Best Bars With Sake In Minnesota

January 16, 2014 7:00 AM

Minnesota sake connoisseurs will find full selections of the different types of pasteurized and bottled sake, including honjozo, junmai, ginjo and daiginjo, in metro-area Japanese restaurants. We are fortunate to also have a sake brewer in town that provides sake that is not pasteurized and is stored cold. It is called namazake and is more likely to be found in Japan than in the U.S. While sake prices seem high compared to wines and beers, be aware that sake’s alcohol content is generally higher. Undiluted sake contains 18 to 20 percent alcohol compared to beer, which ranges from three to nine percent. Here are the five best places in Minnesota to find sake.

Best Home-Brewed Sake

Moto-I Ramen and Sake House
2940 Lyndale Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55408
(612) 821-6262
Moto-I sake claims to have sake with a livelier, more enjoyable and more exciting quality because it has not been pasteurized and is stored cold. More easily found in Japan than in Minneapolis, this sake has a distinctive flavor with a little zing and a fresh aroma. Moto-i brews all of its sake on site and serves only this particular kind of sake called “namasake.” Moto-i also offers small plates, rice dishes, ramen, soba or steamed buns from a very affordable menu. The bulgogi top-round steak sliders are fun to eat wrapped in lettuce.

Best Japanese Restaurant With Sake

(credit: Masu Sushi & Robata Facebook Page)

(credit: Masu Sushi & Robata Facebook Page)

Masu Sushi & Robata
330 E. Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 332-6278
Go to East Hennepin where you can savor the authentic cuisine made for sake. Order a 12- or 24-ounce carafe of sake. Masu’s pork belly ramen gets raves from customers, but do not overlook the grilled short ribs, oysters with quail egg or yakisoba topped with sweet seafood. Sake aesthetes may just go to Masu’s bar for a two-ounce flight of highly polished rice sake with an order of Masu’s highest quality sushi. Or stop by the neat little Masu restaurant at the Mall of America for a wide range of the best sake accompanied by a more limited, but excellent, menu of Masu’s most popular food selections.

Related: Best Cocktail Bars In Minnesota

Best Sushi Bar With Sake

Sakura Restaurant & Bar
350 St. Peter St., Suite 195
St. Paul, MN 55102
(651) 224-0185
Sakura has a full-length bar and a large sushi bar where you can watch the fine art of making sushi. Many claim that this sushi is the best in Minnesota. The award-winning restaurant features many popular items at prices in the affordable range compared to high-end restaurants. The sake menu is more spendy and less inclusive of different brands and types.

Best Bento Box With Sake

1510 Como Ave. S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 331-1432
Obento-Ya is tops in serving rice, meat and vegetables creatively presented in a bento box. The salmon bento is a popular choice. Customers also make a meal of the many varieties of ramen and noodles, especially on Mondays when ramen is featured. The prices are surprisingly affordable for the quality of cuisine, especially if you can sneak in between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. to take advantage of the happy hour sake prices.
Related: Best Wine Stores In The Twin Cities

Best Happy Hour With Sake

credit:  CBS

credit: CBS

Sushi Tango Uptown
3001 Hennepin Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55408
(612) 822-7787
Come down to Calhoun Square on Sundays for the all-day and all-night happy hour. Sake drinkers pack the bar on Tango Tuesdays for free karaoke. Sushi Tango will serve your sake chilled, hot or at room temperature in various sized glasses. The food is good too. Start out with the sushi or the $1 oysters with your favorite sake. Sushi Tango offers a wonderful variety of items on the menu and you can ask the chef to make it the way you like it. Be prepared for a wait to be seated and a wait to order.

Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at

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