Reviews: Zen Kitchen

Reviews: Zen Kitchen

In 2009, we worked on the complete renovation of the space that was to become Ottawa’s renown Zen Kitchen.  The restaurant enjoyed five great years as the city’s premiere vegan restaurant — and of course there were some fabulous reviews written and photos taken during that time.


© Amanda Large & Younes Bounhar, Local Tourist Ottawa

In their article “Beautiful not boring: A look at architectural gems of Ottawa”, Local Tourist Ottawa wrote:

Zen Kitchen (634 Somerset Street West) sits right at the start of Ottawa’s Chinatown and uses locally sourced whole foods and all-natural ingredients to present dishes that are both beautiful and healthy. The interior was designed by Heidi Helm of Urbanomic Interiors. Heidi explains that “The design objective at ZenKitchen was to avoid the stereotypical “granola” aesthetic of many vegetarian/vegan establishments and create an upscale, contemporary space that avoided coming across as stuffy or pretentious. To achieve this we paired clean, lines with bold yet inviting colours and a bit of whimsy in the upholstery fabrics. The rich warm solid cherry wood tables and bar top were finished with a thick lacquer for an additional touch of sophistication and the overall colour palette was inspired by spices such as curry and saffron, which are essential to Vegan cooking.” What stands out at Zen Kitchen, is that the choice of colours and furnishing lend warm and inviting atmosphere that is far from being cold and sterile.


© Corinna Horton, Food Gypsy

In “Zen Kitchen, Ottawa’s Inspired Vegan”, the Food Gypsy wrote:

The Zen of Ottawa’s dining scene finds it’s home in what used to be a small house on Sommerset, in the heart of Chinatown.  It’s comfortable room, with warm coloured walls and abundant natural light seats it’s clientele easily despite it’s small size.





In Anne DesBrisay’s article about Zen Kitchen, she wrote:

Zen Kitchen opened in late June in the space vacated by Le Panaché. With help from Ottawa designer Heidi Helm, they’ve created a cheerfully dignified space. Gorgeous art hangs on red and mustard walls, chairs and benches are comfortable, upholstered in jaunty polkadots, lighting is soft and clean, fresh flowers and candles grace gleaming cherry tables.

Who knows, perhaps Caroline Ishii and David Loan will open another restaurant in the future, and we would love to be a part of it!  For now, we’ll just have to give some of Caroline’s new Trufflishiis a try.


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