About Cafe Mare Italian Restaurant

740 Front St, #100
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
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Old world charm in the heart of Santa Cruz, authentic Italian cuisine with an extensive wine list and a full bar. Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, large groups welcome, patio dining, house made pasta, desserts and bread, gluten free options, all organic produce and sustainable sea food, fresh meats including free range veal. Ample public parking. reservations for groups of 10 or more must leave credit card number, reservations must be cancelled 24 hours prior date of event or $25 per person fee will be charged.

Dining Style:
Casual Elegant

Cuisines:
Italian, Seafood

Hours of Operation:
Lunch: Monday - Friday: 11:30 AM - 2:30 PM, Saturday - Sunday: 11:30 AM - 4:00 PM;
Dinner: Monday - Friday: 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM, Saturday - Sunday: 4:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Cross Street:
Cooper street

Dress Code:
Casual Dress

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(831) 458-1212

Website:
http://www.cafemare.com/

Entertainment:
Private Parties.

Catering:
Please contact the restaurant for details

Parking Details:
Parking is available behind the restaurant, at the "Galleria Parking" alley or next to it, at the River Street Garage.

Public Transit:
Metro bus station 1 block away.

Executive Chef:
Jean-Pierre Luliano

Private Party Facilities:
Cafe Mare is the perfect place for your next private party or a group event. We can accommodate groups up to 150 people and offer private and semi-private seating inside and outside. We offer custom preset menus that will surely satisfy everyone’s craving.

Private Party Contact:
Jean-Pierre & Andrea Mura: 8314581212x

Additional:
Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cafe, Chef's Table, Counter Seating, Entertainment, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking Area, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Smoking Area, Smoking Area (patio only), Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar

Special Events & Promotions:
Contact us at 831-458-1212

Cafe Mare Italian Restaurant Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.2

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.1

service

4.5

ambience

4.1

noise

Moderate

93% would recommend it to a friend

Loved For

Best Overall
Santa Cruz / Capitola / Aptos
Best Service
Santa Cruz / Capitola / Aptos
Best Ambiance
Santa Cruz / Capitola / Aptos
4 More
Best Value
Santa Cruz / Capitola / Aptos
Romantic
Santa Cruz / Capitola / Aptos
Special Occasion
Santa Cruz / Capitola / Aptos
Most Booked
Santa Cruz / Capitola / Aptos
Best Restaurants in Santa Cruz ›

special occasion (14)
romantic (12)
neighborhood gem (10)
See All
good for groups (10)
fit for foodies (9)
great for lunch (8)
notable wine list (5)
kid-friendly (5)
hot spot (3)
great for outdoor dining (3)
great for brunch (2)
late-night find (1)
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Dine Date
193 reviews
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

A great dining experience!

vip
Dined on April 23, 2016

Karen and I enjoyed a wonderful dining experience ay Il Mate!" Our waiter Adrian greeted us with A warm, friendly manner! He eloquently explained the house specials such that we ordered almost everything. Thanls! John

Tags: romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot
food5
ambience5
service5

Our waiter was outstanding

vip
Dined on April 6, 2016

Our waiter was outstanding

food5
ambience4
service3

Food was really great. Service very f ...

Dined on April 3, 2016

Food was really great. Service very friendly but a little slow on attentiveness. Prices were outstanding. I would recommend.

food4
ambience2
service2

Easter Sunday not crowded at all, but se ...

Dined on March 27, 2016

Easter Sunday not crowded at all, but service was slow and disappointing. Appreciate the accent however we could not understand the specials at all.

food4
ambience4
service4
value3

Good food, nice atmosphere

Dined on March 21, 2016

We had the cannelloni and the pesto gnocchi, which were quite good. We also had the special salad which was OK- overdressed with a dressing that tasted like mayonnaise and overpriced at $11. Nice bread and the Zinfandel was good. The room felt spacious and the tables are placed well apart so even though it was busy, you did not feel crowded. Overall a very nice experience and I would definitely eat here again.

Tags: special occasion
food5
ambience5
service5

The food is consistently excellent and t ...

vip
Dined on February 28, 2016

The food is consistently excellent and the wait staff charming, engaging and professional. Very highly recommended for fine dining or pizza and pasta. Great bar too!

food5
ambience4
service5

Good food; great service.

vip
Dined on February 26, 2016

Good food; great service.

food4
ambience5
service5
value4

Old Guys Night Out

Dined on February 25, 2016

A bit of old Italy in downtown Santa Cruz. All the dishes are perfectly prepared and served.

Tags: fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
food1
ambience3
service4
value2

Food

Dined on February 19, 2016

We had the sword fish special. It was so salty difficult to eat. Very thin, didn't look like any sword fish I have ever had. Other parties meals were fine!!! Hopefully just an anomaly, although an expensive one. Probably go back. Service was very good.

food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Great food - great service - great people!

Dined on February 15, 2016

The food is authentic Italian and above excellent. The service is fantastic and they provide a great family atmosphere. Like eating at home with good friends!

Tags: hot spot
food4
ambience3
service4
value4

Solid, nice-ish Italian Dining

Dined on February 15, 2016

This is basically a good place to take someone on a: - Birthday with some friends for early dinner. - Later date (like date 5 or 6 if you want to kick it up a notch) - Work anniversary. This place has a nice ambiance, solid menu, good service and decent wine list. It also lets out into walkable streets for an after-dinner drink/dessert. At the same time, it's not exorbitant. Figure, with alcohol, $30/person.

Tags: good for groups, romantic, special occasion
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Special night

Dined on February 14, 2016

Went for Valentine's Eve dinner with my sweetie. Service was great. They were very busy but accommodated us even though we were late for our reservation. The food was excellent. I had the sea bass, which was done perfectly. The sauteed brussels sprouts were excellent, and they served the fish on a beautiful creamy grits-like base. A 10 out of 10, for sure. My sweetie had the farfalle with calamari, tomatoes, capers and a few other things. A little bland, but still delicious. My sweetie was very happy. Wine list was a little sparse and maybe on the expensive side for what they had, but I'm not much of a wine drinker anyway. I would go back in a heartbeat.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, late-night find
food5
ambience5
service5

Great service, food was excellent, and t ...

Dined on February 13, 2016

Great service, food was excellent, and their desert was delicious. We will definitely be back.

food3
ambience4
service4
value4

Our waiter, Jeremy, was very terrific!

Dined on February 12, 2016

We enjoyed our dinner at Cafe Mare. All the waitstaff was friendly, efficient, and attentive. The menu selection is very good and substitutions weren't a problem to accommodate some of our group who had special dietary requests. The atmosphere is quite nice. It also was a pleasure to be able to have a quiet conversation over dinner - no loud music or conversations coming from other diners.

Tags: romantic, special occasion, great for lunch
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Italian gem

Dined on February 2, 2016

This was our third visit to Cafe Mare and once again they did not disappoint! From the initial greeting upon arriving at our reservation time, to the exceptional friendly service throughout and finally to the amazing Italian dishes made to perfection...it is easy to say Cafe Mare is our favorite Italian restaurant in Santa Cruz and we will be back again and again. An added bonus I have to make mention of, they use local and organic in many of their creations which is extremely important to me and it comes through in the flavors of the dishes.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
food4
ambience5
service5
value4

Went for lunch

Dined on January 13, 2016

Went for lunch with 6 other women. We had a lovely time. Food came in good time. The waitress was very nice and helpful. I tasted the arrabiata and carbonara and they were really excellent. I ordered the cannelloni and did not like it. The sauce was boring but I really disliked the filling was dry, and fibrous and had small chicken bones. This was a special but they need to rethink it. The lunch came with very good bread, olive oil and balsamic. Then we ordered desserts - just 2 for the table. The cannoli and the panna cotta. Both were really amazing - especially the cannoli - one of the best I have ever eaten.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch
food4
ambience3
service3
value4

I went to Café Mare for lunch when it fi ...

vip
Dined on January 7, 2016

I went to Café Mare for lunch when it first opened and found nothing special about it. Since then, I have been hearing very good things so I returned. I was very impressed with the food and the wine selection. The pizza was a more classic Italian style with a chewy crust. Very well done. One of the specials that night was a braised goat dish which was done perfectly. I really liked the selection of wines from Calabria and Sardinia which are not common here, but can be excellent. The wait staff was a little over-burdened, but was as attentive as possible. I will be returning soon.

Tags: neighborhood gem, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Excellent Service!

Dined on January 2, 2016

Not only was the food delicious and decently priced, both our servers were amazingly friendly, helpful, and kept us updated as we waited. Some of the best service I've ever had!

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
food3
ambience4
service2
value3

Mediocre

Dined on January 1, 2016

Maybe because it was New Yearsceve staff appeared frazzled . Service was slow and not very attentive . My husbands eggplant dish arrived with a burnt crust and should have not been served like that.

food5
ambience4
service5
value5

New Year's Eve Dinner was a winner

Dined on January 1, 2016

Cafe Mare was very popular/busy for New Year's Eve, but the wait staff and kitchen handled the situation very well. Our waiter was friendly, knowledgeable and reasonably prompt, considering the full house. (He left a note on our bill, but I couldn't read his name!) Our food arrived on a good schedule and was well prepared and delicious. One glitch: my wine arrived after I had finished eating. Overall, dinner at Cafe Mare was a good experience and well worth recommending to others.

Tags: fit for foodies, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find, vibrant bar scene
food5
ambience4
service5

Excellent service, and outstanding food. ...

Dined on January 1, 2016

Excellent service, and outstanding food. A new favorite for Italian food in Santa Cruz. We went on New Years Eave expecting big crowds and an overpriced "Special" menu. We arrived with our party of 6 to our table waiting. They were serving from their daily menu, with a nice choice of specials to choose from. The restaurant was packed, but you would never know it. The service was outstanding. We will defiantly return.

food4
ambience4
service5
value4

Cozy, romantic spot with gluten free options

Dined on December 30, 2015

We ate here primarily because of their gluten-free options. The service was attentive and friendly and the food was tasty. It was just what my husband had been craving and I was pleased to be able to eat bread before my meal for once.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic
food4
ambience3
service5
value3

Splitting plates!

vip
Dined on December 27, 2015

The wine from Sicily that our waiter recommended was excellent. Our dining companions had some wonderful entrees, the pasta from the sea, the pasta pesto with chicken. I had the special seafood grill. ($36 - not worth the price: 2 prawns, 2 scallops and a small portion of swordfish). On top of that we were charged to split a ceasar salad, really? Overall best to stick with pastas and don't have them split anything or you will be charged.

Tags: good for groups, special occasion
food3
ambience4
service5
value4

Puttanesca too spicy

Dined on December 18, 2015

The other people at my table had a good meal, but my puttanesca was way too fiery.

food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Excellent experience all around.

Dined on December 18, 2015

Great experience on several points; They remembered and wished my wife a happy birthday upon seating us. Very nice touch. The service was just excellent from start to finish. Very attentive, never intrusive. Perfect! Lots of very tempting choices on the menu. All of our choices were excellent. We're looking forward to our next visit.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
food4
ambience4
service4

GREAT EVENING OUT

Dined on December 14, 2015

We had a very professional, helpful waiter and a quiet table. The menu was varied and reasonable in price. All four of us loved our selection and we would eat here again. Large windows frame the dining area and parking is very easy.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups
food5
ambience4
service5

Delicious thanksgiving!

Dined on November 26, 2015

There were six of us for Thanksgiving lunch....aging from 14 to 86. The service was wonderful...the food most delicious, it was a beautiful Thanksgiving meal I will not soon forget. Some of us ate our own dish while others shared. They were very accommodating. And everything from the appetizers, salads, to the pastas and meats were cooked perfectly.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch, notable wine list
food4
ambience5
service4

Sunday lunch

Dined on November 22, 2015

Lunch for 3 on a Sunday was very nice. We were the only patrons. The waiter was attentive and the pasta dishes were all very well prepared and flavorful. Prices were reasonable. We are puzzled that this venue isn't more popular for Sunday lunch.

Tags: special occasion, great for lunch
food3
ambience1
service1

Don't go on a weekend night

Dined on November 15, 2015

We walked in to chaos and a crowd at the entrance. Having a reservation did not help. While the food is probably good on a slow night, ours took just short of forever to arrive, and then was barely lukewarm. I also suspect that even on a slow night this place is noisy, so was a very poor choice for the romantic evening we'd wanted.

Tags: kid-friendly
food5
ambience5
service5

Wonderful

Dined on November 14, 2015

A great restaurant with great service and gourmet dishes. Definitely 5 star.

Tags: romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
food3
ambience4
service3

Help needed!

Dined on November 10, 2015

I have been to Cafe Mare several times and have always found everything to be great. On this occasion, my sons birthday, there were six adults and when we arrived there were only a few patrons present. The only problem we experienced was that there was only one server. As other people arrived, he was definitely stretched and eventually got the hostess and the busboy to help out. Overall, the server was very pleasant and did as good a job as he could have done. The food and ambiance was very good, as well as the wine selection.

Tags: kid-friendly, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch, notable wine list
food4
ambience5
service5

Good place

Dined on October 28, 2015

Café Mare has good food, nice ambiance and excellent service. Easy parking close by.

Tags: great for lunch, neighborhood gem
food4
ambience3
service3

Good Italian Food

Dined on October 18, 2015

We went to Cafe Mare during Restaurant Week in Santa Cruz. Was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the food. Nice bar area and friendly attentive staff. Would definitely go back and order off of the regular menu as we ordered off of the Special Pre-Fix menu. Nice selection of wines as well. The Tiramisu was delicious.

Tags: fit for foodies
food3
ambience3
service4

good place to try

vip
Dined on October 16, 2015

Food was good, though not outstanding, except for the tiramasu. But service was great.

food4
ambience4
service4

Classic Italian

Dined on October 15, 2015

My husband and I went for Restaurant Week so we had the special menu. The mussels and clams were truly delicious, as was the caponata. My husband had the pork and funghi entrée, which was also excellent. I ordered the cod (although admittedly not a big fan) because it was the only seafood entrée, and the green tomatillo sauce sounded promising. However, I was disappointed. It was a large, monolithic piece of breaded cod with a (for me) inadequate amount of sauce which had no identifiable flavor to it. I shared a big piece of my entrée with my husband, who agreed it was lacking in taste--(but still ate it all). My husband's tiramisu was good, but the whipped cream on my baba au rum had a strange carbonated taste to it which I found unpleasant. Café Mare definitely has the potential to serve excellent food but our experience was one of unevenness. This was the first night of Restaurant Week, so maybe they were still working some of the kinks out of the menu. Service was unobstrusive (as we like it) and appropriately paced. It was our first time at Café Mare and we were surprised to see how large the interior is; on a Tuesday night there were only a handful of other tables occupied, as well as a half dozen people at the bar.

Tags: good for groups
food5
ambience5
service5

My whole family loves this restaurant. It's lovely

Dined on October 10, 2015

They could use more shrimp and seafood dishes. They need more of a variety that can accommodate vegetarians

Tags: kid-friendly, good for groups, special occasion
food4
ambience4
service5

Great Italian!

Dined on October 4, 2015

Cafe Mare is a gem of a restaurant.I'm not a huge fan of Italian food because a lot of them aren't very good.Try the seafood ravioli in proseco cream sauce..yummmmmmmmmm.We refrained from licking the plate but asked for more bread...

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
food4
ambience4
service4

Smooth Sailing at Cafe Mare

Dined on October 3, 2015

This is a great place for a leisurely dinner, with wonderful food, drinks, service, and ambiance. We came here before a house concert, and plan to come back when we can linger a bit.

Tags: special occasion
food1
ambience2
service1

Very dissappointed with food, quality and service!

Dined on September 13, 2015

Our server was very professional, intelligent and gave us detailed information regarding your menu. What he lacked the most was the service big time! Having been a restaurant employee for over 25 years, I do know much about customer service! I still can't believe that our waiter brought us over some bread that was so very BLACK & BURNT on the bottom! Really, are you kidding me is what we all thought!!! My husband was the only one who ate any of the bread because he was hungry. YUCK! Seeing that I knew immediately that this was going to be the beginning of a having a bad dining experience in your restaurant! First impressions do say a lot!!! After we waited for so very long for our dinners to arrive at our table the food was warm and not HOT! WE ALL LIKE OUR MEALS HOT, HOT, HOT!!! That wasn't the case here!!! I did not like my dish of spicy shrimp at all. Your shrimp was so very fricken small and NOT at all what PRAWNS should be!!! I buy bigger shrimp myself when I go shopping, what's up with you serving that at your restaurant? Giving your customers 3 JUMBO prawn shrimps than 7-8 small shrimps would have been benefitted you BIG time!!! Instead we all walked away very disappointed with the quality of food and the slow service!!! In fact, my husband commented that the Pasta Roni Fettuccini Alfredo that I make at home which is $1.00 a box was so much better than what your had served at your restaurant! I come in contact with so many people that I wanted to brag about your restaurant big time except that wasn't the case. There was nothing to brag about except that your tiramisu and your lemon dessert that we had was very delicious! I was very disappointed that my 7:15 p.m. reservation that I had booked online wasn't honored either. Our party had arrived at 7:11 p.m. and was told by your Maitre d' that our table wasn't ready. Seeing that there were 3 couples before us waiting for tables we were not told that they had reservations as well. Whatever!

food4
ambience3
service4

Good Italian food and good Italian waiters

vip
Dined on September 2, 2015

While visiting the California coast, after a couple of hours on the Santa Curz boardwalk, we wanted some real food. We found this Italian place. Located near the museum and the movie theater, it is a large space with a somewhat corporate appearance. But once you get inside, the staff is friendly and dining room is located slightly below street level, giving it a more private feeling. We opted for the homemade tagliatelle with the bolognese sauce - scrumptious. We definitely recommend that you go for the homemade pasta if you dine there - very good and cooked perfectly al dente. Salads and desserts were fresh and delicious too. Our waiter was a recent arrival from Italy and very enthusiastically told us where all the ingredients came from and how they were made, which added to our enjoyment.

Tags: good for groups

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