Laili
Laili

Laili

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.lailirestaurant.com/
  • Phone: 8314234545x
  • Hours of Operation:
    Lunch: 11:30 AM - 2:30 PM; Dinner: 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM, Friday and Saturday: 5:00 - 10:00 PM
    Open Tuesday - Sunday

  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Afghan, Mediterranean
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Counter Seating, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Private Party Facilities: Let Laili host your next event. Our large space and beautiful garden patio are perfect for weddings, receptions, showers, graduation parties, birthdays, private cocktail parties, fundraisers and much more. We are happy to work with you to accomodate a variety of party styles and budgets.
  • Private Party Contact: Michelle Naklowycz 8314234545x
  • Special Events: Laili is a great location to host a variety of special events from small intimate weddings, and receptions to showers, birthdays and corporate events. We offer a charming garden patio which seats up to 50 guests and for a cocktail reception can accommodate 65. We also offer a spacious dining room with seating for 100 guests and cocktail reception for 120. If you wish to book the entire restaurant we can accommodate 150 guests seated or 185 guests for a cocktail reception.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Pacific Avenue
  • Parking: Public Lot
  • Parking Details: Take advantage of free parking located on River Street at Front Street. In addition to metered street parking, there is also a parking lot at Front Street and Soquel and also at Locust Street and Pacific Avenue.
A word from Laili
For centuries a five thousand mile trade route has joined the Mediterranean to China through Afghanistan and India. Known mostly for the Silk Trade, the Silk Road has acted as a conduit of ideas, cultures, music, food & spices throughout all of its regions. Laili aims to bring the age old flavors and traditions of the Silk Road to life by creating a positive and relaxing environment with a culturally rich and flavorful dining experience.
Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Ambiance
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
Laili reviews from OpenTable diners
217 reviews since June 23, 2014
Overall Rating4.5
  • Food4.6
    Service4.5
  • Ambiance4.6
    Noise LevelModerate
96% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
great for outdoor dining (163)fit for foodies (145)special occasion (118)romantic (104)neighborhood gem (95)great for lunch (83)good for groups (61)notable wine list (33)hot spot (28)great for brunch (17)scenic view (14)late-night find (14)kid-friendly (13)vibrant bar scene (2)Show More
  • Dinner at Laili
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    Overall experience was lovely as always. This is our favorite Santa Cruz restaurant. Only complaint was the hostess. She was not very friendly or welcoming. The rest of the staff was very accommodating and professional.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Wonderful place for outdoor lunch.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 10/16/2014
    Laili has really good food -- tasty, well prepared, and not too heavy; friendly and efficient service; and a beautiful outdoor dining patio that is enclosed and (usually) shaded. The outdoor space provides a quiet and intimate dining environment that is great for conversation. The one negative to this restaurant is that the inside dining area, though attractive, is far too noisy. It needs to be reworked to have more surfaces that absorb rather than reflecting and amplifying sound.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 10/14/2014
    You can't go wrong dining at Lailis. I enjoy the eggplant dish and all the flavors it offers.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Awesome
    Sally
    Dined on 10/11/2014
    Waiter Greet and the front Desk as always ! Service n Food Excellent :)
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Delicious, exotic, romantic
    osucodavida
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    Lovely date night! Started with the dip sampler and afghan naan, delicious! Lamb and filet mignon kebabs were amazing, and perfect to eat with your hands for an even more authentic experience. Pistachio and cardamom ice cream and french press coffee for desert, incredible. We will make this restaurant a regular visit.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Laili's experience
    timetohitthetown
    Dined on 10/5/2014
    Laili's has been on my list of restaurants to try for about one year...Sunday, my wish finally happened. We enjoyed a delight lunch on the patio, trying an assortment of entrees. Everything was prepared and seasoned to perfection. It is definitely a new Santa Cruz favorite.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, late-night find, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Leah1
    Dined on 10/4/2014
    The food is always top notch at Laili, very pleasant and accommodating wait staff. Lovely atmosphere, only drawback: because of high ceiling, noise carries. My favorite resturant, anytime I have out of town guests to entertain, this is my first choice. Unlike anything Santa Cruz has to offer.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • bigB
    Dined on 10/4/2014
    extremely personable staff. consistent great job of ethnic flavors, sauces, spices on somewhat limited range of selections
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Finding our favorites
    SweetnSavory
    Dined on 10/3/2014
    A special occasion was made all the more special by the Swordfish and Pomegranate Eggplant. My partner ordered the Swordfish which he shared with me. I have never tasted Swordfish before and it flavor made me feel like royalty. We had some Malbec to go with our dishes which was a clearly good choice. The service was very attentive without being overbearing. I would definitely go back.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Laili, Santa Cruz
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 10/2/2014
    Gracious service and delicious Mediterranean food served in a beautiful outdoor courtyard - could hardly have been better. Highly recommended!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Unique and delightful
    TDRfromMdRVIP
    Dined on 10/2/2014
    This Afghan-Mediterranean restaurant in downtown Santa Cruz was a delightful lunch find. The cuisine is imaginative and eclectic; be adventurous in what you order. The Mediterranean appetizer plate with pita, hummus, tabouleh, yogurt, etc., is excellent. My wife's Caesar salad (available in half or full orders; half was plenty) was distinctive (pita chips or something instead of bread croutons) with an excellent dressing. My trout main was really good--not too generous, but with yogurt and other tasty sauces. The wine list is from everywhere. There's an attractive indoor space and a lovely, comfortable outdoor courtyard. For us, this was a most positive adventure. Prices are reasonable for a very good restaurant, at least at lunch.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Laili Outstanding
    itistheexperience
    Dined on 9/28/2014
    Went for the different type of food ('Silk Road') but the total experience was outstanding. Sat in the lovely outside dining area which is romantic while fun at the same time.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good mediterranean food
    cromom
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    We had their swordfish special with Saffron rice. The swordfish was delicious and perfectly cooked. The saffron rice was a bit lacking. It was mostly long-grain white rice with a bit of saffron rice on top. I would have like more Saffron rice.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Always solid
    LVShowman
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    We have dined here 5 times now. Every time the food and service have been great. They have a decent wine list and the beers are unique and seem to change every time.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great food!
    tiffany
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    My team and I came here for a late lunch last week. We all enjoyed the food immensely. Our favorite was the meditteranean plate, it was probably the best hummus combination I've ever had.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Wonderful dining experience!
    Shelley
    Dined on 9/25/2014
    The food is unique and delicious. Highly recommend Laila for anyone who wants a great dining experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Eclectic Mix of Delicious Food
    rrschrumjrVIP
    Dined on 9/24/2014
    A very impressive place. Great ambiance inside, and the outdoor courtyard is even better. Not your typical mix of cuisines -- Indian, Middle Eastern, Afghan, etc. -- and it doesn't feel like other restaurants that serve that type of food. Feels much more, upscale American cuisine. The squash appetizer with yogurt and mint is wonderful; don't miss it. My lamb shank was pretty good -- the sauce was delicious. I also can speak highly of the eggplant, which my wife ordered. The price is quite nice, too. Would highly recommend and consider returning on our next trip to Santa Cruz.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • we love Hannah
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 9/24/2014
    We have come to Laili a few times and last time Hannah was our server. WE CAN"T WAIT TO COME BACK. in fact we have been back two times....She is kind, and excellent at what she does....
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • KumaKi
    Dined on 9/24/2014
    third time here, love it First time for lunch and we were delighted with everything!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Love this place!
    FitFoodie
    Dined on 9/18/2014
    Everything is so well-thought out here from the design to the menu to every last detail on the plate. True art and delicious food can be found at Laili! The menu is full of amazing and tasty authentic Afghani delights.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Consistenly a favorite
    CurlyTop
    Dined on 9/18/2014
    Laili is one of our top favorite restaurants in Santa Cruz. The food, service, and ambiance are consistently excellent. We ate outside the other night for the first time. Hard to believe our several experiences there could actually improve! It was just beautiful. When it got a little chilly, the servers fussed to be sure we were comfortable. Laili is also a great places to come with a vegetarian appetite. So many satisfying choices with out meat. We just love it.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • derfdiner
    Dined on 9/17/2014
    Third time here and it was better than ever. We brought friends who were very impressed. Don't miss the lamb!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Laili's is lovely………….
    Karina
    Dined on 9/17/2014
    I love bringing bringing new friends to your establishment. Always warmly greeted. The borani appetizer is fun to share with others……..I love the service, and not only when my daughter is our server. The watermelon salad was innovative and refreshing……..thank you.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Just fine
    Eaw1
    Dined on 9/16/2014
    We arrived promptly, and stayed until after the stated closing time, last ones out. They never made us feel rushed so we appreciated that. The food was good, the waitress attentive, though we arrived at different times so couldn't order everything all together. We really liked that, too.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great experience
    Nina
    Dined on 9/14/2014
    Really enjoyed the food a lot! Vey fresh and delicious .. The bolani bread was outstanding. Loved the patio setting.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great find!
    Luv2eatout
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    Dinner was an excellent experience from start to finish: service, food, special attention. Our waitperson (Stacey?) was friendly, helpful, and a pleasure the entire evening. Everyone loved their dinners.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Our new favorite restaurant!
    CaliWoman
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    We went for my husband's birthday - his second time here, my 3rd. We ate outside in the courtyard which was very nice! The service (I believe our waiter's name was Matt) was perfect. Not overbearing but kept watch from afar and made great recommendations! Friendly, quiet spoken, just the perfect waiter. Then there was the food...not one compliant, except a little too much! We had the naan, butternut squash with mint and yogurt appetizer, the caesar salad with cilantro and mint, the flatbread with tomatoes and fennel, the lamb (cooked perfectly), and for dessert the Rose Meringue with balsamic strawberries. topped off with the Malbec wine. I'd do the exact same menu again but there are just so many good things to try.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Snooty place
    BlueTurtle
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    My wife and I have dined here before, and at the time I thought "the food is good, but what a snooty place". However, since my wife wanted to go again for our 24th wedding anniversary, I made reservations for 5pm (to leave time for a movie afterward). We live in the mountains, about 45 minutes away. With traffic on a Friday night, it's hard to judge the time to drive in. So we arrived at 4:53 and told the hostess we had reservations for 5. She informed us that the restaurant didn't open until 5 pm and to come back in 7 minutes in a snooty manner. So we went to another restaurant instead that was more our style.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • great, imaginative food
    ORtoWA
    Dined on 9/11/2014
    And at fair prices. Gorgeous old building. A real gem in an otherwise somewhat unimpressive town.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, romantic, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent lunch venue
    GJlunch
    Dined on 9/11/2014
    The outdoor patio is enclosed by vine covered walls, creating a beautiful setting for lunch. Dinner may be equally delightful on the patio; however I have not been there for dinner. The menu offers delicious, interesting dishes at a reasonable price. I particularly enjoy the Lamb wrap that comes with a small salad that is sprinkled with pomegranate seeds and tossed with a delightful dressing.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Mediterranean in Santa Cruz
    KMViola2
    Dined on 9/10/2014
    Delicious food in an aesthetically pleasing venue with great waitstaff. For an appetizer, we had the Mediterranean plate (house made naan!), followed by a beet salad and a cilantro caesar (both fresh and flavorful), followed by kabob (mine filet mignon, his lamb). The kabob meat was tender and well seasoned, with three amazing chutneys on the side. Definitely a must if you're in Santa Cruz and want something different from the usual American or Italian fare!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Perfect spot
    Robin
    Dined on 9/9/2014
    We were celebrating our 30th anniversary and someone suggested Laili might be a good spot. They were right. The setting outside on the patio was filled with beautiful ivy, and we had a great private table for two. Our waitress, Rebecca and the server were both attentive and professional. The food was delicious. Their wine and beer list was interesting and different. We enjoyed new wines for us and they were great.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Amazing
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    Being from out of town, it was hard to choose a restaurant - luckily for us, we found Laili (and made reservations). Food was outstanding - but the noise level really diminished the experience a bit. Still, highly recommended.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Simple menu, great food
    simonssays
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    We found this place while visiting thru Trip Advisor. We were very happy with the choice. I parked while my wife met the hostesss to secure our reservation. The place gets very busy at 6 and later. We arrived at 5:45 booking thru Open Table. Had the Med. app...very good. Wife had the calliflower entree with some spiced sides of hummis and yogurt...Very tasty. I had the Lamb Shank...Meat fell off the bone. Place is very open, so the noise level increases as the place fills up. We were there for an hour, for apps, salads and main meal. We noticed some looks of free up our table being cast our way, as the wait was growing. I don't feel an hour is that bad for a two top paying $80. Also had this amazing lime drink ginger, ale and mint.
    Special Features:
    hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Beautiful evening
    gettingalife
    Dined on 9/2/2014
    Both my husband and I had been to Laili for lunch with other people and chose the restaurant to celebrate our anniversary together. We were promptly seated (we did have a reservation). We had a very disappointing experience with our server, who was very inattentive and seemed like she really didn't care if we were enjoying our experience or not. We had to ask twice for the starter that other tables got within moments of being seated. We were done with our first glass of wine before it arrived and dinner followed within a few moments of this. This was not in line with our other previous experiences and it won't keep us from going back and trying it again.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • C & S Dautoff
    SantaCruzGem
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    Just love this place, wonderful food, lunch or dinner gem, great service!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good food
    ladiesweekendVIP
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    nice interior and looked like a beautiful patio outside. The food was good. very fresh
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • poorfoodand overpriced
    not4qualitydining
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    Chicken undercooked despite long wait, baklava should either be outsourced or removed from dessert menu, potatoes have ice box taste( not good sign for quality restaurant. Wines highly overprice and restaurant rating highly inflated. Best feature was the service.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Perfect every time
    Disappointed
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    Love Laili. There aren't many restaurants in Santa Cruz that have a sophisticated ambiance with great food and equally good service. Laili's food is interesting, well-crafted, beautifully presented and delicious. Our party of four made very different choices and each was happy.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/28/2014
    I would recommend Laili's to my friends and visitors. It is one of the best restaurants in Santa Cruz for it's food and ambiance.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.