Guru’s Review: Zaman Cuisine, Orlando, Florida

Welcome one of the newest Halal restaurants to hit the Halal food scene in Orlando. It opened recently in 2019 to much praise. The owner/chef Emad uses his Turkish and Jordanian roots to cook up a feast for hungry patrons. The restaurant is located on I-Drive so visitors and locals alike can sample the delights that come out of his kitchen.

FOOD

While categorized as a Middle-Eastern/Mediterranean restaurant, the dishes take a creative twist. The meats are grilled over an open charcoal flame to perfection. However there is more spice and heat to each bite compared to the traditional middle-eastern spot. Definitive thought and care are taken in plating the food and are a feast for the eyes as well. If you have a large group order the grilled combination platter, it’s not on the official menu yet, but is an absolute must. It can easily feed 4 to 6 people to their hearts content.

Zaman Cuisine platter
Emad put together this combo grilled platter. It was amazing.

Amongst the appetizers, I truly enjoyed the hummus as it has a deeper smoky flavor and couldn’t stop eating it. One of my favorite parts of the menu are the smoothies and fruit drinks. They are prepared fresh and served on ice for maximum enjoyment. They have various fruit flavors and combinations to sample and are made fresh to order.

SERVICE

Appetizers came out moments before the main course was served and specialty drinks came out well into the meal service. This is a new restaurant and there are certainly going to be work flow issues as they figure things out. The main plus is that orders came out accurate which was nice to see. The owner/chef Emad personally came out of the kitchen several times throughout the course of the meal to ensure all his dining patrons were having the best experience possible. His support staff were showing their inexperience as they worked through dinner service. This inexperience should clear up with time as team members become more confident and clear in their roles.

LOCATION

The restaurant is located off International Drive (I-Drive) in Orlando. However it is not visible from the main road as it is located on the back end of one of the many strip plaza. However, if you use the Sushiology and Zaman Hookah Lounge (separate business) as landmarks, you’ll be in the right plaza. It is located on Google maps and so the GPS can navigate to the right spot.

Orlando Forum
This is your landmark off I-Drive to find the correct entrance to the plaza where Zaman Cuisine is located

There is free parking in front of the restaurant with additional parking behind it the plaza.

Another nice feature is that they are open late into the night, sometimes until 2 am. If you are looking for other Halal spots that are open late, check out my Top 5 Halal Spots Open Late in Orlando.   Also, you can order from the restaurant menu if you are a patron at the Hookah Lounge and they will bring the food to you.

ATMOPSHERE

This is one of the more impressive features of the restaurant. The décor is very contemporary and the purple and silver color theme create a very casual vibe. The walls are decorated with inspirational sayings and many small artifacts to catch your attention while you wait for your meal. There is limited dining area with only a few dining tables so it may be difficult to accommodate larger dining parties at peak times.

Also, this may not be the best place to bring small children given the compact seating area and many displays of small, breakable artifacts on display. Having said that, they do have highchairs available.

Zaman Cuisine
Interior Décor of the restaurant. Small space but very well done.

There is a single bathroom in the restaurant in which the décor and theme from the main space is carried through. They even have a backlit mirror…fancy.

PRICE

It is located on I-Drive, a tourist hub so there is a price to pay for that convenience. However, looking at the distinctive menu and the effort put into the décor, they truly deliver on a great dining experience which is well worth the premium. Given the pricing, there is also value in the portions of the meal which can be easily shared. The smoothies and drinks will run you somewhere between 5-12 USD which can be a little pricy, but again this is not something that is universally offered at other restaurants so there is value in that.

mango juice
Freshly pureed mango juice with ice. Very delicious!

OVERALL

There is always an initial excitement and rush to try the latest restaurant. Sometimes the hype is greater than the actual experience. However in this case, with the quality of the food and the atmosphere of the restaurant, I am truly excited about this spot. Almost as excited about it as when Halal Cart food came to the Orlando food scene with the opening of Oh My Gyro. I would dare to say it, if they are able to maintain the quality of their food and refine their service model, they could easily make it on to the TOP 5 list of Halal Mediterranean restaurants in Orlando when I review it next. While the bill at the end of the night may be on the upper end of the spectrum of halal spots, the value and memories created by the dining experience will prevail. This is a must try spot if you are looking for some time to chill with your spouse (like for Valentine’s Day) or close friends in a trendy environment.

Food Category: Middle-Eastern

Guru’s Rapid Review: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Must Try: Mixed Grill Platter, Hummus, Fresh Iced Mango Juice

Address: 6400 International Dr, Suite 140, Orlando, FL 32819

Phone: (407) 250-5903

Website:    https://www.zamancuisine.com

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