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
221 reviews since May 23, 2014
Overall Rating4.4
  • Food4.6
    Service4.4
  • Ambiance4.5
    Noise LevelModerate
96% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
great for outdoor dining (158)fit for foodies (143)special occasion (116)romantic (98)neighborhood gem (90)great for lunch (83)good for groups (54)hot spot (30)notable wine list (25)great for brunch (19)scenic view (14)kid-friendly (14)late-night find (12)vibrant bar scene (3)Show More
  • Consistenly a favorite
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    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
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    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.
  • 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.