I don't know about you, but I love breakfast food. When I first transferred to UC Santa Cruz, one of my first missions was to find a great breakfast spot so I had a place to go when I was craving some fluffy pancakes or waffles or dishes with savory potatoes and eggs. I made my list of places to try as I heard about them and soon enough, Harbor Cafe became one of my favorites. After reading this, you'll want to add it to your list of breakfast spots in Santa Cruz. 

Katelynn Erikson

The Vibe

One of my favorite things about this place is the atmosphere. It's not too far from the beach, so once you're there you're greeted with the fresh, crisp beach air. Everything is blue and white and the place is decked out with anchors, life buoys, and other nautical related items. The decor is perfect for a cute little breakfast spot in Santa Cruz. They have indoor dining as well as an outdoor patio area if you're feeling so inclined to eat there. The cafe is usually busy (they're only open for six hours a day) and you will often have to wait for a table, but they're generally quick and you're not left waiting for long. Because of how busy it is, there's a lot of conversation happening around you. It's hard to notice though because even though it doesn't look big, it's very open, especially on the patio area, and it never feels too loud or like I can't hear the people I'm with.

But enough about the chill vibe of this place. Let's get to the good stuff.

The Food 

Katelynn Erikson

I've been here several times, but one item off the menu I had yet to try was the Florentine. Today was the day. 

A bed of spinach and mushrooms on crispy English muffins topped with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce and served with salty, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside home fries. I'm drooling just thinking about it again. This dish was savory and full of texture. Each bite was a delicious combination of crispy from the English muffin, soft from the eggs, and creamy from the sauce. The spinach and mushrooms added some extra chew and freshness to each bite. 

Just look at that gold. 

Katelynn Erikson


After the savory dish I had, I had a craving for something sweet to compliment it. I love a good pancake, but I love a good waffle even more, and Harbor Cafe has some great waffles. They're served with a light dusting of powdered sugar on top, two pads of butter, and with the syrup on the side. 

Katelynn Erikson

That waffle was a thing of beauty. It was just slightly crispy on the outside and deliciously fluffy on the inside. The powdered sugar added the perfect touch of sweetness to the also sweet syrup. The syrup was the perfect consistency and also just the right amount of sweet. It didn't make the waffle soggy and created a nice amount of moisture to compliment the waffle's fluffiness. 

Katelynn Erikson

So why Harbor Cafe?

If the food alone hasn't convinced you yet, Harbor Cafe has really cool theme days, where certain items are discounted. The best part? Every week day is a theme day. Mondays are $4 Bloody Marys, Tuesdays are banana pancakes for $2, Wednesdays are $5 basic breakfast and all-day happy hour, Thursdays are $7 fish taco and beer day, and Fridays are mimosa day with a small for $4 and a large for $6. I've been to nearly every theme day and they are all great.

I will admit this place isn't the cheapest, but if you have a little extra money or feel like splurging a bit this is the breakfast spot to go. The prices aren't outrageous, and the food is delicious for the price. I'm glad I added this place to my list of breakfast spots in Santa Cruz and I hope I've convinced you to do the same.