Zest Bistro
Zest Bistro

Zest Bistro

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.zestbistro.com/
  • Phone: 2025447171
  • Hours of Operation:
    Brunch: Saturday & Sunday: 11:00am - 3:00pm; Lunch: Daily: 11:00am - 3:00pm; Dinner: Sunday - Wednesday: 3:00pm - 10:00pm, Thursday - Sunday: 3:00pm - 11:00m
  • Payment Options: AMEX,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Contemporary American
  • Executive Chef: Dot Steck
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Area, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Catering: Zest hosts events from 10-75. Please call for more information.
  • Private Party Contact: Liz Goldstein 2025447171

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Between G & I, SE
  • Public Transit: Close to Eastern Market and Navy Yard metro stops
  • Parking: Street Parking
  • Parking Details: Take advantage of the Public lot underneath the freeway, 1/2 block from Zest!
A word from Zest Bistro
Zest Bistro - A Neighborhood Bistro with a twist....
At Zest, you"ll experience the coming together of 2 great pleasures - great food and outstanding service. Zest is an urban restaurant that takes bistro food to a new level. Every day, our Chefs create contemporary American cuisine with a distinctive twist. Daily specials highlight seasonal freshness and showcase the Chef's innovative talent. Zest pleases your palate with savory entrees & inventive salads & sandwiches. Desserts are all made on the premises, in keeping with what's available seasonally. The wine list is filled with choices, and we offer 1/2 off bottled wines on Tuesday's. In addition to wine and a craft beer selection, Zest offers innovative cocktails, many of which are made with fresh syrups & purees concocted in-house.
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Zest Bistro reviews from OpenTable diners
84 reviews since June 22, 2014
Overall Rating3.8
  • Food3.9
    Service4
  • Ambiance3.7
    Noise LevelModerate
88% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (53)great for outdoor dining (27)great for brunch (22)great for lunch (21)fit for foodies (19)kid-friendly (16)good for groups (16)special occasion (6)romantic (5)late-night find (3)notable wine list (3)hot spot (1)scenic view (1)vibrant bar scene (1)Show More
  • crphillyVIP
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    Outside of the drink order taking a long time the service was pleasant and took good care of us. Paloma was a lot better than what they serve at Rosa Mexicano.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Wednesday is steamed lobster night!
    ajfoodie
    Dined on 10/8/2014
    I do not know how long they have been doing this, but I just became aware that our "neighborhood gem" restaurant has "lobster night" on Wednesdays for dinner! A whole steamed lobster (crack it yourself) with a side of french fries for $17, "until they're gone". Amazing value. I LOVE this restaurant.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Food was great!
    AlexisVIP
    Dined on 9/28/2014
    It was really delicious! We had spinach and artichoke dip, catfish, shrimp alfredo, s'mores pie, and lemon poppyseed bread pudding. Nothing was short of delicious. My only problem was that the service was incredibly slow (15 minutes to get water - come on), but I still plan on going back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • our neighborhood fave
    ajfoodie
    Dined on 9/28/2014
    Zest has been our go-to neighborhood restaurant for many years now. The menu is supplemented with specials that are invariably successful. The waitstaff is attentive. There is a respectable wine list, and the bar service is excellent. Love the Tuesday half-price bottle of wine special! Love brunch!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • poor service
    nevertoreturnVIP
    Dined on 9/16/2014
    three of us dined at Zest September 18. we were outdoors on a nice evening. the tables were very wobbly. we asked the waiter if he could find something to stabilize the tables. he said no, 'we don't do that, all tables are wobbly'. I ordered a salmon with soy salad. the salmon was like sushi. I asked the waiter to leave me the salad, but cook more thoroughly, he never returned with my salad. I told him everyone else was eating and I wanted to eat my salad with guests while the fish was being cooked. he said he had to return with the entire salad. 10 minutes later, after everyone at the table was eating, my salad returned. it was a good salad, but the attitude of the service, and uncooked salmon resulted in an unhappy experience.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Nice enough for lunch
    Raspberryberet
    Dined on 9/15/2014
    A little pricey for smallish portion but fine. I'd try it again at dinner.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • No complaints, all was great
    notafoodie
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    We made a last minute reservation, had a great waitress, food arrived in short order and was really good. The price was reasonable. Really no complaints. I'd go back.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Tennis team brunch
    ElleJay202
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    We were a party of 8 and we ALL enjoyed our food and drink. The brunch menu is a little challenging if you don't eat red meat and aren't in the mood for pancakes but the main menu makes up for it. Turkey mufaletta = yummy. Gigi, our waitress/bartender did a fantastic job. I'm loving this little gem.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great dining experience
    VPerkins
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    I had the pleasure of dining at Zest Bistro on Friday with a group of co-workers. No one in our group had ever been to Zest however this was such a great dining experience, from the great customer service to the exquisite food. Great restaurant. Will definitely be back again.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • good food, but too salty
    BobV
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    This is a good local restaurant. Waitress was good & very friendly. Disappointed that we were seated in the kitchen, especially after making reservation & requesting quieter seating. I've been here many times now & food is hit or miss. Like the location, and some dishes are great. But tonight one entree was too salty almost to eat at all, another the kale was too salty to eat, and a 3rd had shrimp that tasted old or stale. not very good outcome tonight when 3 of 4 meals disappointed. too many other good choices close by to settle for a subpar meal. 3 of 4 meals disappointed, w way too much salt on several dishes.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Doesn't disappoint
    C67FVIP
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    This was my 2nd time at Zest for lunch. The food has been consistently well-prepared, fresh, and tasty. The service is very good, and the speed of food delivery has been adequate for lunch away from the office. Typically my group tends to order whatever is on special (short rib sandwich, turkey-avocado club). I have ordered the soy ginger salmon salad, which has been fantastic. Give Zest Bistro a try!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • McLeanFoodie
    Dined on 9/3/2014
    Saw some previous comments regarding their Miso Cod dish. I even questioned the server about it since it seemed like several people thought it was extremely salty. Should have listened to the comments - it was ridiculously salty. The server and "manager - I think", were very nice about it and took it off the ticket. They really should take into account diners' comments - or at least do periodic taste checks to make sure that the dishes are being produced properly. Such an easy fix. Think the dish would have been okay if they would have used lower sodium miso, added some sake or unsalted butter to it. I read one comment that said it was Black Cod (definitely is not Black Cod). Better if dish was with Halibut or real Black Cod.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • So so
    luvfood
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    Nice space. Good service. Food and menu are uninspired with possible exception of lamb sandwich. Prices high for quality
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Lobster!
    Mhilt126
    Dined on 8/20/2014
    We went for Wednesday lobster special nite. Lobster was great. Everything was wonderful until a LARGE party of 20-somethings (all female) got the table next to ours. The noise level went through the roof! We could hardly hold a conversation. First time I've ever had this problem at Zest.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Brunch needs work
    BarracksRow33
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    It wasn't as great as I had hoped--I've been there for dinner and love it. Brunch, not so much. We were a table of 7 and everyone seemed underwhelmed. Who doesn't know how to make toast? The toast wasn't even toasted? Portion sizes were tiny...literally, my friend across from me had maybe 4 little potatoes and they called that homefries. It was sad looking, we all laughed. People at my table thought about sending food back.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Barracks Row surprise
    OmnivoreVIP
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    We have walked by this restaurant countless times and are glad we finally ducked inside. We had an early dinner before a baseball game, and we arrived before the evening staff was at full strength. We waited for a table, waited for our drinks, waited to place our orders, and then waited for our meals. But the delays seemed worth it once the drinks and food appeared. Those who ordered exotic cocktails raved about them, and everyone enjoyed his or her meal. The only complaint I heard was from the person who ordered the Restaurant Week menu and received a perfectly cooked, well-presented piece of fish so small that two or three forkfuls polished it off. Despite the glitches, Zest was worth the visit and worth another try.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • 3rd time a charm
    pastry2chef
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    It is best to make a reservations! I thought I would give Zest one more chance, since the last visit we set there at the table for 20 minutes with no service, even after we asked for it. Finally after 30 minutes we just got up and walked out. The 3rd visit was better, we only waited 10 minutes (although it wasn't busy) to be waited on. It is best to order water and a drink because it takes forever for an order from the bar. Overall, if you do not mind waiting and are not in a hurry...you will enjoy Zest.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Lunch
    2good2miss
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    The lunch special is excellent and moderately priced. Eight of us thoroughly enjoyed a leisurely lunch and will definitely return many times.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Loved this restaurant!
    DCfoodlover
    Dined on 8/13/2014
    The food was wonderful! We attended for restaurant week and loved each of the items we selected. The oysters were to die for! Prepared perfectly. And the strawberry martini (made with fresh strawberries) is a must have. And they apparently have lobster Fridays, when a lobter tail and fries is really cheap, like less than $20 bucks!? We will be returning.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, late-night find, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • 'Nother Fantastic Meal at Zest
    foodiefromarlington
    Dined on 8/11/2014
    Dined there Mon 8/11. The food was absolutely delicious. We ordered from the restaurant week menu; I had the grouper and my friend had the shrimp pasta. The dishes were creative and tasted excellent. This kitchen really knows what it's doing. Service was outstanding too. Our waitress did a great job -- she was helpful and thoughtful. And a good glass of wine for $8! Thank you for a nice evening Zest.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Brunch with the girls
    ElleJay202
    Dined on 8/10/2014
    We had a great time! The food was DELISH, the ambiance was cute, the service was attentive, and it wasn't crowded like other Barrack's Row spots.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The brunch on the hill!
    Mountaincoco
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    Great place to go for a quick and uncomplicated brunch with friends on the hill, Good food, good prices, easy to chat without having to yell. Close to everything.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Just Fine
    Yummy
    Dined on 8/6/2014
    We went to Wednesday Lobster Night. While Mr. Dining Partner loved his lobster special, I had the steak salad (yes, again), and it looked a tad sad–no dressing, all the blue cheese was clumped in one section and one of the pieces of steak tasted quite gamey. Finished it all though:) Great service from every server.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fantastic service
    hungryonthehillVIP
    Dined on 8/3/2014
    I've been to Zest many times for both dinner and for brunch. I've found the food and the service to be consistent, a great neighborhood spot. I rarely submit reviews but felt compelled to this time around because I went for brunch this past Sunday - brought an old friend of mine along with her 1 year old and 3 year old. The baby was a hot mess, throwing her food everywhere. The ENTIRE staff, from our server to the hostess to the food runner to the manager walking around, could not have been more accommodating. They were all so pleasant and so, so helpful. Our server went above and beyond to make us feel comfortable and not like brunch invaders for bringing the little ones.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Quiet night
    bniemiecVIP
    Dined on 7/31/2014
    It's hard to review this restaurant because we were there on a particularly quiet night. The food was good and the service was excellent, but given we were the only ones in the restaurant, I would be surprised if it weren't.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • came as a lunch group
    muffaletta
    Dined on 7/28/2014
    the lunch menu was well priced for the area, and the specials were appropriatley priced as well (lobster sandwich around 14 dollars would have been better on a roll instead of white bread) arrived as soon as they opened so there was a small delay on service nothing major the food was proclaimed to be good by all the guest, waiting staff and manager had vibrant attitudes , but a little confusion on what a muffaletta was it is both a sandwich and a bread i just found out. Every thing else was decent will definently go back for lunch specials.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, good for groups, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great place
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 7/27/2014
    Brought family visiting from out of town. This place is conveniently located to the free (on Sundays) public lot by the Marine Barracks and was comfortably full (not crowded nor empty) for Sunday brunch. Host, server, & runners were all very polite, friendly, & professional. Wonderful view for my party of 5 in front of the main window. Food was delicious and prices reasonable. Small mix up on a special request, which the server quickly offered to fix, but it was minor and we didn't mind so we preferred to leave it. On our way out, a staff member was kindly helping an elderly man out of his hightop chair and to his walker. There was great care and attention paid to the gentleman's comfort and safety = a sign of quality customer service.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Just what a Neighborhood Needs
    EastCoastGuyVIP
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    Zest is the kind of restaurant that I'd want in my neighborhood no matter where I live. It is nicely designed and yet down to earth. The food is interesting without breaking the bank. The service is great, and the wait staff tend to remember you and what you like. We had a great meal here again, as we always do. I think we will be back soon.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Too salty miso
    cindersailVIP
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    At Zest, I recently ordered the miso cod. It is described the black cod cooked perfectly with the elements of udon, and miso What came to my table were all the elements described but the miso was so intense, very salty, thick and not resembling a broth I could tolerate. My wife tasted it and confirmed the intense salt content and in-edibility of the dish. It was immediately replaced with another item and the rest of the visit was enjoyable. We have eaten at Zest many times and can honestly say this is a first.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great new site
    ProudMale
    Dined on 7/8/2014
    We made our first visit to Zest last week. Found the food outstanding, service great, atmosphere just right. I went with my son & his GF & wanted quiet conversation with excellent food. We were very impressed.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Sad disappointment
    Jilljak
    Dined on 7/5/2014
    I was excited to visit this spot because my boyfriend had been raving about it for months. He has been to Zest in years past and loved the neighborhood feel and great food at a reasonable price. This time wasn't so amazing. We were promptly sat when we showed up for our reservation but it took at least 10 minutes before we were approached at all. And this is a small place so waiters were serving guests all around us. When we finally had a waiter approach, he didn't know what Crown Royal was! I ordered a glass of wine and it never came so I asked the girl who delivered the Crown where it was and she poured it for me. The food was pretty good but took awhile for a restaurant that wasn't that full.
    Special Features:
    romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • NotAChefVIP
    Dined on 7/5/2014
    The sweetest spot in Barrack's Row ; always perfect when we want to have a good dinner at a neighborhood restaurant. No crazy scene like some of the other places on the street. Zest delivers a quality dining experience without the fuss. And sometimes that's exactly what we want so we keep coming back. Burgers are great, by the way.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Zest for a casual dinner out
    Dbump
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    The place was very quiet for a Saturday night, likely due to Jazz Fest was at the Yard. I am certain this is not usual. We were seated outside and had an issue with our tabletop spinning from the base so we quickly switched that out and we were all more comfortable. The waiter was nice enough but just learning. He took the orders and made a couple suggestions. He wasn't great at describing the plates but we did get the idea. The scallops were just slightly over done and the cod was extremely salty. I was happy dining here but nothing really tasted so wonderful I would rush back. The happiest person with us ordered the suggested roasted leg of lamb sandwich. All in all a decent yet unmemorable meal.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Always love Zest
    xolondon
    Dined on 6/26/2014
    This is my neighborhood go-to. You usually don't have to wait and the food is solid. My fave dish is the Soy Ginger Salmon salad. Fave dessert (in all of DC) is the Smores Pie. Go-to wine choice is a glass of the Matua Sauv Blanc.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 50 ratings-only reviews submitted since June 22, 2014
    • Overall Rating3.8
    • Food3.9
    • Ambiance3.7
    • Service4.1
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 450 reviews are from the Zest Bistro reviews archive.
  • Great experience/ atmosphere
    missmag
    Dined on 6/18/2014
    Zest is a great spot on Capitol Hill to take out of town guests looking for an intimate neighborhood restaurant or meet up with friends for either lunch or dinner. The menu is creative and has something for everyone! There are always daily specials and the food never fails to be excellent! Small bar also provides chance to just drop by for a drink and appetizers. Nice wine list.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Enjoyed our dinner at Zest.
    DandJ
    Dined on 6/16/2014
    Fit the bill for 3 generation dining experience. Had the parents from Nebraska, and a 3 and 5-year old. Great food all around, and outstanding service. Outstanding catfish, and wife enjoyed the fork tender steak. Parents enjoyed their salmon and pasta, and of course, the boys had chicken tenders and fries at reasonable cost. We intend to come back on weekend some time to try their brunch.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 6/15/2014
    The food was wonderful and everything was very fresh. Our children are still raving about the food and the restaurant!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Food on a Budget
    DCMom
    Dined on 6/15/2014
    Took my kids and husband for their Father's Day brunch. The food was great and very reasonably priced. I was actually shocked when I saw how little my bill was for eating on Capitol Hill. We will be returning often.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Sunday Brunch
    RNgourmet
    Dined on 6/15/2014
    Five of us gathered for a celebratory brunch and all had great meals. From the Eggs Benedict to large fluffy pancakes, to chorizo breakfast tacos, Chesapeake Benedict, and a muffaletta with smoked turkey, the presentation and flavors were wonderful. The spicey cheese grits were smooth and rich. We were all driving so didn't sample the drinks. By about 11:00 almost all tables were full inside and out so reservations are recommended. All around a goo place for fast or leisurely brunch.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • BigplateVIP
    Dined on 6/14/2014
    As a neighborhood brunch place, Zest is fine if unexceptional.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet