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Malabar Cafe

Indian, Vegan, Vegetarian, 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: Reservations

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 59 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 35
    Excellent
  • 15
    Very good
  • 6
    Average
  • 1
    Poor
  • 2
    Terrible
Rating summary
  • Food
    5 of 5 stars
    Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
    Atmosphere
    4 of 5 stars
Most recent review
Creative unique Sri Lankan/Indian vegetarian food

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... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed January 19, 2015
MihirMeghani
,
Fremont, California
Good for:
  • Reservations
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59 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Fremont, California
Top Contributor
451 reviews 451 reviews
302 restaurant reviews
173 helpful votes 173 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
29 reviews 29 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
16 helpful votes 16 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
112 reviews 112 reviews
57 restaurant reviews
40 helpful votes 40 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
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
20 helpful votes 20 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
25 reviews 25 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
7 helpful votes 7 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
175 reviews 175 reviews
102 restaurant reviews
99 helpful votes 99 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 2
Fremont, California, United States
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 25, 2014

Surprised to see a Srilankan place in Santa Cruz - but it was great. Dishes were all good - i highly recommend the Kotha Roti. And wash it down with a yummy Moroccan Lassi. Decor was nice and service was excellent (maybe it was the owner who waited on us). Food presentation was great too!

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Santa Barbara, California
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2014

Do not be fooled by the seemingly aloof service: this place has some of the best Sri Lankan food we've had in the Western World. Their dishes are extremely flavorful and all made fresh with the best ingredients. Their drinks are very exotic and just absolutely amazing. We've tried many and found all to be a treat to the senses.... More 

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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, Vegan, Vegetarian, 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?