Sunday, 18 May 2014

Zyara (Private room)

Zyara - Private Room

I've been to Zyara last summer and I absolutely loved everything about it: food, service, decorClick here to read my short review on the restaurant overall. This year I've reserved their private room for my sister's birthday dinner for about 15 people.
Check out my other blog posts of the same night:

  • Minimum of 12 people and maximum of 20 people
  • Fixed menu for everyone (their group menu starts at $39)

Reservation & Planning
I initially emailed them with details (including phone number) and received a call the next day. I was informed that it was booked on Friday and Saturday, so I ended up reserving it on a Sunday. I would suggest calling as early as possible to reserve it on a Friday or Saturday. 
Deposit: A deposit of $200 is required to reserve the private room. 
Menu: I chose the Lebanese menu for all of the guests. I was informed that everything except lamb shanks is halal. 
You can visit their website for more information.
There's free indoor parking and there's a direct access to the restaurant. Just park near the yellow section (J-K) and take the elevator to second floor. If you didn't park indoor or took another exit, simply find the gate J-K and take the elevator to the second floor. 
It was a little confusing for some of my friends but they ended up finding their way through. I personally prefer parking and taking the elevator directly up to the restaurant. I also usually park at the second basement floor (S2) because they are usually less cars parked there.

The restaurant is very easy to find once you reach the 2nd floor. When we walked in, the hostess greeted us and we were asked to wait for few minutes. Not all of my guests had arrived at that point, so we had no problem at all waiting. We were seated comfortably. We waited about 5 minutes and headed towards the private room...
This photo was taken in July 2013



The room itself wasn't very spacious but we were all seated comfortably and had no problem moving around. 



The moment we entered the room, we were mesmerized by the decor.

Table Setting 

I just loved the table setting overall. It was so classy! The red seats complemented well the black table.


    There was large painting on one side of the wall right next to the entrance.

Carved Windows

In the picture below, you can see the reflection of the Middle Eastern style carved windows with transparent drapes placed in front.


The large mirror definitely gave the illusion of an open space but it also enhanced the room lighting. 


The carved golden ceiling lamps in various shapes were so elegant. 

As it gets dark, they usually dim the lights but we asked them not to. 

My Overall Impression of Decor
I loved the room decor! It incorporated many of Middle Eastern colours (red, gold, purple) and elements (ceiling lamps, carved windows) but it still had certain Western components to it (painting, table setting). 


Lebanese Menu

Even though the menu was fixed for everyone, it had a variety of dishes that pleased everyone. There were few vegetarian items as well (items in blue). 
  • Cold Mezzas
    • Fattouche: Romaine and frisee lettuce, mint leaves, cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes & crispy bread
    • Hummus: Chickpea puree, tahini & lemon Juice
    • Kebbeh Nayeh: Beef tartar, bulgar onions, mint leaves & olive oil 
    • Warak Enab: Vine leaves stuffed with vegetables
    • Basterma: Cured and dried beef slices with Armenian spices
    • Chanklish: Dried cow's milk cheese with thyme and basil, cherry tomatoes & green onions
  • Hot Mezza
    • Cheese Rikakat: Crispy cheese rolls
    • Soujouk: Spicy Armenian sausages, cherry tomatoes, green onions
    • Falafel: Chickpea fritters, tarator & beet sauce
    • Zyara Shrimps: Flambeed Shrimps with arak, garlic & parsley
    • Mixed Grilled Platter: 
      • 4 skewers (shish taouk, kafta and shish kebab)
      • Grilled onions and tomatoes 
      • Zyara pita
      • French fries 
      • Garlic Sauce
  • Dessert
    • Baklavas
You can find the description of the items listed above on their "à la carte" Menu. 

Pita Bread

They started off by bringing pita bread, which reminded me a bit of the one I had at Paramount Fine Foods. It wasn't as soft as theirs but it still tasted pretty good.


The best part of this salad is the crispy bread on top. So good!!!


Their hummus was good! I had it with pita bread.

Kebbeh Nayeh
It was my first time eating beef tartare and was a bit hesitant to try it but I'm glad because it was delicious! So light and soft. That's exactly what I would get next time I'm there.

Warak Enab
It was good! Tasted a lot like the ones I've had in the past.

It was okay. Not a huge fan of it.

It was my first time trying this and I really liked it!

It was a little too salty for me but then again I'm not a huge fan of falafels.  

  • Mixed Grilled Platter: 
    • 4 skewers (shish taouk, kafta and shish kebab)
    • Grilled onions and tomatoes
    • French fries 
    • Garlic Sauce
Cheese Rikakat, Soujouk & Zyara Shrimps

I didn't take any pictures of these items:

Cheese Rikakat was salty but good.
As for Soujouk, it was okay. I don't really like sausages.  
Zyara Shrimps didn't have much flavor to them. 

Mixed Grilled Platter
By the time I got to this platter, I was almost full, so only tried a bit of their shish taouk, which was okay. I usually don't like grilled meat in general. 


They finally served baklavas, which were delicious!

We had also brought in our own cake & mini cupcakes. Some of us (myself included) were too full to even have either of those. Normally, I save room for desserts but this time I just couldn't.

Cake Collage posted on my Instagram

My Overall Impression of Food
I really liked the food overall. Everything tasted so fresh! I love the quality of their food. My favorite was Kebbeh Nayeh and my least favorite was Zyara Shrimps. We were all overwhelmed with the abundance of food! I also liked their food presentation. 



I was so impressed with the service. The waiters were very helpful and nice. We asked one of them to take a picture of the group but instead he took several shots from different angles, which turned out superb! 

However, it wasn't just the photography skills that impressed me but also the feeling of having everything taken care of. Few years ago, there was this one waiter who brought the plates before the cake and we were "surprising" my friend, so obviously she figured it out. Luckily, the waiters at Zyara brought in the cake then the plates and desserts.   

We didn't wait too long to get our food. In fact, the service was pretty fast considering the fact that we were 15 people. You can tell they're good at handling large groups. 

Aside from the service at the restaurant itself, the executive chef/associate who assisted me throughout the planning did a wonderful job. He was very helpful and professional. He answered all of my questions and definitely exceeded my expectations. I was very pleased!


There was a direct access to the lounge from the private room. We didn't have time to go there after since we finished late but I went there last year and it's very cozy and nice. They have electronic shishas now though. I'm planning on going there in the summer. 
The view of the lounge from the glass door of the private room

My Overall Review

It's hard to find a restaurant with good food and service nowadays but this is absolutely one of them. I love the decor and ambience of Zyara. I've only been there twice so far but enjoyed both times. 

If you're at least 12 people, then I would suggest you to reserve this room. Yes, the menu is fixed but they have a variety of items. I would really recommend the private room for birthdays, bridal showers or any other special occasions. If their menus don't appeal you, then try contacting them to see if they can adjust it to your needs.

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