One day in Minneapolis - need suggestions.
Something for late evening (coffee, drinks, dessert)
I'll be there for two nights, but probably have time for just one free meal in each category above. I'll be staying near the Metrodome. I always like to hit the local favorites, the places that people ask about - "You were in Minneapolis? Did you eat at X?"
Looking forward to your suggestions!
I was just there and would suggest Hell's Kitchen on 10th for a good, fairly conveniently located breakfast or lunch. If you can make happy hour times between 4-6 or 5-7, go to Solera or Bella Notte for $2 and $2.50 drinks and very tasty snacks. I had a good meal at Ike's who also have a super cheap happy hour. But I think Murray's next door is the more *real* Mpls place.
For late night - quintessential "Nordeast" Minneapolis, with polka and accordians - I'd try Nye's Polonaise on Hennepin just east of the river. More for the fun (even campy) atmosphere (not for the food).
Al's Breakfast in Dinkytown (near the east bank of the U of Mn)is a "did you eat at" type place for breakfast.
I'd also consider the restaurant in the new (just opened) Guthrie theater for lunch or late night. I don't have a clue about the food there, but the architecture is said to be worth a visit (and close to the Metrodome).
Actually, right across the street from Nye's is a chowish place--a (very casual) Eastern European deli:
Kramarczuk East European Deli
215 E Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55414-1013
Maybe you could eat at Kramarczuk and then head over to Nye for drinks or dancing.
Also, there is a lot of buzz about the chow at the newly-opened Guthrie. Lenny Russo, whose St. Paul restaurant "Heartland" is fabulous, has a restaurant at the new Guthrie called "Cue." I'll bet it's wonderful, too.
In addition, the new Mill City Farmer's Market--on the plaza near the Guthrie--sounds amazing if you're in town on the right day.
Here's a link to Dara's column in City Pages about the new Guthrie--Dara has won two James Beard awards for food writing, most recently about wine. I think she has good chowing instincts, although her writing otherwise rubs me the wrong way.
Al's in Dinkytown has won a James Beard award, too, although, as MSPD once pointed out to me, one of the America's Classics awards...
I list more recommendations in my profile, but they are mostly in St. Paul and very casual and, for the most part, probably don't meet your requirements. Midtown Global Market might be worth a stop for you, just to see it. You never know...
I'd second Nye's but if you're near the dome I'd check out the Red Sea. If you have never had Ethiopian this is the place for your maiden voyage. If you have had it before than you'll love it. Get the Vegetarian Sampler. I'm a hard core carnivore but this is the best plate in the house. Get a seat near the window, order, a beer, and wait to get some sauce action going.
Thanks for the suggestions - Level 5, the casual lunch place at the Guthrie, looks very promising.
Ethiopian ... one of the few cuisines I'd usually pass on. But that's the right idea for me, as I do usually like less-common cuisines.
I should have asked one more question - what spot has the best ice cream?
Best ice cream in the Twin Cities? Well, that's a subject of much debate, especially this time of year and there is a lot to choose from.
My personal favorite is Izzy's in St. Paul on Marshall (address in my profile)--they have lots of fun flavors (recently I had a homemade waffle cone of "chubby bunny" which was "carrot cake" with bits of frosting, and raisins etc.) Plus, with they top every cone with an "Izzy," which is a scoop the size of a cherry tomato of any flavor you want. Of course, they drop a malted milk ball (Whopper) in the bottom of the cone to help catch the drips.
Grand Ole Creamery on Grand Avenue (Grand Ole Creamery, 750 Grand Avenue, St. Paul) has more traditional flavors, I like one called Black Hills Gold. Grand Avenue is an upscale shopping district slowly losing the battle with "upscale" chains like Renovation Hardware, Pottery Barn and the like. But, there's still some neat independent businesses in there.
Also, this time of year, I think Conny's Creamy Cone (1197 Dale Street N (at Maryland), St. Paul, 651-778-8164) cone is a hoot. It's basically soft-serve ice cream mixed in a variety of flavors there at the little shop. It's only open in summer. Probably, many other chowhounds will dispute the chowishness of it, but I love soft serve ice cream (as you might guess by my handle).
If you want to go to Conny's, you'll need a car for sure.
I think it is fairly clear that Izzy's and Grand Old Creamery have the best ice cream in town. If you visit Izzy's don't forget to check the freezer case. They have neat homemade ice cream bars, and tartuffos. Also on Grand Ave. there is a new Italian ice place that is really excellent and fun.
re: Michael Florey
I don't know that it is fairly clear that Izzy's and Grand Ole Creamery are the best. In my opinion, Izzy's is the best ice cream shop in the Twin Cities. The best single scoop of ice cream would be at Pumphouse creamery. And, my opinion is likely to garner at least one "You forgot Creama Creamery, especially now that they serve food too." Grand Ole Creamery is pretty good, and in many cities would be the best. But, it only gets "top 5" honors in the Twin Cities.
There's also a place for Libery Frozen Custard, in the summer treat category....
I second Pumphouse, and although Izzy's and Grand Ole Creamery are Ok, I would prefer the quieter and more ambient Crema Cafe in Mpls. Sitting inside there at night is like magic, just enough light to see but no glaring fluorescent. And their flavors are better. Sebastian Joe's has good stuff but trying to get in the door on a summer night is impossible. Those stores were never designed to handle how popular they have gotten.
Info on dining at the Guthrie http://www.guthrietheater.org/GUIDETO...
Level 5 looks like a nice spot for lunch. Also, it seems there is a nice bar at Cue, nice for solo diners perhaps?
Another place that might be worth mentioned is D'Amico's at the Mill City Museum. You could grab a sandwich to go sit out on the Guthrie patio facing the river...
If the weather is too hot or too rainy or otherwise unpleasant the Mill City Museum celebrates Minneapolis' history as the Milling Capital of the World--you get tons of history about Betty Crocker, General Mills, Pillsbury, etc, which is fun. The Flour Tower tour is a wonderful multi-media history of the flour mills in the area. Very unique. Terrific view of the river from the 8th floor. If your timing is good, you can get a taste of the snacks they prepare in the Betty Crocker kitchen from old cookbooks.
D'Amico is a local upscale chain of sandwich shops. They cater a couple of the museums in the Cities.
112 Eatery is a must. Was just there (my hometown) over 4th of July weekend and it was amazing. Small neighborhood place with killer food, and a great wine list of diamonds in the rough. Nothing fancy. Just fantastic, chef-driven food, a laid back vibe, and great wine. Plus they're open late. You'll feel like you got a great deal when you leave there and your tab is under $120 for appetizer, entrees, drinks, and a dessert.