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“Great Vegetarian Food”
Review of Malabar Cafe

Malabar Cafe
Ranked #128 of 376 Restaurants in Santa Cruz
Cuisines: Indian, Sri Lankan
Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Reviewed February 23, 2014

Such a treat to have a whole vegetarian menu to choose from. Food is great. However tables are crowded and service is terrible! Be sure to make a reservation but no guarantee that will get you in.

Thank Jpullen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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32 - 36 of 77 reviews

Reviewed October 4, 2013

My daughter and I went to Santa Cruz for a day. One of her friends had told her about the restaurant Malabar so we decided to go and check it out. It was the most fantastic vegetarian restaurant I had ever been to. They had such interesting menu items that it was very hard to choose what to have. We settled on our choices and were thoroughly impressed. The Lotus Root Kofta and Eggplant Mojo were outstanding. We also had samosas and avocado beet salad. I was so impressed with the food and wished there was a restaurant somewhere nearby where I live that was at least somewhat similar to this. But there aren't any. It is such an unusual restaurant with an eclectic menu. If you are in Santa Cruz and want an outstanding vegetarian food, go and visit Malabar cafe.

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Thank Helix1661
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 29, 2013

Our party of three was seated very quickly on a Saturday night without a reservation. The restaurant was fairly full. The restaurant was a little too dimly lit. That was our only annoyance that night as we had a difficult time reading the menu. I wanted to try everything! We shared a starter of Salad Roll of avocado, tempeh & veggies. Then we each had a salad and an entree. My Banana Blossom Salad was fresh, minty, and crispy. The Ceylon Chili Curry was spicy, but light. Vegetable Korma was sweet and full cashews. And the Lotus Root Kofta dumplings looked like Swedish meatballs, but savory and mildly spiced. Definitely order the Brown Rice Biryani to go with your entree as you want to catch every bit of your sauce from your entree. Portions were reasonable for their low prices. We also enjoyed the Caramel and Ginger Almond Shake and the Supertonic with Kombucha. We were too full to try their Lavender Chocolate mousse with young coconut. We'll definitely be coming back. Also, he staff was more than happy to answer our questions of which of our items had some type of dairy.

Thank alviemsw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 20, 2013

Just had the most exquisite dining experience at Malabar. It would be good for a date or just dinner with a friend (like I did). The ambiance was relaxing and quaint, the service attentive and friendly. Every dish was unique, plated immaculately, and absolutely delicious.

I ordered the Persian Nights drink, smooth creamy fruity deliciousness. Our favorite dish was the chickpea-fried jalapeños with orange marmalade sauce as an appetizer. The Casablanca Ravioli entrée brought a harmony of flavors I have never experienced - absolutely amazing.

My friend is vegan and gluten-free, and she loved everything she had and was absolutely stuffed upon leaving. They really cater to each customer's needs and present a plate that looks like a work of art. It was probably the best meal I've ever had, and I strongly recommend trying it for yourself.

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Thank Evelyn L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 6, 2013

This place should be packed every night. They aren't the best advertisers, maybe...but those of us Santa Cruz foodies know: the food at this place is unbeatable.

My fiance and I have been to Malabar maybe 10-12 times in the past three years. The food has allllways been the best tasting and most creative, flavor-wise (I love to cook but couldn't make most of this stuff at home) that we've eaten in the Bay area. Especially when you consider the price. Every dish is incredibly flavorful, highlights local, seasonal ingredients, and is beautifully presented. The thing that's varied is the service. A couple years ago, it was known among our circle that you should go to Malabar un-hungry...because by the time your food finally came, you'd be hungry. The last few times, since 2012, things have been different. Once we had an older gent, maybe the owner, come to our table of 4, advise on what we'd like, and he gave us 2 free appetizer tastes, and our food came quickly. Other times it's been quiet and friendly and reasonably quick. But seriously, once you taste the food here, at this price, you will want to eat here every day. Lotus-cherry dumplings in almond coconut sauce? Local artichoke hearts in a mint-saffron sauce? Even the side dish of rice is seasoned and beautifully served in a round gold dish.

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1  Thank kabochantico
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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