Violet’s & Zen’s – A New Gem in Wilton Manors

Soft Shell Crab Bao Bun. Photo via Violet's and Zen's, Facebook.

We stopped by the other day after seeing my friend’s social media postings about its exotic cocktails and wonderful sushi. It was a quiet weeknight, rather early, 6:30-ish, and we had the place to ourselves. Since it was so quiet, we asked to see the upstairs balcony area. It’s a beautifully spartan place with lots of low tables and loungers, but it was a bit chilly, so we decided to dine downstairs where it was more enclosed.

On Tuesday through Friday from 5-7 p.m. drinks are $5 or $6 and that includes all beer, wine, well spirits Margaritas, and Daiquiris. Select signature cocktails are only $8. Tapas plates are $10 and include Korean hot chicken baos, street corn ribs, Brussels sprouts, Thai meatballs, and crispy rice topped with chili-fermented tuna. We decided to take advantage of the deals. I enjoyed a very good glass of a South American Sauvignon Blanc.

The dishes are priced substantially less than on the regular menu, but even the regular menu is priced rather well, although some are much better deals than others. Bao buns are served in pairs. We tried the Korean hot chicken, and it was excellent. Other fillings include braised pork belly, mushrooms, and soft-shell crab. Tapas items include street corn ribs (corn on the cob quartered lengthwise, grilled and served like BBQ ribs, another winning dish), Brussel sprouts, enoki mushroom bloom Thai meatballs, wok charred octopus, shrimp dumplings, pan-seared scallops, and the addictive kimchi street fries (waffle fries cooked until a crisp as potato chips then doused with kimchi-infused cheese sauce.) The tapas range in price from $13 to $22 and are easily enough for two or more to share as a tasting. There is also a crab Rangoon dip with wonton chips. We ordered it, but the dish never came, and by the time we could find our waiter to point this out, we were full anyway.

On weekends sushi is available, our server informed us that when business picks up, they’ll begin sushi service all week. There are three desserts, all Asian variations on such favorites as crème brûlée, tiramisu, and S’mores brownie.

After all that, it still leaves me wondering, who are Violet and Zen, and where is everyone? We hope people discover this hidden gem because this place could be around for a while if enough people go there. 

Wilton Drive has a history of places taking a long time to open, often only to close quickly once they do. That appeared to be the case with Violet’s & Zen’s. The old Siam Thai restaurant shuttered, and then work began immediately to expand and upgrade the space. Then it sat unfinished for the longest time. Then a burst of activity and then… nothing. It quietly opened last summer, without much fanfare. We’re glad it finally did.

Violet’s & Zen’s

2010 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors


Bucket Listers, the folks who brought the Golden Girls Kitchen dining experience to Miami are at it again. This time they’re jumping on the Barbie Bandwagon with The Malibu Barbie Café, opening at the end of January in Wynwood. Every meal includes a choice of entree, side dish, and a cake pop.

Look for a new place along the Drive, Aunt Jenn’s Tea & Spice Shop. The tea emporium which began its life as a vendor at the Yellow Green Farmers Market will open at 2420 Wilton Dr.


Phone: 954-514-7095
Hours: Monday - Friday 9AM - 2PM


2520 N. Dixie Highway,
Wilton Manors, FL 33305



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