3.3 / 6 votes

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Japanese bar with homemade sake

Restaurant, Bar

This new Japanese bar features chic atmosphere, some vegan-friendly small plates, noodle and rice dishes, as well as one vegan dessert. There is ample seating at the bar and a number of small booths. The top floor will also feature a bar and an open space either for more tables or standing-room. The rooftop features an excellent view of downtown Minneapolis.

What's special about moto-i is that it is one of only two restaurants in the world that makes and serves its own sake on-site (the other place is in Okinawa). They currently have three types of sake, but will soon expand to nine types.

Happy Hour is 2:20 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Also from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Sunday-Thursday.

Added by conde.kedar on Oct 26 08 (last updated Mar 15 10)

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Most Recent Reviews

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Great for drinks, not for food. Almost everything has fish flakes if it has noodles or rice it seems. Stick with appetizers and drinks. A friend worked there and told me which stuff had fish flakes and basically nothing was left to eat outside of that.

And the responses from the kitchen indicates the chef wants to cut off veg items mostly off the menu instead of adding options.

Image for Sharyn Morrow

rating star

From the outside I'd expected moto-i to be much quieter than it was. We arrived near the end of happy hour on a Saturday and it was LOUD. The acoustics were so terrible it was difficult to carry on a conversation. We were seated in a booth next to a packed table of ten or so. One of the occupants of said table decided to belt out Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back" to his buddies. These things happen and aren't necessarily in the restaurant's control (and it was mildly amusing). In the restaurant's control? Their web site does have a vegetarian menu yet when I asked the hostess about it she insisted she'd never heard of it. After repeatedly protesting that I'd just seen it and this was what had compelled me to give the restaurant a try she conferred with co-workers. After a half hour or so she returned with a menu she'd printed off and compared to their actual available menu. A lot of what I'd seen was no longer listed but she'd marked up an existing menu with little red Vs so we could order something to eat. The mock duck steamed buns were decent but not overly flavorful. We also ordered taro root chips (but ate them plain, as the chili aioli it is paired with isn't vegan). The mock duck drunken noodles were just ok. The sake they brew on site, however, was quite good. But we initially ordered it at the happy hour price of $5. When we ordered a second round no one mentioned happy hour was over and so those were $9/each. Overall I was not impressed and would only consider returning during happy hour, if I had something else planned in the neighborhood as well.

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On the northwest corner of Lyndale Avenue S. and W. Lake Street.


Accepts Reservations

Wheelchair Accessible


$$ - average


  • MasterCard Visa


  • Japanese
  • Thai


  • Happy Hour
  • Large Group-Friendly
  • Outdoor Seating



noon - 3am

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