poké bowls + other perfectly healthy eats

by the Offline team | photos by @lindaeatsworld

Zenfish 101

If you live in downtown Durham, chances are you’ve been eating at the super-popular ZenFish for a few years now. They pioneered the poké craze in Bull City, bringing fresh and authentic bowls to Ninth Street all the way back in 2017. Since then, they’ve expanded shop, opening a second location in Morrisville that’s just as vibrant, ‘grammable, and tasty as their OG spot.

But let’s back up a sec, if you’re not familiar with poké (where have you been?!), here’s the deal: native to Hawaiian cuisine, the poké bowl traditionally contains a mixture of fresh raw fish mixed with greens and spices. It’s fresh, healthy, and totally customizable. 

ZenFish is a fast-casual spot where you can build your own concoction with a base of rice, quinoa, salad or zucchini noodles (or get it all wrapped up as a burrito!), protein of choice (ahi tuna, salmon, crawfish, tofu, sweet potato, spicy tuna, shrimp, scallop), plus a variety of toppings, sauces, and crunchy ingredients. With so many options, it’s easy to tailor your bowl to your dietary restrictions—be it keto, Whole 30, gluten free, or anything in between!

Better yet, Zenfish makes sure to source most of their ingredients from local farms, keeps everything fresh and organic, and makes sure to source its fish in the most environmentally sustainable way possible, so you can enjoy your meal with a clear conscience. 

What to order

Poké is ZenFish’s specialty and they’ve got a variety of bowls pre-conceived by the pros should the DIY option overwhelm you. Named after aspirational traits, the CourageousKindnessGrateful, and Compassion Bowls ($13.45+) all feature seafood, fresh veggies, and homemade sauces. You can also get any of these bad boys as a burrito if you want to forgo the fork.

Complete customizability is a big part of ZenFish’s popularity so feel free to choose-your-own-adventure. Their DIY option starts at $10.95 and the price varies from there depending on what add-ons to choose. There are a ton of options—everything from zucchini noodles to watermelon radishes—so don’t sweat it if you’ve got questions; the staff is super friendly and more than happy to educate and advise. If you do want to prep and practice your order in advance, take a peek at their 5-step menu and you’ll look like a straight-up pro.

In terms of bevs, ZenFish carries equally healthy options. Sip a locally-made Mati energy drink, coconut water, kombucha, or punch of the day. 

Their Morrisville location is also the first to offer wine and sake in addition to local beer. They’ve even got kombucha ale on tap for when you’re looking for a “healthy’ buzz. 

Pro Tips

  • Their chalkboard wall to the left of the entrance makes for a fabulous food-in-the-air backdrop. Get ready for a lotta likes.
  • Beers are $3.50 on Tuesdays.
  • They’ve got a Loyalty Card so once you buy 10 bowls, you’ll get your 11th for free. 
  • ZenFish takes customer feedback super seriously and will often ask for opinions via Instagram. Follow them to let your voice be heard! And who knows? You’re dream bowl could be on the menu soon enough! 
  • OG customers like to mix housemade Truffle Ponzu + Spicy House sauces for a flavor that’s savory, citrus and just the right amount of sweet.
  • ZenFish will let you taste/sample anything (including proteins!) before adding it to your bowl. 
  • Torn between two bases? Go for “Half + Half” and you’ll satisfy both your cravings.