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
214 reviews since May 21, 2014
Overall Rating4.4
  • Food4.6
    Service4.4
  • Ambiance4.5
    Noise LevelModerate
95% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
great for outdoor dining (152)fit for foodies (138)special occasion (113)romantic (95)neighborhood gem (88)great for lunch (80)good for groups (53)hot spot (29)notable wine list (24)great for brunch (19)scenic view (14)kid-friendly (14)late-night find (12)vibrant bar scene (3)Show More
  • I still like Laili, but in
    ElizVIP
    Dined on 6/10/2011
    I still like Laili, but in my last two visits I've found inconsistency within the same meal. The flatbread and tabbouleh are still excellent, but the mushawa soup was far more peppery than it used to be, to the point of being overpowering. The bolani also didn't have as much pumpkin filling as it used to, and the portions of the (excellent) chutneys alongside were laughably tiny this time. I realize the mushawa-bolani lunch combo is discounted, but I still felt shortchanged. Plus, my mouth was so hot that I felt compelled to pony up for the $6 bowl of (admittedly excellent and generous) pistachio-cardamom ice cream to cool off. Sigh...
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Wonderful delicately flavored
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 6/9/2011
    Wonderful delicately flavored food that is beautifully presented. But, they have a few bugs to work out 1) they need to add drapes or carpeting to cut down on the room noise and 2) add more wait staff so the service is more prompt. Waited quite a while to order and never received the honey for my tea. 3) improve the wine list--when there are world class local wineries like Ridge, Thomas Fogerty and Storr, why import your wines from abroad? The Argentinian Malbec was unremarkable and the Sauvignon Blanc mediocre at best. That being said, I would make a point to return here on subsequent visits to Santa Cruz. The pumpkin appetizer was fantastic and the spinach entree delectable. The meat eaters at the table raved about their beef and shrimp--
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great addition to downtown
    Pedro
    Dined on 6/8/2011
    Great addition to downtown Santa Cruz. We had the eggplant and lamp kabob and both were excellent, fresh and filling. Easy to fill up on the great appetizers, pumpkin w/ nan, yummy! Would definitely recommend but make reservations. We went on a Wednesday and it was packed.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • the outdoor patio garden is
    tstar
    Dined on 6/8/2011
    the outdoor patio garden is lovely. The food is good and the presentation very nice. Very friendly helpful staff.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Took our friends here to celebrate
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 6/7/2011
    Took our friends here to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. Everything was perfect. I've been in the area since 1995 and I never knew the garden area of the restaurant existed - a secret oasis! Don't miss this place or the interesting food! I have nothing bad to say about anything here! All good! Enjoy!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • The food was excellent, fresh,
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 6/6/2011
    The food was excellent, fresh, and very flavorful. There were no bad choices. It can be a bit noisy inside but the garden seating is quiet and the heaters keep it comfortable. Overall a great place for lunch or dinner.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, great for lunch, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Delicious food and a vibrant
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 6/4/2011
    Delicious food and a vibrant atmosphere. It can be a bit lound at times but it was still easy to have comfortable conversation. We ordered several appetizers and entrees and shared everything amongst the four of us-a great way to try all the yummy foods.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • We have tried most of the
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 6/4/2011
    We have tried most of the menu selections and have always been delighted with the taste and presentation of every dish.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion, great for lunch, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • We had a large group and another
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 6/4/2011
    We had a large group and another couple called that day and added themselves to the reservation. The staff accommodated the request and was ready for us on time. The service was excellent and the food was great...everyone enjoyed their meal and we had a wonderful evening. The combo appetizer of different spreads for the nan bread was a real hit. The only downside is that it is an extremely noisy restaurant and they really should do something to soften all the hard surfaces to drop the noise level.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Our first time...from the
    Kathleen
    Dined on 6/3/2011
    Our first time...from the hostess to the waitress and everyone in-between, the service was wonderful! The food was beautifully presented and delicious. We started with the pumpkin appetizer dish and had the lamb kabob and the pomegranate eggplant - everything was fantastic with generous portions. Thank you for a great evening!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Pleasingly Persian
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 5/29/2011
    A rare combination of "upscale-like" without the pretension. Creative, very tasty Persian food, esthetically prepared and served.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • This is an innovative restaurant
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 5/29/2011
    This is an innovative restaurant with a wonderful outdoor garden patio. However, the interior part of the restaurant has major accoustical problems. The noise level on my last visit was unbearable. I would not go again unless I could eat outdoors. Also, the service was poor on my last visit, but it had been good before. Lighting was very poor indoors also. They serve great coffee and good flavor combinations, so I would like to go again, but make sure it was a time I could go outdoors.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Close to being authentic,
    WSSC1
    Dined on 5/28/2011
    Close to being authentic, certainly very unique to the town, and a great experience overall. The wait staff was exceptional.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, late-night find, neighborhood gem, great for lunch, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Looks god enough to eat!
    parboy
    Dined on 5/28/2011
    Sufficiently staffed to keep the service level where it needs to be, Laili prepares wonderful food that straddles middle east cuisine, stretching from the Mediterranean to Afghanistan: they call it "Silk Road". OK, whatever - the food is good, appropriately portioned and attractively presented without being self-conscious. The outdoor was tempting but on and off rain kept us inside. The room is large with high ceilings and walls decorated in rich blocks of color. A large fabric print divided into 16 squares adorns one wall and anchors the dining room. A lively restaurant, perfect for conversation and tasty eats. Prices are reasonable: about $16–24 for entrees. Street parking is easy enough.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • YUMMMYYYY!!!!!! Albeit, a bit noisy
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 5/22/2011
    I really love the food and service at Laili's. The menu is different than most places in Santa Cruz. The price is reasonable and the service is always exceptionally good. While the space is visually appealing, audio-ally (is that a word?) it's a bit tough if there are more than a few tables in there. I'm not sure what the owners could do about it, but keep playing around with it. We will definitely be back to frequent this restaurant.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Laili offers unique dishes
    Cuffy
    Dined on 5/22/2011
    Laili offers unique dishes and interesting blends of flavors. I wish I could remember the name of the appetizer we shared; it was incredible. The night we dined there was quiet; I could see that it might be loud on a busier night. The room is lovely, and the service was great. I'll go back, and I'll recommend it to my friends.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • We'll be going back often
    OpenTable Diner Since 2003
    Dined on 5/18/2011
    Staff was knowledgeable, friendly, and attentive. The atmosphere was very chic. And most importantly the food was fantastic. Plus it was very (very) reasonably priced.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Classy food, classy service
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 5/17/2011
    Six of us went for a birthday dinner, and we couldn't have chosen a better spot for food and service. I had salad and the Aushak dumplings, both off the starters menu. The salad dressing is scrumptious, and the dumplings with leeks, chard, lentils and yogurt were delicious. To my left the pomegranate eggplant was pronounced perfect, and to my right the lamb shank got two thumbs up. Service was lively, friendly and attentive, and the prices are more than reasonable. The only negative aspect is the noise level. It's a beautiful room - high ceilings, attractive decor, open kitchen - but bare walls and floor combine with the ceiling to make it a touch loud. It won't stop me going there again - soon - but it is a consideration.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • We saw this restaurant for
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 5/10/2011
    We saw this restaurant for a little while and did finally decide to go and check it. Both appetizers and entree were very good and the lamb meat I had was just perfectly melting in my mouth. The wine selection was relatively small and pricy but the bottles we picked were spot on and served as they should be. Waitresses were on top of their job while not too intrusive. I think this is a really good place and we do not have enough of them inSanta Cruz
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Laili was really sooo much
    franKVIP
    Dined on 5/8/2011
    Laili was really sooo much better than I expected...a 'real find' in funky downtown Santa Cruz...a bit loud with all the hard, trendy surfaces but the food was solid and very well priced...very nice presentation and quality meals... wine list was a little heavily priced but they have to make a profit somewhere...I will definitely come again...I'd like to try lunch and will bring friends...GOOD JOB all around and thanks for giving us a new, beautiful place to dine!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, neighborhood gem, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great, amazing flavor!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 5/7/2011
    This was our first time at Laili, and what a joy. We are all Veget and although the selection was not extensive, we found the flavors amazing. This was a truly great meal. We will be back!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • The food is delicious and
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005
    Dined on 5/6/2011
    The food is delicious and a fantastic value. Service is terrific. The patio is wonderful for outdoor dining and very romantic. I've eaten at Laili three times in the past two months and loved it each time. My only complaint would be the noise level of the dining room. With a tile floor and soaring ceilings, there's nothing on the walls to absorb sound. A few Afghan rugs might be in order. Because of this I shoot for the patio every time. Well, also because the patio is gorgeous!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Excellent! Loved it. Food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 5/2/2011
    Excellent! Loved it. Food was fabulous and our waiter Damien was very attentive and easy.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • After many excellent lunches
    ElizVIP
    Dined on 5/1/2011
    After many excellent lunches here, I was eager to try dinner. The tabbouleh that comes with the naan has nontraditional but delicious touches of parmesan and balsamic vinegar. The lamb shank had a great sauce and wonderful rice and vegetables alongside, but the meat itself was a little tough. The pistachio-cardamom ice cream ended the meal wonderfully. Service was friendly. I will return, but I might try the eggplant or dumplings next time.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Excellent food and ambiance.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 4/30/2011
    Excellent food and ambiance. Outside dining is beautiful, tranquil and private. One of the best places to eat in Santa Cruz!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Very nice dinner (4 of us)with
    Jere
    Dined on 4/27/2011
    Very nice dinner (4 of us)with very interesting food. It was our second time there and we will be back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Delicious!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 4/25/2011
    This was surprisingly one of the most amazing meals I had on the whole trip. I recommend it highly! Don't be put off by "central Asian". It is delicious!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Friendly attentive staff
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 4/23/2011
    This was my second visit to Laili. The food was exceptional and the staff was friendly and attentive but not overbearing. I highly recommend the Silk Road Plate appetizer along with the fresh naan. I had the filet kabobs and they were cooked perfectly. The okra mixed in with other vegetables was excellent.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Food was great. Unusual and
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 4/22/2011
    Food was great. Unusual and delicious food choices. Service very friendly.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Excellent!!! Everything about
    Chefem
    Dined on 4/16/2011
    Excellent!!! Everything about the evening was perfect - Wonderful Ambience, great service and outstanding food! We will be back! Thank you!!!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Very good, great appetizers,
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 4/8/2011
    Very good, great appetizers, small portions on main dish
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Perfect!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 4/7/2011
    The entire experience was perfect. I brought my wife and we had a great dinner and then walked over to the 9 to catch a movie. One of my coworkers also dined at your place over the weekend and came in raving about it! Great place!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • We'll return-with friends next time
    Sylvia
    Dined on 4/2/2011
    Lovely ambiance. Want to return when it's warmer to try outdoor seating. We ate too much of the naan because it was so yummy. Pace yourselves! The entrees are worth waiting for. We had the pomegranate eggplant and lamb kabobs, both delicious. Also tried the pumpkin appetizer. Also great. Our server was friendly and not too intrusive. Only drawback: a better wine list is needed. We Californians want to see California wine on the menu! Good job, Laili.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, scenic view, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great new place
    OpenTable Diner Since 2002VIP
    Dined on 3/19/2011
    Food is excellent, vey authentic and reasonably priced. Wish it had a full bar, maybee later. I highly recommend it.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic