ZenFish Poké Bar, Small Restaurant with Big Heart

I met Janet, the owner of ZenFish Poké Bar the same way I met most my new North Carolina friends, on Instagram. We had our first friend date eating noodles and I knew instantly I found a kindred spirit. Shortly after our first friend date, I visited her restaurant!

I always get a little nervous when I try my friends’ restaurants. I want to wholeheartedly love and support their endeavors. So I ordered my first sushi burrito at ZenFish Poké Bar during my initial visit, and felt simultaneously relieved and silly for my apprehension because it was fantastic! I’ve since come back to try their rice bowls and decided I needed more people to know about this small restaurant with a big heart.

ZenFish Poké Bar is a tiny restaurant with so many careful details.

For instance, there are compost and recycle bins on site, which I’ve grown accustomed to in Austin, but haven’t seen much of in restaurants in the Raleigh-Durham area.  Also, Janet cares about supporting other local business, so ZenFish sources its produce from local farms, decorates with plants from Zen Succulent, a Durham business, and rotates out local beers and kombucha on tap. Even the uniforms are chosen with love, with a rainbow uniform option to offer support to the LGBTQ community. I can go on listing out other thoughtful details, but I’ll end with the signature bowls and how their names reflect Janet’s core values, Compassion, Gratitude, Courage, and Kindness.

If you don’t want to order one of their signature bowls, you can always engineer your own bowl, which is what I did. I opted for a rice bowl, but other bowl options are quinoa, zoodles, and salad bowls.  To design your own bowl is quite simple.  First, you pick what kind of bowl you’d like (salad, rice, quinoa, or zoodles). Then, your proteins, toppings, sauces, and crunch. I went for spicy tuna and imitation crab for my proteins and topped with mango, edamame,  seaweed salad, and finally, crispy shallots for crunch! I love that I can feel good about every meal I eat here. The flavors leave me satisfied, the ingredients make me feel like I’m taking care of my body, and the values manifested in every sourcing decision make me feel socially responsible. Win, win, win!

Janet is a petite woman with a big heart and personality. It’s not surprising that she is the woman behind a petite restaurant with a big impact on the Durham community! I very much recommend ZenFish Poké Bar!


ZenFish Poké Bar

810 9th St, Durham, NC 27705

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  • FoodieIsTheNewForty

    This looks so delicious and refreshing! I want to eat there!

    • I’d definitely take you there because you must meet Janet too!

      • FoodieIsTheNewForty

        Yay! I need to plan that trip to NC…though kinda thinking I should wait till it’s a little bit warmer after seeing all your snow pics!! ;)

  • Ahhh I am in NC as well, Wake Forest, not too far from Durham and I am always looking for new places to try. I will have to put this on the list. Thank you for sharing, I am trying to learn my way around via food. LOL

  • Megan Stitt

    I recently visited Zen Succulent so I’ll have to visit Zenfish next!! It almost looks to pretty to eat!

  • Marcie

    We are hooked on poke bowls here in the PNW. I didn’t know they were a thing in NC! It looks so fresh and tasty!

  • I first saw the compost bins and recycling bins when I visited the west coast almost a decade ago. I feel like they’re slowing making their way to the east coast, but we’re not there yet.

    Also sushi burrito! It’s very pretty!

    • That’s really funny to note because the owner is originally from the West Coast!

      Austin also has mandatory plastic bag ban which I wish Raleigh-Durham would do!

  • You had me at Sushi Burrito! I love that more and more places on the East Coast are getting compost and recycling bins – we’re not there yet, but it’s nice to know some places really care about their local environment.

  • Wait…this place is on Ninth Street? HOW HAVE I NOT HEARD ABOUT THIS?! I love poke bowls and I love Ninth Street! Okay, okay, I know where I’m going this weekend! And you mentioned composting and recycling bins and local kombucha and all the other little details…oh my heart is all happy! I can’t wait to check it out! (Sorry, I know that’s a lot of exclamation points in this comment…but I’m seriously that excited!) :)

    • It’s in the same building center as Pie Hole!
      I actually had to edit out a few exclamation points from my post so no judgement here!!!!!!!!! :D

  • Anna Strazi Thompson

    This looks so good! I have been wanting to try a Poke Bar. I’ve never been to one before or tried a Poke Bowl. Sounds yummy!

  • Holly Lasha

    This looks super yummy. I think I have to try it…like now!!!

  • Jordyn Galan

    omg i need to try this! Looking AHHH- Mazing!

  • What a cool concept!

  • This is such a really great looking place! The dishes are nearly too pretty to eat – nearly!

  • Oh my goodness! The food looks delicious. I need to try it ASAP.