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El Palomar

Certificate of Excellence
$$ - $$$
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1336 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95060-3932 (Soquel Avenue)
+1 831-425-7575
11:00 - 21:00
Open now
See all hours
Sun 10:00 - 21:00
Mon - Wed 11:00 - 21:00
Thu 11:00 - 21:30
Fri 11:00 - 22:30
Sat 10:00 - 22:30
More Info
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214 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 202: English reviews
Capitola, California
Level Contributor
142 reviews
76 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Visited with family and friends recently. Ambiance: Wonderful dining room - look up at the ceiling. Food: Pretty good but nothing that stood out. Drinks: Pass. We ordered a pitcher of margaritas. At 4x the price of a single we thought we would get 5 glasses or more out of it. The skinny little pitcher arrived packed nearly full of... More 

Thank RonCentralCA
Santa Cruz, California
Level Contributor
14 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

we still meet here for happy hours after years of being the best restrauant downtown for Mexican food it cant be beat

Thank gena3
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Centered along Pacific Avenue in Downtown Santa Cruz, it is in a prime location. (Hint: Park in the 3 story structure off of front street and walk in through the back door...much easier than parking on Pacific when it's busy). The food is amazing, the tables and booths nice sized, and it is built inside an old church with cool... More 

Thank Joseph S
Level Contributor
151 reviews
99 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 March 2017

We have lunch here often because of the ambiance, good food and good margaritas. During the last visit the server brought the salad I ordered but not the dressing, until I had to ask. At the end of the meal I provided a credit card to pay the bill and the server brought back a piece of paper instead of... More 

Thank ConstantTravelers
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
12 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 March 2017 via mobile

As an East Coaster I always look forward to having some great Mexican food when I get to California. This place was recommended by both friends and apps but left me disappointed. The margarita was tasteless, the camarones in tomatillo sauce bore no resemblance to tomatillos; the shrimp had the tails on with some overcooked vegetables floating in a nondescript... More 

Thank harmon60763
Level Contributor
41 reviews
34 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 March 2017

Iconic old world elegance in a vibrant downtown Santa Cruz environment. Enjoy delicious margaritas, sangrias and fantastic authentic old world Mexican dining.

Thank Kathryn O
Level Contributor
23 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 February 2017

We had a very enjoyable lunch at this place in the hotel palomar. The dining room in this historic building was grand. Service was super friendly. I had a lunch special of chicken in mole sauce.

Thank Stephen B
Victoria, Canada
Level Contributor
60 reviews
51 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 February 2017

We visit Santa Cruz each February for the month and make a point of go to this restaurant. Unfortunately this visit was a major disappointment. The quality of the tortilla chips has changed, puffy and not very crisp, and the salsa could have come out of jar. It lacked body and flavor. The seafood burrito was bland and tasted like... More 

Thank Webstercs
Sandy, Utah
Level Contributor
21 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 22 February 2017

The burritos and margaritas we had were very good. Staff all seem to be happy and the service was fast. The live entertainment was a nice surprise.

Thank alannak2003
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
38 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 February 2017

This place is VERY well known for excellent food. I have eaten there many times and have been very happy but this last time something was off in the kitchen with my enchiladas, and when I pointed it out to the server, she acted as if I was being ridiculous. Fact is, I tasted mold in the food. Probably the... More 

Thank Akamaikai

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Restaurant Details

Rating summary
  • Food
    4 of 5 bubbles
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
    4 of 5 bubbles
Average prices
US$30 - US$30
Mexican, Latin
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, After-hours
Restaurant features
Takeout, Seating, Waitstaff, Television, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Reservations, Highchairs Available
Dining Style
Casual Dining
Good for
Bar Scene, Groups, Kids, Child-friendly
Open Hours
10:00 - 21:00
11:00 - 21:00
11:00 - 21:00
11:00 - 21:00
11:00 - 21:30
11:00 - 22:30
10:00 - 22:30
Location and Contact Information
  • Address: 1336 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95060-3932
    (Soquel Avenue)
  • Location: United States  >  California (CA)  >  Santa Cruz
  • Phone Number: +1 831-425-7575
Since El Palomar’s opening in 1983, we have been serving Santa Cruz unique and fresh Mexican cuisine inspired by authentic family recipes. Our commitment to excellence has continuously earned us the “Best Mexican Restaurant in Santa Cruz” award.

Questions & Answers

Questions? Get answers from El Palomar 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?