October on the coast can be chilly, so pack a jacket when choosing a dog-friendly patio
for an al fresco
meal. Toasty outdoor heaters add ambience, and most restaurants have them, so no worries there!
For ocean-view dining, try the Crow's Nest, a beloved, 50-year-old classic on Santa Cruz Harbor. It's a two-tiered establishment offering fine dining downstairs and casual cuisine at the upstairs Breakwater Grill, with dog-friendly decks on both levels. You can also opt for a table on the beach, weather permitting. In downtown Santa Cruz, Snap Taco bills itself as a "new-school" Mexican place with cuisine as vividly flavored as the bright colors of the building's exterior (and interior, although dogs aren't welcome inside).
The festive atmosphere extends to the dog-friendly sidewalk and private courtyard seating. The all-day breakfast burrito is a favorite, but you might also want to try something called the "Spicy Cowboy," which sounds yummy although we haven't tried it yet! In the mood for romance? A few miles out of town, in Capitola, Shadowbrook
is one of the most stunning eateries on the entire California coast. A fixture on the banks of Soquel Creek since 1947, it's known for its multiple dining rooms and patios, as well as the mini-cable car, lush gardens and meandering paths that both humans and dogs enjoy. Reservations are recommended but not required, and walk-ins, including those of the four-legged variety, are warmly welcomed.