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Minneapolis Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations


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#241 zennenn

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Posted 03 December 2005 - 06:29 PM

I have never eaten at a restaurant in Minneapolis/St. Paul that made me feel awkward for dining alone - I have lived here for 9 years, and eat alone often (I am a woman). I have eaten out alone in other cities and have been made to feel unwelcome and even gotten stares from other diners, but never here. I hope this puts you at ease.

Personal faves in Mpls:

Auriga
112 Eatery
Tum Rup Thai (sp?)

I'm sure others will have more ideas for Minneapolis.

#242 Schneier

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Posted 04 December 2005 - 08:25 AM

Vincent is probably your best choice. It's likely to be walking distance from your hotel. One step down is Five (also a taxi ride). On par with Vincent, but also a taxi ride, is Levain. Those are high end, such as it is, restaurants around here. The chefs are all interesting and inventive, and you won't have a bad meal at any of them. I would pick Vincent if I had the choice.

Bon appetit.

#243 Brad Ballinger

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Posted 04 December 2005 - 08:06 PM

Your hotel, unfortunately, isn't conveniently close to places that would likely appeal to you. In cold temperatures, it's even less close. Although I like Bruce's recommendation of Vincent, that will be a 12 block walk for you. I also like the 112 Eatery recommendation, but that's going to be about 8 blocks.

So, since you're taking a short cab ride anyway (or maybe the Marriott will drive you), I recommend Fugaise at 308 E. Hennepin Avenue on the other side of the river. This is a restaurant where the chef, Don Saunders, is fanatic about making everything just so. It might make the dishes appear a bit fussy, but there's a load of passion behind that. And in that neighborhood, I don't think you'll feel conspicuous dining alone.
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#244 MSPD

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Posted 05 December 2005 - 02:16 PM

112 Eatery is excellent. It's precisely four blocks west on Washington Avenue, one block south on Hennepin, then hang a right. It is very, very cold in MSP right now, but if you dress warm and hustle, that's not a long way to go. This would be my choice hands down, especially from your location.

For something more casual, I would consider Cafe Havana on the corner of Washington and 1st Ave N (4 blocks west on Washington) or Babalu further down the street (www.babalu.us). Not as universally good and creative as 112, but I've had many enjoyable dishes at both without any negatives.

Regarding Vincent, while it is a longer walk (8 blocks south, 3 blocks west), you can do all but about 25 steps INDOORS. Go to www.tonnhaus.com and print the Minneapolis Skyway Map. You're looking at about a quarter of a mile.

As an aside, on Wednesday - Sunday evenings at 6:30 p.m. (now until Christmas) the Holidazzle Parade is going on. www.holidazzle.com The skyway (any section over Nicollet Mall) is a great place to watch the parade as it goes by and you're walking to and from dinner. Good taste of how we have fun up here in the frozen northland (if you're not from a similar climate).

Welcome and enjoy.

#245 AlexP

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Posted 05 December 2005 - 03:13 PM

For something more casual, I would consider Cafe Havana on the corner of Washington and 1st Ave N (4 blocks west on Washington) or Babalu further down the street (www.babalu.us).  Not as universally good and creative as 112, but I've had many enjoyable dishes at both without any negatives.

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I have not been in Cafe Havana to eat, but was there briefly for a drink. I did have dinner at Babalu a while ago. Personally, I would not consider these places the ideal destination for a woman dining alone primarily interested in the cusine.

As others have mentioned, Vincent might be a great option.

Vincent


Have fun in Minneapolis

Alex

#246 dahlsk

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Posted 05 December 2005 - 08:57 PM

I agree with the recommendation to check out 112 Eatery. Dining at the bar is an excellent option, and you can have a variety of tastes there, depending on your budget. It is a great place to sample a number of items, even if on your own. Enjoy!

#247 ulterior epicure

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Posted 08 December 2005 - 11:19 AM

shadow.

I hope I'm not too late for this... I have to admit I'm in a hurry and haven't read all the responses and details of this string, but briefly:

I had an amazing meal each at last fall (2004):

Cosmos (in Le Meridien Hotel)
Levain (outskirts/suburbs)

I would HIGHLY recommend both of them. I think what chef S.B. Dougherty is doing at the Cosmos is divine. Subsequently to my visit, my pleasure was reinforced when he was named one of Food + Wine's 10 Best New Chefs... You can read my review of Levain on my blog.

Otherwise - the City Paper - I think Daria Moskowitz is a great read, even if you don't agree with her suggestions/tastes.

Let us know what you decide and how you fared!

U.E.
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Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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#248 shadow

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 08:56 AM

Thank you all for your recommendations on this thread. I would llike to report that I did indeed have dinner at 112. I got there by cab at about 6pm ( I thought that dining early would be better as one person). I explined my situation to the hostess and she delightedly said that there was one more place at the bar and seated me there. Service was very nice--friendly but not intrusive. I had the crab salad and lamb strageggesi . Both were good, though I am a little confused about a dish being named for an ingredient that is not the main ingredient in the dish--there was crab in the salad but not lots ( it was Very good, however) I very much appreciated that most main dishes came in small and large portions. The wine list was good too. I had to skip dessert, but the list looked great.
Thanks for helping me get out of my box and try something in Minneapolis.

#249 srhcb

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 09:15 AM

I'm glad you enjoyed your dining experience in Minneapolis. I haven't been to 112 yet myself, although between what I've previously heard and read about it, and the comments on this thread, I'll have to put it on my list.

Maybe I can offer a feeble excuse for the "crab" salad. If you look on a map you'll notice that Minneapolis is located just about as far from a source of crab meat as any city in the Country. Thus, we may tend to accept fairly liberal interpretations of anything involving fresh sea food?

SB :wink:

#250 srhcb

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 09:17 AM

  If you look on a map you'll notice that Minneapolis is located just about as far from a source of crab meat as any city in the Country.  Thus, we may tend to accept fairly liberal interpretations of anything involving fresh sea food?

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Although I know a few guys who got a case of crabs for free in The Cities ....

SB :wub:

#251 Brad Ballinger

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 08:53 AM

I am a little confused about a dish being named for an ingredient that is not the main ingredient in the dish--there was crab in the salad but not lots ( it was Very good, however).

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Maybe it was so named because crab was the ingredient that distinguished it from other salads/dishes???
We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

#252 kiliki

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 10:35 AM

Anything you guys would recommend for something unique to the city for both food and drink? Various people have recommended Al's Breakfast, Nye's Polanaise, Lyle's Liquors, and Tavern on Grand. Obviously I'm not looking for fine dining, but I don't want bad food, either-would you steer me away from any of them in particular?

#253 slbunge

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 11:12 AM

Al's Breakfast is one of my personal favorite breakfast spots. Great food turned out in a historic 'tween diner. Don't try to go with more than four people and two would be even better.

Tavern on Grand has solid walleye (or whatever the Canadian fish is that they actually serve). It wouldn't really be on my short list of standout low-brow dining options in the area.

Nye's is a gem. I prefer to drink there rather than eat. Just not the sort of food that appeals to me. Perhaps another reader will chime in about the food.

Lyle's is fun but I haven't been for a number of years so I cannot give any up-to-date information.

Punch Neopolitan Pizza is a great spot for an inexpensive meal of high-quality food. I'm partial to their original location on Cleveland in the Highland Park area of St. Paul. Simple pizzas cooked in a wood-fired oven with the right amount of char and smoke. I always get mine 'Neopolitan style' (in fact I rarely stray from the Margherita DOC which comes this way by design) which is un-cut and has more sauce and olive oil.

Lucia's is a solid choice for mid-priced dining. She has been a mainstay of the 'support local agriculture' scene for some time. I often eat in the wine bar area where they have a sort of cafe menu.
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#254 prasantrin

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 03:15 PM

Al's Breakfast is one of my personal favorite breakfast spots.  Great food turned out in a historic 'tween diner.  Don't try to go with more than four people and two would be even better.

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And get there at 6 or 7--whatever time they open. If you get there any later, you're due for a long wait.

I love Al's and go there everytime I'm in MSP. But I find anything other than their wally blue and eggs benedict to be very ordinary. (I like their hash browns, too.) So if you go, I'd stick with the eggs benedict, wally blue and a hash brown on the side (that's actually my usual order...)

#255 slbunge

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 04:03 PM

Al's Breakfast is one of my personal favorite breakfast spots.  Great food turned out in a historic 'tween diner.  Don't try to go with more than four people and two would be even better.

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And get there at 6 or 7--whatever time they open. If you get there any later, you're due for a long wait.

I love Al's and go there everytime I'm in MSP. But I find anything other than their wally blue and eggs benedict to be very ordinary. (I like their hash browns, too.) So if you go, I'd stick with the eggs benedict, wally blue and a hash brown on the side (that's actually my usual order...)

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Weekdays they open at 6am.

I stick with buttermilk or buttermilk with corn for my pancakes. I'm also a fan of their hash browns.
Stephen Bunge
St Paul, MN

#256 kiliki

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 04:10 PM

Thanks for the Al's tips. It sounds like a don't miss place. Even on a Sunday, I need to get there right when they open? I'm also thinking about Hell's Kitchen-it's right by our hotel, and they take reservations. We actually need to get up to Little Falls that morning for a Memorial Day thing, so we don't have time for a long breakfast wait, but going right when Al's opens would work.

Also, now I'm convinced that Nye's is worth at least a drink.

Edited by kiliki, 17 May 2006 - 04:15 PM.


#257 prasantrin

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 04:21 PM

Thanks for the Al's tips. It sounds like a don't miss place. Even on a Sunday, I need to get there right when they open? I'm also thinking about Hell's Kitchen-it's right by our hotel, and they take reservations.

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Especially on Sundays! Saturdays and Sundays are the worst for waits! But weekdays are usually not so bad. I once went at 10-ish on a Monday and the place only had a few people. But weekends are their busiest times, so you definitely have to get there early for those.

I've heard different things about Hell's Kitchen--both good and bad. It's been on my list of "Places to Try" forever, but I always end up back at Al's. I'm a creature of habit, what can I say?

#258 kiliki

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 04:38 PM

I just read they don't open until 9 on Sunday! I was thinking that most people would sleep in a little on Sunday, and we could go early and avoid the wait, but nope.

#259 Brad Ballinger

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 06:35 PM

I'll comment on Lyle's. Just drink there. Eat elsewhere. I know that Stephen recommended the origianl Punch (in my 'hood, actually), but if you got to Nye's for a drink (and I can recommend eating there, too), I believe a Punch has opened or is opening one to two blocks away.
We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

#260 Elrushbo

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 08:34 PM

I thought 20.21 at the Walker Center was good, especially after checking out the museum. Gorgeous room, good service, food is fun and tastes good.

#261 kiliki

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 07:07 PM

I'll just report back that I LOVED Nye's. To this Seattle girl, a place that has "all your supperclub favorites" is actually quite exotic and I loved everything about the place-the pierogies, the cocktails, the salad with tons of homemade blue cheese on top, the relish tray, the waitresses that have been there forever, and the piano bar.

We needed to eat breakfast early on Sunday so no Al's, but Hell's Kitchen was good enough. It only occured to me later-I was very sleepy-that I got regular hash browns instead of the cream cheese/onion rosti that were supposed to come with my breakfast. Those rosti sure sounded good. You get homemade peanut butter and jams with your toast which was nice.

Another food highlight was the Black and White Hamburger Cafe in Little Falls. They had probably the best hash browns (shredded, and fried in butter!) I've ever had in a restaurant.

Edited to add one more: I tried Salsa a la Salsa, too, and while it was better than, say, chain tex-mex, it was generally average. One thing that was noteworthy was the complete absence of any type of chili pepper. I've never had salsas (there were 2) that had zero heat. Zero. Very strange. Same with our entrees.

Edited by kiliki, 30 May 2006 - 09:48 AM.


#262 Brad Ballinger

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Posted 30 May 2006 - 03:15 PM

Another food highlight was the Black and White Hamburger Cafe in Little Falls. They had probably the best hash browns (shredded, and fried in butter!) I've ever had in a restaurant.

Edited to add one more: I tried Salsa a la Salsa, too, and while it was better than, say, chain tex-mex, it was generally average. One thing that was noteworthy was the complete absence of any type of chili pepper. I've never had salsas (there were 2) that had zero heat. Zero. Very strange. Same with our entrees.

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The Black and White is indeed a wonderful place. Glad you got to experience it. Sorry that Salsa a la Salsa didn't do it for you. Their mole and chile rellenos are really top notch, but I don't know what you ordered.
We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

#263 rickmartin

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 06:05 PM

Need a nice place to eat in Minneapolis,downtown/uptown, where my employees can eat well and dress nice. Please tell me your favorites. Thanks.

RM

#264 snowangel

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 07:06 PM

How nice, Rick? Funky nice or fancy nice?

Edited to add: if you want nice nice, seriously consider Vincent. Downtown, very nice, elegant and the food is wonderful. Also, you might want to consider the Dakota Restaurant and Jazz Club if you want music as well. Both of these are downtown; I'm much less familiar with the Uptown area, but if you go just across the river from downtown, there are a couple of good choices -- Fugaise comes to mind. Ooh, and then there's Restaurant Alma, but ever since their 4 star review, tables are really hard to come by.
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#265 rickmartin

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 07:44 PM

Funky nice.


Thanks! That helps. Any others?

RM

Edited by rickmartin, 17 August 2006 - 07:45 PM.


#266 CookinBenny

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 09:24 PM

Cosmos is awesome, i would say pretty high class though http://cosmosrestaurant.com/
and this place called levain is doing some really cool food. http://www.restauran...n.com/about.htm I dont know if thats too fancy for you but check em out.

#267 snowangel

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Posted 19 August 2006 - 02:18 PM

Levain is really noisy, and I had a not so great experience at Cosmos, but that was quite some time ago.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#268 oneidaone

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Posted 19 August 2006 - 02:22 PM

We really enjoyed 112 Eatery and saw lots of nice outfits. We went last year prior to the Elton John concert and ordered almost the whole menu for the 4 of us, everything was fabulous. They even gave us extra caramel corn to eat at the show. My mother in law likes Restaurant Alma and we've
given them gift certificates for there many times. Enjoy your night! A hui hou!
"You can't miss with a ham 'n' egger......"
Ervin D. Williams 9/1/1921 - 6/8/2004

#269 sumac

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Posted 19 August 2006 - 02:55 PM

We have so many wonderful choices these days. I agree with all the suggestions so far, including Cosmos and Levain. I would also add Five, La Belle Vie, 20.21 at The Walker Art Museum, Cue at The Gutherie Theater, Solera, Auriga. If you go to City Pages, and search for Restaurants, most of the listings link you to their websites. Then you can compare and select the one from our recommendations that best suits you. Let us know where you end up and how it was for your group.

#270 snowangel

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Posted 19 August 2006 - 03:53 PM

I will second the advice to go to Citypages. For one thing, Dara does a nice job of reviewing restaurants, their listing is great, and none of their links go out of date.

And, do think about 112 Eatery if you are looking for something a bit funker.

Should you want to go really funky, but not fancy, and have a largish group, don't overlook the new Midtown Global Market. Or, maybe just save that one for a lunch, too.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"