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: 6123323936x

Additional:
Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Beer, Delivery, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Late Night, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Restaurant Photos

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Zen Box Izakaya Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.4

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.6

service

4.4

ambience

4.1

value

4.2

noise

Moderate

97% would recommend it to a friend

fit for foodies (65)
neighborhood gem (44)
great for lunch (31)
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good for groups (30)
hot spot (25)
special occasion (23)
late-night find (18)
great for outdoor dining (11)
kid-friendly (10)
vibrant bar scene (9)
romantic (7)
great for brunch (3)
scenic view (2)
notable wine list (1)
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97 reviews
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We have been to Zen Box twice now, and i ...

 
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined 6 days ago

We have been to Zen Box twice now, and it is our new favorite place to go! It's perfect for a nice dinner, or just a hang out with friends. The staff were all very friendly, attentive and knowledgable! The food is fantastic, and surprisingly affordable as well!

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Our experience was so good, I almost don ...

vip
 (Salt Lake City)
·Dined on July 21, 2016

Our experience was so good, I almost don't want to tell you about it for fear of not getting a table in the future. Everything was absolutely delightful - not a weak dish in the 7-8 small plates 4 of us tried. Super knowledgeable server accompanied by fabulous service. Plus- this place feels like fun!

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Closest thing to real Japanese food in M ...

 
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined on July 17, 2016

Closest thing to real Japanese food in Mpls. My Japanese friends recommended it. Staff is always willing to accommodate your seating needs. When they are slammed busy, staff always has a good attitude. Food always come out from the kitchen fast and hot. Try everything!

Tags: fit for foodies, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem
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food5
ambience3
service5
value4

keep up the good work! we come whenever ...

 
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined on July 16, 2016

keep up the good work!

we come whenever we go to the guthrie

always fabulous

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot
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food5
ambience4
service5
value3

Good place for Japanese cuisine. Has go ...

 
 (Cincinnati)
·Dined on July 16, 2016

Good place for Japanese cuisine. Has good ramen options.

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food4
ambience3
service3

The server was very knowledgable and gui ...

 
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined on July 14, 2016

The server was very knowledgable and guided us with ordering an interesting variety of items to taste. A fun, new experience

Tags: kid-friendly, fit for foodies
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food4
ambience4
service5
value5

Good food/ drinks and nice selection out ...

vip
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined on July 9, 2016

Good food/ drinks and nice selection outside of standard sushi fare. Kitchen rather slow even though we mentioned need to get to show. Will be back with more time.

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food4
ambience3
service3
value3

I couldn't have enjoyed my experience mo ...

 
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined on July 9, 2016

I couldn't have enjoyed my experience more. It's also an insanely affordable, which surprised me. Excellent service too. I will definitely be back. :)

Tags: fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

We have eaten at Zen Box a number of tim ...

 
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined on July 8, 2016

We have eaten at Zen Box a number of times. It has a fun menu where you select small plates and share with your dining mates. This time I was not as impressed with the food, but that was probably due to our choices. We had a tofu salad that didn't have enough flavor from the dressing and other components--acknowledging that tofu itself is mostly flavorless. A vegetable curry was good, but a fried oyster special was nothing special. Nevertheless, we will continue to eat here because there are a lot of menu items that we really like. This time we were trying new things, and were not completely successful.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups
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food3
ambience3
service4
value4

Food is absolutely delicious! I have bee ...

 
 (Columbus)
·Dined on July 7, 2016

Food is absolutely delicious! I have been a times and the servers always a little rude. Not in an "I hate you, way, but an "I hate my life" way.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch
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food5
ambience4
service2
value4

First time going to Zen Box, and the rev ...

 
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined on July 2, 2016

First time going to Zen Box, and the reviews raving about the ramen were utterly correct! Everything we ordered was delicious, one of the best first-time dining experiences I've ever had.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

The food was top notch. We ordered tapas ...

vip
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined on June 29, 2016

The food was top notch. We ordered tapas style and it was just right

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food5
ambience5
service5

Great foods, great atmosphere as always! ...

 
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined on June 25, 2016

Great foods, great atmosphere as always! They made a little mistake on my bill, but it got fixed right away with clear explanation and apology. Problem was solved in the best way. Best customer service!!

Tags: fit for foodies
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Great authentic food and experience! Gre ...

 
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined on June 20, 2016

Great authentic food and experience! Great for lunch or dinner!

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food4
ambience3
service3

You can't go wrong with any of the ramen ...

 
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined on June 19, 2016

You can't go wrong with any of the ramen dishes from Zen Box! I like their ramen so much I find it difficult to order anything else.

The staff, delightfully city quirky, are very friendly and helpful. They cheerfully explain the menu without making me feel dumb for mispronouncing things.

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food5
ambience4
service5

This is my type of comfort food! The ram ...

 
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined on June 14, 2016

This is my type of comfort food! The ramen is my favorite in town.

Tags: fit for foodies, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem
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food5
ambience3
service4
value4

Noise level made mewant to eat,run...way ...

 
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined on June 12, 2016

Noise level made mewant to eat,run...way too loud, kinda cramped...need new bigger place. The food,service, cost was great.just bar atmosphere, noise..way toomuch for me.

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food5
ambience2
service5
value4

Great Spot For Dinner

 
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined on June 10, 2016

We ended up ordering WAY more than we needed because it all looked so awesome! The service was great as well as the food. You will have a really good time.

Tags: fit for foodies, great for lunch
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Japanese Tapas

 
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined on June 4, 2016

The food was fantastic! I recommend ordering a bunch of different things and share with your group instead of everybody ordering one thing. Each dish is small, so it's really fun to try different things.

Tags: good for groups
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Great food but not so great atmosphere

 
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined on June 4, 2016

I love the food but too many tables packed into a small area. The noise level was intense.

Tags: good for groups, hot spot
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food4
ambience2
service3
value3

This is a fabulous restaurant downtown, ...

 
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined on May 24, 2016

This is a fabulous restaurant downtown, close to the river and The Guthrie Theatre. I went there for lunch and met my parents and my adult son for dinner. All three generations loved the food, including the bento boxes and ramen. We were able to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine. The service was flawless, timely, and friendly. I can't wait to return to try out the happy hour next. Yum!

Tags: fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Great spot for some izakaya fare...parti ...

 
 (Chicago)
·Dined on May 20, 2016

Great spot for some izakaya fare...particularly love the mussels (order extra bread!) and the Takoyaki! Impressive sake list and a cool atmosphere...hard to pass up for a casual but cool place to eat.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, neighborhood gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Always great food and service whenever I ...

 
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined on May 16, 2016

Always great food and service whenever I go. I've been here so many times and they never disappoint. Final was able to take my brother here and he absolutely loved it.

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food5
ambience5
service4

Got a reservation and when we arrived we ...

 
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined on May 13, 2016

Got a reservation and when we arrived were seated at a table right in the middle of the restaurant. Figured if I got a reservation I would get a semi secluded table, but don't call me bitter. We were also not allowed to order off the happy hour menu as we were 4 feet away from the bar area in the 'restaurant' area. We came early to get happy hour deals before dinner but we only ended up ordering one drink with dinner because we did not receive the happy hour deal! Offer your happy hour deals everywhere!

Food is very good but the restaurant operations could be run much better.

Tags: fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
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food4
ambience2
service3
value2

The ramen was good, other items were meh ...

 
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined on May 6, 2016

The ramen was good, other items were meh. Good service but got seated in a party room alone for some reason. Happy hour is only for the bar unfortunately.

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food2
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service5
value2

Food was very salty and some items were ...

 
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined on April 30, 2016

Food was very salty and some items were just disappointing. For example the shrimp skewers seemed to be frozen shrimp dumplings that were deep fried. Just not a "Wow"!

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food2
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Congratulations John and Lina!

 
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined on April 29, 2016

My wife and I are regulars at Zen Box and enjoy each meal more than the last. When we appear we are treated as honored guests and the owners personally come out to greet us. The wait staff, who are stable and long term team members, know us by name, and take the time to remember our favorite items and cocktails. It is not only a chic upscale experience, but has the dichotomy of a local, welcoming feeling as well. This congenial air of welcome, the Germans refer to as "Gemuetlichkeit." The curious mementos and fusion of antiques and pop culture is kind of a Japanese version of Grandma's in Duluth. My wife is Japanese and has a very discerning palate. She won't eat at a different Japanese restaurant. John and Lina study and compete internationally to keep their food items authentic and of the highest quality. I lived in Japan for four years, and travel there annually. I can say that their version of Izakaya can compete with any in Japan for quality and value. What is offered at Zen Box is culinary art, not just a quick meal. Eating there is a robust experience you will talk about to friends positively.

Tags: great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Food was great! Service was fantastic. ...

 
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined on April 29, 2016

Food was great! Service was fantastic. Quite loud, but that's fine.

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food5
ambience3
service5

zen box = fun new food

 
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined on April 28, 2016

Loved the food, completely unknown items in Japanese cuisine available in MN.

Loved the idea of small plates to try many different ones.

Definitely going back.

Tags: fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot
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food5
ambience4
service4
value4

Awesome place

 
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined on April 23, 2016

We love the Zen Box esp for date nite dinning. Great food and the service is outstanding.

Tags: kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem
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food5
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service5
value5

Just so-so

vip
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined on April 16, 2016

Our food was ok, not great. Service was very slow to nearly nonexistent. We have eaten at this restaurant many times before but never on a Saturday night. Maybe that was our mistake, it may be easier for them to maintain quality if it is not as busy.

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food2
ambience1
service1
value3

Great Service!

 
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined on April 16, 2016

VERY impressive service at Zen Box. The food was decent, but I was very please by the service. Great vegan options

Tags: fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, hot spot
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food3
ambience4
service5
value4

Cookwear

 
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined on April 15, 2016

It was our second time there. The deep fried avacado is to die for. Another good experience.

Tags: great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Awesome food and environment

vip
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined on April 13, 2016

Awesome food and environment

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food5
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service5

Super Schweet Japanese Food

 
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined on April 9, 2016

Great food and awesome atmosphere. I've had the ramen and yakisoba at Zen Box and was extremely pleased with both. The restaurant is full of energy, and people running around. Exactly how it should be (unless you don't like that... and stuff)!

Tags: fit for foodies, great for lunch, hot spot
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food5
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service4
value5

Good for not authentic Japanese Restaurant

 
 (Atlanta)
·Dined on April 2, 2016

Better than other non-authentic Japanese restaurant. Ramen was good but soup was too little. Japanese curry was too sweet but love the fact they used big chunk of veggies. (Most place make it too small)

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food3
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service4
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good spot for Japanese food!

 
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined on March 26, 2016

Zenbox is always the best Japanese food here. Well priced and the food is generally great. I recommand their ramen and short rib, they are just brilliant!

Tags: kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

RAMEN! Tonkotsu is great. Not the most ...

vip
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined on March 24, 2016

RAMEN! Tonkotsu is great. Not the most convenient place to get to from the suburbs but I'll definitely make up some excuses in the near future.

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food5
ambience4
service5

Great great food. Octopus is a must try ...

 
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined on March 22, 2016

Great great food. Octopus is a must try and ramen was extremely delicious. Unfortunately service was not so friendly or personable which ruined the experience. Fix the service and all is good.

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food5
ambience5
service3

Some of the food was great, a couple thi ...

 
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined on March 19, 2016

Some of the food was great, a couple things (shrimp) had no seasoning/flavor. We ordered a Japanese whiskey flight. They didn't have the flight so we just ordered a shot of the Japanese whiskey. The waitress didn't tell us it was $28 for a shot, we felt it would have been curtsey to inform us before hand. Overall a fun place.

Tags: fit for foodies, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
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food3
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