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Sep 28, 2006 06:12 PM

looking for best restaurant in Minneapolis - money no object - client dinner

NY hound looking for best Minneapolis has to offer. looking to impress big client.

cool scene over stuffy french preffered.


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    1. Manny's for Steakhouse.

      Cosmos for upscale/inventive in a "hip" atmosphere. Lots of style but no sacrifice on substance.

      La Belle Vie for absolutely the best cuisine in MSP. This may cross into your "stuffy French" definition but this isn't a pretender. If the client is serious about the cuisine, there's no risk here even if they do have to dine next to Walter Mondale.

      If your client is from here, they will be well aware of all three places -- they are the downtown Minneapolis "heavy hitters". You can get a feel for each by looking at their websites. There are a few more, slightly more subtle places with excellent cuisine and vibe on the edges of downtown -- the degustation at the Dining Room at Five Restaurant would impress. Don't confuse this with the Bistro at Five, which is more pedestrian: Cafe Lurcat on Loring Park is another good one: Restaurant Alma is a third:

      1. The above advice is all very good. There is one option that could be spectacular, but is a bit of an unknown: The new Jean Georges Vongerichten spot called Chambers Kitchen in the Chambers Hotel. (


        It has only been open a week or so, but it definately sounds like a place to impress, at least according to some of the early "reviews":

        1. I live a block from the place, and should know the answer to this, but I don't (shame on me): The Nicollet Island Inn changed hands last year, and I know they've been trying to reinvent their kitchen. I've seen the menus, and they were at the Taste Of sponsored by the Twin Cities Originals as part of aquatennial.

          Are they any good yet, or is it just wishful thinking?

          1. Although I too think that La Belle Vie is the best in town, I second Five based on the poster's request. I would like to add a few that havn't been mentioned.

            The tried and true D'amico Cuccina. A little less hapening than others mentioned but the food is solid.


            Cue is a great recent addition in the new Guthrie.


            Another institutionally attached restaurant that has inovative food and ambiance is 20.21 by Wolfgang Puck in the recently renovated Walker.


            I would love to hear from someone who went to the new Chambers' restaurant. Its on the top of my list for places to try.

            Ps. We went to the Nicollet Island Inn a few months ago and while the food was good (but not memorable) the restaurant is tired looking and depressing.

            2 Replies
            1. re: uptowner

              Do you feel that the scene in the Dining Room at Five is "cool," (as requested by the original poster), or are you basing that on the bistro?

              When we went to the Dining Room at Five, I felt it was pretty stuffy. Tables isolated in those round booths, very quiet, not a lot of "action" or people watching, etc. Very different feel than the Bistro.

              I would actually second the recommendation of Lurcat. That place always seems to have a happening vibe, and while the food may not be as good as a La Belle Vie or Chambers, it has still been top-notch the few times we've been there. I've not yet been to LBV or Chambers, so I can't actually apples-to-apples compare. My understanding is that they are a notch above in terms of food and service, but I'm not sure if either is a cool scene.

              1. re: Chris Mitra

                The recommendation on Five was for the place as a whole, not necessarily just the table area. It's outside of the downtown suit-and-tie district, is a contemporary brick/brushed steel/glowingly lit renewal of an old police precinct building, and attracts a more scenic crowd. On busy nights the energy bleeds into the dining room although, like almost every other place in town, on a sleepy weeknight it can be "quiet". All with a potentially spectacular meal. I may be slanted a bit though -- I don't necessarily like the "scene" to be occurring right at my table (a la Chino Latino, etc.).

                I haven't been to Chambers yet but for me personally, there's no doubt that LBV is the best restaurant in MSP. For a business occasion, it oozes victory -- if you're dining there with clients, you've made it to the top in whatever venue you're dealing. But again, it's more Capitol Hill than Midtown Manhattan.