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Aug 28, 2007 11:59 AM

Toronto Chowhound in Minneapolis

Hi midwesterners. I will be visiting the twin cities next week, and am looking for some good recommendations on restaurants.

I will be staying near the airport and Mall of America, so prefer to stay around the area, but am willing to travel for extraordinary cuisine.

I am on a meal budget, probably willing to spend up to $35-$40 per meal per person. I eat anything and everything, but if there's something that's locally famous, I'd love to give it a try.

Let's see what your city has to offer!

P.S. If there is anything in the area I MUST see, let me know as well. I will be there Tuesday to Thursday, and no, I don't like tourist traps. :)

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  1. Well, if you're in town on Monday, that's the last day of the State Fair.

    To get you started here's a recent thread where I posted a lot of information about chow unique to the area:

    Have fun! Please report back.


    1 Reply
    1. re: The Dairy Queen

      Thanks! I edited my post while you were typing this. Unfortunately I will be flying in on Tuesday, and will miss the State Fair. I just had my fill of corndogs at our Canadian National Exhibition too!

    2. The problem is that there's no great food out by the airport and the Mall of America. The few non-chain places are OK, but usually you can do better elsewhere. Luckily, the drive into St. Paul or Minneapolis isn't that bad (by Toronto standards, at least).

      You Torontonians have great Asian food down there (TO is south of us, doncha know) so I won't mention our wonderful Vietnamese and SE Asian places on University Ave. in St. Paul. But if you're interested, see this thread:

      We have a great hole-in-the-wall Mexican food scene here, mostly on Lake Street in Minneapolis and on Concord St (near Robert St) in St. Paul. I really like Los Ocampo, La Sirena Gorda, Taqueria La Hacienda, and El Burrito Mercado. Here's a related thread:

      Fancier favorites include Restaurant Alma, Heartland, and Lucia. But they're expensive (over $40/person if you have alcohol). They're mentioned in many threads - see this one on restaurants that use local ingredients:

      For those nights when you just can't stand to drive into town, here's a thread on some decent-to-good options in the area:

      And here's a thread from someone who stayed in the same area last spring - she ended up driving around town for food:

      I'll let others post about our *real* local specialties: outdoor food (such as Sea Salt), ice cream and Jucy Lucy hamburgers.


      P.S. All my must-see places revolve around water - unless they involve food. I'd walk around the lakes (Lake Harriet, Lake Calhoun, and Lake of the Isles) and eat some popcorn at Lake Harriet, or I would visit Lock & Dam #1 on the Mississippi River (conveniently close to Sea Salt and Minnehaha Creek), or drive to Taylor's Falls take paddleboad ride on the St. Croix River (at the border between MN and WI). Then again, Ontario has even more lakes than Minnesota does, so perhaps you're bored with water...

      1 Reply
      1. re: AnneInMpls

        Here are some places links for the restaurants I mentioned.


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

        Restaurant Alma
        528 University Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

        Sea Salt Eatery
        4801 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55417

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

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

        La Sirena Gorda
        920 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55407

        Taqueria Los Ocampo
        417 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55408

        Taqueria La Hacienda
        334 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55408

      2. While I am sure there are fancier places, I recommend Al Vento as some place 'nearby' to the MOA.

        It is a lovely little 'italian' place with a great ambiance and wine list.

        If you're literally at the MOA and need a bite, my favorite place is the Twin City Grill. My favorite dishes are the St. Paul Chopped Salad and the Turkey Melt.

        I'm sure the other MN chowhounds will keep the ideas rolling. Sadly you will have to 'travel' to find the best eats.

        Al Vento
        5001 34th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55417

        2 Replies
        1. re: MayrMN

          I'm a fellow Canadian and just got back from a great trip to the Twin Cities. Here is a good thread documenting my experiences:

          1. re: Roberto7

            Thanks for the links! Lots of reading to do!

        2. Anne is right-- if you want to eat, you'll have to get out of the wasteland around the airport. luckily, the twin cities are really unique and pretty and you'll get to see them in your quest for good eats. if you are here on a weekend you might want to visit a farmer's market. what kinds of food do you like?

          1 Reply
          1. re: soupkitten

            I'll try pretty much anything, and there are some great suggestions here. I am only there for 4 days, and for 2 of those days I'm already booked. I'll definitely have to give the Jucy Lucy a try, as well as some of the restaurants mentioned above if I can get to them.

          2. I agree that you need to get outside the airport and Mall area for good food. Another good place to try that I don't think would break your budget is Corner Table in south Minneapolis. It's at 4257 Nicollet Ave South. A great small restaurant using the best fresh local ingredients. We've loved it every time we've gone.