Laili

4.6
2366 Reviews
$30 and under
Mediterranean
Rich Mediterranean Flavors with a Unique Afghan Twist in the Heart of Downtown Santa Cruz.

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 2366 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on recent ratings
4.7
food
4.5
service
4.6
ambience
4.5
value
Noise · Moderate
96% of people would recommend it to a friend
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S
Sandy
1 review
Dined on November 21, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Delicious food for all (some vegan choices), great service. Definitely will be.

CD
vipCynthiaD
San Francisco
18 reviews
Dined on November 20, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had lunch outside. It was beautiful in the courtyard and they had heaters standing by in case we needed them, which was not the case. The food was great. We had lamb kabobs which were cooked perfectly medium-rare. Tender as could be and delicious. Cardom creme Brule for desert put a great twist on an old standard. Highly recommend you go there to eat or take some of this delicious food home.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on November 15, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always delicious.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Austin
2 reviews
Dined on November 14, 2020
Overall3food3service4ambience4

We’ve been to Laili many times over the past two years, and on this occasion, were partially disappointed by the food. The saffron chicken wrap and the moush-awa soups were outstanding, but the borani was overly soaked in oil and was not enjoyable, and the greens had a seemingly new infusion of cardamom that overwhelmed the salad. Given that this represented two-thirds third of one of our entrees (the lunch combo), the experience was underwhelming, which is an uncharacteristic experience of Laili for us. Perhaps it was just an off day in the kitchen?

Other than the food, the ambiance and service were wonderful, and up to our usual expectation.

US
UrmiS
1 review
Dined on November 14, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Best server I have ever had. I always enjoy Laili and it’s nice to be outdoors on the lovely patio.

BM
BeckyM
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on November 13, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Our server was great; she was very polite, attentive, and friendly. It was slightly noisy but not obnoxiously so. The food was yummy; we had the chicken plate and a flatbread and a bottle of wine. Slightly above "reasonable" for price. Will definitely go back (and they have a back patio!)

LH
LisaH
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on November 11, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Delicious, well prepared food and always on point. Courtyard is lovely with a European vibe.

HC
vipHankCali
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on November 10, 2020
Overall4food5service3ambience3

We’ll give the restaurant a break because of the challenges in running a restaurant in these times. The seating, service & lack of outdoor heat lamps made the meal less enjoyable. However, the food was excellent and the servers tried their best despite appearing to be short handed.

M
Mshrute
1 review
Dined on November 10, 2020
Overall1food3service1ambience1

Poor service. Female waitress was rude and untrained

KO
KeriO
1 review
Dined on November 10, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience3

Love, Love, Love the food here but it was cold for the elders we brought with us.

OG
vipOckyG
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on November 8, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The interior courtyard is charming and feels very safe.

SK
ShelleyK
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on November 7, 2020
Overall3food5service1ambience5

Our service was very poor. Had to ask for napkin and silverware. The bus boy was more helpful than the waitress. Ordered salads, which always come first. Long wait for meal and then everything came out at once. Waitress NEVER checked in once after she took our order. Made reservations. Had to wait 15 minutes while host sat people who walked in and had no reservations. Had to ask for plates to be cleared away. Had to ask for desert menu.

RP
RajulP
Las Vegas
4 reviews
Dined on November 7, 2020
Overall3food3service3ambience3

This was our 5th or 6th time at Laili, and it is a place we enjoy recommending to others. It was our first time dining outdoors during the pandemic.
Overall, Laili was a bit disappointing; there was only one server outside who seemed a bit too busy and we had to wait a long time even getting our drinks ordered.
The food was okay, but not excellent, the pita bread in the mezzo sampler plate was limp and undercooked, the plates and silverware looked old, beaten, unpolished with scratches, the heated lamps too far away from us on a chilly Sunday afternoon.
But because we were in a celebratory mood, we didn’t mind all of the above.

P
Peter
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on November 6, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience5

The outside area is delightful. One can almost imagine being anywhere in the world.

JG
JustinG
1 review
Dined on November 3, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great place. We come back every time we are in town.

DS
DonnaS
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 1, 2020
Overall4food5service2ambience5

Their food is outstanding, but they are pretty disorganized. We had to wait about 40 minutes for our table even though we had reservations. Might have just been having a bad night, or someone made a mistake. It was still worth waiting, however, as Laili is definitely the best restaurant in Santa Cruz, and they created an outside patio area that has wonderful ambience.

L
vipLaina
Central Coast
78 reviews
Dined on October 31, 2020
Overall3food4service1ambience1

Customer service is not a strong point in this restaurant. When entering at the scheduled time, we are always asked to wait quite a while before being seated. The front desk is so instructed: not to seat people until the kitchen is ready for them. This is not good. We would much prefer being seated and given something to munch on if they are running slow. Most places will do that.

This has been a perennial problem at Leili. The wait staff, however, is always very nice and obliging. Front desk sets the tone!

CP
ChristopherP
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 31, 2020
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Attractively and simply presented delicious dishes. The Greek salad was one of the best I've enjoyed.

JT
JandT
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on October 31, 2020
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Laili's outdoor patio setting is spectacular. The greenery and tall plantings provide a "European Courtyard" ambiance. Food is consistently good. Our waiter was friendly and efficient.
A great place to enjoy dinning out under Covid 19 restrictions.

d
dakr
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 31, 2020
Overall4food3service4ambience4

A beautiful afternoon and a pleasant lunch in the courtyard.

s
sasha
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on October 30, 2020
Overall5food5service3ambience4

Excellent food. Great combinations, sauces, quite interesting.

SC
SantaCruzBill
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on October 29, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This is our go-to restaurant in town whenever we want a great dining experience. The food is consistently excellent, even in the Covid-19 era where some other restaurants have been unable to maintain their quality standards. And now dining in the enclosed outdoor courtyard with ivy covered walls has the feeling of being in Europe.

SK
vipSandyKatsCA
Miami
10 reviews
Dined on October 29, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The only problem we had was that somehow the hostess though our reservation was only for three people, when it was for five. I even received a text to conform with the correct number (five.) was still going to be honored. So I am not sure how the hostess thought it was only three. Other than that the service was great and the food was outstanding.

BA
vipBeckyA
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on October 29, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Lunch with my 96 year old mother

PL
vipPaulL
Miami
12 reviews
Dined on October 28, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Consistently excellent food

SM
SusanM
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 27, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We enjoyed a lovely anniversary dinner in their outdoor dining area. The food was delicious - cauliflower and chickpea curry for me and the trout for my husband. Our server was terrific and recommended items based on my vegan preference. We will return on our next visit to Santa Cruz.

ET
EugeneT
Portland
1 review
Dined on October 22, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Outdoor patio is really nice

FS
FoodieSusan
1 review
Dined on October 21, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience5

Ate outside, which is best with a live-in mate. Went with a friend for lunch and felt the tables for 2 are too small -- definitely not a 6-ft distance apart. However, I will definitely go with my husband while the weather is warm. At the moment, we're not eating inside restaurants.

MT
MichaelT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 20, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was terrific, the service impeccable and with a smile. We really enjoyed eating outside in the enclosed patio. Wish they had cocktails but the great wine got us thru the meal.

Y
Yonat
1 review
Dined on October 20, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

wonderful, felt good to eat out. I wish I didn't have to write a report.

JG
JimmyG
1 review
Dined on October 18, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It has been a while since we were out to eat. The wait staff was attentive and the food, as always, was superb. Make a reservation and enjoy one of the best restaurants in Santa Cruz!

SS
SoniaS
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 18, 2020
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Our go to place for a nice meal after a brisk 4.5 mile walk in Santa Cruz. We always get the Mediterranean plate for appetizer and my main dish is a toss between koobideh and lamb pasta. This time I had koobideh and it was so succulent and full of flavor. Hubby went for trout but my dish was sure better. He was ambivalent about the fish. Dessert was alright (cardamom creme brûlée). I had a glass of Malbec which was delicious..

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 17, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent food and outdoor patio

o
outtolunch
Central Coast
3 reviews
Dined on October 16, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food

MP
MonicaP
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 16, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This is the best Lebanese/Mediterranean cuisine in Santa Cruz!

HC
vipHarveyClan
San Francisco
71 reviews
Dined on October 16, 2020
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Laili never disappoints. The outdoor seating area is perfect for a delicious afternoon meal, and the menu offerings are fresh, unique and beautifully prepared.

DM
DianeMc
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on October 16, 2020
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Tried the lamb and 3-bean soup. So delicious. Great combination of flavors and textures. Even the iced tea was excellent. It was unusually hot on the day I was there, but there were not enough umbrellas available to block the sun from our table. Everything else was great. I highly recommend Laili. They have indoor and outdoor dining, now.

CD
vipCynthiaD
San Francisco
19 reviews
Dined on October 15, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I went for lunch with a friend, and we sat outside and their lovely Garden. The food was delicious. We had the pomegranate eggplant dish which is always divine, and we tried something new, the eggplant flatbread. Having read the reviews on OpenTable about the leek dumplings, we tried them. They were truly exceptional. I recommend going there and enjoying an afternoon or evening out and a safe and comforting atmosphere. Service was great too.

TA
vipTheAuraOfLaura
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2020
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Always good. Great service every time. Kate was great!!

b
vipbrianb
San Francisco
39 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We've dined at Laila four times this year, three during the pandemic. The food and service have been uniformly excellent. Our favorite dishes are probably the leek dumpling appetizer, the lamb burger, and the eggplant main course.

We have only been to two restaurants during the pandemic, both for outside dining. Laila does an excellent job of following the public health guidelines in a very pleasant space.

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 4.6 stars by 2366 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.