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Minneapolis-help refine the big list!

Hello-I have read all the posts about the great places in Minneapolis but I've never been there and mapping all of them is quite laborious. Thought I could get some help refining where to go and help shaping a tentative plan.

We have 4 days and nights. We are doing the Uptown Art Fair located at Hennepin and Lake and staying at the Doubletree1500 Park Place Blvd.

1. Any suggestions for cheap eats (up to $15 a plate) within walking distance of those addresses? Any kind of food.
2. Then we'd like to do one higher end dinner so what is the one big MUST eat for a Chowhound? (leave out Asian-from DC area and eat it alot)
3. Coffee...gotta have great coffee and it needs to be close to the hotel.
4. Lastly, if there was one thing we've got to try tell me even if it requires driving.

We have a car but often drive around in circles in new cities and would prefer to avoid that which is why walking distance would be great.

Sounds like Nyes would be fun for a cocktail. The Global Market too is in my plan.

Thanks much!

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  1. We'll get back to you for food recs, but if you're in town for the Uptown Art Fair, not also that the Powderhorn and the Loring Park art fairs are going on the same weekend, and there's a free shuttle bus between the three!

    And you're right about the Asian - it's not stellar here.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Loren3

      Actually, we have very good Southeast Asian restaurants. According to the Brookings Institute (2003), about 1/7th of all Twin Citeans are foreign born, about half of those Asian. What we have here is good and it's real.


      1. re: Loren3

        Don't sell the Asian too short - there are a couple of places that do it quite nicely. I'd stack Evergreen up next to some the places in Chinatown in NYC. It's not walking distance, though.

        I'll post more later, but here are a couple places that are in walking distance of the art fair that are worthy for things besides your really nice dinner.

        Amazing Thailand, despite its name, does have good Thai. Tum Rup Thai has terrific thai.

        Some people could rightfully pick at Figlio, but it is an old sentimental favorite of mine. There are several dishes they do well, at least. It's Italian, but they also have some American classics (pot roast is yummy). My favorite thing there is Pollo Mattone.

        Chino Latino has a lot of flash, and it's a lot of fun. The food isn't brilliant, but it's good. The large portions are meant to be shared.

        You can get seafood at Stella's. I have never been, but there have been threads that have given the ups and downs.

        Mysore Cafe has vegetarian India food.

        Lucia's is a must-visit. Cafe and bakery.

        A walk up to Lyndale is nothing, really. 10 minutes tops - I do it all the time, and I live practically on Lake and Hennepin. There, you can have good Greek at It's Greek To Me.

        Pizza Nea had good neapolitan pizzas.

        That would be my short list if I were picking things for myself.

        Lucia's Restaurant
        1432 W 31st St, Minneapolis, MN 55408

        Stella's Fish Cafe
        1402 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55408

        Il Gatto
        3001 Hennepin Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55408

        Tum Rup Thai
        1221 W Lake St Ste 112, Minneapolis, MN 55408

        Pizza Nea
        106 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55408

        It's Greek To Me
        626 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55408

        Chino Latino
        2916 Hennepin Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55408

        Mysore Cafe [Closed April 08]
        2819 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408

        Amazing Thailand
        3024 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408

        1. re: pgokey

          Lucia Watson used to close her restaurant over the Uptown Art Fair weekend, although I'm not sure whether that's still the case. You should call ahead if you are going there that weekend.

          You should also note that the fair will be right in front of Amazing Thailand, Figlio, Chino Latino and Mysore Cafe. I assume they'll all be open, but the ability to move in and out of them may or may not be affected.

          The Doubletree is right next to a strip mall with pretty good Indian and decent Chinese -- Taste of India and Yangtze, respectively. I don't know that I'd make either a destination, but they are about the only places within walking distance of your hotel -- other than a few chain places.

          Yangtze Chinese Restaurant
          5625 Wayzata Blvd, Minneapolis, MN 55416

          Taste of India
          5617 Wayzata Blvd, Minneapolis, MN 55416

          1. re: bob s

            There's also the new(ish - open a few months) Good Day Cafe. They're open for breakfast and lunch, and most things are pretty solid, although not particularly outstanding. There's also a coffeeshop/takeout bakery in the front - that will be the best bet for a quick breakfast.

            If you sit down, the souflee omlettes are pretty good. The Apple pancake is good, but very, very sweet. I had high hopes for the "glazed donut pancakes" - but they're really just thin pancakes using a donut batter. The regular pancakes are better.

            Good Day Cafe
            5410 Wayzata Blvd, Minneapolis, MN 55416

          2. re: pgokey

            "I'd stack Evergreen up next to some the places in Chinatown in NYC."

            Do you really mean that? I think that Evergreen is just a brown sauce stir-fry place. I've eaten many times in NYC in Chinatown and in the outer boroughs. There is not much of a comparison. On the other hand restaurnants by the Uof M are more comparable.

            1. re: fred the fressor

              I really, truly mean that. If that's your impression of the place, you just haven't explored their menu, plain and simple. That have an incredibly greater amount of stuff to offer than just that.

              Their dinner menu is much more substantial than their lunch and take out menus. And on the weekends, it's better yet.

              You won't get the ambience of Rainbow, but you will get at least as good food.

              It's not just me saying this. It's won a ton of awards. Go there for dinner on the weekend and give it another try.

              Their eggplant is terrific, as are the green beans. Their Taiwanese noodles are great. Beef with broccoli is done perfectly. I could go on.

            2. re: pgokey

              With all due respect, and having lived in DC and Atlanta, I would say that Tum Rup Thai is good, but not excellent. If I were coming to town from someplace like that, and specifially said I was not looking for Asian, none of the Asian here (at least in the Uptown neighborhood) would good enough to convince me otherwise.

              I do like many of the Asian places in town, but I wouldn't say the ones in Uptown are on a par with what's available in DC. We do have many other gems in the Uptown, Lynlake, and East Lake areas, which you have notably recommended, that would be better choices.

              1. re: Loren3

                I've had Thai in Atlanta, and I disagree. To each their own.

                1. re: pgokey

                  But did you have Thai at Nan, or Thai Taste, two relative new places in midtown? They both compare favorably to places I've eaten at in Bangkok.

                  I agree that there is lots of forgettable, even execrable Thai in Atlanta, but the best of what we have here is only as good as the better than average there. Atlanta also has the Buford Highway, which takes Eat Street and multiplies it by about 100. The Asian markets on Buford make Midtown Global Market and United Noodle look like carryouts by comparison. Don't get me wrong - I'm glad we have the good resto and shopping options that we have. But, for someone coming from somewhere with mind-blowing Asian, such as DC, Atlanta, or the West Coast, ours here in the Twins isn't necessarily worth going out of the way for.

          3. Neither Nye's nor MGM are walkable. MGM is easy to get to on bus, though - just pick up a 21 on Lake and it takes you there. You could risk a drive to it without worrying about getting lost. The art fair is on Lake, and so is MGM. Straight line. It's worth it, trust me.

            1. One last quickie:

              For the big night out dinner, think about La Belle Vie. It's probably the crown jewel of fine dining in the cities, and it's walking distance from the Loring Park art fair. Take a free shuttle from the Uptown one to the Loring one, check out some art at Loring, and then walk to LBV. Reservations need.

              La Belle Vie
              510 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55405

              2 Replies
              1. re: pgokey

                I second La Belle Vie for a memorable big night out. It's expensive...the tasting menu can run $300 for two with wine pairings, but my experience there was that it was worthy of the price.

                1. re: ExercisetoEat

                  If you don't feel like blowing that much cash I would also recommend Restaurant Alma in Minneapolis.


                  Restaurant Alma
                  528 University Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

              2. Here's a link for Midtown Global Market that has some links to some chowdown reports which might be helpful.


                Midtown Global Market
                920 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55407

                1. Coffee - I think there is a caribou (which is a chain) right behind your hotel. Not the best - but close.

                  If you are out and about visit one of the many Dunn Brothers for a better cup (IMO) its also a chain - but not as big.


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: St Paul Susie

                    not meaning to turn this into a coffee thread (and not trying to be confrontational either) but I like the beans at Dunn Bros, but I can't stand their brewed coffee. That;s just my opinion though, I'm sure many people like their brewed coffee.

                  2. I'll warn you, if you're planning on eating in a restaurant on Hennepin/Lake during the fair, you're going to experience crazy wait times. It might be wise to walk a little further outside of the fair area, like maybe the Lyn-Lake area? Even that may not be far enough. Herkimer has awesome sweet potato fries. Their other stuff is ho-hum. Galactic Pizza has great pizza and superhero delivery guys who drive miniscule electric cars. Fuji-ya has great sushi. If you walk west of the fair, View, Punch Pizza (my favorite!), Three Fish, and Tryg's are options. Personally, I always top off the art fair with a smoothie and a big greasy basket of cheese curds. Make sure you see the faerie houses at the art fair!

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: drew13000

                      yes i think you'd have an easier time eating at any of drew's lyn-lake suggestions. if you're set on walkable from lake & hennepin i'd try barbette, or lucia's if it's open. further down lake is bryant-lake bowl-- bigger place so might also be a good bet for local faves.

                      i'd second the rec for restaurant alma as your blow out meal. my fave.

                      1600 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55408

                      1. re: soupkitten

                        oops forgot this

                        Bryant Lake Bowl
                        810 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN

                      2. re: drew13000

                        I'd second the galactic pizza reco. Try their CSA pizza if it sounds good. When i had it it was roasted carrots, parsnips and caramelized onion. It was fantastic.

                        1. re: drew13000

                          Also in that area is a reasonable Middle Eastern place called Falafel King and 2 block south of Lyndale and Lake is Pizza Luce - stick to your ribs Italian done well.

                          Fuji Ya is a good Japanese place.

                          It's hard to narrow down the list for this weekend, because the crowds change things, and we don't know the particulars of your food preferences. The best thing I can say is maybe map out in advance things that sound tempting, and just see how busy they are. If it's bad, move on to the next choice. Unless you want to book a table, but I suspect for some of these places, it's too late.

                          I want to also underscore how packed the area is that weekend. A lot of locals go out of town for the weekend because everything, including restaurants and side streets, gets unreasonably crowded.

                          Falafel King
                          701 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55408

                          Fuji Ya
                          600 W Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55408

                          Pizza Luce Uptown
                          3200 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408

                          1. re: pgokey

                            This is great. I will have to map it with these pared down suggestions.

                            re: Asian, I am not down playing Asian in MN I was just saying we eat it quite often in the DC metro area so just wanted something different. For instance, I don't really know what Polish food is...like perogies? sausage? and for the cheese curds, clueless but I hear a must have.

                            I am an artist in the fair so working mostly and interested after a long day to chill out, have a few drinks, eat well and then sleep to do it again. The suggestion to head further out to accomplish the goal sounds like a plan for certain.

                            Thanks you guys.


                            1. re: kimbyj

                              Well, if you want chow that gives you a flavor for the local, though not walkable from where you're staying, you might try to get to Hell's Kitchen for breakfast and try their wild rice porridge. Their homemade peanut butter is great, too. For cheese curds, Town Talk Diner does a good job. I like their kitchen sink burger, too, though, it's not "diner" cheap. There isn't really a giant Polish presence here, that's more Milwaukee than Minneapolis. Nye's does indeed have polka and some food, but it's less known for the chow than the bar scene. Across the street is much better chow at kramarczuk's--good sausages and German potato salad and such. Also local is a jucy lucy (cheese stuffed burger)--Matt's bar in Minneapolis is rumored to have invented it. It's a dive, but the lucy's are good in a charred kind of way. If you end up in a little grocery or airport or gas station convenience store, look for Pearson's salted nut rolls--they are made in St. Paul. If you can find walleye on a menu, it's a local fish (although, all walleye you'll find served in restaurants in MN is from Canada.)

                              At Midtown Global Market, you can try lefse (Cafe Finspang) or East African food (representing our large Somali presence) at Safari or Starlite Cafe.

                              Another institution for breakfast is Al's Breakfast in Dinkytown--just a 14 seat counter, but it won a James Beard American classics award. Try the pancakes or anything with hollandaise sauce.

                              Finally, Twin Citeans love their outdoor dining in summer, if you find yourself at Lake Calhoun, Tin Fish is a not spot to hang out and pretend to be a local enjoying one of the 10,000 lakes. I also like Sea Salt Eatery in Minnehaha Park if you don't mind the wait.

                              None of those spots are necessarily in the exact area in which you are asking for recommendations, but this is a flavor of the "local."

                              Sorry, no time to add the places links, but maybe someone else will add them. Or, here's a link to a thread where I've made similar recommendations that has the places links, except, maybe http://www.kramarczuk.com/.



                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                Did you mean that Tin Fish *is* a good place to hang out?

                                It's a good recommendation, but know that it closes up at 9, so if you go, hurry over when you're done.

                                I just found this out - Tin Fish is a national chain! A small chain, but about 8 locations around the country.

                        2. Some of your initial thoughts - global market and nyes- are right on. I would caution against some of the recommendations in this thread though coming from NYC. Falafel King isn't even the best falafel in town (Abu Nader in St Paul) and coming from DC there's bound to be better there. Fuji-Ya is good sushi for MSP but not for the coasts. I haven't tried amazing Thai. But, having eaten in Thailand and in good thai places on both coasts have been consistently disappointed in every thai restaraunt in town here, so I don't know if on a quick trip I'd try that.

                          In uptown I think these suggestions that others made are excellent: Barbette is right in uptown adn great for all 3 meals. Try the "crack press coffee" if you like it cold sweet and chocolaty. Lucias is fabulous and a real institution. Chino Latino is funky and fun but it is part of a large restaraunt chain - although the food is real solid.

                          Other suggestions that didn't come up and are a quick hop into the nearby downtown area are Masa for high end Mexican that's still affordable. Cheap lunches and wonderful dinners. Solera for tapas is affordable and IMHO better than the famous tapas place in DC (I forget the name of it at the moment).

                          I also love lunches or bar food at Vincents in downtown.

                          6 Replies
                            1. re: St Paul Susie

                              Yes it's Jaleo. There's a new place just across the street called Oyamel. Same owners and Chef Jose Andre is in the mix deleloping the menu I guess. In case you're coming here soon...its quite quite yummy...among the many yums around here.

                              1. re: kimbyj

                                And both are far better than Solera. There are fresher ingredients, much deeper menu and better wines at Jaleo ... plus the servers aren't just in from Hinckley and really know their stuff. But I'll be back in MSP this week and might check in again ... it's decent.

                            2. re: stpaulbreadman

                              The goal isn't to recommend the best of the cities - she's just looking for good food options in that area, right?

                              Chino Latino isn't a chain, either. It's own by a company called Parasole, which owns a couple of restaurants in town: Manny's Steakhouse, Chino Latino, Figlio, Salut, and Muffuletta. All of these places are one of a kind restaurants.

                              To call Chino Latino a chain is akin to calling Spago a chain.

                              1. re: stpaulbreadman

                                Yikes. I ate at Solera and Jaleo within two weeks of each other and Jaleo blew Solera away. That said, I haven't been to Solera within the last year.

                                1. re: MSPD

                                  Yeah, I think even the suburban versions of Jaleo (like Bethesda) are stronger than anything at Solera.

                              2. Greek To Me is really good, they also have a very nice semi covered outdoor patio.

                                Since your also going to be working, if you need somewhere to duck in for something to take with you there is a Lund's grocery store 1 block west of Hennepin and Lake. It is a more gourmet grocery and they have a to go section and a decent selection of bottled drinks.

                                1. I don't know which four days you are covering here for the art fair (early weekend or coming on Sunday), but if you are still around on Wednesday (8/8), there is a Taste of the Nation event at Chambers Hotel that night. A lot of the chefs that you might consider for a high end dinner will be there and you get to see a pretty swanky hotel! I don't think I am allowed to post info here but feel free to go to my blog cause I have links there.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: RedPepper

                                    Walkable--though a bit more of a hike--from Calhoun/Uptown is Linden Hills. There's some really nice restaurants there.

                                    Cafe 28 and Rice Paper. Plus there's a great little coffee joint and Sebastian Joes Ice Cream.

                                    Cafe Twenty-Eight
                                    2724 W 43rd St, Minneapolis, MN 55410

                                    Sebastian Joe's
                                    4321 Upton Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55410

                                    Rice Paper Restaurant
                                    2726 W 43rd St, Minneapolis, MN 55410

                                  2. Near your work try JPs American Bistro for very good food. I would echo Taste of India and The Good day Cafe near your hotel La Belle Vie for the splurge meal would be fantastic. Just as an aside, True Thai is IMHO opinion the best Thai food in the city. With respect to Coffee I agree about Dunn bros. They really have wonderful beans but they brew at too high a temperature. Their coffee tastes burnt. I would opt for the Caribou near your hotel.

                                    J P American Bistro
                                    2937 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408

                                    1. Hey, might be too late for my two cents, but my favorite restaurant right now is Town Talk, on Lake Street and Minnehaha (very close to uptown), where you can eat for $5-$30. The seafood is always amazing and so is the pork chop, but the hamburger, I think, is one of the best in town. Great fries and an excellant bar -- macerated cherries in the Manhattans are tops -- and some of my favorite frickles. On the spendy side, I love A Rebours, which is in downtown St. Paul. If I had only one night, that is where I would go...French Bistro, looking out onto the street, can't miss with a starter of mussels and Lillet. Very fine.