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Lillian's Italian Kitchen

1148 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95062-2106
+1 831-425-2288
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  • Excellent66%
  • Very good27%
  • Average5%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible1%
Travelers talk about
“lasagna” (18 reviews)
“cannoli” (6 reviews)
“risotto balls” (6 reviews)
Restaurant Hours
Italian, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options
$$ - $$$
1148 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95062-2106
All Details
Write a ReviewReviews (137)
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1 - 10 of 130 reviews

Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

We went to celebrate our son’s birthday with a group of his friends- the menu is diverse, the food was good and fresh, and the prices were very reasonable.

Thank Spark0655
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Considering that Lillian’s is rated number 2 out of 309, I was left underwhelmed, disappointed and wondering what on Earth the other 307 restaurants must be like. The lasagna was basically a lump of over cooked pasta, invisible béchamel, no ragu and topped with a...More

Thank David A
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Lillians started in a much smaller place but there was ALWAYS a long line. Now the location is much bigger with a shorter line.

Thank Jack C
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

The soup is excellent and the bread divine. The pasta dishes are well prepared and traditional. The portions are not hardy but fine. Great wine selection. The issue for me was the noise volume and the wait.

Thank 365Bellfamily
Reviewed September 16, 2018

My trip to Lillian's with my wife was pretty incredible, and we enjoyed some of the best Italian food we'd ever eaten. Definitely one of the best restaurants in Santa Cruz - without a doubt.The scallop starter was delicious and the 'Sunday Gravy' with added...More

Thank DanJ1982
Reviewed September 15, 2018

Came to this restaurant while visiting Santa Cruz. Entered through the back - there is parking in the rear. It was a weekday around 7:00 pm and it was busy but we were seated right away. Our server was super friendly and even noticed that...More

Thank vegasmom13
Reviewed September 12, 2018 via mobile

You can't even hear yourself chew. Perhaps that's a good thing. But not being able to have a conversation with the people sitting directly across from you is not. The food has been fine every time we have gone, but the wait has been extremely...More

Thank Angel871
Reviewed September 9, 2018

We managed to get in to Lillian's on the last night of our holiday. Great atmosphere, staff brilliant and food quality was very good and plentiful. Wine was not expensive. Overall a really lovely way to finish off the holiday.

Thank Barry F
Reviewed August 27, 2018 via mobile

Hands down, best Italian. Service is great too. It’s a must. Might be best to book a table as it gets busy.

Thank Ju H
Reviewed August 26, 2018 via mobile

Visited Lillian’s at the suggestion of friends in Watsonville. Always looking for good Italian food. Hard to get a reservation but worth the wait. We tried the burrata starter which was very tasty. The real winner was the lasagna and the carbonara pasta dishes which...More

Thank Robert W
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Ask a question
Questions & Answers
Julianne J
July 28, 2017|
AnswerShow all 6 answers
Response from ckf722 | Reviewed this property |
Yes, you can substitute gluten free pasta or order your dish over polenta instead of their normal pasta.
May 5, 2017|
Response from JeriLG | Reviewed this property |
No, it is not. There would be a corking fee. But, they do have a great selection of wines.
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Restaurant Details

Rating summary
  • Food
  • Value
Lunch, Dinner
Restaurant features
Takeout, Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar
Good for
Special occasions, Families with children, Local cuisine, Kids, Bar scene, Large groups
Location and Contact Information
  • Address: 1148 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95062-2106
  • Location: United States  >  California (CA)  >  Santa Cruz
  • Phone Number: +1 831-425-2288
Lillian’s Italian Kitchen opened quietly on July 4, 2007. It’s a joint venture of the owners, Joe and Charlotte Moreno and their sons Chris and Matt. Long time residents of Santa Cruz, the Moreno’s dream was to open a neighborhood place that was an extension of their family kitchen. The inspiration was Grandma Lilly’s wonderful home cooking. Lillian was devoted to family and friends and her life was greatly fulfilled by her love and passion for cooking. Born in Yonkers, New York, Lillian was able to combine traditional Sicilian recipes learned from her parents and the many Italian influences in her neighborhood. Executive Chef Chris honors Lillian’s family recipes as well as offering a variety of fresh and creative additions to the menu while Matt makes sure guests feel at home. Good food, good friends, great prices and straight from the heart. Tutti a mangiare!
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