About Pearl of the Ocean
Pearl of the Ocean offers a unique luncheon or dining experience for locals and visitors alike. We are conveniently located on Water Street near downtown Santa Cruz, with easy bus access, and plenty of parking. The restaurant first opened in 2004 as Sri Restaurant, and quickly became popular Ayoma Wilen, the new owner/chef, is continuing the tradition of serving delicious Sri Lankan cuisine, using fresh quality organic and locally grown ingredients, and a variety of special ingredients imported directly from Sri Lanka. We have many vegetarian and vegan offerings that are unique to our restaurant, as well as several dishes that include meat and seafood. In addition to all the delicious food, we have a wonderful selection of teas and exotic drinks. You'll enjoy our cuisine in a comfortable atmosphere, at reasonable prices; once you try it, you'll be back for more. Come savor the flavors of Sri Lanka!
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Indian, Organic, Vegetarian / Vegan
Hours of Operation:
Lunch: Daily: 11:30AM - 2:00PM Dinner: Monday - Friday: 5:00PM - 9:00PM Saturday & Sunday: 5:00PM - 9:30PM
$30 and under
Discover, MasterCard, Visa
We proudly do catering- Please contact us for a unique and memorable event.
We have a large parking lot for you in front of the restaurant.
Beer, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine
Pearl of the Ocean Ratings and Reviews
My husband and I were visiting Santa Cruz for the weekend to celebrate my birthday. This wasn't my birthday celebration restaurant, but we were looking forward to a new experience in Sri Lankan cooking. We had very early reservations (5:30) and so the service was quick. The fixed price menu for restaurant week had been extended to Friday, October 20th even though the menu indicated it would end on October 18th. The food was good but a small criticism was that it was served only slightly warm even though it had come directly from the kitchen. Perhaps that is the way Sri Lankan food is served. The staff service was delightful and gracious.
The deviled beef with eggplant was scrumptious. The salmon was overdone (I asked for it rare, and they told me it couldn't be done, so that's on me), and I wasn't crazy about the sauce on top. The coconut/leek sambal was also too spicy for me. But dessert was fab (chocolate cake for hubby and tapioca for me), and I loved that the chef came out for a short visit. She was lovely. I'd go back and just not order the salmon.
The food was really delicious, healthy and fresh. The flavors were unique and vibrant! I would come here next time I visit Santa Cruz. There was only one waiter and he was serving all the tables, so a few things were forgotten and we needed to be patient. I have a friend who is allergic to coconut and soy, and she was not able to eat anything other than a noodle dish. So, I wish I could have seen more of the menu online prior to arriving.
The food was beautifully presented, very colorful, with varied textures and spiciness.
I especially recommend the pakora--a deep fried variety of vegetables with a chili sauce for dipping.
Waitstaff seemed friendly and helpful, but somewhat inexperienced.
Many vegetarian and vegan choices.
The food was great. My son-in-law is from Sri Lanka and he confirmed that the food was authentic and very good. However, the prices were a bit over-the-top. 3 Adults and a child and the bill with tip came to $145. We ordered 3 main entrees, one shared appetizer and three beers plus one Tea. The child shared our food. The servings were good-sized and we had some to take home with us. I would consider going back for a special occasion, but would not take the family for a regular dinner out considering the prices.
The evening sun was a bit too bright and glaring in the restaurant. It really detracted from the atmosphere.
Service was very good even with a first-day employee. She did very well for it being her first day on the job. Very friendly! The manager was also very attentive and stopped by a couple times to make sure we were being taken cared of well.
The food was good and different.
The hostess/?owner was on her cell phone most of the time and even came to the table while still talking on it. There was a mix up with the bill and the other party left upset. This could have been handled better with improved customer relations.
My fiancée and I went here for Valentine's Day—not realizing there was a prix fixe menu for Valentine's Day at $45/person...I had only budgeted for about $75 for the 2 of us with tax and tip, since we are planning a wedding in just a few months. It was a busy night, so my fiancée let the waiter know that we didn't realize the price, and we don't want to take away a seat from someone else, so we would leave. He was SO friendly!! He said that since it was Valentine's Day, and he didn't want us to have to leave simply due to our financial constraints, that he would allow us to order off the regular menu (the one we had budgeted for). That was so nice, because we both had a delicious meal! I definitely don't recommend going on a really busy night if you're in a huge hurry, because it did take a while to get our check at the end, but the food was delicious, atmosphere was lovely, and the waiter was truly so kind and a great people-person!
The owner and both staff members were so friendly, accommodating, and warm—great customer service.
YOU MUST GO HERE FOR THE FOOD: I loved everything I had. Since I don't like really spicy food, I asked the waiter what was more mild, and he was very accommodating—everything I had was at the perfect level of spice. My fiancée was more adventurous and tried dishes he warned us had some chili powder—and he was right! It definitely had a kick, but went well with everything else on the plate—great for those who like spice. Both of us got the "mild" versions—they can also do medium and hot. I LOVED the kale, the dhal, the paan, and the special squash curry—so basically I loved everything I ate!
Definitely worth the wait and time for the delicious food and truly compassionate staff.
I was so excited when I discovered that a Sri Lanka Restraunt was in Santa Cruz. Unfortunately, I was extremely disappointed with the food and cost after our experience. The host was nice and the service was pleasant, however the dishes lacked authenticity and flavor. We ordered several vegan dishes and the vegetable selections used in the dishes was predominatly cabbage with a few carrort, broccilli, onion and few bell peppers. We also ordered the salmon special for the evening and the salmon was flavored with heavy salt. The special came with cashew cauliflower, dalh and a coconut curry. THE CASHEW CAULIFLOWER WAS TASTY. I am familiar with Sri Lankan cusine and have been to Sri Lanka several times, I would not recommend this place.
The price for 3 adults and a 2 year old was over $100.00 and this was with no alcohol! I considered this to be expensive for what we got.
Food is locally and organically sourced. I suppose that is why the prices are astronomical. We didn't find the food to be out of this world or even above average. The service was excellent. The ambiance nothing special as it's just a casual place in a strip mall.
This is my favorite restaurant in Santa Cruz by far. It is an absolutely delicious dinner spot. The flavors are exotic and robust, yet it feels like comfort food. The portions are generous and some of the meals are rich, yet it always feels healthy and wholesome to eat there. I usually get the four vegetable plate with paan (flatbread), and every time I can't stop raving about how good it is during and after the meal.
I haven't been to Sri Lanka, but the food sure seems authentic. The exotic spices come together so well with the local and organic main ingredients. The service is always friendly and often you'll be helped by Ayoma, the owner and master chef. She incorporates Ayurvedic medicine into the recipes, so if you're not feeling 100% she can suggest the best meal to help you feel better. Also, the restaurant is pleasantly colorful and there are beautifully kept plants and flowers everywhere, which makes for a great atmosphere.
There's a great variety of meals for anyone, from light to rich, vegan to meaty. If you like spicy food this is definitely your place (the spicy potatoes are amazing by the way), but you can definitely find mild options too.
Usually there are some exciting seasonal specials, and the chai and other teas are excellent.
I couldn't recommend this place more!
Pearl is one of our favorite restaurants in the Santa Cruz area. The owner and staff are warm, welcoming and accommodating. We love the specials, the many vegan options, the healthy, produce-forward entrees and the soups and teas. Be sure to try the paan, and okra if they have it. The eggplant and the spicy potatoes are also a must, and their spicy means spicy! For something richer, they also have some great meat curries and good pakora.
This place is unbelievable!! The food is unique, fresh, organic, and super-tasty. And while we came away feeling full, we also felt healthy, and even buoyant, in our bodies. The owner is such a special person; she came out and gave us some individual attention and gratitude.
We'll be going back here often!!
Loved it! Husband and I came for date night and had a lovely, unhurried meal which was presented nicely. We liked the servers recommendations and got several dishes to split. We started off with the asparagus salad, vegetable roll and mango lassi. The vegetable roll was crispy on the outside, piping hot, soft, aromatic and delicious on the inside. I'm craving it right now! The broccoli tofu and the sri lankan plate were delicious and I loved having hearty vegetarian food which wasn't oily. I particularly liked the squash curry which our server suggested and the spicy potatoes which were tasty and not greasy. My husband loved the deviled chicken and ginger rice. We took home the garbanzo curry which was mild, the kids really liked it.
Seems good for dates and groups as it can satisfy a wide variety of dietary preferences and has a nice ambiance. I'm vegetarian and my husband eats meat. It was great to be at a place where we both had a wide variety of choices. The price was reasonable for the organic food and nice presentation. The server was friendly and helpful with recommendations. She was covering multiple tables by herself but she was attentive and definitely working hard. We never felt rushed and liked the relaxed pace of the meal. We felt like we were eating clean and healthy. Not the place to go if you are looking for fast food or a trough of food.
I have to say this has to be one of my favorite places in Santa Cruz, hands down! I am vegetarian and my husband is not. Having such different eating habits makes it hard to find really good places to eat healthy and fresh foods.
Tonight we tried Open Table and Pearl of Ocean, only to be amazed by friendly service, delicious food, and fantastic overall experience.
We spoke to the owner who introduced us to her new wine, which we loved and it only added to our meal!!
After reading some of these comments prior to making this reservation I found them completely preposterous. After all this restaurant fully states it's Sir Lankan and not Indian. I myself was willing to pay more for the fresh and quality ingredients of the food prepared tonight. If I try and compare to other establishments in surrounding area I have dined, it's not much of a price difference. What is different is the type of food I am eating and being served.
I would most definitely recommend Pearl of the Ocean to locals and tourists!! Oh and do try the wine or Chai Tea they are fantastic!!!
Ayoma the owner is a delight! Very hospitable and goes out of her way to make sure you are happy with her dishes! She has a great variety of fresh organic meals for the healthy conscious person . The Sri Lankan spices she cooks with make her food unique , wholesome , satisfying delicious and wanting to come back for more!
It's just awesome place: food is 5 stars from 5, worthy the price for that, ambiance - it's so peaceful there with relaxing music,service was fast. Specially weliked appetizer (some bread I don't remember the name) , crab curry, dessert ( watalappam) and Pearl of the ocean wine! Definitely I'll come back
This restaurant was recommended by a friend, one of her favorites, and it did not disappoint. I have eaten their delicious/organic food at parries before, and it was just as good in the restaurant. The owner is very sweet and kind. She attended to all of our needs. Best Indian food in Santa Cruz
It must have been a bad night. We really wanted to give the servers the benefit of the doubt. We asked for water several times, it took 15-20 minutes to be waited on. The food was delicious-- we'd never tried Sri Lankan food before so we were looking forward to dinner there. But we just wish the service was better.
We went for dinner and a visit with friends so the timeline did not bother us at all. We enjoyed our dinner very much and the food was outstanding. If we had been in any kind of a hurry we may have had more of an issue. Our appetizer came within about twenty minutes of ordering however our main courses took another thirty five to forty minutes. That was fine for the type of night we had planned. I am not sure that it would always be the case for us if we had not been on a visiting dinner outing. The food however was phenomenal. I had some of the best Chicken Tiki Masala that I have had in a long time. they offer a mild medium and spicy when you order. The medium had just enough kick for me. Their lettuce wrap appetizers with papaya sauce were also excellent. We did not have enough room for dessert.
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