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Zest

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 25 reviews )
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Bornaische Strasse 54 (Sachsen), Leipzig, Germany, 04277

The menu is mostly vegan apart from cheese (marked) and cow milk in drinks. Each dish has a translation into English. Offers bi-monthly changing menu which consists of: soup and salad, starters, mains, and dessert. Sample items might be curry soup, fried tofu strips and oyster mushroom, veggie loaf, rosemary potatoes, vegan ice cream. Creative hot (non-alcoholic) punch and cocktail as well as an extensive wine list. Hip, modern decor. Reservation required for weekends. Direction: From Liepzig central train station take 11 train heading south for 15 minutes, the train will turn down Bornaische Strasse, get off at Pfeffingerstrasse, and continue on Bornaische Strasse for 2 blocks. Mon-Sun 11:00am-11:00pm

Category: Vegan-friendly, Organic, Beer/Wine, European, German

Reviews (25)

First Review by button

very fine food - Edit

i went there recently with a couple of friends. the menu is very reach and fully vegan. we had some delicious starters and very elaborated main courses. great food very interesting taste combinations. its worth paying more for this quality. the place ist very simple but warm and very friendly.

Pros: delicious , friendly, beautifully prepared

Cons: expensive


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Delicious, creative food, a little bit pricey. - Edit

I love the food at Zest, delicious very creative vegan cuisine, although a little pricey, it's usually worth every cent. (Only ONCE have I had a lower than average dining experience there). They change their menu according to the season and the food is always fresh and beautifully presented. The place itself is quite small, reservations must be made. Also, it's pretty cold, I think. Better bring a sweater. Other than that, it is the perfect place for a special occasion vegan dinner or even for lunch.

Pros: Food quality, Taste , Changing menus

Cons: Cold rooms, Limited space, Pricey


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Vegan food at it's best: Zest - Edit

A new menu every two months is worth going there regularly. Every dish I had so far was very well prepared and very delicious.
Next to the food they offer a fine selection of international beers, wines and Whiskeys and even home made lemonades.
Every time I went there it was worth every minute, every bite and every single cent.
The decent atmosphere makes a visit at Zest every time a pleasant experience for everybody.
Updated from previous review on Tuesday April 07, 2015

Pros: perfect made vegan cuisine, price-quality-ratio, nice selection of drinks

Cons: very often needs reservation


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Yummie - Edit

This is the best vegan restaurant i know. The food is so delicious. It's very hard to chose because it all sounds great and it actually tastes great as well. It's located in a really cool neighborhood with a lot of vegan/vegetarian stuff. You can also eat breakfast here. I would go there every day if i had the money.

Pros: Best food in the world, Friendly staff, Nice people


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Classy cuisine (oh, and it's mostly vegan!) - Edit

Having been here 3 times now, I have to say that it is quite possibly the best restaurant I've ever been to. The food is top class and although it comes at a price, it's still great value when you compare it to cuisine of similar cuisine in more high profile restaurants.

Their bi-monthly changing menu isn't quite 100% vegan. To give you an idea of what the food is like, between three people we had:

Starters:

- baby pak choy baked in mint soy yogurt dough, pesto out of smoked habanero and cilantro plus mango relish
- filo rolls with potato, beluga lentils, dates and parsley, quince confit and za’atar sour cream

Mains:

- sauteed wild mushrooms, baked in rosemary juniperberry dough, celery potato mash with pumpkin seed butter, salad with campari tomatoes, nocciolate olives and baby red chard
- savoy cabbage roulades filled with mograbieh couscous, lovage and caramelized shallots, fig port cream, tofu with coriander sea salt crust and kalamansi mayonaise
- grape cashew curry with cilantro and tofu croûtons, marinated shiitake with sesame seeds
- sauteed carrots and baby pakchoy with thai chili soy sauce and peanuts, tempeh crumble in ketjap manis

Dessert:

pumpkin cake with black walnuts and matcha cream, served with umeshu sorbet

Pros: Top-class cuisine at a fair price, A huge variety of imaginitive dishes


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The luxury of not being able to choose... - Edit

When looking at the menu, I was amazed by how good everything looked. The dishes are creative and refined. This type of veggie food I can't find in Belgian restaurants, except for special 'gastronomical menu's' that are more expensive and usually only once a month, but then you don't have a choice.

I started with a sherry soup with dill, celeriac spaghetti, sugar snaps and a tofu brochette. It was a little too salty for my palette, but had a nice special taste. The waitress apologized that they were out of bread, which could have helped to counter the saltiness. My boyfriend had nems with carrot puree/tarragon filling, with green asparagus and melon. He liked it very much.

As main course I took white asparagus with almond sauce, with another asparagus preparation, a purple patato gratin and a tomato/basil salad with elderflower vinaigrette. I will definitely try the asparagus/almond sauce combination at home. My boyfriend had a more Mexican inspired dish with seitan stuffed empanadas, olives, eggplant... He was again pleasantly surprised.

I didn't go to other vegetarian restaurants in Leipzig, but I spoke to a local girl, and this one is the best, and I believe her. So if you go to Leipzig, don't miss this opportunity!

Pros: creative, a lot of choice, very tasteful

Cons: sometimes short of supplies, not very hearty waitress


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Zest in Leipzig worth the trip - Edit

Just to correct some information in the main review, Zest is now closed on Tuesdays at the time we visited (December 2012). They have a simpler day-time menu from 11am to 6pm and a full, evening menu after 6pm.

We were only in Leipzig for one day and partly made the trip so we could try Zest. We were only able to visit for the day-time menu, but it was great. Lots of options that look relatively good on the menu but are fantastic and subtle when we got them. My partner and I are both vegan and really the menu is almost 100% vegan. (The website indicates that the only non-vegan items are well-marked cheeses, but I didn't see any non-vegan cheeses . . .)

I had a focaccia with seitan and a side of vegan potato salad (German-style, and a very impressive version of the tradtional), while my partner had a great burger (one of the best vegan burgers I've tried anywhere) with light, delicious curly fries. For dessert I had a soya fudge chocolate brownie (decadent and delicious) and my partner had the brazil-nut carrot cake with marzipan icing. It was a a fantastic, relaxed experience and a highlight of our time in Leipzig. I would definitely go back just to eat there and would love to try there evening menu.

It's about 4km from the city centre in a very interesting area of Leipzig with easy public transit connections (tram).

We spend a lot of time in Berlin and there are some great vegan food experiences there (Mano Verde, Lucky Leek, Vaust, etc.), but Zest is right up there I think in terms of culinary excellence (though a bit more laid back in style and atmosphere). Definitely worth a visit if you happen to be in Leipzig.

Pros: great food, diverse, creative menu, relaxed neighbourhood atmosphere

Cons: distance from city centre


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Good, but doesn't live up to the hype - Edit

I went here recently, after all of the recommendations on this site saying it was basically the best vegetarian restaurant.

I had the 'build your own burger.' It was good, but I've had much better burgers in my life.

The curly fries were something I'd never had before - very thin, but still seasoned and curly. So, I will give them points for that.

But it wasn't as good as all of the hype, and my friend didn't think so either. Good, but not the best.

I have a hard time deciding if I would have liked it more without reading the review on here first and thinking it was going to be SUPER AMAZING. Instead, it was 'pretty good.'

Pros: All-vegetarian, Good fries

Cons: Too much hype, A bit pricey


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Nice Surprise - Edit

I'd heard rumors of bad service and had trouble getting through on the phone (2 long calls with no answer), but the actual experience of eating there was very pleasant. As most everyone said, the food was excellent, but I also found the service very good. And in Leipzig, English isn't so common (none of our taxi drivers spoke it), but the staff here all seem to be fluent.

We ate outside, but when I went in to use the bathroom, I found the inside quite charming (even the bathroom, which was a bit gothy). Also, even though it was a bank holiday Monday during Wave Gothic Treffen, we were able to get a table without a reservation (as I mentioned above, I couldn't get through by phone), but I'm sure it's much harder on weekends.

p.s. The punky look of the wait-staff was mild compared to the patrons during WGT! :)

Pros: excellent food, good vegan options, charming


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One of the best meals I've ever had! - Edit

I went to this restaurant last Wednesday night in a group of 6 people from Australia and France, and we had the most incredible meal. Service was excellent - the staff spoke fluent English and were able to answer questions about which meals were gluten-free or could be altered to be gluten-free. There were so many things on the menu I wanted to try, but I started with a garden salad with sesame dressing, as well as sharing a filled potato ball (unfortunately I can't remember the exact names). With the Aussie dollar exchange rate, the meals were extremely good value, and we were able to get 3 courses and a glass of wine for less than about $40 Australian - unbelievable for the amount and quality of the food. There were so many dishes to choose from - I wish I could have returned to try more of the menu items that looked so tempting too!

My main course was a dish of crumbed and baked tofu cutlets with candied rosemary cashews and vegetables - it was so delicious. The flavour combinations were amazing and I enjoyed every bite.

Unfortunately, I was too full to be able to order a dessert, but my sister had the chocolate brownie which looked delicious. I was especially tempted by the range of homemade icecreams and the caramel sauce... but I just couldn't fit it in!

We had such a great evening here - everyone loved their food, and I will remember this meal for a very long time. If you're anywhere near Leipzig, make sure you go to Zest. (You absolutely need to make a reservation whenever you want to go - it's pretty small and very popular.)

Pros: creative dishes, flavour combinations, value for money

Cons: difficult to get in!


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Very good! - Edit

This is one of the best vegan restaurants that I have been to so far in Germany. The food is creative and very tasty! Make sure though to make reservations ahead of time as it is very small and only has a few tables.

Pros: excellent food, creative dishes

Cons: very small restaurant


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Well Worth a Trip to Leipzig - Edit

Zest must be one of the best kept secrets in the healthy and ethical dining scene. In a back street of a middle-sized German city, not in the vegan meccas of West Hollywood or Hong Kong, hidden is one of the most creative rendering of vegan cuisine. The kitchen masterfully delivers a consistent visual and culinary feast, as numerous visits here confirmed.

The processed soy protein, in the form of mock meats, may worry those who consider health in addition to ethics. But the menu, which is regularly revamped several times a year, offers wholesome choices as well.

The service has always be efficient and occasionally very friendly. An English menu is available and the staff is fluent. The popularity of Zest combined with its small capacity makes a reservation a good idea.

Overall: well worth a trip to Leipzig

Pros: Creative, Service

Cons: Location


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Beautiful and Delicious - Edit

I was really worried that we wouldn't get to eat at Zest during our short stay in Leipzig when I called to make a dinner reservation for a Saturday and found that they were completely booked, but luckily they had room for us for brunch on Sunday. We got there at 11:30 am, the time of our reservation, and there was only one other table occupied for most of the time we were there. Someone came in at one point and got turned away, even when there were lots of open tables, so make sure you make your reservations!!!

I ordered a special spring smoothie that had mint in it, which was amazing. My boyfriend's fresh juice was as one would expect. We shared a pastry-wrapped soy appetizer, which was pretty tasty. He tempura seitan with beets and avocado risotto for a main course, which had tempted me as well. It was pretty good, but I was glad that I ordered the BYO Brunch. The jalapeño whole wheat bread was incredible, and I couldn't get enough of the vegan blue cheese. I need to figure out how to make that cheese at home!! I also had the smoked paprika tofu balls, the seitan with sage and fennel, and the shiitake sesame salad, all of which were excellent. I really loved my meal, and it was too bad that my boyfriend wasn't as enthusiastic as I was.

I was tempted by all of the vegan desserts, but we decided to just share the coconut lime cake with blackberry cream cheese frosting. I was surprised at how simple and homey it looked when we got it because their other food looks so fancy, but all that mattered was how delicious it tasted.

I don't think I saw anything on the menu that wasn't vegan, so it was really hard for me to decide, but I was quite happy with what I ate and was full and happy when I finished. I definitely recommend Zest to anyone!

Pros: creative food, fresh ingredients, delicious meal

Cons: pricey


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excellent - Edit

My partner and I recently ate at Zest. Neither of us speak German, but the staff were very friendly and helpful (despite us being a little late for our reservation due to a bit of confusion on the tram). They weren't sure if our english debit card would work, but were happy for us to eat first then go to a cash machine if necessary-it's hard to believe some of the reviews here can be accurate as this seems to go beyond good service. The food was also exceptional-very high quality ingredients, cooked with an obvious understanding of flavours and texture which is often missing in vegan and vegetarian restaurants. Although not cheap, you wouldn't expect such a high quality meal to be. Also the food was very filling-we couldn't manage pudding, and other diners were taking doggy bags home. My only complaint would be the no dogs sign.

Pros: excellent food, friendly staff, attractive decor

Cons: not dog friendly


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As delicious as can get! - Edit

Every time I'm in Leipzig a visit to Zest is due! The staff is always very friendly and relaxed, as is the whole place. It's just really laid-back.
I've tried so many new dishes there I can't think of them all anymore but the D.I.Y. burgers were always fantastic (no real burgers though but better for made with real bread). Then there's a monthly changing menu with international dishes.
99% of the menu is vegan. Even most of the deserts. Once I had an incredible warm chocolate fudge cake there..
The prices are not low but for quality food as this it's worth every penny.
They also have a good selection of wines.
If you want to come on a Friday or Saturday evening you should make a reservation.

Pros: delicious food, relaxed atmosphere, good location


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One of the best! - Edit

Had a superb meal there in September 2009 while visiting British expat friends. The restaurant staff and chef didn't put a foot wrong all evening; the food really was terrific. Their cocktails are delicious too. I can't recommend Zest highly enough!

Pros: Great food, Lovely staff, Nice wine

Cons: You're not in Elgin!


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Standing out - Edit

Initially introduced to Zest's chocolate cake when attending a wedding, we made the trip to this relatively small restaurant twice having enjoyed the cake so much.

The menu is varied and not just featuring the average kind of fare and makes a visit when you're in Leipzig an absolute must. Although the space is limited and tables appear to be booked solidly on a Friday/Saturday afternoon, one is not rushed to make it through the meal and make space for the next customers.

Not only are dishes innovative and delicious, portions are also generous. Nevertheless, we managed to make room for dessert - beware of the size of the ice cream scoops :)

Pros: Innovative menu, Good value for money, Simple but nice decor

Cons: Often fully booked


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One of the world's best..... - Edit

This place is an absolute oasis, especially in a country not known for its vegan cuisine. We recently went out of our way to visit, and it was worth the detour. Zest is phenomenal. Fully vegan (though cheese is served with a few dishes - and specifically marked) everything is made on site, including bread, ice creams (soy) and spreads. The food was top-notch. We both enjoyed great tempeh burgers. The smoothies are also sublime (banana-expresso) was delicious. The menu is almost overwhelming, as there are just so many great things to choose from. While not "cheap", this place was hardly expensive by European standards, especially for lunch, which was reasonable. The hardest part here is making choices of what to eat! The sides were all great. The curly fries are light and home-made; the potato salad was also great. We also enjoyed a delicious brownie for dessert, though fitting it in was a challenge.

As for the waitress, I totally understand the comments of the previous review. My first impression of the waitress was the same, but I did feel she softened up a bit once we engaged her, and I was of the opinion at the end of our visit that it was more shyness than hostility, as we ended up having a spirited discussion about vegan restaurants in Germany, so she was clearly interested in her own job. I actually had the impression that she had a stake in Zest.... but that's just guessing on my part.

In any event, even if the service is not the highlight of your visit, you must not miss a trip to Zest. It is, for my money, one of the best vegan restaurants in the world, and certainly one of the most innovative.

Pros: outstanding cuisine, innovative menu, all homemade


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best Veg food, just hold the attitude - Edit

What a shame we still have to rely on humans to serve the food as well as cook it.

Zest has some of the best veg food I have tasted so far on my world travels, (23 cities), what let it down was the attitude of the totally unfriendly waitress who seemed to be afraid to smile in case her face cracked open.

It was like some kind of Monty Python "rude waiter" parody sketch. Would someone please tell the people of Leipzig that punk is well and truly dead, that it stinks and no one is impressed by it except themselves, no one even thinks it's cute or funny anymore, it's just a pathetic excuse for being too lazy to be civil to people.

I think the best way to experience Zest is to get your food to go, rather than have your gastro experience destroyed by someone who would much rather be at a funeral than to be in the terrible predicament of having to serve people food of the gods.

Food = 5 stars, absolutely excellent.

Service by the short haired blonde with the Madonna gap in her teeth (looks pretty, but...) = minus 2. I couldn't possibly imagine that anyone would leave her a tip. It bugs me how people employ others to do jobs that are totally wrong for them. As the woman next to me said, "Why would she bother coming to work if she hates people so much".

It's a shame that all the effort that has been put into Zest's menu could be undone by such a %$#^&^@ rude %^&&^

Don't miss the food, it's worth writing home about. Actually,maybe get a taxi to pick it up for you.




Pros: Great food, Rich but delicate flavours, Good ocation

Cons: No W-Lan (WiFi), Waitress, Unnecessary dairy on menu

3 Responses

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Merciless666 The people who run this place went through a lot unhappy times until they finally opened this place. They had to work hard to get a fine reputition and still don't earn as much as they should for all their strain to run a decent restaurant different from the average!!!
You shouldn't bring down the whole thing just because you happened once beeing served by a moody waitress. And by the way who cares about your opinion on punk anyways???
I was always served decently and have the deepest respect for them holding on to their believes, even though it's much more work then they probably expected!

love it or leave it.... - Edit

this is my all time favourite!!! i just happened to travel about 2 hours only for the dinner at zest. though it's not for low bugdet freaks it has the most delicate dishes i'd ever experienced at a veggie restaurant. they have some vegetarian dishes, but basically i would consider it a vegan restaurant with exellent coffee options.
check out their hot juices and the spinach salad!
you don't know leipzig, if you don't know the zest!
highly recommended by Merciless526

Pros: EVERYTHING!

Cons: NOTHING!


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Best in Leipzig - Edit

Fancy place, not for the faint of wallet, but oh my is it worth it. Original creations on a monthly rotating menu. Founded by an ex-pat who has put hard work into meticulous detail. Essentially a vegan restaurant; a few dishes have cheese but this is clearly marked on their bilingual menus. Reservations all but necessary weekend evenings and even some weeknights as well. Outdoor seating during the warm weather months. A necessary part of any vegetarian visit to Leipzig.

Pros: Vegan-friendly, Great cocktails, Always surprising

Cons: Allows smoking


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Excellent! - Edit

I very hip little restaurant with a modern, yet warm decor. The food was interesting and delicious! I had a curry soup with fried tofu strips and oyster mushrooms and a bean and veggie loaf with stewed nectarines (I think) and rosemary purple potatoes. It all seemed very meticulously prepared. I have to disagree with Merciless526 in that I ordered a soy latte and found it disappointing, but everything else was of the highest quality. The staff was super friendly (they were happy to re-make my latte, but it was still bland watery) and spoke great english. The food menu has english translation too.

It took about 15 minutes on the 11 train (heading south) from the central train station in Liepzig. The train will turn down Bornaische Straße, get off at Pfeffingerstraße and continue down Bornaische Straße about 2 blocks.

Pros: Maticlously prepared food, Excellent staff, Great decor

Cons: Coffee disappointing


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