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May 16, 2006 10:11 PM

Twin Cities Suggestions Please

  • t


We will be staying in the cities and would like some chow suggestions please.

We know the cities reasonably well and want some exotic places to sample. We are staying near the Mall of America but don't hold that against us!


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  1. Twin Cities Exotic Food Guide - The Pocket Edition. Makes me think of a joke I can't tell in this decade without getting flamed.

    Off the hip, that might be a meat lover's private tasting dinner at Clancy's in Linden Hills. On the mass market/budget side of things, you can hardly beat Sea Salt (one hell of a tidal surge considering how far up the Mississippi it is) located at Minnehaha Falls. Fried fish. Flowers on the table. Peace coffee and scones if you're there before the fryers are scorching. And oh yes, beer. Bryant Lake Bowl. Town Talk. The Modern.

    La Technique: Page back a few month's/years and maybe ask some specific questions. Get ahold of a copy of a food issue of Minnesota Monthly for a condensed overview. There's probably even a Zagat guide.

    1. Eat Street (Nicollet Ave)

      From Maul of Amerika, take 77 (Cedar Ave) north to 62 (the crosstown). Take 62 west until it splits. Take 35W north to the 31st Street/Lake Street exit. At Lake St, turn left, cross under 35, turn right on 1st Ave, follow the signs to Nicollet Ave (behind the K-Mart), and as you head north on Nicollet, you will be in exotic chow heaven. Not quite as hip or as extensive as Atlanta's Buford Highway, but still, there's just about everything from upscale Asian fusion to kitschy Bavarian to hole-in-the-wall pho to mainstream Tex-Mex. Have fun!

      1. How much exoticism do you want? If you define "exotic" in terms of distance from Minnesota, we have a few African restaurants that should fit the bill.

        Two I can recommend:

        - Addis Ababa: great Ethiopian food in a small, casual restaurant
        (on Riverside Ave in S.E. Mpls)

        - The Barbary Fig: Moroccan-French bistro with pretty good food and
        a great patio (on Grand Ave. in St. Paul)

        Other African places include Kenkayba's Place (Ghanian food), Wazobia Nigerian Cafe (might be closed?), House of Lalibela (highly-rated Ethiopian place), and several Somali restaurants, where men and women usually eat in separate rooms. I haven't been to any of these yet, so I don't have any specific recommendations. (Search this board for a review of Kenkayba's Place from a few months ago.)

        For north African / Middle Eastern, I highly recommend the Holy Land. It's a combination grocery store and deli, with counter service for shawirma/gyros sandwiches and a dynamite buffet that often includes stewed goat (weekday lunch and weekend dinners). Plus it's really fun to go there and absorb the multicultural atmosphere of the patrons and staff (Arabic, Spanish, Somali, and Bosnian are spoken).

        For more exotic ideas, check out the City Pages restaurant archive (see the link below).

        Or perhaps you think lutefish and hot dish is exotic? If so, I can't help you there.



        4 Replies
        1. re: AnneInMpls

          I think Addis Ababa has closed. The last time I drove by, the place looked abandoned.

          But, I'll submit Fasika in its place. That's my favorite Ethiopian in the area. I'll admit I haven't been to Lalibela, but I found it to be better than Dashen. (Although Dashen has a more extensive menu)

          1. re: Danny

            I'm not sure about Addis Ababa, but House of Lalibela has been closed for a couple of years now. Dashen can be hit or miss, I think. We had an excellent meal there in March, but things were just so-so when we were there last week.

            I'll have to make my way over to Fasika to check it out. Another Ethiopian place I've heard good things about (but haven't tried yet) is Queen of Sheba on West 7th in St. Paul.

            1. re: Bob S.

              Tuba Dave, sorry about the out-of-date Ethiopian recommendations. I gotta get out more! But now I'm in mourning for the closing of Addis Ababa. (It's all my fault - if I'd gone there more, they might still be open.)

              I liked Queen of Sheba when I went there about 18 months ago. Very friendly people and good food (although not quite in the Addis Ababa league, but it's not fair to judge on only one visit).

              Queen of Sheba is in St. Paul on the south-west end of West 7th St (almost at the river), in Sibley Plaza. It's a fun destination, because there are two other exotic food destinations: Kiev Market, a Russian deli with good sandwiches (or so I heard a few years ago) and La Hacienda (Mexican/Salvadoran food, plus gyros!); they have very hefty pupusas - not the best in town, but quite nice.

              And I've heard many good things about Fasika - if you go, let us know what you think!


              1. re: AnneInMpls

                I'm so BUMMED to hear Addis Ababa closed! It'd been on my list of places to eat for MONTHS and I never got over there. Boo.

                After much coercing, I'm finaly getting my boyfriend to at least try some sort of Ethiopian experience tonight for dinner. We're headed to Dashen, mostly because it's in the Entertainment Book and I know we can get a good deal on dinner. I've read mixed reviews of the place on here but I'm hoping for a good experience this time!

                I haven't had Ethiopian since moving here from Tucson two years ago. There was a fantastic place down there called Zeman's that was BYOB. Nothing like awesome food and cheap liquor :)