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Nearby points of interest

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About 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.

121 Soquel Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
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Dining Style:
Casual Elegant

Cuisines:
Contemporary American

Hours of Operation:
Lunch: Wednesday - Saturday 11:30am - 2:00pm; Dinner: Tuesday - Sunday: 5:30pm - close

Cross Street:
Front

Dress Code:
Casual Dress

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(831) 423-7427

Website:
http://oswaldrestaurant.com/

Parking Details:
Oswald is located on the street level of a four story public parking garage with very reasonable rates.

Executive Chef:
Damani Thomas

Additional:
Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Cafe, Corkage Fee, Full Bar, Non-Smoking, Wine

Oswald Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.4

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.5

service

4.5

ambience

4.2

value

3.9

Noise

Moderate

90% would recommend it to a friend

Handcrafted Cocktails (29)
Creative Cuisine (28)
Good for a Date (24)
See All
Fit for Foodies (24)
Special Occasion (16)
Local Ingredients (16)
Bar Seating (15)
Good for Anniversaries (13)
Casual (13)
Romantic (13)
Good for Birthdays (12)
Fun (11)
Neighborhood Gem (11)
Notable Wine List (11)
Business Meals (11)
Authentic (9)
Hot Spot (9)
Pre/post Theatre (9)
Cozy (8)
Healthy (8)
Quiet Conversation (8)
Seasonal (8)
Vibrant Bar Scene (8)
Worth the Drive (8)
Good for Groups (6)
People Watching (6)
Great for Lunch (5)
Organic (5)
Happy Hour (4)
Quick Bite (4)
Sunday Lunch (4)
Comfort Food (3)
Gluten Free Options (3)
Good Vegetarian Options (3)
Afternoon Coffee (2)
Great Beer (2)
Afternoon Tea (1)
Great for Brunch (1)
Kid-friendly (1)
Disabled Access (1)
Late-night Find (1)
Paleo Friendly (1)
Tapas (1)
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904 reviews
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·Dined 4 days ago

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

Tags: Worth the Drive, Bar Seating, Handcrafted Cocktails, Creative Cuisine, Good for a Date
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food3
ambience3
service4
value2

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined 5 days ago

Bartender seemed to have forgotten our drinks...but the restaurant paid for them since cocktails arrived after our salads and during dinner.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Handcrafted Cocktails, Hot Spot
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience5
service4
value3

 
·Dined on February 12, 2018

Service was great
They change menu often didn’t have what we came for

Tags: Casual, Vibrant Bar Scene, Local Ingredients, Creative Cuisine
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food4
ambience4
service5
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 10, 2018

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.

Tags: Notable Wine List, Seasonal, Handcrafted Cocktails, Fit for Foodies
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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

 
·Dined on February 4, 2018

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.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Special Occasion, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
·Dined on February 2, 2018

I've enjoyed Oswald every time I've been there. Expensive, but worth it!

Tags: Healthy, Quiet Conversation, Local Ingredients, Good for a Date, Creative Cuisine, Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 1, 2018

Great lunch. Food delicious. Service excellent

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on January 28, 2018

Everything was excellent! The rack of lamb was amazing!

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 27, 2018

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.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
·Dined on January 27, 2018

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.

Tags: Handcrafted Cocktails
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food4
ambience3
service2
value2

 
 (Baja California)·Dined on January 26, 2018

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.

Tags: Tapas
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food4
ambience3
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 24, 2018

The food at Oswald is consistently excellent. We took friends who’d never been there and they enjoyed it too.

Tags: Fun, Good for Anniversaries, Good for Birthdays, Neighborhood Gem, Creative Cuisine, Bar Seating, Pre/post Theatre, Worth the Drive
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food4
ambience4
service2
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 24, 2018

Too expensive for what you received. I don't have 50 characters to submit

Tags: Business Meals
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food4
ambience4
service4
value1

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 19, 2018

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...

Tags: Hot Spot, Casual, Healthy, Good for Groups, Good Vegetarian Options, Good for a Date, Business Meals, Notable Wine List, People Watching, Local Ingredients, Good for Birthdays, Vibrant Bar Scene, Authentic, Happy Hour, Quick Bite, Fun, Neighborhood Gem, Handcrafted Cocktails, Creative Cuisine
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 18, 2018

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.

Tags: Seasonal, Organic, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience4
service5
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 18, 2018

Very enjoyable meal. It was quiet enough for good conversation.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, People Watching
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 17, 2018

Best dinner service and fine dining food in Santa Cruz. Lively cocktail bar evenings.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Hot Spot, Pre/post Theatre, Business Meals, Handcrafted Cocktails
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Sacramento)·Dined on January 13, 2018

Excellent experience,scallops were excellent and the shirt steak was perfect!

Tags: Local Ingredients, Handcrafted Cocktails, Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience5
service4
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 10, 2018

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.

Tags: Good Vegetarian Options, Creative Cuisine, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 31, 2017

Mussels were excellent. Skirt steak was tender but arrived cold ☹

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food4
ambience3
service4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 30, 2017

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.

Tags: Hot Spot, Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience3
service5
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 30, 2017

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.

Tags: Fun, Good for a Date, Business Meals
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience3
service5
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 29, 2017

Always amazing and a wonderful treat! Cannot wait for the next time!

Tags: Romantic, Gluten Free Options, Special Occasion, Creative Cuisine, Authentic, Cozy, Business Meals, Fun, Sunday Lunch, Organic, Fit for Foodies
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 21, 2017

First visit with gift card. Very nice & we will return.

Tags: Happy Hour, Casual
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 17, 2017

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.

Tags: Handcrafted Cocktails
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food3
ambience4
service4
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 15, 2017

The place was a little noisy and it was a little difficult to have a conversation. Food was really good.

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food5
ambience3
service4
value4

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on December 12, 2017

Excellent food and service. I had very tasty grilled scallops preceded by delicious persimmon/squash soup. My dining companions had equally tasty meals.

We were all happy that the noise level seems to have been softened somewhat since our last visit a few years ago. It made for much easier conversation .

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Creative Cuisine, Handcrafted Cocktails, Local Ingredients, Pre/post Theatre, Seasonal
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food5
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 8, 2017

Easily one of the best restaurants in the general Santa Cruz area.

Tags: Good for Groups, Creative Cuisine
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 5, 2017

Superb food carefully prepared. Service was low key but attentive. Love to come here again and again.

Tags: Casual, Comfort Food, Good for a Date, Special Occasion, Fit for Foodies, Quiet Conversation, Local Ingredients
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on December 2, 2017

Music was terribly loud. Food was quite good though the bit pricey

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food4
ambience3
service5
value3

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on November 30, 2017

My family absolutely loves this restaurant . We have been coming here for years and we love it EVERY time.
Fabulous food, service, and ambiance.
Our favorite thing they serve is their creme brûlée. The best we have every had. Made with simple real food ingredients. We also really enjoy sipping on their aperitif, made with herbs.
Get a reservation if you want to dine in the restaurant because they are usually booked up. They do have a nice bar area (much louder) where you can eat if you don’t have reservations.
Overall this restaurant tops our list as one of our favorites. ❤️

Tags: Authentic, Good for Anniversaries, Good for Birthdays, Handcrafted Cocktails, Worth the Drive, Gluten Free Options, Casual, Hot Spot, Fit for Foodies, People Watching, Cozy, Fun, Comfort Food, Kid-friendly, Special Occasion, Organic, Quick Bite, Business Meals, Good for a Date, Sunday Lunch, Healthy, Neighborhood Gem, Local Ingredients, Great Beer, Notable Wine List, Great for Lunch, Quiet Conversation, Creative Cuisine, Romantic, Bar Seating
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Central Coast)·Dined on November 29, 2017

I only go to Oswald for lunch; it's way to noisy at dinner time. In fact, even at lunchtime we had to ask them to turn down the music so we could talk to each other (they were very accommodating about it). But what a lunch! The soup that day was butternut squash and persimmon, with smoked paprika oil and toasted walnuts - sensational! The texture was like a cloud! My wife has celiac disease and they don't offer GF options so we opted for sandwiches without the bread - one was chicken, with bacon & cheese & avocado. So good. The other was a marinated and grilled portobello mushroom with a nice cheesy topping and all the fixins. We had to pass on the french fries because they are cooked in the same oil as the fried chicken, but the side salads we ate instead were delicious! For dessert: the most perfect crême brulée ever!

Tags: Cozy, Business Meals, Handcrafted Cocktails, Special Occasion, Neighborhood Gem, Good for a Date, Great for Lunch
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 15, 2017

We had been trying to get together with another couple, our good friends, for some time to celebrate both of us guy's October birthdays. Even though it was a month late for us, Oswald did a great job in preparing and serving a terrific meal and making us feel very welcome.

Tags: Quiet Conversation, Fun, Worth the Drive, Bar Seating, Organic, Good for a Date, Good for Anniversaries, Fit for Foodies, Handcrafted Cocktails
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 15, 2017

The food at Oswald's is exceptional. Flavors are well paired. The offerings are creative and appealing. Went for lunch. Original and delicious cocktails available. The tab was high for lunch but worth it for a special occasion.

Tags: Handcrafted Cocktails, Fit for Foodies, Local Ingredients, Special Occasion, Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 11, 2017

We returned to Oswald as a celebration of when we were engaged 6 years ago. That night was magic. Tonight was merely good. With so many restaurants to choose from, we likely will seek others on our next visit to downtown Santa Cruz. We found that few of the dining options were suitable for a person allergic to dairy products. Yes, cheese can be withheld, and olive oil substituted for butter, but at the cost of flavor, versus developing a dairy free dish from the beginning.

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food3
ambience4
service4
value3

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on November 11, 2017

We had a very nice dinner at Oswald’s. The only thing I wish they had one more vegetarian or fish options. I husband had lamb and loved it. I ended up just getting a couple of sides which were good but I would’ve preferred a good piece of fish or vegetarian plate.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Handcrafted Cocktails, Creative Cuisine, Special Occasion
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food3
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 11, 2017

We were a table of four persons, and all of us felt our different dishes were too seasoned. My friend had the lamb dish and couldn't eat it (but didn't complain to the server; the server did not inquire why she hadn't eaten it, which I thought was strange) and my sea scallops were extremely salty. My husband's flank steak was too salty, also. The salads and desserts were much better than the main dishes. If I go back, I will just order a salad and dessert.

Tags: Good for a Date
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food2
ambience4
service4
value2

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 9, 2017

Delicious as always

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (Tahoe)·Dined on November 7, 2017

We found their menu to be very limited. We only order a salad and soup and it was still really expensive. Won't be back!

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food2
ambience3
service5
value1

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 5, 2017

Oswald is ALWAYS our go-to place when we want to celebrate...this was an anniversary, so there is no place in Santa Cruz County that will do other than Oswald...real professional from beginning to end!...nice greeting...Superlative Service and Outstanding Food and Cocktails!...it’s our go-to place...bottom line...thanks to all!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Casual, Bar Seating
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

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