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Ulterior - Ulterior, Santa Cruz, CA

Ulterior

4.3
4.3
51 Reviews
$30 and under
Bistro
ul·te·ri·or - existing beyond what is obvious or admitted; intentionally hidden.
What Lies Beyond the Bookshelf? Santa Cruz's premiere Speakeasy Bar and Bistro; A home to Pop Up Kitchens that Create Playful and Inventive Food, in a specially curated Environment with the Greatest Cocktails.
Please no children. We are a 21+ venue.

Make a reservation

2 people

11:00 PM


Additional information

  • Dining style

    Casual Dining

  • Cuisines

    Bistro, Gastro Pub, Bar / Lounge / Bottle Service

  • Hours of operation

    Wed–Sat 5:00 pm–10:00 pm

  • Phone number

    (831) 295-3100

  • Payment options

    AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

  • Dress code

    Casual Dress

  • Catering

    We offer full-service catering. Contact Tighe at 831-295-3100 for inquiries.

  • Neighborhood

    Santa Cruz

  • Cross street

    Between Walnut and Lincoln

  • Parking details

    Public Lot

  • Entertainment

    DJ's and Music every night after 10pm.

  • Additional

    Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Dancing, Entertainment, Full Bar, Gluten-free Options, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Wine

What 51 people are saying

Overall ratings and reviews

Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant

4.3
4.3 based on all time ratings
  • 4.4Food
  • 4.2Service
  • 3.8Ambience
  • 4Value

NoiseModerate

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  1. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Raleigh

    12 reviews

    4.0

    12 reviews

    Dined on May 30, 2022

    overall4food5service4ambience4
    If you want to have a different tasty dinner trust the Chef Alex! He master innovative and delicious recipes. Great experience that I recommend.
  2. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    5 reviews

    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on May 25, 2017

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    Food is amazing. These guys really know how to craft a meal.
  3. A

    Anne

    Central Coast

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on May 6, 2017

    overall4food4service4ambience4
    Dinner was enjoyable and everything was delicious. We shared a large portion of crispy fries as an appetizer and my companion had an excellent burger with a side salad. The staff were observant and friendly. What surprised both of us was the very small portions of vegetables. His side salad was a few tablespoons of microgreens with several slivers of radish and tomato. It was a garnish, not a salad. My ramen was flavorful, but it was more like abura soba. Since it was served with a spoon, I asked the waiter if the broth had been forgotten. He said no. There were a very few mushrooms and a single roasted cherry tomato along with the poached egg. The majority of the dish was soba noodles. It was delicious, but not the dish I was expecting. Perhaps noting the difference on the menu would make sure diners knew what they were getting?
  4. AL

    AudjLV

    Milwaukee

    15 reviews

    4.0

    15 reviews

    Dined on March 25, 2017

    overall4food4service4ambience3
    Cozy place in downtown Santa Cruz. Drinks are good and reasonable. Delicious burger. Great staff. The only complaint I have is that the place has a bar vibe and doesn't seem restaurant clean...would like to see it get a good top to bottom.
  5. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    1 review

    3.0

    1 review

    Dined on March 25, 2017

    overall3food5service2ambience4
    The service we had was terrible. Perhaps the girls was new. It was my birthday but we never said anything cause the server so rarely came to check on us. We were put in the far corner with all but one other table on the kitchen side. Perhaps she couldn't see us. No drinks were reordered, no birthday dessert, which was pretty sad. The food was great of course, and the scene was pleasant. Usually we are 20-25% tippers. It we were closer to 15% that night 🙁We will return and hope for better service.
  6. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Las Vegas

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on March 7, 2017

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    What a wonderful meal. The West Coast Cooler is an absolutely wonderful refreshing drink that goes extremely well with the Brussels sprouts. Please order these. You will not be disappointed. Also to add would be the Duck with mole sauce. Excellent. The meat fell right off the bone and the mole was a flavorful delight. This is a great place with delicious food and great drinks.
  7. t

    triciam

    Central Coast

    10 reviews

    5.0

    10 reviews

    Dined on March 4, 2017

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    Zach is one of the most creative chefs out there. They always deliver a mouthwatering scrumptious meal!
  8. g

    gdgsv

    Central Coast

    4 reviews

    2.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on March 4, 2017

    overall2food2service4ambience2
    We were looking forward to some great food to celebrate their 1-year anniversary. Unfortunately, it was hit and miss. We ordered two small plates, duck pate (good) and beef tongue (tough & dry, not like the moist, flavorful tongue I've had in the past). The two entrees, Fried Buttermik Chicken & Burger were so-so, with the chicken being overly done, and the burger having chunks of undigestible gristle. The redeeming feature was the delicious sautéed greens and cornbread that came with the fried chicken. We ordered the First Kiss drink (good) and the West Cliff Cooler (good, but could not appreciate as much with the cold evening outside). Irish coffee was lukewarm. Service was great by Megan.
  9. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on February 25, 2017

    overall5food5service3ambience5
    Great food, great drinks, great atmosphere, only the service needs a little improvement.
  10. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on February 14, 2017

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    Me and my girlfriend come here all the time and the food never dissapoints, always locally sourced with an emphasis on seasonal ingredients, with awesome presentation and substantial portions, I am a big eater and always leave full after an entree and an appetizer or two. The menu changes frequently, and I have never had a problem with anything I've tried, even more exotic choices like bone-marrow, foie gras or duck tacos turned out to become new favorites. But their Burger and Fried Chicken are both great staple menu items, if your not looking to try anything too adventerous. The service is consistently above and beyond, they really make you feel welcome, and the cocktails and small plates are wonderful for a quick snack if you'd just like to stop for a drink and a quick bite to eat.
  11. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on February 14, 2017

    overall4food5service4ambience4
    Best fried chicken in town. By far. Their signature dish.
  12. SV

    SummerV

    San Francisco

    1 review

    3.0

    1 review

    Dined on February 14, 2017

    overall3food4service2ambience4
    I really liked the food. The ambiance was nice. For some reason the first waiter we got seemed incredibly nervous, then they changed our waiter for unknown reasons and we got the host who was great. But there was, I believe, a hostess walking around and she kept awkwardly coming to our table and rearranging things and interrupting our conversation when we weren't appearing to need anything. Amd we weren't "campers", this was the interim when waiting foe our food. She would top off a full glass of water, then move the flowers and rearrange the candles repeatedly. We couldn't figure out what her job was or why she kept approaching our table. We almost said something. It would be cool if the menu could be posted online since it's always different. My boyfriend didn't like that the steak was sliced up as opposed to being served lIke a traditional NY strip.
  13. M

    Mannyandterry

    San Francisco

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on January 20, 2017

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Chef mazi uses local foraged ingredients and highlights the ingredients by keeping it elegant and simple. Loved it and would recommend to anyone looking for a great meal. Manny and Terry
  14. H

    Happyeater

    San Francisco

    1 review

    2.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 13, 2017

    overall2food2service3ambience2
    My husband and I went to Ulterior on a date the other night. We were excited to try this new restaurant as it is in the same location as the old Pearl Alley Bistro, which we used to love. We were greeted warmly and the service continued to be friendly and relatively prompt. The first thing we noticed after being seated however, was that the restaurant was quite cold. I wore my jacket over my lap the entire time and was still chilly. It warmed up a bit as the restaurant filled up. It was also a bit too dark for our taste. I'm all for ambient lighting but we felt it would have been cozier if it had been a bit lighter. In terms of our culinary experience, we started our meal off with drinks and an appetizer of brussel sprouts. We were served a generous helping of delicious brussel sprouts, which we shared along with our wine. This seemed like a promising start to our meal! Sadly, our dinner dishes did not follow suit. My husband ordered the ramen with a poached egg and chicken, on the recommendation of the waiter. I ordered the fried chicken with rice and collard greens. Both sounded great, like comfort food. The food was presented in a very appealing, modern way but unfortunately, the flavor and texture of the food was actually somewhat unappealing. Not sure how that happened but neither of us enjoyed our food. I couldn't even finish mine even though I was quite hungry. I didn't even recognize the collard greens as they tasted like seaweed and the fried chicken batter was mealy and flavorless. The ramen broth and noodles were even oddly untasty. Seems like it would be hard to make those things taste bad. Not sure what went wrong there but I'm hoping they can turn things around as I would love to be able to try it again some time. I really wanted to like it!
  15. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Seattle

    1 review

    3.0

    1 review

    Dined on December 20, 2016

    overall3food4service2ambience3
    Server was basically non existent. Didn't come talk to us until after our order was taken by Bartender/hostess.
  16. SG

    ShaneG

    San Francisco

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on December 9, 2016

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    The food and service was great! We had a party of 6 and everyone raved about how good the food was. Buffalo cauliflower was a big hit, so were the Brussels sprouts and the risotto. We will definitely be coming back. Restaurant is on the second floor of Motiv, you enter through the alley in the back. The restaurant is a collaboration between Motiv and Lionfish Supperclub.
  17. KD

    KannikaDavis

    San Francisco

    26 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    26 reviews

    Dined on December 6, 2016

    overall4food4service3ambience2
    The foods here are very good. The service is not too good, seem like they don't know what to do. Need to be more professional.
  18. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Washington DC

    2 reviews

    2.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on December 2, 2016

    overall2food3service1ambience4
    For folks who like fresh and organic food, probably pretty good. I am not of the persuasion. Service was extremely slow but extremely friendly,. Management understaffed for the number of tables and clients at the bar. Good energy. Good not for my taste, but chicken was fine. Glad we tried it. Would not go again, but would recommend to vergetarian or vegan friends.
  19. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Portland

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on November 18, 2016

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Perfect! Everything was perfect!
  20. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on November 18, 2016

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Just Great. If you are a foodie, I don't think there is a better place in Santa Cruz. Zach, the chef is incredible. He had actually foraged some of the mushrooms we ate, that morning. Ridiculous
  21. S

    Socrates

    Chicago

    2 reviews

    2.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on November 18, 2016

    overall2food2service2ambience2
    "Full bar" but no sparkling water, no Diet Coke, and you need to ask for one of the two copper mugs they own if you order a Moscow Mule. Menu fairly limited. Friend recommended fried chicken which was nothing special. Burger also nothing special. Got painfully loud in room as evening progressed in addition to drunk patron nearly falling out/off door/balcony. Really wanted to love place and have a new regular downtown restaurant to patronize. Won't be going back. Another "fair at best" Santa Cruz dining experience.
  22. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on November 12, 2016

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    We absolutely loved Ulterior! It combines delicious food with the laid back Santa Cruz vibe. I loved that it felt like a hidden gem in downtown Santa Cruz. Note that although it is above a club, vibe upstairs did not reflect the energy of the club below. The restaurant felt clean and classy without being pretentious like many other fine dining establishments.
  23. A

    Al34

    San Francisco

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on November 12, 2016

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    I had no idea it was there! Brilliant food, great service and lovely mushrooms. Highly recommend!
  24. SC

    SCFoodie

    San Francisco

    48 reviews

    vip
    3.0

    48 reviews

    Dined on November 11, 2016

    overall3food3service2ambience3
    This was our second trip to Ulterior. The appetizers are good, entrees are mediocre, service is friendly but slow.
  25. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on November 5, 2016

    overall4food5service4ambience4
    The food was great and inventive, but they not had one waitress for the entire restaurant. Perhaps someone had called in sick that night? The service was very slow as a result, but we will still give it another try.
  26. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on November 3, 2016

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    Best meal in SC for awhile. Delicious options we loved it all. Highlights. Bone marrow, buffalo cauliflower, fried chicken, persimmon bruschetta!!! Go, you won't be disappointed.
  27. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Central Coast

    55 reviews

    5.0

    55 reviews

    Dined on October 29, 2016

    overall5food5service4ambience5
    First time there a great time and food was a wonderful surprise
  28. SJ

    SarahJain

    San Francisco

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on October 28, 2016

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Hands down, best food in Santa Cruz. This creative Farm-to-table had so many enticing menu options but without leaving me feeling overwhelmed. I will be back to try everything.
  29. C

    Chef800r

    San Francisco

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on October 22, 2016

    overall4food4service4ambience3
    All said and done I had a good time here. Had a reservation but didnt need one- there was no host anyway. place should have been busier on a saturday night at 8 pm, but it emptied out and never did the second turn it should have. All the food was prepared very well; a few nit-picky "tv chef" critisms: the arugula and burrata needed an acid component, the seared duck liver needed a better bread, the brussel sprouts should be served with a spoon, the duck breast needed to be rendered better. these are minor errors, there was a little under-seasoning going on too. Over all I see good things happening in Ulterior, had good drinks, great food and attentive service. Dessert wasnt great but on the right path- I'd use a laminate dough for a poptart over a pie dough or the short bread dough. also It needed some moisture/sauce. Keep up the good work guys. Ill see you again Taylor A Smith Executive Chef Drakes Brewing Co
  30. s

    snewwithyou

    San Francisco

    22 reviews

    vip
    2.0

    22 reviews

    Dined on October 21, 2016

    overall2food2service2ambience3
    Service very slow, food not that great
  31. j

    jeffga311

    Central Coast

    14 reviews

    4.0

    14 reviews

    Dined on September 29, 2016

    overall4food4service5ambience3
    Good food a little pricier than it should be. The staff works well together and we were treated very nicely. Cornbread was EXCEPTIONAL. They definitely care about their food and the customer experience and I hope they continue changing their menu with the seasons as they continue to raise the bar for all of their food. We're going back for sure.
  32. AA

    AlisonA

    San Francisco

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on September 17, 2016

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    My new favorite place! Highly recommend. Skip the other high-end spots for THIS ONE PEOPLE!! You will thank me later! Super friendly waitstaff and yummmmmmmy food. Can't say enough - just try it. It's really fun to just order one of everything and share it all. You can ask for specialty cocktails too if there's something you are into that's not on the cocktail menu.
  33. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on September 9, 2016

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Everything was wonderful. The food, the service, the drinks. We will definitely be back.
  34. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Orange County

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 9, 2016

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Fantastic food. Great new twists on old classic dishes. Service was attentive and energetic. Will be going back next time we are in town.
  35. JA

    JaniceA

    San Francisco

    9 reviews

    4.0

    9 reviews

    Dined on September 3, 2016

    overall4food5service4ambience2
    Mushroom risotto was to-die-for...!! Service was friendly and cocktails were unique. Ambiance is a little lacking, hopefully they will step it up a notch as more foodies discover this gem of a restaurant.
  36. c

    caligirl93619

    New York Area

    58 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    58 reviews

    Dined on August 20, 2016

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    WE had a delightful experience at Ulterior. Megan was our server, friendly and very accommodating! We started with a one of their craft cocktails, I had the First Kiss...a yummy drink of strawberries , basil and vodka. We choose their Grilled peach and burrata salad, grilled Brussel sprouts and pork chop with Peach chutney. Everything was fresh, well prepared and so delicious!!! Cant wait to return!
  37. u

    up2myneck

    Orlando

    5 reviews

    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on August 19, 2016

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Fantastic. Our group of 10 were started off on the right track by our server Meagan. We ordered 5 apps x2 foreach end ofour table. The Brussels sprout and streetcorn were top2 favs. The grilled peach salad was also wellreceived. The pork chop was most favored, but the burger and duck tacos were raved about. Thetwo chicken orderers didn't want to share abite they wereso good. Ididn't hear athing from the mushroom risotto but that's probably cause she was to busy enjoying hermeal. Great cocktails And wine list Tomatch. It is small, but our group feltlike wehadthe place to ourselves.
  38. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on August 12, 2016

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Always wonderful! The menu changes now and again and each new dish brings a new flavor profile! Let the bartendar make you a drink by only ordering your liquor choice, they have amazing mixatology skills! Lots of small plates to share, so go with an open mind and palate!
  39. FL

    FoodieLife

    San Francisco

    7 reviews

    4.0

    7 reviews

    Dined on August 10, 2016

    overall4food5service5ambience4
    Recommended by a Santa Cruz resident, we were pleasantly surprised by the great food and fantastic friendly service. Not a fancy place but a great find for a night out or a quick bite.
  40. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Hawaii

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on August 5, 2016

    overall5food5service4ambience5
    Chef Tighe does an amazing Job food was on point !

FAQs

Ulterior is rated 4.3 stars by 51 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable.

Make a reservation

2 people

11:00 PM


Google Map for Ulterior

110 Pearl Alley Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Additional information

  • Cross street

    Between Walnut and Lincoln

  • Neighborhood

    Santa Cruz

  • Hours of operation

    Wed–Sat 5:00 pm–10:00 pm

  • Cuisines

    Bistro, Gastro Pub, Bar / Lounge / Bottle Service

  • Dining style

    Casual Dining

  • Dress code

    Casual Dress

  • Parking details

    Public Lot

  • Payment options

    AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

  • Entertainment

    DJ's and Music every night after 10pm.

  • Additional

    Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Dancing, Entertainment, Full Bar, Gluten-free Options, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Wine

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