Saturn Cafe

Santa Cruz, California


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Fun diner atmosphere with huge portions and garlic fries to die for.

Image for Sholly

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Atmosphere: 5.0
Rockin'. The layout of the place is just super neat -- and I like the retro, twelve-year-old-child-who-wants-to-be-an-astronaut style of the place. It's cool. Plus, it has gender-neutral bathroom choices of robots or aliens. I was sold.

Service: 3.5
It was pretty busy when we got there, but the food took a little bit of time to get to us. Not enough to complain about, and the staff was helpful and super patient (as we kept changing our minds mid-order).

Food: 4.5
I'm not generally a huge fan of burger 'n' fries joints, but this one stood out. It isn't all vegan, but they have a lot of vegan options. The Diablo burger was delicious -- and very spicy. This is the only burger joint I've been to that has actually satiated my need for spice. Plus, they had a few options for vegan milkshakes, and any place that has those, has my attention (but I was definitely eying the options for the non-vegan milkshakes, and if they can broaden their options, that would be fantastic).

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Great atmosphere! We loved the soy shakes, and there was a wide variety of options to choose from. The wait-staff was helpful and informative. The food was good, not great, however we really enjoyed our experience here.

Image for Cass Danger

rating star this just might be one of my new favorite places! There's a lot of vegetarian and vegan restaurants out there, but very few have a fun theme or special atmosphere to them that set them apart from other restaurants and can actually draw in non-vegetarians because it's so fun. Saturn has this weird, cooky, fun, charm to it that anyone would enjoy.

I am NOT a salad person, but I'd been stuffing my face with vegan junk food all week so I went with the Sante Fe salad, which actually sounded good - not just "good for a salad" good, but genuinely "good", good. :) I had them leave off the non-vegan cheese and didn't go with the vegan option since 1) they charge extra, and 2) they use Follow Your Heart, which is fine when melted, but not all that great raw. The salad came with avocado, fried tortilla strips, and a cilantro dressing. It was supposed to come with vegan chicken strips, but they forgot to add them. I think this would have made it even better but I didn't even notice until I left the restaurant, so I enjoyed it as it was.

I also got a half order of the nachos that everyone raves about. The raving is well-deserved! I'm not a fan of restaurant dishes I can easily make at home and nachos often fall into that category. Saturn, however, has something magical about it's nachos so I was wishing I had gone with the full order! All of the toppings were good but nothing spectacular (guacamole, tomatoes, vegan cheese, vegan crema, jalapenos), but what really made the dish great were the chips. I don't know if they are homemade or if Saturn just found some amazing brand of tortilla chips that crisps up perfectly in the oven. Amazing!

My friend got the vegan burger with avocado, which was good, but nothing spectacular. Saturn offers more interesting burger options that I'd be willing to try if I return. The fries it came with were also really good. I learned later that Saturn offers "skinny" and "steak" fries. While the skinny fries were good, I couldn't help but drool over the fat fries a nearby table ordered. :)

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Fun place, with mostly good food. The thick cut, unpeeled fries are the best we've had outside of the UK, and the vegan milkshakes are great. I had the Santa Fe salad (without the cheese), and it was huge & very tasty. My partner had their vegetarian chili which was a little bland; very few beans or vegetables, & mostly just a bowl of tomatoes. It made a nice dip for the fries, but I wouldn't bother getting it on it's own.

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Great resturant, great food, great atmosphere. My wife and I head to Santa Cruz once a year for vacation (someday we'll live there) and this resturant is our favorite stop. The staff has always been pleasant, the food tasty and the hours very accommodating. Try for yourself!

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I have given this place many a chance and have found it to be lacking in practically all areas. The food consistently comes out to the tables lukewarm and very greasy. The atmosphere is definitely upbeat and very 'Santa Cruz' but the restaurant has servers that seem too cool to be waiting on you and more interested in socializing. If you want food, eat at Dharma's but if you want a place to hang out for a while with music blaring-this is the place.

Image for Dave Rolsky

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This place is a lot of fun, and the late hours are definitely a bonus. I had a vegan burger with grilled onions, and some delicious steak fries. The best part, however, was the vegan nachos. I also had the tofu chocolate pie for dessert, which was quite tasty.

It's not the best food I've ever had, but getting vegan junk food is always fun, and it wins bonus points for being open late and having a fun atmosphere.

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