Laili
Laili

Laili

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.lailirestaurant.com/
  • Phone: (831) 423-4545
  • 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
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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
198 reviews since July 30, 2014
Overall Rating4.5
  • Food4.6
    Service4.5
  • Ambiance4.5
    Noise LevelModerate
97% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (140)great for outdoor dining (132)special occasion (104)romantic (87)neighborhood gem (85)great for lunch (62)good for groups (62)notable wine list (37)hot spot (24)late-night find (12)great for brunch (10)scenic view (9)kid-friendly (9)vibrant bar scene (1)Show More
  • delicious - great food and
    SarahVIP
    Dined on 9/3/2011
    delicious - great food and great wine. we had two appetizers and two entrees, and everything was amazing.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Laili has a delightful range
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 9/3/2011
    Laili has a delightful range of unique mediteranean and Middle Eastern dishes. Wonderful flavors and seasonings, we especially enjoyed the pumpkin appetizer with naan Nd the chicken pomegranate dish had amazing delicate but striking flavor and was cooked to perfection. The cardamom Verne brûlée was so creamy, but light with a subtle but very notable cardamom essence. I look forward to dining here again.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Wonderful meal poor service
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 9/3/2011
    The food is delightfully delicious. We loved the pumpkin appetizer and immensely enjoyed our dinners. But the service was incredibly slow. We ordered our iced teas first and when the server came back he didn't come with our iced teas but he did take our order. Our salads came out but no iced teas and when I questioned it the young lady who brought the salads said "oh, your server should be with you in just a moment". We finished our salads and FINALLY our iced teas came out. Whew! Maybe they were brewing it? Don't know but if so would have been nice for the communication. However, it was a wonderful evening despite the poor service.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Worth a Try
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 8/26/2011
    Modern & spacious venue. The food was delicious. Delicately spiced so that the true flavors of the fresh vegetables & meat could shine through! The beef dumplings were great & the cardamom sangria was delightful! I would recommend it to a friend.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The staff was friendly and
    FunTimes
    Dined on 8/26/2011
    The staff was friendly and attentive. There was a slight mix-up at the onset of the evening as to who our server was but that was quickly remedied. The food was delicious with unique flavors--really excellent!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion, great for lunch, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • We atre in the patio, which
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 8/26/2011
    We atre in the patio, which is beautiful and quiet, even though there was a Friday night mixer going on in one corner of it. The wait staff was wonderful, friendly, funny, but not overly "attentive". The food was so good, everything tasting very fresh, vibrant flavors, and much lighter than I was expecting. The amount of food looked impressive, but I did not feel overly stuffed afterward!. All four of us had a different entree, and we all loved ours. The heirloom tomato and arugula appetizer was delicious, as was the naan and dipping sauce. We'll definitely eat there again!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • A Gem!!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 8/26/2011
    This is a favorite. One of Burton 3 restaurants in Santa Cruz County. Incredible food, customer service and ambiance. Truly a gem. We are proud to bring our friends and family to this terrific restaurant.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great flavors and beautiful setting
    OpenTable Diner Since 2004
    Dined on 8/25/2011
    Our group of five all raved about the delicious food, which included four different entrees - lamb kabobs, grilled trout, grilled prawn salad and eggplant with a pomegranate molasses sauce-- and two appetizers. This is my fourth visit to Laili and every time I've tried something different. I haven't been disappointed yet. The decor inside and outside in the walled courtyard is beautiful. On our first visit, we found the noise level to be a bit high inside, and so have requested outdoor seating on subsequent visits. There are heat lamps outside, which are put into use when the air cools. On this past visit, the service was considerably slower. It took a long time to get drinks and then refills. This hasn't been a problem on earlier visits.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Delicious!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 8/22/2011
    We had a wonderful time here. The dishes was surprising, flavorful and well executed. The outdoor patio was heated, candlelit and spacious. I highly recommend this restaurant.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Nice people and very romantic
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 8/22/2011
    Nice people and very romantic environment. Great if you want a nice quiet evening with a date or your honey ;)
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Service needs to be more attentive
    FrequentDinerVIP
    Dined on 8/12/2011
    Service needs to be more attentive - often hard to get the waiter to look over to table.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Loved it!!! Presentation wonderful
    wattkenn
    Dined on 8/11/2011
    Loved it!!! Presentation wonderful and flavors imaginative!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Creative Middle Eastern flavor
    kymore
    Dined on 8/9/2011
    Creative Middle Eastern flavor that seems to get better and better every time we go.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Fabulous food. The lamb shanks,
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 8/6/2011
    Fabulous food. The lamb shanks, the pomegranate eggplant, the Silk Road appetizer were all some of our favorites dishes. We have been to this restaurant 5 times and have had a great experience every time.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Only problem is high noise
    OpenTable Diner Since 2004
    Dined on 8/6/2011
    Only problem is high noise - they should add some noise absorption banners or something to high ceiling. Food was excellent.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great variety of tastes.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 7/29/2011
    Great variety of tastes. Appetizers could be ordered as "small plates"/tapas to experience a sampling. Good overall.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Simply amazing food, we marveled
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 7/29/2011
    Simply amazing food, we marveled at the appetizers and entrees! Wonderful staff, would highly recommend this restaurant!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The Artichoke we had as a
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 7/23/2011
    The Artichoke we had as a starter was great. We ate outside so it was quite a nice atmosphere. The service was great but we both felt that the main dishes were just average and somewhat over priced. $24 for one small skewer of lamb is hardly a deal. The desert was good but I doubt if I will be back or would recommend this restaurant to my friends. It might be a good place to just have starters and a glass of wine and sit outside as inside was quite noisy.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Amazing food! The lamb melts
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 7/16/2011
    Amazing food! The lamb melts off the bone, the naan is the best. We have eaten here four times and have had great food and wine every time. I ordered the eggplant dish and when it was served my husband thought I had gotten the wrong dish because he thought my eggplant looked like beef! My dish was delicious and we were all very happy with the food. I have also had the two pumpkin appetizers, they are both outstanding.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • The food was amazing. Very
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 7/16/2011
    The food was amazing. Very vibrant and fresh, and served beautifully. The service was wonderful. I will be going back as soon as I can, and I will bring my friends.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Outdoor patio
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 7/12/2011
    Love the outdoor patio at Laili for lunch. Lovely and relaxing...food outstanding.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, great for lunch, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • one dish & one sauce was too
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 7/10/2011
    one dish & one sauce was too spicy..should be noted..the bolani was EXCELLANT..
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Business Friendly In Downtown Santa
    NotEasilyPleasedVIP
    Dined on 7/9/2011
    Great place in downtown Santa Cruz. Excellent for Business lunch.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Ask for the patio which is
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 7/9/2011
    Ask for the patio which is in a small courtyard with mature growth and nice ambiance. Try the Silk Road first plate and don't miss there eggplant dish.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Unique flavors and combinations.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 7/9/2011
    Unique flavors and combinations. Everything was very well prepared and well presented. The old building is beaufiful, as is the outdoor patio.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • 1st visit...went for a Birthday
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 7/4/2011
    1st visit...went for a Birthday Lunch...We were the only ones there for the first hour! We ordered champagne, appetizers and entrees. My lamb kebab was excellent! A very pleasant experience. I will recommend to friends for sure!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • This is a hidden gem in Santa
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 7/4/2011
    This is a hidden gem in Santa Cruz. I didn't even know it was there. Upon entering, we were whisked away into a beautiful Mediterranean courtyard for a fabulous dining experience. The food was exquisitely prepared, and the presentation was beautiful. Our server was very friendly and professional. I highly recommend it!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Very nice for grownups...
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 7/1/2011
    It is a wonderful ambiance, if you are looking for a grown up place. Pretty nice for a not super expensive date. I recommend the beef filet and the chicken (are the ones I've tried). The staff is looking forward to serving you. Also, definitely try the lemon-ginger soda, it is minty and refreshing and the bolani so smooth... really good. The food is a little on the expensive side for my budget, but easily doable for people comfortable spending $25-30 on a nice meal. I think they are actually appropriately priced, plus they serve a ton. The food is full of layered smells and flavors. Next time, for budget reasons, we'll probably share an entry and have only one appetizer, but I will still order the ginger soda.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent service and food.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 6/30/2011
    Excellent service and food. Attentive waitresses served promptly. Chicken kabob, lamb kabob, lamb shank, pomegranate eggplant, and mantoo dumplings were excellent. Only the meat in beef filet kabob was hard to chew. Simple but exquisite decoration with nice paintings and wall accessory, which create very nice ambiance, but the hard floor material and overall acoustics makes the inside area extremely noisy (even the simple fork/knife hits on the plates are amplified hugely), which is the only reason I would hesitate to come back if I need to hear the conversation on the table comfortably.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Lovely food that is thoroughly
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 6/30/2011
    Lovely food that is thoroughly enjoyable in the leafy outdoor courtyard, whether for a sunny lunch or a romantic evening under the twinkly lights.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Unique dining experience.
    PapaYogiVIP
    Dined on 6/30/2011
    Unique dining experience. The appetizers are a meal in themselves, particularly the Silk Road Plate. We have been here 3 times and have discovered a new delicatable treat each time.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • The best restaurant we've
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 6/26/2011
    The best restaurant we've found in Santa Cruz! Everything was absolutely delicious.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The food is excellent. Silk
    PapaYogiVIP
    Dined on 6/26/2011
    The food is excellent. Silk Road sampler appetizer is a must.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • This is a relatively new restaurant
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 6/26/2011
    This is a relatively new restaurant that is still getting it's legs. Very attractive setting, including some outdoor tables and the food is out of the ordinary. Our server was in over his head however and that put a bit of a crimp in our evening, but no major problem. They were out of the wine we selected but it took them forever to figure that out, so the owner or manager comped us a bottle of wine. We will go back.
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • The noise was deafening, primarily
    JimR
    Dined on 6/26/2011
    The noise was deafening, primarily because the music was dominating and unbearable. I would highly recommend that the proprietor eliminate the music, which was lounge music and not Afghan. Otherwise, the food was good and the service pretty good.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great place to celebrate...
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 6/25/2011
    I had my birthday celebration here. It was a great place to be. Service was exceptional, (especially for Santa Cruz) and the food was delicious! Appetizers, wine, entrees, and the desert was extremely yummy. The ambiance was great as well. I am exited to return, so that I can try more of the menu. Great for a date, or a a big group of festive friends!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • All was great but as the room
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIP
    Dined on 6/25/2011
    All was great but as the room is loud anyway please get rid of music at least until late night dining. We were there at 6:30 the place was very busy and we had a very hard time hearing our guests
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • I was very satisfied. Everything
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 6/24/2011
    I was very satisfied. Everything tasted great, the food was well plated and in general my only complaint was the loud and vapid conversation at the table next to us. I did find it odd however that our appetizer, the silk road plate I believe, with the delicious babaganoush and hummus and such, did not come with its own pita or some sort of bread like item.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • We went for a special occasion
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 6/24/2011
    We went for a special occasion and had a very pleasant time. The outdoor space is wonderful--very lush garden setting with ferns, mature trees, hydrangeas, and trumpet vines on the walls. The waitpeople were attentive. We enjoyed the flavors of the condiments served with the meals very much. We will be back!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • I had my 65th birthday luncheon
    Sandra95060
    Dined on 6/21/2011
    I had my 65th birthday luncheon at Laili for 13 women. I requested the patio and in the shade, if possible! I/we were accommodated per my request. It was a beautiful first day of summer--weather could not have been more perfect out on the beautiful patio (a real gem in downtown Santa Cruz). I chose to pre-order the food to keep it less complicated and it just kept on coming at a reasonable pace. I had eaten there previously and knew how wonderful the food is/was, so it was a no-brainer! A good time was had by all.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, special occasion, great for lunch, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate