Best Breakfast in Santa Cruz

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Clean Plate Club

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Between swimming in the gorgeous beaches, exploring the city’s vibrant art scene, or touring historical sites, there’s a lot to do in Santa Cruz. And what better way to power up than with the most important meal of the day? No one wants to struggle to decide where to eat in the morning, and so we’ve got the best curated list of places that are sure to satisfy any breakfast craving.

Feature image: Courtesy of Harbor Cafe

Santa Cruz

Harbor Cafe_breakfast_SantaCruz_1200X900_official website_PartyatHarbor@gmail_com
Photo: Courtesy of Harbor Cafe

With fresh produce delivered daily and a location within spitting distance of Twin Lakes State Beach, it’s no surprise that Harbor Cafe has a loyal crowd of patrons. Everything is made from scratch, from their batches of croissants to their salsas and dressings. While you can just grab a quick bite, the best way to dine here is to enjoy a leisurely brunch,  complete with one of their specialty cocktails, like their award-winning Bloody Mary. 

Hands hold egg sandwich and matcha drink from breakfast restaurant Mad Yolk in Santa Cruz, California
Photo: Courtesy of Mad Yolks

If you’re tired of the standard waffles and pancakes that can be found on most breakfast menus, consider swinging by Mad Yolks for a savory and protein-packed start to your day. As the name suggests, they’re all about eggs, whether that’s their fluffy scrambled egg, bacon, and avocado “b.a.e.” sandwich or their breakfast burger with an over-easy egg and extra sharp cheddar. They also offer an assortment of iced teas, fresh squeezed juice, and refreshing matcha lattes. 


Avenue Cafe_breakfast_Capitola_1200x900_Avenue Cafe facebook_tamster177@yahoo_com
Photo: Courtesy of Avnue Cafe

This hidden gem might not be right on the beach, but it’s well worth heading there in the morning for a classic breakfast. They’ve got all your favorite egg dishes, omelets with chorizo, piping hot huevos rancheros, and a whole host of different styles of eggs benedict. If you’re a mimosa fan, don’t miss out on theirs, as it’s a fan favorite! Additionally, they serve all-day breakfast, so if you’re getting a later start to the morning, this might be the perfect spot. 

Gayles Bakery_breakfast_Capitola_1200x900_Gayles Bakery instagram_contact@gaylesbakery_com
Photo: Courtesy of Gayle's Bakery & Rosticceria

Gayle’s is a long-term institution in the area. This wonderful little bakery in the heart of Capitola is serving up an incredible breakfast. Whether you opt for their bacon and smashed tots breakfast sandwich or one of their fresh from the oven croissants, you’re guaranteed to have a delicious meal. If you’re a quiche fan, check out their individually sized quiches (which include vegetarian options!). While you can absolutely grab-and-go, they do have seating options if you prefer to dine in. 

Who’s writing these?

Meet our always-hungry team of foodies who compiled this list.
Please let us know if we’ve missed your favorite

More Please!
For more suggestions on the best restaurants on the Monterey Peninsula, the best things to do on the Monterey Peninsula and the best places to stay on the Monterey Peninsula, click here.
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