As usual, the food and service at Cafe Mare was great. From the friendly bartender to the Italian waiters the whole experience plus the varied menu with plenty of specials make for a good night out. The happy hour has reasonable drinks and nice bar bites. You will enjoy this Italian eatery right off Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz. Enjoy.
Great restaurant! We loved the selection on the regular menu, and ordered 2 of the specials. Totally worth making reservations and taking a Lyft to this restaurant! I'll def be back. The server was wonderful too.
This is one of our go to restaurants. The food is always fresh and delicious, and the waiters are all super on the ball, and fun. We often go there without a reservation, and usually get in without a hitch. Their filet mignon is an excellent steak choice there, and their veal is superb.
This is the best service and the best food I've had in a really long time and I eat out at least two times per week.
Was there with 3 lady friends for dinner. Only 2 other tables were occupied, so restaurant was quiet. Service was excellent, maybe the best ever. Our waiter was very knowledgeable, informative, responsive and personable. The food was delicious, seemingly very authentically Italian...rich and flavorful. The restaurant sits below street level and the dining room is surrounded by windows. I personally don't care for being "on display", but don't think it bothered my friends. Will definitely return to try happy hour specials...
This was our first time dining at Cafe Mare - it had been recommended by a friend, as we were visiting Santa Cruz from out of town. Our waiter, Daniele, was attentive, charming and authentically Italian. We had a little trouble understanding some of the course descriptions due to his accent, but he was very happy to repeat what he'd said when we asked. I had the rack of lamb and my wife had the beef fillet; we asked that they be cooked rare. The meat was cooked to perfection, and the fillet was the most tender either of us had ever tasted. Really outstanding! I was a little disappointed in the serving sizes of the salads and antipasti; but extremely pleased with the generous dinner portions, half of which we took home with us. If we are ever in Santa Cruz again, we would consider dining at Cafe Mare, and we would certainly recommend it to friends.
The food and service was absolutely wonderful! Thoroughly enjoyed our evening and our server Daniel was extraordinary! Grazie!
We had another great meal with good food and good service. It was our pleasure to introduce friends to Cafe Mare as they enjoyed it also.
The food was terrible. Anemic, flavorless and leaving a bitter metallic taste. The service was good, but that would be the only draw.
Took three generations of "gals" out for Valentines Dinner. Great food, good service. Cost about what one would expect--including drinks, four desserts, and tip, about $50 per person.
I hadn't been to Cafe Mare for over a year and then we went on Christmas Day and were we impressed! So much so I went back for a business lunch and again the other day for my Wife's birthday. Somebody knows what they are doing in the kitchen especially with the fish. I am a bit of a fish snob and will not tolerate over cooked fish. Well not only have they got it down to perfection but the seasoning and sauces are amazing. Also the service is a real pleasure. Mare is a new go to restaurant for a steady good meal. It's right up there with Avanti, Soif's and Laili's, we highly recommend. Ask for Daniel from Lago de Garda!!! tell him the Cuban referred you!
The food at Cafe Mare is consistently delicious, the service is great, it's one of our favorite restaurants.
The flavor was outstanding and the menu traditional with a lot of variety. I chose the special Pistachio Pasta with Prosciutto in a Cream Sauce. It was outstanding! One of our friends ordered the special Black Cod and loved it. My husband can't wait to go back and have their special Pork Scallopini, next time it is offered! Our other friend ordered off the menu and was very pleased with the Veal Scallopini. We ordered 2 salads to share: Cesar and a special of the night... Caramelized Onion Ranch dressing over baby kale and goat cheese. Desserts were awesome... Pana Cotta and the best Tiramisu I've had! The service was a lot of fun... attentive and full of energy!
Excellent food and great service. Authentic Italian.
Top notch Italian food, at a reasonable price with enjoyable service. The only downside I ever experience at Cafe Mare is that if you are in a rush it can be difficult to have a quick meal, but I find it hard to criticize the fact that they want you to relax & enjoy yourself and their food.
The food and service here are great. Our waiter Daniel kept us entertained and was very attentive. I've never been disappointed with the food. And unlike most restaurants the noise level is tolerable even with a bar. Highly recommended.
Deliciously fresh and well presented.
Was a great spot for the family on New Year's Eve. Great food and even better service.
First of all, Cafe Mare has some of the best bartenders in Santa Cruz. The "standards" are always well executed (I like their Manhattan, Old Fashioned, and Negroni), and there are often fun cocktail specials. We love to eat small plates, or split an entree at the (small) bar, in the middle of all the action. The bartenders really know the food, and can often tip you off to which specials are really worth trying.
Less impressed with table service, though the food is the same, of course. We were there for dinner on Christmas night, and they were swamped. Our waiter missed our wine order, and so it didn't arrive until we were nearly finished with our entrees. However, he was very gracious about it (no charge).
The baccala was very good. Very tasty and a great Christmas Eve dinner. The restaurant was busy and the service was great as always. We were not rushed and had a leisurely dinner.
My absolute favorite restaurant in Santa Cruz. Everyone there is friendly and full of Italian charm. All food & drink is fabulous. They have great gluten-free options as well and will go out of their way to make sure the food you're eating is safe (I have Celiac disease -- this is the only restaurant in town I actually trust). Definitely recommend!
been there a few times--always fun/food and vino yummie--and they remember you!!
The service is always great and the food is always excellent. One of my favorite restaurants in Santa Cruz!
Great food and service. It's like a instant vacation in Italy!
We eat here regularly. The cocktails are always outstanding, appetizers are fantastic! The menu offers something for everyone, and they will even let you customize! I love their filet specials, and their veal is outstanding! Great deserts, ports, and coffee drinks! This place gets busy, but it's large, so you can almost always get a table. Awesome!
First experience at Cafe Mare. When the 4 of us arrived there were only a few tables occupied. Within 20 minutes the place was full. There was only 1 waiter and he mentioned that he was overwhelmed because of most of the patrons arriving at the same time. We placed our order and waited some time before bread was brought and did not receive our wine until much later. The bartender seemed to be waiting tables at this point. We ordered an appetizer but the salads came out first. After that they seemed to start getting their act together. Three of the dishes arrived and I was told that my dish was put into the kitchen incorrectly and would be delayed. My dish finally arrived as everyone was finishing their main course. Not the ideal situation. The waiter was very apologetic and mentioned that he was paying for my main course. I have to say that the menu choices was very good. The food presentation was very nice, portions were generous, and tasted very good. My conclusion is that they were shorthanded which caused our experience to be subpar. The staff that were present were very pleasant and tried to make the situation better but was difficult because of being short handed. By reading previous reviews it seems that being short handed has happened before.
Excellent in every way. We truly enjoy everything about it!
appetizer was good but some dish was salty.
Stopped here for dinner with friends before heading to a concert. The food was delicious and the server was very energetic and fun. Great Italian food, very authentic.
This is our favorite local restaurant to visit when our family is in town! The restaurant was extremely busy when we arrived for dinner, but our table was waiting, we were warmly welcomed, and the service was exceptional, friendly, and gracious throughout our meal. Our two young grandchildren were provided with kids menus and crayons, and felt comfortable and welcome as they enjoyed their simple pasta meals. Everything - salads, generous entrees, and housemade desserts - was beautifully prepared and presented. We enjoyed a variety of entrees including seafood ravioli, chicken piccata, crespolini di zucca, and calamari steak, all prepared to perfection; desserts were amazing! There is a nice selection of wines by the glass, as well as specialty cocktails. Even on such a busy night the room was not unbearably noisy, and the staff handled our special requests efficiently and graciously.
Cannot imagine why we haven't been here before - it's really good value, service was excellent, I like the ambience of the dining room and the food was pretty good. Possibly a tad noisy, but nothing we couldn't handle. One touch I liked: we had a party of 6 which means an 18% service charge is already added to the bill. The cashier had underlined the service charge (in red) so we would be in no doubt that we had already paid it. This is in contrast to many places which add the 18% without drawing your attention to it - presumably in the hope that you will add a tip too. I liked their honesty about it.
Went for restaurant week. We were thrilled with our dinner and our server Adrian was delightful despite a very busy evening.
The restaurant was very busy (maybe due to a Saturday and/or Santa Cruz restaurant week?) and was understaffed. I don't know if this was typical because we had not dined here before. Everyone working there was very friendly and attentive but forgetful. We asked for a couple basic things like more bread that never came. I ordered wine and it did not arrive until I was almost finished with my meal. Our party was not in a hurry and we do not mind slower service. It was just disorganized. That said, we really liked the staff and the vibe and will try it again on a less hectic night.
Cesar salad was warm and overdressed; veal entree was perfect; desserts were fine; selection was wide and varied; service was inattentive (likely due to Friday night crowd); ambiance was calm and tasteful; mashed potato + polenta item was a gem of comfort food. Wine list needs more California selections and some suggestions for pairing with menu. Good location and story. I'll return on a weekday.
This is an authentic Italian Restaurant. The food was terrific. Two at our table ordered the stuffed pork chop (a specaial of the day) and did not stop raving about it. Another ordered the lamb shank (another special) and not only looked spectacular when served but she raved it about it as well. I ordered the Maremista spaghetti (white wine sauce) and it was delicious! The white wine sauce was perfect. The only down side is that the bread was so dense that you could not sop up any of the sauce, so I was left to use a spoon to get every drop. Perfect portion too. We had Poppy Pinor Noir which was a great pairing with all our dinners.
Terrible food.!! Seafood Raviolli with shrimp smelling real bad and souce tasteless.
Other dish came soaked on oil.
Waitress was very kind and tried to fix but the espresso was cold and over roasted bean.
I have been going here for years and sometimes it's a five star experience and sometimes three. My most recent visit was one of my least favorite. I thought the service was slow, which is often an issue here and my meal was bland although others at the table enjoyed theirs.
I like the location and enjoy all of the windows looking at beautiful gardens. It's a great place for big parties and most of the serves come from Italy.
Good food and prices, excellent waitstaff. Quiet ambiance which is great if you want to have a conversation rather than be the center of the room's attention