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“I **thoroughly** enjoyed my dinner at Laili”
Review of Laili Restaurant

Laili Restaurant
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Ranked #3 of 372 Restaurants in Santa Cruz
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $7 - $22
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Pacific Avenue
Description: 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.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
92 reviews
56 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
“I **thoroughly** enjoyed my dinner at Laili”
Reviewed June 18, 2014

We had a great meal - from start to finish - at Laili. We went on a very busy evening (UCSC graduation weekend). The staff (hostess and wait staff) were very friendly, helpful and attentive. We started with a butternut squash appetizer - it was a very (very) shareable appetizer with wonderful flavor (they give each table some free naan to use - we used it with this appetizer). We then ordered two more vegetarian items - the eggplant and cauliflower - both cam with saffron basmati rice and one came with chickpeas while the other had chard with caramelized onions. So I am not usually a chard fan - but it was very nice and the flavoring of both the entrees was really done well. I have had eggplant many ways and this was unique and I would get it again and again. We could not finish our meals - so the food was not only very tasty, but the portions were more than enough. The atmosphere was great as was the decor. The prices were absolutely reasonable. I am not a vegetarian - I just ordered that way this night - but the meat dishes, when they went by our table, looked and smelled wonderful. Two very small things I would suggest - ice for the water (I like really cold water and it was slightly chilled) and a longer sparkling wine list (I said they were small things!).

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank jeffreyjfred
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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378 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Benicia, California
Level Contributor
138 reviews
84 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
“Outstanding food in a beautiful setting”
Reviewed June 15, 2014

I have been to Laili Restaurant many times for lunch. Still haven't made it for dinner, but would love to. My favorite is to sit out in the garden on a nice day and enjoy the extraordinary food. I could just order several plates of Kadoo boranee (butternut squash appetizer) and be in ecstasy. Really great service and nice people as well.

Visited May 2014
1 Thank redyoga
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
santa cruz
Level Contributor
18 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“great for a group”
Reviewed June 13, 2014

I can't speak for all the aspects of Laili because I have only been in the outdoor area, and with a medium sized group for a graduation dinner. But it was absolutely wonderful for this occasion. The food was unique and everything was delicious. It was served "family style" so plates were passed and this actually added to the fun. There were several courses and the servers were very attentive so there was always food there. It was a coolish evening but there were heaters that were just right. Being open to the sky but surrounded by building walls (and lots of plants) on each side was actually very nice.
We are eager to go back to simply dine as a couple. It did seem quite noisy and chaotic indoors though when we passed through- it was a weekend evening. But having choices about seating should make it work whatever atmosphere you prefer. I am only guessing about the cost rating, since someone else was hosting.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank cruzannie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
51 reviews
35 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Silk Road Flavors - Not Your Average Restaurant Food”
Reviewed May 31, 2014

My husband and I are repeat visitors of Laili restaurant and we continue to enjoy it. The butternut squash and quirk appetizer is plenty for two. We usually share the large Greek salad which is always fresh and never over dressed. The entrees are generous portions. I usually enjoy the chicken kebab which is large pieces of breast meat that is amazingly never dry. The chutneys that accompany the dish are very flavorful. Also noteworthy is the salmon which is often a special menu addition and always delicious. Sadly we are usually so full, we never have room for dessert.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Robin A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marstons Mills, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
33 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed May 30, 2014

We went to this restaurant on our first evening in Santa Cruz. My husband said it was Mediterranean food and it was very good. He has been here on previous trips for business and wanted to return. We have another week here but, t date this is my favorite. Everything is expensive in Santa Cruz but the food is worth the price here!

Visited May 2014
1 Thank Smead1950
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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