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dining in downtown Minneapolis

I'm an LA chowhound who will be in Minneapolis next week, staying downtown, without a car. What are my options for food? I like almost all ethnic food (sushi, mexican, thai, etc.) -- and I will be on a modest expense account - really the only thing I wouldn't be interested in is a steakhouse or somewhere that specializes in red meat/pork (i.e., BBQ) since I am not a big meat eater. Is going outside of downtown feasible in terms of taking a taxi (would it be easy to get one back to my hotel?). I have been to some places in Minneapolis before, such as Acquavit (which I gather has closed) and Chino Latino (when had access to car, not my favorite except for the drinks).
thanks in advance for your recommendations!

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  1. I would recommend Solera downtown. It is a tapas place and I think it is super yummy and can be reasonable depending on what you order.

    I also like Masa downtown with is more upscale Mexican. I know it gets mixed reviews here but I had a great meal there!

    The 112 eatery would be a short cab ride away and worth it - most say it is the best restaurant in Minneapolis.

    Koyi sushi is my favorite sushi place downtown. I think it is a bit cheaper then others and the fish is always fresh. Plus the sushi chefs are friendly and it is pretty intimate and a good place to dine alone.

    Those are my first thoughts but there are many other good places that I am sure others will suggest!

    6 Replies
    1. re: maureen73

      112 eatery or saffron would be where i'd take my expense account downtown, & don't forget hell's kitchen for breakfast! yum!

      i haven't tried koyi sushi-- isn't that owned by sawatdee?

      i would be sure to jump in a cab and head over to alma ($5-6 cab), in northeast mpls, or another board fave such as heartland (st paul), lucia's (uptown) or craftsman (lake street) specializing in beautifully prepared, sustainable local foods. it is easy and fast to get a cab in mpls. ask the cab driver for a card or have the restaurant call you a cab at the end of your meal. generally very little wait esp. on weeknights.

      there are also some great ethnic cuisines that are strongly represented in the twin cities, including vietnamese and east african. thai not so much imo, unfortunately.

      1. re: soupkitten

        any recommendations for vietnamese or east african close to downtown?

        1. re: tigercactus

          Not immediately *in* downtown, no. Take a taxi, bus or long walk south on Nicollet Ave and try out Jasmine Deli or Pho Tau Bay for some great Vietnamese food.

          -----
          Jasmine Deli
          2532 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404

          Pho Tau Bay
          2837 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408

          1. re: tigercactus

            fasika (ethiopian) is on snelling in st. paul, several good vietnamese choices are along university st. paul. nicollet ave (eat street) has a number of good informal vietnamese restaurants and noodle houses. the minneapolis institute of arts is close by. . .

            1. re: soupkitten

              Unfortunately Fasika in St. Paul is nowhere near downtown Mpls.

              1. re: StPauliGirl

                right-- that's what i said. the op would have to venture out of downtown minneapolis for most authentic ethnic eats, not counting sushi. it might be worth cab fare to the op (or not), though there are other ethnic eats closer to downtown

      2. I recommend Tum Rup Thai (1221 W Lake St), one of the best Thai joints in town. You can take the 17 bus from downtown and save some cab fare. The 17 runs down Nicollet Ave and lets you out at the Uptown Bus Station near Lake & Hennepin. It's a short jaunt down Lake to the restaurant. There are several other good restaurants in that area, most notably Lucia's (1432 W 31st St) and the Bryant Lake Bowling alley (810 W Lake St).

        1. in downtown: this is what i would say:

          112 eatery, you can totally walk to it in downtown.
          origami is AMAZING sushi.
          if you want authentic neopolitan pizza: pizza nea right over the washington ave bridge. great wine list as well.
          if you can get over to eat street: quang, jasmine deli, taco moreles, and evergreen are fantastic choices!

          1 Reply
          1. re: liquor cupcakes

            Just a quick correction, Nea and Punch are both on the other side of the Father Hennepin bridge. And if you're going to make your way over here, Fugaise is outstanding as well.

          2. check out tvdxr's ethnic eats synopsis in parallel thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/446582

            1. Ethnic:
              Chai's on Cedar - Thai ($5 cab from downtown)
              Jasmine or Quang on Nicollet - Viet ($5 cab or $1.50 bus)
              Origami - Sushi (1st Ave & 1st St)
              Blue Nile - Ethiopian ($5 cab, you'd have to transfer via bus, so cab it)
              Gorditas el Gordo or Hacienda - Southern Mexican (take the light rail to Lake St Station, walk east)

              Downtown:
              112 - American Comfort
              Manny's - Steaks
              Oceanaire - Oysters
              La Belle Vie (cab it) - Fine Dining and Gastro-Lounge
              Cosmos - New American
              Masa - Higher-end Mexican
              Solera - Tapas
              Hell's Kitchen - Breakfast
              Cucina - Fine Dining Italian
              Saffron - Med/N. African Fine(r) Dining
              Bombay Bistro - South Indian (it's ok)
              Ike's - Burger/Supper Club
              Spoonriver - Healthy Local American

              If you're going to go to the bother of leaving downtown, hit Alma, Broders, Corner Table, Fugaise, Maude, Craftsman, Town Talk or any of the other good local places in Minneapolis.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Foureyes137

                I am not sure that Manny's, Oceanaire of La Belle Vie would fit within a "modest expense account" nor perhaps Cosmos?

                1. re: KTFoley

                  Depends on one's definition of "modest". Methinks modest by LA standards is not in the ballpark of modest by MPLS standards. Even with wine, you can come in under $100 per person, which in my business is modest. In the lounge at LBV, you can have a full meal with wine for $40.

                  To KT's point, is this your per diem or expensed business dinners? Might change where you'd like to try.

                  1. re: Foureyes137

                    The $100 figure should be helpful for the OP to make a decision based on what "modest" actually means in his or her circumstances.

                2. re: Foureyes137

                  I always forget how much I like the Blue Nile. (And a transfer isn't needed. It is three short blocks off light rail or on the 24 line.) A new Ethiopian place also opened just down the street from it in the old Argentinian Steak Place. Has anyone been there?

                  1. re: churchka

                    The new Ethiopian place on Franklin is the Kilimanjaro Cafe. I'm not sure if it's a branch of the one on Cedar Ave, or if the original restaurant has moved.

                    Mr. Tastebud (the spouse) stopped by the week it was open, and has been begging me to go back there with him. He tells me that they have goat on the menu (I love goat).

                    Anne