At Cafe Cruz (2621 41st Ave., Soquel, 831/476-3801, www.cafecruz.com , Mon.–Sat. 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m., daily 5:30 p.m.–close, $16–30), the menu runs toward homey American favorites done up with a California twist (ribs, rotisserie chicken, bowls of pasta, and crunchy fresh salads).
Cafe Cruz purchases the freshest local produce, meats, seafood, and even drinks they can find. You can munch locally caught fish with goat cheese from Half Moon Bay  and an organic soda from Monterey .
The attractive white-tablecloth dining room welcomes casual and elegant diners alike, and if you choose wisely you can get an upscale meal for medium-scale prices.