If you want a great local, seasonal harvest treat, seriously, try the Pumpkin Bolani (Afghan vegan flatbread with a vegetable filling) at Laili Restaurant in Santa Cruz. You won’t be disappointed in the Bolani (pumpkin or spinach) as an appetizer (sort of like an empanada or samosa) or part of the “Pick 2 Lunch Special.” See the photo above for a visual description and evidence of the three great dipping sauces the Bolani comes with.
Laili is a downtown, upscale Mediterranean restaurant right across the street from the MAH (Museum of Art & History). It was our first time eating Afghan food and it was delicious Mediterranean style cuisine. We have only eaten at Laili for lunch so far but we were blown away with the flavor-packed bites of everything we tried. The garden patio is lovely as is the decor and ambiance for a special lunch. We also recommend the Silk Road Plate and the Maush-awa soup: lentils, shelling beans, braised lamb, qurut yogurt (also a vegetarian option). The server suggested the lamb wrap, which we’ll try next time. The lunch prices were reasonable and we were absolutely stuffed when we left.
I suggest Laili restaurant if you have friends or family visitors in town who are either vegetarian, vegan, and/or meat eaters as there are options for everyone.101 Cooper St
Santa Cruz, CA 95060