Eating Healthy in Santa Cruz, CA

Santa Cruz, California, a coastal paradise that not only offers stunning natural beauty but also a thriving food scene dedicated to healthy and organic eating. Check out our selected restaurants that meet our stringent criteria.

Café Gratitude

103 Lincoln Street
Santa Cruz, California 95060

This farm-to-table vegan restaurant offers a menu made entirely in house, from scratch, using the finest seasonal and 100% organic ingredients. Menu items include Wellness Shots, Smoothies, fresh juices, appetizers, salads, bowls, and plated entrees such as Two Coin Tacos (roasted seasonal vegetables, black beans, brown rice, salsa verde and spicy chipotle cashew cheese served with cashew-sunflower Caesar side salad); Black Bean Burger (house-made burger of sesame seed bun with lettuce, onion, tomato, pickles and choice of spicy chipotle cashew cheese or mild almond-cashew ricotta, served with fig balsamic side salad); and Hummus Avocado Sandwich (house-made roasted red bell pepper hummus with avocado, carrot, onion, and sprouts on Companion Bakeshop’s sliced sourdough served with fig balsamic side salad).

Windmill Café

2123 East Cliff Drive
Santa Cruz, California 95062

Located between Twin Lakes Beach and Santa Cruz Harbor, the Windmill Café is open for breakfast and lunch. Menu items include Sauteed Veggie Croissant (sauteed vegetables and egg in a toasted croissant topped with Sheep’s milk feta and dill mustard sauce); Thai Coconut Curry (assorted organic vegetables in a gluten-free Thai green coconut curry sauce and organic brown rice); and Asian Salmon (stir fried organic vegetables and seared wild salmon in a gluten-free sauce, organic brown and black rice).

Gabriella Café

910 Cedar Street
Santa Cruz, California 95060

Called “the town’s most romantic spot” by Sunset Magazine, Gabriella is open for lunch/brunch and dinner. Menu items include Salmon Lox (open faced toasted focaccia, caper cream cheese, arugula, red onion, avocado, balsamic reduction & small salad); Vegetable Panini (with spinach pesto, piquillo peppers, caramelized onions, mushrooms & goat cheese on homemade focaccia & small salad); Gnocchi (arugula, market vegetables, tomato sauce, red onions, kalamata olives & Reggiano); Butternut Squash Ravioli (apples, pepitas, sage, butternut squash, brown butter, truffle honey & goat cheese); and Truffle Mushroom Ravioli (spinach, piquillo peppers, & truffle cream sauce).

Café Sparrow

8042 Soquel Drive
Santa Cruz, California 95003

Located in Aptos Village, Café Sparrow is open for lunch and dinner. Menu items include the Aptos Reuben (corned beef, sauerkraut, gruyere & whole grain mustard on grilled rye bread); Chicken Palermo (breast of chicken marinated in olive oil, garlic & parsley, grilled with an herbed crust & served on a francese bun with roasted red bell pepper pesto & mayo, garnished with lettuce, tomato); and for dinner, New Zealand Rack of Lamb (oven roasted rack of lamb with an herbed dijon mustard crust, served with a choice of brandied cherry demi glace, rich red wine mint sauce or shallot bordelaise); and Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna (with chili soy dipping sauce & wasabi).

Avanti Restaurant

1917 Mission Street
Santa Cruz, California 95060

This farm-to-table restaurant serves organic vegetables, sustainable seafood, pasture-raised meats and poultry, organic milk, butter, and eggs, locally roasted coffee, and house-made desserts. Menu items include Chicken Fusilli (with pancetta, tomato, spinach, garlic, and Parmigiano-Reggiano); Garden Pasta (fusilli with fresh vegetables and olive oil); Seafood Linguine Puttanesca (with prawns, calamari, fish, tomatoes, olives, and capers); and Grass-fed Beef Tenderloin (with garlic and rosemary, potatoes au gratin, summer squash and tomato).

Discover more outstanding restaurants in the Santa Monica area or wherever you may be! Check out The Templeton List.

Eating Healthy in Santa Cruz, CA

About The Templeton List

Created by James Templeton, a 30+ year Stage 4 Melanoma cancer survivor, the Templeton List and restaurant guide is part of his lifelong dream to give back and lend a helping hand to cancer survivors and to anyone desiring to increase or maintain their good health. James experienced first-hand the challenge of finding quality restaurants and food sources when traveling.

The successful CEO of Uni-Key Health Systems and founder of the Templeton Wellness Foundation, James developed The Templeton List to help anyone easily find trust-worthy, vetted healthy restaurants all across America. Read more about our 5 Star Rating System here!

You can read about James’ personal journey as a cancer survivor in his best-selling book, I Used To Have Cancer. For more information about The Templeton Wellness Foundation, visit You’ll find inspiring stories of other cancer survivors along with video interviews with top experts from around the world in the integrative and functional medicine arena as they bring the latest leading-edge health and healing information to the holistic treatment and prevention of cancer.