moto-i
moto-i

moto-i

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.moto-i.com/
  • Phone: (612) 444-1962
  • Hours of Operation:
    Monday - Friday 12noon - 2am
    Saturday & Sunday 11am - 2am
    Daily Happy Hour 2:20pm-6pm & 10pm-2am
    Saturday & Sunday Brunch 11am-2:20pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Contemporary Asian, Japanese, Asian
  • Executive Chef: Omar Gillego
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Chef's Table, Delivery, Entertainment, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking Area, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Smoking Area, Smoking Area (patio only), Takeout, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Entertainment: The Big Boy Lounge

    Monday - Manic Monday
    Tuesdays - Open Mic 8:00 PM
    Wednesday - Artist Showcase 9:00 PM
  • Special Events: Private Spaces available for Special Events.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Lake
  • Public Transit: On the MTC #4, #21 and #53.
  • Parking: Street Parking
  • Parking Details: Parking on Lyndale, Aldrich, Lake and 29th. Also, public lots available behind restaurant and across the street.
    Valet available for Private Parties.
A word from moto-i
moto-i is a sake brewery restaurant located in the uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis. moto-i is a full service restaurant with liquor, beer, wine and of course sake! Our sake is brewed on site, unpasteurized and served on draft.


The menu is reminiscent of an Izakaya, a Japanese Pub, with small plates as well as noodles and rice dishes, the restaurant incorporates many Asian ethnicities and keeps the focus on street, comfort and tavern food from Asia.
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moto-i reviews from OpenTable diners
30 reviews since July 25, 2014
Overall Rating4
  • Food4
    Service3.9
  • Ambiance4
    Noise LevelModerate
100% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (14)good for groups (10)special occasion (10)great for outdoor dining (10)neighborhood gem (8)romantic (7)late-night find (5)scenic view (5)hot spot (5)vibrant bar scene (4)great for lunch (3)kid-friendly (1)Show More
  • Ramen: it's not just for poor kids
    Porkchop
    Dined on 9/8/2014
    Until recently I had no idea ramen was a real meal... The soup here was incredible. Get the pork belly! It's as authentic as anything this side of the pacific. The noodles are even house-made! I have a new favorite food... Our server was super friendly and fast too.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great ambiance, mediocre service
    AverageJoe
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    We went to moto-i for a special occasion in early September and were lucky enough to get a rooftop table. We could not have asked for a more beautiful evening. The views were great and the ambiance was excellent. Unfortunately, the service was lacking. We waited 15 minutes for a server, and I finally had to go up and ask for one. It was still several minutes before one appeared, and while she was nice, she was not the best. The home brewed sake was excellent and the food was excellent as well, served hot. Another knock is that you have to go 4 levels down for the restroom, which is pretty lame. All in all, shortcomings aside, we had an excellent, reasonably priced dinner. If we had a good server, we would have ranked this 4-5 starts.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disappointed
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    Disappointing. Moto-i has an interesting menu, and we were excited to try it. But the food was very average. For a place that prides itself on its Ramen, the noodles were not very good. The sakis were kinda meh, too. Best part about the place is the outdoor roof patio, but be prepared: lots of smokers up there.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Double Date
    mplsdiner
    Dined on 8/7/2014
    Moto-i has yet to disappoint me. The food and the service was amazing! The pork shoulder steam buns are a must!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • great service - great food
    piaduck
    Dined on 8/7/2014
    I love it when the server makes suggestions and they end up being the perfect fit! Thanks Moto-I!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • good place, bad ramen.
    katman04
    Dined on 7/30/2014
    I dont like leaving bad reviews but, I feel I must as this was some of the worst ramen I have had. To start out me and my freinds ordered miso soup and the tofu in the miso soup was obviously freeze dried and was not fresh at all. then the ramen, the broth was very watered down and the noodles did not seem to be fresh at all. its only redeeming factor was the pork witch was tender, and juicy. Now this may just be my opinion after having ramen at 4 different locations in tokyo on my recent trip to japan but I was expecting something atleast half as good as in japan. definitely not worth 13 dollars. If it was 4 or 5 i would say go for it but any more than that and you would be better off going home made.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 24 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 25, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.2
    • Food4.1
    • Ambiance4.1
    • Service4
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 557 reviews are from the moto-i reviews archive.
  • Terrific Spot!
    MNWanderer
    Dined on 7/15/2014
    Four of us enjoyed this spot on the rooftop & had a great time. Our servers were attentive and knowledgable. We tried a large variety of the appetizers, ramen & salads. Everything was very tasty. The Thai fried rice was especially a hit with everyone. We love trying places that offer a different food and drink experience - and Moto-i fit the bill perfectly! We also had one more glass of wine while watching the 2-song sets on the next level down. It was like being in a secret club, watching some really great talent. A real treat!
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Disappointed
    BigShotBobby
    Dined on 7/9/2014
    Having a few days to ponder I was very disappointed. The drinks were disappointing especially the PROBLEM SOLVER.The roasted beets no taste at all. The bar chairs too high difficult to get into and out. The salmon bowl very salty. The wife enjoyed her shrimp and the roof top bar was great, not so great if you needed to get to the bathroom as the bathrooms were on the -1 floor. The service on the roof was great. One other item the bar top was sticky. I'm picky with so many eating places in the Twin Cities, I won't be going back to this eating establishment.
    Special Features:
    scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Japanese with American twist
    dinish
    Dined on 5/31/2014
    The fusion of Japanese, other Asian, and American cuisines makes for great eating. Everything we tried tasted delicious and was presented beautifully yet wasn't overly fussy. Our flight of sake allowed us to sample the wonderful brew made right there in the restaurant. The servers are very friendly and helpful, with good suggestions and just the right amount of attention.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Can't wait to go back
    EatAnytime
    Dined on 4/26/2014
    There were so many excellent choices on the menu and everything we had was great. Our waiter was knowledgeable and friendly. We had a wonderful time.
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, Good for Groups, Late-Night Find, Neighborhood Gem, Vibrant Bar Scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Not just for sake aficionados
    tomatoesandbasil
    Dined on 4/24/2014
    There are only so many places where you can order okonomiyaki in the Midwest, and this is one of them. I've never seen corn soup on a US Japanese restaurant menu before Moto-i, yet it was a favorite comfort food for me in Japan. The bulgogi sliders were a delightful surprise, and although the pork buns were not in the traditional bao shape, I would go there just for them--fantastic! I look forward to visiting again and trying the ramen. I also appreciate they not only participate in Dining Out for Life but also give 35%.
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • flavorless ramen
    bummedbymotoi
    Dined on 3/29/2014
    I took my husband to Moto-I for his birthday. Our reserved table was open to the bar which we found unpleasant. We asked to be moved and it wasn't a problem. The music was too loud. My husband's ramen was flavorless, and the meat was a gelatinous blob. He did not enjoy his birthday meal at all. My yakisoba noodles were tasty, but very salty. I think I drank 3 glasses of water just to tolerate them. But at least they had a flavor. The wait staff was friendly and fine, And fortunately the meal cost was reasonable. Those were the only saving graces. We will not dine there again based on food and ambiance.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Always GREAT.
    DanibelleVIP
    Dined on 3/7/2014
    Truly, this place is always excellent. The food and sake warm the soul. You must try the Bene Buns. Go now. You won't regret it. Also love the Aburra Ramen, pork buns, and Japanese fried chicken.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, vibrant bar scene, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • New menu is great!
    BillMcKinney1986
    Dined on 3/4/2014
    I'd been to Moto-i a few times previously and while it was good, it wasn't high on my list for the neighborhood. A recent MSP review of "Best Ramen in Twin Cities" rated moto-i #1, though, so I gave it another try. I had the pork belly ramen and my wife and I split one of the new buns. Both were really good. Really high quality food at good value. It's now solidly on my go to list! We went on a Tuesday night, and they also had pretty good live music at the upstairs bar, so something for everyone!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Was better
    outstandingVIP
    Dined on 2/26/2014
    We have eaten here a number of times but the food this time seemed more bland. Have they toned down the spices.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Love the Sake
    Dragonfly
    Dined on 2/14/2014
    Brought my wife here and had a nice romantic date. A little bit loud, but the Sake was great. I am a HUGE fan of real ramen, thus I was excited to see it on the menu. Unfortunately, it was less than stellar, but I was happy to have it since there are so few places in the twin cities to get the real thing, and I miss the ramen in Japan terribly.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • GREAT SERVICE & DELICIOUS FOOD
    sunrise
    Dined on 2/14/2014
    My husb & I are both foodies & we've been here many times on the patio for great ramen & sake. Romantic indoor setting & flavorful maitake ramen.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Food But Need More Wait Staff
    Bill
    Dined on 2/14/2014
    I love the food at Moto-I, I haven't had a dish there that I haven't loved. I've been there 3 times and I'm always impressed on how great the food tastes. I think about going back when I haven't even left the place. The only thing that I've had issues with is the staff seems a little over worked. Our waiter was running around like crazy and this happened another time with our waitress. I think if they had one more person waiting or assisting I would give the highest rating.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, neighborhood gem, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Unique and Tasty
    berlinVIP
    Dined on 12/31/2013
    Was a little nervous I would not be able to find anything I wanted to try but it turned out I wanted to try too many things. My friend got a few small plates that I got to taste and it was all very good. I got the Chicken Porridge and really enjoyed it. Will definitely be going back so I can try some of the other dishes.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disappointing
    Anonymous
    Dined on 12/21/2013
    Chose Moto-i for a Saturday night out. Three out of five sakes were not available. Our food was fine but nothing special. It was also disappointing that an Asian restaurant would charge extra for gluten free. Will be choosing other Japanese restaurants in the future.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Happy Happy Joy Joy
    HungritoVIP
    Dined on 12/20/2013
    Celebrated my 50th at moto-i. As always, we had a great time. The food is simply delicious, the sake is truly amazing and the service is top notch. Minneapolis is fortunate to have such a unique establishment.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent staff, very helpful,
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 11/22/2013
    Excellent staff, very helpful, chicken was awesome.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Japanese and Korean flair
    LeLu
    Dined on 11/7/2013
    My friend lived in Japan so we went to moto-i to check out the cuisine. She loved the bibimbap entree, great flavor and textures with a surprise poached egg inside. A little Korean flavor was a surprise in the dish. Moto-i is known for its houemade ramen noodles and a bowl of soup did not disappoint with our pork addition. The calamari appetizer was delicious and coated with a fine seasoned panko. Our waitress who was in charge of the cafe was very accommodating and kept our tea pots full of hot water and was most pleasant and helpful. We will return to enjoy other items liked the steamed buns.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, vibrant bar scene, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Awesome small plates
    Wowund
    Dined on 11/1/2013
    When you want small plates instead of 1 plate of something. Super tasty. Love the food here.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Will definitely go back to
    Jeni
    Dined on 9/29/2013
    Will definitely go back to try the sake. The server was excellent.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Not your everyday Japanese
    wspmn
    Dined on 9/26/2013
    No sushi, for starters. Not that it's missed. I brought some out-of-town friends (including one from Vancouver, where they know Japanese restaurants) and we all thoroughly enjoyed both the restaurant-brewed sake and the small plates that we shared. Caution: the noise level I listed reflects the relatively empty restaurant we found on a weekday evening. If we were there on a weekend (when it's usually hopping) I suspect it would be considerably higher.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fun sake brew pub
    SteveD
    Dined on 8/11/2013
    This was a very good dinner out on a Sunday with the kids. The place was mostly empty. From appearances I do not think it would be kid friendly on busier nights. Our meal was outstanding. All of the small plates we ordered were excellent. Out server Cristos did a good job with food and sake recommendations. He also adjusted well to having children at the table. This a Japanese cuisine without the sushi. There is so much to thus cuisine most Americans miss out on thinking only of sushi and tepanyaki display restaurants. I highly recommend Moto-I and wi return myself, without the kids.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Sake heaven!
    foodloverVIP
    Dined on 8/6/2013
    They brew their own sake -- good range of choices, all awesome! Need I say more? Oh, OK, here goes: Pork belly bites, crispy tofu lettuce wraps, sashimi, tender and flavorful steak, the best sweet potato fries, . . . etc., YUM! Terrific service -- friendly and knowledgeable. Happy hour prices! Enough said, go, drink, munch, enjoy!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Pre-Show Dining
    live2eat
    Dined on 7/25/2013
    moto-i is a great place to dine before taking in a show at Jungle Theater. Our server was knowledgeable, friendly and prompt with our drinks and food. We ordered two appetizers - pork buns and a pork belly dish - both were wonderful. Three of us had the shrimp tempera - 6 lightly battered shrimp with harissa sauce on the side. All agreed it was some of the best tempera we've had. One in our party ordered a ramen noodle dish which he claimed was perfectly seasoned and quite filling. We arrived at 5:30, had time to have drinks, chat, eat and get to the play by 7:15. All in all, a wonderful evening.We agreed to return and be more adventurous next time - might even try one of their saki cocktails!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • small plates and sake
    ForrestH
    Dined on 7/20/2013
    great fun to do flights of sake with small plates. share it all while the staff answers your every question about sake, including how it is brewed. they brew their own sake! the food was delicious, and it was fun to taste-test different marriages of the food flavors with the different sake flavors.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Awesome buns!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 7/19/2013
    Very good restaurant! we especially enjoyed shrimp buns - those were exceptional!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene, late-night find, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Enjoyable Birthday dinner!
    CharlieVIP
    Dined on 7/17/2013
    Took my son and his girlfriend out for dinner for his birthday. Service was great, food was excellent. Too hot for the roof though!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great rooftop view. $4.50
    keithVIP
    Dined on 6/30/2013
    Great rooftop view. $4.50 "skewers of shrimp" were one shrimp per skewer. Rooftop was fun, food was not.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Dinner for 2
    sspencer
    Dined on 6/15/2013
    This was my third visit and the food was excellent. Shared 5 small plates to start. We had the pickle plate, JFC (Japanese Fried Chicken), sliders, fried pork belly, and the sweet potato fries. All were really good but the two that wow are the pickle plate and the fried pork belly. We actually ordered one more pickle plate and fried pork belly. Moto does a quick pickle (I am guessing) so the veggies retain much of their snap and crunch. The veggies will rotate based on what they have. On our plates were carrots, celery (celery pickled is fantastic), daikon radish, fennel, and red onion. The fired pork belly is crispy goodnes. The sauce and the cilantro add fantastic flavor. If you love saki, they make their own in house and it is reallygood
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, vibrant bar scene, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not great service
    Minnesota
    Dined on 6/9/2013
    We stopped by in the middle of the afternoon, and there was virtually no wait staff. The bartender took our order through a window from the bar and was not very interested in answering questions or making sure we got what we wanted. The food was fine, but it was a lackluster experience overall.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Food Only Ok
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 6/7/2013
    The ambiance and service were both very good. The views from the rooftop dining area are beautiful, but we had several recommended dishes and only a few stood out as different/tasty. The Japanese Fried Chicken and the Pulled Pork Buns were delicious/one of a kind, however, the tempura mushroom chips were just sliced mushrooms tempura style, nothing special and the spicy/citrus sauce that came with it, didn't go well at all. The sweet potato fries were dreadful, soggy and not crispy. The edamame and rangoons were decent, but nothing special. Overall, I wouldn't recommend this to friends or family unless they were interested in the extensive micro-brewed saki menu. I'm not knowledgeable about saki, so I'm unsure if it was impressive or not...
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Third time is not a charm
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 5/18/2013
    Our previous two visits to Moto-I were very pleasurable, and over a year ago. I'm not sure if they have new management and/or a new chef, but it was not the same restaurant that we were looking forward to. The server acted like he was completely bored. The food was mediocre at best. We went for brunch, but the brunch menu has totally changed. The small plates were bland and overcooked. We are so over Moto-I...there are many other restaurants with way better service and food.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Love the small-plates menu.
    ZoomDoggy
    Dined on 5/14/2013
    Love the small-plates menu. It was a perfect way for two of us to share a few interesting dishes. The pork belly bites were fantastic. The yellowtail sashimi was tasty, but overpowered by the spicy thick jalapeno slices. The mussels tasted fresh, if a little bit bland compared to the other dishes.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, great for outdoor dining, late-night find, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Wish: a Moto-i in my neighborhood!
    foodloverVIP
    Dined on 5/12/2013
    Fantastic Sake, brewed on site, need I say more? Incredible range of styles and flavors - so food friendly! We drive in from far west Minnetonka just for the sake, it is that good. Pork belly bites - out of this world! Japanese-style savory pancake deep flavors, great textures, and dancing bonito - fun! Perfectly steamed and seasoned edamame, lucious roasted beets. Friendly and super helpful server - patiently answered all our questions. WOW!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Pleasantly Suprised
    Scholz
    Dined on 5/12/2013
    If you want your sake fix this is the place to get it. There fried rice is excellent. However if your looking for a steak not the place to go.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.