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winodj

Minneapolis Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations

277 posts in this topic

So youse guys still getting together, I know this thread was a year old or so?

Thanks for bringing this thread back up Doc and to answer your question, yes. We have a Dim Sum Gathering the last Saturday of October. Care to join?

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Actually thats the last Saturday in September and you will be welcome.

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Thank you both for the invite. I am afraid I will be unable to attend this event, but am wondering if you guys get together often for similar gatherings at various venues?

If so, I would be pleased if I could join you in a future event!

doc

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To my knowledge this is our first large scale restaurant trip - I know that various eGers have met for lunch and such previously. We have had a couple of get togethers at homes because it is easier to talk that way and sometimes we just have to cook. I like to host a group - last time the kitchen contractors were scarcely out the door when the eG group arrived.

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We have had a couple of get togethers at homes because it is easier to talk that way and sometimes we just have to cook.

Two, I believe.

Bruce

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Had a quick visit to the Twin Cities for the holidays after an extended absence. I had such a good time (despite the cold snap) and enjoyed some good food.

First off -- the mexican food!

You all are sooooo lucky to have so many great options. Time was limited so I couldn't do too much exploring but was able to hit El Mercado Central on Lake. What fun! We had a taco de lengua and de barbacoa (?) from Taco La Hacienda, a pork loin torta from the place next to that, and a few other things. Everything was simple but good.

Next stop was El Burrito Mercado which I used to love when I lived there. Over two visits we tried almost every guisado as tacos or gorditas (LOVE the gorditas). Each was fantastic, particularly the pork adobado. A couple of those were spicy hot which was great. The market was bustling with Christmas shoppers and I was really hoping someone would invite me to their house for dinner! The selection in the market is so comprehensive, I would love to have regular access to it. The "deli" has great take away food including big chunks of carnitas -- I couldn't believe it! Just wonderful.

Green Mill -- Jamaica Wings

I think only the uptown location serves these, but we used to adore these things back in college. We'd bring someone new and dare them to eat a big spoonful of the hot, greens from the sauce. These wings were as good as ever, spicy and even more flavorful then I remember. If anyone knows how they are made I'd like to know. There is a potlikker flavor to the sauce and I can't figure out what the greens were.

Ethiopian -- Fasika

Our biggest disappointment was getting out for Ethiopian only once. Decided on Fasika because of the reviews. It was wonderful!! Flavorful, spicy, oh so satisfying. BOY DO I MISS THIS FOOD!!! We had the Ultimate Combo and almost finished it off between the two of us. I've been to one place, one time in Boston and it absolutely paled to the quality of the food in the Twin Cities. We've decided to try to figure out how to make some dishes as home -- what else can we do??

Nelson's Cheese Factory

I have such a thing for the hot Hero sandwhich. I don't know what it is but these things are so tasty and really addictive. We used to get sandwiches there (oh, and a pickle!) and take them to Como Park for a little picnic.

St. Joe's Meat Market -- St. Joseph, MN

My absolute favorite Beef Jerky, bar none. This is perfectly seasoned, meaty stuff and without a doubt the best holiday gift I received. I'm going to have to start having this stuff shipped to me on a regular basis.

My visit was just terrific and I can't wait to go back. The people really are nice and there's a lot more chow to be had. So many tasty ethnic options that simply are not available where I am. Next time -- German food, Kramarcek's, Ethiopian, a big Mike's sub, Emily's Lebanese deli, Ethiopian, Big E Soul (never been, but if they reopen), the Everything Omelet at the Uptown Cafe, oh and more Mexican and Ethiopian food and ........ :biggrin:

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Had a quick visit to the Twin Cities for the holidays after an extended absence.  I had such a good time (despite the cold snap) and enjoyed some good food.

Emily's Lebanese deli

Next time you're here, try the Holyland Bakery and Lebanese Restaurant on Central Ave. They have expanded the eating area and added a very well stocked grocery store.

Their buffet is hard to beat!

doc

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There's also that wonderful few blocks on Nicollet just north of Lake Street called "Eat Street." Lots of Vietnamese (great pho and bahn mi) among many other restaurants.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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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 (log)

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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.

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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.

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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? 

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.

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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!

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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

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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.

These are perfect recs, thanks so much!

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

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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

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Other suggestions: Tiburan Carribean Bistro.  Sapor.

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

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Other suggestions: Tiburan Carribean Bistro.  Sapor.

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).

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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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).

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.

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Other suggestions: Tiburan Carribean Bistro.  Sapor.

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).

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.

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

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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?


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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