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  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 72 reviews )
Contact 020-72783573

139 King's Cross Rd, London, England, WC1X 9BJ

Vegan Japanese restaurant in King's Cross. Emphasis is on organic and seasonal vegetables. Rice, root vegetables, seaweeds, soya beans, and soy by-products are recurrent ingredients in the cuisine. Also art gallery and weekend live music. Last seating 9:15pm. Lunch is cash only. Open Mon-Fri 12:30pm-2:00pm, Mon-Sat 5:30pm-10:00pm.

Category: Vegan, Japanese, Macrobiotic, Organic, Beer/Wine, Take-out

Reviews (72)

First Review by feorag

Very Nice Vegan Sushi - Edit

Lovely Sushi Dinner with Delightful Staff in a Pleasant Environment!

Pros: Delicious Japanese Vegan Food, Pleasant Staff in a Very Nice Environment , Reasonable Number of Menu Options and Reasonably P

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Amazing vegan sushi - Edit

This restaurant itself is a nice cosy place, and the staff are very friendly. The food is simple, in-keeping with the restaurants ethos but it prepared perfectly and is very delicious. It is quite expensive so would recommend for a special dinner - great for fans of authentic sushi.

Pros: all vegan, authentic and tasty sushi and other Japanese dishe, nice atmosphere

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Great Food - Edit

An all vegan Japanese restaurant is a hard thing to find and this one is very good. The food was really tasty and the service and atmosphere was cosy. Make sure you reserve a table at weekends it can be really busy. Not the cheapest but a great place to eat.

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Delicious and authentic Japanese food - Edit

Loved this place. We had a udon set each, which we didn't think would be enough at first, but we knew we were wrong after finishing the bowls and plates. We shared a sesame pudding to finish and it was just perfect. A bit pricey but the food is all organic. We got what we ordered quickly, and everything was freshly prepared and tasty. The staff was very nice, even though the place was packed. Definitely recommend it. I travelled to Japan a couple of months ago and this place reminded me very much of Japan and some of the best meals I've had there. Better book a table in advance.

Pros: Organic, Sugar free desserts, Nice staff :-)

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Good concept but needs more creative recipes - Edit

Judging from the reviews I had high hopes for this place. The restaurant itself was small and cosy with a nice setting. The service was ok, nothing special. I ordered the 12 piece sushi set and friend got a bento set. Admittedly, I was hoping that for the price there would be a little more offered than strips of cucumber, asparagus and carrot on rice. The presentation was nice however. I tried the tempura on my friends set and it was good. But nothing strikingly special about the whole meal and it wasn't very filling. Glad i tried but don't think i'll be craving to go back.

Pros: Good concept, Nice atmosphere/cosy

Cons: Nothing special about the food, Pricey for what you get

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good interestingly - Edit

Food was interesting and tasty.
Pricing a bitint high but I pay for good quality. Service disorganized and interior very simple.
It reminded me of my days as a college student.

Pros: food good

Cons: Service unprofessional, interior design

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Loved it! - Edit

It's not every day that you can find vegan Japanese food, so I have been wanting to try this place for ages. Finally got the chance on this most recent trip to London. It's such a novelty to look through a menu at a Japanese restaurant and not have to scrutinize the items in each dish.

The dining room is small but cute, and the staff are very courteous and friendly. The food was yummy and served in really cute little dishes and bowls.

I especially loved the sesame kanten dessert. Wow!

The only small disappointment in all of this is that they don't have matcha lattè anymore. But then that's something you can find in other places.

Pros: good food, cozy ambiance, cute dishes (a big bonus for me!)

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Wonderful experience - Edit

The place is small but very pleasant. Food was delicious, I like everything I tried but the spring rolls were so good that I took extra portion to go. I don't like sushi so I was affried there will be nothing for me to eat, but they have big choice of other japanese dishes.

Pros: great food not only for sushi lovers, friendly staff, nice relaxing place

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Delicious surprise! - Edit

I was staying in London and used Happy Cow to find something to eat. I'm so glad I gave this a try. The food was delicious. I had sushi and spring rolls. I'd love to go back as there were so many things on the menu I fancied!

Pros: huge amount of choice, tasty!

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Authentic Japanese Delight - Edit

This was a lovely little find near Kings Cross. Well decorated interior and friendly staff, with an interesting menu containing many items I'd never heard of before.
It's not the place for those on a budget but the prices reflect the quality and vibe of the place.
Chopsticks automatically given, cutlery on request! (happy to say this was the first ever meal I ate using only cutlery!)
Very friendly staff too.

Pros: Interesting menu, Nice ambience

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Branching out - Edit

It's not often as a vegan that I get to branch out and try things that I don't know. I really enjoyed Itadaki-Zen - its not every day that I get to order things without knowing what I am getting. I ordered one of the combo meals off the menu that came with a bunch of little things - some of which I didn't know what to expect. All of them were interesting and unique. Really great experience. Would go back if it wasn't half way around the world from me.

Pros: Unique food

Cons: Small and busy (might have to wait)

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Simply amazing! - Edit

I had lunch at Itadaki-Zen and ordered one of the various combo-dishes listed in the menu. It was served together with a small bottle of soy sauce that I used on the various vegan sushi rolls, which were really tasty, and the small side dishes were good too! Loved it!

Pros: Great food, Inexpensive, Quiet

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delicious. yum yum yum - Edit

Absolutely loved this place. Came away full and happy. Really yummy bento box. Filling and great flavours. The people were really friendly and accommodated my mushroom dislike. Wine was nice. I am looking forward to re visiting and trying another of the dishes.
It's not cheap cheap. But I thought it was worth it.

Pros: totally vegan, friendly, clean

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Thank you for existing!! - Edit

This place is such a find - a vegan Japanese restaurant, hidden away from the madness of Kings Cross, but right in the centre of it. Prices are great for Japanese, the food is exquisite! Loved every single bite - definitely a new favourite! And Japanese green tea - going back next time to try the deserts!

Pros: price, atmosphere, food

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Great Japanese - Edit

Really delicious and filling Japanese food. I'd highly recommend the tempura if you are in the mood for yummy fried food. Sushi and noodles were great, too. The only negative for us was dessert. We got the green tea mousse cake, and unfortunately the crust was very dry and the mousse not very flavorful.

Other vegan restaurants we've been to in London have a more hipster-vibe (not that that's necessarily bad), so this place would be a good option if you are looking for a slightly up-scale vegan restaurant.

Pros: Sushi, Tempura, Atmosphere

Cons: Location, Not great dessert

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great Japanese food - Edit

my train arrives into kings x, and within 10 minutes my happy cow app found this place for me.
really nice and chilled, great service and food. I had a glass of Korean sake and a bento box, which I thought was great value. an emphasis on organic food, the box had some rice with tofu and mushroom, a side of tofu, two small but really tasty salads, a spring roll and two fried vegetable mixtures (which were a wee bit like flat pakoras, but not as spiced).
sakes was great as was everything else. a great mix of different foods.

make the effort to come here.

Pros: vegan., good value , staff/location

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Beautifull japanese restaurant - Edit

A beautifull japanese restaurant near the heart of London, a large choice of organic and vegan food.
Few tables, a reservation is adviced.

Pros: All vegan, Organic, Great choice

Cons: Expensive

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a perfect lunch - Edit

A friendly greeting as we arrived, very excited to be in this vegan Japanese restaurant. We were not disappointed. The food was inexpensive, yet still an inventive use of organic ingredients, producing a lunchtime feast.

Pros: tasty, organic, vegan, inventive, friendly, in

Cons: The decor was drab and the toilets were dirty with

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Very nice Japanese vegan food - Edit

At Itadaki-Zen they provide you with an original Japanese diner. It is very tasty and not so much as in other UK restaurants. It is enough :) Very nice meal here

Pros: Friendly people, Good food, Not to much

Cons: First time with chop sticks.....

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Zenful Delights - Edit

Round two! My wife wanted to tap into her Japanese roots in London so we found Itadaki 2 miles from our hotel. The exercise is always a plus and the macrobiotic grub was on par with our experiences in Tokyo and Fukuoka. Udon noodles, steamed veggie rolls, sushi, tofu steaks and salads satisfied our souls like Bob Marley rhythms. Need I say more? #EatClean #FitFathers #VeganPro #NoExcusesEvenOnTheRoad

Pros: amazing

Cons: none

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Tasty Japanese Food - Edit

If you like Japanese food then you'll enjoy this place. The food is tasty and authentic. We all enjoyed our meals. Sushi is good. Everything vegan. The restaurant is busy though so make sure you book a table as it is not that big. Also, it isn't cheap because you have to order a set whether you want a starter or not.

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An Japanese vegetarian experience - Edit

Japanese Buddhist actually has a tradition of making and eating vegetarian/ vegan food called Shouji Ryori, what you would expect from a high end, michelin star like presentation and care to the presentation of food and taste. I was thrilled to find a Japanese restaurant that does pure vegetarian food. Unfortunately my expectation fell short of the actual food that was served, for the price I paid. The location was a little hard to find. It is a cosy place, staff were friendly, but food was average, not dissimilar to some of the things you find in other common Japanese restaurant. Unfortunately because of the name 'vegetarian' the price you paid, was above average. Still it is a bit of a novelty... but I wouldn't go back... good for trying it out once.

If you do go to Japan, I highly recommend you visiting one of such restaurant for the experience.

Pros: Unique

Cons: Pricey, Presentation, Not very Shouji Ryori

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Dinner Last Night Was Incredible! - Edit

I went for a day trip to London yesterday, and as soon as we saw the reviews this was our obvious dinner choice! My boyfriend and I each had a plate of the nigiri vegetable sushi, which was 12 pieces of different veggie sushi (with one or two repeats) served with optional wasabi. They were all really delicious (and very filling), my absolute favourite was the one topped with mashed avocado + red onion, could've eaten an entire platter of them! I drank a whole earth cola and my boyfriend an organic lager, with the total bill (incl. service charge) coming to £41.80, which given we were in London was not too bad.

My only advice would be that it is definitely worth making a reservation - I would've liked to try the starters but when we arrived we were told that we could be squeezed in only for the next hour, so we didn't have time.

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Great sushi - Edit

We tried to come here twice but the timing was not right. Finally we arrived at the right time. We tried two things on the menu. I was not at all impressed with one of the platters, it was more like boiled stuff on several tiny dishes. I cannot remember the name unfortunately. We however loved the sushi platter we ordered it twice. The avocado and onion one was my favourite. Alot of dishes has tofu in it which was just boiled so it was boring, the fried one on the sushi was nice.

We also tried their cheese

Pros: Amazing sushi

Cons: Some bland foods, Too much tofu

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sushi a little salty - Edit

Very very expensive. 1 person : 33 ponds = $49.
I just came here from Florence, not meal to compare to the best meals in the world.

Very busy too, book in advance, though there is seating down stairs.

they didn't give me water, so three stars by default.

Pros: vegan, close to where I was stay

Cons: saw two people take food photos, everyone hunched on phones (prego), salty food

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Delicious sushi - Edit

I found this place a little pricey, but the food was delicious and beautifully prepared. We ordered lots of different dishes, and I think the seaweed tempura may have been my favourite, with a wonderful umami taste. The sushi plates were excellent too.

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amazing food - Edit

We had a lovely dinner at this japanese restaurant with amazing vegan food, the staff was very friendly. The menu includes healthy choices but also some treats like vegetable tempura, spring rolls and desserts.

Pros: All vegan, Friendly staff, Nice quiet atmosphere

Cons: online booking not always working - call ahead.

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Opening hours not as advertised - Edit

I was looking forward to sampling vegan Japanese food. checked on this app and it said that it was open until 10pm, and their website was ambiguous, stating 10pm on one page and 11pm somewhere else. However, when I got there at 9.35pm I was very disappointed to find that the sign on the door said they close at 9.15pm

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Lovely place - Edit

This was first time that I visited vegetarian Japanese restaurant - and it was a pleasant experience. It's nice to try out different dishes and to be sure that everything is vegan. Food seems to be carefully prepared and it is served by very friendly staff. Itadaki-Zen has very nice atmosphere and the interior is simple and beautiful with some carefully chosen old Japanese items hanging on the walls.

Pros: Authentic Japanese food, Nice atmosphere, Friendly staff

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Can't wait to go back! - Edit

I went there with my sister last time I was in London and we both loved the food. That came as a surprise to her: since she doesn't like fish she'd assumed she didn't like Japanese food at all but she was very happy with the meal! The menu is varied, tasty in a subtle way, the staff is friendly and the setting enjoyable. I ended up going to Itadakizen three evenings in a row to try different dishes - I just didn't want to be anywhere else. If you like Japanese food then as a vegan this is definitely the place to go.

Pros: Tasty, healthy, varied food, Friendly staff, Lovely place

Cons: I don't live close to this restaurant!

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Beware of the wasabi. It almost blew my face off. - Edit

Itadaki Zen is the only vegan Japanese restaurant I know of, so I was pretty excited to try it.

I ordered some kind of set menu including spring rolls, sushi & noodle dish. Everything was nice, although kind of standard. The food seemed a bit like what I would order in a non veggie restaurant, with limited vegan friendly options. I'd like more unusual dishes and flavours.

I would go back, but it isn't on my urgent hitlist.

Pros: Japanese, Vegan

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A japanese veg in London ! - Edit

First time I go to a vegetarian Japanese restaurant ! the place is very near to St Pancras train station and we had to rush for our train, so we took it away, but the waiter was very nice and comprehensive, and we had a delicious menu. I will probably go back to try having their delicacies on a real table. Not too expensive either.

Pros: Japanese !, Takes JCB payments :p

Cons: Short menu

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Japanese Vegan - Edit

Nice Japanese vegan restaurant with a huge choice of dishes and beverages (also alcohol). The place is small and the ambiance cosy. The staff is friendly and helpful. Would go back anytime.

Pros: Excellent food, friendly staff, good value

Cons: Tables too close to each other

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One Of My Favourite Restaurants - Edit

I LOVED the food! My other half and I shared a few things-I think we may have had a set meal each. Really filling. I'd go more often, if my other half was more keen on this type of food!

Pros: Lovely food, Plenty to choose from, OK for dinner or lunch, I think

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Healthy food - Edit

Healthy food, relaxed atmosphere. Been there a few times with non veggie friends, who liked it too. Had some interesting dessert (can't recall the name). Location is a bit off the beaten track but really not that far from Kings Cross or Angel stations.

Pros: Healthy food, Good value

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Is it still open? - Edit

I went there for lunch yesterday, but it was closed. This was at 12:40 when they say they are open 12:30 - 14:30 for lunch. I hung around for 10 mins but no sign of life. I called the phone number, but could not get a connection.

A few days before I had previously gone there at 2pm and was turned away.

Cons: Either update times or stick to them

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Healthy! - Edit

Went here with a friend on a quiet Tuesday night. I had miso soup, spring rolls with a fermented chili sauce (not spicy), a rice and veggie dish, and a tea with ?rice? for dessert. These are subtle flavours but it was all very healthy. I would have liked to try many things on their menu. Good service. Recommended.

Pros: good location, healthy

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E X C E L L E N T - Edit

Headed to I-Z for dinner on a Saturday night with my partner. We arrived at 5.30 as soon as they opened, which was fortuitous, because all the tables except for two were already reserved: a pretty good sign! We both ordered the Itadaki set meal, which consisted of an appetizer, a sushi course, main course (spring rolls or tempura) and a dessert.

The starter was really unusual -- quite small, amuse-bouche almost, but really good. Quite unusual, unexpected stuff but all cooked PERFECTLY and really good. When the sushi arrived, we both thought it LOOKED a bit disappointing -- we'd noticed on the menu that they don't serve dishes with soy/wasabi and actively discourage diners from asking for them. I was miffed... but then I actually TASTED the sushi.

It was amazing. Cooked beautifully, and flavoured in such a skilfull way that extra soy/wasabi was totally unnecessary. Although the primary ingredients of each sushi piece seemed to be fairly similar (lots of types of seaweed), each one had its own unique and delicious flavour. I found myself feeling really 'present' as I ate, savouring each small piece and taking care not to rush. Amazing to find myself eating like that just because of the sheer quality of the food! Clearly lots of thought went into it! We were both properly blown away by this sushi. Best I've ever had, by far.

For the main, my bloke had the tempura and I had the spring rolls, and we split each other's so we could try everything. The spring rolls were, yaknow, veggie spring rolls... but well cooked. The tempura was a cut above, really great. This course DID come with extra soy, noodles on the side, and really great fresh veg. Again, all lovely.

For dessert my partner had the sesame pudding, which I thought looked a bit wet but was actually really good. I had the small cranberry cake, which was light, fluffy and a good end to the meal. In short, this place is EXCELLENT. I have no complaints.

I would like to answer some of the other reviews though, in case they're putting folk off. The place is NOT hard to find (er, WHAT?) if you know how maps work, and to slag off a place because of the ethnicity of the owner is frankly racist. The chefs are clearly extremely capable, thoughtful, careful and produce excellent, authentic-tasting Japanese food which is also original, unusual and 100% vegan. Who cares where they're from?! The staff we encountered were also lovely and don't deserve such unfair criticism. WE LOVED IT!

Pros: Delicious food, perfectly cooked, Forgot to mention GREAT PRESENTATION!, Just amazing. Really. Go there. Now.

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I was expecting more - Edit

I don't know if I ever had real japanese food, but I was a little disappointed with Itadaki-Zen.
I ordered a plate with a different kinds of sushi. Though some tasted great, others tasted really strange (like almost impossible to go through them again). It was a weird experience. And I ordered some other dish that had no taste at all.

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Yummy! - Edit

This small Japanese restaurant was quite a pleasant discovery. I had a 4-course meal consisting of a starter with 3 little vegetable dishes with a delicate dressing, then 6 pieces of sushi, followed by tempura + vegetables with peanut dressing + noodles with homemade soup as a main course, and "Itadaki Zen small cake" as dessert. The latter was made of Japanese pumpkin, jujube (= red date) and chestnuts, topped with tofu and vanilla cream. All vegan, of course, an just yummy. The individual portions were small, but all together it was a wonderful, filling meal. I would love to get back as soon as possible to try the other dishes, there are quite a few on the menu and everything looks (and probably tastes) gorgeous. I also had a delicious tea with jujube and (goji?)berries. The waitress was very friendly and the place really easy to find.

Pros: wonderful food, variation: different small dishes, friendly service

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simple, tasy... - Edit

I went to Itadaki-Zen on a Monday night while trying to deal with my jet lag. Instead of the traditional sushi house menu, this place offered menu sets for different prices. Some of the menu items can be ordered separately, but the pre-fixed dinners are designed to speed up the orders since everything is prepared fresh.

I ordered one of those pre-fixed dinners, which was quite good. It had miso soup, two small spring rolls (fried), marinated peanuts, green beans, salad and vegetables. All of that came in very small portions. The dinner also had a substantial bowl of warm grains (rice, lentils and others). I also had a delicious tea with goji berries.

The dinner was reasonably priced at around 15-17 pounds and the tea was ~3 pounds. It is a very small place, but it is very close to the "Secret Vegan Society" store, which is a plus and is right next to King's Cross. The service was good and they were super nice even though I was dining alone.

Pros: Location, Tasty, Fresh ingredients

Cons: Small

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average all round, underwhelming food - Edit

We went here on a Friday night. It is hellishly difficult to find.We rang them, only to be told "it`s after Staebucks." Given thares a starbucks every 100 yards in kings cross this was rubbish information.
Food was tasteless, with very little flavouring.Tiny portions. A rather irritating friend of a waiter was messing about in the cafe, giggling and distracting the staff.Service was poor, we asked to see menu again , it took a waiter ten minutes to bring us one. Three pounds sixty for a cup of powdered soya milk known as itadaki tea,is very very steep. My wife found the place much better than I did, she likes salt free grub and says it was amazing food.

Cons: size of portions, price, staff

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Worth a try if you've never had Japanese veg food - Edit

Vegetarians know how hard it can be to find veggie Japanese food, so
we felt pretty happy to find a place where we could order anything off
the menu without question.

The restaurant is very pleasantly cosy, though perhaps not as visually
attractive as their Web site had led me to believe. The food itself
is perfectly reasonable: small portions presented quite well, tasty
and fresh, and simple. However, and it somewhat pains me to say this,
nothing we had really stood out; we left not convinced we'd be back.

It may be that we're a bit spoiled after having had the Zen temple
vegetarian meals in Kyoto, which set a spectacular standard for
Japanese (and indeed any) vegetarian food. If you haven't had those,
and are curious to go beyond the ubiquious veggie tempura, definitely
give Itadaki Zen a try. But if you still remember your Kyoto meals,
you could maybe give this place a pass.

Pros: interesting option, nothing bad, easy to get to

Cons: nothing special, look and feel a bit weak

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Fabulous! - Edit

I went here tonight for the first time, having heard good things about it. I wasn't disappointed. The food was excellent, tasty and authentic. We had a filling meal and a drink for just over £20 per person. Next time I'll be trying the set menus which looked really interesting. Definitely one of my favourites in London.

Pros: Great food, Lots of choice, Central location

Cons: None

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Best Japanese food I've ever had! - Edit

I can't recommend this place enough.
The range of food here and quality of it is astounding.
I have been to hundreds of restaurants in Japan and I genuinely think the food here is beyond almost all of them.
Yes it's a bit pricey (though they do tastecard discounts), but you really get what you pay for.
Bring non-veggie friends here, they will really open their minds...

Pros: Range, Quality, Unique

Cons: None

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Different and intriguing - Edit

This small restuarant lies quite close to King's Cross station and provides a lovely, quiet and different experience.

The menu is extensive with lots of choice to be had. There are lots of explanations and insight into the health benefits of the food on offer and many choices for different set meal options.

Not being familiar with Japanese food, I went for a delicious tofu steak to start with followed by an interesting sounding 'sticky' veg, seaweed and rice dish. The food arrived promptly and was generously portioned. Even though I wasn't overly keen on what I ordered, I could appreciate that it was authentic, fresh and flavoursome. I also went for a side of Kimchi, which was delicious (and quite spicy!).

I'll definitely return to try some of the other many dishes on offer!

Pros: Large menu, Quality food

Cons: Rather small restaurant

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Eat-adaki Zen Bliss! - Edit

ABSOLUTE BEST TEMPURA I'VE HAD ***ANYWHERE*** The vegetable assortment was superb -included seaweeds and mushrooms that were made to be battered in gold! What a find. It's just so refreshing to know that this Vegan sushi has been no where near fish : D Very thoughtful and nutritious tasty dishes. Excellent service and ambiance - better than authentic. ORIGINAL!

Pros: Delicious, Nutritious, Balanced

Cons: None

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Vegan, organic Japanese - interesting combination - Edit

I ordered a set menu for 21 pounds. It consisted of a variety of small dishes, ranging from sushi to noodle soup. I liked them all even if I felt that the soup wasn't all that exciting. The dessert was nice as well. All in all, it was a good experience even though I was hungry again after a couple of hours, haha.
On a differet note, the atmosphere was very pleasant and, strangely enough, they claim not to use Japanese ingredients after the Fukushima disaster.

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Excellent real Japanese Food - Edit

Evening opened at 6pm, we arrived at 5.30pm (Monday) and waited for an hour. The restaurant is kind of in front the Travelodge King's Cross. The restaurant is rather small though. Food was really good, the best Japanese food i ever eaten. I like the kimchi (korean, spicy) very much. The food portion was slightly small though. Unfortunately, they do not have high chair for small children. Will go there again if i come to London next time!

Pros: Food, Location

Cons: No high chair for children, Price, Portion

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Delicious Japanese food - Edit

I usually steer clear of Japanese food for lack of vegan options in Paris. I was therefore really looking forward to trying out Itadaki-Zen, and it was a treat. First of all the staff were really helpful and accommodating - I rang up to enquire about opening hours and once I realized we would not be able to make it before the closing time, they were happy to have dinner ready for us to pick up at 22.30. When we got there everything was ready for us. We ordered the two set dinner menus: the Tanno set consisted of brown rice with adzuki beans, two harumaki and a large selection of side dishes, including a delicious miso soup and one of the best tofu I've ever had. The gokoku-han & chapche set included a mixed grain dish, sweet potato fried noodles (SO good!) and homemade kimchi, which was perfect. We ate the whole thing in the little park in front of the restaurant, although I would have loved to stay in the restaurant. Within walking distance of King's Cross, Itadaki-Zen is a great spot for a healthy and comforting meal.

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Amazingness! - Edit

This was the first time i'd ever eaten Japanese food and didn't know what to expect, but I loved it. I went with a non-vegan friend who loves Japanese food and she thought it was all amazing so that is a good sign on the authenticity of this food!

Friendly staff, really close to our hotel and entirely vegan. Only cons were that that the restaurant was boiling hot due to the hot weather and no fan/air con, and price.

But great place, highly recommend it!

*All vegan
*Authentic food
*Friendly staff
*Lovely restaurant

*Was very hot in the restaurant

Pros: Authentic, Full of flavour, Lovely decor

Cons: Restaurant too hot, Price

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umami - Edit

You probably wouldn't frequent an Indian restaurant run by an Irishman so why would you bother with a Japanese one owned by a Korean, Chinese (fairly common) or, as in this case an Italian?

Sure, the kitchen did have some Japanese staff in there.... but after eating here you have to ask yourself - are they trained chefs, because if you are knowledgeable about this exquisitely prepared and uniquely tasting food you'd have to say possibly not.

Cutting back on the salt levels and omitting the fish stock doesn't necessarily mean the food has to be tasteless as there are other sources of umami to be had to prevent the culinary disasters that was our misfortune to have encountered at Itadake Zen on the night we ate there.

The Miso Nikomi Udon I ended up with bore no relation to the example on the menu - it was almost devoid of any shitake mushroom, Chinese cabbage OR miso flavour. I hate to say this as it sounds over the top but the udon was pretty much swimming in a bowl of hot water as far as flavour goes and that's plain sad. Note to kitchen staff - why not try seaweed stock where the recipe would usually require the fish variety? This would help add some much needed oomph to your dishes.

The owners may indeed be bringing art and music into their restaurant environment but the world is full of well intentioned cafe owners who are doing it for some cause or other (and don't we know about it being vegetarians!) but forgetting to get the most important bit right - getting some tasty food on the plate.

As I was working in Kings Cross and fancied Japanese it was a choice between one of my favourites - Aki (only 'veggie friendly', but magnificent - AND run by a Japanese chap incredibly) or the new 100% veggie place that we are talking about here. What a mistake I made.....


Pros: it's vegetarian

Cons: no taste

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For a refined palate - Edit

Itadaki Zen serves clean wholesome food. Those used to food with lots of additives and flavouring may find the food quite bland but for those with a more discerning palate a wealth of flavours delights. I enjoy a bento box with the delicious grilled, ginger tofu. The box itself is quite substantial with a delicious range of wholesome rice, stuffed with aduki beans and the most delicious cabbage rolls stuffed with all kinds of wonderful vegetable. The thing that most suprised me is how good simple steamed carrots and green beans could taste.

Itadaki Zen serves this all up in a beautiful zen like environment, with gentleness. When one enters the restaurant we leave behind the hurry and flurry of the world outside for quieter more considered environment. This approach of simplicity, gentleness and care is reflected both in the service and the food. If you are looking for a refreshing change from the mainstream offerings of highly adulterated, faced paced foods Itadaki Zen is top of my list. If however you enjoy strong, intense flavours you might find this a little too subtle for your tastes

Pros: Healthy, good value, excellent food

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where's the soap? - Edit

I've eaten here a few times and have always enjoyed the food. I'm no expert on Japanese cuisine but I've had tempura each time and it's never been soggy! The sasou tea is the best, I wish I could make it at home. The service is sometimes questionable but never that terrible. The thing that troubles me is the lack of soap in the toilets. One hopes that the kitchen hygiene facilities are better.

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negative - Edit

I've been there for dinner a couple of days ago and I found it very disappointing. the food was really tasteless and plain, we had some noodles with a watering sauce and 6 mixed sushi, some of them clearly old and poor in general. we also choose a salad for £3 that we've been told they ran out, but later the waiter came over to tell us they still had some, and he brought us such a small portion that was less then a forkful. just to end playing safe we thought to order a tempura, but again it wasn't nice, cheap ingredients and very soggy. we expressed our disappointing to the waiter and he gave us 2 pudding for free (no sweet at all), telling us they were no longer on the menu, as they were from the winter one!
I'm vegan myself and I enjoy delicate flavours, but this dinner was completely plain, and no cheap at all :(
sorry but I definitely don't recommend it.

Cons: tasteless, small portion, expencive

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Authentic - Edit

Having travelled Japan for a month a few years ago I met a friend who is not vegan but did live in Japan for 4 years here. It is very authentic I had the tofu set which was delicious and kimchi was awsome. If you like Japaneese food this is the place for you. It was quite expensive at £20 for lunch for 2 but it is London so probably not that bad really. Wouldn't say the staff were friendly or unfriendly. Anyway I loved it

Pros: authentic, delicious, generous portions

Cons: not cheap

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Excellent vegan/macrobiotic Japanese/Korean food! - Edit

This restaurant is now fully vegan (they changed their kimchi that used to have fish/shrimp paste in it). Went there for lunch and everything was delicious. I had the sushi lunch, which had unique nigiri sushi (okra, fried nori, etc.) instead of the usual boring veggie rolls. My friend ordered the kimbap (Korean sushi) roll lunch, which was good as well. The decor was also really nice - crisp and clean. They have sushi and other food available for takeaway. Portions are on the small side by US (or probably UK) standards. They advertise a 10% student discount, which we forgot to take advantage of. (BTW, I would give five cows, but I can't since it's still listed as non-vegan.)

Pros: delicious, unique veg sushi, nice decor

Cons: smallish portions

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A lovely place - Edit

My husband and I honeymooned in Japan last year and, while visiting London, wanted to try out this vegan Japanese cafe/restaurant near St Pancras Station. We went for lunch, and arrived just as a large-ish family group were sitting down. This meant that we had to wait a bit for our food, as there only seemed to be a couple of members of staff running the place. The wait was worth it, though. We both had the Kempan set, which came with a nice salad of tofu and kelp and a serving of miso soup. We also had the Sasou tea, a bamboo tea of amazing clarity and a mildly nutty flavour. We had a generous side portion of kimchi to share, too, which was perfectly spicy. My husband had a latte made with soy milk, which he reported was the nicest coffee he had ever had. All of this came to just under £17.00 in total, which is great value for money. The food was perfectly prepared to order, made with fresh ingredients, and was more than enough to satisfy our lunch-time appetites. We will definitely visit again next time we are in London.

Pros: healthy food, good value, delicious

Cons: slight wait for food

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Nice - Edit

I enjoyed my lunch here, it was a little quiet, but the food was good. The noodles tasted fresh and home made. I didn't feel it was overpriced. The waiter seemed shy and we didn't get exactly the right tea ordered, but this wasn't a problem for us. The Sushi was lovely.

Pros: Nice food, Well decorated, varied menu

Cons: Quiet, no green tea on drinks menu

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Not a vegan restaurant! BEWARE! - Edit


I went to this place last week, and was very disappointed. They say "fully vegan" but then they use anchovies sauce in some dishes!

They say it's because "it's a Japanese tradition" - which does not make any sense, as it is a Japanese tradition to eat fish and meat too.

I am very disappointed that this restaurant is trying to profile itself as "Europe's First Organic and Vegan Japanese Restaurant" (taken from their website), but then they use a fish-based product?

Very confusing, and disappointing, and I hope you will make a note of this on your website, as once at the restaurant, the menu does not really state which dishes contain anchovies sauce.

Why call yourself "vegan", when you obviously do not care about vegan values? Vegans are very specific about what they eat, and which restaurants they go to, so this just does not feel right.

Best regards

Pros: japanese, organic

Cons: NOT vegan, expensive, bland-tasting food

2 Responses

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webkitten 23 Jan 2010 - This problem has been resolved! It is all vegan now!

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madonnaragu 23 Jan 2010 - Fab! So happy to hear that!

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Fantastic - Edit

This lovely little restauarant near Kings Cross station is well worth a visit. After our honeymoon in Japan we were keen to eat some good Japanese food again. Itadaki-Zen did not disappoint. We visited on a cold winter's day and were soon being warmed by some interesting tea I've never had before. The sushi was delicious but the tempura was out of this world. Very light batter covered a whole array of crunchy vegetables. The udon noodles came in a variety of ways but we went the seaweed route. Very good again. The service was attentive and the staff friendly.

Pros: Food, Staff

Cons: None

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A little expensive, but worth it - Edit

I am a massive fan of Japanese cuisine, so news that a vegan japanese restaurant had opened in London almost had me looking forward to visiting the city. My excuse came in early January, during the best snow in my lifetime. A short walk from King's Cross Thameslink, the space was light and serene. The menus were printed on handmade Japanese paper, and the napkin folded in a different way on each table. Ours were in the form of a lotus flower around a small bowl, and it seemed a shame to undo them.

To drink, we both went for one of their specialised "teas" - Itadaki Tea - a creamy, somewhat nutty soya milk concoction served in miso bowls. Just right for the cold, snowy weather.

I ordered the lunchtime sushi set, and my partner had Misinikomi Udon. My set arrived in a bento and included two spring rolls and a mashed potato salad, as well as two types of gunken (carrot and okra), two nigiri (nori tempura and inari) and a pair of matching rolls. The shouyu came in a small clear plastic dalek with instructions clearly printed on top: ここをプッシュシてくださ, it said. Fortunately, that's simple enough for me to read - "please push this", where "this" is the nipple the text surrounds.

The Udon were served in a miso broth with julienne strips of aburaage fried tofu), carrot and cabbage - another dish which really hit the spot.

We were impressed with the food and decided to have dessert - this is supposed to be an indulgent break, after all. The desserts were mostly kanten - agar-based jelly - and my partner opted for a sesame one. Feeling adventurous (I can make kanten at home!), I tried warabimochi - small mochi made from potato starch instead of rice and dusted with toasted soya flour. The latter proved very difficult to eat with the implement provided, but was considerably better than it looked. It wasn't too sweet, which suits my tastes.

At nearly £30 for lunch for two, it's not a particularly cheap place, but also not expensive by London standards. I'd like to go back in the evening to try one of their set meals, but have no time on this trip. It looks like I'm going to have to find an excuse to come back to London - at least Itadaki Zen will make it bearable.

Pros: sublime food, Japanese, lovely space

Cons: a tad expensive, not rib-sticking

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