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
92 reviews since April 29, 2014
- Ambiance4Noise LevelModerate
fit for foodies (55)special occasion (43)neighborhood gem (31)vibrant bar scene (31)notable wine list (23)hot spot (20)romantic (19)good for groups (11)late-night find (6)great for lunch (3)kid-friendly (2)great for brunch (1)Show More
- 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 OswaldsOpenTable Diner Since 2011Dined 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:
- PerfectPicadillySquareDined on 6/21/2014The food was fantastic and the server was personable, helpful, and rather wonderful in general. Great drink list to go along with an amazing meal.Special Features:
- Always Excellent!DaisyDined on 6/18/2014Wow, 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!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Oswald's Father's Day WeekendTravelwiseVIPDined on 6/14/2014I 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.Special Features:
- Oswald "classics"farpointdiveVIPDined on 6/5/2014Some 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.Special Features:
- Modern, upscale American foodcoastalfoodieDined on 5/31/2014Great 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.Special Features:
- Food was a bit unevenjoaneousVIPDined on 5/24/2014Some very good and some mediocre. The abalone appetizer was wonderful. The lamb so-so.
- MandGmtryDined on 5/21/2014Food & 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 starsSpecial Features:
- Great findSweetToothDined on 5/17/2014The 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.Special Features:
- A hidden gemOpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 5/10/2014I'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!Special Features:
- Consistently very goodOpenTable Diner Since 2009VIPDined on 5/2/2014I 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.Special Features:
- The following 394 reviews are from the Oswald reviews archive.
- OpenTable Diner Since 2011Dined on 4/19/2014The 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.Special Features:
- Great ingredients perfectly cooked.pvanostaDined on 4/19/2014Popular 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!Special Features:
- Excellent dinner!TaraDined on 4/18/2014Second 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!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.