I'm an LA 'hound who will be in Minneapolis next week. I'm looking for places to go for dinner that are unique to the place, have great food, and will provide some local color. Places close to downtown would be great. I'm not sure how easy it is to get around the city. Thanks very much!
Just north of downtown on E. Hennepin are a couple of worthwhile places: Kramarcyk's Sausages (there is a sit down restaurant which has excellent Polish/German sausage-based cuisine), Nye's Polonaise Room (can't say much for the food but it's long on local color), Gardens of Salonika (excellent Greek). If you want to venture a few blocks into the Nordeast neighborhood you can try Emily's Lebanese Delicatessen (best tabouli and spinach pies ever).
Just south of downtown is Nicollet Ave, aka Eat Street, a treasure trove of ethnic restaurants. Vietnamese is 1st rate here (Quang's, Jasmine Deli). Also good are Chan's Seafood, Black Forest (German), Rainbow Chinese. There's a new upscale Asian Fusion place at Nicollet and 26th that I haven't tried.
Enjoy your stay.
You've been provided with a list of good recommendations that will give you plenty of "local color." Here are some more.
Auriga - just SW of downtown on Hennepin Avenue. Attention to detail using fresh, local ingredients. Packed with locals from the neighborhood.
Aquavit - this is downtown. Although you'll find some of the business expense crowd here, the restaurant is still a good one for Minnesota. Scandanavian haute cuisine done very well. It also boasts the best lunch deal going - the $10 three course lunch.
Goodfellows - also downtown, and also upscale in terms of price and clientele. But the emphasis here is on foods from the area. The wine list is all domestic (United States, not Minnesota, fortunately), and many of the ingredients are sourced locally.
Modern Cafe - NE of downtown at University and 13th Ave NE. Comfort food in a retro setting. Good wine list and great pot roast.
And, on Nicollet, south of downtown, but before you get to the places Plautus recommended is a new soul food place that is yet to be "discovered." The name escapes me at the moment. But maybe another chowhound knows the name of it.
Coming from out of town, the places I would probably recommend:
- Heartland (Saint Paul)
Great fixed-price menus with midwestern influence.
- Vincent (downtown
Ok, not unique cuisine but extremely well done French food. Brilliant chef.
- Zander (Saint Paul
Friendly neighborhood joint with great live music and emphasis on local ingredients.
- Oceanaire (downtown
Folks will mention Aquavit, but if I'm going high end I'd rather hit Oceanaire for the superior seafood and more interesting atmosphere.
Don't worry about the driving here- it's very easy to find your way around. Also, the citysearch links are just for reference. If you look at citysearch for rankings, you'll end up at places like Applebee's.
Other places worth thinking about are Alma, Auriga, Loring Pasta Bar, and Lucia's.
Avoid Kramarcyk's and Nye's if you're looking for tasty food. The former cooks everything in a microwave, and it shows. The food at the latter is mediocre at best, and the 'local color' is more tacky than anything else. I DO heartily second the opinion on Quang. You're not going to find better Pho anywhere in the cities. You might try Manny's if you're in the mood for a steak. It's pricy, but quite good.