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
See all photos
Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Ambiance
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
Laili reviews from OpenTable diners
223 reviews since May 5, 2014
Overall Rating4.4
  • Food4.6
    Service4.4
  • Ambiance4.5
    Noise LevelModerate
97% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
great for outdoor dining (161)fit for foodies (144)special occasion (122)romantic (99)neighborhood gem (92)great for lunch (85)good for groups (58)hot spot (26)notable wine list (25)great for brunch (23)scenic view (16)late-night find (15)kid-friendly (15)vibrant bar scene (4)Show More
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Great!
    KumaKi
    Dined on 8/27/2014
    This was a great experience! We sat out in the court which is quite nice. The noise level in the court was quiet. Inside sitting is quite noisy.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 8/27/2014
    Well over an hour for lunch to arrive at table......................................
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Explore this gem!
    Eagervore
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    The menu was as much fun to explore as to sample. The jalapeño cilantro cream on flatbread was delicious, also the ginger apricot salsa. Pomegranate eggplant was rich and velvety with perfect counterpoint of roasted chard.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Food is amazing!
    DandC
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    We arrived a bit early and were seated right away... good thing, since it quickly filled up. So many great choices that it's hard to decide what to order. Started with the Med plate (dips), which were all unique and delicious. Went on to the chicken kebobs and pomegranate eggplant - both so good, with lots of different flavors and spices. Yummmmm! We wanted to try so many things that we'll definitely be back. Also, service is surprisingly un-Santa Cruz - friendly, knowledgeable and efficient.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Birthday Dinner with great Friends
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/24/2014
    Our server came with a smile from ear to ear, and never lost it! She easily and with enthusiasm adjusted to any request we made, for instance, the flatbread for hors d'oeuvre. She monitored our (6 folk) progress and happily timed our courses for us, rather than for the cook. The food was exquisite, and we are grateful to the young sheep who gave their selves for us.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Lovely lunch
    DinnyLou
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    The food was delicious as always and the service also excellent. I enjoy your Mediterranean appetizer plate very much and always order it as soon as I arrive so I have something to munch on while deciding what I might also choose from your diverse menu. My son had the small Greek salad from which I had a few bites, very nicely made, and the beef kebob, I chose the lamb kebob. Both were excellent and perfectly cooked. The accompanying sauces, tasty. I couldn't pass up dessert so I ordered the Cardamon Creme Brulee and he chose the Cardamon Rice Pudding with Mango...very enjoyable! A pleasant way to spend a summer afternoon.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • PapaYogiVIP
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Possibly the best food in Santa Cruz. The appetizers are a must, I can make meal out of them. The Nan bread is fabulous.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Delicious surprise
    Psmy
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    I'd heard that Laili was good but I didn't expect such exotic, tasty & beautifully presented cuisine . The eggplant entree had a burst of flavor that balanced savory & sweet.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Friendly ambience!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 8/21/2014
    Enjoyed the food, received excellent service and was able to converse with my friend without feeling pressured to leave. Great place!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Getting to be a habit!!
    franKVIP
    Dined on 8/20/2014
    Especially for lunch. The lamb burger is wonderful.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • one of the best in Santa Cruz
    newfoodieplace4u
    Dined on 8/19/2014
    If you are spending any time in or just passing thru Santa Cruz, Laili is a must stop. It is rare to find a great restaurant without a redundant menu. That is variations on the same theme of duck, beef or poultry. Laili has managed to exactly that. Rather than describing one dish that I liked in detail, I suggest you Google the dinner menu where the components of their dishes are revealed. My friends and I each ordered a dish to share. We ended up with a "doggie bag" for another full meal. Coming from San Francisco, a successful dining experience is measured by finding a restaurant fit for "foodies" with a middle-class budget. Laili accomplishes exactly that.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Would go again
    lin2471
    Dined on 8/19/2014
    We had a nice anniversary celebration for our friends. they had never been there, and really thought it was great. My only complaint is that, although difficult to do, the restaurant should have divided the lamb shank dinner as requested.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Birthday dinner fail
    PhatAtHeart
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    My uncle cooks really awesome Persian food & we were hoping to experience the same flavors that my girlfriend & I are used to. Although, the ambience was amazing, the food looked amazing, I was a bit disappointed on the noise level & quality of the food. Our beef kabob & lamb shank lacked flavoring & our rice wasn't as fluffy or buttery as it could of been. I ordered a glass of wine & the server didn't noticed that it had coffee grains in it. The table was wobbly & we had to wait around to get drink refills. I wanted to make her birthday dinner special & I don't mind paying for great food but I was embarrassed cuz I bragged a bit before showing up due to reading prior reviews.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Sophie
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    Food and service were great. One dinner didn't like her entree (everything else was delicious) and the waiter took it off the bill and gave her a free dessert. The manager came over to check that everything was ok. The waiter offered to replace the entree with something else, but the other diners were already finished. The manager came over to ask what was wrong with the dish for future reference for the chef. We were very pleased with how they handled the situation. The squash Bolani appetizer was a standout and the dressing on the house salad was also delicious. This place pleased our 2 meat eaters, our pescatarian and our vegan.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not Great Food, Great Outdoor Space
    luv2eat
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    We had previously eaten lunch in the outdoor courtyard and found it delightful. It is one of the prettiest places in Santa Cruz to eat. Five star ambience and 3 1/2 to star food. But, the other evening when we went for dinner, we had a different opinion. We ate in the indoor dining room, the ambience was average, and it was noisier than we prefer. Our server was attentive. We ordered meat dishes and each one was overcooked and dry, in spite of a request for rare. It was, at a minimum, medium well done. The baklava for dessert was flavorless and dry. Our server didn't hesitate to take it off the bill, which we appreciated. We will go again for lunch in the courtyard and give it another chance but will probably go elsewhere for dinner.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Perfect birthday dinner
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIP
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    Delicious food in a beautiful setting. We were visiting from the Midwest and are significant foodies. Hannah, our server, was very excited about our selections to share. Highly recommend the roasted cauliflower and the pomegranate eggplant is a delicious flavor. The jalapeño pesto was the perfect sauce. The beet salad was a great starter.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good place
    SFescape
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    Food was very tasty- nan with unusual dip, Kadoo Boranee, lamb burger, chicken flatbread and three item combo- we were pleased with our meals! Friendly staff all around. We went for a lunch meeting and were given a quiet garden table. Absolutely will return to give dinner a try.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great dinner on the patio
    BHAMSTERSVIP
    Dined on 8/13/2014
    We enjoyed a great meal on the patio and had perfect and spirited service from Stacy.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • What a treat!
    jennydoneit
    Dined on 8/10/2014
    This restaurant is very inviting and well done with a high aesthetic point of view. The real gem however is the food. It is simply prepared but unusual and absolutely delicious. Freshness and high quality abound, and the taste profiles were unusually excellent. Saying it is just Mediterranean isn't accurate - the dishes span further east and inland. The pomegranate eggplant was wonderful and the filet was melt in your mouth tender. The sauces shine and are not your norm - and neither is this restaurant.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • birthday dinner
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    We went to Laili for the first time making reservations on open table a week ahead. We arrived and there were some groups standing at the hostess stand, no hostess. She came up we informed her of our reservation she said nothing then walked away yelling the name of another party. Then she came back gathering menus we asked if there was a delay and she said no I'm going to seat you took us to a table two feet away we sat it was fine our waiter was fabulous. Then we realized there was an outdoor area. The hostess didn't ask us for preference on seating she didn't communicate at all, I think she was a bit overwhelmed but I'm not sure why the restaurant was half full while we were there. The food was amazing!
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful Food!
    contessaconnie
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    The service was great. The food wonderful. The atmosphere lovely.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Always good
    TryLaili
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    Laili is my favorite restaurant in Santa Cruz - you should try it out.
    Special Features:
    romantic, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Atmosphere, ambiance and great food
    luv2bringdinerstolaili
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    A great venue to take out of state, out of town visitors. The atmosphere for the outdoor dining transports you to exotic places. The fountains, ferns and creeping fig on the walls makes for a very peaceful and restful dining experience. The fresh flowers greeting your entrance into this multi level space is so welcoming. This space was transformed from an office building into this incredible restaurant. It is located in the downtown area of Santa Cruz and is just a block off the main street, Pacific Avenue. OH THE FOOD. It is always fresh, with seasonal produce being used, i.e. fresh peach salad with candied walnuts on a bed of fresh greens, as well as local fish specials daily or weekly. The lime-ginger drink is very special.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Santa Cruz dining spot
    gr8wine
    Dined on 8/1/2014
    Laili's is a warm, comfortable place for diniing in downtown Santa Cruz. Great food, friendly service . Good vegetarian fare. A great place to relax with friends and enjoy good food.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent Dinner
    lovethebeach
    Dined on 7/29/2014
    This was our fifth visit to Laili. As always, it was a wonderful experience. We ate in the courtyard and the ambiance was lovely. The courtyard is protected on all 4 sides so the wind was not a factor. The food is delicious. Everyone who we have taken to Laili has liked it very much. A real winner in Santa Cruz.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Very enjoyable afternoon!
    DinnyLou
    Dined on 7/29/2014
    We began with the delicious Mediterranean appetizer plate which gave us a hint of what was to come. I had brought my foodie son for lunch and he was impressed, especially by the unusual peach vinaigrette salad that was the special that day, which he accompanied with his excellent chicken flatbread. I again had the lamb wrap that arrived with a small side salad with pomegranate, so tasty. It's lovely out in the patio and I lingered over the Pistachio Cardamom ice cream with a piece of Baklava while he enjoyed a cup of the French press coffee. I always enjoy my special lunches here and our server Stacy made sure our every wish was attended to.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent food, great service
    URAR
    Dined on 7/27/2014
    The Mediterranean appetizer is a must served with a pitta bread it is simply delicious. I tried their Salmon special and it was simply outstanding! in a previous occasion I tried other dishes and all were good, delicate mixtures of tastes and very reasonable prices. I will definitely visit them again!
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent and Unique Appetizer
    Becky
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    The butternut squash with cucumber sauce was excellent. All four of us thought it was a highlight of our dinner. Service was great. Wine was wonderful.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Laili delivers
    kitmom
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    We went vegetarian - and were rewarded with amazing flavors and wonderful food combinations. The signature eggplant with pomegranate is a standout, and the cauliflower with chick peas was lovely as well. Great sauces came on the side. Beet salad is a winner, a slightly sweet dressing was nice. Leeks in pasta pillows was a bit less interesting - the pasta was a bit rubbery and the filling bland. The garlic-infused yogurt sauce seems overwhelming in this dish. Dessert was a wonderful chocolate mousse. The Prosecco and ginger cocktail was nice - a bit sweet and not at the level of the meal. We would go back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Best Service in Santa Cruz!
    tiffanyg
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    This place was recommended to me by my boss and coworkers. Our waitress was very sweet and the food like nothing I have ever tasted in Santa Cruz. I had the pomegranate eggplant with rice and chard and it was absolutely delicious! We also ordered the Mediterranean dip plate with naan and were not disappointed. We ended dinner with french pressed cardamom coffee and did not at all feel rushed to leave-we talked for a while after dinner.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Laili - What a delight!
    SCFoodieVIP
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    This was our first visit to Laili and we will definitely go back! Our party had appetizers and entrees and were especially impressed with the Pomegranate Eggplant and Filet Mignon Kebob. Also, the dip with the naan was extraordinary...not sure what it was but I could have eaten a soup bowl full of it! The outside seating is truly lovely especially as the sun went down. Our server was fabulous. Knowledgeable about the menu, very low key and friendly but also made sure our glasses were always full and plates cleared efficiently. Great food, amazing ambiance, friendly efficient service. What more could you want?
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Only One Gripe
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    I took my Sweetie to Laili (we'd been wanting to try it for some time) for his birthday and it was lovely in every way. In fact, I couldn't believe how low the check was when it came, so reasonable for this type of restaurant. I have to say though, I was disappointed with the fact that they never brought my guy a birthday dessert. When I made the reservation, I made SURE they knew it was his birthday. Then I had to change the TIME on our reservation and I made it clear AGAIN that it was his birthday, but it was never acknowledged by the staff. That did put a damper on the night for me. I actually asked the hostess if they DO that sort of thing and she confirmed "YES, if you let us know". Well I did, but they didn't. Disappointing...
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Love it
    spiritplus3
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    This is our 2nd trip to Lailis. First visit was because of an invite to a graduation group dinner, which was terrific. We vowed to return, to the patio, and were not disappointed. As before, the food was unique and delicious, service was great. Most portions are a sharable size so we got to try lots of dishes, all were wonderful. This will become our restaurant of choice for special occasions.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • fabulous unique food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 7/24/2014
    We had a great experience here. We were seated on the patio and enjoyed a nice dining atmosphere in a quiet romantic quiet garden setting. Very busy even on a Thursday evening. We were greeted promptly & seated without delay- probably because we had reservations. The food was exquisite- fragrant and delicious. We enjoyed a peach balsamic green salad, butternut squash appetizer as well as kebob entrees and desert. The presentation was lovely. Host and wait staff were super attentive without being intrusive. No comments here regarding wine as we do not drink alcohol. Will definitely return here on our next visit to Santa Cruz.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • One of Santa Cruz's best!!
    PapaYogiVIP
    Dined on 7/24/2014
    Dining on the patio garden and sampling some appetizers is a true culinary treat. The food is a mix of Mediterranean cultures and it is out of this world. We eat here regularly and have never been disappointed.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Enjoy the courtyard garden
    Penny
    Dined on 7/24/2014
    Lovely and delicious food, nicely presented. The watermelon smoothie was a particular treat, but so is the coffee at Lailì: it has cardamom. This restaurant is dependably enjoyable and has good offerings for vegetarians and vegans as well as omnivores.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for outdoor dining, romantic, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • luncheon baby shower
    franstidbits
    Dined on 7/22/2014
    celebrated a baby shower luncheon, sat outside, wonderful ambience - great food, service was outstanding, absolutely nothing was amiss - highly recommend for any event or just to have lunch or dinner
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.