The Zenith

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 17 reviews )

86 S 26th St (at Sarah St, in the historic South Side), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, 15203

Vegetarian cafe and eclectic antique gallery and vintage clothing shop. Features a weekly changing menu, an extensive herbal tea menu, and live events some evenings. Sunday is brunch buffet. Open Thu-Sat 11:30am-9:00pm, Sun 11:00am-3:00pm. closed Mon-Wed.

Category: Vegan-friendly, American, International, Buffet

Reviews (17)

First Review by Nick Kyriazi

Fantastic experience - Edit

Our whole family loved our visit to Zenith! It is such a unique dining experience. The kids were enthralled by all the antiques and unique decorations. We were there for dinner and everyone loved the food. We had fajitas, the Greek plate, hummus wrap, and seitan meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy. The owners and staff were helpful and went above and beyond. We will definitely be back on our next visit.

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Brunch at Zenith - Edit

Zenith Tea Room is an eclectic mash-up of antiques, pop-art and meat-free food, located on Sarah Street between 25th and 26th, two blocks from East Carson. On Sundays Zenith offers their famous vegan friendly brunch from 11 am until 2:30 pm. They do serve eggs and dairy but also have multiple plant-based options, and the buffet is 100% vegan, including an ENTIRE TABLE of CAKE & PIE! (Let that sink in…)

The food at Zenith is fun but inconsistent. Some of the sweeter dishes were way too sweet. The black bean salad was fresh but the salt was heavy-handed. However, the experience isn’t about the cuisine so much as the atmosphere and having a shared moment with friends and family in a visually engaging environment. And the price is unbeatable, $11.50 gets you brunch with bottomless coffee!

The only real flaw with Zenith’s system is that you must order an entree to get the brunch, and unfortunately all the POP and food-fun happens in the buffet. The entrees aren’t fully realized, they’re typically stodgy without as much pizzaz. We get it, the idea is to stuff the patron with the entree and they won’t eat as much of the all-you-can-eat buffet. But this could conversely lead to food waste, as most people like us are there for the buffet salads, fresh fruit and cake. The entree is secondary and we end up eating way too much so we don’t waste the food.

But as we mentioned before, the Zenith buffet is where the magic happens! A nice balance of salads, grains and pulses. Vegan picnic foods like traditional macaroni and potato salad. The spinach strawberry and sesame seed salad was lovely, as well as they the tossed chop-salad with fresh green grapes. The cold peanut noodles are a favorite of ours, perfectly executed toothy noodles in a rich peanut sauce. Lovely sweet and salty!

The cherry pie is alway a go-to, we love it. Sweet tart cherry filling, summer aromas, fresh and luscious. The best part of a good pie or tart is in the bottom crust after it becomes oversaturated with fruit. Toothy, luscious and chewy. Indeed!

The chocolate lavender cake was really interesting. We were unsure how that would turn out, but it worked really well. The lavender was understated and married nicely with the spongy dark cake. Well done!

Pros: All-Vegan Dessert Table, All-Vegan Salads for Brunch, Quirky Decor

Cons: Food inconsistently prepared, Too much white bread, Brunch entrees sometimes stodgy and unrealized

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We love the Zenith - Edit

My boyfriend and I have eaten here several times. The atmosphere/decor is great. The staff (I guess it's family owned) is super nice. Now we went on Valentines day for the buffet and it was so crowded that we had to share a table with 4 random people, which I'm not gonna lie, we were upset about, considering that it was valentine's day) but it WAS nice that we didn't have to wait long for that reason. The next time we went we did not go for brunch. Everyone is always saying go for Sunday brunch but I disagree! The regular menu is reasonably priced and I don't like buffet style dining that much anyway even though the brunch was very very reasonably priced. When we went a Saturday morning the grandparents had a little toddler bring our check

Pros: nice staff, cool building, good prices

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Awesome - Edit

My mom and I started going there once a week to try something new. Have not been disappointed yet! Very delicious. Staff is also super friendly and I happen to love all the antiques and things in the dining area.

Pros: Great food, Different options weekly, Nice staff

Cons: None

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Food is good, but atmosphere appears umkempt - Edit

To each his own. The food is good but each time I suggest going to Zenith, the family declines on the grounds that it is "icky," by which they mean the eclectic decor, antiques etc. They may be used to antiseptic-looking environments, which may not be fair, but even I find it a bit too much. Perhaps the DR could have slightly less bric-abrac.

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Appropriately Named Restaurant! - Edit

I thought I reviewed this already. I like this place, it's good. The atmosphere is fantastic. It's an antique/2nd hand store along with a restaurant. When you enter the store, walk straight back and you will enter the restaurant. You'll be in the back seating area so if you don't immediately see someone, sometimes you have to walk to your left and hook around to get to the kitchen enterance where you can typically flag someone down. It sounds complicated but it's not. Bottom line I guess is there's no host/ess with a nice little stand.

I agree with the other reviews, the food is only slightly above average. However, the menu changes frequently and there are always delicious cakes available. Actually, the cakes make this place have delicious food.

The atmosphere alone should entice you to come here. It's one-of-a-kind. If you are a vistitor, you have to try this place.

Pros: unique atmosphere, excellent prices, friendly staff

Cons: not stellar food (but not bad either)

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Cool place that's worth checking out, but ok food - Edit

I've only ever been to Zenith for brunch, when it is buffet style for sides and dessert, and you order an entree for $10. It's a really good deal, but none of the food I've ever gotten there has been notably tasty. The desserts are 100% avoidable. I would not recommend saving calories and/or room in your tummy for them. It's all these slices of little round cakes that look cute but taste more or less the same and are kinda moisture-deficient. Sometimes I'll pick an entree that I like, like their white bean hummus wrap, but that's vegan 101. I would not order their pancakes or French toast, theirs made me a bit angry. I wanted to march in the kitchen and show then how easy and inexpensive it is to make great vegan pancakes! Everyone is bound to find a buffet side or two or three they are into.

Frankly, although the food isn't amazing, it's still worth coming here, and I wish I'd gone for dinner there before I moved away. It's just such a cute, cool place that will brighten your spirits. Also, hungry? Plenty of food, plus coffee or another beverage for $10 - can't beat that! I think this place used to be totally vegan, but at some point they added dairy milk and a cheese plate for dinner for whatever reason. Possibly chicken's eggs too. Lame, but all their sides and desserts are vegan, at least, as well as all but a few entrees.

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Pretty Good - Edit

The food is pretty good. I liked the orzo salad that I had while there, but walking around the shop and being able to look in the kitchen really didn't seem to sell the idea that cleanliness is a top priority. That's just a complete turn-off.

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The place to be in the Burgh - Edit

If you've never had Zenith's Tofishy sandwich, you haven't lived! They call it vegan crack--and with good reason.

They have great teas (both hot and iced), eclectic recipes, and a very funky, fun atmosphere.

Their Sunday brunch is a vegan wonderland. For a very reasonable price you get the vegan buffet (which includes an entire *table* of vegan desserts), an entree, and your choice of tea.

Pros: Vegan cakes, Excellent food, Fun atmosphere

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  Contributions +109

interesting place - Edit

Lots of interesting things to look at. The walls and shelves are overcrowded, but it's all interesting stuff. Every table has it's own style.

The woman who runs the place is friendly.

The food is okay, but not great. She uses a microwave.

Pros: atmosphere, choices, service

Cons: so-so food

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Fantastic - Edit

Let me first say that this is a place that makes you feel like you are in San Fransisco or Berlin. It's simply awesome, different and delicious, and I forgot: not expensive! You will definitely end up eating something you haven't eaten before and you'll love it. One of the places I take all visitors to.

Pros: great vegan food, prices, excellent tea and coffee

1 Response

SLC 17 Nov 2012 - Unfortunately I have to revise my review after 2 very unpleasant visits to the Zenith. The first time was at their Sunday brunch which I am a huge fan of. The entree I ordered were tacos which I did not like at all but everybody else's food was good and the salad were as fantastic as ever. We went back for dinner on a Friday and I ordered their mushroom stew. It was absolutely horrid. My husband tried it, too and said he'd never eat it. After these 2 meals I wonder if the cook even samples his food. What made me really angry though is that not only were we never asked if everything was alright, but when I said I did not want a box and returned the entire (!) meal she pretended it didn't happen and charged us the full price. Sorry, 2 really bad meals and bad service..... I am very disappointed. I would still recommend the brunch because there are so many good salads to choose from and their sandwiches are good. So I think you'll be fine if you stick with that.  

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Interesting food, nice staff - Edit

Zenith is a bit difficult to find as it isn't on a main street and it looks like an antiques shop from the outside (it is both an antique store and a restaurant). You can park for free here, though. The menu changes weekly, and all of the food can be prepared vegan. The best thing I've had there is the Toficken Sandwich. They also have a very impressive tea list. Sunday brunch is awesome, but you need to get there at opening time or you might be waiting for a very long time. Also, the buffet tends to run down about halfway through.

Pros: All food can be vegan, Staff is nice, Tea list is amazing

Cons: Hard to locate, No credit cards, A bit dingy looking

1 Response

Tazzled 22 Feb 2013 - Just a heads up about one of your tags - it says "no credit cards", but they do take them. They also have no problem splitting your bill, which is awesome!  

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Fantastic All Around!!! - Edit

Although I have never made the sunday brunch I have been to the a la carte part several times. I have a rather severe egg allergy and the vegan options are PERFECT!!! Fresh quality natural food at a reasonable price and a quirky presentation. A quaint fun and hip intelligent atmosphere away from the normal hustle and bustle of south side!!!

Pros: Great Value, Healthy Cuisine, Vegan Options

Cons: Tricky Location

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Absolutely Delicious Brunch - Edit

I had Sunday brunch at Zenith's and was really impressed. For 10 bucks you get to choose one of around 5 entrees on that day's menu (I had almond waffles with blueberry topping), unlimited trips to the all vegan salad bar, and a drink. The salad bar was amazing...different pasta salads, lentil salads, stuffed grape leaves, all kinds of desserts, etc. I enjoyed this part better than my meal (in fact next time my fiance actually plans on skipping the entree and just eating from the bar).
The atmosphere is very unique. It's an antique store, so there are plenty of things to browse and look at while waiting for a table. Also, all of the servewear/decorations are antiques, so that is kind of cool. They will seat you at a table with other people as well, so I guess be prepared for that, but I thought that was kind of fun.

Enjoy, I highly recommend!

Pros: great food, cheap, great atmosphere

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Very Interesting - Recommended - Edit

The Zenith is a very unique kind of vege restaurant. Actually it's way more than a restaurant. It's also an art and antique gallery plus a vintage clothing shop! I love the changing menu. There is always something different to try. And the herbal teas by the pot is great (choose from a huge selection). Very easy going and interesting place to visit. Highly recommended when in Pittsburgh.

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Sunday buffet advice - Edit

The buffet opens at 11am. Come before 11am or after 1pm. If you don't get there early enough to get a seat, you may as well come back in two hours, as no seats will be available for that long as people gorge themselves.

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  Contributions +18

The Best Brunch Ever - Edit

This is, hands down, the best vegan/vegetarian brunch you will ever have. Ever. For one measly little price, you get unlimited trips to the salad/side bar (that just happens to have the most amazing stuffed grape leaves in the city, as well as the world's best macaroni salad) the all-vegan desert table (including tofu cheese cakes and other assorted sweet-treats, all lovingly made by the staff), unlimited coffee or specialty tea, and an entrée. The atmosphere is funky and comfortable (you sit in the midst of a vintage clothing and antique shop and the art on the wall is for sale), and it feels like you've been invited to someone's mom's house for a huge Sunday meal. Don't pass up the TofuRuben or Tofishy sandwiches - they are simply perfect in every way. I have introduced many friends to the Zenith Brunch, and have never heard an ill word. This is an eating extravaganza that is not to be missed.

Pros: great staff, fun atmosphere, amazing food

Cons: gets crowded!

2 Responses

Asparagus7 22 Jun 2011 - I could not agree more!  

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cassandramousey 16 Jun 2013 - Absolutely loved it! Fantastic food, cake, service and atmosphere :) Great selection, great price, amazing  

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