It seems that sometimes Santa Cruz has been getting a bad rap as far as dining goes. I have lived in SC for 6 years now and have found the food here to be quite good. It really depends on what you are looking for. There are really only one or two good Chinese restaurants (O'mei being one that does get much deserved recognition). There are plenty of Thai places that are good. Steer clear of Thai house though. Even though it continually wins the award of one of the local papers, it is not as good as Sabieng or Star of Siam. Japanese food is decent. Better can be found nearby in San Jose and of course San Francisco. The best choices are Mobo, Pink Godzilla, and Takara. There is sadly no Korean Barbecue, and only one Indian place, Royal Taj. It is pretty good. Definitely try the new Afghani restaurant, Pawarna. It is really good and not very pricey. There are many good taquerias. Locals debate between Vallarta and Morenos and both are good. Rosa's in the harbor used to be great for Mexican/seafood, but it is under new ownership and I have not yet tried it. Italian in SC is pretty good, but can't really compare to North Beach in SF. Ciao Bella and Al Dente combine good Italian food with wild atmosphere. Zocollis is a great Italian deli downtown with really good sandwiches. For breakfasts, Walnut Avenue Cafe, Zachary's and Cafe Brasil are all good, the latter being a great change of pace. Ice cream: the debate rages on between Polar Bear and Marianne's. I prefer Polar Bear. Santa Cruz's strongest cuisine though, would have to be its seafood/california/fusion/bistro type food. There are tons of good places around. My favorites in order are Bittersweet Bistro, Ostrich Grill, Clouds Downtown, Pearl Alley Bistro, Gabriella's, Shadowbrook(best atmosphere), Paradise Grill. There are more, but thats plenty. If you happen to still be reading, thanks, but go try out some restaurants.