About Zen Box Izakaya
Minneapolis, MN 55415
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.
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.
$30 and under
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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.
Metro Transit Lightrail: Metrodome Station.
Metro Transit Bus No. 7 & 22
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
Banquet, Bar Dining, Beer, Delivery, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Late Night, Outdoor dining, Private Room, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine
Zen Box Izakaya Ratings and Reviews
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
I came here a couple of weeks ago because I had heard there was a vegetarian ramen on the menu. It was so delicious that it's become my staple Tuesday night spot since it's the only night that there's a Veggie ramen option. I wish it were available other nights. I love the selection of whiskey and whisky's. The food is well seasoned and flavorful without being too salty. The meat-eaters I go with are happy as well. One of these days I'll try something else on the menu but I can't make myself try an alternate.
From the moment we walked inside, I knew we had walked into a world most Minnesotans would never see. It felt like we had just arrived at a secret restaurant in Japan. My wife and I sat down with pure excitement and then the wonderful experience began.
The waitress was so patient and helpful with explaining how we should share small plates. It was clear to me that we had to also order a Ramen soup because her face lit up with such happiness and joy when she was explaining it to us. All of the food was amazing. It was served hot and tasted as good as it looked.
Now I am purposely not going to tell you everything we ordered. You need to go as soon as possible and let them take you through the guided tour of the menu. In summary, we loved it and this was an unexpected culinary surprise.
Tired of the same-old, same-old? Looking for a new favorite dining spot near you, check out Zen Box Izakaya, love the atmosphere and the food.
Zen Box offers small and large full dishes all of them excellent, this is a no frills genuine restaurant with a great atmosphere and staff.
As always, the place was crowded (use Open-Table, book early!!) but service was wonderful and the food very tasty. we ordered different types of appetizers and they were all great. the cocktails were good too.
All in all, a great Japanese themed experience in Minneapolis!!! A+++
After one quick dinner Zen Box Izakaya quickly became my favorite restaurant. Made a reservation for a Saturday night and so happy I did because it seems everyone else loves their authentic food as much as I do! The seating was tight but not uncomfortable, got to chat for a couple moments with the couple next to us which was very pleasant. Our waitstaff was welcoming, energetic, and a very enjoyable aspect of the evening. The food comes as it is made so the short wait between plates gave us time to savor and truly enjoy each unique item we ordered. The squid and octopus dishes were delicious and exciting to try as it was the first time any of us had experienced such different and exotic cuisine. Octopus quickly went from a dish I was unsure to try to a favorite I cannot wait to order again. Their Mochi Ice Cream was the perfect end to the spicy meal and I'll recommend it to any ice cream lover.
Overall Zen Box Izakaya was a fantastic and memorable experience, one I cannot wait to return to shortly and can see myself venturing to often. It's chill vibes, fun waiters, out of this world food, and huge menu will be bringing me back time after time.
We went for the Tonkatsu Ramen and it did not disappoint. It was a clean but rich broth and the noodles were cooked perfectly. Thinly sliced pieces of tender pork. The flavors were mild but lovely and I added some of the spices that were delivered with it. For $3 6 fried gyoza were added; they recommended chicken. There was ample flavor and the dumplings were perfectly crispy and tender at the same time. The service was super attentive, helpful and cheerful. We will definitely be back. We were among the first to arrive at 11:30 and within 10 minutes they were full!
First visit to Zen Box Izakaya--fun spot, excellent, friendly service, good food. The kimchi ramen was yummy, the fried takoyaki appetizer better than what I had in Osaka (famous for this item), the soba salad just right. But really, deep-fried gyoza? A horrible idea. Had we known, we would never have ordered this--pan-fried gyoza are great, who would deepfry them, even in the interest of speed? Yuck. But a good experience overall, and worth another visit.
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