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
98 reviews since June 22, 2014
- Ambiance3.9Noise LevelModerate
fit for foodies (64)special occasion (44)neighborhood gem (32)vibrant bar scene (32)notable wine list (22)romantic (22)hot spot (21)good for groups (10)late-night find (5)great for lunch (3)great for brunch (2)Show More
- As alwaysPaulDined on 10/18/2014Once again one of the top in our area. Met our expectations.Special Features:
- Poor service/noisy!OpenTable Diner Since 2013Dined on 10/15/2014Very 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great find in Santa CruzOpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 10/8/2014We 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Love it!foodiegirlDined on 10/3/2014Over 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- FoodieDined on 10/2/2014Food was very good, especially the avocado/crab appetizer. Service was excellent.Special Features:
- Awesome OswaldDebarifficDined on 9/30/2014Outstanding 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- A reliable experienceFoodisgoodVIPDined on 9/27/2014Can always count on Oswald- consistently delicious food and inventive drinks. Fantastic service.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Loved Oswald!enewell2013Dined on 9/21/2014My 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- foodiegirlDined on 9/20/2014Consistently 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- 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:
- A Gem in City of Santa CruzNotHard2PleaseVIPDined on 9/6/2014Big city quality food - delicious! The chef knows how to prepare food with incredible flavors.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- 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.