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
104 reviews since May 25, 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 (66)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!
    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
  • 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
  • so noisy even server can't hear you
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    good food but noisy. very bad interior, acoustically.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great food and wine!!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    Kind 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:
    fit for foodies, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Best restaurant in Santa Cruz
    saguarobear
    Dined on 7/22/2014
    excellent 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:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good -- but not for vegetarians!
    easydiner
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    Oswald'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:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Terrific, as always
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 7/10/2014
    We've been dining here for more than a decade and it always delivers.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, late-night find, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Love it
    KyleL
    Dined on 7/5/2014
    We love going to Iswalds when we are in Santa Cruz. So delicious and fresh.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food. Noisy
    Yummy
    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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Innovative CA fusion
    CalTex
    Dined on 7/3/2014
    Very creative and successful cooking. Professional and convivial staff.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Refined cooking
    farpointdiveVIP
    Dined on 7/1/2014
    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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Santa Cruz good
    Ceejay85
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, special occasion, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Out for a special occasion
    SCyum
    Dined on 6/24/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet