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
83 reviews since May 2, 2014
Overall Rating4
  • Food4
    Service4.1
  • Ambiance3.9
    Noise LevelModerate
94% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (54)great for brunch (32)great for lunch (30)great for outdoor dining (29)fit for foodies (25)kid-friendly (22)good for groups (20)romantic (8)special occasion (7)late-night find (4)hot spot (3)notable wine list (1)vibrant bar scene (1)scenic view (1)Show More
  • 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
    EastCoastGuy
    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
  • 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
  • Excellent food!
    jklip
    Dined on 6/9/2014
    Enjoyed food and service! Great place to bring out of town guests- all things on menu were recognizable- but prepared in great new ways
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Paul
    Dined on 6/2/2014
    Very nice location on the West side of 8th St. SE, so nicely shaded at lunch time. Tables outside and just inside the open windows share a great ambience. Gaspacho soup to start was very flavorful and nicely spiced. Burgers and the herbed fries were tasty and cooked just right. Good wine list with reasonable prices. Perfect for a quiet business lunch, meeting with friends, or a lunch--time date. Public parking lot two blocks away makes this one of the more accessible dining spots.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Consistently Fantastic
    HenryVIP
    Dined on 5/28/2014
    This being my third or fourth trip to Zest, it's quickly becoming one of my favorites. It's at the end of Barracks Row, so it maintains a low profile, but is consistently packed during the dinner hour. The food is on point (the salmon especially so). It's a great date spot - the quality is on par with high-end dining, while the atmosphere is still relaxed and busy. There are always families there, often with younger kids, but that only serves to create more of a neighborhood-favorite atmosphere. You can tell Zest is well-loved.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Lackluster
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 5/25/2014
    The food was home cook good, but nothing more. The home fries weren't seasoned, and the French toast had no flavor. The sandwich my girlfriend had seemed to be the highlight. However, a bacon,egg and cheese sandwich is hard to mess up. The compote on my French toast was sloppy.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • singingwolf1207
    Dined on 5/23/2014
    We were at first a party of ten that grew to 12 and then to 15--the restaurant was able to handle these changes and had a great table for all 15 of us. I was also impressed that they were willing to do separate checks--quite unusual with a group and much appreciated. The menu has many excellent, delicious choices priced reasonably, and the selection of beer on tap is great; many of our group had wine, as well, and everyone was very satisfied. I highly recommend this place (and the parking was easy!).
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • under duress
    dcer
    Dined on 5/21/2014
    Everything was fine. But I find it completely annoying that I have to write 50 characters. Cut it out.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • After Nats game surprise
    DCDinerVIP
    Dined on 5/17/2014
    We got lucky enough to get a table at Zest following a late-afternoon Nats game. The food was excellent- much better than the typical bar fare we would have had had we stayed closer to Nats Park. Well worth the walk post-game for a really great meal in a elegant but low-key atmosphere.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Dad from Oz enjoyed.
    Manga1972
    Dined on 5/16/2014
    Thanks to Candice, for making dads visit to DC a very memorable one. We had such a great night.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great for a group
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 5/13/2014
    Good wine list, great service, sleek decor. Great for a group dinner!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Fantastic
    Zimukusa
    Dined on 5/7/2014
    Traveled to DC from Ohio but was guiding people who were visiting the USA. My DC friends had given me various recommendations but we were all watching our budget and wanted something vaguely near Capitol Hill. Found Zest Bistro on Yelp.com and reviews seemed good, along with a thoroughly varied menu and decent pricing. We arrived and the restaurant from the outside seems like a store, but inside was well lit, clean and spacious. We were seated promptly; served excellent wines and cocktails (the only financial "splashing out" we were planning on) and we ordered the ginger calamari...DELICIOUS ALL ROUND! It was a Wednesday night and they had a special on lobster which was whole and fresh from Maine. The Risotto was scrumptious too. 5 stars!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Place for Brunch w/ Friends
    Rachel
    Dined on 5/4/2014
    Highly recommend for a weekend brunch spot on Capitol Hill. We made reservations for 10 people on a Sunday morning for brunch and it was great. The restaurant called & emailed to confirm the reservations the night before. We were able to spend time with friends and enjoy a fabulous brunch. The wait staff was excellent and accommodating to a big group with 2 small kids. Brunch drinks were fabulous, along with the food. It became more crowded later in the morning, so I would recommend making reservations.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 45 ratings-only reviews submitted since May 2, 2014
    • Overall Rating3.9
    • Food3.9
    • Ambiance3.7
    • Service4
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 433 reviews are from the Zest Bistro reviews archive.
  • kitchen needs a wake-up call
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010VIP
    Dined on 4/27/2014
    the service was nice, but the kitchen is a little sloppy. for brunch, the fruit salad offered as a side looked pre-packaged and the "seasonal soup" was mushroom. i don't know what spring mushrooms they used, but it tasted like a thick sauce of powdered porcini that would be better used as a pasta sauce. ok if you're in a bind for a local table, otherwise you can do better.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Enjoyable and Fun
    skinnyfoodie
    Dined on 4/20/2014
    I visited Zest on Easter Sunday with my family and when we arrived there wasn't anyone else dining in so we basically had the restaurant to ourselves.The staff was friendly and very helpful with helping us pick out great dishes from the menu. We are DC natives but we have never been to Zest before. The $7 Mimosa were pretty strong and worth it considering I was dinning with a difficult family member who is very picky and was to giving waitress a hard way to go. The staff handled my difficult family member very well they weren't rude or distasteful (Thank you Zest Staff you guys are awesome :) ! This restaurant is a great location for weekends! The ONLY negative drawback is no military discount.
    Special Features:
    Great for Brunch, Kid-Friendly, Good for Groups, Great for Outdoor Dining, Romantic, Great for Lunch, Late-Night Find, Scenic View, Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.