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May 9, 2007 07:50 PM

Downtown MSP recs - but not quite the best

We are going to the symphony on Saturday night (actually have a babysitter for once!). We were planning on eating downtown and are still pretty new to the MSP area. The goal is to find a place within a 15-20 minute walk of the symphony and no more than $15-20 per entrée. I know there are some outstanding choices in town (Alma, LBV, etc) but they would be out of the price range. I know Vincent would fit my location criteria but also too much $$$. 112 Eatery is full that night (should have planned more in advance). Any recommendations? Almost any type of cuisine would be fine. Thanks for the help!

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  1. Try Zelo, just 3-4 blocks north of Orchestra Hall on Nicollet Ave. Nice fish & pasta dishes, and fits nicely in your range.

    1. I have a few thoughts:

      1) The bar at Vincent. We love going there for a more casual meal more in the low teens for entrees. The burger is fantastic, as are the scallops.
      2) Solera. The food can be up and down, but I think it is generally pretty good.
      3) Eat Street, There are always all of the options on Eat Street (Jasmine, Quang, Christos) for good cheap dining. Then it is a quick 5 minute trip downtown.

      I would go with number 1.

      By the way, I think the prices at Zelo are going to be north of your price range.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Josh Resnik

        I just ate at Zelo this past weekend and can confirm that the entrees are north of $20. However, the pastas, salads, and pizzas were all about $15-20.

        1. re: bob s

          I'd second zelo - easy walk, great food, reasonable prices.

          Avoid the Newsroom - decent for drinks, food blech

      2. (previous post content deleted)

        I had typed Willie's Wine Bar as a recommendation, but they closed permanently on Sunday, April 29.

        1 Reply
        1. re: MSPD

          Please see my post about FireLake on this board today.

        2. If you're willing to be a little creative, you could probably come up with a nice meal in your budget at The Oceanaire. We've done this a few times, here's how: Share an entree.

          For two of us, a starter (don't miss the crab cakes, and ask the person in the coat check for the recipe if you want a copy), side dish, shared entree (and maybe shared dessert - free for birthdays or anniversaries) makes a very nice meal at one of the area's best without breaking the bank.

          They have always been fantastic about splitting entrees between two plates for no extra charge (in fact, it was one of their waiters who suggested it to us). The entree portions are huge - the split entree seems to be closer to a portion size I'd call reasonable. As long as you and your date have similar tastes, you'll do well.

          1. Just up Nicollet mall a block or so is the Local, one of the best Irish pubs in town with better than pub quality food. I think within your walking distance limit is Ike's on 7th St. between Nicollet and Hennepin, with some great steak and seafood apps and entrees that fit your $ limit. And, if you're willing to go as far as 112, Cafe Brenda is a little closer and not as crowded, as is Nami Sushi and Koyi Sushi around 3rd St and 1st Ave.

            If you do head south to Eat Street, New Delhi at 14th St. would be my rec - nice somewhat romantic ambience, good food, and a great, fully-stocked bar.