Some visitors to Santa Cruz County might argue that we don’t have seasons here. Our temperate climate, year-round growing season and sun-kissed winters make this a more-than-welcome destination to live, work and holiday. However, residents of this fine coastal community are not immune to feeling a chill, even if it happens to be 55 degrees above instead of below, and prefer to head indoors to a cozy fire just like the rest of the world. Luckily, there are plenty of accommodating local restaurants that not only provide invigorating food and drink, but also firesides to warm up next to.
It is not an exaggeration to say that the storied Shadowbrook Restaurant, set into a cliff-side above Capitola Village, is one of the most romantic restaurants in the country. The countless nooks and crannies, all throughout the six ornate dining rooms on four levels, offer patrons a not-to-be-forgotten experience, ever since it opened in 1947 with a “Romance in Dining” theme. Shadowbrook is on the top of this list for a reason, with iconic structural features that showcase four fireplaces. A massive stone hearth is aptly located in the historic Fireplace Room, with a cluster of cozy tables and a balcony above. Another one sits in an intimate alcove, which tends to be the most requested seat in the house when special proposals are planned, in the wine cellar. The original fireplace holds center attention in the Owner’s Private Reserve room, designated for seating large parties and groups. Finally, and perhaps the most utilized, is the inviting fireplace that takes over a large corner of the Rock Room Lounge. It is here that the popular Winemaker Wednesday event takes place, featuring a different local wine each week, as well as live jazz on the weekends.