Zak’s American Diner, Thetford, restaurant review: ‘No-one was disappointed’

Food on offer at Zak's Thetford. Photo: Zak's

Food on offer at Zak's Thetford. Photo: Zak's - Credit: Archant

It's a family rite of passage in Norwich, but does the relatively new Zak's restaurant in Thetford make the grade?

Inside Zak's Thetford. Photo: Zak's

Inside Zak's Thetford. Photo: Zak's - Credit: Archant


Family restaurant Zak's has been a Norfolk institution for some 40 years now, but I'm brave enough to admit I'd never actually given it a try before.

However, a recent family day out at the Elveden Estate Christmas Weekend meant the wife and I were faced with the challenge every parent dreads - two hungry and increasingly whiney children but no real idea where to take them.

A quick tap into Google reminded us that not only does Zak's possess two restaurants in Norwich and one in Poringland, two years ago it added Thetford to the list.

Zak's in Thetford. Photo: Zak's

Zak's in Thetford. Photo: Zak's - Credit: Archant

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So off we went and thankfully no-one was disappointed.

To the similarly uninitiated, Zak's is an American-themed diner that has made it's name on the back of an absolute plethora of burger choices and unsurprisingly generous portions.

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It's one of those places people like myself, who suffer from dreadful food envy, secretly dread. After poring over the menu for long enough to further antagonise the children, I finally plump for the Black Pepper Special Burger, a 6oz burger topped with cracked black pepper in a cream and mustard sauce. It comes with salad, curly fries and I add some onion rings for no other reason than because my eyes are often bigger then my stomach.

The burger is fantastic. Of great quality, with no skimping on the sauce and in a fresh and tasty bun. Top value at £10.95 as well.

Burger and chips at Zak's Thetford. Photo: Zak's

Burger and chips at Zak's Thetford. Photo: Zak's - Credit: Archant

In fairness there were probably at least a dozen other items on the menu that were as equally as tempting and in future I look forward to trying the Sizzling Fajitas, the Southern Fried Legs and Thighs and The Godfather, one of a staggering 22 specialised burgers on the menu and comprising of a burger with mushrooms and Italian cheese on a sourdough bun.

The sheer scale of the menu must be a great tool for Zak's to tempt people to return again.

The children's menu is as equally as impressive in scale, boasting eight different choices as well as a load of desserts and shakes. For £6.25 both boys tuck into Chicken Crispies, nuggets in a cornflake coating, accompanied by a mini mountain of chips and also get a drink and an ice cream.

For research purposes only of course, I give it a try and can confirm the crispy coating is melt in the mouth delicious.

As you'd imagine for such an eatery there is also at least a dozen starters to try and as many desserts. Had there been room my own choice would have been the 'Famous Wings' (£5.95) and a Cheesecake (£5.95), which can be 'pimped' with a whole range of toppings.

All in all it was an excellent lunch, the waitress was very friendly and very attentive, the atmosphere was relaxed and the decor is, as you would expect, quirky enough to grab the eye of even the youngest diner.

It may have taken me 38 years to finally eat at Zak's but don't worry, next time I won't leave it anywhere as long.


So much to chose from. Good draught beers, lots of cocktails, proper milkshakes and a long list of soft drinks options. Of course sad old me went for a glass of lemonade.


The decor is brilliant, lots to look at and it feels fresh and lively, not tired. It was a busy Sunday afternoon when we visited and full of families so had a really nice vibe.


Superb. Our waitress couldn't have been more attentive, telling us her first name and making sure nothing was too much to ask.


Clean and fine.


A very big car park to satisfy all vehicle types!


With family and friends over the border in Suffolk it is situated perfectly as a halfway meeting point. A bit out of the town centre so easily accessible from all angles.


Very generous portions so didn't feel too bad at all. In some respects I'd suggest a slightly smaller children's meal - or maybe an option for the younger ones.


Felt as relaxing as it can be with four pre-five-year-old boys in the group. A really happy dining experience, something which isn't always possible at this moment in time!

In Summary

We will be back. Our first experience of Zak's (yes I admit we haven't been to any of their Norwich restaurants) and we were really impressed with the food, choice, staff and overall experience.

This is an independent review.

Read more EDP food reviews.

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