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Malabar Cafe

Indian, Vegetarian, Vegan, Sri Lankan
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514 Front Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
+1 831-458-3023
Today
12:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Closed now
See all hours
Hours:
Sun 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Tue - Sat 12:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 61 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 37
    Excellent
  • 15
    Very good
  • 6
    Average
  • 1
    Poor
  • 2
    Terrible
Rating summary
  • Food
    5 of 5 stars
    Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
    Atmosphere
    4 of 5 stars
Fusion food you won't find anywhere else

I remember going to this restaurant years ago when it was called the Asian Rose and was located on Soquel Avenue. I went with my parents, who are generally pretty conservative and like to eat what they're familiar with. With this restaurant being fusion cuisine, they didn't feel comfortable... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed May 27, 2015
ashuphoto
,
Seattle, Washington
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61 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Seattle, Washington
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2015 NEW

I remember going to this restaurant years ago when it was called the Asian Rose and was located on Soquel Avenue. I went with my parents, who are generally pretty conservative and like to eat what they're familiar with. With this restaurant being fusion cuisine, they didn't feel comfortable trying it, so we left. The owner, Raj, came running out... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Ashland, Oregon
Top Contributor
63 reviews 63 reviews
55 restaurant reviews
91 helpful votes 91 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 27, 2015

My wife and I had a delicious meal at Malabar. We ordered (and shared) the avocado beet salad, a two-item combo with eggplant basil and green vegetable curry, and an eggplant dosa. Each of those dishes were excellent, but I'd especially recommend the eggplant dishes. Our server was kind enough to share the recipe for dosas (crispy lentil crepes). I... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Fremont, California
Top Contributor
494 reviews 494 reviews
324 restaurant reviews
217 helpful votes 217 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2015

An elegant and creative restaurant, featuring vegetarian and vegan cuisine of Sri Lanka and India (secondarily). The menu features a few traditional, but moreso unique dishes prepared with local ingredients. Drinks are also unique. Coconut roti was really tasty & light. The vegetable dosa was nicely done & light on spice. The khotha roti was like the traditional streetfood I... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Los Angeles, California
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2014

TRY THIS PLACE. I went with vegans, a meat eater, and a vegetarian. There's something for everyone. The spices were exquisite and the staff were friendly and helpful. The lentil soup is amazing. It was also inexpensive - about $60 for 4 people.

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Urbana, Illinois
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 16, 2014 via mobile

Really good food especially if you are looking for something out of the ordinary chain or typical cuisine. All vegetarian, SriLankan fare is not necessarily spicy unless you want it that way. Mango Coconut shake ... May go get another while in the area.

Was this review helpful? Yes 4
2 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 16, 2014

We were looking for something healthy and there seem to be a lot of places in Santa Cruz, but we were intrigued by an ad on the Internet saying Steak Diane and Ravioli. When we arrived, we realized it was entirely vegetarian. Not dismayed, we shared a pear/arugula salad that was built for two. My spouse got a dosa and... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Munich, Germany
Top Contributor
127 reviews 127 reviews
68 restaurant reviews
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2014

We went to Malabar for a quick bite to eat. It had to be Indian that night since I was craving the taste for a while. All of the food is vegetarian and it doesn't serve alcohol. A pleasant change to the regular beer and burger nights ;) Try it out, you'll be pleasantly surprised. I had the coconut roti... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Tampa, FL
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2014

I had never had Sri Lankan food before and found it to be an interesting blend of Indian and Asian. This was heavenly! I went with two friends so my taste buds were tempted with green beans with hoisin sauce, pumpkin with black curry powder and pesto ravioli. Flavors were potent yet not overpowering. One of my friends is a... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Monterey Peninsula, California
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2014

I knew someplace like Santa Cruz HAD to have good veggie food and Cafe Gratitude was no it. So gad we found Malabar. Good food, well spiced urn soonand reasonably priced. Pleasant service and plating of food was nice to see.We where late to a concert and had to take our last course "to go". The noodles were fun to... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Top Contributor
177 reviews 177 reviews
102 restaurant reviews
107 helpful votes 107 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2014

We let my daughter and her roommate pick the restaurant. Frankly, I had no idea what Sri Lankan food was. My daughter said it was similar to Thai. She was wrong, it's nothing like Thai, closer to Indian food, but really it's own category. When we walked in, sat down, and looked at the menu, it was clear, this was... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 3

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Restaurant Details

Location and Contact Information

  • Address: 514 Front Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • Location: United States  >  California (CA)  >  Santa Cruz
  • Phone Number: +1 831-458-3023

Price and Cuisine

  • Cuisine: Indian, Vegetarian, Vegan, Sri Lankan
Open Hours
Sunday
5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Tuesday
12:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Wednesday
12:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Thursday
12:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Friday
12:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Saturday
12:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Questions & Answers

Questions? Get answers from Malabar Cafe staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do you have gluten-free options?
  • Is there a dress code?
  • Do you allow dogs on the outdoor patio?