Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Midwest Archive >
May 19, 2007 07:28 AM

Moving to St Paul...

I'm making the move from Minneapolis to St Paul (this will be the first time I've lived east of the Mississippi). I'll be in the highland park area--close to Cleveland and Ford Parkway--so suggestions for that particular neighborhood are particularly welcome. But I'm also interested in hearing about other must eat spots in St Paul generally. My tastes are pretty wide ranging, so hearing about good Vietnamese joints and authentic Mexican joints along with good spots for burgers and beer and Italian and so on would be good. (I hear tell of a best of list crafted by TDQ, but I can't seem to find it in the archives.) Thanks in advance for your help!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Welcome to St. Paul! That list is a couple of years old, and I can't find it in the archives anymore either. So much changes so fast around here that I wouldn't want to rely on it anymore anyway.

    Here's are links to a couple of good, recent threads to get you started:


    7 Replies
    1. re: The Dairy Queen

      In order of nearish to you to farther away. These are my favs (though there are many many other choices:)

      If you're at Cleveland & Ford Parkway, I recommend the Highland Grill on Cleveland just north of Ford Parkway. Many people also recommend Punch Pizza in that same general area--food's great, but sometimes the wait annoys me. Cecil's deli is on Cleveland, which is about the closest you'll get to a NY style Jewish deli in the Twin Cities, I think.

      Also, of course, just across the Ford Bridge into Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis is Sea Salt Eatery, if you don't mind a long wait in line to order (about 45 minutes) and for your food (another half hours)...

      Also on Ford Parkway there will be Haskell's, which will be your nearest, best local wine shop.

      Von Hanson's meats on Ford Parkway in that mall just south of Cleveland is a nice little butcher.

      A little farther afield in St. Paul, for burgers, I really like the Nook at Randolph & Hamline (my fav is their Molitor burger--a lucy with pepper jack--or the lodge burger.)

      OR, the Groveland Tap on St. Clair at Fairview for jucy lucys, all you can eat fish on Fridays, or portabella mushroom burgers.

      On St. Clair on the other side of Fairview is Heartland restaurant, your best fine dining option in the neighborhood and perhaps in all of St. Paul (maybe even Twin Cities, depending on your tastes.) They also have a wine bar with a more casual a la carte kind of bar menu.

      For fried chicken and very divey, neighborhoody atmosphere, Skinners on Randolph (past 35E). Expect to wait about 20 mins for the chicken.

      Lots of wonderful chowish choices right near where Grand Ave and Snelling intersect. On Grand just west of Snelling, I like the Italian Pie Shoppe (deep dish pizza with wonderful, tangy homemade sauce), Coffee News Cafe (coffee house style breakfasts), and Shish (best mediterranean in the Twin Cities according to City Pages "best of" issue.


      On Grand Ave going East on Snelling is Cafe Latte (at Victoria, nice soups, salads, and desserts) and Everest on Grand (across from Kowalski's--I especially like their veggie momos.)

      Coastal seafoods is right there on Snelling, just south of Grand, for seafood to take home to grill.

      Marshall Avenue has a few nice spots, including the fabulous Izzy's Ice Cream for handcrafted ice cream.

      Lee and Dee's has my favorite BBQ in St. Paul, it's on Victoria just south of Selby.

      University Avenue is a treasure trove. My favorite for Chinese is Little Szechuan on University Avenue (fairly far East--nearish to Dale St--my favs there are the Fish Fillet and Tofu in Spicy broth, the green beans in spicy sauce, and dan dan noodles). I also like Cafe BonXai on University just north of Snelling--very affordable. Trung Nam bakery (with the chain link fence) for croissants or bahn mi. Saigon on University for fantastic bahn mi.

      For Mexican, I'm afraid my favorites are all in Minneapolis. El Patio Mexican Grill is new on West 7th and has a wonderful patio. Reviews are mixed so far, but their tortillas and sauces are home-made. I like their roast pork.

      Also on West 7th is Degidios: I like their hot dago sandwiches (I'm not sure I recommend anything else there.) The Day by Day Cafe has nice breakfasts, including a patio in summers. On West 7th not far from the Xcel Center, I like McGovern's (bar) for their house-roasted turkey sandwiches. Also, I really like the Italian grocery in Cossetta's on West 7th near the XCel Center.

      Also, don't forget the wonderful St. Paul farmers market downtown and, very nearby, Tanpopo (for Japanese, mostly organic and local. Quiet, simple setting) and Black Dog Cafe (pizza, salads, sandwiches, all organic and local.)

      My long-gone list also included some spots in St. Paul that will take more driving:

      Connie's Creamy on Dale nearish to Maryland, which is seasonal, summer-only, serves soft serve ice cream mixed on the premises in an huge array of flavors (I love the peach and all the berry flavors.


      The Dairy-ette Drive-in (also seasonal only) on Minnehaha Ave West of White Bear Avenue for hot dago sandwiches.

      New is Tea House II on Suburban Avenue near White Bear Avenue, right behind the Target.


      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        What a wonderful response! Thanks very much TDQ!

        1. re: gavagai

          TDQ - Great List.

          I would also add.... and comment....

          Downtowner woodfire grill - on 7th a few blocks from Xcel. Great price points & great menu.

          Il Vesco Vino - On selby - east of dale. Menu/Kitchen has finally arrived. Wine selection by the 1/2 carafe is outstanding.

          Izzy's ice cream on Marsall (east of Cleveland) is excellent. Much better than Grand Old creamery (in my opinion)

          Cafe 128 - on cleveland - near st thomas.

          Ristorane Luci - near corner of cleveland and randolf - its sister is Luci Ancora. The first one is much better. Second one is decent.

          Coastal Seafoods has great crab cakes as well - easy dinner.

          Shish, Shish, Shish is a great addition to St Paul. Its my fave faster place this year. Plus super friendly service.

          If you are getting in a car for more than a mile or 2....also try Signature Cafe - its actually in Minneapolis - but near the st paul line. Excellent food. & great political commentary.

          & I actually will go get Pad Thai on grand every now and then, not "the best" but the best for me in my hood. And quick, and they have no probs with special orders & again great service.

          Whole foods on fairview & grand.

          Across the street is grandview cafe - which has great breakfasts & lunches. And shakes/malts.

          Coffee News is great.

          Welcome to the better side of the river.

          1. re: St Paul Susie

            Great additions Susie.

            Downtowner is good for that middle of the road meal--not too casual, not too fancy. Has a slight Persian tint, with cumin fries and nice lamb dishes and such, in addition to American standards.

            I never think about Luci--only been once or twice, but it was nice. Again, nice sit-down dinner kind of place.

            Whole Foods is fine, but if you want to support local businesses, gavagai would pass right by Mississippi Market Co-op at Fairview and Randolph on the way to whole foods. It's small, but has a nice selection for the size, and focuses a bit more on local produce and products than Whole Foods does.

            The bigger location (i.e., more stock and a full deli) of Mississippi Market is at Dale and Selby.

            Another place you'd pass on your way to Whole Foods is Widmer's, on St. Clair at Prior, which has a fantastic butcher. (Thanks to the reminder from JimGrinsfelder in another thread...


            Talking about the "big" Mississippi Market reminds me of another spot I forgot:

            Muddy Pig is on Dale just south of Selby--good burgers/bar food. Small patio out back.

            I love Izzy's, especially since you get that extra "Izzy" scoop (which is a complimentary scoop of any flavor about the size of a cherry tomato), but I still think Grand Ole Creamery (on Grand Ave, a block or two West of Dale) does a great job with the more traditional flavors, and their waffle cones are wonderful. They make them right in front of their shop, so you can watch through the window.

            I'll have to check out those crab cakes at Coastal Seafoods. Haven't tried those yet!


            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              Ah - I always forget about the Mississippi Market at Fair/Rand. When I go, I hit the "big" one.

              1. re: St Paul Susie

                It has all the basics, for sure. I really like their source for pork--can't remember the name off the top of my head. I'm sure it's the same for the "big" Mississippi Market...


        2. re: The Dairy Queen

          I'm linking to a bunch of St. Paul places mentioned in this thread to faciliate folks (who want to) to start fleshing out the Wiki's for their favorite (or not so favorite) places. It's easy, just click on the link for the place to open up the Wiki and then click the "edit" buttons to start filling in the details. Certain details like address "automatically" come in, but if you want to add details about the type of cuisine, the fact that they have fish fry on Fridays, restaurant history, website url, etc. we've got to do that ourselves. Don't forget to save! Chowhound asks that they be written in a neutral point of view. (NPOV.)

          Later, whenyou mention a place in a post, you can just use the "link to a place" button to add a link to this Wiki. I love this feature!

          Cafe BonXai is located at the old "best steakhouse" address. I can't get "El Patio" and GrandView Cafe to come up. I'm adding Cafe 128 (sniffle) so we can let people know in the Wiki that it's closed. Snuffy's is at the Pro Pharmacy address (if you disagree, speak up!) I wasn't sure about the link for La Corvina, so I left it alone. Same with Cheung's and a Toast to Bread. I think I got everything else!


          Connys Creamy Cone
          1197 Dale St N, Saint Paul, MN 55117

          1806 St. Clair Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105

          Little Szechuan - West End
          5377 16th Street, St. Louis Park, MN 55416

          Saigon Restaurant & Bakery
          704 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55104

          Trung Nam French Bakery
          739 University Ave W, St Paul, MN 55104

          Izzy's Ice Cream Cafe
          2034 Marshall Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55104

          Grand Ole Creamery
          750 Grand Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105

          Tavern On Grand
          656 Grand Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105

          The Nook
          492 Hamline Ave S, Saint Paul, MN 55116

          DeGidio's Restaurant & Bar
          425 7th St W, Saint Paul, MN 55102

          Highland Grill
          771 Cleveland Ave S, Saint Paul, MN 55116

          Punch Neapolitan Pizza
          704 Cleveland Ave S, Saint Paul, MN 55116

          651 Cleveland Ave S, Saint Paul, MN 55116

          Haskell's International Wine
          2221 Ford Pkwy, St Paul, MN 55116

          Von Hanson's Meats
          2018 Ford Pkwy, St Paul, MN 55116

          Groveland Tap
          1834 Saint Clair Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105

          Skinner's Pub
          919 Randolph Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55102

          Italian Pie Shoppe & Winery
          1670 Grand Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105

          Coffee News Cafe
          1662 Grand Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105

          Shish Mediterranean Grill
          1668 Grand Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105

          Cafe Latte
          850 Grand Ave Ste 1, Saint Paul, MN 55105

          Everest On Grand
          1278 Grand Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105

          Coastal Seafoods
          74 Snelling Ave S, St Paul, MN 55105

          Lee's & Dee's Barbeque Express
          161 Victoria St N, Saint Paul, MN 55104

          Cafe BonXai
          1613 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55104

          Tea House
          1676 Suburban Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55106

          Day By Day Cafe
          477 7th St W, Saint Paul, MN 55102

          Tanpopo Noodle Shop
          308 Prince St, Saint Paul, MN 55101

          Black Dog Restaurant
          308 Prince St Ste 100, Saint Paul, MN 55101

          Patrick McGovern's Pub
          225 7th St W, Saint Paul, MN 55102

          IL Vesco Vino
          579 Selby Ave, St Paul, MN 55102

          128 Cafe
          128 Cleveland Ave N, Saint Paul, MN 55104

          Luci Ancora
          2060 Randolph Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105

          Ristorante Luci
          470 Cleveland Ave S, Saint Paul, MN 55105

          Signature Cafe & Catering
          130 Warwick St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

          Mississippi Market Food Co-Op
          622 Selby Ave, St Paul, MN 55104

          Mississippi Market Food Co-Op
          1810 Randolph Ave, St Paul, MN 55105

          Whole Foods Market
          30 Fairview Ave S, St Paul, MN 55105

          Widmer's Super Market
          1936 St Clair Ave, St Paul, MN 55105

          Muddy Pig
          162 Dale St N, Saint Paul, MN 55102

          Fasika Ethiopian Restaurant
          510 Snelling Ave N, Saint Paul, MN 55104

          Cossetta Italian Market
          211 7th St W, Saint Paul, MN 55102

          Chatterbox Pub
          800 Cleveland Ave S, St Paul, MN 55116

          Pro Pharmacy [NOT FOOD RELATED]
          242 Cleveland Ave S, St Paul, MN 55105

          Vina Restaurant
          756 Cleveland Ave S, St Paul, MN 55116

          Carbone's Pizza
          1698 Randolph Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105

          Puerta Azul (closed)
          1811 Selby Ave, St Paul, MN 55104

          Khyber Pass Cafe
          1571 Grand Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105

          Happy Gnome
          498 Selby Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55102

          Los Tejanos
          287 Ruth St N, St Paul, MN 55119

          West Indies Soul Cafe
          625 University Ave W, St Paul, MN 55104

          El Burrito Mercado
          175 Cesar Chavez St, St Paul, MN 55107

          Mirror of Korea
          761 Snelling Ave N, Saint Paul, MN 55104

          695 Grand Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105

          Sakura Restaurant & Sushi Bar
          350 Saint Peter St Ste 195, Saint Paul, MN 55102

          Swede Hollow Cafe
          725 7th St E, Saint Paul, MN 55106

          Red's Savoy Pizza
          421 7th St E, Saint Paul, MN 55101

          Grampa Tony's Pizza
          631 Snelling Ave S, Saint Paul, MN 55116

          Carmelo's Ristorante
          238 Snelling Ave S, Saint Paul, MN 55105

          Pad Thai Restaurant
          1659 Grand Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105

          Downtowner Cafe [SEE DOWNTOWNER WOODFIRE GRILL]
          253 West 7th Street, St. Paul, MN 55102

          Dairy-Ette Drive In [SEE DARI-ETTE DRIVE IN]
          1440 Minnehaha Ave E, Saint Paul, MN 55106

      2. I'd also add to the list Fasika Restaurant on Snellling just north of University for really tasty African food. Conny's Creamy Cone, in addition to being a nice place in the neighborhood to get a soft serve cone, is a wonderful place to get onion rings, french fries, chicken strips and cheese curds because they fry to order.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Quince

          While not in the Highland Park area, Cossetta's is one of my favorite cheap eats in St. Paul. It's on West 7th, kiddy corner from the Xcel center.

          Couldn't find a web site, but here's this:

          I also like the market/deli attached to it - good provisions, and some food to take out. Big frozen food section, too.

          1. re: pgokey

            Carbone's pizza right by St. Paul Academy @ Randolph & Davern
            Snuffy's Malt Shop @ St. Clair & Cleveland for burgers
            Chatterbox Pub for the is iffy
            Vina @ Ford & Cleveland for good & greasy vietnamese

            1. re: g rote

              I second Carbone's on Randolph (between Snelling and Fairview)--for that super thin crust pizza. They do a hopping take-out business. I think they just got a liquor license (in the last year or so) if you want to dine in, though seating is pretty limited. Carbone's "Minnesota style" pizza cut in squares is a good contrast to Punch, which is Neapolitan style, baked in a wood-fired oven or Black Dog Cafe's pizza rustica (Sicilian style, I think.) For delivery, I like Grampa Tony's--their spicy sausage gives quite a kick!

              I second the thumbs-down for the food at the Chatterbox Pub, even though the atmosphere (with the old atari games and living room sofa style seating) is terrific and it would be very nearby to you. I want to love it since it's such a cute concept, but, blech, everything is just too much garlic and chili powder and way oversauced and oversalted. I just head to the Highland Grill, about a block down the street, across Ford Parkway, instead.


              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                Here is a 3rd on the thumbs down on the food at chatterbox. My kids adore that place & my hubby and I love the beer, dislike the food. They are trying too hard - just do a few things better.

          2. re: Quince

            Thanks for the tip. I've never tried anything at Conny's Creamy Cone aside from the cones. I will have to explore the rest of the menu.


          3. awesome lists above-- nobody's mentioned tanpopo (homestyle japanese noodles) in lowertown yet, it's still our all-occasion go-to.

            1. One more for this great list:

              Puerta Azul (at Selby and Fairview).

              It's a cozy neighborhood bistro with nice Puerto Rican food. They make the best black beans in town. And their roast pork is very tasty (but I think the pork goes better with the pinto beans, so I always get chicken instead).

              Oh - one more:

              Khyber Pass (Grand @ Snelling) - good Afghani food. The lunch buffet is great. And there's free parking in the lot a few doors down.


              7 Replies
              1. re: AnneInMpls

                From a SP resident to a transfer resident - here's my list:

                Burgers - The Nook
                Varietal beers & decent food - Happy Gnome
                Brunch - Highland Grill
                Mexican - Los Tejanos (Ruth St & 94) has pretty good salsa, cojita cheese sauce, and chicken entrees. Also, El Burrito Mercado is good eats and plenty cheap, and if you want to venture to Bayport, there is the cutest (but small) place called La Corvina (?), it's excellent and the service is excellent as well.
                Greek/Middle Eastern - I agree. Shish.
                The West Indies Soul Kitchen has some excellent food.
                Korean - As a Korean, I prefer Mirror of Korea over the other two in the area (not over King's..but we're talking St Paul).
                Chinese- Little Szechuan OR if you like hot n' spicy chicken (not fried)-there is a small place called Cheung's chow mein...he is on Dale/Como - and he's only open during the week til 8PM. Take out is best advised if you go this route.
                Japanese- Saji-Ya is not bad, and Sakura has fairly good sushi for the area.
                Fish - Tavern on Grand (walleye of course)
                Coffee/pastries -a Toast to Bread off Mounds Blvd. as well as Swede Hollow Cafe
                Italian - I have heard mixed reviews on Carmelo's over the Highland Park neighborhood. But I've heard mainly good (I don't normally go out for Italian so you'll have to look to others)
                Pizza -I know this is debatable, but if you like spicy sauce - it's Red's Savoy or Carbones.

                1. re: snoboardbabe77

                  Great list, though I have to respectfully disagree about the food at the Happy Gnome. I don't think even their big patio would draw me back to try the food. Many say their beer list is great, but the food is mediocre at best.

                  I think the best fish dish in St. Paul is the fish fillet and tofu in spicy broth at Little Szechuan. Tavern on Grand is surely a more conventional stop for fish and where you might go if you didn't have the patience for Sea Salt.


                  1. re: snoboardbabe77

                    sno - ditto on the great list.

                    & it must be me - I can't stand the pizza at both carbones or red's - everyone else I know adores both.

                    1. re: St Paul Susie

                      our local carbone's was great when we 1st moved to st. paul, but after several greasy, underdone, horrible pizza pies i just refuse-- maybe i'll try again in a couple of years. i am also not a fan of savoy-- i think hot city does this style of pizza best.

                      1. re: soupkitten

                        Which Carbone's, soupkitten? There are several and they aren't all affiliated... I like the one on Randolph, a couple blocks West of Snelling. I've never had an underdone pizza there. The crust is always nice and thin and the toppings pretty uniform. I can't say they haven't been greasy though, but that's probably a function of our ordering the Carbone's Special which is loaded with sausage and all kinds of things that beget grease.


                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          yes i think that this is definately true w the different carbone's joints! i regret to say my experience is with the shop on east 7th street-- the one most local to the soupkitten manor. . . as i said, pizzas were great for the 1st couple times, then stinkers 3 times running and i can't stomach paying for bad, gloopy pizza when it is so easy to make i guess :( i would definitely try the carbone's on randolph, or any of the others, but i think our local shop needs to fix the oven or something!

                    2. re: snoboardbabe77

                      Wondering if the La Corvina in Bayport is related to the one that used to be on Selby at Snelling. I couldn't find any information on it. I did however, find this post when I searched the archive for Bayport.
                      Is it possible that this is the place you are talking about? Or are they two different places? Thanks!

                  2. A GIANT tip of the hat to all of you for this!
                    The partner and I headed up yesterday from Chicago for a convention and this was like the map to the pirates treasure!

                    Thank you so much ... we drove up and were a bit tired... staying at the Crowne Plaza so we walked over to McGovern's for the turkey. A nice tryptophan sleep ensued!

                    Going to Little Szechaun tonight! Big fans of Lao Sze Chaun in Chicago

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: delk

                      Thanks for the feedback. Oh, I love those turkey sandwiches. Let us know how you like Little Szechuan. There are lots of threads about it if you want to search to see what people's favorite dishes are. As I mentioned above, my favorites are the fish fillet and tofu in spicy sauce (or something like that), the green beans in special sauce (though they aren't that "saucy"), the dan dan noodles. Also, the cucumber appetizer is good. Really, just about everything is good, except, avoid the diced rabbit big sister style --it's not been a favorite.


                      EDIT: and here's a link to a recent thread that's more geared toward visitors than locals, if you're interested. It covers MPLS, too.