John Floren

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Review: Zelda's on the Beach, Capitola

Summary: Worth it for the beachside patio and the calamari.

We came to Zelda's on a Saturday noon hoping to have some oysters and a cocktail. Turns out they don't serve oysters until 4 p.m., so we got their calamari instead.

The calamari was some of the best I've had. The pieces were bite-sized and covered with a very tasty herbed batter. Even when I dipped it in cocktail sauce, I could still taste the rosemary.

We ordered four drinks between us: a Harley Grayhound (vodka, aperol, agave, lime & grapefruit juices), an Aperol Spritz, a Capitola Tomcat (vodka, lemonade, strawberry puree, soda), and a local hazy IPA on draft. The Harley Grayhound was the best cocktail by far, although the Tomcat was pretty good too (not enough strawberry flavor came through, in my opinion). The spritz was a slightly odd one; where a typical Aperol spritz is clear and essentially the same orange color as the Aperol, this was cloudy and more of a reddish-pink color. It wasn't particularly bubbly either.

Things are priced for a waterfront tourist town in California: cocktails were $12, calamari & fries was $17.

Although several restaurants along the same street have back patios, they all overlook Soquel Creek, while Zelda's has a very large patio that is more centered on the actual beach. There's lots of activity and plenty of opportunity for people-watching if you feel like it.