I’ve returned to Zen’s many times since my original review. I think it’s by far the best deal for lunch in town, the food is delicious and the lunch buffet very nicely priced. It’s well worth the trip to the Marina.
May 2008 Review
Zen’s has been open for two years and I only read about it today, which tells you I’m not as in tune with the San Leandro restaurant “scene” as one might think. And a great pity it is, because if its buffet lunch is any indication, Zen may very well serve the best food in San Leandro.
I found the restaurant on TripAdvisor.com while looking for restaurants in San Leandro I might have missed. I suggested it to my friend Aamani, who I was meeting for lunch, and she was all for trying it – so we headed towards Doolittle in the hopes of finding it, which we did easily. It’s located in a strip mall, just off Fairway.
The little restaurant is pretty cute with a tiki-bar kind of feel. It has, however, two annoying flat screen TVs showing Filipino shows. They are very loud, making conversation difficult.
The buffet consisted of about 10 dishes, including a chicken soup, chicken and pork adobo, BBQ chicken, Filipino steak, chicken in a coconut sauce, and a few other dishes I don’t remember now. There was one noodle dish I didn’t try, and one green-bean dish. There was nothing else for vegetarians, so they may want to keep away.
Everything I tried was excellent, the meats were tender, flavorful and not exceedingly fatty. The sauces were full of flavor, the bbq chicken was delicious. My experience with Filipino food had been limited to adobos and lumpias, what I tasted seemed like a fusion of western and Asian foods – as you would expect.
According to its website, Zen’s is also open to dinner until very late. They have music and karaoke some nights, so you may want to call them if you are just going for the food. I know I’ll go back.
Zen’s Filipino Cuisine and Ihaw-Ihaw (BBQ) House
13876 Doolittle Drive
San Leandro, CA