Visiting the Twin Cities: Any one have any suggestions?
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
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.)
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
re: St Paul Susie
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").
re: St Paul Susie
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.
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.
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.
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: