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“Like I remember it...” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Zen Restaurant

Zen Restaurant
89 Rathmines Road Upper | Rathmines, Dublin, Ireland
00353- 1497 9428
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Ranked #831 of 1,892 Restaurants in Dublin
Cuisines: Chinese
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Reservations
Description: One of only two Chinese eateries in Ireland to be recommended by The Michelin Guide, Zen Restaurant, is thrilled to be celebrating over 22 years in business. Situated in the unique setting of a 150 year old church hall in Rathmines, Dublin 6, Zen is known for expertly serving up authentic Sichuan food.
Dublin, Ireland
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“Like I remember it...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 26, 2013

Having written an averge review last time I went to the Zen - I am delighted to say that our last family occasion was spot on! I just don't understand why the restaurant is not more full, especially on a weekend night. It should be.

It was nice to see some specials on the menu and the starter chicken wings was very good. The garlic chili beef was fabulous - a real spicy kick. All the food was lovely - the pang pang chicken especially. The portions were generous and all plates were emptied with gusto.

The Polish waitress was lovely and she was very helpful when selecting the wines. It was nice to underestimate the bill at the end of the night - considering we had starters, mains, desserts, wine and some alcohol coffees. I'm looking forward to my next visit already.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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24 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    6
    7
    9
    2
    0
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Ireland
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
46 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
“Good value”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2013

This is a restaurant which is on my door step & has existed in the area where restaurants come and go. It has a good "take away" business which I think keeps it going. Since the recession the value is good. They offer a 2 course meal for under €20 and the food was excellent. Service good and reasonably priced wine choice. I visited at the weekend so it was busy which did give it a better atmosphere than my last visit. All in all a good meal and good value! I notice now that they are special lunch specials so might give that a try soon. Certainly will give it a try!

  • Visited March 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Laytown Co Meath
Top Contributor
137 reviews 137 reviews
80 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
76 helpful votes 76 helpful votes
“Just Average”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2013

We arrived here on a Saturday night with no booking and we had no problem getting a seat. The food was enjoyable but the service was slow we were waiting at least 35mins for our main course and then half of it arrived and the other half followed around 8 mins later. I told my fiance to work away with his and my was not that hot when it arrived which was disappointing. The atmosphere and decor here are nice but the service left us with little desire to return.

  • Visited January 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Polarising: love it or hate. I hated it. Disappointing.”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2013

We ate here last night for dinner with our 2 children, age 7 and 13.

The decor is amazing: high ceiling, giant lampshades. It's a quiet place, which means you can have a conversation with someone across the table, which we liked. But it's not a hopping atmosphere, so probably not the first choice for young adults. My hunch is there are a lot of locals who return here. We went because it is managed by our neighbour's son.

Now, I'm a tricky customer, as I cook well, so when I eat out, I like to eat food that's better than I can cook at home. I also have an allergy to peppers, including chili. (I know, why eat in a Szechuan restaurant if you cannot eat chili. The family outruled me!) I made this known to our Brazilian waitress, who was very friendly and had terrific English, but seemed to not be enjoying her job. She asked the chef, who recommended Beef in Hot Sauce. Now, I don't know about you, but "hot sauce" suggests chili, so I ordered Duck in Ginger and Scallions. Sounded safer. When the dish came, I could clearly see the red chili flakes. I told the waitres who went to the chef, who insisted he had not put chili in the dish. In that case, I suggested that the pre-prepared sauce must have chili in it. I didn't fancy an argument, so I let the others eat this dish. They all agreed it was spicy. Had I eaten it, I would have been unwell.

If a restaurant cannot accurately tell an allergic customer what is in the dish, that's a big problem. That is what accounts for my 2 star review. Also, I feel this restaurant needs a kick up the proverbial. It could be fantastic. It's trying to be upmarket Chinese. And it's close. However, it needs to train its waiters and chefs better.

Some positives:
Beef in Black Bean Sauce: very good.
Excellent wine list.
Brown rice on the menu, very tasty.
Egg fried rice was great.
Good Wanton Soup.

Negatives:
These aren't professional waiters. Their timing isn't great e.g. too attentive before we'd even sat down, and then a long wait to order, that sort of thing. Arguing with a customer about ingredients. A little training would go a long way.
Limited dessert menu, only 4 items, 2 of which are icecream.
No decaf espresso or latte.
Very expensive: E19 for a main dish, which is steep.
Wanton Soup: excellent wantons. But the broth, which was a tasty clear broth, had WAY too much white pepper added.
Chinese Greens: too much oil, too much salt, and a strange taste (was that fish sauce or oyster sauce? It doesn't belong in this dish).

I found the evening disappointing.
It wouldn't take a lot to make this a very upscale restaurant. They have the decor. Now work on the food, please. Give your waiters a bit more training. Then you're all set!

  • Visited January 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin, Ireland
Top Contributor
91 reviews 91 reviews
60 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
“Disappointing”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2013

My last visit to Zen was a few years ago when I dined with my wife-to-be and her parents the evening before our wedding. And a wonderful meal it was! Unfortunately our most recent visit did not echo that previous visit. The restaurant itself is a pleasant environment with its high ceiling and well spaced tables. When we visited early in the new year we were the first to occupy the restaurant at 6pm. Our orders were taken by a pleasant waitress, chao shou dumplings for me and hors d'oevures for her as starters followed by scallops Kung po for her and fillet beef with chilli and garlic sauce for me. Her starter consisted of a spring roll, prawn toast and spare rib, OK, but not particularly exciting. My own hot and spicy pork dumpling soup was hot (temperature wise) but was not spicy. Unfortunately the overriding taste was salty, far too salty. While the dumplings were ok in terms of taste, if a little bland, the broth was unbelievably salty. Surely the kitchen is not tasting the soup before it goes to table. The dumplings were eaten but the broth was left. Feedback was given to the waitress who said she would communicate my comments to chef. No feedback was received from chef and no adjustment to the bill was applied. Mains arrived and I was presented with a chicken dish instead of the ordered beef dish. The waitress brought the dish back to the kitchen and we could hear a loud exchange in the kitchen in relation to this, which a customer should never hear. The correct beef dish did arrive within 10 minutes and it was excellent if, again, a little too salty. A dessert of banana with tofffee glaze was finished at the table by the waitress by mixing the portions of banana in hot toffee and dipping them in iced water using chopsticks. The waitress struggled with this process and admitted that she was not used to using chopsticks - the person who normally did this was not working on the night. Management should not put waiting staff who are not properly trained in a serving process in front of paying customers. The waitress was very uncomfotable serving us our dessert. This is not a criticism of the waitress, but of the management process. Overall, a mixed bag. Some food that was too salty to eat, some that was very tasty. Service, can do better. Management, well there was no sign of management the night we were there - if they were present they never came to check if we were happy with the experience. Unfortunately the experience did not live up to previous visits.

  • Visited January 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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