We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Worth the wait” 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
Menu
Improve this listing
Ranked #4 of 328 Restaurants in Santa Cruz
Cuisines: Italian
Restaurant details
Mill Valley, CA
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Worth the wait”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2013

Like the other reviews said, local and put your name in early and come back in an hour. They are pretty accurate with being timely. Good food, good service, comfortable atmosphere. I'd go back for sure.

Visited February 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

140 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    89
    41
    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
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Restaurant is always full; must be the excellent food.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2013

As locals here in Santa Cruz, we go to Lillian's at least once or twice a month; sometimes for dinner and sometimes for lunch. Almost always there is a line to get in, or people waiting to get the call on their phone (at dinner the first hour is open seating and after that they can take your cell number and call you within a given time). The food is full of flavor, the price is reasonable, service is excellent, and the atmosphere feels like an authentic friendly home kitchen. I usually see some of the older Italian locals who seem to come in regularly, (the owners are original Santa Cruz locals). I am reluctant to post this, as I'm sure it will only make it a little more difficult to get a table, but it is truly a gem.

Visited January 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brighton, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
49 helpful votes 49 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Cruz, California
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 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.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Lillian's Italian Kitchen also viewed

 
Santa Cruz, CA
Santa Cruz, CA
 

Been to Lillian's Italian Kitchen? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Lillian's Italian Kitchen, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.