15 Incredible Restaurants in Watsonville, CA

This article was written by local contributor Amy Phillips & edited by the Travel Lens team.

Best Restaurants in Watsonville, CA

As someone who has lived in Watsonville for years, I can confidently say that this charming town is a hidden gem in the culinary world.

With its diverse community and rich agricultural history, it's no wonder that Watsonville boasts a variety of delicious dining experiences.

From mouthwatering Mexican cuisine to heavenly sushi, there's something for everyone in this quaint town.

So, if you're looking for an unforgettable meal, look no further!

In this article, I'll be sharing the best restaurants in Watsonville, California, that you simply must try.

Sukho Thai Restaurant

Green papaya salad at Sukho Thai Restaurant

One weekend, I decided to try out Sukho Thai Restaurant as I had heard great things about its food and ambiance.

I decided to order from their lunch special menu, which had a wide variety of 26 items to choose from.

I settled on a Seafood Tom Yum soup and a Green Papaya Salad, both of which were scrumptious and full of authentic Thai flavors.

I appreciated that they catered to customers who might not be familiar with Thai cuisine and its spiciness, but they were more than willing to adjust the heat level upon request.

Another dish I tried was their Chili Basil, which tasted fantastic with every protein option.

Their Massaman Curry and Pad Thai were also delicious, and I couldn't resist having their Thai Iced Tea, which was always on point.

I could tell that the ingredients were fresh, and it was great to see that they offered vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options as well.

Slice Project Pizza

Square pie at Slice Project Pizza

Living in Watsonville, I have had my fair share of pizza places, but honestly, nothing compares to Slice Project Pizza.

I always find myself coming back to this amazing spot, located in the heart of downtown, right next to the old Fox Theater.

What sets Slice Project Pizza apart from the rest are their NY-inspired slices and Detroit-style squares, not to mention their wide selection of craft beers.

Being a family-owned and operated business, you can really taste the passion and dedication they put into their pizza, using only the highest quality ingredients.

I've tried many of their menu options, but one of my favorites is the "Lil Pep" - a New York-style pizza with the perfect balance of crispy and doughy crust, savory pepperoni, and an amazing cheese blend that gives a unique flavor and texture profile.

But if you're into Detroit-style pizza, you must try the "313."

It has a perfectly baked crust with crispy edges, pillowy inside, and delicious cheese baked right into the edges, creating a mouthwatering frico effect.

Beach Street Cafe

Breakfast at Beach Street Cafe

Just the other day, I decided to grab breakfast at Beach Street Cafe in Watsonville.

I've been going to this place for years, and I must say their menu never disappoints.

It's nestled in an unlikely location amidst warehouses and shipping centers, but don't let that fool you - the food is outstanding.

The atmosphere inside was casual and welcoming, making me feel right at home.

After taking a seat, I quickly noticed that they offer a variety of vegan and vegetarian options alongside their popular dishes.

Also, their pastries are simply mouth-watering.

I placed my order and didn't have to wait long for the food to arrive.

I opted for one of their signature omelets, which came in a generous portion - more than enough for two people!

The quality of the ingredients was evident in every bite I took, making my morning even better.

While enjoying my breakfast, I noticed a group of teens enjoying their brunch nearby, and they seemed to be having a great time too.

I also overheard that they have a 20% auto-gratuity for parties of 5 or more, which is good to know for future visits with friends and family.

Although the prices at Beach Street Cafe can be a bit on the higher end, the quality of food and service makes it worth every penny.

Miyuki Restaurant

Sushi boat at Miyuki Restaurant

Miyuki Restaurant is my go-to place whenever I'm craving some traditional Japanese cuisine.

Located in Watsonville, this longtime eatery has been a local favorite since 1982.

The cozy dining room is the perfect backdrop for the fresh sushi, soups, and entrees they serve.

One of my favorite memories at Miyuki was the night I ordered their Bento box, which included beef teriyaki and a tempura mix.

The beef was tender and juicy, and the teriyaki sauce was delicious.

The tempura was fried to perfection, with a mix of vegetables and shrimp that left me feeling satisfied.

Another time, I decided to try their unagidon for the first time, and I was not disappointed.

It was so tasty that now I could eat it almost every day.

The sushi at Miyuki has never let me down, with their spider roll and sashimi always being fresh and flavorful.

Cowboys Corner Cafe

Omelette at Cowboys Corner Cafe

I recently decided to try out Cowboys Corner Cafe for breakfast, and let me tell you, it did not disappoint!

I had heard about their daily specials, so I decided to give them a try.

The food was absolutely delicious, and the portions were quite generous – I even had some leftovers to take home!

One of the dishes I tried was the Branding Iron Omelette, which I absolutely loved.

Their homemade salsa was truly delicious as well.

I also couldn't resist trying their French toast – it was so fluffy and perfectly cooked.

I even managed to snag one of their home cinnamon rolls, which apparently go fast since they only make a certain amount.

Imura Japanese Restaurant

Rolls at Imura Japanese Restaurant

As someone who has been living in the area for quite some time, I can confidently say that Imura Japanese Restaurant is my all-time favorite sushi place.

The relaxed, wood-dominant dining room creates a comfortable atmosphere to enjoy a delicious meal.

Not only is the sushi at Imura fresh and beautifully presented, but their menu also offers a variety of dishes to cater to different tastes.

They have a wide array of options, including teriyaki, tempura, and even limited Korean food options.

Personally, I love taking my out-of-town friends here and introducing them to the taste of the 831.

My favorite rolls to get are the California Roll and the CrawDaddy Roll, which always leave me craving more.

If sushi isn't your thing, there are other amazing dishes to try as well.

Their gyoza is fantastic, and the Money Maker, Bomber Special, and Firecracker rolls that I've tried are absolutely delicious.

Their ramen is also a perfect pick-me-up if you're feeling under the weather.

Imura even offers some Keto-friendly options for those with dietary restrictions.

La Fondita Restaurante

Last weekend, I decided to try out La Fondita Restaurante in Watsonville, and I was not disappointed.

The exterior may appear unassuming, but as I walked in, I immediately noticed the cozy, mom-and-pop ambiance, which I loved.

The menu featured a wide variety of Mexican dishes, including enchiladas, Chile rellenos, sope, tostadas, and pozole.

What caught my attention the most were the handmade tortillas and the fresh, delicious food.

I ordered the Charola Loca, which was absolutely amazing.

It truly showcased the best that La Fondita has to offer.

I couldn't help but notice the other customers enjoying their meals as well.

The shrimp empanadas with rice and beans seemed to be a popular choice, and the chile verde plate caught my eye as the pork looked so tender and flavorful.4

Gaby's Restaurant

Pupusas at Gaby's Restaurant

Just the other day, I decided to treat myself to a delicious meal at Gaby's Restaurant.

I have to say, this hidden gem truly exceeded my expectations.

As soon as I walked in, I felt right at home.

The atmosphere was cozy and welcoming, with a large, 2000's style boombox adding a nostalgic touch to the dining room.

I couldn't resist ordering their famous Salvadoran breakfast.

I was absolutely delighted by the perfectly cooked and ripe plantains - it's indeed rare to find a place that knows how to prepare them just right.

The horchata was the perfect balance of sweetness, and I couldn't help but rave about their pupusas, which were incredibly tasty and served with delicious salsa.

While enjoying my food, I couldn't help but notice the exceptional service.

In addition to their amazing Salvadoran dishes, their menu also includes a variety of options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, catering to all tastes.

Some other popular dishes I've heard good things about are the Caldo de Camaron, Popusas Rebueltas, and the Asada Gordita.

Oh, and let's not forget the homemade tortillas and french fries - simply divine.

May's Garden Restaurant

Chow mein at May's Garden Restaurant

I recently visited May's Garden Restaurant, and I can't rave enough about this place!

The moment I walked in, I noticed the clean and presentable interior, a significant improvement since its previous ownership as Kings Garden.

Now let's talk about the food!

I have to say, the egg flower and hot and spicy soups were good, though I've had better.

However, their chow mein is outstanding - not dry at all and full of flavor.

The rice was also delicious, although I added a bit of soy sauce for an extra kick.

I tried their sweet and sour chicken, cashew broccoli, and pineapple chicken, which I absolutely loved and highly recommend.

The Wonton soup was out-of-this-world amazing!

I appreciate how they pack the broth separately from the soup items in to-go orders so the wontons don't get soggy.

It made for a perfect warm lunch on a foggy afternoon.

The prices here are quite reasonable compared to other Chinese restaurants in town.

California Grill and Bar

Swordfish at California Grill and Bar

I recently had the pleasure of dining at the California Grill and Bar, a charming eatery and bar that sources all of its organic produce from local suppliers.

Upon entering, I noticed the comfortable seating and inviting atmosphere.

I was immediately impressed by the menu selections and the creative specials prepared by the chef.

As a lover of artichokes, I started my meal with the Artichoke Bisque, which was absolutely delightful and full of flavor.

For my main course, I decided to go with the highly recommended blackened Swordfish, and it did not disappoint.

The flavors were so rich and delectable that I could easily say it was one of the best burgers I've ever had.

I also enjoyed the complimentary warm bread, served with butter, fresh minced garlic, oil, and balsamic vinegar.

The freshness of the ingredients was apparent.

To top it all off, they even provided caramel candies as a sweet treat before I left.

The Fish House Bar & Grill

Ahi tuna at The Fish House Bar & Grill

One evening, while craving some seafood, I decided to visit The Fish House Bar & Grill with a few friends.

We had heard great things about the place, and our experience turned out to be quite memorable.

Upon entering, we noticed that the family-owned establishment had a warm and comfortable atmosphere.

The menu was full of fresh Californian seafood dishes with an Italian flair, which was impressive.

We started our meal with artichoke and calamari appetizers, which were absolutely delicious.

To accompany our food, we had some California wine and margaritas.

For our main course, my friends ordered the blackened Ahi, fried Sand Dabs, and salmon, while I went for the piccata-style Sand Dabs.

The food was truly amazing, with fresh and mouthwatering flavors.

Sushi Qu

Rolls at Sushi Qu

Being a sushi lover, I am always on the lookout for good sushi places, and Sushi Qu is one of those gems.

It's a charming sushi restaurant that has become a favorite spot for me in the area.

Their quality and freshness truly stand out, making it a must-visit destination for sushi enthusiasts.

The first time I visited Sushi Qu, I was impressed by their menu.

They offer a wide variety of dishes, including some popular ones like the pepper tuna and their beautiful, plentiful rolls.

Their lunch special is a great deal and perfect for days when I want to enjoy good sushi without breaking the bank.

One of the things that truly sets Sushi Qu apart is its dedication to quality and taste.

It's evident in every bite, especially with their fish.

Even though I have to drive from Scotts Valley to get there, I feel it's worth it, given the freshness and quality of their ingredients.

Plus, their tempura and udon are also worth mentioning, with good portion sizes and delicious taste.

Kong's Burger & Cafe

Bibimbeef at Kong's Burger & Cafe

As a devoted foodie and a Watsonville local, I can tell you that Kong's Burger & Cafe is one of the gems in our town.

The moment you bite into one of their dishes, you instantly understand why this place is so beloved.

I've sampled a variety of their offerings, but the standout for me has to be their bibimbap.

Each ingredient is so well-prepared that it could stand alone, but together they create a symphony of flavors.

Not to mention, the perfectly cooked egg atop this dish is pure bliss.

Their burgers are something to write home about as well.

They're juicy, flavorful, and wrapped in foil, which keeps them warm until the last bite.

My favorite has to be the King Kong Burger with the spicy pork option.

The fiery kick from the pork combined with the robust, juicy burger patty had my taste buds dancing with joy.

Then there's their burrito!  The pork filling was nothing short of phenomenal.

Maria's Siesta Mix

I absolutely love Maria's Siesta Mix, my go-to place whenever I'm craving the best papusas in town.

Their menu is filled with a variety of dishes that are perfect for satisfying different tastes.

I always find it difficult to choose from the array of options, but my favorites are the shrimp tacos and the seafood sushi rolls.

The flavors are just amazing, and I can guarantee that you won't be disappointed.

Maria's Siesta Mix also offers great amenities that make the experience even more enjoyable.

One such amenity is their outdoor seating, which makes for a perfect spot to indulge in a tasty meal while enjoying the beautiful weather.

Olivia's Cafe

Pancakes at Olivia's Cafe

I recently had the pleasure of dining at Olivia's Cafe, a family-owned and operated restaurant in town that has been serving authentic Mexican cuisine since 1985.

The moment I stepped inside, I was greeted with a warm and cozy atmosphere, complete with nice music playing in the background.

The menu at Olivia's Cafe is quite extensive, offering traditional Mexican dishes like Mole de pollo, chile verde, enchiladas, menudo, posole, and birria de chivo.

I was also happy to see that they have a variety of breakfast options, such as chorizo con huevo, machaca con huevo, huevos rancheros, pancakes, and waffles.

One thing that truly sets this place apart is their homemade corn tortillas.

During my visit, I ordered their Camarones a la diabla, which had the perfect balance of spicy and sweet flavors.

I was also given the option to choose the type of beans I wanted, which I appreciated.

To quench my thirst, I tried their refreshing Jamaica drink, which wasn't too sweet nor watery like some other places.

I couldn't resist ordering one of their delicious Papusas as well, which were larger than average and super filling.

The service at Olivia's Cafe was friendly and efficient, making my dining experience even more enjoyable.

One dish that truly stood out to me was their white corn tamale, which had an incredible aroma and tasted just as good as it smelled.

The combination of sweet corn and spicy chili sauce created a flavor reminiscent of sambal that I simply couldn't get enough of.

Final Thoughts

Watsonville, California, has a diverse and delicious range of dining options that truly caters to every taste.

From the fresh and flavorful dishes at Sukho Thai Restaurant to the mouth-watering pizzas at Slice Project, there's always something to satisfy your cravings.

Watsonville's restaurant scene is a reflection of its rich cultural heritage, offering a range of cuisines and flavors that make dining here a truly memorable experience.

So go ahead, try out these fantastic eateries, and let your taste buds guide you through a culinary journey in Watsonville!

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