Mentone - Aptos

Sometimes it is surprising what high quality restaurants you find in unassuming little towns. On a recent trip to Santa Cruz we were quite interested at visiting Mentone run by David Kinch, former owner and chef of Manresa. The restaurant isn’t located in Santa Cruz but several miles out in the small town of Aptos. And even though this is obviously not another approach on high-end dining from Chef Kinch, you still see many philosophies from Manresa utilized at Mentone, e.g. quality of ingredients, flawless cooking, some interesting flavor combinations, plating etc. Mentone can easily compete with many of the more upscale Italian places in SFO and it is great to hear that Mentone will expand to Los Gatos which is much closer to home but for now at least we will also have a good place when visiting Santa Cruz for a weekend trip.

Salumi plate - Coppa, finocciona

Flannery beef tartare, dijon, shallot, chive, parm, potato chips

Eggplant, calabrian pesto, fromage blanc, preserved lemon, mint

Tocco, bolognese, housemade corzetti, pecorino

Pizza funghi, chanterelles, hen of the woods, caramelized onions, taleggio, mozzarella, balsamic

Pork belly & scallops, roast red kuri squash, braised fennel, scallop sauce

Lemon curd, fior di latte, pistachio

Hazelnut gelato

Good cocktail program


Not sure if I would categorize Aptos as unassuming. We recently drove through most of it looking for the elusive Bonny Doon tasting room, and it seemed like a very sophisticated place, much like Mill Valley in Marin county. The food does look great! :grinning:

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Perhaps I lived too much in big cities throughout my life but even though Aptos is a nice little town we found it a bit too “laid back” - in that area Capitola somehow “clicked” better with our preferences

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