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

Lillian's Italian Kitchen
Certificate of Excellence
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Special occasions, Local cuisine
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Description: 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!
Brighton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
55 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
“Excellent tiny bistro style restaurant with lots of locals coming”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 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
Helpful?
1 Thank EddieFP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

238 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    159
    61
    12
    5
    1
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Santa Cruz, California
Level Contributor
49 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 27 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.

Helpful?
1 Thank showkit33048
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
santa cruz, CA
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 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
Helpful?
Thank dggsantacruz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Level Contributor
34 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 20 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
Helpful?
Thank Angie H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Cruz, CA
Level Contributor
53 reviews
38 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 49 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
Helpful?
Thank ShadyGrady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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