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“Excellent tiny bistro style restaurant with lots of locals coming” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Lillian's Italian Kitchen

Lillian's Italian Kitchen
1116 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95062-2106
831-425-2288
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Ranked #7 of 328 restaurants in Santa Cruz
Cuisines: Italian
Restaurant details
Brighton, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
“Excellent tiny bistro style restaurant with lots of locals coming”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2013

We were very lucky to have found this tiny restaurant on Soquel Ave, just outside downtown Santa Cruz! It is very much worth driving up here to taste the excellent Italian cuisine! We had the aspergus and artichoke soup as a starter and the gnocchi and risotto as a main; all which were amazing! Service was very friendly and informal and the place was filled with locals (people were waiting to be seated, on a weekday), which is a good sign! This place deserves its popularity.

  • Visited January 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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116 reviews from our community

91% Recommend
    74
    32
    6
    3
    1
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Santa Cruz, California
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“awsome oso bucco”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2013 via mobile

My wife and I are locals and try to go to lillians once a week. Last night I enjoyed one of the best oso bucco (nightly special) I have eaten anywhere in the world. I'm often dissapointed with the portion size but not this time. The meat fell off the bone perfectly supported by light/creamy brussel sprout rissoto with just the right amount of sauce circling the plate. My wife had the other special, orechette with homemade fennel sausage, pancetta and brussel sprouts. My wife says her meal was the best she has had at lillians.

We have been going to lillians for 3-4 years and it is rare to find a restaurant that can keep our attention for so long. Last nights "Specials" are the reason. The creativity Chris delivers from the kitchen rivals any Italian restaurant I have been to and that includes Italy. Truly a secret ***** locals in the know, family place. The reason "TripAdviser" exists is to reveal Lillians to "out-of-towners" so with mixed feelings, this review will likely increase wait time, I submit this review.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
santa cruz, CA
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Melt in your mouth Italian food!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2012

I have lived in the Santa Cruz area for awhile and waited too long to discover this delicious restaurant! The homemade pasta and family atmosphere makes this one of our favorite restaurants in Santa Cruz County.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“SERIOUSLY GO HERE!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 3, 2012

If you call them that morning at 11:00 AM they will put your name down. Otherwise you can walk up put your name down and there are 2 bars to choose from in walking distance and they will call your cell phone when the table is ready! So convenient!! It is a great little family place if you have to use the restroom it requires LITERALLY walking through the kitchen!!

  • Visited November 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Cruz, CA
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
32 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
“Excellent Italian Food!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 16, 2012

Great food...can't go wrong on any dish! Service is great too. Restaurant is small, seating cramped, and noisy due to these conditions. But we go for the food, and don't worry about these negatives. Go early, or make a reservation at 11:00 a.m. the day of your dining experience, or you'll stand in a very long line!

  • Visited October 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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