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“Cheap and Good” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Cafe Zaiya

Cafe Zaiya
18 E 41st St, Frnt C, New York City, NY 10017-6395 (Midtown)
212-779-0600
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Ranked #3,704 of 11,181 Restaurants in New York City
Price range: $1 - $20
Cuisines: Japanese
Neighborhood: Midtown
Restaurant details
Neighborhood: Midtown
The Villages, Florida
Top Contributor
414 reviews 414 reviews
306 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 101 cities Reviews in 101 cities
107 helpful votes 107 helpful votes
“Cheap and Good”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 9, 2013

If you don't want to go to a Japanese restaurant, this grocery/cafe is a place to pick up Japanese bento box or sandwiches. The pastry shop is great too. I am told Beard Papa's puffs my son loves are back on weekends now. You could eat in but it is too noisy and crowded for me so rather prefer to do a take out. Across from the New York Public Library on 41st between 5th and Madison, there are three unassuming Japanese places one after another. With a couple of rice balls(salted salmon and mentaiko) or a bento box and nice bottled tea and a puff of Beard Papa for dessert, you are set for a quick lunch without breaking the bank.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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23 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    6
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    7
    0
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
NYC
Top Contributor
71 reviews 71 reviews
54 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
“No Frills. Quick Fresh Japanese Lunch With A View To Bryant Park”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 31, 2012

This place is a hidden gem on the top floor of a Japanese book/culture store. Judging by the looks, you will never guess how fresh and yummy the food is. I had an Obento box with a bottled Jasmine tea and a green tea pudding for dessert for 13$. I would say it's very reasonable. In a nice day you can take your food and seat in the beautiful park across the street. I'm certainly coming back.

  • Visited January 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Top Contributor
202 reviews 202 reviews
162 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
59 helpful votes 59 helpful votes
“Great Japanese cafe - with a little flaw”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2012

I've been coming here since they first open some 8-9 years ago. I've always loved it. They have great bread, pastries, lunch specials...the list goes on and on! However, lately, it seems that they just can't pass the sanitary inspection by the health department. They kept getting Cs and now they hide the grade behind some board. I'm puzzled and concerned because the place looks very clean outside. So I can only imagine the kitchen may be gross? Sadly, I still keep going there.

  • Visited January 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“need to keep up with the local competition”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2011

This is one of three Japanese grocery/cafe places on the same block (plus there's a Sushi restaurant). I usually visit any or all three, depending on what I need - this is the best one for strawberry shortcake slices, onigiri, and steamed pork buns (pao) - and some of the sushi boxes aren't bad value either. All these items are either far superior to the other two, or the other two don't stock them. But of the three, it's got the most miserable staff and therefore worst atmosphere (it feels like they must all be underpaid, managed by an awful boss, or something - there's just so little positive life in them), and one doesn't want to linger for any longer than one has to.

  • Visited December 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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Loveland, Colorado
Top Contributor
149 reviews 149 reviews
97 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
“Great pastries!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2011

We stopped here for breakfast and grabbed some pastries and Green Tea Frappes. All was delicious and reasonably priced.

  • Visited September 2011
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 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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