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Minneapolis


david coonce
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I'll be in Minneapolis on business for three days in early April - the middle of the week. Any recommendations for a good, moderately priced type of place? Can't find anything on here for Minneapolis. I'm thinking Tapas or slow food or bistro types of spots, although I'd be fine with an awesome african place (I've heard there a large Somalian population there) or anything else.

Also, I ate at Al's diner in Dinkytown about 15 years ago. Is it still there? It was a little lunch counter, barstool seating only. I suppose I could look it up...

Thanks!

Edited by david coonce (log)

"A culture's appetite always springs from its poor" - John Thorne

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I'll be in Minneapolis on business for three days in early April - the middle of the week. Any recommendations for a good, moderately priced type of place? Can't find anything on here for Minneapolis. I'm thinking Tapas or slow food or bistro types of spots, although I'd be fine with an awesome african place (I've heard there a large Somalian population there) or anything else.

Also, I ate at Al's diner in Dinkytown about 15 years ago. Is it still there?  It was a little lunch counter, barstool seating only. I suppose I could look it up...

Thanks!

112 eatery

spoonriver

Cafe Lurcat (check out their bar)

Solera

Lucia's

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

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Al's is definitely still there (or at least it was last summer, but I'm pretty sure it's there now, too). I love standing in line at Al's. I've met the nicest people there.

I heard from friends in MSP that Safari Restaurant serves good Somali food, but I've never been there. It's been on my list for a couple of years, but I never seem to get there.

http://www.safarirestaurantmn.com/

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In addition to the choices by ulterior_epicure I would suggest:

Heidi's - www.heidismpls.com

Cafe Maude - www.cafemaude.com

JP's Bistro - www.jpamericanbistro.com

Grand Cafe - http://www.grandcafempls.com

Those are moderately priced, byt if you are looking to splurge a bit, then check out Solera - www.solera-restaurant.com and La Belle Vie - www.labellevie.us (same owners, BTW).

112 - www.112eatery.com remains the top choice for many diners in town, but it's hard to get a table - you can always eat at the bar, though. Great menu, and reasonably priced, although not cheap by any means.

One place not to miss is Pizza Luce ( multiple locations) - just stay away from the downtown joint after bar close.

I wouldn't recommend any African eateries, but if you feel adventurous - TamTam on Cedar Ave, there are also a few others nearby - but again, you are most likely to be dissapointed...

Also, we have what's Called Eat Street - Nicollet Ave between downtown and 28 street - many great choices, esp. Asian. If you like Pho (Vietnamese soup) - Pho Tau Bay is da place!!! Cheap, good and hearty. BTW, Twin Cities asian community is quite vast.

If you are looking for a place to hang out - Town Hall brewery brews to die for beer -www.townhallbrewery.com, don't forget to cross the street for a hot dog @ Bullwinkle's - www.bullwinkles.net. Both places are close to the UofM campus, so try check'em out on weekdays, or not... ;-))

Do you know where you are going to be staying? I may suggest a few more places close by.

Edited by MikeTMD (log)

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In addition to the choices by ulterior_epicure I would suggest:

Heidi's - www.heidismpls.com

Cafe Maude - www.cafemaude.com

JP's Bistro - www.jpamericanbistro.com

Grand Cafe - http://www.grandcafempls.com

Those are moderately priced, byt if you are looking to splurge a bit, then check out Solera - www.solera-restaurant.com and La Belle Vie - www.labellevie.us (same owners, BTW).

112 - www.112eatery.com remains the top choice for many diners in town, but it's hard to get a table - you can always eat at the bar, though. Great menu, and reasonably priced, although not cheap by any means.

One place not to miss is Pizza Luce ( multiple locations) - just stay away from the downtown joint after bar close.

I wouldn't recommend any African eateries, but if you feel adventurous - TamTam on Cedar Ave, there are also a few others nearby - but again, you are most likely to be dissapointed...

Also, we have what's Called Eat Street - Nicollet Ave between downtown and 28 street - many great choices, esp. Asian. If you like Pho (Vietnamese soup) - Pho Tau Bay is  da place!!!  Cheap, good and hearty. BTW, Twin Cities asian community is quite vast.

If you are looking for a place to hang out - Town Hall brewery brews to die for beer -www.townhallbrewery.com, don't forget to cross the street for a hot dog @ Bullwinkle's - www.bullwinkles.net. Both places are close to the UofM campus, so try  check'em out on weekdays, or not... ;-))

Do you know where you are going to be staying? I may suggest a few more places close by.

I'm staying in a hotel near the airport, but will have a car and my wife lived in Mpls. for a year and knows her way around fairly well. So no location is too remote.

Thanks, all.

"A culture's appetite always springs from its poor" - John Thorne

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Solera is not too bad: 29 bucks several courses.

Get the migas a calamari, and breqad salad in all it's garlicky glory!

Alma 40.00 tasting menu. Always excellent.

The Dakota Jazz lounge offers live music and reasonable rates.

Fogo de Chao offers a 22.50 lunch special that will satisfy the meat lover.

Vincent is great for a burger stuffed with spare ribs, and gruyer, and carmelized mushrooms.

112- awesome little plates.

There is a little Vietnamese restaurant called Pho Quan. The building is rather nondescript.

Old chairs and tables. But a little wide eyed girl, helping her Mom will bring you the biggest bowl of Pho you ever have seen for 3.50 this place is a gem if you want to get worldy.

They put there hearts in their food. In my opinion this place should be on the level of the Slanted Door in San Francisco. Visit them. I have eaten their food since the early 90's.

Saffron is a Mediteranean restaurant, and they might help you with Mezze.

Al's Breakfast is legendary, eat and tell us your experience.

Panch Villa Restaurant for Mexican Food, cheap and very authentic.

Enjoy your time here. the City should begin heating up again by then.

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Thanks, all again.

In response to the question about my preferred cuisine, I am a chef and pretty much like any and all food. I prefer stuff that is either inventive or else very authentic. For example, one place a friend of mine mentioned was Chino Latino, but their menu looks dull and super-dated. Fusion is generally not what I'm into. I prefer slow-foods type places but am not wedded to them. Of the recommendations, 112 looks pretty great, as does the Vietnamese place xochi mentions. Since the conference I'll be in town attending is food-related, I'm sure some of the locals will know some hole-in-the-wall type of spots.

Also, are there any hmong restaurants? I know there's a big population there, but is there a distinct cuisine?

As far as Al's, I remember eating there years ago, as a young traveling punk rocker with too much time on my hands and a proclivity for cheap greasy spoons. I'm gla it's still around.

Edited by david coonce (log)

"A culture's appetite always springs from its poor" - John Thorne

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A few years ago, my mother and I were touring the little ethnic grocery stores around University Ave. (St. Paul's side, I think), and some of the Hmong grocery stores also sold food. I didn't find the food to be much different from Northern Thai or Laotian food, though (but it could just have been the dishes they were selling--I remember stuffed chicken wings, in particular). I don't remember seeing a stand-alone restaurant, though.

Edited by prasantrin (log)
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I dont get to Minneapolis too often but I was at Solera for "An evening with Anthony Bourdain" We had 8 tapas and they were all excellent, atmosphere was great as well. I do know that the Vietnamese food can be excellent, I dont remember where I had Pho but it was great. Pho Quan may have been it, it was definately in a non descript building and as authentic as it gets. I was there with a good friend and his Vietnamese buddy... Now I wish I could leave North Dakota more often, the lack of culture kills me!

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I get to Minneapolis about once a year for biz. It's a great city, even in the winter (!).

Here's some of my favorite places:

Cue

Cafe Brenda

Barbette

Heartland (SP)

Hell's Kitche (breakfast and lunch only)

Ike's (drinks or burgers)

Grazing at the Mid Town Market

Izzy's (ice cream - SP)

I've heard the pho's great but I have not tried; I agree that Al's is very much worth it.

Tony Bourdain gets a few things wrong, and he really missed the boat on MSSP.

Edited by Vital Information (log)
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Heartland (St. Paul), or its Minneapolis cousin, Cue (at the Guthrie Theatre)

What is the relation?

Same chef, I believe, but of the two, my wife and I enjoyed Cue much more. The space is amazing, on the river, etc., and the seasonal food not too shabby either. Heartland is good for being close to Izzy's ice cream.

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Heartland (St. Paul), or its Minneapolis cousin, Cue (at the Guthrie Theatre)

What is the relation?

Same chef, I believe, but of the two, my wife and I enjoyed Cue much more. The space is amazing, on the river, etc., and the seasonal food not too shabby either. Heartland is good for being close to Izzy's ice cream.

Prior to Cue, Lenny Russo was the executive chef and owner of Heartland. In or about 2006, Cue hired Russo as its executive chef while Russo's wife managed Heartland. (I believe Russo's sous chef also took over the Heartland kitchen) However, after only one year, Russo left Cue and returned to Heartland. I do not believe Russo has any ties to Cue at this time. Needless to say, since Russo's departure, the food at Cue has significantly declined and I would not recommend the same.

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David -

I posted a number of restaurants above. However, looking back at your post I would highly recommend these two restaurants:

Heartland (www.heartlandrestaurant.com)

Alma (www.restaurantalma.com)

Both are into the slow food movement. Both chefs are true craftsmen, at all times attempting to use local ingredients whenever possible. The food is not overplated, and is quite simple, yet absolutely fantastic.

I hope you enjoy the Twin Cities!

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Heartland (St. Paul), or its Minneapolis cousin, Cue (at the Guthrie Theatre)

What is the relation?

Same chef, I believe, but of the two, my wife and I enjoyed Cue much more. The space is amazing, on the river, etc., and the seasonal food not too shabby either. Heartland is good for being close to Izzy's ice cream.

Staying near the airport....ouch.

Lenny Russo (Heartland) left Cue several months ago and returned to Heartland. Heartland is an excellent choice and is very, very close to the airport (5 miles from the baggage claim...very simple directions). Note that they have both a restaurant and wine bar menu if you're budget conscious. www.heartlandrestaurant.com

Al's is still there and hasn't changed.

South Minneapolis is also more convenient from the airport area than trekking into downtown and you won't sacrifice in the level of cuisine. I think you would enjoy Cafe Levain ( www.restaurantlevain.com ), Grand Cafe ( www.grandcafempls.com ), and Corner Table ( www.cornertablerestaurant.com ).

For a more neighborhood cafe feel, the Birchwood Cafe ( www.birchwoodcafe.com ) is a gem, especially if you're looking to eat lighter, more casually and/or explore some vegetarian options. It's closer to downtown and a little more fussy to get to though.

If you do head into downtown, 112 Eatery ( www.112eatery.com ) is worthy of its praise and, for the small plates, I would encourage you to bypass the hyped Solera and check out Saffron ( www.saffronmpls.com ). Not strictly small plates but there are many to choose from. The lounge at La Belle Vie, MSP's most celebrated restaurant is also an option: ( www.labellevie.us ).

If you really feel like branching out, the new Meritage in downtown St. Paul (about 15 minutes from the airport) is getting raves. I haven't been there yet so my input is 2nd hand here, but I have enjoyed Chef Klein's cooking at another venue here in town, W.A. Frost. ( www.meritage-stpaul.com )

Enjoy your visit.

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  • 10 months later...

Wanted to jog this topic a bit. Me and 4 friends will be driving (yep, road trip!) from Philly to Minnesota to watch the Eagles play the Vikings. Our hotel is in the middle of downtown, right near the Target Center. Anything good that I shouldn't miss while I'm here? Does Minneapolis have anything local that it is known for (e.i. Philly = cheesesteaks, Chicago = deep dish, etc)? Also, are there any good places to tailgate before the game? Any good bars that we should stop by? Thanks in advance.

I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer...

Homer Simpson

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