Cafe Sparrow

4.8
661 Reviews
$31 to $50
French
This charming country French restaurant located in historic Aptos Village, combines traditional French sauces with a California flair. The quaint restaurant with its open kitchen, consistently wins local readers polls for best restaurant. The creative menus are complimented by a varied wine list with a local focus. Dinner is served Monday through Saturday from 5:00. Dinner features filet mignon, rack of lamb, pasta dishes, and the freshest of options from the sea. Sauces are a specialty. Desserts are made in house and are sure to please. Cafe Sparrow is the place to go in Aptos and Santa Cruz County for fresh, delicious and beautifully presented food.

Safety precautions

Cleaning & Sanitizing
  • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
  • Common areas deep cleaned daily
  • Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
Physical Distancing
  • Limited number of seated diners
  • Extra space between tables
Protective Equipment
  • Waitstaff wear masks
Screening
  • Sick staff prohibited in the workplace
  • Staff temperature check required
  • Contact tracing information collected
What 661 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.8based on recent ratings
4.8
food
4.7
service
4.6
ambience
4.5
value
Noise · Moderate
98% of people would recommend it to a friend
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D
vipDawniedo
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food and service impeccable. We love Cafe Sparrow

MM
MisterM
Los Angeles
14 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Dined here after moving to pandemic orange, so fewer tables and generally better service overall as a result.

Very friendly staff in ordering.

Food came out like pre-pandemic. My stuffed pork chop was excellent, sauces and small sides of beets and green beans went together well. The short ribs were super tender and tasty.

Food was so good that we enjoyed it so much and forgot to take photos.

Overall, outstanding and great to see this restaurant back up snd running.

PC
vipPamelaC
San Francisco
28 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This is a must! Excellent everything! Small place with a HUGE menu (2 sided and a cram-packed specials board).

PM
vipParisMelvie
San Francisco
36 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service4ambience4

IT was our first visit to the Sparrow Cafe and we enjoyed it. We were a little disappointed with the fondue, but the remainder of the meal was excellent.

We had a new server in training. Both the server and his trainer could have smiled a bit more.

We stayed late. No one hassled us to leave. Greatly appreciated.

WG
WilmaG
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on April 3, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience5

We went to our first dine in since the COVID stay at home order. (1 year). We chose the Café Sparrow. It was everything we remembered and more! The food ambiance and service was what we remembered and the attention to COVID safety was outstanding. So glad this was our first "getting back to normal" experience.

k
kkwg
1 review
Dined on March 30, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Perfect job of social distancing! The food was delicious too. Even my picky 9-year-old was able to find something on the menu while we adults indulged in the fancy stuff we hadn’t had for over a year: filet mignon and venison. Mmmm!

JS
JeffreyS
1 review
Dined on March 27, 2021
Overall3food3service3ambience3

I understand the necessary changes with covid, yet there were just awkward things about our meal. First, we had two servers without the explanation that one was in training. With masks, it was hard to tell who was asking questions.

Our table was small and crammed in a corner with the push doorhandle invading the space. There were two sharp, protruding hooks on the window frame that were actually intimidating and contributed to the cramped feeling of being in the middle seat on an airplane. If the table had just been pulled our 3-4 inches it would be so much more comfortable.

Our food was actually disappointing from their usual. My go-to favorite (chicken livers) was no longer on the menu. My salad was great, but my entree was way too salty and bitter from a burned crouton. Having cinnamon in the entree and one of the side vegetables seemed like flavor overkill.

PW
PWDs
San Francisco
22 reviews
Dined on March 27, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It was wonderful being able to return. Dinner was great, as it had been in the past. Service was excellent. The restaurant looked fresh and clean but the same vibe

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on March 27, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Anniversary

MM
MeghanM
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on March 27, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing food, wonderful staff and an all around perfect dining experience. Highly recommend!

CB
vipColoradoBelle
Denver
22 reviews
Dined on March 26, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Charming intimate with interesting dishes. We enjoyed our visit. Thank your.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Jackson Hole
1 review
Dined on March 26, 2021
Overall4food5service4ambience4

Fine food eclectic experience

D
Dickel
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on March 26, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing French cuisine in a casual California coastal vibe. Super friendly and efficient staff.

R
Robin
New York Area
1 review
Dined on March 26, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent all around - as always!

MD
MichaelD
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on March 24, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Great food and service!

LL
vipLoriL
San Francisco
17 reviews
Dined on March 23, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This was my first indoor dining experience since the start of covid and it was perfect. The set-up felt very safe and the staff were all very conscientious. Now to the food. It was delicious! We started with the crab cakes and the warm goat cheese salad—both outstanding. I had the cioppino with seafood that melted in my mouth and a broth that was flavorful but not overpowering. My daughter had a steak that also melted in your mouth. We ended with the warm brownie dessert which was also delicious. The staff was attentive and provided great service. We both loved the ambiance and had a wonderful time. Highly recommend this place and will be back.

G
vipGreg
San Francisco
45 reviews
Dined on March 20, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Cafe Sparrow was one restaurant that we were very much looking forward to reopening after a lengthy covid closure. Our first time back didn't disappoint! Elegantly casual and food exceptional. Much of the old staff has returned and they haven't missed a beat.

This is one of the finest and most consistent restaurants in the Santa Cruz area. Very, very enjoyable meal.

k
vipkaboolie
San Francisco
69 reviews
Dined on March 20, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Cafe Sparrow has such a warm bistro feel. We had the bouillabaisse and the salmon. Both were very flavorful and cooked to perfection. I might have added more seafood to the amazing broth. Salmon was not overdone and they asked if we would like it medium rare which was spot on! The desserts were so good and the small brownie sundae was delicious and just the right size. We are sooo happy they are open and serving great food. The service is perfect - attentive but not obtrusive. They make it a special night out!

C
Catherine
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on March 20, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Delicious place to dine. Staff is always attentive and professional.
One of our favorite restaurants in Aptos.

RK
RyanK
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on March 19, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Fantastic restaurant! Can't wait to go back. Highly recommend.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
San Francisco
21 reviews
Dined on March 18, 2021
Overall2food1service3ambience5

I am usually a huge fan of the sparrow as I had my wedding night meal there and most anniversaries since 1999. This time they were so off it was sad. The food was undercooked then attempting to fix it they burnt it and seemed offended that I sent it back. I overheard the chef make a snide comment that I complained after he fixed it. Con to having an open kitchen. The sad part is that we are loyal customers so we realized it was an off night but staff made us feel like we were the problem.

H
vipHollywood
Palm Springs
50 reviews
Dined on March 16, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience4

We had a lovely evening. Service was incredible and server so gracious. Steak was sent back as medium well came rare but all in all great.

SM
SusanM
Louisville
3 reviews
Dined on March 13, 2021
Overall5food4service4ambience5

We love Cafe Sparrow! So happy they are back serving sit-down guests!

G
Gretty
1 review
Dined on March 13, 2021
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Went once before about 2 years ago. We went this time to celebrate a special occasion and it was all we hoped for. A little pricey so would probably only go for special occasions.

CZ
CatherineZ
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on March 12, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We are "Frequent flyers" at Cafe Sparrow. We love the food, the ambience and the people who work there. It is a special treat to get a meal at Cafe Sparrow!!!

BT
ByronT
Detroit
2 reviews
Dined on March 12, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This is my favorite restaurant when I visit the Aptos area. The food is outstanding and the service is great. The wait staff was friendly and knowledgeable.

RE
RENEEB
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on March 11, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It was so nice to finally be back in a restaurant and the food was absolutely fantastic

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
San Francisco
21 reviews
Dined on March 10, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Always a good meal

DP
DaveP
1 review
Dined on March 10, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Our favorite place to eat is finally open with the same quality of food and friendly wait staff!

ZB
ZingBoom
Central Coast
23 reviews
Dined on November 14, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Sparrow opened in 1989 and we've been dining there periodically since 1990. We've never had a bad meal, or bad service, or even less than a 5 star meal or 5 star service. This restaurant knows what it's doing, does it very well, and does it very consistently.

More recently in the COVID era, their health, safety, and compliance measures are equally exemplary. We felt very well protected while dining.

Highly recommended.

TD
TeresaD
Central Coast
5 reviews
Dined on November 13, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

So happy Cafe Sparrow was open again as it is one of our favorite, if not our favorite, restaurant in all of Santa Cruz county. Small and intimate with a cozy dining atmosphere. My husband and I have been coming here since we moved to Aptos 33 years ago ago and have missed it so much. We enjoy every meal we have there. Have never had a bad meal. Their service is impeccable, their wait staff know how to treat their customers. The food is always spot on. Other restaurants could learn how to do it all from Cafe Sparrow. We don’t need a special occasion to go there. We always find one though ! It happened to be Friday the 13th and we met on a Friday the 13th many years ago so we called it our “anniversary” as it was a type of anniversary for us. Since the Sparrow was closed for our wedding anniversary we used this as a belated anniversary dinner. We never go anywhere else for special occasions. So glad Cafe Sparrow is open again. We will be back again very soon.

ZB
ZingBoom
Central Coast
23 reviews
Dined on November 11, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Very nice to experience the top level food and service again while still feeling safe from COVID in the dining room. Plus all of Sparrow's rituals were retained including the specials signboard and the amuse bouche.

JC
JulieC
1 review
Dined on November 10, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Scrumptious flavor. Attentive service. Calm romantic vibes.

M
Mr917k
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on November 7, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always a favorite...NEVER a disappointment...!...inside dining was nicely separated, servers were well masked...felt totally safe...food and wine and desserts were just great...a Jewel for our community..support the heck out of them if you can...

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 6, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Outstanding service and food! Can’t wait to go back!

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
San Francisco
21 reviews
Dined on November 4, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always a good time and great food. I highly recommend it.

LE
vipLisaE
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This place is adorable. Romantically charming. Great food and friendly service!

CR
ChaiR
Detroit
4 reviews
Dined on October 31, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Rack of lamb, spicy crab cake, sesame ahi tuna are all very delicious.

RT
vipRyyT
San Francisco
151 reviews
Dined on October 27, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience4

The restaurant is doing a nice job of distancing. There was only another couple in the front room with us. More folks were in the second room.
The wait staff (Helen) is excellent, polite and attentive.
They do offer 1/2 glass wine for some of their selections which was perfect for me to try the merlot.

Hubby liked the duck, $35. I don’t care too much for duck as it tends to be chewy and I choked on a piece many years ago. Brussels sprouts, mashed pumpkin also arrived on the plate. His scallop appetizer was good too.

I really liked the Caesar salad with generous strips of anchovies. The seared crusted ahi was tender and good. Lots of sesame seeds over the fish which also came with wasabi soy dipping sauce, puréed pumpkin, Brussels sprouts.

Hubby managed to stuff dessert into his stomach afterwards. I had a bite and the mini bombe was good too. Lots of folks were doing takeout. It’s a place I’ve like to return to in the future

j
vipjcrara
San Francisco
32 reviews
Dined on October 26, 2020
Overall4food3service5ambience4

Great little find on our way back to SF. A twist on French cuisine. Excellent service!

FAQs

Cafe Sparrow offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (831) 688-6238.

Cafe Sparrow is rated 4.8 stars by 661 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.