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Jul 2, 2007 06:28 AM

Seafood in Minneapolis

My parents are coming into town this weekend and I want to take them out for seafood. I know that Sea Salt is great, but I am looking for someplace a little more formal. I was thinking about Oceanaire, but can anyone give me a hint on entree prices? I know that it's spendy, but there are no prices on the web.

Any other suggestions? I really appreciate it.

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  1. You just mentioned the low and high end of the good seafood. McCormick & Schmick's on Nicollet Mall is formal enough but a tad less than the Oceanaire in cost. I have had satisfying meals at M & S at both lunch and dinner time. In the burbs I like Blue Point in Wayzata.

    1. Oceanaire entrees are $20+ per entree, generally not exceeding $35 (excluding lobster), but in my opinion are worth the price if you are in the mood for well-prepared, consistant seafood (especially oysters). Good call on Sea Salt as you might end up waiting 30-45 minutes for your food (possibly outside)

      Additionally McCormick's has some good options, but I have also had a few so-so preperations there. Stella's in Uptown is cheaper, but again, inconsistant, loud and generally not the type of place you'd want to bring your parents on a weekend evening.

      In all, for consistancy and freshness, I'd definitely stick with Oceanaire.

      1. I agree with FourEyes that Oceanaire is probably your best bet, based on your requirements, even though I've never been to Oceanaire. (I've never been to the M&S here, either, but based on my ho-hum experiences at the M&S's elsewhere, I'd skip it.)

        There are other places for seafood in the Twin Cities, of course, like Tavern on Grand in St. Paul, but none of them are going to be "that formal." Tin Fish (Lake Calhoun snack shack) and Sea Salt Eatery (Minnehaha Park) are both terrific, but super duper informal ( and summer only, of course.)

        You could do something really different like sushi, or even dim sum (lots of seafood items--maybe Mandarin Kitchen --if they are done with their remodelling--or Jun Bo) or lobster, but I'm guessing that's not what you're going for either:

        Jun Bo (dim sum):

        There's also Friday fish fry, of course, but not what you're looking for, I'm sure, because, again, that's very "tavern" based and casual:

        Also probably not what you're going for, but my favorite "seafood" dish in the Twin Cities right now is the "fish fillet and tofu in spicy tasty broth" at Little Szechuan on University Avenue in St. Paul (if you don't mind spicy):

        But, it's good to have options!

        EDIT: Oh, I forgot my other favorite seafood dish in the Twin Cities right now. Again, definitely too casual to meet your needs, but the whole, deep-fried tilapia or the fish tacos at La Sirena Gorda in Midtown Global Market are fantastic.


        1. We've had good luck with Three Fish on Excelsior Blvd. Same price range as McCormick & Schmick's, but better quality, in my opinion.

          9 Replies
          1. re: churchka

            I am not the biggest sea food eater - like salmon and shrimp just as much as the next foodie, but the rest of it...I'll eat it, but it's never my first choice. As such, I've never been to any of the dedicated sea food places. What's Stella's like? It's like 2 blocks from my house, and I've never tried it.

            1. re: pgokey

              Well, if you don't really like seafood a might not be a good choice. But if you're tastes are similar to other otherwise reluctant seafood eaters, it might be a good choice as you can get just about anything fried. Not that you're the same way, but other people I know that don't love seafood seem to enjoy it when it's been fried, so this might work.

              1. re: Foureyes137

                I might as well be eating chicken then. If I am going to have seafood, I want to enjoy it as seafood, you know what I mean? I like it when I have it, I just never order it.

                When I was on Capri, I had calamari. Not the rings, mind you - the whole thing. It was scored properly, sauteed perfectly. It was practically flakey. Of course, of all the places in the world to get it done properly, that's the place. I really liked it. I've had the breaded calamari rings here in the states a few times - nah, I'll skip it. If I am going to eat sea food, I want it done properly.

                1. re: pgokey

                  Yeah, you can get steamed/baked fish there...but i've found it boring especially when compared with other places in town.

                  And regarding street calamari; seriously good. I had cuttlefish and calamari bbq'd streetside in Thailand and it was incredible. We're going to Italy in Sept, so we might have to make a jaunt out to Capri for some squids!

                  1. re: pgokey

                    Hmmm, "properly"... That's sort of a worrisome word to use in this context. If you mean to rule out the possibility of fried seafood as having been done properly, I guess you likewise rule out a distinction between properly and improperly fried calamari. And yet, of course, there is such a distinction!

                    1. re: gavagai

                      It's not so worrisome. Calamari done wrong, it's rubbery. Done right, it's not. It's pretty simple.

                      And the reason I don't really like the fried stuff is that most of the time when I've had it, I just can't taste it, and it's tough. The likelihood of it being good, versus the likelihood of something else being done properly, just isn't that great. I'll roll the dice on something else, unless the place is known for it's fried calamari. Plus, barring some specific exceptions, I'd rather not eat fried food.

                      1. re: pgokey

                        Calamaretti - junior squid - are delicious fried. The bigger the squid, the less delicious fried generally.

                        "Scoring" calamaretti would be difficult. I think the squid on Capri might have been medium sized or even large. I've had "scored" squid steak, and it was a larger creature. The scoring is a way to speed the saute process so that the outer surfaces cook more evenly with the whole - allows the heat/oil to penetrate and delivers a more tender product. Scoring fish skin in some species has the same effect - more even cooking and a more tender product. Chilean Sea Bass - now off the menu in restaurants that care about sustainable fisheries - has a high oil content and can be cooked by the least attentive cook in the world and still come out somewhat edible. Blah, blah, blah.... Eating the Patagonian Toothfish (aka Chilean Sea Bass) is a bit like having California Condor egg omelets. Umhh, tastey and increasingly rare.

                        1. re: Karl Gerstenberger

                          I guess you'll have to pardon my nomenclature. It was a medium-to-large squid steak that I had on Capri, along with the tentacles - basically a reconstruction of the whole squid.

                    2. re: pgokey

                      "When I was on Capri, I had calamari. Not the rings, mind you - the whole thing. It was scored properly, sauteed perfectly. It was practically flakey. Of course, of all the places in the world to get it done properly, that's the place. I really liked it. I've had the breaded calamari rings here in the states a few times - nah, I'll skip it. If I am going to eat sea food, I want it done properly."

                      Try the calamari at sea salt. It's very respectable.

              2. Please don't go to M&S. We went last year to use a gift certificate and were really disappointed.

                I've been to Stella's 3 times and the food has always been good, the oysters especially fresh and interesting, but the service is unpredictable. It's fine if you're craving seafood and in Uptown but not a destination.

                Personally I would go to Lucia's or Alma and have whatever seafood they're serving rather than seek out a seafood restaurant, because besides Oceannaire (which I do like but I'm not crazy about the hotel/business dinner atmosphere) the pickings are slim.

                3 Replies
                1. re: katebauer

                  The website to check out Stella's is --- there you get the menu options and you can check out prices. Since I'm a 20-something person -- it does seem more geared towards the 20-early 40's crowd -the vibe seems a bit more "hip" if that makes sense. The seafood is decent - and they do have fish options. It is pricier than Sea Salt (more formal but it is still the casual, fun atmosphere) - but it's nothing like Oceanaire, Blue Point, or M & S - it's a Parasole company place so think Chino Latino sans Cuban/worldly fare and think seafood.

                  By the way, Stella's can get expensive. If you get a few apps, a main course and some drinks -I've easily spent over $125 for two people- which I don't have a problem with -but it's not like spending $125 at Manny's or Oceanaire.

                  1. re: snoboardbabe77

                    The last time we were at Stella's we tried to use a Parasole gift card and our waiter told us that the restaurant had "become independent" of Parasole at least a year ago.

                    1. re: katebauer

                      Kate called it. Stella's is not part of Parasole anymore, however to snowboard's point; it is filled with suburban youngsters on the weekends (especially the roof) which is off-puting if you are hungry and not cruising for highlights and orange tans ;)

                      But as stated, the oysters are good as is the rest of the raw bar.