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.
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: 6123323936x
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
Zen Box Izakaya Ratings and Reviews
Great spot for some izakaya fare...parti ...
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.
Always great food and service whenever I ...
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.
Got a reservation and when we arrived we ...
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.
The ramen was good, other items were meh ...
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.
Food was very salty and some items were ...
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"!
Congratulations John and Lina!
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.
Food was great! Service was fantastic. ...
Food was great! Service was fantastic. Quite loud, but that's fine.
zen box = fun new food
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.
We love the Zen Box esp for date nite dinning. Great food and the service is outstanding.
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.
VERY impressive service at Zen Box. The food was decent, but I was very please by the service. Great vegan options
It was our second time there. The deep fried avacado is to die for. Another good experience.
Awesome food and environment
Awesome food and environment
Super Schweet Japanese Food
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)!
Good for not authentic Japanese Restaurant
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)
good spot for Japanese food!
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!
RAMEN! Tonkotsu is great. Not the most ...
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.
Great great food. Octopus is a must try ...
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.
Some of the food was great, a couple thi ...
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.
Overall, great food. Very flavorful. Had the Ume rice ball. Loved it! Also the pork ramen. Really enjoyed the food and will be back. Our server was also very attentive.
Great food, ok service
Food was really great, but it took a long time for us to have our order taken and our food arrive at lunch on a Friday.
Amazing service and food
The service here was amazing. My girlfriend and I stopped by for lunch, and we were out in less than an hour. The food was ready incredibly quickly, and everything was delicious. The servers were attentive, and very friendly. I'd recommend this place to anyone.
We went to Zen Box because it was on the Minneapolis St Paul Magazine's list of top restaurants in the area. We both ordered from the specials list as well as a few appetizers. We arrived right as the restaurant opened on Saturday night and were promptly greeted. Our server seemed very busy, but took care of all of our needs. We ordered the short ribs, which were great, but have been to other places in the metro area with better ramen than Zen Box and left disappointed because we had heard other great reviews.
Food was really good!
Server was slow and not very attentive. I had made reservations but the table wasn't ready and we were seated in the entrance, which was extremely crowded and noisy.
This place is great. I like their food. ...
This place is great. I like their food. The ramen is one of the best. Amazing braised dishes like the pork ribs and pork belly. I have always had a good time dining here.
Japanese food at its best
The restaurant is relatively but comfortable. For the reasonable prices, the food is terrific and authentic. The service is great and the staff is knowledgable and helpful. We highly recommend it!
This is a great restaurant and will recommend to friends and family
Amazing ramen and authentic izakaya food
We had the tonkotsu ramen, gyoza, onigiri, and chuhai. It was amazing, filling, and authentic. We spent a few years living in Japan and this is the closest thing to our local izakaya there that I've seen in the upper Midwest USA. Great dinner and late-night spot!
Dinner Night With Friends
Very good meal with friends. The beer choices were unique and all food was very good! The waitress we had was outstanding and made great suggestions.
All around Excellence
This was the second year that I celebrated my B-day dining at Zen Box Izakaya, (did not inform the waiter because I didn't want him to think we were expecting special attention), and I'm happy to say that both experiences were wonderful. Our server, Nic, was fantastic and helped guide us through the menu and answered all of our questions. He gave us the perfect balance of attention and privacy so we could enjoy our meal. Another server/bus boy(?) supplied us with silverware in place of chopsticks without making us feel like "dining newbies"(we are practicing for next time!). The bartender, sorry I don't have his name, was kind enough to make me the the drink special that had been featured the previous weekend, Urashima's Last Memory, thanks again to Nic for asking him if he would do it. Everything we ordered was delicious but our favorites were the Buta No Kimchi and the Chicken Kara-Age. (Last year I had the ramen special that featured duck and battered fois gras and that was also outstanding). The green tea mochi ice cream made a perfect finish to our meal and has become my latest food obsession. Kudos to the owners, chefs, and the rest of the staff at Zen Box.
I called in to Zen Box to not only increase the number of people in my party, but also to make sure that there would be ramen available, since we were going specifically to eat their ramen (which is delicious). It is usually just me and my significant other here every week, but it was my birthday, and wanted to share one of my favorite restaurants with my friends. It's not a large restaurant, but the were ready to go when we go there. On top of that before I called to make sure ramen was available, the management couldn't gaurantee it, since ramen is made fresh every day, but instead he offered to call a half an hour before our reservation to see if there is enough ramen left, which he did and it was awesome and great customer service. I really appreciate the staff and how much they are willing to do for their customers.
WEnt for my birthday - it was fabulous. ...
WEnt for my birthday - it was fabulous. Staff friendly and helpful. Reccomend reservations for groups > 2
My sisters were in town, we went out! It was also my first time trying out this place. I've ever only heard great things. I'm a fanatic about Beef Tataki. Saw it on their menu and ordered it ASAP! It was marvelous! The sauce that came with it had a little kicker to it, so not too spicy at all for those who just want a bit if spice. We also had their Ika Squid, I believe this is the name of the item, it came as an appetizer with kimchee. We order the pork donburi -- which is fantastic as well.
Cool spot, great for sharing
I was jonesing for some good ramen on a winter night and wanted to get some shareables with my friends. I'm glad I made a reservation, it was pretty busy. This place has a nice style to it and a great energy for drinks and dinner. We ordered a lot of small plates and shared them all, which is my favorite way of dining. The Tonkotsu Ramen was awesome; the broth was rich and the noodles were perfect. The Takoyaki was decent but the batter was a little bit thicker than I would have liked. The standouts for me were the Ramen, Buta No Kimchi (pork belly w/kimchi), Gyu Motsu Nikomi (braised beef brisket), and the Shumai Tempura (shrimp dumplings). The friends I was with aren't big drinkers but I did have an awesome cocktail, I wish I could remember what it was. I'll definitely be back with the b/f to try more drinks and dishes.
Great food. We tried several dishes and ...
Great food. We tried several dishes and liked them all. We will be back for sure.
The food here is unique and I love it. T ...
The food here is unique and I love it. The only thing that lacks sometimes is getting drinks or having refills but honestly best Japanese food in Minnesota hands down.
Other than the fact that I don't drink so I ordered something that sounded good and they brought me a mojito, I had a good time and the food was delicious!
A Great Experience
When we first walked in it was crowded for a downtown lunch. After we ate, we understood why. We shared a couple of plates: pork belly and brown rice and the short ribs. All very good. The miso is good too. The gyoza where a bit of a disappointment. We will definitely be back.
We went for New Year's Eve because my boyfriend had a gift card. He's a lover of ramen so he certainly was not disappointed! I was also pleasantly surprised at the list of gluten free items. Our waiter was witty and fun, and we loved the atmosphere. Overall it was a great experience!
Good small plates, disappointing ramen.
Tried a few of their braised dishes. Nikujaga and the Buta No Kakuni were very tasty. Miso Spareribs were ok, not a lot of flavor but the meat was good. The Tonkotsu Ramen was not that impressive. The broth was the best part and that was just ok. The meat they give you for the ramen is dry and flavorless. The noodles are a disappointment and taste just like the 10 cent packages. Also tried the miso ramen and the broth was very sweet and tasted like peanut butter. I couldn't even eat that one. Maybe that is their style. Overall, would not go back. The food was not worth it. Maybe I am spoiled from living in NYC and having the best ramen at my disposal.
Report this review as inappropriate?
If you believe this review should be removed from OpenTable, please let us know and someone will investigate.