Oswald

Oswald

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://oswaldrestaurant.com/
  • Phone: 8314237427
  • Hours of Operation:
    Lunch: Tuesday - Friday: 11:30am - 2:00pm; Dinner: Tuesday - Sunday: 5:30pm - close
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Contemporary American
  • Executive Chef: Damani Thomas
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cafe, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Wine

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Front
  • Parking: Public Lot
  • Parking Details: Oswald is located on the street level of a four story public parking garage with very reasonable rates.
A word from Oswald
Oswald is a contemporary American restaurant and bar that focuses on the abundance of delicious ingredients found on the central coast of California. Oswald features an eclectic, international wine list and an exciting, seasonal bar program. While the decor is spare and modern, the atmosphere is comfortable and relaxed.
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Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Service
Oswald reviews from OpenTable diners
99 reviews since June 23, 2014
Overall Rating4.2
  • Food4.4
    Service4.5
  • Ambiance3.9
    Noise LevelModerate
84% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (64)special occasion (46)neighborhood gem (34)vibrant bar scene (32)notable wine list (22)romantic (22)hot spot (21)good for groups (10)late-night find (4)great for lunch (3)great for brunch (2)Show More
  • As always
    Paul
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    Once again one of the top in our area. Met our expectations.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2005VIP
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    The meal was excellent and the service was even better. My concerns in the past were about the limited menus, but if they continue to make changes and have specials, there will be no reason for concern. The abalone salad was brilliantly conceived and the presentation and quality of the other entrees remind me of the old Oswald's which was more adventurous.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Poor service/noisy!
    Dinersdisappointed
    Dined on 10/15/2014
    Very noisy ... we had no chance to carry on a proper conversation across the table (4 seats); my guests were very disappointed and commented such!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great find in Santa Cruz
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/8/2014
    We went for the prix fixe dinner (Wed.) and it was delicious and very reasonably priced. They had an eclectic selection for that meal and everything we had was delicious and well-prepared. The chocolate lava cake was divine. They also offered us tastes of wines to assist in our choosing one for dinner, which impressed us. The best restaurant we visited in four days in Santa Cruz.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Love it!
    foodiegirl
    Dined on 10/3/2014
    Over the years, it gets better and better! Crispy duck is to die for! Could use a few more innovative salad choices. And the eggplant tomato tartin was skimpy but great. I had a similar dish in Oakland and they gave us 3 x this size fire same price and quality. But generally, portions are good and quality excellent. Service always wonderful!!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, hot spot, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Foodie
    Dined on 10/2/2014
    Food was very good, especially the avocado/crab appetizer. Service was excellent.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Awesome Oswald
    Debariffic
    Dined on 9/30/2014
    Outstanding food and service. We had noted on our OpenTable reservation that it was our first anniversary and we were greeted with "Happy Anniversary" and a private table. We started out having the special cocktail that was a fresh strawberry and cucumber vodka martini-esque drink. It was smooth and delicious, not at all sweet. We then split the vegetable salad and, while it was very beet intensive, I LOVED it, as a beet lover. For entree course I had the halibut and it melted in my mouth. My girlfriend had the pork loin and there was not a single hint of it on the plate at the end of our meal. This is a GREAT restaurant in downtown Santa Cruz that is definitely fit for foodies and special occasions.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A reliable experience
    FoodisgoodVIP
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    Can always count on Oswald- consistently delicious food and inventive drinks. Fantastic service.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Loved Oswald!
    enewell2013
    Dined on 9/21/2014
    My husband and I had our first anniversary dinner here and were well attended to! Our server welcomed us and said, happy anniversary right away as I had noted that in my reservation. My husband's halibut was very slightly overcooked but everything else we tried was quite impressive. I had the special which was a Lingcod dish - delicious!! The endive salad was beautifully crafted and the flavors were perfectly paired.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • foodiegirl
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    Consistently excellent! I wish they served breakfast or a Sunday Brunch. The staff is all fabulous--knowledgeable, attentive, smart, friendly but never over-bearing. Oswald was always a fave but, over time, it has become my very favorite in Santa Cruz. The chef has always been excellent and has begun putting new things on the menu--creative yet distinctively Oswald.The duck, lamb, and salmon--some of the best I've ever eaten.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Yum!
    Victoria
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    A wonderful meal! So glad we made the reservation. Great cocktails as well! Definitely recommend when in Santa Cruz!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Santa Cruz Gem
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    We ordered the halibut and skirt steak entrees and both were very good. We sat at a cute little two top next to the bar which was fun. They had good specials on the drink menu and service was very attentive and fast. We really enjoyed our night and would recommend this restaurant for those looking for a sophisticated neighborhood stop in downtown Santa Cruz.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Amazing as always
    Rach
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    Love it. Love it. Love it. This time was for a birthday, so the 2 of us ordered 4 of the appetizers besides our entrees. Tomato tartine was particularly good, but everything was delicious. This is one of my favorite restaurants.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Santa Cruz Gem
    lifeisgood
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    I am mixed in giving a fabulous review because we might not be able to get back in when we are in town, but fair is fair...Oswald's makes exquisite food. The service is charming and immediate...each person is ready to serve whatever you ask. Oswald is a restaurant you wish was in your own town so that you could eat there regularly. We will be back and I hope we can still get in.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    the menue is small but creative. we enjoyed both the appetizer and entre.service was superb very attentive but not intrusive. this was not our first and certainly won't be our last.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Mediocre way of cooking
    EuropeanEater
    Dined on 9/10/2014
    Had the 29$ set menu on Wednedays. Salad which was ok. The main course was fries and skirt steak. 75% of my plate was covered by fair french fries (the are a lot better at MacDonalds). Not sure what skirt steak really is but the quality and taste was at best fair. The chocolate soufle was good though it appeared as if it was not prepared in the restaurant but rather a ready to heat it up mass product. The restaurant did not meet my expectations after having read all the great reviews.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Excellent again
    DeAnzaMike
    Dined on 9/10/2014
    My wife and I know and have experienced nothing but excellent dining at Oswald for almost 30 years. We have never been disappointed.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Perfect Anniversary
    lovetoeat
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    This was the perfect anniversary gift. Dining at Oswalds was a wonderful experience, service was outstanding we never had to wait and the waitress was very informed and friendly. The food was over-the-top delicious. We were saying "mmmmm" "this is soooo good" the whole time. I ordered the halibut and my husband ordered lamb.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • shar1
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    Went for our anniversary. Little kids running round. One group of 8 young people, wearing baseball caps and being very loud. Will not go again.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • A Gem in City of Santa Cruz
    NotHard2PleaseVIP
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    Big city quality food - delicious! The chef knows how to prepare food with incredible flavors.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Everything worked well
    Paul
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    Food, service, location all worked great for us. Very high quality experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great but noisy
    matgladje
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    Always really good food, well made drinks, great service BUT it get very noisy into the evening. You end up raising your voice a lot to be heard. Still one of Santa Cruz few consistently good restaurants!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • derfdiner
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    We dine at least monthly at Oswald's and are rarely disappointed. Food is creative--sometimes not what we expect but always enjoyable. Service is always excellent--especially when Janet is our waitperson. Their wine list is largely international and we are unfamiliar with the labels but when you ask for a recommendation they are always spot on!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Outstanding Service, Great Menu
    SV98
    Dined on 8/24/2014
    We went late on a Sunday night, so the noise level was no problem. Our waiter was amazing, with a radiance and joy in her work that set the tone for the experience. Unfortunately, I forgot her name, but she's been there about 5 years (as of this writing) and she's outstanding. Her recommendations were spot on, including the wine, and allowed me to sample some wines before selecting one; I didn't ask for this, she offered. The food itself was great: The Salmon special was very tasty and buttery, and the ratatouille and polenta cakes were really great. This is one of the finer restaurants in Santa Cruz and definitely worth visiting again and again. Kudos to management to finding and retaining a great staff.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Best of Santa Cruz
    FashionMom
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Great food-fresh and ever changing menu. Food is always well seasoned and tasty. The chocolate soufflé is always must. The waiters are very attentive but not over baring. A Santa Cruz gem.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Love Oswalds
    yumtofood
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    Oswald' s always pleases. Try a Negroni cocktail or any one of their specialtie drinks. Great friendly bartenders. Usually have the duck - it's outstanding. Lovely downtown gem. Big city foodie feel in a small town.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Birthday Dinner
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    I was looking for good seafood in the Santa Curz/Capitola Area to take my wife for her birthday. I didn't want to go to the 'regular' places or anything on the Wharf. I came across Oswald and thought it would be good go give it a try. We had Halibut and Salmon, and although not local, it was seasoned and cooked to perfection. The garnish for both dishes, corn-potato blend was a little different than one would expect with Seafood, but it worked quite well and the cous cous served with the salmon was excellent. The servers were nice and kept our water glasses full. The tables were a little too cramped w/ shared benches, giving it an unnecessary big city/small rest feel. Overall a very good experience. Looking forward to a 2nd visit.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Oswald is always spot on!!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    I live in santa cruz- and Oswald is definitely my go to destination for an upscale meal, and excellent cocktails. I'm not a big fish person when I go out- but at Oswald, I almost always have fish as my main course... they cook it to perfection everytime, and the quality of the fillet can't be beat. I can't wait to treat another friend to a birthday dinner at Oswald Resturant!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Oswald's Dinner 8/21
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 8/21/2014
    We had been to the restaurant previously. The food was both interesting and excellent. The service was excellent and the waitperson was familiar with the dishes and had valuable comments. The noise level was fine for conversation. Wine list was reasonably priced and the wine we selected was very good. We would definitely go to Oswalds again in the near future.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • SF in SC
    judyVIP
    Dined on 8/20/2014
    Excellent food! Oswald could compete with any restaurant in San Francisco in ambience, food and service.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Our Annual Indulgence
    saarakataja
    Dined on 8/19/2014
    We eat at Oswald once or twice a year to celebrate special occasions; any more would be beyond our means. This time, the tab for one cocktail, one appetizer, two entrees, one dessert and one coffee ran to almost $100 before the tip. What makes it worthwhile is the food. This kitchen knows and loves great food--flavor, texture, presentation, how to bring out the best in fine ingredients. We shared the Dungeness crab and avocado appetizer and the almond custard tart for dessert. My husband opted for the crispy duck entree; I had one of the specials, a piece of lightly seared albacore atop sweet corn, potatoes, and charred padrone peppers. Everything was exquisitely prepared and richly flavorful. We'll be back next year.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Oswald is outstanding!
    SCFoodieVIP
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    I don't know what took us so long to try Oswald but we are certainly happy we finally did. Food was delectable, service was outstanding and great wine selection. We had a special appetizer of pork belly that was expertly prepared and Dungeness crab with avocado. Both were superb. For entrees we had the duck and lamb and again, each bite was a better than the last. We had the fig & walnut tart for dessert which was a perfect end to a perfect meal. There was a great selection of affordable wines and a nice selection of after dinner spirits. We will definitely make Oswald a regular night out!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Still going strong
    FrequentDinerVIP
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    Although it has lost the charm of its previous location, the service and food continues to be excellent. But the crowds on basketball nights and the fast eating should be avoided
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Our first time
    NateVIP
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    They were extremely busy. We were lucky to get a reservation at 8:30. Our waitress, Janet, was very busy but kept up well. My wife had the duck and I had the skirt steak. We had the fig dessert. Everything was expertly prepared. We will be back.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Poor Food Quality
    foodieVIP
    Dined on 8/6/2014
    After dining here several times and enjoying it, we were very disappointed in our meal. Maybe a Wednesday is not the best night since they have a limited menu, however the skirt steak had absolutely no seasoning and was incredibly bland. The fried chicken tasted like bread crumbs straight out of the can and had no salt or seasoning whatsoever. It was also extremely dry. The chocolate souffle was served with cream on the side, odd...not creme anglaise just plain half and half or cream. It was very one of the worse dinners we've had for some time.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Best of Santa Cruz
    Jon1949
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    We've been visiting Santa Cruz for thirty years, and Oswald gets our vote for the best place to have dinner. This may be due to the server we had on Saturday night. Janet may have been the most helpful server we've encountered. We weren't that hungry and wanted to share plates, so she made that very easy. She also suggested some excellent wines to go with the ahi tuna salad and the pork belly. She even gave us half-glasses of both wines. The food was also excellent. We truly enjoyed the experience and will return to Oswald next time we're in Santa Cruz.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • twice in a week
    LaurahVIP
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    Oswald is consistently excellent. We had the pork belly and the abalone appetizers, followed by the albacore special and the duck. Everything was beautifully prepared and presented. And delicious! The special fig, walnut tart with goat cheese ice cream was sensational. Everything was so good that we brought our grown sons tonight. Again, excellent. I had the salmon, my husband the lamb with blue cheese bread pudding. It sounds odd, but tasted sensational, and went beautifully with the Ridge primitivo. The boys had albacore and ahi. We sampled more of the desserts... All great.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • skyvver
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    Second try in as many weeks. The quality just isn't worth the price. This is one of the better restaurants in Santa Cruz, but are the prices justified?
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Fabulous food!!
    2FoodiesForever
    Dined on 7/31/2014
    If you like excellent food prepared in an innovative manner and served beautifully, this is the restaurant for you! The inside is typical, Santa Cruz informal. No white table cloths, but food more than deserving of linens and china. We enjoyed an abalone appetizer that was so tender you could cut it with a fork. The fresh, local, seared albacore melted in your mouth. To finish we shared a goat cheese ice cream served with a small tart of walnuts and pecans. Fabulous!! The prices are reasonable for the quality of dishes created from fresh, local foods. Try it, you won't be disappointed!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Blah food for too much money
    Pickyifspendingmuchobucks
    Dined on 7/31/2014
    I don't mind spending over 100 for a nice meal with my husband but this food was ordinary. Nothing special. No amazing flavors. My favorite was the calamari appetizer. The tuna and steak entres were fine. Edible. But last week we ate at two other downtown restaurants, not as fancy, but so much more tasty! So, I'm learning about what makes for a fun night out. For us, anyway, Oswald doesn't work.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate