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  • Oswald

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Oswald Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://oswaldrestaurant.com
  • Phone: (831) 423-7427
  • 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.Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Ambiance
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
Diner Reviews
  • "We've been dining here for more than a decade and it always delivers."
    Dined on 7/10/2014
  • "We love going to Iswalds when we are in Santa Cruz. So delicious and fresh."
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "We 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."
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "Very creative and successful cooking. Professional and convivial staff."
    Dined on 7/3/2014
  • "Oswald'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."
    Dined on 7/1/2014
  • "This 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."
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "I'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."
    Dined on 6/24/2014
  • "The food was fantastic and the server was personable, helpful, and rather wonderful in general. Great drink list to go along with an amazing meal."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "Wow, Arctic Char cooked to perfection, amazing salads and vegetable sides never disappoint here, and desserts (creme brûlée and chocolate soufflé) that are unforgettable! Beautiful restaurant, excellent service, and food you will remember fondly!!!! So lucky to live nearby!"
    Dined on 6/18/2014
  • "I eat at Oswald's regularly and rave about all their dishes. Due to the busy Father's Day weekend, they had a limited prix fixed menu. It wasn't as nice because I usually order their abalone or mussels, but doable. I enjoyed the beet salad, calamari, and bread pudding. My friend thought his dinner of rib eye steak with fries was great. I have ordered the arctic char dish frequently. But this time, the piece of arctic char I received was near the tail, a thing flat piece of fish that amounted to about 4 small bites. It was rather disappointing and I should have sent it back, but I ate it because I didn't want my friend to wait on his meal and figured I was reducing my calorie intake. Every other details was top notch."
    Dined on 6/14/2014
  • "Some of the things for which we enjoyed Oswald's are definitely still on the menu and thriving and not really surpassed elsewhere. I was a little distressed at the wine prices. They appear to be at least double of the cost of wine at retail value and with so many vineyards in the area it's too pricey. Next time we'll bring our own wine and enjoy the marvelous food."
    Dined on 6/5/2014
  • "Great dining experience. We started at the bar where the bartender made cocktails with all fresh ingredients. He earned his right to be called a mixologist. Dinner was delicious---there was a nice variety of fish, meat, and pasta without anything being mundane or something I could make myself. Our server was seasoned, experienced, and had a perfect tempo for service throughout the evening. She was there right when you needed her, but never obtrusive. Dessert was also great--coffee was french pressed at the table. Probably some of the best apres-dinner coffee I've ever had in a restaurant. Well done Oswald. You delivered a San Francisco dining experience in Santa Cruz. We need more of that here."
    Dined on 5/31/2014
  • "Some very good and some mediocre. The abalone appetizer was wonderful. The lamb so-so."
    Dined on 5/24/2014
  • "Food & service is always outstanding. We also appreciate the quality and the consistency of the meals every time we go. You are not awed one time and then disappointed the next time you have a meal. That is very hard to accomplish in a restaurant. Dining out is always about expectations and we have rarely been disappointed. Pricing is very reasonable for the quality and presentation of the food and the Wednesday Price fix menu can not be beat. 5 stars"
    Dined on 5/21/2014
  • "The food was outstanding! Best food I have had in Santa Cruz as of yet. The cocktails were also wonderful. It was not a quiet place but the scene was orderly, stylish and clean. I will definitely be going back. "
    Dined on 5/17/2014
  • "I've been to Oswald several times, and they never disappoint. The cocktails alone are worth giving this spot a try. The food...OMG...so good! I have never had the same dish, as their menu changes often. All have been delish, even my picky in-laws agree. As a vegetarian, I appreciate they always have something special and yummy on the menu. I also want to point out, a lot of people think this place is expensive. It's not. You'll pay more going to Ideal and getting a plate of spaghetti thrown in front of you. Oswald runs about $25 per dinner, and it is money more than well spent. I'm not a foodie by any means, but, Oswald has opened the door to a whole different flavor profile I never new existed. Give them a try!"
    Dined on 5/10/2014
  • "I enjoy the local and seasonal offerings and it's one of the few places where I don't have trepidation about straying from my favorite dish - everything is delicious here and there's not a better-made martini in town. "
    Dined on 5/2/2014
  • "Only complaint is the noise. The acoustics are terrible, material is needed on the ceiling to buffer the noise. Food and service were beyond excellent. "
    Dined on 3/14/2014
  • "The food at Oswald is prepared really well and is very tasty. The drawback for me, however, is that I am a picky eater, and there is not a huge selection of entrees. I specifically checked the menu online to make sure there was something I could eat before making the reservation, only to find out that the menu is not up-to-date on the website after we sat down to eat. There was no entree on the menu I could eat, so I ended up ordering the closest one and only could eat about half of the food on the plate. I would not have made the reservation (and spent $130 on a meal for 2 people that one couldn't eat) if the menu had been accurate online. I was very disappointed in a meal that I had really been looking forward to enjoying."
    Dined on 4/19/2014
  • "Popular neighborhood restaurant in downtown Santa Cruz. American / Californian modern takes on classic dishes. Bone marrow appetizer was a lovely portion and delicious. Rack of Lamb with nettle (!) risotto was equally generously portioned (5 small chops) , succulent and delicious. Service was efficient and friendly. The cocktail menu has some interesting discoveries. Highly recommended!"
    Dined on 4/19/2014
  • "Very creative mixed drinks, great service. Wonderful for dinner. Easy parking"
    Dined on 3/26/2014
  • "Second time dining here, food delicious, service very efficient. I don't drink anymore, but apparently selection is wonderful according to friends. Very enjoyable dinner, thanks!"
    Dined on 4/18/2014
  • "Every part of our dinner was outstanding! Noise level was very high."
    Dined on 4/5/2014
  • "The restaurant is intimate and a great place for date night. We tried the drink special, a vodka cocktail with infused fruit, the beet salad, the special entree, sea bass with salad, and the rack of lamb with risotto. We had the Meyer lemon pudding cake and blood orange sorbet for dessert. Everything was delicious with tons of flavors. Would definitely go back any time I'm in Santa Cruz."
    Dined on 3/30/2014
  • "Another wonderful dinner at Oswald celebrating two birthdays! and lots of options with bar and regular menu. Thanks for the candles!"
    Dined on 3/29/2014
  • "Oswald is an old favorite that is losing its touch. Catering now to sports fans, the food is often not seasoned as well as it used to me, menu is repetitive and expensive. The bar and bar menu seems to be the draw now, overflowing into the dining room - which used to be a special meal out. The noise level continues to be a problem in their "new" space. The wait staff continues to be excellent. I just wish the owner/chef didn't seem burned out on cooking carefully"
    Dined on 3/28/2014
  • "Friendly atmosphere with attentive service. We were there primarily for the food which was well prepared, presented and delicious.The menu offered a variety of seafood and meat dishes. While our party had fish and a pork chop dish I would love to go back and try some of the other interesting offerings on their menu. The wine menu and mixed drink offerings had something for everyone even alcohol free drinks. It was a bit noisy as tables filled up but that has to do with the physical openness of the restaurant. We plan to go back again, and again, and again. ."
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "Have been wanting to try for a while, Reservation for a Saturday night. Excellent service , food. It was early, place packed. 16 yr old Daughter LOVED her appetizer, I loved my dinner, dessert. Will be back!"
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "Whenever we are on Santa Cruz we make it a point to eat at Oswald. Delicious!"
    Dined on 3/21/2014
  • "My Bride had the Sea Bass special, and I had the Lamb. Everything was cooked perfectly! The bartender made an excellent Old Fashion, and Martini. This was accompanied by an excellent server who knew when to come by and when to let us enjoy. We will defiantly return to this restaurant."
    Dined on 3/20/2014
  • "Please add a semi healthy veg entree. The mushroom bread pudding is good but feels heavy. A pasta dish with fresh vegetables would be way better."
    Dined on 3/11/2014
  • "Oswald's is one of the best restaurants in Santa Cruz, which is sorely missing really excellent restaurants. The service was excellent, and they were very accommodating in making substitutions in the entrees that we ordered. They were very good, although my chicken was a little heavy on the salt. We were on a bit of a schedule and they were great in keeping us on time despite a busy Friday night."
    Dined on 3/14/2014
  • "Excellent staff, food is always good and very fresh. We go there frequently , it is on the top of our list!!"
    Dined on 3/13/2014
  • "Great food, friendly service, bar menu is a deal and the drinks are festive. We love to go see a movie downtown and then time our reservation for right after the show. It makes for a great night out."
    Dined on 2/27/2014
  • "Dinner service & ambience were great. We have been several times but this weekend we came and were not impressed. The bread is bland the butter is unsalted yet there is no salt on the table."
    Dined on 3/7/2014
  • "I really enjoy coming to this restaurant. the service is great, the food is excellent and they always do a great job. I like getting my food quickly and hot, I usually don't have 2 hour meals, so the service is really prompt and attentive. For appetizers, I had the fried abalone and crab and avocado salad. For salads, we had the butter lettice and the beet salad with feta, both month watering. For our main entree, we had the succulent sea bass and the flavorful rack of lamb. To top it off with the decadent chocolate souflee. I was in heaven."
    Dined on 3/1/2014
  • "Exploring Santa Cruz dining after relocating from Chicago area. Happy to find this very good food opportunity. Fine food and good service make a great combination for success at Oswald. Pricey for sparse surroundings but justified, I guess. Give it a try."
    Dined on 3/2/2014
  • "Great food & service, but so loud we three could barely carry on a conversation. Makes it hard to want to hang out for a long leisurely dinner, esp. when spending a lot on great food."
    Dined on 2/28/2014
  • "Given that restaurants such as Laili which is just around the corner and Shadowbrook are close, this restaurant seems too expensive for the quality offered... It has great food and a nice ambiance, but you will be better served with even better food at places like Shadowbrook or Laili, which can be cheaper!"
    Dined on 2/28/2014
  • "Very good food and service, however, especially on weekends the noise is so loud only by shouting can you carry on a conversation."
    Dined on 2/21/2014