Casual setting, order at the counter. Offers breakfast items until noon, veggieburgers, salads, stir frys, Mexican plates, pasta, and more. Has a children's menu. Gluten free options. Originally known as McDharmas. Open Mon-Sun 11:00am-8:00pm.

59 Reviews

First Review by Delmar831


Points +2239

04 Dec 2023

fully vegetarian restaurant with many vegan options

I recently went to Dharma's with my Uncle. We both loved the ambiance. It was spacious with cool paintings and artwork. It had a lot of character. Service was very friendly.

It is a fully vegetarian restaurant that has been around since 1981. Most all the items can be made vegan. The menu is quite extensive and thus ordering can be tricky to know what is best to get.

I went with the Tempeh Reuben. I had it made vegan by leaving out the Swiss cheese and leaving out the thousand island dressing. It would have been nice for them to add vegan cheese and vegan salad dressing instead.

The sandwich was quite good though and perhaps could have been even better. Very nice presentation.

My Uncle got the lasagna. He found it underwhelming. He felt he order the wrong thing yet he appreciated the ambiance and friendly service.

He would be willing to return to try more of the menu and I would return as well.

Recommended checking out if in Santa Cruz!

Pros: fully vegetarian restaurant with many vegan option



Points +1947

04 Jan 2023

Glad it exists

There’s not many places with a vegan menu as big as Dharmas in the Santa Cruz area. It’s also almost a cultural landmark because it’s been there so long. I’m taking away a star because it’s annoying to customize vegetarian dishes into vegan, and not everything can be customized as vegan.


Points +3863

28 Nov 2022

Pricy but Full of Options

Dharma's offers a huge variety of vegetarian fare that can easily be made vegan. You order at the counter and wait for your number to be called.

I ordered the Mega Burger ($18) vegan style. Their burger is a protein and bean mashed creation (so no Beyond/Impossible meats here) and the 'mega' part includes grilled soy meat replicating bacon, tomatoes, and grilled onions. The box also included some greens and a side of spicy potatoes. They happily recommended I sub the cheese for guacamole and removed the 1000 island dressing for a soy mayo. Erm, Heck yes! There was also no up charge for the guac so that is a win in itself.

Loved the black bean patty that they created and would get that again in a heartbeat. Keep in mind that because it uses a lot of soy substitutes, it can be very heavy. Make sure to eat your greens at some point during your day to balance out such a meal.

Although great, the pricing is high so try to split your meal into two to make it last longer.

Pros: Lots of vegetarian options

Cons: Pricy for portions


Points +342

12 Nov 2022

Always a winner

I’ve been dining at Dharma’s for years. They make an amazing vegan milkshake, among other things. Today I had their delicious soup/salad combo for lunch. The Kitchari is so satisfying & yummy. Vegan salad dressings include a yummyTahini-Lemon. Extensive menu & most things can be made vegan.


Points +88

25 Oct 2022


I got the Bo Pad Thai was very good—I got it with rice because they said their rice noodles were not gluten-free, which is weird.The Kicheree was good. And the tofu scramble was pretty good—would have been better with some veggies or tomatoes, and I like my potatoes cooked more thoroughly. I wanted to order vegan pesto, but they were out. Still pretty good though. I also saw lots of other dishes that looked delicious too! Next time. I’m definitely coming back.

Pros: Lots of vegan and gluten-free options!, Good food, Large portions

Cons: Expensive for self-service


Points +507

18 Sep 2022

Delicious Healthy Variety

Love the food, the beautiful green plants and the paintings. The food has always been amazing. A little pricey but worth it, the servings are great.

I’ve been eating there since 1988 when I was only 9 years old. McDonalds sued them in 1988 when they were called McDharmas and they had to drop the “Mc”

Pros: Lots of vegan options & large portion sizes , Healthy & organic , Beautiful restaurant with plants

Cons: Expensive (but worth the price)


Points +73

17 Jul 2022

Great food, huge menu, ample portions!

Very casual restaurant with a broad menu….tons of vegan and gluten free options….the various tofu scrambles, the breakfast burrito, and the spring rolls are all huge highlights in our book!


Points +693

20 Jun 2022

Huge menu

First-time here and ordered the most popular dish according to the staffer: Bo Thai. It was delicious and a good size portion. I would go back if I was looking to indulge in a vegan junk food craving — not a lot of healthful items on the menu.

Pros: Big menu, Lots of seating, Parking


Points +20

02 Apr 2022

Best Veg/Vegan restaurant in Santa Cruz - Capitola

Dharma’s is a wonderful veg/vegan restaurant. The food is fresh and tasty. The vibe is casual and laid back, in particular it is a great place for Sunday brunch (Sunday in Capitola is about as relaxing and laid-back as you can get.) My favorite is the Tempeh Reuben sandwich. There is good parking right in front but if the lot is full nearby parking is usually available, but on weekdays the parking can sometimes be difficult. When a restaurant has a large menu selection it is usually a bad sign, but Dharma’s does an excellent job serving a diverse menu.

Pros: Lots of vegan options, Lots of selections, Generous portions

Cons: Can get crowded


02 Apr 2022

I totally enjoy thorough reviews like these! Thanks so much for letting us know about the VIBE!


Points +56

06 Mar 2022

Quantity over quality and pricey, look elsewhere if you’re traveling

I’ll lead with the core problem - it cost us $76 to get a side of chips and guacamole, two entrees, and two drinks on cafeteria trays you bring back to the table yourself after your name is called out over a microphone. Back in Boston, $76 is about what I would pay for a nice meal at a mid-tier to fancy restaurant with table service. Everything here is roughly $20-25 a plate and the taste and ambiance just don’t justify that cost. This place reminds me of Cheesecake Factory in theory and pricing, except at Cheesecake Factory, with your huge portion sizes and the $25 a plate cost, you also get table service, nice ambiance, and the food tastes good.

Yes, the portion sizes are huge, but I don’t want two meals in one that don’t taste all that good while I’m traveling. It would help if you could order half portions to reduce food waste in cases where you can’t bring the leftovers home.

Still, $12.50 is more than I would have paid for a half portion of the butternut squash ravioli I got. It looked and tasted like prepackaged ravioli. I ordered it with a basil, garlic, and olive oil sauce, and it didn’t have much flavor at all. It really could have used some salt and was overall edible, but very bland. I can deal with undersalted food, but at this price point and for being billed on the menu as being a “house specialty”, the butternut squash ravioli was really disappointing and an expensive mistake.

My partner had better luck with his enchiladas, but they weren’t $25 a plate good. It seems like as a vegetarian restaurant, one of the things they rely on to make things taste good is dairy products, and don’t necessarily know how to compensate for the lack of salt and flavor when they are removed. I guess that’s fine and all for vegetarians, but on that same note, I can slap cheese and sour cream on something and make it taste good too. Why spend so much for that?

I regret going here for my only meal in the Santa Cruz area. It was down to this and Cafe Gratitude and both my partner and I agreed that this wasn’t a good choice after we ate. If the costs were lower, I wouldn’t have had such high expectations and would have let a lot of these things slide. This would be a 1 star review, but Happy Cow gives an automatic star for being fully vegetarian, so I can’t rate this any lower than 2 stars. I hope they improve their vegan cooking and become less reliant on dairy for flavor.

Updated from previous review on 2022-03-06

Cons: Very pricey for quality of food, Not a nice sit down or dinner atmosphere, No options for ordering small/half portions


Points +110

27 Feb 2022

So good, and soooo much food

This place was amazing. I was in Capitola for 4 days with my family (there were 9 of us, all of whom are vegetarian and/or vegan) and I ate there twice. The first night I had dinner there and the 2nd time we had brunch. The staff and food were excellent. TONS of options for vegan/vegetarian & GF.

I tried many things in my two visits including the Vegan Reuben, Tempe Terriyaki Burger, Tofu Scramble, Pasta, Kitcheree, & Terriyaki Rice Bowl. Each of them was excellent… I should’ve just eaten all my meals here, I could’ve easily had some thing different with every meal😄

Pros: So many options, Exceptional Service, Great food.


Points +126

31 Jan 2022

Mega Burger or bust!!

I love Dharma's and have pulled many people out of the way to hit this place up while on the road.
The menu is kinda huge and the portions are as well. I live for the mega burger, it's amazing and it's too large but every single time I think I can finish the plate. I often do and then I'm in pain for a while :)

Ambiance isn't really the reason to visit, it's a basic place where you order at the counter, bus your own dishes, plenty of seating and, it's in a small strip mall kinda thing. But if you show up hungry, you will not be let down. Did I mention the Mega Burger? There are also other nice things on the menu (or so I hear).

Pros: Portions are huge


Points +198

02 Oct 2021

Great veggie comfort food

Visiting the area this weekend, partially to be close to Dharma’s! I ordered the mega burger, which was veganized w vegan mayo and cheese. Huge portion w soy strips and grilled potatoes on the side. I love that Dharma’s has tons of variety: Mexican, Asian, burgers, shakes,breakfast all day , plus sides from tofu scramble to mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy. Easy online ordering, will probably be back again soon.

Pros: Much of the menu is vegan., Generous portions, Variety of dishes


Points +759

28 Sep 2021

Huge variety, good food

We've eaten here a bunch of times and always enjoy it.


Points +105

07 Sep 2021

Never disappoints

The service is always great, very helpful staff. The food is delicious, they always rotate the menu, but my wife and I always find incredible vegan options that are so tasty! The portions are huge, but the food is so good we always finish our meals.


Points +250

20 May 2021

Best vegan options in the county

This is my favorite vegan restaurant in the county and I'm giving it 3 stars. That should tell you something about this county. The portions are generous but the price of some items cannot be justified. Everytime I order from here, my wallet tells me I should just cook at home. This is an old school vegetarian place (it shows when you go inside) where the inspiration is Indian vegetarian, yet most of the menu is vegan--they just don't tell you that. So everytime you order, just say "vegan" to make sure they get it right. Given that they have vegan cheese, it's a little puzzling that not all items with cheese can be made vegan but I appreciate that they know their limits. Best garlic bread ever.

Pandemic complaint: they cannot get their act together. Normally would give them 4 or 5 stars but the service has been awful for over a year. The first couple of months, I figured they were adjusting but they never got better. Order weekly and they never get the order right. Not kidding. Orders wrong so many times that I've stopped telling them because I don't want to get banned. Simple things like changing the default non-vegan dressing to a vegan dressing. Ordering multiples of the same item and only getting 1. Ordering a side of overpriced avocado only to go home and realize they never gave you the avocado. Often get home to realize things are wrong but by then they've closed. Started opening the boxes in front of them and scanning my email receipt but still miss things. Online ordering is available but the problem is they handwrite the ticket from the online order and this gets transposed incorrectly. Popular place so orders usually take longer than the estimated time. One time it took about an hour longer. Running out of patience with Dharma's.

Updated from previous review on 2021-05-20

Pros: Tasty food, Large portions

Cons: Expensive, Orders made wrong


Points +1469

06 Mar 2021

Lots of veg options

Been here several times. Have tried the butternut squash ravioli, tofu breakfast burrito, Prima Vera pasta, Brahma burger, corn bread, dharma dog, lasagna, tempeh burger, bbq tofu d’beest and strawberry chocolate milkshake.

Nothing that I’ve had here has ever tasted spectacular/ultra flavorful or super special. My favorite so far has been the bbq tofu d’beest. It’s pretty tasty and hearty.

Portions are very big here. Not all menu items are vegan but most can be made vegan. I’d give this place a 3.5


Points +644

13 Dec 2020

Variant taste

Soup, salad and potatoes were amazing. The enchiladas were like cardboard and the mega-burger was decent


Points +28

04 Sep 2020


I love this place. Lots of extremely delicious options and very generous servings.


Points +372

05 Jun 2020

Great vegan options

We took on take out (corona time) the breakfast burrito, the veggie burrito and the chocolate chip cookie, everything was delicious! There were two things that I would change: 1. It will be great to have a white rice option 2. I don't like the brand of their vegan cheese, I hope they will change it (daiya). We will definitely come back😄


Points +40

16 Feb 2020


Amazing selection of vegan food, plenty to satisfy anyone!

Pros: Incredible selection, Delicious food, Enormous portions, had to take out half


Points +166

05 Jan 2020

Absolutely adore Dharma’s

One of my favorite restaurants. 🙌🏼 The portions are huge and the menu has something to offer for everyone, even if you are going with people who are non-vegan.

Double check your meal is vegan! My Mom actually ordered a Mexican dish with cheese, thinking it was vegan cheese.

The coconut bliss milkshakes are the bomb!

Dharma’s displays beautiful cosmic art all around. 🦋🦄🪐🌙🌈🐬

Highly recommend ! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Points +32

16 Nov 2019

Fantastic variety and their coffee is delicious.

Very nice with a large menu and vegan options.

Pros: Lots of vegan options


Points +719

04 Nov 2019

Good options!

Very casual spot with extensive menu, lots of different options for food. We had the teriyaki burger which was delicious and Dan Dan noodles which were ok.
Price is reasonable.


Points +123

18 Oct 2019

Huge variety, large portions

Most of the menu can be made vegan and there is plenty that's gluten free too. It was hard to decide what to eat. I went for a taco dish which was absolutely loaded, and the rest of the plate filled with salad. Great value for money. Service is good, they were good with allergen info and the place is clean.


Points +156

08 Oct 2019

Big variety

These guys make everything you can imagine. The menu is so eclectic, its insane. Chili? Yep. Pizza? MmHmm. Kung Pao? Dan Dan? Curry?!?!?! YES! Hot dogs, and Burgers, and Beer, and Ice Cream!!!!! And they give you SO MUCH FOOD!

Pros: They literally have all the food.

Cons: Their burritos and chili dogs are super messy.


Points +91

08 Sep 2019

First time at Dharmas! And it’s a real gem !

Our first time venturing to this restaurant and we feel lucky we found it ! I had the gluten free burger and it was great ! A beyond beef burger on a gluten free English muffin , a nice change from the burger bun ! Open and spacious with outdoor seating too !

Pros: Lots of vegan options, No loud blaring tv or music in the background !, Casual and friendly

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