El Palomar - Santa Cruz
El Palomar - Santa Cruz

El Palomar - Santa Cruz

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.elpalomarsantacruz.com/
  • Phone: 8314257575x
  • Hours of Operation:
    Lunch: Monday - Thursday: 11:00am - 3:00pm, Friday: 11:00am - 3:30pm; Brunch: Saturday - Sunday: 10:00am - 3:00pm; Dinner: Sunday - Tuesday: 5:00pm - 9:00pm, Wednesday: 5:00pm - 9:30pm, Thursday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm, Friday - Saturday: 3:30pm - 10:30pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Regional Mexican, Mexican, Contemporary Mexican
  • Dress Code: Business Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Takeout, Weekend Brunch
  • Catering: We offer on-site catering services featuring a taco bar complete with handmade tortillas made to order at event, as well as a buffet option featuring an array of our most popular and signature dishes. Please inquire with manager for more details. (Note: Our catering services are for a minimum of 50 guests only.)
    We also offer many of our menu items in large to-go portions to create your own event at home, please contact us for more info.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Soquel Avenue
  • Parking: Street Parking
  • Parking Details: Public garage located at Soquel/Front
A word from El Palomar - Santa Cruz
El Palomar has set a new standard in Mexican cuisine by combining authentic, homemade recipes from the sunny state of Michoacán in southern Mexico, with the unique abundance of locally grown produce and freshly caught seafood available in the Monterey Bay.
We use only the finest ingredients in our specialty dishes, salsas and corn tortillas - all made fresh daily. All our recipes have been handed down from generation to generation in the Espinoza Family, and reflect the pride of genuine family-style home cooking. Enjoy a meal in our historic dining room, cocktails and savory appetizers in the Cantina, or a quick bite from our award winning Taco Bar before you catch a movie or show!
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El Palomar - Santa Cruz reviews from OpenTable diners
16 reviews since May 25, 2014
Overall Rating4.2
  • Food4.2
    Service4.2
  • Ambiance4
    Noise LevelModerate
85% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
good for groups (8)kid-friendly (7)neighborhood gem (7)fit for foodies (4)special occasion (4)great for lunch (4)hot spot (2)romantic (2)great for brunch (2)vibrant bar scene (2)Show More
  • The food was good except the
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 8/5/2011
    The food was good except the chicken mole. In the wayback the served a half chicken baked in the mole sauce. Now a boneless chicken breast is served with the mole over it.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • El Palomar has a hopping vibe
    Heiko
    Dined on 7/16/2011
    El Palomar has a hopping vibe in their loud, vintage, ballroom dining area. Great food and margaritas as always.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, fit for foodies, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Maybe just a off night...
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 7/8/2011
    We really looked forward to bringing guests to this Santa Cruz institution. We always had a great overall experience. This time, service was quite underwhelming and food was a little lacking: fish special was on the dry side and our second pitcher of Margarita was terrible. While the fish special could happen on a busy night, when addressing the Margarita issue, our waitress offered the usual resolutions, but did nothing. Even making minimal contact with our table, except when it came time for the bill. If weren't late, with our children being tired, would've pursued the matter more.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The food is fantastic at El
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 6/25/2011
    The food is fantastic at El Palomar. The shrimp enchiladas are other-worldly! I have given up trying shrimp enchiladas anywhere else because nothing compares. This is a destination restaurant.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, fit for foodies, kid-friendly, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Delicious Saturday brunch
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 6/18/2011
    Saturday morning brunch with my 3 year old. The food arrived very fast with no mistakes and our drinks were never empty. Delicious hot food, clean comfy booth, excellent server, and relaxing atmosphere for a weekend brunch. Palomar is one of our favorite resturants for meals with the kids, special events with family, and date nights.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for brunch, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • The menu is extensive, and
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 5/28/2011
    The menu is extensive, and the food is always good. The only negative is that the restaurant is quite noisy.
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • great celebration
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 5/28/2011
    Very yummy!!! Celebrated my daughters birthday and had a fabulous time and the food was great! Thank you El Palomar!
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • GREAT FOOD. Atmosphere felt
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 5/16/2011
    GREAT FOOD. Atmosphere felt a little bit outdated.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • In looking for a special Easter
    eater
    Dined on 4/24/2011
    In looking for a special Easter restaurant that everyone in our group could enjoy (vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy free), we found El Palomar; delicious food, great service from our knowledgeable server, nice ambiance and a convenient location! We'll definitely return next time we're in town.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Best on West Coast
    mortreport
    Dined on 4/16/2011
    Best Salsa I've ever had in restaurant; obviously made fresh and veggies were grilled. If I had stopped with just chips and salsa it would have been great night. The fish and skirt steak some of the best I have had and my wife's ceviche was fabulous. Sons had steak tacos and shrimp burrito and they loved it. The handmade corn tortillas were the best. Mojito and Pina Colada were top notch. I wanted to try the flan, but couldn't eat another bite. This is a must see place for foodies.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, fit for foodies, kid-friendly, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent carnitas special.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 4/8/2011
    Excellent carnitas special. Generous portion and very lean and flavorful. A bit noisy but food was excellent.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Was hoping for more
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005
    Dined on 3/28/2011
    Food was just your average meal. Kinda pricey for what you got.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Consistently great. I ordered
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 3/26/2011
    Consistently great. I ordered my steak well done and it was rare, which usually doesn't happen so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. Otherwise great as always. I do wish it wasn't so loud in there though.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, kid-friendly, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Been here a thousand times,
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 3/25/2011
    Been here a thousand times, food is always consistently delicious. Probably one of the best mexican restaurants in Santa Cruz. Staff is always friendly and quick.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, good for groups, kid-friendly, romantic, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Exceptional Ceviche platter.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIP
    Dined on 3/25/2011
    Exceptional Ceviche platter. Noisy on Friday night.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, great for lunch, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Since it was Ash Wednesday,
    ElizVIP
    Dined on 3/9/2011
    Since it was Ash Wednesday, I had to pass up my usual chile colorado and go for something meatless. The guacamole sope had a great contrast between the crisp masa and rich, cooling guacamole and crema. The rice and beans were surprisingly flavorful for being vegetarian, too. I polished off plenty of the excellent salsa, even though the chips seem prefab to me. My server was very sweet and alert, too. I'd say weekdays are the best time to go, since the lunch specials are a steal.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, great for lunch, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • The waitress was attentive,
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 2/28/2011
    The waitress was attentive, the chip hot and salsa cold, and the food excellent. I ordered the chimichanga and it was perfect! Hot, stuffed full of peppers, cheese adn chicken, and lightly fried to a flaky perfection.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, kid-friendly, late-night find, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • The Crab enchiladas were out
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 2/18/2011
    The Crab enchiladas were out of this world according to my wife. I love that the chips and salsa are warmed. It was better that any chilled salsa I've tried. A good review would be: We talked about how good the food and the atmospher was the next day! "& we did"
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, fit for foodies, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • A historic, fabulous dining
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 2/12/2011
    A historic, fabulous dining room (look up!) and friendly, excellent service. The roaming Mariachi Band is fantastic...ask them to play the chicken song!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Fun place. Food is good mexican
    shar1
    Dined on 2/12/2011
    Fun place. Food is good mexican food. Service is great and people are friendly.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • The hostess' in the front
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 1/21/2011
    The hostess' in the front have bad attitudes and their policies on exact people for a reservation is ridiculous.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The chile colorado was great
    ElizVIP
    Dined on 1/16/2011
    The chile colorado was great as usual, and I also tried the chile verde for the first time: a bit milder than the colorado, but tender and with nice flavor. The corn tortillas and salsa are both excellent, though the chips taste a little prefab to me (probably because the tortillas are made in-house and they don't have enough to fry for chips). The guacamole seemed a little less impressive in a bowl than it does in the tacos: the avocado seemed a little overblended and I prefer it chunky. All in all, a fun afternoon.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, great for lunch, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great fish at a Mexican restaurant
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 1/8/2011
    Best fish dish (halibut special) we'd had in Santa Cruz county in a while. Loved the chips and salsa.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, kid-friendly, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • We use to go all the time
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005
    Dined on 1/8/2011
    We use to go all the time but somehow stopped. Returned for an occasion and was pleasantly surprised by the food this time. We've eaten at their other locations....Cliantro's and the one by the yacht harbor. This location is the best of the three. I love Pozole and make a Seafood and Pork versions at home. I was very excited to see it on their menu and ordered it at their yacht harbor location. I was horrible. The ratio of spice to broth was way out of whack. Either a huge mistake was made in the kitchen or this is their recipe. We had a Mahi Mahi with Peach Salsa this time and it was superb.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Friendly service, excellent
    DressingOnTheSide
    Dined on 1/7/2011
    Friendly service, excellent food. We'll definitely make this a regular dining spot.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Some of the best Mexican food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 12/17/2010
    Some of the best Mexican food in the area. Friendly service, great strolling music. Only problem is that it is so loud that it is hard to talk.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great service, very clean,
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 11/2/2010
    Great service, very clean, drinks and chip basket were never empty, food was delicious and the right temperature. One of our treasured go-to spots in Santa Cruz that NEVER disappoints!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, great for lunch, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • We always love going there.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 10/30/2010
    We always love going there. The salsa is the best I've ever had. The drinks and food were great. On weekend evenings, there is a Mariachi band that plays at your table - very nice..
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • The food was very good. My
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 10/23/2010
    The food was very good. My friend and I shared the combo fajitas, and we didnt even finish it. My other friend ordered the shrimp burrito. She liked it too. El Palomar's got the best chips and salsa in SAnta Cruz COunty, we think.
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • I love this restaurant i have
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 10/8/2010
    I love this restaurant i have been going here for years. I go every time I go to Santa Cruz. I just love the Carne Asada and the fresh homemade corn tortillas.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, romantic, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Outstanding service. The atmosphere
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 9/18/2010
    Outstanding service. The atmosphere is warm, relaxing, friendly, outgoing, cheerful. I can honestly say it reminded me of being in Queretaro, Mexico were my husband is from. The food is very authentic and absolutely delicious. No doubt one of the best Mexican restaurant in Santa Cruz county. If you want to take a quick trip to Mexico for a relaxing weekend (or any day of the week), all you have to do is go the the El Palomar and you're there. And best of all, it's just in your own backyard.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for brunch, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Excellent Mexican food. We
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 8/27/2010
    Excellent Mexican food. We shared a lovely fresh ceviche appetizer. Chili rellenos were fabulous as were the homemade corn tortillas. Chili colorado sopes, chicken mole, shredded beef tacos and beans and rice were all delicious. We chose rather basic items--their menu is far more extensive. The Mariachi's on Friday night sang beautifully. Make reservations if you don't want to wait. (Oh, and the margaritas were great too!!)
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, neighborhood gem, special occasion, great for lunch, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Great food with specialty
    nana
    Dined on 7/24/2010
    Great food with specialty items like prawn burritos. Been going here for years whenever I get to Santa cruz
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Carne asada is great, the
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 7/14/2010
    Carne asada is great, the service was just okay, the interior of the restaurant is beautiful, but I think the prices are too high.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • We vacation with our large
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005VIP
    Dined on 7/9/2010
    We vacation with our large family every year and we always go to El Palomar at least once. It is a great place to take the kids as it is noisy, food is good and the keep those warm chips and salsa coming when you sit down.....keeps the kiddies happy!
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, good for groups, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Very busy being a Friday night.
    GlobalFoodie
    Dined on 7/2/2010
    Very busy being a Friday night. The restaurant was very busy and we had a party of ten. The kitchen was a bit slow with the food-not the waiters fault. My ala carte dish of taquitos was the last dish to be served at our table. Food was good-ambiance nice-ordering time to having food set in front of me-slow
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Excellent restaurant in a
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005VIP
    Dined on 6/28/2010
    Excellent restaurant in a historic building. Great service and good food. Reasonably priced.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • We went to El Palomar for
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 6/25/2010
    We went to El Palomar for my birthday and I requested an "off-menu" item. It was absolutely wonderful! The food is always very good and very fresh here. The service was fantastic, they went out of their way to get me what I wanted. The greeting staff made eye contact immediately when we entered (a small thing but sooo important!) The table for our very large party was ready when we arrived. The waiter was very good: energetic, accomodating and attentive. The musicians were very charming. The mixed drinks were quite good, but on average, a bit more expensive than other restaurants in the area. Overall, a 9.9 out of 10 experience!
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, good for groups, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Food was good, good portions
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 6/12/2010
    Food was good, good portions for money. The sauces are more of a white mexican sauce than a traditional mexican cuisine. Good night out though located in the beautiful downtown Santa Cruz!
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, good for groups, late-night find, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • The food was outstanding,
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005
    Dined on 6/5/2010
    The food was outstanding, the service was good, noise they had a band going table to table to sing - they could play but could not sing, and it was very hot inside the building - no fans or anything to circulate the air. Was a bit expensive for Mexican food but we were visting the Santa Cruz area.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic