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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
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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, Seating, Takeout

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 67 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 39
    Excellent
  • 16
    Very good
  • 7
    Average
  • 2
    Poor
  • 3
    Terrible
Rating summary
  • Food
    4.5 of 5 stars
    Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
    Atmosphere
    4 of 5 stars
Fresh, locally grown ingredients in delicious Asian fusian, vegetarian style

The atmosphere at Malabar is serene and lovely. The all vegetarian cuisine is outstandingly fresh and deliciously flavored, and pleases all eaters, including my non- vegetarian (they don't miss the meat) friends and those with food restrictions. It's a family-run restaurant, and the owner is a... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed October 26, 2015
Jan F
,
Santa Cruz, California
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67 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
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Grabels, France
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2015

When we entered the restaurant we saw only a young man serving, while an older one was talking to some people (probably taking care of their bill). My first impression wasn't good and I was right. Although several tables were available we've waited ~5 minutes before someone noticed our presence and came to say something, finally after another 5 minutes... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank Juliette P
Santa Cruz, California
Level Contributor
63 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2015

Came here with friends and I have to say that it was the most weird experience of my life. I thought it was indian but no it was far from being indian. Most of the things on the menu were unrecognizable and had a minimal description of the item. The people working there had no idea about half of the... More 

Helpful?
Thank Siddhi P
Santa Cruz, California
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2015

The atmosphere at Malabar is serene and lovely. The all vegetarian cuisine is outstandingly fresh and deliciously flavored, and pleases all eaters, including my non- vegetarian (they don't miss the meat) friends and those with food restrictions. It's a family-run restaurant, and the owner is a regular at the Santa Cruz farmer's market, buying the superior, locally grown produce of... More 

Helpful?
Thank Jan F
San Jose, California, USA
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2015

Very interesting vegetarian menu with a fusion of indian, asian and mediterranean ingredients. We tried jalapeno pakora, vegetable roti, rosemary nan and loved each item. Drinks were very innovative too..

Helpful?
1 Thank RT27
Tiruchirappalli, India
Level Contributor
31 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2015

The name Malabar suggested that Kerala food will be available. The menu had Indian items with few Kerala items. Masala dosa, though not a Kerala speciality was good. Coconut roti was very average. North Indian food was not up to the mark. Overall nothing great about this place unless someone is particular about Indian food

Helpful?
1 Thank Nature317098
Long Island, New York
Level Contributor
50 reviews
29 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2015

While listed as a vegetarian restaurant and not as Indian, this quiet gem in Santa Cruz prepares fresh not run-of-the-mill Indian food. Very moderately priced.

Helpful?
Thank drmojo48
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
49 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2015

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 

Helpful?
1 Thank ashuphoto
Ashland, Oregon
Level Contributor
117 reviews
92 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 112 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 26, 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 

Helpful?
1 Thank ilubliner
Fremont, California
Level Contributor
523 reviews
348 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 249 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 

Helpful?
3 Thank MihirMeghani
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 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.

Helpful?
2 Thank Anna E

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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?