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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%
Travellers talk about
“lasagna” (12 reviews)
“cannoli” (5 reviews)
“meat sauce” (5 reviews)
Restaurant Hours
Italian, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options
$$ - $$$
1148 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95062-2106
All Details
Write a ReviewReviews (102)
Traveller rating
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1 - 10 of 99 reviews

Reviewed 2 days ago

Arrived in Santa Cruz for a visit with great friends and we welcomed an early dinner after our travel day. The restaurant was busy even at 5:00pm. The men ordered pasta and I had a artichoke soup and beet salad and loved both of them....More

Thank E M
Reviewed 1 week ago

This restaurant has just about anything you would expect in a mid- to upscale Italian restaurant, plus some house specialties that are not really traditional but are good - e.g., one would not get black truffle gnocchi in Italian neighborhoods of NJ or CT. The...More

Thank Daniel S
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

We were in the mood for Italian food, and this was recommended to us. The pasta dishes were both tasty, and felt like the real Italian cuisine.Service was only fair, and the place is really noisy. Parking was a little difficult.

Thank E4468HCjerryb
Reviewed 12 February 2018 via mobile

We saw on many social media sites that Lillian’s was rated Number 1 for Italian restaurants. It is terrific! The wine selection is good. The Chianti was very smooth. The food selection was plentiful. The lasagna and carbonara were excellent! The dessert gelato was outstanding....More

Thank Pat G
Reviewed 22 January 2018 via mobile

Authentic Italian food, there Sunday gravy is awesome, just like my grandmother use to make at her Italian restaurant. You can put it on what ever type of pasta you want. I like to do half and half, pasta and cheese raviolis. Everything is great...More

Thank MyTym
Reviewed 22 January 2018

Delicious Italian fare. I especially love the shrimp, garlic pasta dish. Owners are locals. Wait can be long so make reservations.

Thank Anne B
Reviewed 4 January 2018 via mobile

This is a great restaurant and has always been, but it's enhanced by their lovely new location. The decor is great, the crowd festive and the service warm and competent. The food is delicious with reasonable serving size and prices. We ate there with a...More

Thank Moey56
Reviewed 4 January 2018

We were so lucky to find this restaurant as we weren't sure of where we wanted to eat. I would suggest that you make a reservation because the wait could be an hour or more. A big surprise to see this on a week night....More

Thank beachbabes512
Reviewed 29 December 2017

It was about 5 years ago or so when a Santa Cruz local friend of mine suggested Lillian's for dinner. At the time, they were about 2 blocks west of their current location - a tiny place that could only handle about 3 tables across...More

Thank RogEly
Reviewed 18 December 2017 via mobile

Large, open dining room with high ceilings makes for loud dining, but if you don’t mind early dining, 5 pm is a great time. Tasty, well seasoned. Hubby had Sunday gravy with sausage over spaghetti. I had wild mushroom raviolis that were quite tasty. Efficient,...More

Thank simplelife5
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Questions & Answers
Julianne J
29 July 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.
5 May 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, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Highchairs Available
Good for
Child-friendly, Kids, Groups, Local cuisine
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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