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Zeno Manue
[closed, no longer in business]

411 State St, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 965-1403


Reviews by the General Public

Peruvians loved it!
Reviewer: pablino svacina from goleta, ca



Word of caution - Don't go there!
Reviewer: Isabella Riehn from New Jersey
This restaurant was almost empty even on a Friday night! Service was slow and the food was overpriced and bland tasting, although it came in too large portions. The waitress was also openly partial in her treatment of the sexes. I left wondering why I even bothered to find this restaurant, guess I was misled by the glowing reviews.


Vegetarian options, great food, reasonable prices
Reviewer: Jeanette Jaramillo from Santa Barbara, CA
There are 4-5 vegetarian entrees available, the food and sangria were great (and reasonably priced), and the servers were friendly.


They need more staff URGENTLY
Reviewer: Mathew from Los Angeles - CA
On Memorial Day I went to Zeno Manue for lunch following an advice from a friend who said the food there was really good, and actually it was a great food! But the service needs improvement ASAP. There was only one waitress serving all the tables (I can't precise exactly how many tables, but a lot of them) and the wait for the food was long. She was very polite and professional but couldn't serve all the customers at reasonable time. An advice to the managers: if you don't have enough staff, don't open the restaurant that day! A tip that waitress: keep up being persistent; everyone noticed you were trying to do your best, but it was really impossible all by yourself; we accept you appologies.


reality check
Reviewer: Teresa from Santa Barbara
My boyfriend and I tried this restaurant about two weeks after it opened as we both love South American food. It was disappointing as the empanadas were hard and dried out (they'd been sitting for too long) and the fried fish dish that I got was very heavy and not very flavorful. The service was decent. We waited about 8 months for them to "work out the kinks" and I realized that they had a coupon in the dine out book for buy one get one entree free. The meal again was only decent, their chimichurri barely making up for the lack of flavor and over use of grease. Upon presenting the coupon to our waiter, we were told that "a mistake was made with the coupon printing" and that they were only offering half off an entree. The bill came back with only our ($6!) appetizer removed and when we calmly questioned the owner, he said that was all he was willing to do, although the coupon said one thing and he previously stated another.


My Favorite Place to Eat
Reviewer: Nat from Santa Barbara, CA
I love going to Zeno Manue because the food is so different, the ambiance is relaxed, the main dining area has a huge window looking out onto State Street, the prices are reasonable, the portions are large and they even have some menu selections for children. I have no idea if the food is authentic, but it is a tasty blend of flavors and presented well. I especially love the ceviche. The jazz duo on Saturday night adds a nice touch. I like the friendly family-run restaurant feel...granted they sometimes seem understaffed, but if they are busy they'll bring you more bread with the salsa if you ask. You should try the flan.


Good food, excellent service!
Reviewer: Matt from Santa Barbara
I tried this place yesterday, and I thought that the food was decent. The service was absolutely wonderful however! I felt like I was having dinner at my Grandmother's! I recommend giving this place a try!


if you are starved for peruvian food, it hits the spot
Reviewer: Helmut from Zurich
I have lived in Peru for 19 years and really enjoy good Peruvian food. As I currently live in Zurich I have no chance to get a good Peruvian meal. Being currently in SB for a visit I discovered Zeno Manue and had to visit the place. The restaurant looks nice, is clean, and the staff friendly. The menu has a interesting selection of Peruvian dishes, as well as some which pretend to be Peruvian (for example, I have never had a dish with Mango in Peru). We ordered Ceviche and Papa a la Huancaina for appetizers, Bistec a lo Pobre and Lomo Saltado for the main dish. The ceviche was OK, albeit way too mild (more rocoto needed). The octopus had a weird aftertaste, it seems it was stored in the freezer with the wrong stuff next to it. Other than that the papa a la huancaina was pretty good (it is hard to mess this one up). As for the main dishes: the platanes in the Bistec were delicious, the Lomo Saltado (I did not try it) looked good. The Bistec, in my opinion, was missing some sweet potato chips which would have made it the perfect meal. Drinks: we had Inka Cola (of course...) and I ordered some chicha. The chicha was OK, but it should have had some fresh chopped apple. For desert I ordered mazamorra morada (a corn-made Peruvian version of yello). Unfortunately, it was at least a day old. Fresh mazamorra is gooey and this was watery, which means it had been waiting in the fridge for more than a day. Too bad, as it would have made my day. Summarizing: the food was good home-cooking style, but it missed somehow the "something" which would have made it truly special. If you know Peruvian food really well, then do not have high expectations. If you have never tried it: you will like it. In comparison to other places in California, I think Restaurant Limon in San Francisco is better. Unfortunately Limon does not use rocoto, a big nono.


Great Food
Reviewer: Alex from UCSB
The food here was amazing. I took my girlfriend for Valentine's Day and it was the best choice ever. There was girl and guy on keyboard and guitar and they were excellent. All the food was amazing, and the service was also really good.


Decent Peruvian Cusine
Reviewer: Gary Lazo from Henderson, NV
As a native peruvian I was pleased to find a Peruvian restaurant in Santa Barbara. The ceviche mixto was good, but could have been a little spicier. I ordered the Aji de Gallina, which was superb. My girlfriend ordered the Cau Cau, which was decent, but nothing spectacular. Overall it was a good meal with great service. I would recommend it to anyone looking to try new Latin American foods.


excellent ceviche
Reviewer: Jon from Santa barbara, ca
Had a great meal. The people are very nice. The ceviches are all very tasty.


good food, incredibly slow service
Reviewer: Maria Testa from Buffalo, NY
The service was so slow (on a Tuesday night) that it was laughable. I think it took 2 hours to get our dinner (salad and their famous roast chicken, nothing exotic). One person ordered a beer and when the waiter finally brought it (after about 30 minutes) he said 'It's been open so it might be flat'. He did bring another as well but it was ridiculous. There was just 1 waiter for the whole room and we saw people walking out because they were not being seated promptly. I guess we should have done the same thing.


Delicious & Amazing
Reviewer: Amanda from Santa Barbara, Ca
My husband and I went to Zeno Manue for Dinner one Saturday evening for the first time. Peruvian Cusine is something that I've been curious to try for sometime now. We had the most pleasurable experience. The food was amazing!!! We both orderd sea food dishes and a couple of appetizers. Service was great and very helpful. Best kept secret in Santa Barbara!!! You must taste.


Great food...
Reviewer: Enkel Brintrup from Montecito, California
From the service to the food... Great times here in this little nook. I went in to eat there with my cousin for lunch and must say I was rather disappointed to find out that lunch is the slow time of day for this restaurant. That just meant more attention to our table and the staff did not disappoint. I even chatted up with the chef who owns the restaurant and is from Peru. Being from Chile myself, we had plenty to talk about. And quite frankly, this Peruvian restaurant is the closest I've been to Chile in fifteen years. At reasonable prices, it's my opinion that they could charge quite a bit more for their entrees. Their portions are great and very filling. Try the bread with the sauces to make your mouth water. Try the empanadas to get an idea of what a real South American dish is all about. I'd recommend this restaurant to everyone.


An unusually good find ....

My husband and I found this place on John Dickson´s web site and were intrigued enough to give it a try on a recent overnight golfing trip to Santa Barbara. We shared two seafood entrees -- a grilled "mariscos" platter (one of the nightly specials) with spicy scallops, squid, shrimp, fish and potatoes; and a fish stew in a lovely, lightly spiced tomato broth served with rice. Both dishes were excellent, and we highly recommend them. Also shared the house salad, which was cool, crisp and fresh, but rather small for the price and nothing more than standard fare at any restaurant offering the same. My husband stuck with Heineken, but I ordered the light version of the Peruvian beer, which was icy cold, smooth and delicious. Our waitress, Corinna, was delightful and knowledgeable, and though the service was a bit slow for a weeknight with few tables occupied (a shame), we can´t fault her, but suspect the kitchen, which cooks everything to order and perfectly, as it should. Believe us, it´s worth the wait! Only complaint about the ambiance is that when we arrived the recorded South American music, which we love, was a bit loud, but when we asked to have the sound turned down, our request was complied with immediately. We heartily recommend that native Santa Barbarans and visitors alike make this a regular restaurant stop. Go, go, go!


OUT OF SIGHT
Reviewer: raquel from pasadena
My sisters and I went to Santa Barbara for a long weekend. I chose this place and o my GOD the food is great. The rice w/chicken is out of this world the place is clean the service is great! Cannot wait until we visit again! I went to a Peruvian resturant out in Eagle Rock and what a piece of junk! This place in Santa Barbara is the BOMB!


Excellent

My wife and I had an excellent dinner experience at Zeno Manue. We were in town for the weekend and hoped we could have a nice meal. We were happy to find Zeno Manue since we both adore Peruvian food. My wife and I were very pleased with the food and the ambiance was extremely pleasant. I can´t wait to get back to SB to visit Zeno Manue again.


Great Taste
Reviewer: hector from santa barbara , ca
The food is really good, and I go there all the time that I can. While I wait for my food I always enjoy the delicious aji(green sauce) with bread. Then the food is really good and is very affordable, not like other restaurants in state street. I recomend you all to try this restaurant and enjoy the awesome peruvian food.


Awesome Peruvian Food in SB!

My husband is Peruvian and he was so excited when this place opened. We have eaten at Zeno Manue often and each time the food has been excellent! There is often a longer wait than some other restaurants, but that is part of life, and for great food, it´s fine! I think the service is great, the waiters work hard and the chefs are excellent. I know how hard it is to work at a restaurant, and I think that they are doing a wonderful job! Thanks for the great food guys! We love you!


Authentic and delicious Peruvian in SB!
Reviewer: Chris Van Wyk from Santa Barbara
My wife is a Peruvian native and I´ve noticed my Peruvian side of the family is very critical of most attempts at authentic Peruvian cuisine. We will occasionally drive to Los Angeles just to eat at a good Peruvian restraunt. When Zeno Manue first opened, my family wasn´t impressed with the food. But a couple months later, Zeno Manue recruited a top notch chef to work with the owners. The results have been fantastic. Most people are unaware how highly regarded Peruvian cuisine is internationally- and when combined with an expert chef... this is what Zeno Manue is offering. My family now eats there regularly.


Poor service, not great food

My wife is from Peru so we always eat Peruvian whenever we get a chance. This was our first trip to ZM. We waited 40 minutes for our food to arrive. While waiting I went to use the restroom and one of the waiters challenged my right to use it ("the bathrooms are only for people eating here," to which I replied "I would eat here but you need to bring our order first."). When the food came my wife´s was roasted chicken (she had ordered fish and she does not eat chicken) and my order had way too much salt to be eaten. We had to go to another restaurant.


Great place!

My boyfriend and I dined here for Valentine´s Day and it was excellent. The food was delicious and it was not at all expensive especially compared to all the other restaurants on State st. They had great service and it was not busy at all, so no wait and a very calm atmosphere. I highly recommend this place.


I am Peruvian

As a real Peruana, I have always been very picky about Peruvian Restaurants. BUT, after visiting Zeno Manue´s I have to say I was very impressed. i love the cozy atmosphere and true family feeling. the food was fantastic and the service just as good. i felt like i was welcome into a family home. i met the owners who are very nice people and truly make you feel lke their personal guest. portions are nice, food very flavorful. i hear they may be getting live music on the weekends. What a great touch. A must try for good food.


A slice of Lima in SB
Reviewer: Aaron Longoria from Los Angeles
Having spent a good period of time in Peru living with a local family, I am naturally a little skeptical of "authentic" South American cuisine. Zeno Manue, however, was wonderful in that the food really reminded me of my time in Peru. The food was authentic and the atmosphere was very friendly. The place felt like home. I would recommend the Tallarin Verde con Bistec and the Lomo Saltado. The seafood appetizers were great.


good hearty food

The food was tasty and came in big portions (except for the empanadas - only two; too small and a bit dry - failed to impress). Try the mixed ceviche (apetizer) it was very good. From the main courses, the perihuela (peruvian seafood/fish soup) was quite nice. On the down side, some of the seafood tasted just defrosted and the place was cold. Overall good to have some good latin american food arround SB.


Peruvian Cuisine

Peruvian Cuisine


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