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Itadaki Zen

Restaurants, Japanese King’s Cross
3 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(9user reviews)
Itadaki Zen.jpg

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Japanese, vegan, and organic? No wonder Itadaki Zen is the first of its kind in Europe. But despite operating from a narrow pool of ingredients, the predominantly noodle/tofu/seaweed menu impresses with its range of tastes and textures. Grilled spring rolls with soft mashed tofu filling were a welcome change to the usual greasy, stringy sort, while the ‘kakiage’ tempura for main had the same salty, crisp, golden, gorgeous smack as chips on Brighton pier, and came with fluffy rice.

Our oh-so-casual waiter (dressed in jogging bottoms, no less) perfectly matched the restaurant’s tone, with its frayed tie-dye hessian curtains and bunches of wheat swaying lazily from the ceiling. The Zen-like lack of music, chatter or even ticking clocks made us wary of slurping our udon noodles too loudly, although some may enjoy the tranquillity.

All puddings are sugar-free on principle, which made the pumpkin cake with tofu cream too savoury for us, tasting as it did of Irish potato farl. Instead, maybe try a pungent sasou tea, made from bamboo leaf and buckwheat, which promises to soothe a weak stomach. Probably a good thing, after three courses of tofu. Note: there is a large selection of set menus in addition to individual dishes.

Posted:

Details

Address: 139 King's Cross Road
King's Cross
London
WC1X 9BJ
Transport: Tube: King's Cross tube/rail
Price: Main courses £6.50-£12. Set meal £15 3 courses, £21 4 courses
Contact:
Opening hours: Meals served 6-10pm Mon-Thur; 6-10.30pm Fri, Sat
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Users say (9)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:4
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|9
2 people listening

Service was bad, I had to wait for the menu really long time, even people who came after me were served first. Once I ordered, waitress brought me wrong item twice. When I wanted to order desert she said they are not serving it today. The overall atmosphere was unwelcoming. Food itself was really bad, everything was cold, lacked flavor and soaked in oil. Oil is pretty much all I could taste and I could still feel it's aftertaste an hour later! I really don't understand all the good reviews.

tastemaker

Vegan food never excited me, but I've been hearing such good things about this place, I had to try it. I would never have put Japanese and vegan in one sentence either. We were intrigued and wanted to try everything on the menu and ended up almost ordering one of everything.

Food arrived all at once and it was better than I ever expected. Everything was seasoned and flavoured perfectly. I wouldn't have guessed I was eating vegan and could possibly convert if I were eating like this everyday. I felt really healthy after the meal and was full just right.

Wheelchair access: The only issue with this place was the big step to get in and the narrow stair way down to the toilets. So it's not wheelchair accessible, but the food is definitely worth trying.

tastemaker

As a vegetarian, I am always excited when I can eat a full menu. It's great that I can bring my vegan friends too.

I love sushi and this place is perfect for me.

The tofu is wonderful. Try the saki!

tastemaker

No frills vegan Japanese cafe serving bento boxes (£10), udon platters (£10), homemade kimchi (£3) and more. The service is attentive and friendly, the decor simple with a Japanese feel. The food is simple, full of flavour and well priced - portions for the bento box and udon platter were spot on. Definitely worth a visit vegan or not! We left feeling full, satisfied and wholesome!

Tastemaker

I always look at vegetarian/vegan restaurants with a mixture of suspicion and caution, and inevitably, the question I ask myself is: "Would this meal have been improved with meat?"


And for Itadaki Zen? Absolutely not. The food here is so fresh and full of flavour that meat would completely spoil the experience, as they bring out dish after dish of pickled vegetables or tempura. 

When you're not too busy trying to identify the piece of food you're eating, you'll be at awe in how they pack all that taste into such small dishes, and in a way that won't leave you feeling completely guilty about your diet! 

We opted for the set menu which was a whirlwind tour of their offerings, and left us feeling full and extremely satisfied! Even vegan dessert, a cheesecake no less, was creamy and full of goodness! 

All in all, a lovely little restaurant that serves some super healthy and honest cooking. The amount of care and precision in the food served is impeccable, and I would gladly come back again. 

My only qualm with the place is that they pack in the customers, so it can get quite cosy inside and can make romantic dates somewhat less romantic when someone has to climb over you to get out!

I've visited here twice now and the food has been amazing both times. The first time I had the bibimbap and then I had the Kimpab Chapche set which had noodles made from sweet potatoes. It is among the best Japanese food I've had, vegan or not. I will be looking forward to going back again.

Staff Writer

I went here for my birthday in September, a month of being vegan. I was very impressed with the food, usually when I have sushi I love to have salmon and tuna but of course this is not an option here. I was not disappointed with my dish and was happy to try something new. Unfortunately the service was very slow and this was not the most friendliest of places but non the less overall we had an okay/good experience.


I am a regular here. Being a meat eater that is no mean feat! The food is perfectly balanced in flavour and texture. The set meals are well put together. I previously wasn't a fan of the sushi but this has got so much better recently. I recommend the 'itadaki course' with kakiage tempura(last time I ordered extra on the side, it's so good). Also the sesame and season puddings are lovely, even though the dessert is sugar free.Good beer, wine and saki selection. The staff are always helpful and relaxed. I always leave feeling satisfied and happy.


Lovely little restaurant, cosy, comfortable, and with a small but excellent beer/wine selection (as well as a couple of very good sake options). The food was inventive and very good - and being vegan it's a real pleasure, not to mention a novelty, to be able to order Japanese food with confidence. Service was very friendly and pleasant, though a bit slow when I visited, but then the place was nearly full and there was only one young guy working front of house so understandable.

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