Restaurant News & Reviews

Dining Out: Comfort food comes home

Those who miss the old Denny’s restaurant at Calle Joaquin Street and Los Osos Valley Road in San Luis Obispo can take comfort that a better diner has opened in its place.

Zaki’s Golden Waffle is a new breakfast and lunch eatery specializing in classic American dishes—and, of course, waffles.

Owner Zaki Shabbar retained many of Denny’s colorful and retro-style furnishings that give the restaurant its big-city diner ambience. Purple and red booths line the walls and a long counter provides an ideal spot for patrons dining alone.

French toast and more

Breakfast is king at Zaki’s, but there are also about a dozen lunch options including sandwiches, salads and a selection of burgers.

The French toast sandwich ($7) is four thick triangles of egg-soaked bread grilled and served with eggs and sausage. The thick and slightly sweet bread is served under a slab of melting butter. It’s not adorned in chopped nuts or fruit like many high-end restaurants serve it, but I appreciated that it wasn’t lost among its toppings. It was delicious on its own.

The sausage links are crisp on the exterior, have a slightly spicy kick to them and are better than many of the links I’ve tried at other Central Coast restaurants.

Hefty omelets

Omelets are super-sized at Zaki’s so they could easily satisfy two. The Zaki’s omelet combines four meats —bacon, ham, linguisa and sausage—with green bell peppers, mushrooms and cheddar cheese. The filling is ample, as is the side of country potatoes or hash browns.

The California omelet folds eggs over sliced avocado, bacon, sour cream and grated Cheddar cheese.

While savory, the sour cream prevented the cheese from melting and cooled the omelet so instead of hot it was served slightly warm.

Although still tasty, I’d like to see them serve cold ingredients on top or on the side.

The country potatoes are sliced thin and then seared to a golden crisp. Although not a standout, they are a nice accompaniment to any of the restaurant’s savory breakfast choices.

The Florentine Benedict ($7) tops a sliced English muffin with sautéed spinach and tomatoes and poached egg. Drenched in a creamy Hollandaise sauce, the breakfast is flavorful and rich.

Lunch is served

Breakfast is offered until closing, but for those craving lunch there are plenty of choices. The Philly cheesesteak is a stuffed french roll filled with diced steak, mushrooms, bell peppers and onions. The flavorful sandwich comes smothered in melted Swiss cheese and with a side of thick steak fries.

Where waffles are king

One should not leave without trying one of the restaurant’s signature waffle dishes. Toppings range from classic strawberries and whipped cream to a pecan and bacon variety. I shared the former with a couple of friends for dessert and delighted in the classic combination of sweet berries, cream and a warm, soft waffle.

Zaki’s doesn’t consider itself gourmet, but markets itself for what it is: a cozy diner that serves generous dishes of classic American comfort food.

Reach Dawn White at 781-7946.

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