Saturn Cafe

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 46 reviews )
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831-429-8505
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145 Laurel St (at Pacific Ave), Santa Cruz, California, USA, 95060

Longtime operating vegetarian diner with an American food menu featuring veggie burgers, sandwiches, breakfast and brunch food, Cal-Mex food, fries, shakes, and breakfast all day. Offers weekend late risers brunch which includes mimosas and vegan donut holes. Punky, funky music and decor. Open Mon-Sun 10:00am-12:00am, Sat-Sun 12:00am-3:00am.

Category: Vegan-friendly, American, Fast food, Take-out

Reviews (46)

First Review by TexasVegan

Wow! - Edit

Have spent many Summers in Santa Cruz (before and with kids). As a veg eating on the Boardwalk has always been challenging. Happy Cow sent my husband and I on a short walk to this amazing place. The BBQ chicken ranch sandwich is yum!!!! Relaxed, comfortable environment and friendly wait staff :)

Pros: menu variety, relaxed environment , convenient location

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Cool diner - Edit

We had vegan breakfas burritos, a side of fruit and a mint ice cream sundae (yeah I had ice cream for breakfast so what). The food was great, the service was friendly, the décor is really cool.

The menu is all veggie with maybe 14 vegan and some extra veganizable things brining it up to 13 vegan. Noteworthy dishes include vegan pancakes, vegan ice cream and vegan milkshakes (!!)

Pros: Vegan ice cream sundae!!, Appropriate (not overwhelming) portions

Cons: Would've liked to see more vegan things on the men

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Good food, fun atmosphere - Edit

This is a not one of the fun restaurants in town. Just good people who work there.

The food is a bit greasy and not the best quality, but fun to eat.
On the other hand. The vegan ice cream is the best on the market from any supplier, anywhere. Plus they make their own coconut whipped topping.

Pros: Fun Atmosphere, Good Parking, Vegan Ice Cream

Cons: A little greasy, A little pricey

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Delicious food and a nice menu - Edit

I had the BBQ pulled "chicken" burger and was scared about the chicken: it seemed so... real. The burger was great, so were the french fries and oh, I also had the vegan sundae. It was overall way too much food for one person, but I still ate it all and it was delicious. Good service, too! I'll be going back there a few times for sure.

Pros: Good selection of vegan meals/desserts and drinks, Good service

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Amazing Dinner.. Came back for Breakfast!! - Edit

EXCELLENT diner-style food!! Had their vegan BBQ Ranch Chikn Burger with fries and chocolate milkshake with mint & chips... So delicious!! My non-veg friends loved their shakes and food as well (they had the grilled cheese and Thai wrap).

My husband and I loved it so much that we came back for Breakfast the next morn. Had their vegan breakfast burrito with soyrizo and the combo with pancakes, tofu scramble, tempeh bacon, & veg sausage. It totally hit the spot for a good standard American breakfast.

* Service is super friendly
* They allow dogs on the patio

Pros: the

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Super comfy vegan food - Edit

This has been a long time favourite for a lot of folk I know.
Great vibe to the place. Good range of veggie items and decent enough for vegans. Certainly worth your time for some comfort food

Pros: Good vegan options , Diner style food, Great decor

Cons: Needs morvegan items

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Great food, great music. - Edit

Came here because of the Groupon deal, was well worth it. Sandwiches were great and the vegan milkshake was to die for. Make sure to get the Groupon otherwise food is a little pricey.

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Huge Disappointment - Edit

I was excited to try this veggie spot after reading several great reviews on Happy Cow. My friend and I are on a road trip from LA to San Francisco, so Santa Cruz is a great spot to stop for lunch between Carmel and San Fran on the final leg of the trip.

We should have know that things were sub par when we went to wash our hands and the bathrooms were disgusting. We almost left, but our server finally came over.

Menu options were uninspired and generic. My salad looked great, but was really just ok. The server was completely clueless about the menu and when I asked his suggestions, it was as though he hadn't eaten anything there.

My friend got the vegan breakfast burrito and while the menu listed several items inside the burrito, when it arrived it was just filled with tofu scramble. No veggies or anything. It was just very boring and bland.

The whole place was filthy and now we just feel gross. This experience was a big let down.

Cons: filthy, bad service, uninspired menu.

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Delightful - Edit

Saturn Cafe is a delightful restaurant. It is decorated in a retro sci-fi style. The food is great as well. I had the vegan BBQ ranch chicken burger plus a cupcake. The cafe is well worth a visit.

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Loved it in 1979, still love it now! - Edit

I admit I'm biased. Saturn Cafe opened near my houseful of UCSC students in 1979 - and quickly became our favorite. Visiting now 36 years later, I still love Saturn Cafe for its vegan-friendliness and everything else. Today I had the vegan breakfast burrito with tofu spread and other yummy stuff, and hibiscus cooler from the original recipe. Plus there was a special - free vegan muffin and coffee with breakfast order. All this for $12. Everything about the place is fun - each table has a unique retro tchotchke collage under glass, and the restrooms are marked "robots" and "aliens" (back in the day, it was "us" and "them"). My waiter was super friendly and helpful - and also vegan himself (of course).
Updated from previous review on Friday April 24, 2015

Updated from previous review on Friday April 24, 2015

Pros: Delicious vegan food, Great value, Fun environment and nice staff

Cons: Wish it opened earlier for breakfast.

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surprisingly great - Edit

We arrived there thanks to HappyCow after visiting the wharf in Santa Cruz with 3 kids and the place is really awesome. Great vegan options inc. many vegan hamburgers, salads, soup, sandwiches, kids menu, and for desert: vegan cupcake with cream that my kids loved obviously!
Also great service and cool atmosphere

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Disappointing - Edit

I've tried this place a couple of times when I pass thru Santa Cruz for work.
Tonight I ordered A Side Salad and the Vegan BBQ Ranch Chicken Burger.

The salad was very disappointing, It's summer and everywhere you go there are fresh vegetables. However this salad consisted of, lettuce, four cucumbers, and some cabbage.



The vegan chicken was overcooked, along with the fries.

The service was friendly it's just they need better food preparation management.

Pros: Good Service

Cons: Over cooked

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A very welcome surprise! - Edit

I stumbled in here on my way to a hike. They decor is funky with a space theme (hence Saturn Cafe!) I wanted something in the middle of healthy and delicious, so I ordered the BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad. I honestly wasn't expecting anything spectacular but I was totally mistaken! This salad was incredible! The chicken was some kind of shredded fake and the sauce was delicious. It also had crispy onions and lots of veggies, so it was exactly what I was looking for! I was just passing through unfortunately, otherwise this would be a regular!

Pros: Delicious food, Fun decor, Friendly staff

Cons: None

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Tasty Americana - Edit

Real yummy food and friendly staff. Groovy decor. A bit pricey for me (I can eat a lot), but their prices are fairly comparable to most joints tat serve this style of food. The vegan BBQ ranch chicken burger was bomb!

Pros: tasty, friendly, groovy

Cons: 1 meal didn't satisfy me (6' dude)

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Fantastic vegan burgers! - Edit

This dinner is fabulous, a must in Santa Cruz!

Pros: The fries was delicious and so was the burgers! , Great service! , Cozy!

Cons: Nothing.

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Delicious, Huge Selection, Huge Portions - Edit

Something for everyone here, many vegan choices,some healthy, some deep fried unhealthy like onion rings, fries, taquitos, so choose carefully for health. They use all brand of faux meats including Gardein, Beyond Meat, Quorn (not vegan).

Pros: Big Selection, Big Portions

Cons: A lot of fried foods, Slow service

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Loved it - Edit

We rolled into town after dark and we were really hungry. Fortunately we had someone recommend Saturn Café. We loved it! Vegan taquitos?!! Seriously?!! They were incredible. The prices were great, the service was good, and everyone with us (5 of us in all) loved their dinner.

Pros: Extensive menu, Well priced, Great food

Cons: All good; nothing bad

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very good - Edit

I really enjoyed my time at Saturn cafe. I was there with 3 non vegetarian friends, and they also enjoyed themselves.
The food was good, the beer was great and the desert from another planet. I really liked all the vegan options.
I would recommend the chicken burgers, they were better than the normal ones.
Updated from previous review on Monday December 16, 2013

Pros: good atmosphere, good food, vegan options

Cons: staff very slow

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Like it! - Edit

One of my favourite place in California. Saturn café has a funny atmosphere, staff is really friendly. And food is really good and offers big portions. I really enjoyed my burger, while speaking some French with one of the waitresses.

Pros: excellent food with vegan options, friendly staff, nice decor

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Long on atmosphere - Edit

Been around for a long time, social, a Santa Cruz cultural icon now.

Pros: unique atmosphere, Chocolate Madness

Cons: can be noisy and crowded, Not the most desirable veggie-oriented

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cool veg diner - Edit

My friend and I were so amazed to find this cool retro vegetarian diner right on the main street of Santa Cruz, and they have parking . The wait staff are super friendly and prices are good.
My friend and I shared the burger and onion strings plus a side of garlic fries. The burger was good. I didn't like the onions-too greasy. I thought the potatoes were well done-but they age very garlicky with chopped fresh garlic. The Sundays were good, but I would leave off the whip cream.

Pros: location amd parking, friendly staff, great decor

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Good Service, Sub-Standard Food - Edit

The waitress was friendly. The vegan breakfast options need some serious improvement. The bread was hard, the scrambled tofu dry and bland, the potatoes without flavour.

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Tripster, hipster, fun all Veg restaurant! - Edit

Kudos to any Veg place and this one comes with some serious 'ambiance'. The booth tables are filled with nostalgic 'thingies'. I happed to sit at the one all in favor of the 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show'. If you need to utilize the restroom, Men you are Robots and Women are Aliens.

I went with a veg burger and to this day have not found a place that makes one over the top fantastic, hence this one at least was not mush and the varieties are impressive.

I can't wait to go back and try out some other menu items.

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OK fast food - Edit

Good option in Santa Cruz, but enough vegan choices for the size of the menu. The portions are large, and the food came fast enough at the table. Very studenty feel.

Pros: Fast food

Cons: not enough vegan options

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Check it out... - Edit

I hadn't been here in a few years and just returned recently. For a change of pace, I ordered a salad instead of a sandwich, and it was amazing(and huge). The staff was really helpful and friendly. Glad I went. I love the vibe there. It's a great spot for vegan junk as well, if you are in downtown Santa Cruz it is a great option..

Pros: Tasty, Friendly Staff, Large portions

Cons: Can be pricey

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Grungy Burger Joint - Edit

I had read about this place on happycow, and here's my Saturn Cafe review.

Was here on a past trip Santa Cruz. I had wanted to try the different pure veg places listed on HappyCow, and this was one of them.

It's a casual diner that offers funky decor, kinda grungy punky, various veggie burgers and fries, etc... My food was all right. I can see why young kids would like the atmosphere.

Pros: convenient location, spacious, friendly staff

Cons: grungy

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Called "Saturn" cuz you're not in Kansas anymore! - Edit

I love Saturn Cafe and always visit when I am in SC (& the new one in Berkeley is great too). Lots of Vegan and Veg/Egg-free options. However, they do serve eggs here. Do be VERY clear with the waiters because our waiter was very spaced-out and we ordered a vegan breakfast burrito and got one with eggs & cheese in it, even after requesting vegan-everything and vegan ranch, etc, he still made this mistake. My partner had never eaten eggs in his life and took a couple of bites before realizing that it wasn't tofu scramble. So just be very clear! Otherwise, the food is decadent diner food, not healthy, but hard to find this kind of tasty comfort food in veggie places. Many items contain eggs or egg-whites, so be sure to ask questions if this is as important to you as it is to us. For example, the onion rings, faux chicken, and regular ranch have eggs in them & this wasn't the first time a waiter here spaced-out about these details.

If you ask questions and are very clear, you will be fine and probably obsess about this place the rest of your year and plan what you'll eat on your next visit! The ambiance here is kitschy/quirky/oddball diner. We sat at the "Pez-dispenser" / Star Trek table, to give you an idea of what to expect. This joint is full of college students round the clock. It's not sophisticated dining, just fun & eccentric. We are in our early thirties, so the place suits us fine. It's a diner with a sense of humor open 24/7.

Also, if you love vegetarian food & are visiting SC, I also recommend Malabar (best dinner!) & Dharma's (amazing breakfast/brunch) as must-visit dining! For a quick bite and supporting a woman-owned business with super-fast & fresh food, I recommend Alfresco as well. YUM!

Pros: Vegan Brunch, Quirky Decor, Open 24/7

Cons: Careless Waitstaff, Eggs Galore, Menu unclear about Egg Ingredients

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