296 Beacon St, Somerville, MA | Directions 0214342.383582 -71.113077
Sun-Thurs 11:30AM-10PM, Friday & Sat: 11:30AM-11PM
Neighborhoods: Ward Two
Chinese food lovers head towards Somerville (between Porter and Union Squares) for some of the area's highest-rated Sichuan and Mandarin cuisine. – Located near the Cambridge-Somerville border, Zoe's is popular with Chinese students and families of expats. Authentic Sichuan (dry-fried whole fish in spicy brown sauce, steamed pork shoulder, shredded beef with hot peppers) and North-South (bean curd flower with sliced fish, tripe with cilantro) dishes are delivered piping hot. Bargain luncheon specials rarely top $5 and are served weekdays until 3pm.
Not blown away – After living just up the road from Zoe's for three years, we finally ordered from here last night after reading the other reviews, and I have to say I wasn't blown away. The food was okay, but I wouldn't say it was the best Chinese I have ever had. The dumplings were so-so, the lo-mein was typical, as was the kung pao shrimp. We also ordered the lemon chicken, and the chicken was tough and overcooked with a thick shell of greasy deep-fried dough on the outside. I definitely think Changsho does a much better job with all of these dishes. Perhaps we didn't order well, and we'll try again. Maybe we'll have better luck finding the good stuff next time.
When I entered Zoe's I almost turned around. Not very inviting to say the least. My husband was more a than a little taken aback by the decor. But stay we did and the food was amazing. Authentic, expertly made and wonderful.
Amazing lamb with cumin – The restaurant is probably one of the crappiest looking restaurants I've ever seen. It sits at the edge of a commuter rail line, near the parking lot of a dilapidated Star Market. Hours are till 10pm nightly, I think.
That being said, the food is quite amazing, with some caveats. I tried eating lunch here a few times, but most of the lunch dishes are kind of simplistic and reminiscent of cheap chinese food trucks that sit outside MIT. The real dishes are listed further into the menu, under the North/South style cooking and also in the Sichuan style cooking. Food is liberally spicy. I recommend the Sichuan whole fish, pork shoulder, lamb with cumin (delightful), and the Ma Po tofu (wow.) Everything is usually delicious. This is the kind of stuff I can't imagine myself making.
Restaurant is a bit small. Probably around six tables total.
Excellent food at great prices – I will remember the Shrimp Zichuan style for a really long time. The food's quality is memorable both fresh and incredibly tasty. The place is a hole in the wall. The service is fast, no-frills. I highly recommend this place.
Not your average take-out – Zoe's is so much more than your typical Chinese restaurant. For starters, each of its tasty dishes is actually made with different ingredients, which ensures that no two dishes taste the same. And while the restaurant is rather simple, you can also order the yummy food in, delivered to the comforts of your own living room - and since it is affordable, you don't even need the excuse of a special night... Rumor has it the chef used to cater for Julia Childs - heck, what's good enough for her is good engough for me.
My favorites: Spicy Dumplings, Orange Beef, Kung Pao Shrimp, and the whole rest of the menu.
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