Way back in my previous life as a boring banker working in Elmwood, I had a work buddy that I ate lunch with almost every day. We had a schedule of where we would eat each day of the week (it is New Orleans – food is important!). Usually, it was a local hole in the wall or sometimes even (gasp) fast food that would allow us to drive, eat and get back to our desks before that one hour was up.
But every now and again, we wanted to go somewhere and relax and have a meal that couldn’t be found just anywhere. Something that wasn’t a run of the mill burger or half limp salad like you usually find in chain restaurants.
That’s when we would head to Zea’s Restaurant. I always lamented the fact that they didn’t have a West Bank location because I absolutely adore their fresh spinach salad with homemade pepper jelly vinaigrette and would order it every time we visited.
After I left banking, I didn’t get out to any of their locations for a long time, so when I stumbled across the salad dressing being sold in Rouse’s Supermarket, I did a little happy dance in the aisle and proceeded to have it with dinner every night for a week (yes, it’s that good).
So when Zea’s opened a location in Harvey, bringing the New Orleans number of restaurants to 5, I almost wrecked the car snapping my head around to make sure that I had really seen what I thought I had seen. While I’ll miss the Semolina’s that was there before, the menu at Zea’s more than makes up for that loss.
Located right in front of the Palace Theatre on Manhattan Blvd. (hint: get there early on Friday and Saturday nights), the designers have done a beautiful job of making the interior a welcome respite from the outdoors.
There’s a full service bar, where you can enjoy a meal or just have a cocktail if you are waiting on friends or on a table. I highly recommend that you call ahead the day you plan to dine and make a reservation, because the place fills up fast at peak lunch and dinner times.
The interior is cool and relaxing, with a great decor and a professional wait staff that is well versed on the menu. When I last ate there, everyone dug into their plates so quickly that I didn’t have a chance to get good pictures of the food. Rest assured, it was delicious!
As a bonus, I found a new favorite dish…the Mediterranean Hummus - topped with feta cheese, sun dried tomatoes, roasted garlic and calamata olives and served with pita bread. It’s a big enough portion to make a great shared appetizer and we didn’t leave a single drop on the plate.
Want to treat a friend? Gift cards are available online, along with some of the signature Zea’s sauces. They also have an extensive catering menu – something to keep in mind as you start to plan those holiday parties.
The next time you are looking for a place to eat on the West Bank, give Zea’s a try. Not only will you have a delicious meal, but it’s another way to support a Louisiana business and stay local.
Zea’s Restaurant is located at 1121 Manhattan Blvd. Harvey, LA 70056