Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Midwest Archive >
Nov 16, 2006 05:57 PM

Family style restaurant in Mpls/St Paul---that's GOOD???

HI all-- Can anyone recommend a good restaurant for a group of 12 to take my mom out for her 75th birthday? I'm hoping for inexpensive and delicious--some good Chinese or Mexican would be great for starters--that can handle a large group but still feel intimate. If it's too noisy (like a big dim sum hall) my Mom will hate it. Is Yummy on Nicollet good? Any other ideas?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. how about Boca Chica in St Paul-- reasonable prices, big & open & family friendly, nice fireplace, knowledgeable & capable staff, & high quality MEXICAN FOOD TO DIE FOR-- it made us smile that "hey that was just awesome, satisfying, well made food" smile for hours afterward.

    3 Replies
    1. re: soupkitten

      I hate to be contrary, but I've been very unimpressed by Boca Chica--lacking in atmosphere, quality of food, and service in my opinion. It's just one person's opinion, of course.

      Here's a link to a post I made earlier this year about Boca Chica.

      It's not Mexican or Chinese, and I know a lot of 'hounds don't think Mai Village (Vietnamese) on University Avenue in St. Paul is all that chowish, but I think it's of reasonable quality, reasonably-priced and a lovely setting. They are equipped to handle groups and I think they have some "smaller" rooms off the main room that you might enquire about that may make the setting seem more intimate.


      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        I concur with the Boca Chica assessment. I've given it a couple of tries and have found it to be lacking - while my northern california leanings may predjudice me towards a moist inhaleable burrito the atmosphere didn't carry it's share of the show either. Midtown Global Market might overwhelm grandma, but if she's at all adventurous this would be a great place to give her choices and enjoy food as entertainment.
        Maybe Rainbow on Nicollet.

        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          DQ, I have to agree with the Mai Village recomendation. For a special occasion, it is quite lovely, and the atmosphere casual enough to accomodate the various age groups that would be present at such an event. No, it's not that Chowish, but Mai Village can deliver a nice meal-packaged-with-atmosphere.

      2. that's funny-- after linking to your earlier post i realize i ordered the same thing that had bummed you out earlier-- but when i had it it was fantastic! maybe you caught a rough night-- we'll probably end up at B.C. again this Sat so i'll report back on how good the food was

        1. Jax maybe.. or Key's Cafe

          If you want "family style" food

          1. I assume that when you say family style you mean everyone passes around the dishes and shares, right? Not family style like down home? Based on that assumption, Chinese is always a good bet, and if Little Szechuan is open again, it is great, make a reservation and be careful about the spice level for the older folks (some hate spicy I know).
            422 university ave w
            st paul
            the last word on Yummy I heard was thumbs down, anyone else know?

            1. For Chinese, I can recommend my neighborhood restaurant, U Garden in SE Mpls. It's not quite up to the level of Jun Bo (which is too cavernous, anyway), or Little Szechuan (which is spicy and is currently closed for remodeling), but if you call and talk to the owner (Hue), he'll knock himself out arranging a feast for you. I highly recommend the orange chicken, the fresh fish with Cambodian noodles, and the shrimp rolls. U Garden can definitely handle a group of 12. The only issue - they often have the TV on in the evening - I think it's there for wedding banquets that want karaoke, and the staff likes to keep tabs on those evening TV dramas. (But I bet if you mention this when you call, they'll keep the TV turned off.)


              For Mexican, someone recently recommended Pancho Villa - not fancy but good, and the site of many birthday parties. Here's the thread:


              Wish your mom happy birthday for me! (My mom is turning 75 soon, so I know how important this event is.