Zen Japan

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 13 reviews )
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Shop 3 /55, Corner Grafton St and Park Ave, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, 2450

Late night vegan Japanese izakaya, sake & tapas bar. Serving snacks and drinks. Traditional floor seating plus some bar seats. Bring ID. As of Sep 2016 no longer offering takeaway. Open Tue-Sat 6:00pm-11:30pm.

Category: Vegan, Japanese, Beer/Wine

Reviews (13)

First Review by Oscillate Darkly

Fully Vegan Restaurant in Coffs Harbour - Edit

Zen Japan is a fully vegan and unique restaurant with an innovative concept. The food, the service, the music, the decor and the owners themselves make the dinning experience very exceptional and exclusive, yet very casual and relaxing. Take your shoes off, have a seat on the floor and enjoy a fresh, full with flavor, authentic and vegan meal in a sustainable bowl made of bamboo with chopsticks. Don't forget to look at the drinks menu for a wide vegan selection of quality sake, Japanese wine and beer. The modern Japanese music with hints of Bossa Nova and Jazz completes the ambience and makes this place a one of a kind experience. Emi and Funky, the owners, are happy to engage in a fun, informative and meaningful conversation with the customers. They both are characters, and this place is worth a visit just for the conversations alone. If you're around Coffs Harbour, don't miss this place, it's a gem. Five stars plus.

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cool place - Edit

Nice small restaurant, food is nice and the owner is cool

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All time favourite - Edit

Wonderful food, drinks, atmosphere and staff. Try the "Emiri momo", it's named after me and is totally bomb!
Also would recommend the gyoza, salada and karee. These are my favourites :)

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What a find. - Edit

I wish we had a place like this in Melbourne. We ordered the set menu for 2. Loved every dish especially the 2 noodle dishes. The cold one was something we would never order and it was the pick of the bunch. Also enjoyed a paddle faster of plum wine and my husband loved the beer.

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Even my 3 meat eater friends like this - Edit

Unbelievable vegan restaurant located in Coffs of all places. Its also very good price for what it is. If this place was in Melbourne people would be waiting for days to go here.

Pros: vegan saki, beers and real traditional Japanese...

Cons: NOTHING!!!!!

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Closed on wed 13/9 at 6.30pm - Edit

I was looking forward to visiting this restaurant for an early dinner. Restaurant is closed although sign on the window say open from 6pm, except Monday's. Their website is also down :(

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Awesome! - Edit

Nice little tapas/bar style place! Food was really really good and you know it's being made fresh as you need to wait a while before you get it. Owners were very friendly, will definitely come back next time I'm in the area!

Pros: Good food, Friendly staff, Nice atmosphere

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Zen Japan - Edit

Wow wow wow.....this place is awesome! Not only are the owners genuine fantastic friendly people but their food and alcohol is absolutely top notch. Vegan food in any regional town is hard to find but these dudes rock it with some fantastic flavours in both food and drinks departments.....I will definitely be back

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THE place to go in the area - Edit

Vegans and meat eaters will all have a happy belly after dining at this place. The concept is great: yummy Japanese tapas in a cosy room where you remove your shoes to kneel down to your table. The owners are really cool and fun people too, be prepared to clap your hands on the music!

Pros: concept, decoration, variety of food

Cons: no Japanese alcohol (sake...)

1 Response
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FunkyLoveBunny 12 Mar 2015 - Thank you so much & you'll be glad to know we are now fully licensed with an award winning range of sake!  


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Great food & atmosphere - Edit

We ate dinner here twice during our visit to Coffs Harbour and absolutely loved it! The food is tasty and very affordable. The restaurant has an authentic Japanese atmosphere, and the owners are lovely (and both vegan.) Highly recommended!

Pros: price, taste, atmosphere

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FunkyLoveBunny 17 Jun 2013 - Arigatou Gozaimasu - Thank you very much :)  


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Hits the Spot! - Edit

Zen Japan is a brand new offering in Coffs Harbour - and along that part of the NSW coast. Opened in late 2012, we found the place almost full on a mild evening in mid-Jan 2013. That's not that hard to achieve, however; Zen Japan is tiny. As the photos show, (no more than 25 or so) guests sit on a raised wooden floor on some cushions, eating off low tables. In fact, it's a pretty good indication of what Japanese inns are like.

All food is strictly miniature in size and in price, but is very Japanese in flavour. The food is supposed to represent the types of beer/sake accompaniments that the Japanese would enjoy at a Japanese bar, the only difference being that all of it is vegan! Everything is bite-sized, so guests are supposed to buy a range of nibbles and fill up in that fashion.

There are three noodle dishes; three tofu dishes; different types of rice balls; and even some green soy beans (edamame). The prices are all rock bottom (from $2 for a rice ball), and by getting four or five of these little treats, one can fill up one's stomach with authentic Japanese flavours.

Zen Japan is enchanting in that it really is a piece of Japan in very un-Japanese Coffs Harbour. All in all, it is definitely worth a visit, even just so that you can feel like you've been to Japan without having to get on a plane!

Pros: Price, Tasty food, Very friendly staff

Cons: So small it can be a bit squashy, Novel ordering system

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FunkyLoveBunny 17 Jun 2013 - Really glad you enjoyed it, thanks for taking the time to share with others. Yes your right is it a bit small and squishy but we wanted to give it that tiny Japanese izakaya feel. We have upgraded our tables now with only a center column so that is a bit easier to sit  


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You Have To Try This! - Edit

Great, friendly service & fantastic food!
I cannot recommend Zen highly enough!
Updated from previous review on Tuesday January 15, 2013

Pros: Price, Intimate, Service

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FunkyLoveBunny 17 Jun 2013 - Thank you! We really appreciate you spending the time to spread the word  


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Stunning - Edit

This little izakaya-style eatery announces its intentions at the door, with a sign proudly proclaiming that only clean, healthy, vegan Japanese food will be served inside. It lives up to this promise swimmingly, with a large selection of udon, vegetables, soups, japanese teas and the best selection of onigiri (rice balls) I have tasted outside of Japan.

The staff are friendly and attentive, happy to share stories about Japan as they serve customers from the bar.

All dishes are < $5 and you simply order a selection at the bar, then relax on the cushioned floor seating and eat your meals in waves. My recommendation is ordering a selection, then eating them before ordering another round. Though they serve no alcohol, you are allowed to bring your own at $2 corkage per person - that covers you for the whole evening.

All in all, highly recommended with amazing staff and delicious food. Remember to bring cash to make paying for the rounds of food nice and simple, and take your shoes off (as per proper Japanese style) before stepping onto the seating floor.

Pros: Friendly staff, Excellent food, Great value

Cons: Its not in Sydney

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FunkyLoveBunny 06 Jan 2013 - From Emi & I, we can't thank you enough for your review and we are thoroughly please that you enjoyed and understood the concept behind our little store  


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