The food is very good. However, the service, except at the bar, is always uneven. The bar is crowded and bartenders very attentive (some are terrific). In the restaurant itself, however, you never know. Sometimes the wait staff is conscientious, but sometimes uninvolved and even unwelcoming.
As usual - exceptional meals, impeccable service, and great cocktails/wine. Always a treat.
Our server was fantastic. The food was not awful, but it wasn't great, especially for the price. Lacked flavor.
I had high expectations because I had heard the food and service were good. Turns out both could use improvement. We ordered two starters and shared the fish special. The server delivered our fish before I was even close to finishing my salad (big pet peeve of mine). Then she didn’t check back on us until we were nearly done with our entree and had an empty wine glass (pet peeve number 2). The fish itself was lovely but the squash garnish was dry and chalky. And the portion was quite small despite paying $7 for a split plate charge. Big bummer for a $43 dish. One plus was the nice wine at a reasonable price. Won’t be going back.
Great soft skirt steak.. great service... nice atmosphere
Noise level better, service very good and the food preparation was excellent
There are very few top notch restaurants in Santa Cruz, but Oswald is one of them. We were there on a Wednesday evening. Menu featured an appetizer of mussels but they were not available. :-( Instead, we ordered a Dungeness crab and avocado tower with a parmesan crisp and citrus salsa that was very rich and quite good, though for our tastes, could have adjusted the proportions a bit to have less avocado, more crab and more citrus. For entrees, we had skirt steak -- cooked to order -- and a special: Thai snapper with crispy skin over butternut squash and with a beet pesto. I have not had crispy-skinned snapper before and it was wonderful. Really balanced flavor profile. For dessert, we had the chocolate souffle. Perfect. For wine, we ordered their red blend, Angels and Cowboys. I am not normally a fan of blends, but this one was outstanding. Zinfandel, Malbec and Syrah, I think. Noise level is moderate. Service was good but there was a wait between the time we were seated and our service person showed up. Would definitely go again.
All the foods, even simple things like French Fries that I normally dislike, were completely delicious. The side of greens,for $6 was surprisingly yummy, wholesome and plentiful. I would return just for that.
I had the fried chicken from the bar menu. The tenderness of the meat was perfect. I would like a bit more flavor in the flesh of the meat through maybe marination or covering the chicken in salt for 8 hours before. It was low in salt which was perfect for feeling good the next day and for my 81 year old friend whom I was treating for her birthday. She loved it completely.
The fried chicken comes with a salad which was truly fresh and perfect. I mean really good salad!! Most resturant salads seem like a rip off because it’s Costco Spring mix with an ok vinaigrette. The vinaigrette at Oswald was bright and perfectly balanced and the greens were the right size (so no one appears to be a cow when chewing them) and so, so fresh . They used lots of high quality greens like butter lettuce that you normally don’t get in restaurants. The salad and chicken together cost $14 which I think is a great value considering the superior quality of both.
I looked longingly at the mushroom bread pudding at the next table and wished I had ordered it. It looked ectstatically good. The people eating it appeared transported. It came with a lovely, huge side of sautéed greens. $36 for that combo is a lot for me but, I will get that when I return.
Despite my one gripe, that it was loud and hard for anyone with a hearing aide to participate in the conversation, I am definitely going back. My hard of hearing friends tell me they prefer Oswald at lunch when it is quieter for them.
I truly look forward to another meal at Oswald!!l
We have dined here before...maybe last summer and I love that the menu was almost completely different. The seasonality of the dishes excite and delight. Cocktails and wines are delicious; may have to visit more often!
This was our second time to Oswald and we really enjoyed it.
Excellent food, very good service. Worth the price. Looking forward to coming back again. Cheers
Janet, our server and the wine buyer, was a pleasure to work with. She was attentive and very helpful. She made our night and we thank her for the recommendations.
We visited on Valentines Day to find a prefixed menu which was not that big of a deal, but the choices were limited. The biggest disappointment was the skirt steak and fries option for $65 (salad & dessert included) Not only could you have done this at home for $10, the presentation was steak, fries and a ceramic ramekin sliding around on the plate. The artic char ordered by my better half was great! We’ll be back, it was just a bit disappointing and unexpected
Bartender seemed to have forgotten our drinks...but the restaurant paid for them since cocktails arrived after our salads and during dinner.
Service was great
They change menu often didn’t have what we came for
We shared a bowl of sherried mussels. They were cooked perfectly, and the sherried juice was just the right amount of sweet/buttery. The aioli was light and lemony. It was a very good representation of aioli. We shared the pasta which was good but nothing special. We also shared the fish special - NZ snapper with squashes. It would have been perfect - the squashes were a dynamic addition, but the fish was overcooked. Probably just an unfamiliarity with the fish itself. No dessert - the servings were just the right amount. The service was impeccable! We love the wine list.
The cocktails were really creative and yummy. Food was delicious and service was great. The restaurant is small but very lively. Fun place for special event.
I've enjoyed Oswald every time I've been there. Expensive, but worth it!
Great lunch. Food delicious. Service excellent
Everything was excellent! The rack of lamb was amazing!
Crab and avocado appetizer was very nice and my husband loved the special app of wild mushroom bruschetta. Skirt steak was cooked perfectly and so tender and the vegetarian fettuccine was delicious.
Drinks and apps were great. Duck comfit was disappointing, but the skirt steak was great. Service was lacking: didn't bring wine with dinner. Had to ask for extra bread for the mussels, which were great.
We chose Oswald because it was close to our movie at the Nick. We didn't have a full menu, instead 2 starters & a shared salad, plus a cocktail & glass of wine. Our waiter was excellent & behaved as if we had ordered a 4 course meal w/ 2 bottles of wine. We've been to Oswald several times & it's always very good.
The food at Oswald is consistently excellent. We took friends who’d never been there and they enjoyed it too.
Too expensive for what you received. I don't have 50 characters to submit
We were taken at our reservation time which was important since we had a game that night... food was great as was the service ... we love Oswald’s...
We've been to Oswald several times in the last 30 years. The food is reliably excellent. The ambiance is lovely - pretty and relaxed, but not spectacular. My objection is the price. Portions are smallish, which is not such a big deal, but the two of us spent $90 on two entrees and an arugula salad. We probably won't be back for a while.
Very enjoyable meal. It was quiet enough for good conversation.
Best dinner service and fine dining food in Santa Cruz. Lively cocktail bar evenings.
Excellent experience,scallops were excellent and the shirt steak was perfect!
We went for a weekday lunch and found the menu to be surprisingly varied. My brother had the skirt steak with sautéed vegetables and liked it. My wife and I had the sautéed spinach and farro with a fried egg and it was delicious; perfect for vegetarians.
Mussels were excellent. Skirt steak was tender but arrived cold ☹
Being a beach and college town, Santa Cruz is funky and fun. Oswalds offer upscle food at upscale prices. We split a Caesear salad and it was large enough for three with anchovies on top. All of the entrees were exquisitely prepared with ingredients that were both surprising yet complimentary. We ordered the duck confit, scallops, skirt steak, and the homemade fettucine, each bite a delight. Prices are on the high side $32-38 per entrée yet delicious. Our waitress knew how to elegantly describe the food. Corkage was $15. Strolling thrugh downtown Santa Cruz is a blast to the past.
Experience was 'ok'...
couple of issues:
1 - got seated to the left of the front door...if you are facing the street at one of those tables, there is a gigantic, BLINDING street light out side that really kills the ambiance of the restaurant, which is otherwise great
2 - ordered a glass of wine, which was more like a third or half a glass...at $12 a glass, i expected a nice pour...
3 - food was actually very good - we had the skirt steak and rack of lamb, but overall, the meal was a bit pricey for what we got...
that said, i want to try lunch some time...heard the burgers are great.
Always amazing and a wonderful treat! Cannot wait for the next time!
First visit with gift card. Very nice & we will return.
Understaffed, service was slow but very courteous and apologetic and comp'd drinks. Limited menu for guests with food sensitivities. Skirtsteak was not cooked correctly/as ordered.
The place was a little noisy and it was a little difficult to have a conversation. Food was really good.