Twin Cities, Minnesota


rating star

An enchanting atmosphere. Lovely ice tea and orange juice cocktail. Wonderful vegan sushi rolls. Loved the soup. Vegetable tempura was not nearly as good as found elsewhere. The potato salad (to those of us from mid-America, read mashed potatoes) were superb. Enjoyed the pickles. I would go again, but would pass on the tempura and focus on the small dishes. Be prepared for a long wait on a Saturday night and for very little elbow room. But a nice place.

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rating star

I don't understand how Obento-ya could win City Pages "Best Japanese Restaurant" award in 2008. The service was friendly, but slow, erratic and crazy. If we didn't flag our waiter down, he would have never stopped at our table to take our order. Getting the bill took forever and all of our food came out in random intervals (the edamame was supposed to be an appetizer, but ended up being a main course). The best part of my meal ended up being the Asahi Super-Dry 12 oz. beer that I ordered.

This is the first Japanese restaurant I've been to that has a difficult menu for vegans. You wouldn't expect this from a restaurant in Minneapolis, and especially one that's so close to Dinkytown.

The only marked vegan item is a mediocre, dry and bland sushi roll. Obento-ya doesn't have a separate vegan menu (like Midori's Floating World Cafe), nor does it have vegan specials or vegan broth for noodle bowl soups (like Tanpopo Noodle Shop). I ended up cobbling together a few grilled vegetable skewers (robata), which was unsatisfying and didn't fill me up at all. Also, they only give you two or three pieces of vegetable and charge you $3 for each.

The edamame was not fresh and was served to us lukewarm, as it must have been sitting on a counter somewhere. On a whole, this place is not only a rip-off with poor service, but it's also not vegan-friendly for the most part. Don't waste your time or money here; got to Tanpopo or Midori's instead.

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