Zao Noodle Bar
I first experienced Zao Noodle Bar in Portland Oregon at the Bridgeport location. I’m usually skeptical about “noodle bars,” but this is not your typical, run-of-the-mill noodle house. You walk in to colorful chopsticks and my favorite Sriracha sauce atop each table, a welcoming wait staff, and the smell of ginger, and lemon grass. To my surprise, the menu caters to vegetarians, and has several healthy choices. I really love the house salad on the appetizer menu (enough for 2), and I usually get Monk’s Vegetarian Delight (pan seared noodles) with a side of rice. I hear the noodle soups are great too!
Before I moved to the City, I checked to see if there was a Zao Noodle Bar here, and was so excited when I found one in my neighborhood! I googled the address and found that this location had been closed down :( I knew there was a location in Palo Alto, so while I was home in San Jose last week, I made the trip up to University Avenue for my favorite noodle dish. Unfortunately, the Palo Alto location was small and didn’t have that “bright, refreshing” feeling to it, and the wait staff was less helpful and welcoming. Although it didn’t come close to my Bridgeport experience, it was super crowded (which probably means the food is still yummy) and the tables still sat adorned with colorful chopsticks and my fav sauce.
I love Zao Noodle Bar and hope they bring it back to San Francisco; I love the clean, light, healthy, Thai/Chinese/Vietnamese fusion of all their dishes.