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Stillwater, MN: Best on-the-water Restaurant?

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Got some family coming to town this weekend. Where should we take them in Stillwater for a nice dinner on the water? Bar/Grill would be perfectly good.

We've never been to Stillwater so any other recs are greatly appreciated as well.


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  1. Just know that wherever you go, whatever you order will be served with a side dish of non-stop 200 decibel Harleys roaring through town and across the bridge into Wisconsin.

    I know this isn't much help as far as you finding great chow, but in this case it quite possibly could prevent you from experiencing an enjoyable meal. Personally, on a summer weekend, I wouldn't even consider Stillwater as a place for a nice meal, especially on the water.

    But, I hope your experience proves me wrong.

    1. I heartily agree that what you're going to get in Stillwater is a snootful of suntan lotion and a loud boisterous crowd. Why not wend your way down 95 and take the family to Bayport and the Bayport Cookery? Whilst not on the water, Jim Kyndberg's got a beautiful patio dining room thang, and your meal will be quiet, gracious and consist of one of the best tasting menus in the area...whatever he's got on it.

      1. m
        MN Hick Chowhound

        Amen to the Bayport. Not on the water but also good in Stillwater is Nacho Mamas - no not your typical chain but real homemade and a full bar. Rudy's Hideaway in a little old log cabin is also a nice lunch or dinner with lots of interesting menu items and again, a full bar. As for the Harley's, etc. - give the place a break. It's a charming little town on a beautiful river enjoyed by all. Not many thriving main streets left like this one. Enjoy! We do often.

        1. I recommend the Dock Cafe - though their "inside" menu is better than the "deck" menu which is more burger / sandwich oriented - inside they do nice grilled meats and fish, pastas, decent salads, appetizers etc - it's not haute cuisine but definitely the best of the "on the river" options in Stillwater and reliable in the food department.

          Their Shrimp Diablo pasta is excellent.

          Link: http://www.dockcafe.com/

          1. I know we're at the end of the weekend here, but 2 thoughts:

            1. Bayport Cookery is terrific. The pairing of the wines with the tastings is excellent, and Pierre (sommelier/head waiter) is great fun to chat with if he's not too busy.

            2. I highly recommend a glass of wine on the Northern Vineyards back deck at the north end of the main drag in Stillwater. Great view, enthusiastic staff, interesting wines, and supporting local agriculture!

            1. On the water, unfortunately does not equate to good food. Freighthouse and Dock Cafe have standard, pedestrian-fare food - bar food. Dock Cafe tries hard, but I've been pretty underwhelmed.

              For a really good meal, go to Bayport Cookery - wonderful food, wonderful wine. Or, for a little more hipper place try the newly expanded Marx. Or, for a little more quainter place, go to Savories. (None are on the water).

              1. Well, I'm not sure where these Harley- and suntan-oil-haters are dining, but it's not the Dock Cafe. Easily the best place on the water between Taylor's Falls and Prescott. Excellent menu for food and wine/beer/liquor, great service, beautiful restaurant.

                Bayport Cookery is nowhere near the water, so I'm not sure why that's recommended here.