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“Greatness in Lowertown”

Tanpopo Noodle Shop
Ranked #114 of 889 Restaurants in Saint Paul
Price range: $1 - $20
Cuisines: Asian, Japanese
Dining options: Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Level Contributor
41 reviews
34 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Greatness in Lowertown”
Reviewed February 25, 2012

As the stars indicate, J food in Minnesota does not get any better.
Ventured here with gf recently for a great meal.

I appreciate the vibe in Tanpopo. They didn't decorate it to make 20,30 somethings feel like they are cool and trendy. There's no sushi bar. This is a noodle shop first. They do have sushi, of course and it's adequate. Just as a suggestion though, if you consider yourself a sushi snob, go elsewhere. Sushi isn't their thing here, noodles and other delicious J foods are.
Also, about the only negative I have to report is service is kind of slow. Slow but very friendly, helpful, and make recommendations you can trust.

Heres what we had:
Tonkatsu Teishoku: pork cutlet, breaded. Covered in tonkatsu sauce. This was excellent. It comes as a set, with rice, miso soup, and a salad. I appreciate this restaurant so much, I feel like I'm dining in Japan again. The salad had a delicious sesame dressing on it. The miso was served with the meal the way it is meant and supposed to be...which few Japanese joints seem to understand or care about in this town. I was very happy with this meal. My stomach was very happy too.

We got a couple apps: edamame and agedashi tofu. Both were good. GF really liked the tofu. Me, well tofu just doesn't thrill me like it does her. I gladly donated my share of the tofu to her cause.

Kitsune Udon: Kitsune is deep fried, thin slices of tofu. If you didn't look closely it could be mistaken for meat. My gf reported it had a sweet flavor. I only tried the noodles and broth...tofu...bleh. Udon noodles were great and for udon connoisseurs, the broth has a strong flavor..kanto/tohoku style. Good.

For desert we tried the sweet potato creme brulee. I'm not a huge desert eater but I give this one high marks. It wasn't super sweet like I was expecting and tasted very, very good. I had to use self-control to not eat all of it which saved me from enduring "the look" from my gal.

All in all a great night and a great meal. I highly recommend and I shall return!

  • Visited February 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Jettsett3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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53 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    22
    26
    4
    1
    0
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
25 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Warm, cozy, authentic noodles and more.”
Reviewed January 27, 2012

We enjoyed a relaxing dinner at Tanpopo before heading out to a movie later that night. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly, and the meals are quite authentic. Ther were several families with children (very well-behaved!) as well as groups of adults of all ages. Tanpopo is far more enjoyable and authentic than the high-priced shushi places or franchises around town. We felt like we were in someone's home, it was that comfortable and quiet. We had three noodles dishes and the broth, ingredients, and preparation were just right.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Tripnahalf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
East Grand Rapids, Michigan
Level Contributor
3 reviews
“Yummy Noodle Shop!”
Reviewed January 3, 2012

I LOVE coming to Tanpopo to get their udon! I used to live in Minneapolis and would frequent this restaurant often. I now live out of state and whenever I travel back to the Twin Cities I try to visit to get my udon fix! The service is great and I've rarley had to wait long for a table. I honestly couldn't tell you about the other items on the menu, but the mushroom and tempura udon is fantastic!

Visited December 2011
Helpful?
Thank MI_Traveler49506
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minnesota
Level Contributor
84 reviews
66 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
“My Virgin Visit”
Reviewed March 25, 2010

Unlike many of the St. Paul restaurants I have reviewed this was my first visit as a customer. Located across from the Farmer's Market, I have often wanted to dine here but the hours have not panned out in terms of my schedule and my visits to the market. The restaurant is located in an old warehouse and the upper levels of the building now serves as a housing complex for artists. The restaurant is entered best from an outside entrance on the north side of the building. The dinning area is a large room and has a modern feel to it.

The menu is centered around udon noodle offerings and other specialties of the house. Service was fast, pleasant and my order was handled in a professional manner. I had a California Roll that was tasty and was priced well within reason. I ordered one of the udon dishes and it was full of great tasting noodles and other tasty meat and veggie items. The broth was wonderful especially on this cool Minnesota day. I ended the meal with a ginger ice cream. I was pleasantly surprised by the firery taste of the ginger. Most places serve a rather dull flavored ginger ice cream, but not here. The cost of wine was also below most of the nearby restaurant's price points for a similar glass of basic wine.

I enjoyed my virgin dinning experience here. The only thing that caught me off-guard was the automatic 15% service fee added to my bill. I ate solo and it is not the custom in the Twin Cities to add an automatic service fee on the bill of solo dinners in any of the many venues I have been to. Still, I was so pleased with the meal I added some additional money as a tip! I would go back again.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank MNCondoDude
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Louis, Missouri
Level Contributor
28 reviews
23 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Great noodle soup!!!!”
Reviewed September 5, 2009

Great noodle soup!!!!

Helpful?
Thank BrendaGSaint Louis
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual contributor and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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