Cafe Mare Italian Restaurant
Cafe Mare Italian Restaurant

Cafe Mare Italian Restaurant

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.cafemare.com/
  • Phone: 8314581212x
  • Hours of Operation:
    Lunch: Monday - Friday: 11:30 AM - 2:30 PM, Saturday - Sunday: 11:30 AM - 4:00 PM;
    Dinner: Monday - Friday: 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM, Saturday - Sunday: 4:00 PM - 10:00 PM
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Seafood, Italian
  • Executive Chef: Jean-Pierre Luliano
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cafe, Chef's Table, Counter Seating, Entertainment, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking Area, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Smoking Area, Smoking Area (patio only), Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar
  • Catering: Please contact the restaurant for details
  • Private Party Facilities: Cafe Mare is the perfect place for your next private party or a group event. We can accommodate groups up to 150 people and offer private and semi-private seating inside and outside. We offer custom preset menus that will surely satisfy everyone’s craving.
  • Private Party Contact: Jean-Pierre & Andrea Mura 8314581212x
  • Entertainment: Private Parties.
  • Special Events: Contact us at 831-458-1212

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Cooper street
  • Public Transit: Metro bus station 1 block away.
  • Parking: Public Lot
  • Parking Details: Parking is available behind the restaurant, at the "Galleria Parking" alley or next to it, at the River Street Garage.
A word from Cafe Mare Italian Restaurant
Old world charm in the heart of Santa Cruz, authentic Italian cuisine with an extensive wine list and a full bar. Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, large groups welcome, patio dining, house made pasta, desserts and bread, gluten free options, all organic produce and sustainable sea food, fresh meats including free range veal. Ample public parking. reservations for groups of 10 or more must leave credit card number, reservations must be cancelled 24 hours prior date of event or $25 per person fee will be charged.
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Service
  • Diners' Choice WinnerFit for Foodies
  • Diners' Choice WinnerSpecial Occasion
Cafe Mare Italian Restaurant reviews from OpenTable diners
22 reviews since May 25, 2014
Overall Rating4
  • Food4
    Service4.2
  • Ambiance3.7
    Noise LevelModerate
100% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
special occasion (9)fit for foodies (8)neighborhood gem (6)good for groups (6)romantic (5)notable wine list (4)hot spot (2)kid-friendly (2)late-night find (2)vibrant bar scene (1)great for brunch (1)great for lunch (1)great for outdoor dining (1)Show More
  • Good as usual
    OpenTable Diner Since 2004VIP
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    The pork involtini were great as always and the lamb shank was excellent also. A little screw up on the salads but not all that bad.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • First time delight!
    HappyDiners
    Dined on 9/9/2014
    My husband and I enjoyed our first meal here as we live out of the area. Our waiter was wonderful in helping me select an entree as several were appealing. I went with the Crespolini Di Zucca, a crepe filled with butternut squash and ground walnuts served in a browned butter sauce with crispy sage leaves on top. It was to die for. My husband had the Cannelloni Alla Nizzarda, a housemade fresh pasta rolled with ground veal, ricotta cheese and spinach, baked with a creamy tomato sauce. Yum! We are going back again before we leave Santa Cruz. It was that good!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Good food
    SV55
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    One entrée - the stuffed pork chop special was exceptional otherwise the food was good except the shellfish was overcooked on another entrée.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Perfect
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    Lunch with friend and absolutely wonderful. We both had the wild salmon which was perfectly prepared and absolutely delicious. The vegetables and roasted potatoes were a tasty addition. Tables nicely set with tablecloths and a single rose. Will certainly return to this restaurant.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Always excellent
    championdiner
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    It's funny, this restaurant doesn't get the kind of attention it should -- one of the best restaurants in Santa Cruz.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • A Womderful Find
    DarleneVIP
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    We were out of town and the menu looked good. It surpassed my hopes. The walnut ravioli was incredible. The carpaccio was served differently then I had had it before, but it was delicious. Well worth a visit.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fab birthday dinner
    Garethed
    Dined on 8/3/2014
    Great food and great service at a good price. Made a fab birthday dinner for my wife.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent Italian Seafood
    DineTownVIP
    Dined on 8/3/2014
    We loved their Pizzas and Seafood dishes. The seafood soup was a lot of work; and it was worth it.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good not great
    AnissaH
    Dined on 7/27/2014
    The server was friendly and attentive. The food was just ok. I work at a restaurant that is strictly organic "farm to table" so I know quality of food, and I would say they are lacking in that department if that's what they claim to be. I looked up their wine list online and they were out of the one wine that I was interested in, so that was a downer. My baby was fussy so maybe if I had gone with just my husband my whole experience would have been better, but of course that is not the restaurant's fault. Overall, it was just ok.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Food and Service
    ScorpioDiner
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    Took my girlfriend here for her birthday. The food was wonderful, our server was a very nice and attentive lady. I had a refreshing vegetable salad, we split the butternut squash stuffed cannelloni and then had entrees of stuffed pork medallions and veal saltimbocca. Both came with sides and left us very full. The food is delicious and reasonably priced. We still ran up a $200 tab including tip but that's because we had a few cocktails and a $40 bottle of wine with dinner. My only negative advice would be to skip the specialty cocktails as they're just not worth the price, e.g. the Silence of the Lambs cocktail I had was tasty but served in an 8 oz glass with an piece of ice that almost filled the glass entirely (and cost $10).
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Mikie1569
    Dined on 6/13/2014
    Outstanding in every way...the creative cuisine, the warm ambiance, the friendly service...all exceeded our expectations!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 11 ratings-only reviews submitted since May 25, 2014
    • Overall Rating3.7
    • Food3.6
    • Ambiance3.6
    • Service3.8
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 112 reviews are from the Cafe Mare Italian Restaurant reviews archive.
  • Good, but not great
    24dinnerVIP
    Dined on 6/6/2014
    Average food, no serious deficiency, but tasted as if I had an average night cooking at home. Maybe canned ingredients were used? Website says fresh organic ingredients used.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent Food and Service
    Sandy
    Dined on 5/11/2014
    All four of us really liked the food we ordered. We enjoyed being able to eat outdoors. The service was very good also. We arrived there at 3pm and the restaurant only had a few tables occupied because we were there between lunch and dinner.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Trusted Gem
    Winni
    Dined on 5/11/2014
    Every dinner at Cafe Mare has been outstanding - the food and the service! It has been in Santa Cruz so long that I think people forget about it. Go back - it is still a great experience.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Gem of a resturant in Santa Cruz
    LuvItaly
    Dined on 5/10/2014
    We had forgotten it was "Prom" time & I was having a hard time finding a place to celebrate my parent's 50th anniversary when I decided to use the opentable app & was pleasantly surprised to find Cafe Mare. We all love Italian food and no one went away hungry. Food & service was prompt and friendly. Hoping to return soon to try more of the delicious looking entrees. Thanks for making my parent's anniversary a memorable one.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Hidden Gem
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 5/4/2014
    Wonderful food and a great atmosphere! This hidden gem is well worth finding. It has great Italian food and a lovely wine list.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Very good, well prepared food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005
    Dined on 4/25/2014
    Three of us dined (husband, adult daughter and me) for dinner and we needed a place where we could talk without too much commotion. Traditional Italian fare was very well prepared; fresh, and food was well balanced. It is traditional, but cooked with a talented hand. The waiter was attentive and knew the specials well and offered them with details and good eye contact. He was not overbearing or fussy. We enjoyed the service. It was a very pleasant meal - my only disappointment was that I left my leftovers behind in the box on the table. Bummer!
    Special Features:
    Great for Lunch, Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Charming Italian Gem
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 4/25/2014
    The service was gracious and impeccable. The food was superlative. Like the finer Italian restaurants in Italy, the staff acted like they were happy to see you an introduce you to their cuisine.
    Special Features:
    Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • great place.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 4/17/2014
    Found this place by accident online, reserved a table and signified that it was my anniversary. They had a window seat just for us. Everything was excellent, they did a terrific job.
    Special Features:
    Romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • All Around Awesome
    Angel8701
    Dined on 4/12/2014
    They had creative specials, and so many interesting dishes on the regular menu, we had no trouble finding something for everyone. They have wonderful staff that are always present but not interfering.The wine menu is full of local finds, with a few imported thrown in for good measure. They even had a special cocktail menu with original and inventive combinations. One of our group tried the 'Silence of the Lambs'! And the dessert was spot on, with a beautiful presentation. This restaurant has become a regular go-to for me whenever I want a place to take my friends and family for a great dining experience. It has a warm and inviting vibe, the staff is always helpful, cheery, and attentive, and the food is delicious!
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Dining al fresco at Cafe Mare
    Stockyard
    Dined on 4/8/2014
    This past Tues. (4/8/2014) I dined at Café Mare at its outdoor patio. Along the edge of the patio was a riot of gorgeous daisies, cosmos, and other flowers. I had the luncheon special of chicken (unbreaded) with an artichoke sauce. Accompanying this dish were quarters of broiled potatoes and steamed Swiss chard. I also had a Mojito with my lunch. I'm afraid that too few people take advantage of Café Mare at lunch time. Perhaps they prefer saving it for dining at night.. My meal and service was good. The only thing that did not accompany my meal was a basket of bread. I recommend Café Mare for delicious Italian foods.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, neighborhood gem, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Overall great.
    Sarah
    Dined on 4/5/2014
    Great Italian food, great service and warm atmosphere.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, romantic, scenic view, late-night find, neighborhood gem, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Meh
    FOODIEDIVAVIP
    Dined on 4/4/2014
    Service was meh food was not good, pasta tasted frozen not homemade and my veal cannelloni was cold
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Early Dinner
    3Diners
    Dined on 3/30/2014
    Everything was cooked to perfection, flavorful, and delicious. We were a party of four and all our food came hot to the table. We dined early. The waitress was lovely and patient. A most enjoyable meal. We will return.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Special
    reacher
    Dined on 3/29/2014
    Our group of 12 is a motley bunch of well mannered "foodies". We were met with excellent food, wine, and service.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • NOT WHAT I EXPECTED!
    TeeTee1
    Dined on 3/28/2014
    I was looking forward to dining here since it was owned by two Italian owners. The reviews were all very good however they certainly did not follow thru to our experience. The pasta carbonara was prepared improperly with the eggs be scrambled. The chicken with artichoke dish was tasteless to say the least, however the arugula salad was delicious and the panna cotta was excellent. The waitress was great and super attentive and the restaurant itself is very. nice
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • A local favorite (especially
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 3/22/2014
    A local favorite (especially for Happy Hour) but this time the food was uneven. Some items were good, some were overdone and dry. Attentive service and some nice reasonable choices on the wine list. The limoncello semifreddo dessert was absolutely delicious!
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Service from our Belarus server
    L8DinerVIP
    Dined on 3/21/2014
    Service from our Belarus server was TERRIFIC! The cannelloni was delicious as was the walnut filled pasta with butter & sage. We would be happy to dine here again.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • "Early Bird" Dining at Cafe Mare
    Stockyard
    Dined on 3/16/2014
    My son, his wife, and I ate at Café Mare at 4 p.m. My son chose this time because (1) he and his wife live in San Jose and traffic over Hwy 17 can be bad too early in the day and (2) he had to watch an NCAA basketball game before he left home. I've eaten at Café Mare two other times in the evening and thought the food and service was very good. It's a true Italian restaurant. This particular day when we ate there, I found my eggplant and zucchini dish not as hot as it could have been. But the dish was very good.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for brunch, notable wine list, romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Valentines dinner
    Brian34
    Dined on 2/14/2014
    My girlfriend and I went to cafe mare for v day dinner. The waiter was very polite and attentive, the food was spectacular. The only issue was that our food took forever to come (about 40 min). We did however get free dessert; I liked this restaurant and would definitely come back!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Plesant experience
    matthoven
    Dined on 1/10/2014
    Good food, very good service, It had been years since we had dined here and we were pleasantly surprised by the over all experience from the service to the food, every thing was very good. We will certainly be back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Forgotten In The Corner By The Door
    Birthbysleep
    Dined on 12/31/2013
    sat us right away near the front door by a loud party. Then we had the time to look over the menu and waited 15 minutes before we even met our waiter. Finally after we placed our orders and didnt see our waiter once until it was time to leave no one even came to refill our drinks or ask us how the food was. When we where finished we just wanted to leave but stayed for 30 min waiting for our non existent waiter to give us our check. After 20 min the bus boy came to take our plates and I ask him if we could get the check he nodded but the check never came. So we stood up got our jackets on and still no one came over we seriously thought about just leaving. Then I saw my waiter finally and he gave us the check. Unless ur a party don't eat here
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great dinner- as always!
    KJK66
    Dined on 12/31/2013
    We typically celebrate special occasions at Cafe Mare because the food and service never disappoint. We went for new year's dinner arriving earlier than our reservation time and, despite a near-packed dining room, we were seated right away. My husband chose the tagliatelle with prosciutto in cream sauce and I had the involtini de maiaele (pork scaloppine) specials and both were crazy good. We didn't see our favorite appetizer on the menu - chicken liver pâté on crostini - and when we inquired our server immediately accommodated us. We've been dining at Cafe Mare for about 8 yrs. We've travelled to Italy & we're food snobs. From their penne with bolognese to their braised duck or rabbit or fish specials, you will not be disappointed.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent food, rude wait staff
    ScottsValley
    Dined on 12/31/2013
    My wife and I reserved a table for New Year's Eve. We had dined at Mare previously. We had a lovely table. Our waiter was nice but seemed to be in a huge hurry, running about. Our food was excellent and the prices equal to the quality. We wondered why we hadn't tried this restaurant previously. Our bill was brought promptly. After signing the credit card ticket we were getting ready to leave, discussing our evening. The waiter quickly returned to pick up the credit card portfolio and informed us that people with reservations were waiting for our table. Essentially he asked us to leave. We'd been there just an hour. I've never experienced such rudeness from a waiter. Needless to say we won't be returning.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Food not equal to ambiance
    FormerOrindan
    Dined on 12/28/2013
    The restaurant was attractive. We were seated promptly. The waiter was helpful. The bruschetta appetizer had pink, unripe tomatoes and it was on a strong tasting bread. The "wild salmon" didn't look or taste like any wild salmon I had ever eaten and was tasteless. The cannelloni was swimming in a bland sauce. Two people had pasta. The seafood pasta had lots of seafood and the person who ordered it found it enjoyable. The second pasta dish (don't recall which it was) was deemed pleasant by the person who ordered it. We all rejected dessert. So---this is definitely NOT a gourmet mecca. If you stick to a simple pasta your meal will be edible.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Delicious!
    neesybobo
    Dined on 12/25/2013
    Cafe Mare never disappoints. Their small pizzas are great, very authentic. Traditional dishes like linguine with clams always well executed. The waiters are charming, efficient, and aim to please. This is one of our favorite places to eat downtown on Symphony nights. My only issue, and it seems to be an issue with most restaurants nowadays, is the noise level.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Fantastic Xmas Eve Dinner
    OpenTable Diner Since 2004VIP
    Dined on 12/24/2013
    Once again we enjoyed our Christmas Eve dinner at Cafe Mare. The food and service were excellent. They were crazy busy but everything was running smoothly. We always get a good meal here with good and friendly service.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Cafe Mare is the Best!
    yumtofood
    Dined on 11/22/2013
    Cafe Mare has been our favorite italian Restaurant in Santa Cruz for years. We are never disappointed! The food is always fabulous and the owners and staff make you feel like family! They make most of their own pasta and their butternut squash gnocchi is to die for (seasonal only).
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, kid-friendly, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Authentic Italian waiter, Bene!
    2fordinnerplease
    Dined on 11/20/2013
    Mid week surprise, early meet my bride for dinner...it was perfect, appetizer salumi was fresh and tasty...my salad was good ..we chose gnocchi for a Primo and they were better than most..the pork shoulder secondo was even better still..the service was very good and our waiter was truly Italian and very fun and patient with my really poor Italian..
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • No crowd and great dining
    BobroyerVIP
    Dined on 11/17/2013
    We got a table for 6 on a Sunday evening at the last minute. The food was great with a nice selection. The wine list was better than adequate. The service was superior.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.