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“Great dinner for date night!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Zen Chinese Bistro

Zen Chinese Bistro
45 Danforth Street, Portland, ME
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Ranked #255 of 540 Restaurants in Portland
Cuisines: Chinese
Dining options: Reservations, Delivery
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations, Delivery
maine
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
26 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Great dinner for date night!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 22, 2013

We arrived at the Zen Chinese Bistro around 7:00pm. Immediately walking into the restaurant is a great atmosphere... The bar area is very nice! It has a second floor, we ate upstairs, the lighting is very soft and nice and the food was FABULOUS!!! I had the Orange chicken, some of the best I've had in a long time!!! Really liked this place, very laid back and great service with a SMILE :))))) *** Only side note... there was this older man... sort of just sitting around watching customers as they came and went... not very friendly, no acknowledgement of customers and definitely no smiling from him - not sure if he was the Owner or Manger.. but sort of awkward ***

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

Visitor rating
    7
    16
    5
    1
    2
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
maine
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“very disappointed as i'd been so excited to go here...”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2013

First of all, the key lime martini was quite bad...i had a ginger beer, in a bottle, which was great...the waitress clothing was not clean, and she was not knowlegeable of the menu, and was very timid...the owner was speaking loudly on the phone, arguing with someone...the egg rolls were VERY greasy, and should have had a paper underlay, at least, instead of a pool of grease on the plate..i ordered lemon chicken, it was cut into pieces, after being cooked (do i need someone to cut my food), it was tough and tasted like turkey, the sauce was oily and flavorless..i was shocked, that all food was so bad..my sister's meal had a number of good size shrimp, but the noodles and all were not tasty...there was NO thought to presentation..i did not eat my food, and the waitress did not offer to do anything, after i told her that i was unable to eat it, as it was so poorly done...would never go there again....

  • Visited April 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
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Portland, Maine
1 review
“Zen & the Art of Far East Cuisine”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2013

Zen poet Li Bai described life as a “big dream,” but at Portland’s new Zen Chinese Bistro, the reality is delicious.

The service at Zen Chinese Bistro is the warmest, kindest, and most attentive I’ve encountered almost anywhere. Put that together with the high-end Chinese cuisine (invigorated by Japanese and Thai), snappy decor with beautiful Brazilian hardwood, sensational cocktails, good brews, and fabulous wines, and you’ve got a sure-fire winner at this legendary location on Pleasant Street (ghosts of restaurants past include District and The Tree).

For starters, we try the Avocado Salad ($8). Dressed in a delicious, creamy, mild ginger sauce, this attractive bowl of crunchy fresh greens and abundance of perfectly ripened avocado slices is exquisite.

Delicate pan-fried pork dumplings ($6), precisely cooked to retain flavor and moisture, pair well with the salad and are enhanced by a tasty garlic sauce that our server thoughtfully keeps replenishing. Ozeki Nigori Sake ($7) arrives in pretty, tall glasses and is a good match for the robust flavors.

Next up are big bowls of hearty Hot and Sour ($3) and Wonton ($4) soup. Both offer taste sensations a cut above the normal renditions.

Each of our entrées is happily served separately with extra plates so we can share.

Not typically a fan of Lo Mein, but realizing my companion has a hankering for it (he worked at a Chinese restaurant in his younger days and got a plate of it free every night), I tag along. The chicken version ($9) is subtle and much better than any I remember, and he’s thrilled.

Jumbo Shrimp with Lobster Sauce ($15) makes me wonder how these folks can afford such generous servings, with at least a dozen huge, flavorful shrimps that almost seem like lobster tails!

But the Peking Duck ($25), plenty enough for a satisfying dinner for two, is what knocks us out. A half duck deftly sliced comes on a gorgeous platter with fresh moo shu pancakes, delicious plum sauce, sliced cucumbers, and scallions. Theatrically, one of the servers shows up at our table and carefully creates the wraps for us–a welcome touch!

For their final miracle, our buttery, savory ginger cheesecake ($7) is attractively served with just enough chocolate sauce, whipped cream and a maraschino cherry on the side–an elegant finish.

Zen Chinese Bistro
45 Danforth St., Portland
Su-Thur 11:30-10 p.m.
Fri & Sat, 11:30 a.m. , 775-6888

- Portland Magazine

  • Visited September 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Peaks Island, Maine
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Piled High...No Flavor!!!”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2013

We were a party of four and the general consensus was that although the servings were typical regarding the amount of food, they lacked flavor. The sweet and sour soup was the exception in that it did, in fact, was tasty and had some spice to it. However, one of the party had the sweet and sour chicken, which could have served the entire table, but was practically flavorless. Heavy on the batter coating but the sauce had nothing to it. It was sparse on the peppers, onions and pineapples leaving a plate of sweet and sour sauce that was almost tasteless. The service was good and the atmosphere was pleasant but they have some hurdles to jump with their menu.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 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.
Portland, Maine
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Wow, nice atmosphere for a Chinese food place.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013 via mobile

Coolest local Chinese restaraunt I have been in. Good food, cool atmosphere. Found this place totally by accident, a very pleasant surprise.

    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 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.

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