Zappas Lounge (Kingston) – An OK patio. A forgettable menu.

Joy Supper Club closed maybe 9 months ago. I never really liked it. The main problem it had was theme nights. For example: on a Friday night, they would sometimes play Salsa music the entire night. I am all about diversity in club music and I often get tired of Top 40 but come on! Also, I’d heard of some shady cocaine-esque dealings at the bar…

When I saw work being done to construct the new Zappas Lounge where Joy used to be, I was intrigued. How would they escape the fate of Joy? My initial impression was not good. They were again trying to do the fine dining / patio / night club thing. It is so hard to do both dining and clubbing in the same place. I haven’t really seen too many places that do it well. This venue is simply too large! When you go to a night club, you generally want it to be somewhat crowded. With such a huge space, Zappas would have to be really packed to make it not feel dead on a Friday night.

I decided to check out the food.

This is the Para Dos (chicken satay, striploin, shrimp, calamari, smoked salmon, hummus, and vegetable medley) for $32.  They had a fairly full tapas menu so we decided to try a platter to sample more of the items. The phrase vegetable medley is pretty hilarious. It reminds me of a frozen dinner. The chicken satay was pretty dry and had a bland peanut sauce. The striploin was a piece of beef that was seared with limited flavour. It was also pretty cold. The calamari was really awful. Gummy, slimy, and with no flavour other than salt. The smoked salmon was a bit oily and limited in quantity. The hummus was probably the best part of this dish. The presentation looked like a couple of high school students threw food onto a plate to serve mom for dinner on her birthday.

This is the Mediterranean Club Pizza (grilled chicken, tomato, bacon, peppers, olives, onion) for $11. The price was right but the chicken was pretty tasteless. But what bugged me the most was the dough. Soggy, sloppy and too crispy on the edges. I am pretty sure I’ve made pizza like this at home.

Overall, not a great dining experience. I won’t be heading back for food. That being said, the patio they have there is quite spacious and is often quite full. This has had a marked effect on the business at Woodenhead’s patio. This is a good thing. Now I can get in at Woodenhead’s without waiting. I’d only recommend coming to Zappas for a drink on the patio. I’d steer clear of the food.

Zappas Lounge, 178 Ontario St., Kingston, ON, 613-507-7000,

Zappas Lounge on Urbanspoon

~ by Russ on July 24, 2010.

12 Responses to “Zappas Lounge (Kingston) – An OK patio. A forgettable menu.”

  1. Just wanted to say that I love your blog – it’s now my primary guide to eating in Kingston!

    • Thanks for the comment! Let me know if there are any hidden gems I’ve missed! There is so much to eat here!

  2. I too love your blog! 🙂 I visit Kingston around twice a year but usually go to the same restaurants. Now that I found your blog — I’m excited to try your recommendations!

  3. Blerg. I try to avoid ordering pizza from a pub. If I made pizza like that at home I would consider it a failure on my part. Unfortunately for pretty much anything in the hub, their bread and butter clientele is going to be drunk students, so you’re not likely to see impressive tapas (or much else, really), although they might sound promising on the menu. I find to get good food at a pub in Kingston, you need to be farther downtown and order more classic pub fare.

    You’ve probably heard of it, but a place I want to check out soon is Pabellon Gastropub. They brought some samples of their food to the nearby building where I work (smart move, really), and it seemed fairly good, especially for food that had traveled so far from the kitchen.

    From the photos I’ve seen, it looks more like a restaurant that was labeled a gastropub to sound fancy, but that might just be the photographers trying to make it look elegant. Time will tell, I guess.

    • You must watch 30 Rock. Only Liz Lemon would use the word blerg!

      It is hard to figure out what to order from a place like Zappas. I agree that pizza shouldn’t be your first choice but I wasn’t going to shell out the big $$ for a steak at a place I wasn’t too sure about in the first place. I thought: try something that they can’t screw up, give them a chance to earn your patronage.

      It is the same reason why I usually go for a burger when I think the food at a place won’t be that great. How can you screw up a burger right?

      Funny that you mention Pabellon Gastropub. I went there for lunch 2 days ago. It was very clearly a work in progress from a food point of view but I really appreciated the effort and the creativity. I’ve had must more boring food at much more expensive places.

      The patio is gorgeous and the interior is probably the best I’ve seen in Kingston. I am going to try to hit the patio tomorrow and bring my camera!

  4. I also like to order a burger at an unfamiliar place. Not only is it difficult to screw up, but it’s usually also a gauge of how good the food is in general. If it’s well executed, you can usually expect the same from most of the menu.

    Your impression of Pabellon seems to be what I got from the samples I tried – plenty of creativity and hard work, just lacking in polish. I consider that a good sign for an all-new menu, since the chef can probably iron out the details of the dishes in the coming months, and the menu will be likely to keep evolving in interesting ways.

    • Just went to Pabellon. Definitely worth going again. The patio is really fantastic, probably the best in the city though it is a bit of a drive. Post is coming!

  5. Sounds like you compared Zappas Lounge primarily to Joy. However, Zappas Lounge is owned by someone different than Joy Supper Club was. You wouldn’t compare a new Keg Restaurant to the restaurant that was there before it would you?

    I’ve eaten there a few times and love their food. Their Verdure Pizza is phenomenal and many of the Tapas I’ve tried are delicious (specifically the mussels in white wine!)

    Now that it has had the time to open up and figure out the usual small kinks, why don’t you try it again?

    • Agreed. I really should try it again as it has been several months since this post. That being said… my initial turn off was so strong that I have been having trouble overcoming it. With your prompting, I shall try it again. I’ve had my reservations but I’ll give it another shot. But… fool me once… strike one. Fool me twice… strike three.

  6. you won’t be disappointed if you try it again they are doing a very good job down there now

  7. I would really like to know who posted this ,,cuz zappas have the best ribs in kingston for sure and para dos is one of the best thing I had and you saying the para dos wasnt good your full of crap,, and the picture of the para dos u posted up here looks like it been sitting on ur table for 45 mins and of course probably its cold and didnt taste right ….

    • Hey anonymous. I posted this. My name is Russ. I write this blog. Read the “about” section. The photo of the para dos was taken as soon as it came out. I typically don’t let my food sit for 45 minutes before eating it.

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