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“so disappointing, don't waste your time”

Zakey Middle Eastern Cuisine
Ranked #177 of 316 Restaurants in Traverse City
Price range: $5 - $15
Cuisines: Middle Eastern
Description: Zakey was created by Nabiel Musleh; born and raised in Ammam, Jordan. Zakey is a combination of Jordanian family cuisine with a cultural atmosphere.
Restaurant details
Description: Zakey was created by Nabiel Musleh; born and raised in Ammam, Jordan. Zakey is a combination of Jordanian family cuisine with a cultural atmosphere.
Reviewed May 29, 2012

we love middle eastern food and we had hoped zakey's lived up to the hype. boy it did not. it wasn't particularly crowded, but the server/hostess was frazzled and all over the place. it was very loud due to the music blasting for the belly dancer and the atmosphere felt very spastic and frazzled. we should have walked out, but hoped it would get better. i wish i could say the food made up for the poor service but it did not. the side salads and vegetables were a joke-an incredibly small and soggy mess. my husband had a gyro sandwich that he described as tasteless. we left feeling so unsatisfied, and disappointed that we wasted on of our nights on vacation at such a dud.

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3  Thank aheidesnyder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 24, 2012

We visited Zakey’s with a large group of 30+, so we knew service would be strained. We were enticed to go because of the belly dancing and good food. The restaurant is small (like 4 booths at most) plus a number of small tables. The restaurant was given many weeks notice and decided to close to the general public to accommodate our group. To say we were disappointed would be an understatement. Flabbergasted better expresses it. First, the one belly dancer started immediately upon our arrival, and only had a tight space between us and the booths to dance. No one really noticed. I saw her leaving the restaurant within an hour. They had two servers for us, one starting at each end, where they took 4 orders for drinks, got those and then did the next 4, etc. Then they started over getting meal orders, 4 at a time. Then they delivered the orders 4 at a time. The owner was the only person in the back room (that we could see), so food orders backed up as he did them one by one. Nothing was cooked ahead or prepped, so things really started to slow down as time passed. After an hour and a half, half the guests had received their orders and actually left. Those remaining waited longer and longer (some ordered desert because they could get that before their meal). The last of us waited 2-1/2 hours before receiving our food. Then at the end the owner came out and gave us some baklava (not sure if our hosts paid for that or not). When asked if he was going to make any accommodation for making us wait 2-1/2 hours, the owner was outraged, saying “this isn’t fast food”. He then called one of our hosts who was at home, ranted and raved about the rude guests, then literally threw the phone at me saying “your host wants to speak with you” Not sure what THAT conversation was supposed to be about, so it ended quickly. Food portions were small, with plenty of garlic, so everyone enjoyed the smelly conversation (after the food finally came). If you go, just hope there’s only a small number of customers there, or you’ll be waiting a long time. Don’t expect much of a show unless you get the owner to throw a phone at you (there’s no stage). The owner said we shouldn’t return. Not a problem Zakey.

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2  Thank kenmccaz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 8, 2012

I attended a Chef's Tour dinner at Zakey's (which means 'delicious'), and indeed it was. During the course of the evening we learned about the food (middle eastern) and the restaurant itself. It's really a one-person restaurant--the owner is the the cook...and during the course of the evening he also read our fortunes in the coffee cups....and there were two waitresses, though I think there's usually only one. So yes, service was slow--as the other reviewers indicated. But every dish is made fresh, on premises, and to order--by one man. I know that's no apology for slow service--but one of the things I think you find in eating here is that it feels a lot like dining in eastern European and middle eastern countries: eating is supposed to be unhurried, and a time to form relationships. To bring you a check before you actually ASK for it is rude.

The food has been good each time I've eaten here (several), it's reasonably priced, and it is one of our area's few authentic international restaurants.

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Thank GertieCranker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 5, 2011

I've been there seven times in the last six months. I am from Dearborn, MI and there are no shortage of middle eastern restaurants. In northern MI, however, this is the only one...otherwise I would not have returned. The hummous, tat belay, shrimp and lentil soup are fairly good. Their hummous is about $5, and this last time there was such a small potion (1/3cup? maybe?)- compared to other middle restaurants this is a rip-off. Also, I really love fattoush, but theirs is horribly disappointing as they use iceberg lettuce instead of romaine. Do NOT go if it is within an hour or two of closing....service is hurried, sloppy and portions are a ripoff!

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2  Thank leasha77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 23, 2011

I had eaten at Zakey's at their old location on Three Mile Rd and loved everything about it. The food was fantastic, the decor was eclectic, and the service was top notch.

I was excited when they moved to downtown Traverse City. The location was in the heart of the very walkable downtown, right on Front Street. The location has seen its share of restaurants in recent years, and I'm hoping Zakey's makes a good go of it. But if they are going to make a go of it, they will have to become more attentive to their customer's needs and requests.

We arrived for dinner during a Friday Night Live Event. We were surprised not to find it packed with the amount of people downtown. They had a live belly dancer performing and four open tables when we arrived. There were two tables occupied as well as two booths. We were seated near the back by the kitchen. Our drink order was taken promptly as was our meal. We ordered their platter containing many different dips and salads (Middle Eastern Mazza Plate) as an appetizer as well as three of the sandwiches.

It was taking an extraordinarily long time to get our appetizer. While we were waiting we found the music for the dancer to be so loud that we couldn’t talk. For example, you tried to carry on a conversation and when a song ended before you expected it to, you were found shouting across the table. We asked if it could be turned down a bit – the answer was no. No explanation – just no. At one point the dancer had even commented she found the music a bit loud. The longer we sat, the colder we became. My mother gets cold easily, my daughter and I usually tolerate the cool air well. We were sitting under a ceiling fan, and were also fairly close to the air conditioning. We asked if the fan could be turned off or down. Our waitress went back to the kitchen for the answer, and returned with a no. There was no explanation given – just an “I’m sorry, no.” My daughter was so cold she had goose bumps through the entire meal.

The appetizer arrived and while beautifully presented and as tasty as could be, we couldn’t figure out why it too so long to bring it out. As I said, it didn’t appear to us that the restaurant was slammed with the open tables surrounding us. Our dinners came in the appropriate amount of time following the appetizer and were also delish! My daughter got the kids Shawarma. She was going to order the adult one, but was informed that the Shawarma during dinner is only available on the platter and not as a sandwich. I ordered Adam’s Specialty Pita which I enjoyed, but next time I would order the meat sandwiches as they contained much more flavor. My mother ordered the Shish Kafta which was full of flavor.

They ate their meals and immediately left to go back outside as they were frozen to the core. You would have thought their hasty depature would have given our waitress the clue we were ready to leave, but it still took a while for her to bring the check – even as I was sitting there by myself holding my debit card. I too was uncomfortably cold and I NEVER get cold. I just wish they could have turned off the ceiling fan over our table. And if they couldn’t, I’d have appreciated the reason.

So I would highly recommend Zakey’s for the food. It is top quality, high flavor, Mediterranean cuisine. Just make sure to bring a jacket and some ear plugs.

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1  Thank upnorth98
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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