Saturn Cafe

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 52 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 9:00am-12:00am.

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

52 Reviews

First Review by TexasVegan

Great experience - Edit

Had the vegan shake and pancakes, they catered for our needs with ads ons. Service was wonderful and fun, atmosphere is cool.

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Not great - Edit

I was really excited to finally come here after a day at the beach in Santa Cruz but I was pretty disappointed. The food was okay (if you like greasy diner food) and they have a good selection but I'd be very concerned if you are vegan. They have plenty of veg options that you can specify as vegan, which we did - I made sure to indicate that everything we were having should be vegan. However, it looked like we had two different dressings and I asked, they were unsure whether or not our dressings were both vegan or not!! That made me very concerned whether or not the rest of our food was vegan and I had to keep checking. They should have a green toothpick or an indicator in the vegan prepared dishes to specify that they are in fact vegan. Also, the place is very dirty, bathrooms are full of graffiti. I don't think we will eat here again.

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Best vegan diner food! - Edit

What a cute place! The waitress reccomended the "chicken" barbecue, which was amazing. Of the onion strings, steak fires, and original fries, we liked the original fries best. My sister got the portobello burger, which supirsed us by being cut up portebello, not just one burger-sized one. She said it was much easier to eat!

Wait staff was friendly, quirky, and efficient. We also appreciated the open wi-fi.

Pros: Cute, Large portions

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Pretty Good - Edit

The sesame salad was good but SUPER soggy. Too much dressing! The dressing does have good flavor though. The tofu in it had zero flavor, however. The onion strings are basically grease straws, you could probably wring them out. The ranch dressing is sweet, not how I like it. My friend ordered a root beer float. I liked the fact that they give you extra root beer to refill it when the soda part gets low. Not my type of place, but it's okay.

Cons: greasy

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my favorite place. - Edit

This is the best vegan junk food ever :b I absolutely love the vegan BBQ chicken ranch sandwich. & the milkshakes are A

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Not Gluten Free Friendly - Edit

So my Family is Vegetarian and Gluten Free. We have tried this restaurant many times but with the third time is the last time.

The service is great , the food is yummy but they but that items are not gluten free on there menu and my husband and 4 year old little girl have both had reactions.

Tonight we went there and had the onion strings it said it was vegan and Gluten Free. My little girl got bloated , horrible headache and warm right after eating the food. It was sad. Restaurants need to be clear and truthful if there food is gluten free. Because it's a medical issue sometimes.

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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

Photo of Saturn Cafe  by <a href="/members/profile/Lisa">Lisa</a> <br/>Barbecue Ranch Chicken Salad, drool <br/> July 4, 2014  - <a href='/contact/abuse/image/1550/73214'>Report</a>

Barbecue Ranch Chicken Salad, drool

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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)

Photo of Saturn Cafe  by <a href="/members/profile/H">H</a> <br/>vegan BBQ ranch chicken burger with onion strings <br/> April 14, 2014  - <a href='/contact/abuse/image/1550/67627'>Report</a>

vegan BBQ ranch chicken burger with onion strings

Photo of Saturn Cafe  by <a href="/members/profile/H">H</a> <br/>outside <br/> January 23, 2014  - <a href='/contact/abuse/image/1550/62979'>Report</a>

outside

Photo of Saturn Cafe  by <a href="/members/profile/H">H</a> <br/>inside <br/> January 23, 2014  - <a href='/contact/abuse/image/1550/62978'>Report</a>

inside

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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

Photo of Saturn Cafe  by <a href="/members/profile/Sabino">Sabino</a> <br/>Diablo Burger <br/> December 16, 2013  - <a href='/contact/abuse/image/1550/60424'>Report</a>

Diablo Burger

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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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