South of Santa Cruz in Aptos, Cafe Sparrow (8042 Soquel Dr., Aptos, 831/688-6238, www.cafesparrow.com, Mon.–Sat. 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m., Sun. 9:30 a.m.–2 p.m., daily 5:30 p.m.–close, $20) serves country French cuisine that’s consistently tasty. Whatever you order, it will be fantastic. The seafood is noteworthy (especially the Friday night bouillabaisse), as are the steaks.
Cafe Sparrow’s kitchen prepares all the dishes with fresh ingredients, and the chef (who can sometimes be seen out in the dining room checking on customer satisfaction with the food) thinks up innovative preparations and creates tasty sauces. He’s also willing to accommodate special requests and dietary restrictions with good cheer.
The best deal for your money is the daily-changing prix-fixe menu. For dessert, treat yourself to the profiteroles, which can be created with either ice cream or pastry cream.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition