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May 14, 2007 07:59 AM

What to order at Napa Valley Grille at MOA?

I'm traveling to Bloomington for business on Wednesday, and our only stops are sadly the MOA and the airport. It looks like Napa Valley Grille is a good bet for dinner. What would you local hounds recommend we order? I've seen mixed reviews online - some dishes seem much better than others.

Also, if you think we should steer clear of NVG, do you have alternate suggestions?


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  1. I haven't been to most of the restaurants in MOA but friends love Tucci Benucch. I've heard raves specifically for their butternut squash ravioli but I'm not sure if that's a seasonal item.

    1. Do you have to eat at the MOA?

      I think Tucci B is probably your best bet, however, you probably have better italian options in worchester.

      Or California Cafe? I know they have a decent wine list there.

      Welcome to MSP - if you can dine elsewhere let us know.

      1. Me, I've never set foot in the mega-mall, much less eaten there, but that doesn't stop me from chiming in with an idea, in case you do end up at the Napa Valley Grille.

        City Pages declared that NVG's burger is the Best Burger of 2007. Here's the link:


        1. The last time I ate at Napa Valley Grille was about three years ago. It was pretty underwhelming. I think the California Cafe is better (though not fabulous, either).

          My preferred choice would be the Twin City Grill (what's with all these "grills" in the mall, anyway?), which does a nice job with burgers, steaks, and fish.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Jordan

            Good call Jordan -

            I have actually eaten there and its pretty solid for a mall.

          2. Eatin,

            The Mall of America and its immediate surroundings are among the toughest places in the metro area to find a good meal. I guess I'll be the contrarian so far and say Napa Valley Grill is actually your best bet, especially if, as it looks, your meal will be expensed.

            Here's a link to their dinner menu:


            The California Cafe is owned by the same people with the same "executive chef". Here is the link to their menu:


            Napa Valley Grill, as you can tell from the menu is a bit pricier, focused on meat/fish/game, whereas California Cafe has the pasta/seafood/wood-fired focus. From the few times I've been there and what I've heard, the changes they made over the last 12-18 months have improved them back to good dining options, especially in that part of town (although they're WAY too expensive for what you get if your company isn't footing the bill).

            I haven't eaten enough at these places to give you a definitive high-and-low rundown of everything on the menu. The ribeye at Napa Valley was fine, as was a meal of soup/salad/appetizers. Nothing negative stands out. My last experience at California Cafe was during a hardcore healthy eating season -- so I chose the salmon which wasn't any better than what I can make at home (although I absolutely destroyed some salmon steaks on the grill for Mother's Day this year -- how embarrassing that was. One of my worst cooking disasters ever and with such an easy thing to cook). So I guess your "what to order at Napa Valley Grill" subject line doesn't get a direct answer other than, "whatever you order, it will probably be fine, much better than anything else in the mall, as long as you expect something along the lines of upscale hotel food and aren't paying the $34 for the ribeye".

            In my visits over the years, Tucci Bennuch is no better than Macaroni Grill and my disdain for Twin City Grill as the worst excuse for a restaurant the Lettuce Entertain You conglomerate (which has several perfectly good restaurants nationwide) could try and pass off on hungry mall diners is well documented on this board. If you're going that route, the Wolfgang Puck Express, a burger at Johnny Rocket's or even Famous Dave's would all be better options.