Gift options for dining in the Twin Cities
Hi, I'm looking to give my parents some sort of gift certificate for a good restaurant (or group of restaurants?) around the Twin Cities. I don't live there anymore so I don't know the area that well. I found one after searching a bit on the internet, but I don't know if any of the eligible restaurants are any good (can include a link if anyone wishes). They eat pretty much any type of food and they love italian and thai. Any help would be appreciated, thanks!
Just wanted to add that while I could probably get them a gift card to one specific place, I would prefer to get them something that lets them choose between a bunch of really good places!
D'amico and Parasole both have multiple venues with corporate multi location gift cards. To an extent they both belong on the "Chains" board because they both have chains in their systems. In addition, they both have "one offs" (more the case with Parasole's business model, D'amico's only "one off" is Cucina). While they both are hugely successful they are far from the best the Twin Cities has to offer in terms of culinary brilliance. Your parents tastes have everything to do with what suits them. Ask their friends where they like to eat. There are numerous places where food is excellenet. Check the board for places that "sound like them".
Gift cards are a great vehicle for improving restaurant profitability because a significant percentage get lost or thrown. It's free money for the restaurateur. You might get them a Surdyk's or other wine store gift certificate. They can avoid the ever increasing mark ups on restaurant wine, and come out way ahead after paying corkage.
I think a D'Amico or Parasole gift card would make a great gift since they both have enough variety in their stables to please just about anyone.
D'Amico and Partners includes: Cafe and Bar Lurcat, D'Amico & Sons, Campiello, D'Aimico Cucina, and Masa. http://www.damico.com/
Parasole Restaurant Holdings includes: Manny's Steak House, Chino Latino, Figlio, Good Earth, Muffuletta, Salut Bar Americain, and Pittsburgh Blue Steakhouse. http://www.parasole.com/
For good Italian food, I'd suggest Al Vento. It's in Minneapolis, sort of near the airport (between Minnehaha Parkway and Hwy 62). I haven't been there for about a year, but I had a wonderful meal there when I last went, and I hear it's still great. And it's definitely not a chain. I don't know if they do gift certificates, but I'll bet they do.
Do a search for "Thai" on this board and you'll find reviews of the better Thai restaurants in town. I'm a fan of True Thai, which is near the U of M (West Bank campus) in Minneapolis. Again, I don't know if they do gift certificates.
If your parents are adventurous and willing to explore the "inner cities", you could also get them a Happenings coupon book. Then they could dine for half price at any number of places. I'm not sure which coupons actually appear in the book, but the web site implies that there are online coupons for dozens of good, interesting, and locally-owned places - like Safari (Somali/Middle Eastern), La Sirena Gorda (Mexican seafood booth in the Midtown Global Market), Erte (affordable steak for hipsters), and Cupcake (bakery/coffee shop with great soup). And tons of little Mexican taquerias. Oh, and Al Vento's listed, too. Of course, you have to plow through hundreds of pizza, fast food, and sports bar coupons, but there are quite a few good places listed.
I'm not going to include a link for fear that my post will be deleted, but if you do a Google search for "twin cities happenings coupon dining", you'll find the web site.
True Thai Restaurant
2627 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55406
5001 34th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55417
Hey, I just remembered about the Twin Cities Originals - a group of mostly great restaurants (with a few mediocre ones thrown in). Does anyone know if their gift certificates are good at any member restaurant? The web site is quite vague on this topic. But if so, this would be the perfect thing!
One of the nicest restaurants on the list - an Italian place, as it happens - is Broder's Pasta Bar in South Mpls. I keep forgetting about this place, but it's as good as Al Vento.
Broders' Southside Pasta Bar
5000 Penn Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55419
Once you get the the terms and conditions page, it gets pretty specific: TCO gift cards are good at one resto only. In other words, you buy a Broder's gift card to be redeemed at Broder's only.
Moot, point, though. Pretty much all the $25, and absolutely all the $50 gift cards are sold out.