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For 2
Date
Today
Time
7:00 PM
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Booked 1 time today

Pearl of the Ocean

3.8
76 reviews
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$30 and under
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Indian
Top Tags:
  • Neighborhood Gem
  • Fit for Foodies
  • Organic
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!
Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Cuisines
Indian, Organic, Vegetarian / Vegan
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Hours of operation
Lunch: Daily: 11:30AM - 2:00PM Dinner: Monday - Friday: 5:00PM - 9:00PM Saturday & Sunday: 5:00PM - 9:30PM
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Phone number
(831) 457-2350
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Payment options
Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Ayoma Wilen
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Catering
We proudly do catering- Please contact us for a unique and memorable event.
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
N. Branciforte
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Parking details
We have a large parking lot for you in front of the restaurant.
Additional
Beer, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 76 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
3.8based on all time ratings
4.1
food
3.6
service
3.4
ambience
3.7
value
Noise · Moderate
81% of people would recommend it to a friend
  • 5
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  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
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1.0Dined on March 4, 2018

Honestly this food was SO overpriced first of all second of all my food came cold and I had to send it back. To Boot it was tasteless. I would not recommend this place to anyone. But I have to add the waitress was a sweetheart !

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5.0Dined on December 22, 2017

This is my new favorite place! Yummy organic, locally sourced & VEGAN sri lankan food. I had the triple mushroom curry with brown rice & salad rolls and 2 glasses of their signature wine. The owner/chef was also serving due to pre-holiday reduction in staff and she never gave off any impression that she was hurried or harried but was lovely and friendly and helpful. The food was fresh, interesting & delicious. The wine was sweet, rich and full bodied and fun to drink. One of my favorite things was the ambience was like a cafe with mellow dimmed lighting. It has less than 20 tables and the result is you can converse with your friend/s. This may not seem like a big deal but I am hearing impaired so a general din as you find in most restaurants was noticeably missing here & it made the whole dining experience so peaceful. Prices were reasonable and the food was excellent. I'll be back!! Thank you.

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5.0Dined on November 10, 2017

Really love this place every time I come I get something different, food has flavors that are so yummy, if it's says Spicey it really is so be careful if you don't like hot spices.

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4.0Dined on October 20, 2017

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.

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2.0Dined on October 15, 2017

We decided to give this place a second try, but found it much like our first experience: loud, crowded, and over-priced with slow service.

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3.0Dined on October 13, 2017

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.

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4.0Dined on August 26, 2017

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.

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5.0Dined on August 12, 2017

Food was creative and delicious, in a small but bright and cheerful space. Service was friendly but quite slow. The house-label wine (we had the cab) was surprisingly good.

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4.0Dined on July 26, 2017

Great spicy food, $. Groupon next time!!

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3.0Dined on June 25, 2017

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.

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4.0Dined on June 2, 2017

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.

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5.0Dined on May 19, 2017

Delicious, beautiful display of food with friendly and generous service.
All food sold if bought at local Santa Cruz farmers markets.

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3.0Dined on April 14, 2017

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.

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2.0Dined on March 18, 2017

they opened late then the wine list wasn't what was on the menu only their own white/red--plus price and items did not match their website--so won't be back.

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1.0Dined on February 18, 2017

Stuffy steamy room
Overpriced
No decent lighting
Mediocre food
Never going back

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5.0Dined on February 14, 2017

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.

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5.0Dined on February 11, 2017

Excellent, tasty food, helpful service, a bit expensive but totally satisfying.

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5.0Dined on January 23, 2017

This is our new favorite restaurant. The food is delicious. Their willingness to work with allergies and food preferences is first rate.

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1.0Dined on January 6, 2017

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.

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5.0Dined on December 31, 2016

The vegetable side-dish selection is a must-taste. A great variety of tastes and textures.

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5.0Dined on December 19, 2016

Our new favorite restaurant. Works around all types of allergies and food preferences.

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5.0Dined on December 3, 2016

The food is delicious and exotic. Service is fast and friendly. You will have a great time.

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3.0Dined on November 18, 2016

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.

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5.0Dined on November 8, 2016

I love this restaurant. It is authentic Sri Lanken food and the owner is blessed. Her own recipes she has lovingly created. For me, it is a spiritual journey into this restaurant. Food delicious.

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5.0Dined on November 2, 2016

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!

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5.0Dined on October 18, 2016

All the food was delicious. Be clear about how spicy you want your food to be! The vegan tapioca was dreamy.

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4.0Dined on October 15, 2016

Food was delicious! Staff helpful and charming. We will definitely return.

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5.0Dined on October 2, 2016

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.

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5.0Dined on October 1, 2016

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!!

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5.0Dined on September 27, 2016

Beautiful restaurant, lovely service, and amazing vegetarian food. The atmosphere is peaceful and inviting. I had a wonderful lunch. I recommend the dahl, ginger rice, kale mallum, and hibiscus cooler. So good!

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5.0Dined on September 25, 2016

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.

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5.0Dined on September 24, 2016

We had an amazing dinner. Really enjoyed the uniqueness of the food. Looking forward to another visit soon.

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5.0Dined on September 21, 2016

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!!!

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5.0Dined on September 21, 2016

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!

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5.0Dined on September 20, 2016

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

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5.0Dined on September 20, 2016

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

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2.0Dined on July 16, 2016

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.

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1.0Dined on July 6, 2016

We thought that the food was not good value for the money. The food did not taste good, the portions were small, and yet the food was quite costly.

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4.0Dined on July 6, 2016

Food was very good - not the same menu as on-line, more abbreviated. Service was very slow, but we were not in a hurry. Seems like they could use some help. Noticed many take-out orders.

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5.0Dined on May 6, 2016

Small place, so give them advance notice for a larger group.

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