One night, one week, or a month, the Santa Cruz Mountains and the surrounding cities, invite you to stay, eat, drink and explore this world famous destination.
The Santa Cruz Mountains is known as a premier wine and food destination for the Silicon Valley and Santa Cruz. The region is home to more than 425 exciting restaurants and home to some award winning Michelin star restaurants. Here is where the farm-to-table culinary scene meets the creativity of some of the Bay Area’s best chefs, resulting in a wide range of culinary adventures.
Whether you’re seeking an in-town hotel close to night life and dining, a luxurious spa getaway, or the peaceful calm of a remote vineyard setting or the sound of the ocean, you’ll find a warm, gracious welcome from any one of our quaint villages or cities, including Los Gatos, Saratoga, San Jose, Half Moon Bay, Palo Alto, Campbell, Aptos, Capitola, or Santa Cruz.
Originally from the Italian coastal town of Sestri Levante, the Olivieri family came to California in the 1950’s and opened their first “stand” next to the Santa Cruz Wharf. Aldo fished while his wife Inez ran their business selling pizza, candied apples and other fresh fare. Their young sons Mauro and Walter helped out, with Mauro just old enough to park cars on the Beach Street Hill.
The operation grew, a pancake house on Portola Avenue followed. Aldo still fished, but found time to make fresh pasta and gnocchi each weekend — with recipes used by the family to this day. The family recognized the opportunity at the Santa Cruz Harbor and negotiated the Harbor’s first lease in 1962, opening a bait and tackle shop. The following year the family opened the Aldo’s Harbor House Restaurant where the Crow’s Nest stands today. Moving to what is now the West Harbor, the operation became a restaurant in 1977.
Mauro, in the meantime, grew up, married Nori, and worked in San Francisco until moving back to Santa Cruz in 1980. Walter ran Aldo’s from its inception until he retired in 2003. The locals still call the adjacent beach Buffalo Beach, named after Walter’s German Shepherd dog.
Today, Mauro and Nori’s son John along with general manager Alfredo Servin have taken over active operation of Aldo’s Harbor Restaurant, with Mauro in the position of family patriarch once occupied by his dad. Recently renovated, the restaurant retains its original look and feel, but now patrons enjoy Aldo’s all year long. Known for its Eggs Benedict, calamari, fresh salmon, and exquisite ocean view, the restaurant accommodates its loyal patrons seven days a week.
Aquarius is a Santa Cruz restaurant offering the best in oceanfront dining and is locally renowned as one of Santa Cruz’s top dining destinations. Located just off the beach in Santa Cruz, the restaurant is truly a “window box on the sea” allowing guests to experience views of the Santa Cruz oceanfront. The cool and breezy interior is especially romantic at night when the moon casts its glow onto the sea. Our creative American cuisine is inspired by fresh and local products and produce, including local sustainable seafood, complemented by a regional wine list. Aquarius is a proud supporter of FishWatch program, promoting sustainable seafood and clean oceans.