Laili

4.7
2468 Reviews
$30 and under
Mediterranean
***** Laili Restaurant is temporarily closed for service through the months of July and August. We will post updates about our potential re-opening date on our website at www.lailirestaurant.com



Rich Mediterranean Flavors with a Unique Afghan Twist in the Heart of Downtown Santa Cruz.

Currently taking reservations for dinner only, 7 days a week, from 4pm-8pm.

Laili is our expression of love through food and service. We offer a unique menu made up of fusion Afghani Mediterranean items that include kabobs, wraps, flatbreads, pastas, and spiced lamb and chicken dishes as well as delicious vegetarian options.
What 2468 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.7
food
4.5
service
4.8
ambience
4.5
value
Noise · Moderate
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NF
NickF
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on July 17, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

When we first entered the restaurant it looked deserted, but that's because all of the patrons and most of the staff are outside in the courtyard! After patiently waiting a few minutes we were greeted by the host and seated quickly. This restaurant is fortunate to have a very spacious courtyard next to their dining room, and that is where they are seating everyone. Don't worry, there are plenty of outdoor heaters to ward off the chill. The service is top-notch, and the food is excellent. I recommend the roasted cauliflower as a side, even if you're not wild about veggies. Or course the lamb is truly the star of the show here. The wine list is also quite good. Bottom line: great food in a very nice setting. Recommended.

KS
KalaS
1 review
Dined on July 17, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Love this patio! Great food & service! Can’t wait to go back!

OJ
OllieJ
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on July 9, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent as always! Lovely staff, incredible food, the patio is gorgeous. We had a wonderful date and a wonderful evening. Thank you!

RS
RadS
1 review
Dined on July 9, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Layli's is probably my favorite restaurant on the planet. I love everything about it. The outdoor patio is so lovely, the menu is exquisite. I could eat anything on menu and be super happy.

JL
JimL
1 review
Dined on July 9, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Absolutely fantastic place. It has now become one of my favorite restaurants. The service was superb, reminded me of what service was like when I went to restaurants with my parents in the sixties! Food was out of this world. Like I said, it’s now one of my favorite restaurants 😄👍

t
viptwistee2u
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on July 8, 2021
Overall3food2service3ambience5

Very disappointed with my recent experience eating at Laili. The quality and consistency has gone down. The meat was overcooked, food was over seasoned and quality of the filet mignon is unacceptable. This is a restaurant that has been mismanaged for a long time but their food used to be good so it was worth making an exception. At their price point, they need to reassess and up their game. I'm very sad to write this because this is my favorite Santa Cruz restaurant. No more!

JS
JasonS
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 6, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Beautiful outdoor garden like dining experience. Not too loud for conversation. Excellent food with something for everyone. Lots of vegan/vegetarian and meat options.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
New York Area
12 reviews
Dined on July 3, 2021
Overall3food5service3ambience4

I love Laili. I supported the restaurant thru CoVid via “ To Go” orders, and and made sure to get right back for in- person dining. This weekend I was disappointed and embarrassed when I brought a new neighbor in to experience my favorite Santa Cruz restaurant. We had a reservation for 8:15. We arrived early. We were seated on time. After waiting a few minutes our server approached. I always order wine, and a minimum of three appetizers so that my guests might enjoy the ambiance and the delicious hors d’oeuvres while perusing the menu. When I placed our order , we were informed that we would have to get our entree orders In right away because the kitchen was closing at 8:30. Seriously? This was not the experience I was hoping to share with our guest. Our meal was rushed and we were made to feel like we were an inconvenience. I would suggest to other patrons that they check with the establishment ahead of time to see when kitchen closes. Why offer a reservation st 8:15 if you are going to pressure your guests ? At least I was very familiar with the menu since I have dined there several times over the last four years. Still love this place, but I will never make a late reservation again. Let me also mention the fact that I made the reservation two weeks prior to July 3. If the kitchen closing at 8:30 or the time was an issue, I would’ve appreciated the opportunity to adjust the time.

RM
RachelM
1 review
Dined on June 29, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience5

What a beautiful and comfortable outdoor setting! The food was really good and the ambiance was so relaxing.

FJ
FranJ
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 28, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Tasty food in a relaxing and beautiful patio environment makes for a delightful night out.

b
vipbluebike
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on June 26, 2021
Overall3food3service4ambience5

Laili is a lovely restaurant, especially the outdoor patio. This was our third or fourth visit on a weekend trip to SC and overall the food, especially the appetizers, was delicious and the service was prompt and professional. When we asked to moved to a different table, they were accommodating. However, one perplexing thing that happened, when my entree pasta dish came -- fettuccine with arugula pesto - it was garnished with arugula that was clearly yellowing and overdue for the compost bin. I can only assume that this was due to a lack of oversight and training of inexperienced staff because this should never happen at a restaurant like Laili. I mentioned it to the wait person and we were given a 25% discount on the dish (I think they should have comped it). I would have sent it back to the kitchen, but I had stepped away when the plate arrived. The rest of the dish was good.

SM
vipSusyM
San Francisco
18 reviews
Dined on June 25, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience3

Wedding organization

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Raleigh
16 reviews
Dined on June 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Absolutely delicious!!

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on June 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a lovely time! It’s always top notch!

DB
DianeB
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 25, 2021
Overall4food5service4ambience5

Thoughtful, tasty, healthy and well presented cuisine in a lovely mediterranean environment! Thank you - we need you to open other similar dinning experiences in Santa Cruz

MJ
MichaelJ
1 review
Dined on June 22, 2021
Overall4food5service4ambience5

Great food, service, value, and ambience. Nice variety of menu offerings.

O
Oona
1 review
Dined on June 21, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience5

One of the sweetest places to be in and lovely people. My husband said he would order more appetizers and salad next time for more vegetarian options. The main dishes were more meat oriented. I think I would order another meat dish since the skewered chicken was cooked a bit too tough but tasty. All the food was delicious and satisfying.

f
fourmyb
San Diego
16 reviews
Dined on June 21, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great choice for dinner. Patio makes you feel like you are in Europe.

t
terryr
1 review
Dined on June 19, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My first dinner with a friend (my bestie) since the onset of COVID. Perfect way to return to being social.

A
Autumn
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 18, 2021
Overall4food5service2ambience5

Food was amazing, as it always has been. Unfortunately, this time the service was mediocre and it was my husband’s birthday, so we were disappointed.

DA
DavidA
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on June 18, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent food. We had all appetizers and a Caesar salad, large portions very well made. And the chocolate mousse for dessert was outstanding. We ate outside in the garden patio and you don't realize your in downtown Santa Cruz.

BH
BarbaraH
Seattle
4 reviews
Dined on June 17, 2021
Overall3food3service3ambience4

Lamb shank was not the best. Vegetables were good. Naan wasn’t the soft type as I’d like it to be.
The environment was lovely!

JB
JillB
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on June 16, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Everything about Laili was delightful except the way the maitre d' attempted to seat us. We were two women, on time for our reservation, and the restaurant was perhaps a third full. Yet he offered us a table next to the door, where everyone arriving later would pass by us. When we said we preferred a table out of the flow, he directed us to a table close to another woman, at a distance of less than six feet from two other tables. Finally he provided an appropriate table with reasonable separation and low activity. After that, everyone was lovely, the food was wonderful, the atmosphere beautiful. But the reality that women are still relegated to the worst tables in a restaurant lives on at Laili.

LI
LoveItasusual
Yosemite
1 review
Dined on June 15, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Delicious dinner as always, excellent friendly, welcoming service, particularly considering the shortage of staff they are experiencing and dining in the beautiful courtyard made it a very memorable dining experience. We love Laili, have eaten there a number of times and will definitely be going back.

R
Rebecca
1 review
Dined on June 15, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was unusual and delicious, the setting lovely, and our server outstanding.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Washington DC
77 reviews
Dined on June 13, 2021
Overall5food4service4ambience5

The outdoor courtyard is so beautiful! Food is somewhat different than Afghan I've had elsewhere, but very good. Service was good too.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on June 12, 2021
Overall4food4service3ambience3

The busier was doing more than the servers. Clearing waters resetting taking bus trays out running food? Train your busiers they seem to have their heads up amd aware of their tables. Servers heads down and made more money? Just a thought from someone in the business.

AE
AnneE
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 11, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We loved the outdoor patio. From soup to dessert everything was delicious!

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on June 9, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Comfortable venue and great food, as always!

LS
LauraS
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on June 9, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Perfect dining experience every time. Whether outdoor on the garden patio or indoors in an elegant setting, Laili never disappoints! Going out to eat with a food allergy is difficult, but Laili will take care of you, with the servers well informed on the menu item's ingredients. Delicious food, great service, idyllic atmosphere.

LC
vipLanaC
New York Area
19 reviews
Dined on June 4, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Patio always lovely. Service and food were great.

A
vipAlamogirl
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on May 31, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent food

l
local
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on May 31, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wonderful dinner in a beautiful outdoor dining area. Very attentive staff.

EM
EdgarM
1 review
Dined on May 31, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was amazing and we were seated in this outside area with high walls covered in vines/flowers. The server helped us with the burner adjusting it so we weren’t cold. She was great.

SF
StephenF
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on May 30, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Patio dining was very tranquil. Food was great as always.

A
Artemis
Seattle
7 reviews
Dined on May 29, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Laili's delicious menu, attentive service and magical patio dining are the best I've experienced since the pandemic.

FA
FabrizioA
1 review
Dined on May 29, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing food !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

k
kentl
1 review
Dined on May 28, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience5

The food was tasty and delicate in flavor. NOT bold if that is the expectation. The service and amiance are great. There was LOUD music from across the street that came in but the dinner was still very nice.

If you are in SC and with someone that wants a quiet spot to sit and chat...this is a perfect romantic spot. Make sure you have a reservation to the outdoor patio.

The beet salad was the winner for me and the house made pastas were right behind.

Worth while spot especially if you are in SC. Cheers!

AG
AlexG
Los Angeles
3 reviews
Dined on May 28, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I sent my son and his girlfriend there for a birthday dinner and they loved it! Said their food was amazing and the service was great. My son had the chicken and baklava for dessert. Said everything was delicious.
The manager Saul also took extra special care of them since it was a birthday and I was paying from out of town.

N
Naturegirl
Central Coast
8 reviews
Dined on May 27, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This is our fav restaurant in Santa Cruz. We love the beet salad and kabobs that come with yummy dipping sauce. Our waiter did a great job and we sat outside in the beautiful garden. Will come back for sure!

FAQs

You can order delivery directly from Laili using the Order Online button. Laili also offers delivery in partnership with Uber Eats. Laili also offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (831) 423-4545.

Laili is rated 4.7 stars by 2468 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.