5406 Balcones Dr.
Austin, TX 78731
Monday – Thurs: 11 a..m – 10 p.m. (lunch menu served until 5 p.m.)
Friday: 11 a.m. – Midnight (lunch menu served until 5 p.m.)
Saturday: 9 a.m. – Midnight (brunch menu served until 3 p.m.)
Sunday: 9 a.m. - 10 p.m. (brunch menu served until 3 p.m.)
This quirky bistro is dim inside but decorated by hundreds of strands of Christmas lights and colorful paper lanterns, creating romantic mood lighting. There is always piano music playing; sometimes the computerized piano plays songs by itself, but it is often played live by professional musicians.
The charming Austin restaurant also boasts a large collection of unusual art on the walls and quirky decorations, such as a bent metal chair as a statue near the entrance. There is always a fun vibe here, and because of that, it’s a popular spot for birthday celebrations, anniversary dinners, large family brunches, and other festivities. It’s open until midnight on the weekends, so you can even come here after dinner at home for drinks and dessert.
People arrive at Chez Zee in all levels of dress; the atmosphere is classy, but certainly not formal. Some diners show up in jeans and a T-shirt while others come in wearing slacks and a button-up shirt or a nice dress. Don't show up looking like a slob, but don't stress about dressing up; the restaurant is somewhat casual.
Chez Zee is also well known for its frozen drinks, which taste great and go down easy. The frozen mojito and the frozen peach Bellini are local favorites, and frozen margaritas are also served. The restaurant serves many tasty dessert drinks, too, including a chocotini, several versions of spiked coffee, raspberry hot cocoa (with liqueur), and variety of cognac, port, scotch and sherry.
If you’re in the mood for a fancier meal, Chez Zee serves plenty of upscale dishes in the $20 range, including prime rib and grilled lamb chops, though there is nothing above $30. There are many dishes in the $15 range, such as pasta and chicken dishes. My personal favorite is the Skinny Pasta, which is capellini pasta served with sautéed veggies and Parmesan cheese. The large menu is ever-changing, as there are always many new specials and seasonal dishes.
The meals here are scrumptious but the award-winning desserts are really Chez Zee’s strong suit. The variety of cakes, pies, and other sweets is astonishing. Offerings include crème brule French Toast, several flavors of cheesecake, coconut cream pie, mocha fudge torte, apple pie, brownies, and many other favorites. The down side? Most of the desserts are a pricey $7.95 a slice (though a few cost less). However, the servings are large, so you can split them if you’re in the mood to share.