[[ This post was split from http://chowhound.com/topics/show/305244 -- The Chowhound Team ]]
Well, after some time lurking, this thread sucks me in. (Live in Aptos but work in Scotts Valley.)
The Viet place was where Yamamori is now. It was awful. (Although I will feel eternal gratitude to the wait person there who told us that if we really wanted good Vietnamese food we must go to Vung Tau.)
Yamamori was definitely a welcome addition to what is basically a culinary wasteland. However, even better is the newly opened (about 6 weeks ago) Rumblefish down Scotts Valley Blvd. at what used to be Aoi. Great straight-ahead sushi and an impressive selection of unusual (even for Santa Cruz) rolls. Even the edamame, for reasons I've never been able to articulate, taste better than others in Santa Cruz. (I'll try to remember to take pictures next time I'm there.)
Bruno's is not bad (again for Santa Cruz, which is not exactly a BBQ town). Good ribs. Really good horseradish-laced cole slaw.
Haven't been to Auntie Mame's for ages and Heavenly Cafe has always struck me as kind of "eh." Certainly not bad, but nothing to really recommend it either. On the other hand, for basic fare, including good breakfasts, Mollie's Country Cafe can't be beat (in Scotts Valley, anyway).
Malone's is a combination bar and restaurant that's popular with the business crowd at lunch (no idea what it's like at dinner). Good sandwiches and salads and great marinated skirt steak. They have a nice outdoor dining area that's pleasant in spring and summer.
That's pretty much the best of admittedly slim pickings.