Laili
Laili

Laili

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

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

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Pacific Avenue
  • Parking: Public Lot
  • Parking Details: Take advantage of free parking located on River Street at Front Street. In addition to metered street parking, there is also a parking lot at Front Street and Soquel and also at Locust Street and Pacific Avenue.
A word from Laili
For centuries a five thousand mile trade route has joined the Mediterranean to China through Afghanistan and India. Known mostly for the Silk Trade, the Silk Road has acted as a conduit of ideas, cultures, music, food & spices throughout all of its regions. Laili aims to bring the age old flavors and traditions of the Silk Road to life by creating a positive and relaxing environment with a culturally rich and flavorful dining experience.
Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Ambiance
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
Laili reviews from OpenTable diners
217 reviews since June 23, 2014
Overall Rating4.5
  • Food4.6
    Service4.5
  • Ambiance4.6
    Noise LevelModerate
96% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
great for outdoor dining (163)fit for foodies (145)special occasion (118)romantic (104)neighborhood gem (95)great for lunch (83)good for groups (61)notable wine list (33)hot spot (28)great for brunch (17)scenic view (14)late-night find (14)kid-friendly (13)vibrant bar scene (2)Show More
  • 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
  • This restaurant has a secluded
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 6/19/2011
    This restaurant has a secluded patio that is quiet and romantic. The indoor seating is noisy. The food was delicious and the service was good. It is a bit pricey, but nice for a special occassion.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • I could live off of their
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 6/19/2011
    I could live off of their stuffed artichoke appetizer! It was amazing. I had the Anar Chicken which was very good. It was cooked perfectly and the sauce was excellent. My husband had their filet mignon kabob and it came with three different sauces. It was very good and I will order that next time! The patio is beautiful. The service was a little slow, but we weren't in a hurry so it didn't bother us too much.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent food, ambiance,
    edev
    Dined on 6/18/2011
    Excellent food, ambiance, service. A breath of fresh air in Santa Cruz.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Interesting menu and blend
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 6/17/2011
    Interesting menu and blend of spices; great service. Great place!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Very good food and nice courtyard
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 6/15/2011
    Very good food and nice courtyard ambiance. Perfect for a special occasion dinner!
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Portions vary on lunch
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 6/14/2011
    Portions vary on lunch Has great potential but service seems chaotic
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good outweighs bad
    xNYer123VIP
    Dined on 6/12/2011
    Very good food, interesting choices and flavors. A welcome addition to the SC dining scene. Only surprise was restaurants lack of interest in accommodating our group of 6, for which we had a reservation on a modestly busy night. Host, nor anyone else seemed to care if our party was seated at a table large enough to be comfortable or away from the door which they insisted on leaving open for the comfort of the staff rather than closing it for the comfort of the guests. I would not return with a party larger than 4, but would return for the food.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • 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 2006VIP
    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