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Visiting the Twin Cities: Any one have any suggestions?

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coopercj Mar 14, 2007 04:53 PM

Hi-

My wife and I are visiting the twin cities later this month-- does anyone have any suggestions for Fine Dining??

Thanks-
Charlie

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  1. c
    cycle50 RE: coopercj Mar 14, 2007 05:12 PM

    I used to spend a lot of time in downtown Minneapolis on business trips. If you are anywhere near Brit's Tavern - you should go for lunch! They have GREAT Scotch Eggs, loads of good British Food & Soccer on every screen! YUM!

    1 Reply
    1. re: cycle50
      The Dairy Queen RE: cycle50 Mar 15, 2007 04:08 AM

      Just a note to clarify for our visitor--Brit's Pub may have great Scotch eggs (personally, I haven't tried them so I can't comment--but,I will have to put them on my ever expanding list of things to try), but it's not fine dining...

      ~TDQ

    2. AnneInMpls RE: coopercj Mar 14, 2007 05:37 PM

      Here's my Twin Cities fine-dining mantra:

      Vincent - Alma - La Belle Vie - Lucia's - 112 - yuuuuuum!

      Except for Lucia's, these places are all in/near downtown Minneapolis. Lucia's is in Uptown, which is only a few miles from downtown. (Disclaimer, I haven't been to La Belle Vie yet, but I'll take others' words for it that it's very good.)

      Vincent - A Restaurant: http://www.vincentarestaurant.com

      Restaurant Alma: http://www.restaurantalma.com

      La Belle Vie: http://www.labellevie.us

      Lucia's Restaurant & Wine Bar: http://www.lucias.com/main/main.htm

      112 Eatery: http://www.112eatery.com

      Anne

      3 Replies
      1. re: AnneInMpls
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        SLBunge RE: AnneInMpls Mar 15, 2007 08:27 AM

        I think Anne has nailed it. I would suggest that La Belle Vie is taking some shots about being overpriced.

        If I was ranking this list it would be as follows: Alma - Vincent - 112- Lucia's - LBV.

        I would move 112 up to the lead if the original poster hadn't been so clear about "Fine Dining". (112 is pretty casual.)

        1. re: SLBunge
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          Takayasu RE: SLBunge Jan 4, 2008 10:51 PM

          112 Eatery is by far the best restaurant in Minneapolis. The second floor bar on a Friday night is my idea of heaven. I agree about that lamb stringozzi...it is almost better cold. I order an extra order just to take home and eat later.

        2. re: AnneInMpls
          s
          soupkitten RE: AnneInMpls Mar 17, 2007 11:06 PM

          Anne's list is excellent.

        3. The Dairy Queen RE: coopercj Mar 15, 2007 04:28 AM

          This is another recent thread you might be interested in. This person didn't ask for "fine dining" recommendations, but wanted some nicer options than sausages and burgers etc. Also, there is some discussion of breakfast options, etc. which might interest you.

          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/373736

          If you can get over to St. Paul, Heartland (which calls itself a contemporary Midwestern restaurant) does a nice job with locally-sourced, artisanal ingredients.

          http://www.heartlandrestaurant.com/

          And in Minneapolis, I love 112 Eatery (the stringozzi with lamb sugo and the fried cauliflower call to me) The atmosphere is a notch off of the typical fine dining feel, I think, but the service and food are both exceptional.

          Please report back after your visit!

          ~TDQ

          1. bob s RE: coopercj Mar 15, 2007 08:08 AM

            To expand upon Anne's list, I would add the following:

            Cosmos - contemporary fine dining. There's been a change of chefs in the the past few months, but I've had several great meals there in the past and would expect that it's still great.

            D'Amico Cucina - In it's day, this was THE place to eat. Fine Italian. I haven't been in years, but have heard good things about it still.

            Chambers Kitchen - This is the current hip darling of the restaurant world. It oozes trend but I've had two very solid meals.

            Cafe Lurcat - I like this restaurant very much although I know that there are others who don't think it's all that great. It has a wonderful location - looking out on to Loring Park - and I've always enjoyed my meals - simple preparations of good food.

            Between Anne's and my list, IMHO I'd say that La Belle Vie, D'Amico, and Vincent are at the more formal end of the spectrum, Alma, Lurcat, and 112 to be less formal than the first three and then Chambers and Lucia's to be less formal than all the others.

            Two caveats on the last declaration. 1) This is Minneapolis -- you'll hardly ever see people dressed up (e.g., coat and tie) just for dining. 2) Each of these place has a much different vibe than the other. Even though I say that Chambers and Lucia's are less formal, you'd get a different feel from each.

            1. MN Hick Chowhound RE: coopercj Mar 15, 2007 11:54 AM

              It's not exactly fine dining but it's a mighty fine and interesting breakfast. Where you ask? Hell's Kitchen in downtown Minneapolis. Expect to wait if you go on the weekend. 89 South 10th Street 612-332-4700

              1. RedPepper RE: coopercj Mar 15, 2007 03:24 PM

                A place that hasn't been mentioned is Cue at the Guthrie Theater - I had a really nice meal here recently so if the theater is involved in the weekend, I would highly recommend Cue.

                Similarly, we do have our own Wolfgang Puck restaurant 20.21 at the Walker Art Center. I would probably stick to something more local but if you can get a window table, it does have a fabulous view.

                I am not as impressed with 112 as the rest of this board is. But, I am even more impressed than they are with Chambers, especially if you want to see the "pretty people" of Minneapolis out in full force. We take recruits here a lot who are from the east coast to show them that we can be cool too (alongside excellent food).

                La Belle Vie is the most formal of the lot. The food is outstanding but don't expect a vibrant scene along with it.

                Vincent is a nice Downtown choice - more mellow but still a beautiful space. If you don't have dinner here, it has a great bar menu and classy scene.

                Really, everywhere has a different vibe so although you say fine dining, there is a great variety of ways to do it here.

                1 Reply
                1. re: RedPepper
                  The Dairy Queen RE: RedPepper Mar 15, 2007 03:30 PM

                  There's a discussion of Cue and 20.21 in the other thread I provided a link to. The issue with Cue is that Lenny Russo, the Exec Chef, has left in the last month or so and, I understand, the menu has changed. I haven't heard from any chowhounds whether Cue is still good.

                  ~TDQ

                2. s
                  St Paul Susie RE: coopercj Mar 16, 2007 05:51 AM

                  Cue wasn't that great (imho) when Lenny was there

                  and I'm just ok with 20.21.

                  Are you staying in Minneapolis?

                  Alma is excellent! Brit's is a great place for a drink. Hell's kitchen is great for breakfast.

                  1. c
                    Campania RE: coopercj Mar 16, 2007 12:11 PM

                    I Nonni at Buongiorno's or try their new place in St.Paul, Il Vescovo....incredible wine list, roman chef..you'll be happy

                    1. s
                      St Paul Susie RE: coopercj Mar 16, 2007 03:08 PM

                      Don't eat at vino vesco - I so want to love this place for food. The wine is great, the bar is great, the bar service is great.

                      The food is bad. I wish it were better. I'm going to give it another few months and try it again.

                      I Nonni in lilydale is excellent - ate there last night!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: St Paul Susie
                        AnneInMpls RE: St Paul Susie Mar 16, 2007 03:57 PM

                        Did you have good luck with the main courses at I Nonni? I've had great appetizers and decent primi courses there, but the mains have been really blah and not worth the money. Love the deli, though - especially the great meats and cheeses. And the wine is always good (not cheap, though).

                        And just to clarify - and in case the search function gets fixed someday: the name of the new place is Il Vesco Vino (I think it means "the bishop's wine").

                        http://www.buongiornoitalia.biz/resta...

                        http://www.ilvescovino.com

                        Anne

                        1. re: St Paul Susie
                          t
                          Takayasu RE: St Paul Susie Jan 4, 2008 10:49 PM

                          I dare you to visit Il VescoVino again. they really took the press feedback they got last year to heart and made some great changes. I was in there mid december and can't wait to get back. Had a HUGE beef tenderlion for like 24 dollars...I never order steak at a non steak house but I was in major need of some iron. My mouth is still watering. Plus they have a new pastry chef from Italy and the almond cake was top of the line.

                        2. s
                          St Paul Susie RE: coopercj Mar 17, 2007 09:28 AM

                          My entree was excellent & I was a tad concerned since I got the pheasant & that's outside of my comfort zone. a few in our group got large pastas for the main course & they were solid.

                          However, my husband got the tuna and he was not impressed since it was served cold. But a co-diner got the same and his was fine.

                          The wine we ordered with dinner was only $42 and it was fantastic. Probably $28 retail?

                          I think I said it on the other thread - the gnocci at I nonni was one of the best I've ever had. It was amazing.

                          I do love the deli - we don't go there too much since I'm not in lilydale that often.

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                            andrea_c RE: coopercj Mar 18, 2007 01:23 AM

                            I really don't like D'Amico but Biaggi's in Eden Prairie Center is fine and Kallyste, a French cafe in Signal Hils in West St Paul too.

                            1. AnneInMpls RE: coopercj Mar 18, 2007 09:36 PM

                              By the way...

                              If you have room and/or time for other meals between all that fine dining, I highly recommend the Midtown Global Market for lunch or a snack.

                              http://www.midtownglobalmarket.com

                              It's certainly not fine dining - it's more like an indoor ethnic version of the Minnesota State Fair - but it's a fun place to wander and munch.

                              I'm currently enamored of the Holy Land's hummos, Safari Express's Somali food, the tacos al pastor from Los Ocampo, the mango lassi from Everest Cafe, and fish tacos or anything else from La Serena Gorda. And, of course, the pastries from Cafe Finspang and Starlight Cafe.

                              A search for "MGM" will find many discussions of the food at the Midtown Global Market, including last summer's chowdown:

                              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/318594

                              Anne

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