121 Soquel Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA 95060Neighborhood:
Contemporary AmericanPrice: $30 and under
- 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
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.Continued
Foodspotting photosSee all photos
Awards voted by OpenTable diners
- Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
- Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
- Diners' Choice WinnerBest Service
Oswald - Best Restaurants in Santa Cruz ›
Oswald reviews from OpenTable diners
103 reviews since May 25, 2014
- Ambiance3.9Noise LevelModerate
fit for foodies (65)special occasion (44)neighborhood gem (35)vibrant bar scene (33)hot spot (24)notable wine list (24)romantic (23)good for groups (11)late-night find (6)great for lunch (3)kid-friendly (1)great for brunch (1)Show More
- Yum!VictoriaDined on 9/19/2014A wonderful meal! So glad we made the reservation. Great cocktails as well! Definitely recommend when in Santa Cruz!Special Features:
- Santa Cruz GemOpenTable Diner Since 2011Dined on 9/19/2014We 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:
- Amazing as alwaysRachDined on 9/13/2014Love 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:
- Santa Cruz GemlifeisgoodDined on 9/12/2014I 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- OpenTable Diner Since 2010Dined on 9/12/2014the 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:
- Mediocre way of cookingEuropeanEaterDined on 9/10/2014Had 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.
- Excellent againDeAnzaMikeDined on 9/10/2014My wife and I know and have experienced nothing but excellent dining at Oswald for almost 30 years. We have never been disappointed.
- Perfect AnniversarylovetoeatDined on 9/6/2014This 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:
- shar1Dined on 9/6/2014Went 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:
- Everything worked wellPaulDined on 9/5/2014Food, service, location all worked great for us. Very high quality experience.Special Features:
- Great but noisymatgladjeDined on 9/5/2014Always 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- derfdinerDined on 8/30/2014We 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Outstanding Service, Great MenuSV98Dined on 8/24/2014We 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Best of Santa CruzFashionMomDined on 8/23/2014Great 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Love OswaldsyumtofoodDined on 8/22/2014Oswald' 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Birthday DinnerOpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 8/22/2014I 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:
- Oswald is always spot on!!OpenTable Diner Since 2012Dined on 8/22/2014I 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:
- Oswald's Dinner 8/21OpenTable Diner Since 2013Dined on 8/21/2014We 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.
- SF in SCjudyVIPDined on 8/20/2014Excellent food! Oswald could compete with any restaurant in San Francisco in ambience, food and service.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Our Annual IndulgencesaarakatajaDined on 8/19/2014We 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Oswald is outstanding!SCFoodieVIPDined on 8/16/2014I 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:
- Still going strongFrequentDinerVIPDined on 8/15/2014Although 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 avoidedSpecial Features:
- Our first timeNateVIPDined on 8/9/2014They 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.I would recommend this to a friend.
- Poor Food QualityfoodieVIPDined on 8/6/2014After 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.
- Best of Santa CruzJon1949Dined on 8/2/2014We'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:
- twice in a weekLaurahVIPDined on 8/2/2014Oswald 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- skyvverDined on 8/2/2014Second 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?
- Fabulous food!!2FoodiesForeverDined on 7/31/2014If 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:
- Blah food for too much moneyPickyifspendingmuchobucksDined on 7/31/2014I 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:
- so noisy even server can't hear youOpenTable Diner Since 2013Dined on 7/26/2014good food but noisy. very bad interior, acoustically.
- Great food and wine!!OpenTable Diner Since 2010Dined on 7/25/2014Kind of a weird location - corner under the parking garage and next to public toilets but once inside you would think San Francisco! The food was wonderful, wine list very good and the service was also very good. Great treasure for Santa Cruz foodies!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Best restaurant in Santa CruzsaguarobearDined on 7/22/2014excellent from start to finish. scrumptuous appetizers, juicy flavorful rack of lamb, outstanding local wines, and every dessert a great finish to a wonderful meal. also have to mention Adrianne, our server. She is truly a delightful young lady who has been terrific every time we've been there.Special Features:
- Good -- but not for vegetarians!easydinerDined on 7/12/2014Oswald's has great ambiance, friendly and helpful staff. The lamb and duck dishes are amazing! Unfortunately, we chose this restaurant for a birthday dinner for a vegetarian friend. Oops. Should have checked ahead. There was only one main course for him, and it was pretty pedestrian and clearly an afterthought.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Terrific, as alwaysOpenTable Diner Since 2006Dined on 7/10/2014We've been dining here for more than a decade and it always delivers.Special Features:
- Love itKyleLDined on 7/5/2014We love going to Iswalds when we are in Santa Cruz. So delicious and fresh.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great food. NoisyYummyDined on 7/5/2014We all thought the food was very good at Oswalt. The service was good. They did not rush a smart table at all. It was very difficult hearing each other either because the restaurant was noisy and acoustically it was challenging to hear each other. It is one of the better restaurants in Santa Cruz. It was was it Nice.
- Innovative CA fusionCalTexDined on 7/3/2014Very creative and successful cooking. Professional and convivial staff.Special Features:
- Refined cookingfarpointdiveVIPDined on 7/1/2014Oswald's holds the refined cooking title in Santa Cruz. The wine list is overpriced for all except Santa Cruz wines. The cooking ventures into interesting venues with mixed success. Service, as always, is lovely and attentive.
- Santa Cruz goodCeejay85Dined on 6/28/2014This place has potential, looks great, good bar, open kitchen, and was great service. The food wasn't very exciting although good it wasn't special and we couldn't hear, it gets very loud they need to do something about the acoustics.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Out for a special occasionSCyumDined on 6/24/2014I've dined at Oswald many times over the years. It's consistent in the the quality of the food, service, ambience. It was my birthday and I wanted to go somewhere special. It was just perfect for that. I was glad it was a Tuesday night, as it wasn't crowded and the noise level was down. . . not my prior experience.Special Features: