Just far enough away from the reaches of Silicone Valley lies a beach town that I think may be the best in the west. No it’s not Santa Cruz, that’s a different beast all together, although full of interest, vagabonds and sun tans I’d like to keep heading east for 5 miles, past Pleasure Point (A name that always amuses me) and you’ll find yourself in Capitola, the welter weight champion of west coast beach towns.
I recently stayed there for 5 days and it quickly charmed me into submission, so much so that I’m going back there for another week in August.
The air seems thinner, easier to breath, you walk outside for a brief moment and you’re relaxed and refreshed, the temperate climate and day long sun ensure you’re always in a special happy place that leaves you with a perma-smile.
I visited a friend and stayed in with her in her beautiful little bungalow, located a stones throw from Capitola Beach. Admittedly Capitola isn’t the cheapest place in the state with a quint little one bedroom bungalow easily going for $1Million + but when you take a closer look there a bundle of Airbnb’s that are great value for a quick getaway.
We spent 5 days hanging around the beach, exploring the local fare, eating in boutique restaurants, sea-front cafés, old school diners and being ideally situated just a few minutes walk from Gayle’s Bakery meaning my morning coffee and croissant fix was satiated.
My Top 5 Must-Eateries (in no particular order);
- Sotola Bar & Grill – Simple and satisfying menu, that includes one of the best asian style salads I’ve ever had along with a very well curated and created drinks menu, local beers, wines and top shelf cocktails.
- Pizza My Heart – Walk along the Bach front towards the early evening and you’ll see a long line of bronzed, swim suit donning locals queued up to get the best slice in town. I will admit on the two occassions I stopped at Pizza My Heart I’d polished off a bottle of Line 39 and on the second occasion, I’d been enjoying a newly legal plant based treatment… But In both instances I forth-right memory I was left with was that PMH was a damn good hole in the wall.
- Gayle’s Bakery and Patisserie – As mentioned earlier my mornings couldn’t come around quick enough to enjoy a beautifully brewed coffee and sample a different delicacy from Gayle’s Pastry selection, it was a must way to start off the day.
- Lillian’s Italian – Walking into Lillian’s it’s appears to be a typical American eatery with minimalistic design a beautiful bar, extremely ambient lighting and it was full to the brim of patrons which is always a good sign, but when we ventured a couple glasses deep into a rich super tuscan and saw the main pasta dishes it was evident this was an Italian that would’ve fit in perfectly on the streets of Palermo or Florence.
- ShadowBrook – This place gave a fabulous first impression as you take a little cable cart down to the main dining area, in honesty we arrived late and just ordered one of every appetiser and some fancy sounding cocktails but ShadowBrook did not disappoint and will certainly be a stop of off in august to explore the menu further.
The culinary delights of Capitola aside this Beach village boasts a beautiful name-sake beach that’s not too big and never too busy, Capitola is close enough the San Jose for all your higher class shopping needs and city fill if your after a more upbeat nightlife and you’re also on the doorstep of one of the most famous wine regions on the planet. Napa Valley, you’re a few hours away, rent a convertible pack an overnight bag and inundate yourself with the finest wines the California Coast has to offer.
I’ve been to a lot of seaside beach towns but Capitola really captures the image of everything you’d expect and more of the iconic California beach community. If you’re in the market to be pleasantly surprised at every encounter then look no further.