We went to Ristoranti Avanti last night: it was excellent. We rarely go out to eat in Santa Cruz, we eat better and cheaper at home for the most part. But we had an occasion that required someone else wash the dishes...
S.O. had the ribs: they were on special and they were the best I've ever had: meaty, crispy, lemony, YUM.
The Bruchetta (sp?) with fava, avocado and crab was generous and tasty.
My salmon on green bean/crab/sundried tomato edifice was perfectly cooked, (I like salmon a bit more raw in the middle, but their prep. would have made a larger number of folks happy, it wasn't overcooked).
Dessert: ice cream sandwiches: huge portions (we should have ordered only one!): rich, crunchy chocolate cookies with vanilla gelato in between. I'm skipping breakfast and lunch today for pennace for eating the whole thing...
We also had the Spanish Red flight of wines, I like to taste wines more than drink them.
Ristorante Avanti isn't the fanciest restaurant in town, it was filled on a Monday night with locals and others: it's a great trattoria/Italian restaurant.
I highly recommend this place! It's on Water St. not far from Bay ave. in a strip mall.