In the strip shopping center on Portland just south of 494:
India Cafe - specializing in dossa; try their special India Cafe Spring Roll dossa
Tacos Morelos - better than the original on 28th and Nicollet. It's a taqueria place with a service counter where you order. Terriffic seafood soups.
Kabob - Indo-Pak skewers, some good, some bad. I've had only their vegetarian shwarma, and it was really good. It's run by a software systems analyst.
On Lyndale somewhere around 88th:
Kimson's - really good pho. Just DON'T order their "Chinese" buffet at lunch - it's regrettable.
Second the recommendation for Tandoor. It's a buffet at lunch with some vegetarian and some meaty-treaty options.
Lyndale just a block north of 494:
Ketsana Thai - this place used to be fantastic, then they closed for months to remodel, and now they're open again. I went the first day they reopened, and half the menu was unavailable and service was chaos. I'm sure it's better now. Good duck curry and good green papaya salad.
Nicollet just north of 494
Jun Bo - dim sum every day at lunch. Probably as good as any of the dim sum in the twins.
American Boulevard just west of Lyndale:
Da Afghan - lunch buffet tends to the mediocre North Indian, but menu items are worth trying.
Atlantic Buffet mentioned above is indeed a better-than-average Chinese buffet, but that said, it's still a Chinese buffet. Sushi is dry and selection is bad. They have more fish and seafood options than most buffets.
Chains - Potbelly sandwiches at Lyndale and 78th, better than average grilled sandwichs and their vegetarian soups are really vegetarian. Chipotle in the same strip but I'd rather go to Morelos. Noodles in the same strip, but based on posts on the chains board, can't imagine I'll ever eat there. Au Bon Pain on Lyndale around 85th or so. Sawatdee Thai a block or so south of there, but I'm not sure why anyone would bother.
I've been to Zantigo's only once, and it struck me as tediously boring, but my workmates go there a lot. Then again, they go to Wendy's a lot, too.
If Surabhi Indian is that place at 35W and 98th - they would have to have improved a lot in the past year or two to warrant a recommendation. Their lunch buffet was a bit smarmy - greasy food with distressing after-effects. Never had dinner there, though, and that's hopefully a different story.
Khan's Mongolian BBQ at 12th and 494 - it's the old-style (think 70s camp) Mongolian, not the new-age with fresh ground herbs and really fresh ingredients. But a quirky experience all the same.
Needless to say, I work - not live - around here, so all my experiences tend to be lunch related.
Kimson buffet is truly bad. Tandoor kicks butt.
If you are looking for a good burger try Shantytown Grill. It's north of 86th street on Pillsbury (I think). It will look like you are going into a residental neighborhood. Great burgers--They even have one with cactus on it! It's good!
Zantigo used to be around in the 80's...I remember going there in High school, then it was purchased by taco bell. Not sure how it is back but I go every once and a while as a throwback.
I have lived and worked in the area since the 80's and will post more places as I think of them.
Try First Course in South Mpls. Not far form the Mall of America (less than 2 miles) I can't say enough good things about it.
Surabhi Indian is great!
There is also a big place chinese place where Eduardo's Pizza used to be by the Southtown Target. It's the oddly named Atlantic Buffet? The sign says they have sushi. Has anyone been there? Why the bleep is it named Atlantic Buffet? The food it advertises seems to come from nowhere near the Atlantic Ocean.
Tandoor Indian food is pretty good.They have Surly beer on tap and a few others that match up well with their foods.
Kinkaid's-if you are on the expense account.
Wally's roast beef on 90th St west of 35W-a great little retro place with fantastic sandwiches
Mandarin Kitchen-the standard for chinese around the area.Sunday Dim sum is lined up outside the door.
Zanz-fast food,but their hot cheese chilitos are a weakness of mine.
Do a search,you'll find a lot more!
An update: Wally's is still there - I finally tried it last week.
My mini review, as long as I'm here... It was OK for "independently owned fast food," but I wouldn't drive across town for it. The roast beef sandwiches are like Arby's, back when Arby's used real meat (for a current comparison, they're similar to Maverick's in St. Paul). The big problem with Wally's is that the buns are spongy white bread that dissolves in the roast-beef juice. If they used real bread, they's really have something! But I think I'll go back to try the meatloaf.