Slurp-Worthy Eats: Zaru Serves Up Homemade Udon Noodles in Mills 50

By Cassady Quintana

Crafting their own udon noodles in-house, James Beard-nominated restaurateurs Johnny and Jimmy Tung have garnered local and national attention in the Mills 50 area with their latest opening, Zaru. Let’s dive in!

front of zaru with glass windows and light up sign

All Things Zaru

A zaru is a woven bamboo basket used in the preparation and presentation of Japanese food, especially noodles. Zaru’s 25-seat dining room and open kitchen serves up scratch-made udon noodles, handmade from premium Japanese flour sourced from Kagawa, Japan, the birthplace of udon. With authentic udon in mind, the Tungs utilize specialized equipment — including an udon-making machine — from Kagawa to bring a taste of Japan to Orlando. 

When seated, customers will be handed an interactive menu where they can fill out as many sections as they want: beverage, zensai (appetizer), type of udon (cold or hot), add-ons, and mizumono (dessert). 

two paper menus with a pencil

Tastes of Zaru

What we ordered:

  • Peach Squash Signature Mocktails $8

  • Tatsuta-Age $9

  • Yaki Gyoza $9

  • Nikutama Udon $18

  • Wagyu Udon $36

  • Add-ons Shrimp Tempura $3

  • Add-ons Marinated Ikura $8

  • Add-ons Mentaiko Mayo $2

  • Add-ons Wasabi $2

The peach squash signature mocktail is a testament to their goal to create palate-pleasing flavors. It features a refreshing medley of verjus, sugar snap peas, and peach.

yellow drink with ice

After a short wait, we were brought crispy tatsuta-age, a Japanese-style fried chicken complimented by a dijon-style mustard. We also ordered the yaki gyoza to start, filled with pork, cabbage, and scallion seared to perfection with a golden crust.

japanese fried chicken in a wooden basket
fried gyoza on a white plate

After quickly finishing our appetizers, it was time for our udon bowls. It was clear that each noodle is carefully prepared to achieve the perfect texture—soft, chewy, and an ideal vessel for absorbing the rich flavors of the broth. While we are no udon connoisseurs, we couldn’t find anything we didn’t like about the bowls. The textures and flavors worked together leaving us full and satisfied without overdoing it.

udon bowl with meat and small dishes with toppings
udon under meat in a white bowl with small bowls of toppings

The Ambiance

The decor effortlessly blends modern sophistication with traditional Japanese elements, creating a space that is both stylish and comfortable. The soft lighting and contemporary furnishings provide a perfect backdrop for an intimate dinner or a casual gathering of friends. R&B and hip hop music fill the room keeping the environment modern. 

booths with red and yellow lighting on dark decor

Adding to the charm of Zaru is its knowledgeable and attentive staff. The waitstaff is not only well-versed in the intricacies of the menu but also possesses a genuine passion for sharing their love of Japanese cuisine. Customers can expect personalized recommendations, insights into the culinary techniques used, and a willingness to cater to individual preferences.

small dishes with small menu of toppings in dishes


Zaru stands as a testament to the city's diverse and thriving culinary scene. With its commitment to authenticity, a menu that delights the taste buds, an inviting ambiance, and a staff that exudes passion and knowledge, Zaru is a must-visit for anyone seeking a genuine and memorable Japanese dining experience in the heart of Orlando.

Mills 50 District

Located at 1114 E. Colonial Drive, neighboring the Vietnamese Tien Hung Market, Zaru’s 25-seat dining room and open kitchen sits in the heart of Orlando in the Mills 50 district, one mile Northeast of Downtown. The district is part of the Orlando Main Streets program, best known for its slogan: “The Intersection of Creativity + Culture.” Visitors can expect a unique combination of businesses from restaurants, markets, tattoo shops, design studies, and salons.

In Mills 50, there's always something to do and see, making for a great place to live. If you’re interested in finding a home in the area, our team would be happy to help!


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