Having lived in Kigali for 6 months now, I wanted to wait before reviewing restaurants until I really could compare across the board. That being said, Zen is by far one of our top restaurants in Kigali.
To start, the ambience is great. The waiters are kind and attentive, Melanie the manager is lovely, and the restaurant is very beautiful with a view of the lake. Sometimes they are very busy and we've sat waiting for a bit, but if you say something they will quickly come to your aid. There is a bar area for drinks, an upstairs restaurant, and a new Teppanyaki table with authentic chef!
Drinks are good - nice selection of wine, I love the mojitos as well! The food is also excellent.
We usually go for sushi, which is slightly pricey, but top-quality fish is sourced from Mombasa region, and there is a good selection of rolls. Zen even struggles to find the perfect nori and rice to import, and won't bring in anything that is not of good quality. They have just informed me that they have fish roe as well, on their new California rolls.
The chinese fusion food is also good. We love the tilapia, which comes slightly breaded with a teriyaki sauce and fresh vegetables. The grilled tofu is also excellent, arriving freshly grilled on a skillet. Dim Sum are also good, along with the Tom Kha soup.
We've yet to have a meal we didn't enjoy there, and the lunch menu is good value, at 6000 RWF for a starter/soup and main.
Yes, other people have reviewed the restaurant as having poor service, or the food not being 100% perfect. But, at the end of the day, this is Kigali - service is generally slow, and food isn't guaranteed to be cooked perfect 100% of the time. But with that in mind, this restaurant is still top of our list!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.