Laili Restaurant

Food & Drink
101 Cooper Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 101 Cooper Street, Santa Cruz Directions
Today 11:30 AM - 2:30 PM Closed All Hours
Be the first to recommend this place!
97% of 161 customers recommended

About this Business

  • Cuisine
    Mediterranean, Grill, Afghan, Middle Eastern, American
  • Meals
    Lunch, Dinner
  • Price
    $15-$30
  • Hours
    Sun
    11:30 AM - 2:30 PM, 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    Mon
    Closed
    Tue-Thu
    11:30 AM - 2:30 PM, 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    Fri-Sat
    11:30 AM - 2:30 PM, 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
  • Cuisine
    Mediterranean, Grill, Afghan, Middle Eastern, American
  • Meals
    Lunch, Dinner
  • Show More
  • Attire
    Casual
  • Alcohol
    Available
  • Parking
    Street
  • Free Parking
    Yes
  • Delivery
    No
  • Takeout
    Yes
  • Reservations
    Yes
  • Vegetarian Options
    Yes
  • Good For Groups
    Yes
  • Show Less

Tips

250
94 Tips
Verified
Report | 2 years ago
Food is great. Service friendly
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Verified
Report | 2 years ago
Exceptional unique food, drinks, ambience, and service. What's not to love?
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Report | 2 years ago
They have an excellent selection of wine.
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Verified
Report | 5 years ago
I like the place and the staff.
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Verified
Report | 6 years ago
more variety, specials
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Verified
Report | 6 years ago
Great food, very accommodating service, wonderful atmosphere, nice surroundings. Moderately priced. Parking is a bit tight, but it's downtown Santa Cruz, so that's true for all restaurants in the area. Well worth the trip, and I plan to recommend it as a place to go for out-of-towners! I'll definitely be back - with friends!
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Verified
Report | 6 years ago
Use lint-free towels on the wineglasses, please. I gave this comment upon my first visit about a year ago to no effect and was disappointed that there was no improvement. I'd like to enjoy my wine without lint floating in it! Also consider gluten-free naan option; otherwise, lunch options were limited selection and value. One soup, entree and glass of wine was $40+tip which I felt was too high for the quality and quantity. One plus - I really enjoyed the courtyard.
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Verified
Report | 6 years ago
Great food, service and atmosphere. We'll definitely go back, and have recommended it to friends.
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Verified
Report | 6 years ago
Great food, nice atmosphere, reasonable prices. Keep it up.
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Verified
Report | 6 years ago
Laili is one of the best restaurants in Santa Cruz. Great food, beautiful atmosphere, wonderful service.
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From Our Editors

Laili: A User's Guide

Modern Afghan Cuisine | Farm-to-Table Recipes | Communal Dining Space | Open Kitchen | Idyllic Courtyard

Sample Menu


  • Starter: maush-awa, a three-bean soup with lentils, split peas, and qurut yogurt that Ann Parker of the Santa Cruz Sentinel called “one of the most delicious soups I've ever tasted”

  • Entree: lamb kebab with kabuli rice, mixed vegetables, and three chutneys

  • Vegetarian entree: pomegranate eggplant with saffron-infused basmati rice, chard, caramelized onion, and yogurt

  • Dessert: cardamom crème brûlée


The Focus: Wafi Amin came to the United States in 1975 to study and learn about the world, but while he was here, the Soviet Union invaded his native Afghanistan. So Amin decided to stay. Years later he opened Laili as both an homage to his homeland's culture and as an exploration of the flavors of the Silk Road—a 5,000-mile trade route between the Mediterranean and China.





Where to Sit: If the weather is accommodating, head outside. Laili is home to a courtyard so secluded that it can only be seen while riding in a helicopter or on Godzilla's shoulder. Amid its white tablecloths, ivy climbs toward light-draped beams, and palm fronds share space with flickering heaters. On rainy days, plant yourself indoors at one of the communal dining tables, where you can brush elbows with a cross-section of downtown.




While You're Waiting


  • Turn your eyes toward the open kitchen to watch the chef roll out naan dough with a giant rolling pin.

  • Appraise the precious Afghan jewelry that's the subject of a 16-panel photograph in the dining room.


While You're in the Neighborhood

Before: Read up on the Silk Road at Bookshop Santa Cruz, an independent staple since 1966 (1520 Pacific Avenue).

After: Settle in for a nightcap at 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall (110 Walnut Avenue), which has amassed an impressive collection of craft brews and strong Belgian ales.

Explore Nearby
Laili Restaurant

Sun
11:30 AM - 2:30 PM, 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Mon
Closed
Tue-Thu
11:30 AM - 2:30 PM, 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Fri-Sat
11:30 AM - 2:30 PM, 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Groupon has verified that the customer actually visited Laili Restaurant.