Nearby points of interest
Nearby points of interest
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.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
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
$30 and under
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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.
Banquet, Bar/Lounge, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Wheelchair Access, Wine
Laili Ratings and Reviews
The host at the door was so rude and unfriendly, that we will probably not return here, even though the food was quite good. The management should look for a new hire, as most people don't appreciate someone as the first face of the restaurant to be rude. We had to wait at least 10 minutes while he answered the phone, searched for menus, and left to give phone messages. There was never a "sorry for the wait", "thank you for waiting", just a grouchy "follow me" when he was finally ready. And the tables were half full on a Wednesday night.....no excuse for rudeness.
I can't say enough about this place. My girlfriend and I were looking for a place for Valentines Day very last minute and they were able to squeeze us in at 530. Our server Danica was excellent. Very nice and very knowledge of the menu as well as the wine lists. We essentially left the decision making of our meal in her hands and she could not have done a better job. We sat outside and the ambience was very warm and the tables were spaced in such a way that I did not feel isolated yet felt like my girlfriend and I were on our island.
The place is perfect. Just stop thinking....call and make a reservation...and experience Laili for yourself.
This is our go to spot for Santa Cruz dining. Wonderful surroundings whether you are enjoying the spacious interior decor with tall ceilings, or the beautiful outside patio. The creative cuisine is always consistently good and beautifully presented. The prices are very moderate for the quality of the food. All the servers are friendly, polite and professional.
I love the food, spices so lovingly balanced, not too huge portions, pretty atmosphere, nice folks. We actually didn't like the scallop special, too black peppery, but that was the exception, not the rule. Love the appetizers. Great place to take friends. Good wine list.
Laili is consistently delivers delicious unique food, excellent service and a lovely ambiance. It begins with the warm naan like bread with the most amazing olive oil dip--truly addicting. The scallops and lamb kebabs were well cooked and tender. Our server Mariah was excellent and accommodating to members in our party with dietary restrictions. It was an all around wonderful experience. We will definitely be back.
Laili is a true neighborhood gem. I love the high ceilings and only wish the bar area was larger and it is special to sit outside when weather permits. Whether dining for two or a larger group this place offers lots of good options, meat, fish, chicken or excellent vegetarian options. Love this place!
Delicious, unusual food, described as Mediterranean Afghan. I enjoyed a lamb wrap with arugula salad, chocolate torte, and pressed cardamon coffee, all well presented. A most enjoyable lunch. The service was quite friendly, but a bit slow. Unfortunately the outside garden dining was closed; it looked inviting. The inside was spacious, with a high ceiling. While clean, light and modern looking, conversation echoed, making a noisy ambiance. Prices were reasonable for the quality offered. I look forward to going there again, for any special occasion.
I eat here reasonably frequently having been introduced to the place a few years ago. The food is always wonderful, the staff friendly, attentive and knowledgeable, and I especially enjoy the patio when the weather is cooperative. During peak times, reservations are a good idea.
Food was very good and service was outstanding.
I had requested a birthday candle in the Open Table reservation, but that was not noticed by the staff. However, when they were told, they gleefully provided a candle and comped the one dessert.
Our party of 4 were seated in a booth which was pretty tight, and thus somewhat uncomfortable. Would have preferred a table, but we were not asked about preference, even though a couple of tables were available. By the time we felt like speaking up, the tables had been filled by others, so it was grin and bear it.
Overall, we will be back. Can't say enough about the two ladies that provided excellent and attentive service.
Heard great things about Laili and could not wait to try. Service was way too slow. We wanted to get a bottle of wine and our waitress took a long time to take our drink order. Then waited a while to get our bottle. Food came out quickly but was not worth coming back for. I wish they dimmed the lights more at night. From the outside I thought to myself it was way too bright. It was even worse having dinner. Theres better places in town if you want to spend $100 on a mediocre experience.
Even in December (weather permitting) it's possible to dine outdoors in Santa Cruz. Lali has a hidden courtyard, all walled in with plenty of cozy outdoor seating- plus they supply lots of warmth though gas heaters near each table. The outdoor seating is great, as the high ceilings and hard surfaces make the main dining area very noisy when it's busy- which is almost every evening.
Our group ordered 1 Mahi-Mahi (a special of the day), 2 Anar Chicken off the regular menu, and 1 Lamb shank off the regular menu. All were deemed to be delicious, though the lamb shank could have spent a little more time in the brazier. Two deserts were ordered, the flour-less chocolate cake and pistachio ice cream with cardamom, along with coffee. Nary a left over bite. We lingered over coffee (also delicious) for nearly an hour with none of the glares you often get from the wait staff who are eager to turn the table over to the next party. All in all, another excellent experience at Lali!
We've been to Laili on 2 occasions and were delighted with our experience both times. Our wait staff was professional, knowledgeable and friendly. Our meals were exceptional. We enjoyed the lamb shank that fell off the bone, a shrimp and pasta dish that was pleasantly spicy, perfectly cooked filet mignon kebab and the vegetarian eggplant entre. The chard that came with the eggplant was cooked perfectly: not mushy, but not uncooked, with light seasoning. Nice wine list of reasonable price. Can't wait to go back.
We enjoy Laili as long as we are seated in the outdoor patio; it's lovely and there are heaters for the chilly evenings. Whereas, inside the noise level is deafening! Some food items are outstanding: we always order the Kadoo Boranee appetizer, a gorgeous mound of butternut squash, garlic, mint, and yogurt. The ginger cocktail is a delicious and special treat too. This night we had the cilantro caesar salad, and it was a fine caesar salad, fresh and tasty, more than adequate, but the cilantro twist didn't really elevate it much. Everyone was happy with their entree except me. I usually have a kebab, or the sensational pomegranate eggplant, but this time I chose the arugula pesto pasta, very disappointing. The arugula wasn't pureed well into a "pesto" sauce with the other ingredients, it was more like chopped or something, so the texture was kind of stringy, with stems. Also, while I enjoy peppery arugula as much as the next person, the whole dish tasted extremely bitter. I managed a few bites but it was a real turnoff. I'll go back to Laili again because I know what to order and what to avoid.
We don't get out a ton these days, as I have a gluten allergy and it's just not worth it, but this was a serious treat! Our reservation was ready when we got there (even though there was a wait for walk-ins), our server was delightful, and all of our food was amazing! They did a great job accommodating allergies, which is much appreciated, and also it didn't feel like a chore or inconvenience.
We'd go back, again and again. Thanks for a wonderful meal and good time.
Laili is a lively restaurant in downtown Santa Cruz with fresh, impeccably prepared Mediterranean cuisine. The portions are generous, the service is attentive, and the value is incredible. We paid less than $150 for two of us, for meal that would run over $200 in most other restaurants. The only down side is that the noise level is very high; and if you get a table near the waiting area (as we did), you will have hoards of waiting dinners hovering over your table. However, we would definitely consider going back.
I like this restaurant. They have great food, a good beverage list and really really good desert. If the weather plays along, please do sit on their outdoor patio. Even when it's cooler, they do have portable heaters. This is not necessarily a place to bring children to, at least younger ones, but for any other occasion it is a great place to celebrate or just hang out, whether with just one other person or a group. Just be aware, they do close pretty early (at 9:30 PM) and while you won't be thrown out when you stay longer, the staff will glare at you while they clean up and get the restaurant ready for the next day.
A potentially delightful meal was dampened by remarkably slow service. Despite making reservations well in advance and arriving early, our party of five was seated late. Once seated, another 15-20 minutes passed before being offered anything other than water, with another 20 minutes crawling by before appetizers arrived. Combined with the seating delay, this meant no food until nearly an hour after scheduled seating time.
The meal itself was delightful, but the slow service continued throughout the entire evening, making for a frustrating experience. We would consider dining here again but would only do so during off-peak hours.
We discovered this restaurant through the recommendation of my daughter's college roommate. The food was excellent, very unique, and interesting. Service was excellent just the right amount of attention and very courteous. Noise level was very low and the atmosphere was enjoyable. The wine selection was great and overall the restaurant is now one of our favorites.
Service was abominable. I mean grossly inadequate. Our meals all came at different times, our server disappeared for 20 minutes at a time, we waited for a spoon for our soup until after the soup was cold, one meal came as they were clearing everyone elses plates... No apologies, no recognition that this wasnt how you serve food--- seemed like staff was stoned.... and could care less.
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