About Zen Box Izakaya

602 Washington Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55415
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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.

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://zenboxizakaya.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, Delivery, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Late Night, Outdoor dining, Private Room, Takeout, 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

4.5

noise

Moderate

100% would recommend it to a friend

Fit for Foodies (36)
Casual (34)
Good for a Date (32)
See All
Fun (31)
Authentic (31)
Creative Cuisine (23)
Happy Hour (22)
Neighborhood Gem (22)
Hot Spot (22)
Good Vegetarian Options (20)
Comfort Food (19)
Bar Seating (17)
Cozy (16)
Great for Lunch (16)
Tapas (15)
Good for Groups (13)
Pre/post Theatre (13)
Outstanding Value (13)
Special Occasion (12)
Handcrafted Cocktails (11)
Quick Bite (11)
Good for Birthdays (11)
Spicy (10)
Worth the Drive (10)
Open Kitchen (10)
Healthy (9)
Great Beer (8)
Vibrant Bar Scene (8)
People Watching (8)
Family Style (8)
Good for Anniversaries (7)
Tasting Menu (7)
Romantic (7)
Modern Decor (7)
Business Meals (7)
Vegan (6)
Sunday Lunch (6)
Late-night Find (5)
Local Ingredients (5)
Gluten Free Options (5)
Private Room (5)
Great for Outdoor Dining (3)
Notable Wine List (3)
Seasonal (2)
Kid-friendly (2)
Disabled Access (2)
Organic (2)
Scenic View (2)
Paleo Friendly (1)
Historic (1)
Great for Brunch (1)
Dining Occasion:
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183 reviews
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 (Minneapolis)·Dined 3 days ago

Ramen, duh.

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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined 7 days ago

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

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined 7 days ago

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
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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
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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food5
ambience4
service4
value5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on January 19, 2017

Fantastic food and service as usual.

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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
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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
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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
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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
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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

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on December 15, 2016

Okay, this was not what I was expecting. It was SO MUCH BETTER. Food is authentic, prices are affordable and waitstaff are both friendly and knowledegable. Something for everyone. Win, Win, win and win.

Tags: Cozy, People Watching, Authentic, Quick Bite
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food5
ambience3
service5
value5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on December 14, 2016

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.

Tags: Hot Spot, Authentic, Comfort Food, Healthy, Vegan, Spicy
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food5
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on December 11, 2016

Well worth it. Awesome ramen, and great service. Hit the spot on a snowy cold evening

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food5
ambience4
service5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on December 11, 2016

Zen Box never disappoints. From the tuna poke, to the pork Ramen, I can't get enough. It's a great lunch or dinner spot!

Tags: Authentic, Great for Lunch, Pre/post Theatre, Business Meals, Casual, Outstanding Value, Happy Hour, Good for Birthdays, Neighborhood Gem, Healthy, Good for a Date, Bar Seating, Cozy, Good for Groups, Special Occasion, Sunday Lunch, Fun
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

vip
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on December 10, 2016

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.

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food5
ambience5
service5

vip
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on December 4, 2016

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+++

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on December 4, 2016

Great food and wonderful attentive service!

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on December 3, 2016

First time at zen box didn't know what to expect but had a great time. Food was great as well as the service. Friendly server and quick to getting our order. Super cool spot for date or just sit at the bar and enjoy some food. Can't wait to visit again.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Fun, Casual, Organic, Sunday Lunch, Cozy, Good for Groups, Authentic, Good for a Date
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food4
ambience4
service4
value3

vip
·Dined on November 27, 2016

Our server was super knowledgeable and patient in explaining the different types of Japanese liquors in the cocktail menu. The food was all amazing; ask your server for recommendations. We were so happy with ours!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on November 20, 2016

Had reservations for 6:45, arrived at 6:40 and was seated immediately! Great when a restaurant has your table ready as you reserved. Will definitely be returning.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Good for a Date, Authentic, Good Vegetarian Options, Outstanding Value
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on November 19, 2016

Tried the Katsu Curry with pork this time. It was absolutely delicious. Freshly prepared, generous portions, and tasted super delicious. Highly recommend!

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Authentic, Handcrafted Cocktails, Special Occasion, Bar Seating, Creative Cuisine, Open Kitchen, Healthy, Good for a Date
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food5
ambience5
service4
value5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on November 13, 2016

This is not your classic Japanese. This place is young, fun and edgy like the food and drinks. Had a great evening. Service was excellent, too. Will definitively be back.

Tags: Good for Groups, Modern Decor, Gluten Free Options, Casual, Fun, Hot Spot, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on November 12, 2016

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.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Outstanding Value, Hot Spot, Quick Bite, Private Room, People Watching, Special Occasion, Happy Hour, Cozy, Good Vegetarian Options, Tasting Menu, Romantic, Authentic, Spicy, Tapas, Local Ingredients, Fit for Foodies, Vibrant Bar Scene, Comfort Food, Creative Cuisine, Bar Seating, Worth the Drive, Vegan, Good for a Date, Fun
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on November 11, 2016

I love the food and the hosts greeted us with a Japanese welcome. We were seated immediately thanks to our reservation. It was a bit noisy, so I wouldn't recommend it for a business meeting. Love it!

Tags: Historic, Fun, Casual
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on November 6, 2016

Had the seaweed salad, Japanese pickle, kimchi Ramen. Everything was really good kimchi Ramen was nice and spicy, just right. Great place, bustling with all ages.

Tags: Spicy, Hot Spot, Fun, Neighborhood Gem, Good for Groups
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on November 6, 2016

awesome food and service every visit is like a mini vacation for us. :)

Tags: Worth the Drive, Outstanding Value, Comfort Food, Good for Groups, Vibrant Bar Scene, Fit for Foodies, Hot Spot, Good for a Date, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New England)·Dined on November 6, 2016

Love, love Zen Box - vibrant atmosphere and great food!

Tags: Good Vegetarian Options, Authentic, Gluten Free Options
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Philadelphia)·Dined on November 5, 2016

Just a fun place for great food in a fun atmosphere!!

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Casual, Outstanding Value, Happy Hour, Great Beer, Late-night Find, Hot Spot, Good for a Date, Authentic, Fit for Foodies, Fun
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on November 1, 2016

The restaurant was loud and seemed a bit cluttered with stuff everywhere. The food was good and liked having a gluten free menu. The staff was nice and well trained. Just seemed a bit over priced for the atmosphere.

Tags: Casual
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food3
ambience2
service3
value2

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on October 29, 2016

Everything about Zen Box is fantastic! Their ramen is magical, a nice selection of Japanese beer and sake in addition to local favorites, creative cocktails, and a wonderful atmosphere.

Tags: Family Style, Happy Hour, Worth the Drive, Romantic, Neighborhood Gem, Great Beer, Good for a Date, Great for Lunch, Open Kitchen, Comfort Food, Good Vegetarian Options, Authentic, Outstanding Value, Hot Spot, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on October 26, 2016

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!

Tags: Great Beer, Modern Decor, Creative Cuisine, Hot Spot, Worth the Drive
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on October 25, 2016

Love Zen Box! It's my favorite Ramen in town. Always delicious food.

Tags: Worth the Drive, Cozy, Good for Groups, Neighborhood Gem, Hot Spot, Fit for Foodies, Good for Birthdays, Outstanding Value, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on October 25, 2016

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.

Tags: Fun, Vibrant Bar Scene, Kid-friendly
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food3
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on October 22, 2016

Fantastic food and service, as always! The ramen is outstanding.

Tags: Happy Hour, Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Creative Cuisine, Comfort Food, Bar Seating, Authentic
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on October 22, 2016

I will be back .

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food5
ambience5
service5

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