradise Beach Grill in Capitola


Margaritaville stands out as a vibrant and lively dining destination, perfectly capturing the laid-back, beachside spirit of the area. Situated at 231 Esplanade, this restaurant offers a refreshing blend of Mexican cuisine and seafood, with a menu that boasts a variety of flavorful dishes designed to complement the coastal setting. The atmosphere at Margaritaville is distinctly festive and colorful, often enhanced by live music and the cheerful buzz of locals and tourists enjoying the scenic ocean views. It’s a place where the casual ambiance is as much a draw as the food, making it an ideal spot for those looking to unwind and indulge in a fun, relaxing meal. Margaritaville’s combination of tasty cuisine, lively entertainment, and stunning location on the Capitola beachfront makes it a popular choice for anyone seeking a true taste of California’s coastal lifestyle.

  • Address: 231 Esplanade, Capitola, CA 95010
  • Menu: Offers a variety of Mexican and seafood dishes, with a focus on fresh, flavorful ingredients.
  • Price Range: $$-$$$
  • Ambience: Beach-themed decor with a lively, fun environment, often featuring live music.
  • Popularity: Popular for its vibrant atmosphere and scenic ocean views, it’s a great spot for both locals and tourists looking for a festive dining experience.
Margaritaville in Capitola

Margaritaville in Capitola

East End Gastropub

The East End Gastropub is a contemporary culinary delight, blending the casual comfort of a traditional pub with a touch of modern gastronomy. Located at 1501 41st Avenue, this gastropub is a favorite among locals and visitors for its innovative approach to cuisine, offering a menu that features gourmet burgers, artisanal pizzas, and a variety of creative appetizers and entrees. The ambience is trendy yet relaxed, creating a perfect setting for both casual diners and food enthusiasts. East End Gastropub is also known for its impressive selection of craft beers and artisanal cocktails, making it a popular spot for those looking to enjoy a sophisticated yet laid-back drinking and dining experience. The combination of its inventive menu, stylish atmosphere, and friendly service makes East End Gastropub a standout choice for anyone seeking a unique and enjoyable dining experience in Capitola.

  • Address: 1501 41st Ave, Capitola, CA 95010
  • Menu: East End Gastropub specializes in a fusion of classic pub fare with a modern twist. Their menu typically features a variety of gourmet burgers, artisanal pizzas, and creative appetizers, along with a selection of salads and entrees.
  • Price Range: $$-$$$
  • Ambience: The gastropub offers a contemporary and casual dining atmosphere, often described as both trendy and relaxed. It’s a place where diners can enjoy a laid-back meal in a stylish setting.
  • Popularity: Its popularity stems from its innovative culinary approach, combining comfort food with a gourmet edge. The restaurant is also known for its excellent selection of craft beers and cocktails, making it a favorite among both foodies and those looking to enjoy a casual drink with friends.
East End Gastropub Capitola

East End Gastropub Capitola

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