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Nearby points of interest

  1. Distance: 0.15mi
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  3. Distance: 0.20mi
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  1. Distance: 0.15mi
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About Zen Box Izakaya

A Ramen-centric Izakaya owned by Chef & Wife in Downtown Minneapolis' Mill District.

We are devoted to the pleasures of Craft Ramen & Japanese comfort food.
Zen Box Izakaya is THE place for ‘Good Food, Good Drinks and Good Company’.
Established since 2011.

602 Washington Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55415
View Larger Map

Dining Style:
Casual Dining

Cuisines:
Japanese, Tapas / Small Plates, Comfort Food

Hours of Operation:

Lunch: Monday - Friday: 11:30am - 2:00pm.
Dinner: Monday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm, Friday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 12:00am.

Cross Street:
Portland Ave

Dress Code:
Casual Dress

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(612) 332-3936

Website:
http://www.zenbox.com/

Parking Details:
Street Parking: You can find metered parking along Washington & Portland all of the meters are $1.00 per hour, payable with Credit Cards. Meters are free after 10:00pm daily. Let us know if you need change.

Ramp Parking: There are several parking ramps and surface parking lot nearby which range in price from $1.50 on evenings & weekends to $4/first hour on weekdays.

Public Transit:
Metro Transit Lightrail: Metrodome Station.
Metro Transit Bus No. 7 & 22

Executive Chef:
John Ng

Private Party Facilities:
Available for groups up to 25-50.

We can host sit-down dinners, buffet-style meals, or cocktail hour.

We have unique seating options, atmosphere and privacy levels, whether your event is birthday party, business meeting, holiday party or corporate functions.

The choice is up to you!

Private Party Contact:
General Manager: (612) 332-3936

Additional:
Banquet, Bar Dining, Beer, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Late Night, Outdoor dining, Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Zen Box Izakaya Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.7

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.6

service

4.5

ambience

4.3

value

4.4

noise

Moderate

100% would recommend it to a friend

Fit for Foodies (40)
Casual (38)
Good for a Date (36)
See All
Fun (34)
Authentic (31)
Happy Hour (29)
Creative Cuisine (26)
Neighborhood Gem (23)
Comfort Food (22)
Great for Lunch (22)
Hot Spot (22)
Pre/post Theatre (20)
Good Vegetarian Options (20)
Cozy (19)
Bar Seating (19)
Good for Groups (17)
Good for Birthdays (16)
Tapas (15)
Quick Bite (15)
Outstanding Value (14)
Healthy (12)
Family Style (12)
Open Kitchen (12)
Worth the Drive (12)
Modern Decor (11)
Business Meals (11)
Special Occasion (11)
People Watching (10)
Kid-friendly (10)
Spicy (10)
Handcrafted Cocktails (10)
Vibrant Bar Scene (8)
Tasting Menu (8)
Late-night Find (8)
Private Room (7)
Good for Anniversaries (7)
Great Beer (7)
Romantic (7)
Sunday Lunch (7)
Vegan (5)
Local Ingredients (4)
Gluten Free Options (4)
Great for Outdoor Dining (4)
Organic (3)
Notable Wine List (3)
Scenic View (2)
Disabled Access (2)
Seasonal (2)
Paleo Friendly (1)
Great for Brunch (1)
Afternoon Tea (1)
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198 reviews
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vip
 (Minneapolis)·Dined 2 days ago

The salad dressing was spicy and the menu didn't say spicy. I ate because I didn't want to waste food.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food1
ambience3
service2
value3

 
 (Seattle)·Dined 5 days ago

Had a great meal of shared plates with wonderful friends. The service was excellent.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined 5 days ago

Great traditional Japanese cuisine. I got the ramen bowl while my sister-in-laws got lots of little plates and shared. Everything was super tasty. This was my second time and I will go back again. Love Zen Box. The only thing that could have made it better was a "cheat sheet" with translations of what everything means on the menu. They had descriptions but it would have been nice to know what all the menu items meant.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Happy Hour, Private Room
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience3
service4
value3

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined 6 days ago

Great spot! Hard not to get the ramen when here, but they've also got good gyoza, seaweed salad, poke, sashimi, etc. Fun and vibrant, welcoming and modern. We enjoyed truly great service, and will keep going back!

Tags: Kid-friendly, Fun, Pre/post Theatre, Casual, Creative Cuisine
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience3
service5
value3

 
 (Las Vegas)·Dined on March 12, 2017

Awesome place. Great food and service was amazing. Friendly.

Tags: Good for Groups, Family Style, Fun, Quick Bite, Kid-friendly, Comfort Food, Neighborhood Gem, Hot Spot, Business Meals, Happy Hour, Worth the Drive, Great Beer, Outstanding Value, Great for Lunch, Late-night Find, Casual, Open Kitchen, Authentic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on March 11, 2017

We really enjoyed the ramen here and the service was excellent. We look forward to returning!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Happy Hour, Bar Seating, Fun, Late-night Find, Kid-friendly, Casual, People Watching, Open Kitchen, Outstanding Value, Modern Decor, Hot Spot, Good Vegetarian Options, Healthy, Vibrant Bar Scene, Handcrafted Cocktails
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (New Orleans)·Dined on March 11, 2017

We were tucked away in a back room without windows or decor. There were other patrons but the ambiance in the main dining room looked better. Food was great and staff friendly.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience3
service3
value4

vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined on March 11, 2017

Fabulous! Really great food and service

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on March 10, 2017

Food tastes good, good recommendations by staff for what to try according to your taste preferences, good atmosphere and lightning, clean, enjoyed it very much!

Tags: Quick Bite, Tasting Menu, Fun, Family Style, Kid-friendly, Casual, Good for Birthdays, Healthy, Good for Anniversaries, Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Cozy, Great for Lunch, Worth the Drive, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service4
value4

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on March 6, 2017

Delicious ramen noodles and broth. Warm and cozy place; ideal for a cold and wet day. One of my favorite places.

Tags: Comfort Food, Great for Lunch, Authentic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on March 2, 2017

We are frequent visitors to Zen Box Izakaya and fave always find it to be a friendly.
Zen Box is a great establishment and we Highly recommend you stop in for a tasty bite.

Tags: Quick Bite, Organic, Good for a Date, Late-night Find, Good for Groups, Fit for Foodies, Great for Lunch, Happy Hour
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on March 2, 2017

Great! My husband and I both had ramen and it was delicious! Excellent service as well. We'll definitely be back!

Tags: Hot Spot, Creative Cuisine
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on March 1, 2017

Will definitely be going back. So many things on the menu that I want to try!

Tags: Worth the Drive, Outstanding Value, Fun, Fit for Foodies, Good Vegetarian Options, Good for a Date, Creative Cuisine, Good for Birthdays, Pre/post Theatre, Special Occasion, Hot Spot, Modern Decor
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on February 26, 2017

Food was excellent and fairly priced. Server was outstanding, she even noticed my youngest struggling with his chop sticks and promptly delivered a pair of cheater sticks without us having to ask. Food came out very quickly making this an excellent pre-event dining location. Seating is a little limited with no booth seating so if privacy is your thing this wouldn't be for you.

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Special Occasion, Outstanding Value, People Watching, Kid-friendly, Pre/post Theatre, Good for a Date, Quick Bite, Casual
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience3
service5
value4

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on February 23, 2017

Ramen, duh.

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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on February 19, 2017

Absolutely my favorite restaurant in Downtown to visit again and again. You cannot beat their ramen!

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on February 18, 2017

This place was an EXCELLENT date destination! The food was remarkable, and the service was top notch despite the busy dining area. I highly recommend.

Tags: Hot Spot, Fit for Foodies, Vibrant Bar Scene, Modern Decor, Special Occasion, Good Vegetarian Options, Romantic, Spicy, Pre/post Theatre, Neighborhood Gem, Worth the Drive, Great Beer, Sunday Lunch, Great for Lunch, Authentic, Creative Cuisine, Good for Anniversaries, Outstanding Value, Happy Hour, Casual, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on February 16, 2017

My last visit was dinner before going to see a play at the Guthrie (a very short walk). I always get the Takoyaki for a starter (love it). The Ramen is excellent here, but this night I had the Japanese Curry and it was very good too. I love the Mochi they have for dessert and I try to get red bean or black sesame seed. Both are delicious. Zen Box just updated their list of Sakes so I can't wait to try them all out. The atmosphere here is great. A must go to restaurant in my opinion.
My one suggestion for improvement is that I wish they still did Sake flights so you could experience more styles first, but with the change in their Sake menu they no longer offer flights. Please bring them back.

Tags: People Watching, Great for Lunch, Good for Groups, Business Meals, Fun, Neighborhood Gem, Pre/post Theatre, Good for a Date, Special Occasion, Comfort Food, Quick Bite, Happy Hour, Modern Decor, Romantic, Casual, Authentic, Good Vegetarian Options, Hot Spot, Healthy, Bar Seating, Fit for Foodies, Good for Birthdays, Good for Anniversaries
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on February 15, 2017

One of my favorite places in the city and madly in love with this place. AMAZING FOOD!!

Tags: Gluten Free Options, Local Ingredients, Cozy, Good for Groups, Good for Birthdays, Fit for Foodies, Good Vegetarian Options, Open Kitchen, Neighborhood Gem, Good for Anniversaries, Great for Lunch, Special Occasion, Spicy, Quick Bite, Happy Hour, Organic, Romantic, Modern Decor, Notable Wine List, Casual, Good for a Date, Worth the Drive, Bar Seating, Healthy, Great Beer, Creative Cuisine, Fun, Late-night Find, Comfort Food, Great for Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Sunday Lunch, Handcrafted Cocktails
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on February 13, 2017

This is a great place. I have been going for business lunches for several years. Outstanding food, nice presentation. Decent service. Authentic Japanese feeling.

Tags: Great for Lunch, Great Beer, Bar Seating, Business Meals
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service4
value4

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on February 11, 2017

Food was meh. The gyu don sauce was super salty. The Japanese curry and chicken Kara-age was very average for a Japanese curry; tasted good, but nothing special.

Tags: Casual, Quick Bite, Great for Lunch
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Naples)·Dined on February 10, 2017

It was our first time but definitely not our last. Food, service and portions were wonderful. We plan on being regulars.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Modern Decor, Cozy, Worth the Drive, Tapas, Tasting Menu
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on February 10, 2017

Great food! It was our group's first time trying Japanese food or eating a meal with chopsticks. We had a great time! Reservation was perfect: we walked in and they had a table waiting for us.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on February 5, 2017

The kim chi ramen is just amazing! The broth is so full of flavor with some spice from the kimchi. It is hard for me to order anything else. The Poke appetizer is very good and the chicken wings are amazing. This is a fabulous place to eat!!

Tags: Worth the Drive, Neighborhood Gem, Creative Cuisine, Fun, Authentic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience3
service4
value5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on February 5, 2017

It was my son's birthday. My son and his girlfriend showed up. They liked food there. Fun to go.

Tags: Cozy, Fun
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on February 4, 2017

Fantastic service and food. Very flavorful dishes and many options. The staff is beyond helpful and courteous. Great environment and vibes!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Fun, Good for a Date, Vibrant Bar Scene, Hot Spot
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on February 3, 2017

The Tonkotsu ramen at Zen box is unquestionably the most delicious I've had, anywhere in the twin cities. And the avocado tempura is divine.

Tags: Tapas, Fun, Great Beer, Worth the Drive, Spicy, Bar Seating, Cozy, Authentic, Open Kitchen, Handcrafted Cocktails, Notable Wine List, Fit for Foodies, Good Vegetarian Options, Good for a Date, Happy Hour, Neighborhood Gem, Hot Spot, Modern Decor, Comfort Food, Creative Cuisine
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on January 21, 2017

Definitely make a reservation! I messed up and made it for the wrong day, but they were super helpful and we got seated within a half hour on a Friday night. Place is small and if you have a large group definitely go get a drink somewhere while you wait because there's really no room in there to wait comfortably.

We got a karafe of Sake that was SO delicious and we nearly finished before sitting. Once we were situated the server gave us great suggestions and the food was spectacular. It's not super high end, but it's absolutely delicious comfort food as they advertise. Server seemed just a little clueless at times like when I asked for more napkins for our messy wings, she took what we had and replaced it with just one small napkin haha.

Would definitely go back with a correct reservation and an emptier stomach as I wanted to try so much more. Value was crazy. We ordered 7 dishes and the total was about $60!

Tags: Good for a Date, Family Style, Neighborhood Gem, Good for Groups, Comfort Food, Good Vegetarian Options, Open Kitchen, Late-night Find, People Watching, Outstanding Value, Hot Spot, Casual, Tapas
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service4
value5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on January 19, 2017

Fantastic food and service as usual.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on January 19, 2017

Absolutely my favorite place to eat. Never disappointing!!

Tags: Cozy, Tapas, Good for a Date, Vegan, Fit for Foodies, Comfort Food, Authentic, Good for Anniversaries, Late-night Find, Business Meals, Good Vegetarian Options, Romantic, Special Occasion, Happy Hour, Worth the Drive, Open Kitchen, Bar Seating, Local Ingredients, Casual, Neighborhood Gem, Tasting Menu, Creative Cuisine
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on January 15, 2017

Great ambience, with a real Japanese flair!

Tags: Modern Decor, Neighborhood Gem, Bar Seating, Fit for Foodies, Creative Cuisine, Tapas, Good Vegetarian Options
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on January 13, 2017

Good food. The Bento box for lunch is a great value. Service was lacking. Server seemed disinterest and being out first time here, getting suggestions for her was like pulling teeth

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food4
ambience3
service2
value3

 
 (Seattle)·Dined on January 7, 2017

What a great treasure in mill city. The ramen here is amazing, we came for the weekend special ramen. It didn't disappoint, we were glad we came early as they sold out by 8pm. Everything here is amazing but definitely try the ramen. I've had many different Ramen in Japan and this is by far the best place to go in Minneapolis. Make reservations or you will have to luck out with an empty bar seat. Staff is super attentive and helpful and you will hear them call out greetings to all customers just like an authentic ramen shop should. Natto omlette, karage, Takoyaki, and the grilled mackerel are some of our other favorites. They also had a craft cocktail special this weekend with bourbon, honey and lemon served warm. It was perfect for a Minneapolis cold evening.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Authentic, Fit for Foodies, Bar Seating, Casual, Happy Hour, Comfort Food, Great Beer, Fun, Handcrafted Cocktails, Good for a Date, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Chicago)·Dined on January 7, 2017

Great restaurant ambiance- best Asian experience in Minneapolis. Service was good, as server was very helpful explaining the nuances of the menu. My one complaint was with respect to the food, and it's very specific. I will say, overall the food was very good. Especially some of the appetizers and noodle dishes. The one specific problem I had was the meat in several dishes was not prepared as well as it could have been. For the pork belly, the pork in the ramen dish, and the short ribs, there was an unacceptable amount of fat in the meat. It averaged over 50% fat in these cuts of meat and was very off-putting. The restaurant just needs to do a better job of prepping these meats (or selecting better cuts), and the menu would hit it out of the park.

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food2
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (Louisville)·Dined on January 5, 2017

Always amazing and delicious!

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on December 21, 2016

Interesting food and friendly service. Very loud-not a place for quiet conversation. Recommended as a good place to try.

Tags: Vegan, Pre/post Theatre, Healthy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience2
service4
value4

vip
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on December 20, 2016

We all ordered 2-3 items from the menu and shared everything. It was all fantastic! Get a reservation though -- the place fills up quickly.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (South Dakota)·Dined on December 18, 2016

Seated promptly. Server was mostly attentive, had a little too much time waiting to order. Food came promptly and was spaced well. The lump crab avocado app was only ok. Kimchee pork belly was the highlight. Nicely spiced and very tasty. The short ribs were good, but there was a serious shortage of meat on the bone. They needed to be cut thicker. Nice beer selection. I'd try it again.

Tags: Tapas
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience3
service4
value4

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on December 18, 2016

The food here was amazing and authentic, "Japanese Tapas" as they themselves call it. Fantastic deals at happy hour, and all-around decent prices. We tried the pickled cucumber, miso soup, kimchi ramen (DELISH), short ribs, and chicken gyoza... and also some interesting Japanese ice cream that was a fun to try. This is a very casual place, so the food's great but it's not a great date night spot or anything (bright lights, tables verrrryyy close together so you can hear conversations of the patrons next to you). It's a fun experience, however! I would return and recommend.

Tags: Authentic, Casual, Fit for Foodies, Open Kitchen, Outstanding Value, Tapas, Bar Seating, Happy Hour
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food5
ambience3
service4
value5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on December 16, 2016

We loves love zen box, it have been one of my favorite places to eat for the last year. One thing I would complain about is that ramen was not as hot as usual last time I was there (December 15).

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food4
ambience3
service4
value4

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