So-so experience. My group spent a recent weekend in Santa Cruz and stopped in to Avanti per a recommendation. In general, we had on ok experience. Portions are small (no leftovers for sure) and, because we knew that in advance, ordered 1 appetizer and 1 Caesar salad to share. The bruschetta was ok. The pappadelle and meatballs was good as was my own pork chop special. Another friend ordered the special braised lamb shoulder over risotto which was less than ok - the replacement choice of shoulder was a strange combo to the risotto. We passed on dessert opting to visit Marianne's. Wine list is heavy with imports- was looking for local vintners that night. Tight space in the main dining room and noise level is high - better to eat in the wine bar room for conversation. For the price per portion, the odd meal combos, and ambiance, we agreed that our dollars would have been better spent elsewhere in town.
Best restaurant in Santa Cruz. Could be one of the best restaurants in all of Santa Cruz. Most (if not all) of it ingredients are local. Wine selection is fantastic. And the menu, holy wow. I guess there is a reason why they have been around so long. ristoranteavanti com
Fresh, local and delicious!.
I've had many great meals at Avanti and consider it my favorite restaurant in Santa Cruz. The menu is small, but seasonal and always spectacular. In fact, I always end up ordering too many different dishes and then have no room for dessert! I HIGHLY recommend the striped bass; it is outstanding! The wine list is very well put together, and they have an interesting selection by the glass (which changes regularly). Wines span the globe, unlike many Italian restaurants that carry only Italian imports and a few California wines. They even promote local Santa Cruz wineries!
I'd give it the restaurant 5 stars, but have to take it down one for ambience, which is lacking given the cramped seating and noise levels. If they could reduce the noise a little, it would go a long way to making this a perfect dining experience. If you're only interested in a glass of wine and an appetizer, the ambience at the wine bar is superb and the staff are friendly and knowledgable.
Be Prepared to Wait. Avanti is a small restaurant that offers a great wine selection. Even though the restaurant is small, service was very slow. Menu selection is very small, as are the portions. High quality Italian cuisine at reasonable prices should not be difficult to offer in this area since fresh ingredients are ubiquitous in this region. However, prices at Avanti are too high for the quantities they offer.
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