Zanzibar on Shaker Square is a great place to satisfy your craving for Southern soul food. They moved from their old location next to the cinema into where Sergio’s Sarava used to be several years ago. The move not only gave them more space, but also a great patio. Zanzibar is owned by the same people who run Angie’s Soul Cafe (see previous post).
I had been to the old location for a buffet brunch where I fell in love with their chicken and waffles and the Purple Rain, a mixture of lemonade and grape Kool-Aid served in a mason jar). The Sunrise mixes lemonade and red Kool-Aid. I found myself craving this and kept trying to replicate it at home. Sadly I couldn’t, but luckily for $5 you can order a mason jar filled with your drink to take home.
Now they are located in the old Sergio’s Sarava location. They have an awesome patio, which is where we were sat for this meal. However, they also have plenty of inside seating for the winter months.
Once seated the wait staff brought out a basket of cornbread and blueberry muffins. I had a tough time deciding which one I loved more. Both were really moist and flavorful. The butter was soft and plentiful, which was also nice.
We enjoyed quite a few things on the extensive menu. We started off with a couple appetizers that we shared. My favorite was the Soul Rolls, which feature chicken, greens, black beans, roasted corn and cheese with a zesty remoulade sauce to dip them into. They were delicious. The Collard Green and Artichoke Dip was also stellar. We devoured the ciabatta toast points that came with them and ate forkfuls of the dip to finish it off. I would definitely order both again.
I ordered the Ultimate Feast, which is a great option for those who have trouble deciding between items, because you can pick two entrees. I wish more restaurants would offer something like this. I ordered the walleye cake and the turkey chops. Because where else do you find walleye made into a fish cake? Nowhere. The walleye is mixed with scallions, roasted red peppers, and cilantro, shaped into a patty, and lightly fried. It comes with a Thai ginger mayo on the side. Pro tip: when they ask whether you want your entree “smothered” the answer is always yes. This means that your meal will be smothered in gravy. The gravy was delicious and added a really nice moistness to it. It paired really well with the mashed potatoes, which was the house potato I ended up choosing. The turkey chop meat was tender and easily fell off the bone. The walleye cake was also quite good, but the turkey chops stole the show. I really liked the collard greens that I chose as my additional side.
Another favorite was the Honey Glazed Fried Chicken. There is nothing more southern than fried chicken. The entree features half a chicken broken down and deep fried to a golden brown and finished with a sweet honey glaze. You can order an all white meat option for an extra $3. My friend really enjoyed her wild rice and baked macaroni and cheese sides.
Another friend ordered the Shrimp and Grits, which features shrimp, onions and peppers marinated in a Creole sauce served over a bed of grits. She lived in New Orleans for a little while and appreciated the Creole sauce. She enjoyed the leftovers too.
The aforementioned Chicken and Waffles are served with buttered grits. This place really knows how to make good grits. The entree includes two pieces of chicken over a Belgian waffle. Heaven!
The portions are huge. Be prepared to leave stuffed and bring home leftovers. None of us had room for dessert, although they sound good. You can choose from peach cobbler, apple cobbler, sweet potato pie, baked bread pudding with rum sauce, and Better Than Sex cake, which is a rich cake injected with chocolate chips and walnuts and topped with vanilla ice cream.
So take advantage of the nice weather and enjoy a drink and/or meal on the patio at Zanzibar. You’ll leave happy for sure.
Zanzibar Soul Fusion
13225 Shaker Square
Cleveland, OH 44120