If by chance you encounter a Zuni, greet him with kesshi, which is contemporary Zuni-speak for hello. Zuni the restaurant wasn’t named after an exotic dish or a famous foreign chef like I thought itwas. The tall and handsome Kevin Prasad, who at 26 is already Zuni’s Managing Director, tells me that the restaurant was named after a Native American tribe that was known for the variety of its cuisine. Some sources say that graciousness and hospitality were also marks of the Zuni. If this is true, then I could say that Zuni Restaurant and Wine Bar lives up to its name.
The dinner crowd was slowly trickling in when we arrived, and the restaurant was soon packed with cosmopolitan Manila’s businessmen and yuppies. Despite the number of diners, Kevin was a gracious host, telling us about Zuni’s beginnings as one of the pioneer restaurants in Greenbelt 5. Zuni opened its kitchens in 2007 a year after another Prasad restaurant, Duo, opened up in Serendra. Today, this family of restaurateurs owns four chains carrying the Prasad brand of hospitality– Duo, Zuni, Asya in Quezon Avenue, and Sutra in Bonifacio High Street.
What makes Zuni different? Kevin tells us that Zuni is “a total dining experience.” While other restaurants may boast of the same tagline, I find that for Zuni, this is actually an understatement. Zuni is not just about the food; it’s also about great ambiance and excellent customer service. If you think that good food, perfect background music, clean restrooms, and polite, sprightly waiters are the only criteria to warrant an exceptional dining experience, then you haven’t been to Zuni.