Yakitori Zai
Yakitori Zai
Reviews Coming Soon

Yakitori Zai

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.yakitorizai.com/
  • Phone: 8573504450
  • Hours of Operation:
    Dinner: Sunday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm, Tuesday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm, Friday & Saturday: 5:00pm - 11:00pm
    Ramen Lunch: Saturday & Sunday: 11:30am - 2:30pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Regiomontana, Yakitori, Japanese
  • Executive Chef: Sho Inoue
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Beer, Counter Seating, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Weekend Brunch, Wine
  • Catering: Please email: info@yakitorizai.com
  • Special Events: Please email: info@yakitorizai.com

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Union Park
  • Parking: Street Parking
A word from Yakitori Zai
Authentic Japanese Yakitori restaurant, serving variety of meat and vegetables grilled over the Japanese Binchotan charcoal grill.
Continued
Foodspotting photos
See all photos
Yakitori Zai reviews from OpenTable diners
  • local gem
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 6/23/2013
    coal-grill yakitori with "like-being-in-japan" experience. pricey, but one of a kind for boston.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Hidden Gem in South end
    ErinVIP
    Dined on 6/22/2013
    I normally don't write reviews online, but I had to this time. This place serves an authentic Japanese food, almost all dishes I tried was outstanding. My friend and I got Zai kushi set with bunch of small plates. I enjoyed most of the plates in the Zai Kushi except for tabasaki, which was little burnt. Sunazuri(gizzard) was my favorite dish of the night. It was cooked just about right, preserving its tenderness and juiciness. Kama Meshi was also good but it takes about 20mins to be prepared. They also have a grilled corn marinated with soy sauce. I personally thought that it tasted better than the one @Toro. However, like others said, portion's small+pricey. It took ~2 hrs for us to finish all dishes so it's not ideal if ur in rush.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • The service was good the food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 6/15/2013
    The service was good the food was outstanding. However, the price was a bit steep and not a lot of meat selection.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Too Bad
    OpenTable Diner Since 2001VIP
    Dined on 6/15/2013
    This was my second visit here and what a change from last time. My husband and daughter ordered the tasting menu and being a vegetarian I could not do so. Last time I was there, they modified and brought me a replacement course along with my husbands and we had a great meal. This time they said they could not do that so I had to order 5 appetizers off the menu. 3 of my orders arrived before any of my husband or daughter's and then my daughter's arrived undercooked and had to be sent back. By the time most of their order arrived I was done eating and the whole experience was frustrating and a mess. They were very nice and kept wanting to bring us things to make up for it but we couldn't wait to leave. Last time there for me.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • It's wonderful when the second
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 6/5/2013
    It's wonderful when the second time is just as good as the first. Definitely a new favorite. Remember to always ask the owner for recommendation.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, hot spot, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • tasty food but small portions
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011VIP
    Dined on 5/30/2013
    It was delicious. But the portions were way too small.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Easier than flying to Tokyo
    fatboyVIP
    Dined on 5/26/2013
    Best yakitori I've had save one very pricy restaurant in Tokyo. Go for the big splurge, and do the saki flight. With the 2 oz shots. And, have then them match the food to the booze. If you're bored of another overpriced steak house, give your taste buds a treat.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Authentic Yakitori in Boston
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 5/15/2013
    The yakitori was quite authentic, using charcoal. We had the sampler and they were great! Do try their sake sampler also.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Traditional Yakitori
    localdinerVIP
    Dined on 5/10/2013
    very traditional in al respects. if you enjoy traditional Japanese cooking you will enjoy this place. if you are new to the experience do not expect large quantities of food but rather artistically prepared chicken and vegetables that have nice flavors. The Saki selection is excellent. Only complaint I have was the purpled haired women who kept leaning and reaching across my plates to clear other dishes - it would have been nice for her to do so when we finished and move to a closer position to the dishes so that it would have been less invasive
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • i love yakitori -- it was
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 5/3/2013
    i love yakitori -- it was a great menu but only a mediocre execution of the genre. the food didn't taste smoky or charred enough, the meat cuts maybe weren't fatty enough...in all, just not enough flavor. however, the chicken soup and the neck skewer were both great, so if i lived in the area i could imagine myself stopping in for a nosh of those.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • New prices
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009VIP
    Dined on 5/3/2013
    A great place for the South End. Appears the prices have been lowered, smart move. The food was very good and the atmosphere and the service was well timed. This is not a place I would take children as there wasn't much on the menu a child might like and the restaurant itself is small, with all adults when we were there. I would definitely recommend Yakitori Zai.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Radical menu change
    Mamasays
    Dined on 5/2/2013
    Since I've been there last, radical menu change. Not for better. If they started out with present menu being a yakitori bar would be different they had awesome fish and vegetables previously . Lose the Italian mozzarella it's ridiculous...used to be one of my favorite spots. Miss the variety. Sadly, very quiet on a Thursday night, I fear demise of this once lovely restaurant. Not rushing back unless it reverts back. Ramen dish over salted, tasted pedestrian. I'm disappointed
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Food :) - New Prix Fixe Format :(
    BigPunVIP
    Dined on 4/26/2013
    Had Yakitori Zai on my regular rotation (hitting it up once about once a month), but was surprised at my last visit to find the menu switched to just a few prix fixe channels. Luckily there was one channel that got us most of our favorites, but I much preferred the flexibility of the original a la carte menu. Oh, and they did away with seafood for some reason. Strange. Their robata grilled food is still delicious, but with the prix fixe menu I won't be going there as often.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • authentic
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 4/26/2013
    I lived in Japan for 5 years and have to say that this is a authentic as it gets with high end yakitori.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Finally, welcome real Yakitori
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 4/20/2013
    Finally, welcome real Yakitori to Boston after trying various yakitori joints in NYC.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The food is just sublime.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 4/12/2013
    The food is just sublime. One of the best yakitori restaurants I've ever been to. Must try is the grilled squid and the sake samplers. Owner was very attentive and knowledgeable with his sake.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • A small gem of a yakitori,
    SluggosixtyfiveVIP
    Dined on 4/7/2013
    A small gem of a yakitori, with excellently prepared dishes and friendly helpful service. This went so far as to have the staff offer to reseat us without us asking when it was obvious a boistrous group of 10-12 across from us were being too loud. Staff does a goneed some explaining as it's mostly a "tapas-style" menu (so figure at least 3 items per person.) Standout menu items were the Sanshoku Don (rice, minced organic chicken, scrambled egg, seasonal green vegetables) and the Jidori Karaage (Japanese-style fried chicken, grated daikon radish). There are many more adventurous chicken items including heart and various offal, which given the excellent quality of what I had, I'd take a chance on.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, scenic view, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Tiny amounts of food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 4/3/2013
    Overall food was decent but the portions were so tiny that you would have to order $200+/per person to get full. I'm ok with paying high prices for good food for this was a rip off for how much food you got. They would have to double the portions to make it even reasonable. I predict the restaurant will go out of business fairly quickly if they don't either change portions significantly or reduce prices. Would not recommend.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Valuable Restaurant in Boston
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 3/23/2013
    The genre of the Yakitori the price might be a little expensive, I think there is value in the restaurant Boston. Service of the people of the staff of this restaurant was of a very high standard.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Food is delicious and arrives
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 3/15/2013
    Food is delicious and arrives directly from the grill. Menu has expanded in the last few months and offers some adventurous options, also delicious. Staff is attentive and never overbearing. The ramen at lunch on weekends is a revelation. A favorite!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Not recommend
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 3/9/2013
    The parking is not easy. You need to finder we parking in parallel street. The food is very expensive which seems not worth the money for what I spent.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Amazing! So amazing that
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 3/2/2013
    Amazing! So amazing that they unfortunately ran out of food.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Yes, yakitori means grilled chicken
    OpenTable Diner Since 2004VIP
    Dined on 3/1/2013
    I was very much looking forward to this dinner. We both decided to get the Omokase at $70 a piece. The meats were cooked very well, but honestly there were nothing special or exciting about these dishes. Perhaps I am missing the point. The skewers of meat had no marinade or exciting accoutrements. They were just grilled well. Perhaps that is the point, but then they have missed and aggressively developed their rice point. I see this happening: first timers think it is fun and different. However when you leave you ask yourself if you could have got more bang for your buck elsewhere. The answer is a resounding yes.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The food was really special,
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 3/1/2013
    The food was really special, even for one of our friends who is on a restricted salt diet. The servers were attentive and helpful. We were the only seniors in the restaurant, but we did not mind. (The stairs to the loo in the basement would be hard for anyone with issues, young or old.)
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Potential, but not there yet.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005VIP
    Dined on 2/23/2013
    This gourmet yakitori restaurant has great potential, but does not reach it. We had the omakase menu. It would have been better if it were less food, more refined courses and less chicken dishes. Perhaps self selecting from the menu, rather than relying on the chef, would have achieved a better result.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Really liked Yakitori Zai.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 2/22/2013
    Really liked Yakitori Zai. Only Yakatori restaurant in Boston, and you feel like you're in Japan. The food is very good and small portions allow you to taste and share many items. Try the chicken liver, Japanese eggplant, or crispy rice ball. The place has a very warm ambience, and sitting at the bar to watch the cooking is a prime spot.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • If you like various meats
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 2/15/2013
    If you like various meats and veggies on sticks, this is definitely a good place for it. I especially enjoyed their ramen and the quail eggs wrapped in bacon. There are lots of options from the grill which is cool. I wish some of the stuff was a bit more simplified I guess. There seemed to be a lot going on on the menu that it's hard to know where to start. Everything was well prepared and cooked right. Tasty for sure. Service was spotty, we had one great waitress and two other not-so-great servers assisting. Seems like they are still getting their act together. For my money I'd rather mosey on down to Coppa (right down the street) and do death by pork and pizza.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Adventurous food, not for
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011VIP
    Dined on 2/14/2013
    Adventurous food, not for everyone but the quality is top notch
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good food & service; tiny portions
    DuaneVIP
    Dined on 2/13/2013
    The food and service were very good but you don't get much for your money. I was visualizing skewers like I use on my BBQ grill but they were closer to toothpick sized. We really enjoyed what we had but bailed out after a few rounds of mini-skewers and did Chinese takeout on the way home.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Outstanding service, amazing food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 2/1/2013
    This was our first visit but will definitely not be our last! The service was impeccable and the food was stunning. We cannot wait to return, and will be checking out the weekend ramen soon.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Went to Yakitori with my wife
    MattColeVIP
    Dined on 1/25/2013
    Went to Yakitori with my wife last week and had an absolutely wonderful time. We'd heard about the idea of skewer-based Japanese street food and were excited to see a shop come to Boston. All of the food was memorable, but let me single out the chicken oysters (small muscles on the back of a chicken) and kalbi wagyu beef skewers as delicious. We also loved the bacon wrapped inoki mushrooms and the grilled onions. Basically the concept is a skewer-based tapas style meal, with many small courses coming out in little bunches. We also shared an order of their fried chicken which was a slightly larger plate. The wine list might not be extremely lengthy, but we had a bottle of house Cotes du Rhone for a very very reasonable price. LOVE
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Bad price quality ratio. Too
    OpenTable Diner Since 2004VIP
    Dined on 1/16/2013
    Bad price quality ratio. Too expensive for too little food.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Despite our having a reservation
    EasternReader
    Dined on 12/22/2012
    Despite our having a reservation and that the restaurant was only a third full at that moment, the person greeting us sought to seat us at the bar, which we declined. (This may have been the result of his lack of English proficiency). After we were seated, the entire experience changed - - the waitstaff were friendly, attentive without hanging on us, knowledgeable about each menu item, served and cleared the numerous plates competently, gave a generous pour, and the food was varied and excellent. Great spot for a meal before theater or a concert. Will certainly return.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • A gem in Boston
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 12/9/2012
    I've been awaiting for a Yakitori restaurant in Boston for many years, so I was super excited when it opened in the summer! The food is very authentic and tasty! They use organic chicken and fresh ingredients and that makes such a difference! Menu is abundant and the non-yakitori food is also very good. The restaurant is run by Japanese and servers are very well-mannered. Though it can be pricey, I think it is definitely worth it. I will definitely come back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Good food, but overpriced
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 11/10/2012
    Good food, but overpriced for yakitori. i understand that there are not that many options in Boston, but $6+ for 1 skewer doesn't represent too much value. The service was friendly, albeit a bit slow at times. Noise level was high for the tight space. I think its worth a visit for yourself, but expect to come out w/ a pretty steep bill. Makes me miss NYC and its abundant yakitori options.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Dinner with a Free Trip to Tokyo
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 11/10/2012
    This is my new favorite restaurant in Boston. The food is exactly the same as the food you would find at a yakatori restaurant in Tokyo. We had the tasting menu and everything was delicious. Our waitress was from Yokohama and she was delightful. This place is a real find. Arrigato.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • We ordered the omakase, and
    Kim39VIP
    Dined on 11/9/2012
    We ordered the omakase, and it was just way too much chicken! We were looking forward to trying different dishes, and it was one grilled chicken dish after another!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Yakitori Zai is outstanding.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 11/3/2012
    Yakitori Zai is outstanding. I've been there twice now and the food is exquisite and service is impeccable.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Spectacular and authentic
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011VIP
    Dined on 11/3/2012
    Spectacular and authentic Japanese yakitori. Everything on the menu was just superb! We felt like we were back in Japan. Just be careful not to order everything at once but rather have a couple of items at a time while they are hot off the grill! Highly recommend it. Definitely will go back when we return to Boston next time!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent dinner with fresh,
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008VIP
    Dined on 11/3/2012
    Excellent dinner with fresh, simple Japanese preparations. The service was attentive but not intrusive. A wonderful atmosphere that brings a bit of Japan to the South End. Highly recommended.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet