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May 22, 2007 07:45 PM

MSP -- Where to take larger group of visiters?

We are trying to decide on a restaurant for next Saturday. Our group will be 9 people including 6 out of towners and one toddler (who is used to restaurants). The OOTers include one hard to please into trendy things young couple and two older couples who are open to new things but prefer a more conservative atmosphere. We would like something nice, not casual, but also not fancy.

Our usual go to places are not right for a big group or too casual (Punch, Pop, Holy Land, Birchwod, Brendas, Broders, True Thai) No shared dishes either. (we love to take smaller groups to Solera)

We'd like to stay in Mpls, but are open to St Paul. No burbs please! We love the idea of being able to walk after dinner around the river or the lakes, maybe stopping by Crema.

Places I've thought of, but never been to personally: Black Forest, Sophia, Masa, Wasabi.

Sushi would be great for the younger people, anyone know about the non sushi options at Nami?


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  1. It's not Minneapolis, but how about Tanpopo Noodle Shop in downtown St. Paul? They have one large table, sort of off by itself--that seats about 10 people. The atmosphere, I think, is very nice (they call it relaxed)--perhaps a bit on the casual side, but I think it's very elegant, in a simple kind of way.

    You could walk around Mears Park after your meal.


    1. I'm going to call it 10 and go from there.

      If you want to walk around the lakes, possibly eat sushi, and fit 10 to a table...I am not fond of making this recommendation; but Chino fits the bill. Tango could also work if you call ahead and make sure they are set for a 10-top. Fuji-Ya could fit but I dislike their fish sometimes and the cleanliness of their space has been appalling on several occasions. Stella's, Campiello, and about 10 other ho-hum places work near the lakes as well. Tryg's could work, it's close, but not exciting. You'd have a hard time getting 10 to a table at Barbette. Sounds like you know the area so I'll stop there.

      Sophia closed recently. We have had 8 people in Masa and it worked very well. I have not heard of a meal at Wasabi not having some glaring flaw in it (whether food, or most often, service), though I could not make a better suggestion for teppanyaki.

      We've had the suki yaki, Udon bowls, mixed tempora, as well as sushi at Nami and all are good and we've never had a bad meal there, though their fish is kept a bit too cold for my taste.You might also consider: Origami (upstairs), Vincent, Lurcat, 20.21 (hard fit maybe), Cosmos, Penninsula, Quang or Azia/Anemone.

      I wish someone would open a new, locally sourced, "food forward" place on St Anthony Main as Pracna, Vic's and Tuggs are good for a beer, and that's about it most of the time.

      1. Al Vento sounds like a good option. They can handle your group, have a kid's spaghetti & meatball dish for the toddler, and the food and atmosphere should please the range in your group. They have a nice patio for outdoor dining, and it's not far from Lake Nokomis.

        1. I went to the B.A.N.K grand opening party last night at the Westin and I think that this might fit the bill for being both new and trendy but serving food everyone will enjoy (it has to because it is in a hotel).

          Or if Crema is really on your list, JP's in Uptown does a really nice job with groups and has excellent food!

          2 Replies
          1. re: RedPepper

            I was curious how B.A.N.K is. I have a friend who works at the Westin and was at the event last night but he didn't try the food. What's their schtick?

            1. re: katebauer

              The menu seems to be pretty middle of the road (salmon, chicken, kobe burger) with flourishes along the side. It seemed to me that they tried to follow the path of Mission American Kitchen.

              I work about a block away, but have not had a chance to stop in for lunch or dinner. I'll report back when I do.

              In the meantime, here's their website:

          2. UPDATE:

            We have a reservation at jp's! Thanks to all for the thoughtful suggestions. We chose jp's for the location, high marks for groups, and the long term chef reputation, and well, the french fries. (I'm intrigued by BANK for soon though) This is a meal I am definitely anticipating and I'm so glad to not get stuck in the typical big group = bad food spot.