Seattle >Food & Dining > Zao Noodle Bar
2630 NE University Vlg, Seattle, WA | Directions 9810547.663286 -122.300747
Mon - Sat: 11am 10pm
Sunday: 11am 9pm
Neighborhoods: Ravenna, Northeast Seattle, Northeast
TERRIBLE for noodles – Our family went to this restaurant after reading about it in the Seattletimes. We ordered the "dumplings" as an appetizer. For dinner, my husband and I ordered the chili ramen and their signature noodle dish with shrimp and chicken. Our children ordered the teryiaki bowl and the chicken noodle soup.
We should have known once the dumplings came out that our expectations should have been lowered. The type of dumplings they served are those that most Asians know are typically served in soup and not steamed on a plate already dipped in sauce (with a side of sauce).
The noodle soup was lacking flavor. The ramen noodles were chewy as if the noodles were overcooked and had been sitting out for a while. The signature noodle dish was also disappointing. The noodles were again too chewy. The chicken tasted like it was frozen previously and the amount of ginger (and I normally love ginger) was so overpowering. Finally, the dish should have included zucchini in the title as the amount of zucchini in the dish outweighed any of the other ingredients.
Now our daughter's teriyaki bowl which came with rice was the most disappointing. The rice (and there was a TON of rice that even an adult couldn't finish) was the worst that I have ever had at a restaurant. Honestly, get a good reliable rice cooker.
When you go out to a restaurant and leave saying that "I could have made that better at home," well enough said!
Great food, great service, quick staff – My family and I are regulars. The food is tasty, fairly priced and we always leave satisfied. I love it.
I love this place !!! – I don't know were you other people were eating but the place I went was pretty darn good. I can't remeber what I had but it was good. So I will go there agian for sure.
The sights, sounds and smells of fast-paced Asian cuisine draw customers to this popular bistro. – In Short
With rich yellow walls and a bright red floor, this restaurant itself is as colorful as the food it serves. Best known for signature items like spicy vegetable and black bean tofu stir fried with noodles, chefs draw inspiration from Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese and Thai cuisine. Distinctive sauces in exotic flavors, including ginger-garlic-chili, soy-lime and coconut-chili-lemongrass, spice up fresh vegetable and meat noodle dishes. Non-noodle items, including salads and entrees with rice, are also available.
Distinct? Yes very. – Zao would seem inviting with its cute Asian theme, warm, inviting fireplace, and spices lining the walls, but BEWARE! The food?not so Asian, warm, nor spicy. Maybe it?s the daunting task of trying to combine all different kinds of authentic, oriental-style meals ? from Vietnamese to Chinese ? however ?Asian fusion? is not an accurate word to describe the cuisine.
Asian people do not cook nor eat the food there, and the provisions are more like overpriced cafeteria portions assembled for the purpose of gorging the stomach than an enjoyable, well-cooked meal. I?ve been there many a time with my good friends who obviously are taste bud deficient, and every time I try a new dish, it seems to get worse. I only go for the company. If you?re looking for some genuine, flavorful, delicious food, no matter the Orient, this is NOT the place to go.
Bad Food, Bad Service – Don't waste your time and money at this place!
We were there for an hour before we were served our main course. It was partially uncooked, some parts were hot, other parts were luke-warm to cool. It was supposed to come with peanuts and peanut sauce. After waiting 10 plus minutes to flag down our AWAL watress, she said she would have the cook redo it. We were through waiting. On the plus side, we got our small bland-tasting appetizers for free after complaining to the manager on the way out. The manager also said she had looked at the food (the waitress had shown it to her) and it was done incorrectly. With our saved money we headed to Ben and Jerrys for dessert - a much tastier option for food.
bland! – the food is definitely not authentic and it's very bland. the service was friendly, but even sending the food back and getting it redone doesn't help. plus it should be cooked well the first time anyway so you wouldn't have to waste the extra time having them redo it.
Fake Asian Food – If you want authentic Asian noodle soup, or noodles that actually taste good, go somewhere else! There's plenty of good pho places nearby on University Avenue. The "Chinese" noodles in soup served at Zao are just egg noodles in an unappetizing soy sauce and water broth. The only item I enjoy is the fried banana spring roll dessert. It's fine to go there with groups, the service was good, but the noodles just aren't worth spending your money on.
Yum – I like this place, though I'm not sure I would categorize it as 'Vietnamese'. The noodles (bun) and pho are not really traditional Vietnamese. They're sort of their own approximation, but still quite good. I get the bun and pad thai almost every time I go. I've found the pseudo-Chinese dishes a little bit lacking and frequently bland. There are tasty things on this varied Asian menu, but it's a little hit and miss. Either I get something I really like or I send the dish back. Oh and they are kid friendly (which is why we go pretty frequently), they have a really nicely decorated polished atmosphere, they have GREAT cocktails and I have yet to get a check without a fortune fish.
Great value$, kid-friendly, genuine good service! – I've been going there for years. The food is always good and if its a little off, I say something and it gets fixed. Don't know why others (reviewers) don't speak up when something isn't just right.
One of the best things is they are so kid-friendly. Never a fear of my toddler making a mess and feeling guilty. They are so accommodating! The staff is fun (most have been there for years), managers/owner are always friendly and talkative. The decor is simple but inviting (sit by the fireplace). There wine list is quality, but cheap (we go on Tuesday nights for a bottle of wine (any bottle is $15). If they are on a wait, give them your cell #, theyll call you when your table is ready (go explore University Village). Overall, they do a great job! I'd add this one to your rolodex of restaurants to frequent.
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