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Zao Noodle Bar - 18 Reviews - 2630 NE University Village, Seattle, WA - Restaurants Reviews - Phone (206) 529-8278

Zao Noodle Bar

2630 NE University Village
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 529-8278
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This place, located within the U Village, serves many types of Asian noodles (Vietnamese, Thai, Hong Kong, etc). I was in the U Village, looking fo...


I haven't eaten at Zao, to be honest. But I did take a look at their menu, because I was having lunch with my dad and we went there first. All of their "vegetarian" dishes have fi...

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Depends on who's cooking 11/30/2006

I been to Zao a bunch of times, because there's not much to choose from in U Village. I order one of two things every time: Monk's Vegetarian Delight or the Kid's Peanut Noodles with grilled tofu. It always amazes me how different these dishes turn out each time I order them. The ingredients are the same but both can range from really great to really bland and oily. They have a good selection of hot tea and they serve it in cast iron pots, which I love. But the tables are really close together, so you know everyone around you can hear your conversation and you hear theirs. It is one of the better places in U Village, but that's not saying much. more

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Kids Eat Free Tuesdays at Zao 10/3/2006

If you get hungry shopping at the the University Village, Zao Noodle Bar is a good chain restaurant to go with the kids (or without). They have asian fusion food (skewed towards Vietnamese), a selection of teas (mango ice tea, Thai ice tea, green tea) and a very nice sitting area. They also have a bar area and you can order alcohol. Yesterday, we were able to take advantage of the nice sunny weather and eat out in the patio. The food are light and full of vegetable selections. For appetizers we had chicken dumplings and lettuce cups. Main entree: there are side salads, noodle bowls and rice bowls of varying spice levels for $7-$9. The vegetables weren't over cooked. For dessert, they have mochi ice cream, gelato and banana spring rolls in chocolate sauce. You can see pictures and the full menu online ( ). The kids get a coloring placemat and menu of items around the $4.50 range or lower (example: the Teriyaki bowl and Peanut noodles). On Tuesdays, the kids eat FREE. The service was quick and friendly. They take major credit cards and participate in several discount programs such as UPass. They are located next to Ravenna Gardens and across from Ben & Jerry's. Because I always try something new, the food is a hit or miss for me. Their prices are reasonable for the well to do U Village patrons, not starving college students. I gave them a third star because the food is a bit more healthy for the kids (the other choice was the burger joint and a milkshake) and the no fuss seating - very important when you have 2 hungry kids. more

Good quick bite 7/10/2006

If you are shopping at University village and it is a nice day out i recommend sitting down outside in this restaurant. It is great people watching. As far as the food it is ok. I really like the spring rolls and the beef salad. Nothing is spicy so i would ask for some extra spicy if you want it spicy. If you are not shopping in the area this is not a restaurant i would direct you too. more

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Zao-rific 4/8/2006

I like Zao. It is what it is. I have never had a bad experience with the employees, on the contrary, I have always found them to be extraordinarily nice. The food is reasonably priced, try the five vegetable noodle bowl....delish. more

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Disaster 4/2/2006

Due to its convenient location, I seem always to get drawn back into Zao noodles despite my frequent disappointments-- and the trend never seems to stop. The restaurant is crowed (if the outside patio isn't open, good luck trying to hear your dining guest), the servers are sketchy (despite the clever shirts), and the food is just plain wrong. An appetizer order of chicken sate at the whopping price of around 8 dollars was just unjust giving the three measly strips of hard chicken that I received in return. Entrée prices are so outrageous it hurts to think how much money was wasted on some sloppy noodles. Head over to Blue C Sushi on the other side of the University Village if you're looking for some great Asian flavors- this place is a dump. more

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Noodles, Noodles, Noodles! 3/17/2006

Zao is a peppy little noodle joint in University Village. It's a great place to take a shopping break during lunch with family or friends. It's not terribly expensive and they serve all sorts of noodles in all sorts of Asian genres, so you're not limited to one type of ethnic noodle dish. Also, the dishes are big, and it's warm, comfy food for those cold days. The kids love the place, especially the plastic "hinged" type of chopsticks, which makes it really easy for them to use. Forget the noodles, the chopsticks are the reason mine keep asking to go back...but it keeps 'em occupied so the big people can have lunch in peace! more

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Way overpriced. 3/14/2006

Zao is a frequent lunch spot for people where I work, and there have been a few times I've gone along with them. I think $12 is a lot for a bowl of noodles, especially noodles that aren't that great. I'd say to save your money and visit some of the more authentic noodle houses that don't charge an arm and a leg. EDIT 11/8/06: I am editing my review of Zao, and upgrading my rating from two to four stars. I have had many interactions with Zao over the past few months and have really fallen in love with their food. Their dumplings are to-die-for, their cabbage salad is incredible, and don't even get me started on their Phad Thai. I think the problem before was the dishes I were trying just weren't my style. more

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ZLove Za ZNoodles 3/14/2006

This is a great place for take-out or if you need a bite to eat after a hard day of shopping at University Village. I've had a chicken/noodle salad from the take-out menu before and really enjoyed it, but recently I had a chance to dine-in with friends. This time I had the salmon and shrimp yellow curry noodles. I'm not a fan of spicy items, but this sounded so good I couldn't pass it up. It turned out to be perfect. The salmon didn't taste fishy at all, which was my worry. It was a TON of food too so I enjoyed my left overs the next day. I also had some sort of mango iced tea that was delicious. I can't wait to go shopping at U-Vill again so I can have another great lunch. more

not for vegetarians 3/9/2006

I haven't eaten at Zao, to be honest. But I did take a look at their menu, because I was having lunch with my dad and we went there first. All of their "vegetarian" dishes have fish products in them (presumably fish/oyster sauce), and there are only 2-3 vegan dishes. It's kind of ridiculous in Seattle for an Asian noodle house not to have more vegetarian options. That's all I have to say. I didn't see anything vegan I wanted to eat, so we went somewhere else. more

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Interesting dinner spot in the village 3/6/2006

Zao is a good but over priced noodle shop. Trust me -- I want this place to be great. The village needs more good restaurants -- and Zao is good but it's not great in my opinion. The food is just a little greasy ...and service is ok. Despite all this -- the place is packed either I'm in the minority or demand for food at U Village exceeds supply (that's my hypothesis). more

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It isn't the best, but it is convenient 2/25/2006

OK, as I mentioned to Katherine, it ain't the best place, but if you've got screaming kids and it isn't crowded (nearly never) it isn't too bad. After all, it is hard to ruin noodles, although truthfully, they do overcook them. I'll have to give China Village a try. Or go to Blue C Sushi close by. more

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Zao Noodles in UVill - disappointing 2/22/2006

This restaurant tries too hard to deliver all of Asia and delivers nothing well. The food is bland, non-descript and the ambience is chain-restaurant. For good chinese food near UVill go to China Village up the street (45th near Mary Gates Way). Much better than Mall food, and the owner is so personable - she checks in on everyone and knows the names of all her regular customers (of which there are many!). more

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Noodles Mean Long U-Village 2/22/2006

Zao is the place to go for noodles in U Village. It's a dependable place that serves a mix of Asian foods, mostly Southeast Asian influenced stuff. It's popular and often crowded, kid friendly, and worth the stop. Start with tofu fries. Yeah it might sound different, but trust me they are addictive. You can't go wrong with any other appetizer, though some are better than others. I love the lemongrass soup, but wish it had more rice. For main dishes you can go with standard fare like phad thai, or grab a house specialty like the satay salad. You can also mix and match noodles if you like, so if you don't like wide noodles you can swap them for rice noodles. No extra charge. For dessert have the banana spring roll with fresh coconut ice cream. The service is consistent and friendly. The wine list is OK, and they have the standard selection of Asian beers. My only caution is that it does get crowded, so it's not a good place to go if you are in a hurry. Otherwise it's a good stop if you're in the mood for noodles and are in the neighborhood. more

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If you happen to be at the University Village 11/29/2005

If you happen to be at the University Village, Zao is a good pick for great noodles. My favorite is ginger-garlic-chili chicken & prawns. more

Noodles 10/19/2005

This is a nice restaurant if you love Asian noodles. If you don't, stay away. The Pad Thai was a little watery. It is a unique experience. more

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Sorry for the caps, but Zao was a disappointment! I went there with a group of six or so friends for dinner. Some of the cocktails were good, but the food was rather bland. No flavor and nothing special the Zao sucked. On paper, the dishes sounded great, but they failed to deliver. When I was there though, there was a pretty hot waitress! more
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