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Minneapolis Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations


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#211 AlexP

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Posted 05 January 2005 - 08:34 AM

I have just discovered Mercado Central and Lake Plaza... Both markets are fantastic. I doubt we will be going to any other places for Mexican food. There is so much to explore in just those two places.

Glad that you enjoyed being back in Minneapolis.

Alex

edit spelling

Edited by AlexP, 05 January 2005 - 08:34 AM.


#212 Ellie

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Posted 06 January 2005 - 08:35 AM

Thanks for the suggestions! I can't wait to return. My family doesn't get it, but they're glad I want to visit again soon.

I've heard, or rather read, references of this "Eat Street". I didn't have time during my visit to check it out, but I'm not really sure what the deal is there, could someone tell me a little about it?

I have been to Lucia's once many years ago. It holds a special place in my heart because it was one of the first nice restaurant, really good food experiences I ever had. And I went with my boyfriend as part of his office's holiday party. There were about 10 of us and the wine flowed, and it was so wonderful. The wine, the bread (it had a parmesan crust, I still remember it!), the food -- even the coffee was beautiful and rich in delicate white coffee cups (with a saucer, I thought! hehe) Wow, that must have been at least 8 years ago and I'm still with the guy.

Thank you for reminding me of that, that will be a must visit next trip.

#213 edsel

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Posted 08 January 2005 - 08:44 PM

I was in the MSP area on business last week, and I naturally looked to eG for restaurant recs. :smile: This thread was very helpful.

My experience was basically inversely proportional to the cost. I ate at Vincent in downtown Minneapolis on Monday - nice service, OK food - certainly not the highlight of my visit. I ate at Lucia's on Tuesday. Nice food, very relaxed ambience. The best meal by far was at Fasika. I love Ethiopian food, and Fasika certainly delivered. I had the lamb combo - absolutely wonderful. My only regret was not ordering the greens from the veggie menu.

Thank you Ellie for starting this discussion. I definitely ate better as a result.

#214 MSPD

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Posted 10 January 2005 - 09:12 AM

I've heard, or rather read, references of this "Eat Street".  I didn't have time during my visit to check it out, but I'm not really sure what the deal is there, could someone tell me a little about it? 

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Eat Street (Nicollet Avenue, south of downtown Minneapolis, starting at roughly Grant St/14th or 15th or so) is a stretch of smaller, mostly ethnic restaurants. Highlights, in order of my personal preference more or less, include:

Jasmine Deli -- tiny, friendly Vietnamese. (Banh mi, soups and spring rolls)
Quang -- Vietnamese
Evergreen -- Taiwanese
Yummy -- Chinese, Hong Kong style
Jerusalem -- Mid. Eastern/Mediterranean
Morelos and Salsa a la Salsa -- Mexican
Black Forest Inn -- German
Christos -- Greek

The southern terminus of "Eat Street" is fairly close to Lake Street. If you head east on Lake about 20 blocks (not as far as it sounds...maybe 2 miles) to Bloomington Avenue, you'll find the Mercado Central on the south side of Lake, which was mentioned earlier. The Mercado has several stalls serving various authentic Mexican items. Taqueria la Hacienda (which also has an outpost on Lake St. at 35W) has great "al Pastor". Right next to it is Manny's which has superb tortas, then one stall down is La Perla tortilleria -- a portal to a tortilla operation in the adjacent space behind (and also offering great tamales).

There are a lot of other places to explore along Nicollet and also in the neighborhood of the Mercado. The above are the "mainstay" places.

#215 jeanki

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 08:18 AM

I have a mid september visit to downtown Minneapolis coming up and wondered if there were any recs for excellent restaurants, moderate-priced and bargain preferred as well as ethnic. I'm staying near the Nicollet Mall. Thanks!

#216 Brad Ballinger

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 09:47 AM

After Nicollet Mall turns into Nicollet Avenue is when the restaurants start to become more moderately priced and more ethnic. After a few short blocks, you'll find a treasure at Salsa a la Salsa. further down Nicollet, you'll find many Asian places, and some more Latino places.

On Nicollet Mall itself, you won't find as much ethnic or moderately priced (well, they are moderately priced for NYC, but not for Minneapolis). Vincent is French Country cuisine, Brit's is a British Pub with more authentic ale than food. Zelo is supposed to be Italian, but it's more about style than substance. And Mission isn't worth your time. And that's it for Nicollet Mall.

But a few blocks over, I encourage you to check out Solera. It's upscale tapas, and if you're not careful the tab will start to run pretty high. But it's good.

However, again, the more ethnic, more moderate places will be on Nicollet Avenue as it heads out of downtown.
We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

#217 jeanki

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Posted 24 August 2005 - 01:08 PM

After Nicollet Mall turns into Nicollet Avenue is when the restaurants start to become more moderately priced and more ethnic.  After a few short blocks, you'll find a treasure at Salsa a la Salsa.  further down Nicollet, you'll find many Asian places, and some more Latino places.

On Nicollet Mall itself, you won't find as much ethnic or moderately priced (well, they are moderately priced for NYC, but not for Minneapolis).  Vincent is French Country cuisine, Brit's is a British Pub with more authentic ale than food.  Zelo is supposed to be Italian, but it's more about style than substance.  And Mission isn't worth your time.  And that's it for Nicollet Mall.

But a few blocks over, I encourage you to check out Solera.  It's upscale tapas, and if you're not careful the tab will start to run pretty high.  But it's good.

However, again, the more ethnic, more moderate places will be on Nicollet Avenue as it heads out of downtown.

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These are perfect recs, thanks so much!

#218 ChristyMarie

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Posted 25 August 2005 - 01:39 PM

There's Bobino's Cafe & Wine Bar just down Hennepin, across the river. Casual atmosphere and good food. They have nightly specials which can help with the cost:

http://www.bobino.com/

For sushi try Origami Sushi:

http://www.origamire...chi_maguro.html

For fresh, organic food Cafe Brenda is a fave:

http://www.cafebrenda.com/index.html

#219 Pugman

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Posted 25 August 2005 - 02:12 PM

There are also quite a few good/inexpensive Vietnamese restaurants in Minneapolis. I've eaten at several and never been disappointed with the food.

#220 Schneier

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Posted 25 August 2005 - 02:42 PM

Breakfast at Hell's Kitchen.

High end: dinner at Vincent's.

Pho Tau Bay is at Nicollet and 29th. It's a hole-in-the-wall great Vietnamese place. Rainbow Chinese is the best Chinese in that area -- it's a few blocks closer on Nicollet -- but if you can get to Shuang Cheng by the university you'll have a better meal.

Another high-end choice: If you have a car, drive to Levain on Chicago and 40-something.

Other suggestions: Tiburan Carribean Bistro. Sapor.

Cosmos is cool, but read about it before hand. It's not cheap, but it's good for what it is -- assuming you want what it is.

Regarding the other recommendations: Origami is a fine place, but nothing you can't get elsewhere and it's a bit expensive. Bobino is okay, but not great. Cafe Brenda is a great suggestion.

Bruce

#221 Brad Ballinger

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Posted 26 August 2005 - 09:03 AM

Other suggestions: Tiburan Carribean Bistro.  Sapor.

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I'm going to disagree a bit with my friend, Bruce. Tiburon is more about atmosphere than food quality IMO. Sapor is average at best in my experience (and it's nowhere near where you are staying anyway).
We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

#222 ChristyMarie

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Posted 26 August 2005 - 12:53 PM

Other suggestions: Tiburan Carribean Bistro.  Sapor.

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I'm going to disagree a bit with my friend, Bruce. Tiburon is more about atmosphere than food quality IMO. Sapor is average at best in my experience (and it's nowhere near where you are staying anyway).

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I've had good service and food at Sapor - but you have to go there for what they do, local, organic stuff. And their bread is awesome.

#223 Schneier

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Posted 26 August 2005 - 03:31 PM

I'm going to disagree a bit with my friend, Bruce.  Tiburon is more about atmosphere than food quality IMO.  Sapor is average at best in my experience (and it's nowhere near where you are staying anyway).

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I agree that Tiburon is more about the atmosphere, but if that's what you want it's a good place to get it.

I've had good food experiences at Sapor, although I admit that I haven't been there in over a year.

I should also recommend Bakery on Grand, if you want to head into South Minneapolis.

#224 Brad Ballinger

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Posted 27 August 2005 - 05:17 AM

Other suggestions: Tiburan Carribean Bistro.  Sapor.

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I'm going to disagree a bit with my friend, Bruce. Tiburon is more about atmosphere than food quality IMO. Sapor is average at best in my experience (and it's nowhere near where you are staying anyway).

View Post


I've had good service and food at Sapor - but you have to go there for what they do, local, organic stuff. And their bread is awesome.

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On my last visit, I had two issues: 1) overcooking, and 2) trying to put too many ingredients into a dish (which is a bit counterintuitive to focusing on local, organic).
We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

#225 Smithy

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Posted 28 August 2005 - 08:21 PM

Hell's Kitchen is great for lunch.

Nobody's mentioned the Firelake Grill. It's spendy, but I think it's terrifically good. Am I the only one?

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#226 Brad Ballinger

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 06:42 AM

Hell's Kitchen is great for lunch.

Nobody's mentioned the Firelake Grill.  It's spendy, but I think it's terrifically good.  Am I the only one?

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Haven't been. I believe that's in the Radisson, and I don't usually think of a hotel restaurant when considering where to go in Minneapolis.
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#227 Smithy

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 01:33 PM

Hell's Kitchen is great for lunch.

Nobody's mentioned the Firelake Grill.  It's spendy, but I think it's terrifically good.  Am I the only one?

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Haven't been. I believe that's in the Radisson, and I don't usually think of a hotel restaurant when considering where to go in Minneapolis.

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Hmm. It might be next door to the Radisson, but I don't think so. (It's been a couple of years, so all I remember clearly is that it's on a side street off the Nicollet Mall.) It's an independent setup, anyway.

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#228 deltadoc

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Posted 02 September 2005 - 11:32 AM

On a good day, Jerusalems on Nicollet is a pretty good Middle Eastern place to eat. Their lunch menu seems a better deal than their dinner portions.

ALso, you can substitute rice for french fries with no upcharge, but you have to remember to ask for tahini sauce on the side. You can also substitute the Tabouli salad for the "western" type lettuce salad that comes standard with many of the dishes.

doc

#229 Laurie Woolever

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Posted 02 September 2005 - 12:08 PM

Was in Minneapolis in July, can second the vote for Solera; also for Levain. And can also get behind Auriga, and especially Alma, probably the cheapest of the four and good, simple, elegant but very 'come as you are.' None are particularly cheap or ethnic but you'll have a great meal.
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#230 oneidaone

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Posted 02 September 2005 - 12:22 PM

We went to 112 Eatery and had a fabulous meal, really amazing. Loved the caramel corn they give
out at the end of the meal. We ate almost the entire menu and had nothing but rave reviews for
everything, nice wine list too! Although I am not familiar with the area you are specifically looking
for it seems to be this may be near there from the other places mentioned. A hui hou.......
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#231 kjente2

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Posted 02 September 2005 - 01:38 PM

If the bus numbers haven't changed, I would hop on a 17A on Nicollet Mall and ride it to Hennepin Lake. Walk 1 block to 31st, take a right..dinner at Lucia's. It's a nice neighborhood to roam around in.
I'd second Bakery on Grand, as well. My sister and I had dinner there last time I went home. Once I figured out that it wasn't St. Paul's Grand Avenue we sailed right to the front door. It was a wonderful meal and we had great service.

#232 Schneier

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Posted 12 September 2005 - 11:28 AM

...elegant but very 'come as you are.'


Minneapolis is a come-as-you-are sort of town.

#233 stevea

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Posted 20 September 2005 - 05:23 AM

I just returned from a short trip to Minneapolis and southern Minnesota. My thanks to those who post recommendations here. Based on what I read here (and my experience from a previous trip), I dined here:

112 Eatery -- A terrific, bustling restaurant in a long, skinny space (reminds me of the Dahlia Lounge in Seattle). The menu was filled with interesting choices. We wanted to have them all, but we ended up with several appetizers. The top choice was the lardon/foie gras salad, which included a bed of greens studded with chunky lardons, a large piece of perfectly done foie gras (slightly crispy on the outside and melting on the inside), and an incredible egg -- poached and then quick cooled, dusted with bread crumbs, and then deep fried, so it was firm on the outside with a runny yolk inside. This was definitely one of those "omigawd" dishes that keeps one exploring new places. The sweetbreads were also terrific, but the lamb scottadito (little lamb chops that almost seemed to have been cooked in a panini press) were a little too midwestern (overdone) for our taste.

Vincent (for lunch) -- Another great restaurant, especially for lunch, when the prices are a bit lower. We had perfectly done grouper, a salade chinois that we adored when we had it last year but whose dressing was a bit overtart and unbalancing this year, and a pureed fish soup with incredible saffron flavor -- another "omigawd" dish that may very well have been made from the previous night's fish stew (if so, my supreme compliments to the chef!).

Alma -- Another return visit. We really liked this last year, but this year struggled to find anything we wanted to have. (Several items included butternut squash, which I hate.) The menu is really geared toward the three course fixed price, but we weren't that hungry. The tomato salad was misnamed -- only a couple of small pear tomatoes served with greens and thin sliced potatoes. The orzo was delicious, probably cooked in a fish sauce, and really showed what the kitchen could do. And smoked eggplant ravioli that really showed off the smokey eggplant filling. Although well prepared and with excellent ingredients, the dishes were small and to our notion, overpriced. The fixed price option would have been more economical, but even so, the dishes didn't seem to sing like those at 112 Eatery.
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#234 Brad Ballinger

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Posted 20 September 2005 - 07:10 AM

Vincent (for lunch) -- Another great restaurant, especially for lunch, when the prices are a bit lower. We had perfectly done grouper, a salade chinois that we adored when we had it last year but whose dressing was a bit overtart and unbalancing this year, and a pureed fish soup with incredible saffron flavor -- another "omigawd" dish that may very well have been made from the previous night's fish stew (if so, my supreme compliments to the chef!).

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Chef Vincent Francoual's "special talents" praticularly shine with both fish and soups. You chose wisely.
We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

#235 jeanki

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Posted 21 September 2005 - 07:32 PM

Just got back from Minneapolis, great weather this week! A surprisingly lively and liveable city with a neat neo-socialist meets woodlands vibe. Thanks again for the recs; due to time, location, and money I couldn't try everything I wanted to but definitely enjoyed brunch at Hell's Kitchen (they should market that bison sausage, it's awesome! enjoyed the wild rice and berry porridge too.) and tapas at Solera (everything was suave yet authentic). Thanks again!

#236 shadow

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Posted 03 December 2005 - 06:32 AM

I will be in Minneapolis for one night before a conference starts and would like a great meal before I have to start eating "meeting food". Can anyone suggest a place where I , as a woman alone, won't be made to feel out of place, but will get something yummy and comforting on a cold day.?

#237 srhcb

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Posted 03 December 2005 - 07:12 AM

Downtown Mpls? Price Range, personal tastes?

Maybe looking through this will help you find a couple places that look interesting, and then Twin Cities eG members can help with their personal advice.

http://www.citypages...s/directory.asp

SB :smile:

Disclaimer: I have friends in the business and am therefore somewhat prejudiced

#238 srhcb

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Posted 03 December 2005 - 07:20 AM

Or, if you like Tony Bourdain's take on things:

http://www.foodnetwo...6_21908,00.html

SB (doesn't know any of these people) :wink:

#239 shadow

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Posted 03 December 2005 - 09:15 AM

Downtown Mpls? Price Range, personal tastes?

Oh-Sorry. Staying at the Courtyard by Marriot Downtown--an old train station (?) . Price--not important, but not the point either. Cheap or expensive, I want someplace with great food that won't treat me like an idiot for being a woman eating out alone. Taste? Eclectic. I' m not partial to Japanese food and don't love things that are really hot. But a little spicy is fine. Trendy for it's own sake bores me--but if it is work by a chef that sees things in a different way--goodie.
Does that help?

Edited by shadow, 03 December 2005 - 09:19 AM.


#240 edsel

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Posted 03 December 2005 - 05:39 PM

I've been to MSP on business several times over the past year, so I've dined out solo there many times. Not sure how it might be different for a woman dining alone. I've always been treated well by the staff of any restaurant where I've been on my own.

Sometimes I sit at the bar if I can get full service there. I did that at 112 Eatery and had a terrific meal. Also got to chat with some other patrons who were apparently regulars (I gather that the restaurant has a loyal following). Someone from the area will have to tell you whether that's close to your hotel.

Lucia's also has a more casual section (wine bar?) that might be less imposing than a more formal restaurant, though I have to say that I've never felt embarrassed dining at a "table for one" in more formal settings. I had a nice dinner at Vincent and didn't feel silly dining by myself.