Here, we have developed biomimetic nanocomposites containing chitosan, poly(vinyl alcohol) and nano-hydroxyapatite-zinc oxide as bone extracellular matrix for human osteoblastic cells and characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, powder X-ray diffraction. Scanning electron microscopy images revealed interconnected macroporous structures. Moreover, in this study, the problem related to fabricating a porous composite with good mechanical strength has been resolved by incorporating 5 wt% of nano-hydroxyapatite-zinc oxide into chitosan-poly(vinyl alcohol) matrix; the present composite showed high tensile strength (20.25 MPa) while maintaining appreciable porosity (65.25%). These values are similar to human cancellous bone. These nanocomposites also showed superior water uptake, antimicrobial and biodegradable properties than the previously reported results. Compatibility with human blood and pH was observed, indicating nontoxicity of these materials to the human body. Moreover, proliferation of osteoblastic MG-63 cells onto the nanocomposites was also observed without having any negative effect. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.