Zen Box Izakaya

4.8
369 reviews
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$30 and under
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Japanese
Top Tags:
  • Authentic
  • Creative Cuisine
  • Fit for Foodies
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
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Cuisines
Japanese, Tapas / Small Plates, Comfort Food
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Hours of operation

Lunch: Monday - Friday: 11:30am - 2:00pm.
Dinner: Monday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm, Friday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 12:00am.
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Phone number
(612) 332-3936
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
John Ng
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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!
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Private party contact
General Manager: (612) 332-3936
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Cross street
Portland Ave
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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.
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Public transit
Metro Transit Lightrail: Metrodome Station.
Metro Transit Bus No. 7 & 22
Additional
Banquet, Beer, Cocktails, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 369 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.8based on recent ratings
4.7
food
4.7
service
4.4
ambience
4.5
value
Noise · Moderate
94% of people would recommend it to a friend
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5.0Dined 5 days ago

Went for a business meal with a co-worker who knew the ropes. Ordered some traditional ramen. It was very good but the best part for me was the tempura avocado with sriracha mayo. Delicious!!!

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5.0Dined on June 16, 2018

Wow! We both expected sushi but found a much more diverse experience! So so glad we tried this sushi place finding a super alternative!

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5.0Dined on June 13, 2018

Wonderful food. A friend and I split the tsukemono and the fried squid/octopus. I had the Tonkotsu Ramen which was a little heavier than I expected but still absolutely wonderful. The broth was rich and had a nice mouthfeel. Enjoyed happy hour with the Calpico and Lychee Chu Hais. 10/10 would come again

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5.0Dined on June 6, 2018

It was my first time at Zen Box. My friend who is Korean highly recommended this place because of its authenticity. And having lived in Asia and traveled multiple times to Japan, I was really hoping for an authentic experience. Upon stepping into the restaurant, I was immediately reminded of the time when I was vacationing in Japan. I felt like I was transported back to Japan because of the decor at the counter. I ordered Udon noodles and we shared a poke and salmon dish. Both the poke and salmon dish was a little different than what I had expected but in a good way. The food overall was great. My only disappointment is the lack of non-alcoholic drinks and tea options. I was hoping to enjoy a cup of matcha green tea but ended up with water instead. But that is not a big deal anyways. I am already making plans to go back there to sample more dishes!

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5.0Dined on June 1, 2018

Service was not as fast as usual when I sat outside.

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2.0Dined on May 31, 2018

Hostess was very pleasant , we arrived a bit late for our reservation and they called to remind us - super rare and appreciated! Ok beer selection. Extremely fatty beef spare ribs. Taste of all the food was "meh." Definitely not worth the high price. We were basically sat with the table next to us. Server was friendly, but not real attentive.

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5.0Dined on May 26, 2018

Great place, great food, great service.

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5.0Dined on May 22, 2018

I am by no means an expert on Japanese food, but this is the closest I've found in the Twin Cities to what I experienced in Japan - for ramen and chicken katsu. The tonkatsu ramen has a wonderful, rich, flavorful broth and perfectly cooked noodles, fresh vegetables, perfectly soft-cooked egg. Nice cocktails and a small but sufficient wine list, with several interesting choices of sake.

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4.0Dined on May 18, 2018

Took my boss who is from Japan there for dinner. He enjoyed it.

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5.0Dined on May 11, 2018

If you like Japanese food, definitely try Zen Box Izakaya. They serve a variety of dishes, excellent ramen, great vibe and, most importantly, delicious!

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5.0Dined on May 10, 2018

Always have a good experience here. Our server was extremely accommodating when my date was 30 minutes late and there were people waiting. In my opinion, the best ramen in the Twin Cities. And I have lived in Japan.

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4.0Dined on May 9, 2018

The food is okay, tried the udon and Kimchi ramen, both of them are tasty but not surprise good.

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5.0Dined on May 5, 2018

The food is amazing. It is the closest we have had to Japanese comfort food since we were in Japan. The service is also outstanding. We live in the Chicago are and anytime we are within a couple hours of Zen Box we will try to get there if we can.

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5.0Dined on April 26, 2018

Our server Liana was so friendly, fast and efficient. She helped us select the perfect sakes for our meal and explained our dishes to aid our choices. The reviews that I read online raved about the Chicken Kara Age and the Kimshi Ramen for VERY good reasons. I have so many favorites at the restaurant and now I've added two more. We love coming here, we always leave fat and happy!

BTW, you have a typo on this form:
"We'd love to hear how your experince went."
It should be 'experience'

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5.0Dined on April 26, 2018

Great food and great service!

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5.0Dined on April 26, 2018

Excellent!

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4.0Dined on April 23, 2018

We tried a bunch of things and enjoyed them all. Definitely go with the recommended items. Our favorites were the fried chicken and spare ribs.

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5.0Dined on April 18, 2018

If I didn't work in the same neighborhood as this gem I would still drive however long it would take to get here. Zen Box has the happiest staff that doesn't just sit around but they are always helping their guests. The food is delicious and the drinks are wonderful! Thank you for being a staple to my life!

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5.0Dined on April 13, 2018

Love everything about this restaurant!!

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5.0Dined on April 7, 2018

Great Friday night restaurant the Tonkotsu and Kimchi ramen were both - chef kisses fingers noise!!!!

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5.0Dined on April 2, 2018

This was my fifth time for dinner at Zen Box and the quality and service are consistent. The food is excellent and I have recommended Zen Box to friends. Seating is limited so reservations are recommended. Zen Box is an excellent place to eat for any occasion.

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4.0Dined on April 1, 2018

Birthday dinner

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5.0Dined on March 30, 2018

Wonderful as always!

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4.0Dined on March 30, 2018

Enjoyed the food and overall experience. The service was prompt and friendly and the food was quite good!

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3.0Dined on March 24, 2018

One of the best Japanese dining options especially if you are looking for ramen. The izakaya style menu is interesting but not always well executed

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5.0Dined on March 23, 2018

ZBI is the best.

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5.0Dined on March 23, 2018

Good Ramen!

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4.0Dined on March 22, 2018

Good drinks. Order the ramen. Short ribs are great.

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5.0Dined on March 22, 2018

Loved it. Great food

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5.0Dined on March 16, 2018

Wonderful well-crafted homemade food! My favorite above all is their spicy kimchi ramen with homemade noodles and amazing broth.

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3.0Dined on March 15, 2018

Enjoyed the suggested appetizers but our main courses were not savory enough.

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5.0Dined on March 14, 2018

Japanese comfort food at its best! Love the Ahi Tuna Bento Box.

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5.0Dined on March 10, 2018

I love their craft ramen. Their sake selection is really good. This place is amazing and delicious!

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4.0Dined on March 9, 2018

Always have to make a stop to Zen Box every time I am in Minneapolis!

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5.0Dined on March 9, 2018

Amazing as always! Keep up the great work and service!

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3.0Dined on March 7, 2018

Ramen was just ok and meat was VERY fatty. Broth could have been better. Short Rib appetizer was meaty but flavorless. Chicken Kara-Age was good. Tuna Poke' was fantastic and the bright spot of the meal. Service was great but restaurant is very loud....hard to talk to each other. Surprised it was rated this highly. We LOVE sushi and would not come back here.

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5.0Dined on March 4, 2018

Good food and great food, would go back for another taste. Lots of interesting items on the menu. Highly recommend the crab guacamole. Worth the reservation!!

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5.0Dined on February 28, 2018

Do yourself a favor and stop by this place. Being in town for a trade show our group went to more expensive places at the beginning of the week. I got tired of that "type" of dining and I just had to try this place. When I told them of my plans a group of 5 wanted to go with me. We ordered a lot of food and let me tell you EVERYONE was impressed they could not believe the flavors in just our "appetizers". Beer was cold and food was AMAZING.

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5.0Dined on February 24, 2018

Fabulous ramen; great gyoza; terrific sake. Friendly and helpful service. Nice casual atmosphere. An altogether great dining experience.

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5.0Dined on February 24, 2018

My favorite Japanese spot!

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