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Malabar Cafe

$$ - $$$
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514 Front St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060-4506
+1 831-458-3023
12:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Closed now
All hours
Sun 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Tue - Sat 12:00 pm - 9:00 pm
More Info
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74 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Showing 74: English reviews
Malmo, Sweden
Level Contributor
17 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 15, 2016 via mobile

Were pleasantly surprised by Malabar: the menu was intriuging and the dishes that we ordeded where superb. Friendly staff as well. Highly recommend a visit!

Thank sea_mountain2014
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 12, 2016

We took our daughter to dinner here on June 29, 2016 and had a great meal! Not only was it tasty, it was also beautiful to behold.

Thank Julia B
2 reviews
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 18, 2016

With a Sri Lankan man who cooks and runs the business, I would have expected more, but a single glance at the menu both disappointed and greatly amused me. There was barely any item recognisable as authentic Indian vegetarian food, except maybe the dosa. Even then, the dosa came with ridiculously *tiny* dollops of condiments of chutney and dhal, and... More 

Thank daphneong
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 9, 2016

Peaceful, quiet ambience. Delightful, enjoyable, adventurous vegetarian food. Order a Lassi (banana, strawberry or mango), they are very tasty. Also the other drinks, Persian Nights comes in a smaller glass. It's Indian inspired food, but not an Indian restaurant per se. We were two people (with smaller stomachs) and shared a bread dish, a salad, a small plate and an... More 

Thank Ursula K
Monterey, California
Level Contributor
59 reviews
41 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 3, 2016

When this restaurant first opened, it was easy to get a table. We even managed to walk in for dinner that first NYE they were open. Nowadays, you better make a reservation! It's so good. Flavour profiles are well balanced. And the garden seating is fantastic.

1 Thank Orostudio
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 20, 2016 via mobile

Creative and exquisitely prepared food in a mellow environment. The owners bring deep care and skill to their preparations with mouth altering flavors. Enjoyed each dish and we shared between four people. This restaurant is a gift.

1 Thank arniefr
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
15 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 14, 2016

They serve fresh vegan food (some vegetarian, but many vegan options). Their crepes are amazing and their "milk" shake made out of pistachios is SO good.

Thank KikiBailey
Grabels, France
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 bubbles 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 

1 Thank Juliette P
Santa Cruz, California
Level Contributor
72 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles 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 

Thank Siddhi P
Santa Cruz, California
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles 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 

Thank Jan F

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Restaurant Details

Rating summary
  • Food
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
    4 of 5 bubbles
Indian, Sri Lankan, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options
Lunch, Dinner
Restaurant features
Seating, Waitstaff, Takeout, Reservations, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol
Good for
Families with children, Large groups
Open Hours
5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
12:00 pm - 9:00 pm
12:00 pm - 9:00 pm
12:00 pm - 9:00 pm
12:00 pm - 9:00 pm
12:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Location and Contact Information
  • Address: 514 Front St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060-4506
  • Location: United States  >  California (CA)  >  Santa Cruz
  • Phone Number: +1 831-458-3023

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?