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MSP: Just moved to St. Louis Park

Hey y'all

I'm a chowhound from Chicago. Just moved to the St. Louis Park neighborhood outside Minneapolis and am looking for recommendations. Let me know of any good local favorites, whether it is fancy and formal or quick and simple.

Thanks,

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  1. Welcome.

    Instead of getting into specifics right away, I'll help you with a broader frame of reference. If you do a search, you'll find a few things in St. Louis Park. I also recommend doing a search for Golden Valley (the community just to the north). When I started working there at the end of the summer, I started a thread and got a huge response with a number of great recommendations. Include Robbinsdale (just north of Golden Valley), Ridgedale (a mall just west on 394), and Plymouth (west of Golden Valley). All of these are minutes away from St. Louis Park and will yield a number of recent threads.

    To the south is Edina. There are a number of excellent places to eat there as well. You are in a good spot and also have easy access to downtown.

    Now...for a couple specifics, I would immediately send you over to Tea House in Plymouth for Szechuan. If you're missing Chicago beef, Uncle Frankie's (also in Plymouth) is one of two places in MSP that gets them right. The Good Day Cafe in Golden Valley is a popular, newish breakfast and lunch place. I've discovered their burgers and fries are among the best in MSP. Yum, in St. Louis Park itself is a good upscale lunch place (excellent tuna salad sandwich). Patisserie Margo just off Highway 100 and 50th (Edina I believe) does a good job with French bakery basics (surprise with a name like that, eh?). In the "50th and France" area in Edina, there are a host of places to check out. Broders Pasta Bar is a favorite with Chowhounds and non-hounds alike. Very busy. There's a nice cheese shop there and a number of boutique non-food shops. Just north (44th and France) is...drum roll...France 44. It's a large, and very nice wine shop. They also have a good selection of cheeses and now have a cafe, which I haven't tried and I haven't heard a single thing about. It looks pleasant when I've walked through it to get to the cheese.

    Hopefully that'll get you going and inspire others to chime in. Particularly in the neighborhood surrounding Trader Joe's in SLP. I'm less familiar with that stretch.

    Let us know what you find as well.

    1. Welcome to the Twin Cities!

      It looks like MSPD has a good list although, to be honest, I don't think I've actually eaten at most of the places recommended.

      Remember, too, that (as you may know) you're pretty close to the Uptown area as well. Lots of choices there and it's about 10-15 minutes from Hwy 100.

      Here are some recent threads for your viewing pleasure that may give you a lay of the land:

      St. Louis Park ideas?: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/425105
      MSP - Golden Valley, MN [the thread MSPD recommended]: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/448982
      Looking for takeout in St. Louis Park, Edina, Ridgedale, Eden Prairies areas in Minneapolis: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/369339

      1. You are also 4 or 5 miles from the Warehouse District and East Hennepin, with a host of dining options.

        1. Let's try that again. Depending on where in SLP you are, it's about 4 or 5 miles and about 10 minutes to the Warehouse District on 394. These places have all been raved about in one thread or another over the past year or so, and are all within 2-3 blocks of where 394 ends at 4th Street and at Washington Ave.

          Welcome, and we hope you report on your discoveries here!

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          Saffron Restaurant & Lounge
          123 North 3rd Street, Minneapolis, MN 55401

          Sapor Cafe-Bar
          428 Washington Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401

          Origami
          30 N 1st St Ste 1, Minneapolis, MN 55401

          Nami
          251 1st Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55401

          Cafe Brenda
          300 1st Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55401

          Monte Carlo Bar & Cafe
          219 3rd Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401

          112 Eatery
          112 N 3rd St, Minneapolis, MN 55401

          D'Amico Cucina
          100 N 6th St, Minneapolis, MN 55403

          Koyi Sushi
          122 N 4th St, Minneapolis, MN 55401

          Toast Wine Bar & Cafe
          415 N 1st St, Minneapolis, MN 55401

          Bewiched Deli
          800 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55401

          Cafe Havana
          119 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55401

          Sam's Washington Ave Wine Shop [CLOSED 2009]
          218 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis, MN

          2 Replies
          1. re: Loren3

            I'm shocked that Runyon's isn't on your list.

            1. re: MSPD

              It crossed my mind. Runyon's is probably my fave local - emphasis on local. It was my study hall in grad school, and when I can stroll or bike over for some buffalo shrimp and a summit, I do so, which it at least once a week. But then I thought: would I drive from SLP for it? Not necessarily. In that sense, it's like the Town Talk. If I lived in that 'hood, I would go there often. But it's not worth driving across town for. I would hope SLP has a similarly good local that DukeFan can frequent.

              -----
              Runyon's
              107 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55401

          2. Thanh Do is right off Minnetonka Boulevard in SLP near Texa-Tonka. I used to live in one of the tiny ticky-tack houses across the street. Back then, the restaurant was Kowloon, a horrible old-school chow-mein restaurant (albeit with wonderful elaborate colorful Chinese woodwork).

            Years after I moved away, young Thom Pham bought the place, gutted it, and turned it into Thanh Do, a charming fusiony asian restaurant with all his cute Scandihoovian adoptive sisters running the place with him. This was the first outpost of what seems to be turning out to be a little Twin Cities restaurant/nightclub empire for the enormously talented and driven Thom. (That cool Kowloon woodwork later got incorporated into his Azia restaurant in the back area by the restrooms).

            So, Thom has moved onto bigger projects and he has turned over Thanh Do to his family. Its been a couple years since I've tried it. Let us know how they're doing if you go there.

            -----
            Thanh Do
            3005 Utah Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55426

            4 Replies
            1. re: EarlOfSandwich

              My family is addicted to Milios Subs at 3814 W 44th St, Minneapolis, MN 55410

              Also Turtle Bread Company a few blocks closer to Lake Harriet

              Finally for breakfast
              Zumbro Cafe
              2803 W 43rd St.

              1. re: ccer

                Thanks so much for the recommendation. I tried Thand Do the other night and it was pretty good. not as spicy as I'd like, i know next time i will ask for more spice.

                some of you guys asked where in SLP i live. our new place is on the west side by Lake Cobblecrest.

                1. re: DukeFan

                  Lake Cobblecrest? Then Thanh Do is right in your neighborhood, along with whatever is in the Texa-Tonka strip mall these days. Seems that there have been a succession of different Indian places in the last few years. Also, there is a concentration of Russian immigrants in the neighborhood, so it seems there was at least a grocery if not a restaurant catering to them. Do post what you find out if you try anything there.

                  I am also curious about stuff in Knollwood Mall. I think that there is a Mexican place. Haven't tried anything there. I don't have very high hopes, but you nevr know where you'll uncover a gem. You can be the guinea pig!

                  Another one you will want to try is Wagner's Drive In on Highway 7, but I think that it's closed for the winter.

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                  Wagner's Drive In
                  3712 Quebec Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55426

            2. Alaska Eatery just opened in St. Louis Park, and would make a great special occasion / celebration-type place (ie., it ain't cheap.) The window-cut wood-grilled Alaska king crab legs that I had there a couple weeks ago were some of the best seafood I've ever had, and that includes a six-year period of living on the East Coast. Dessert is expensive as hell, but worth it. Either the strawberry macaroon or baked Alaska is worth getting; the latter, in particular, due to its s'more-like intense combination of toasted marshmallow + flourless chocolate cake + strawberry gelato.

              3 Replies
              1. re: jrnorton23

                I couldn't disagree more. Alaska Eatery is expensive, but why not go 10 minutes down 394 into downtown and get something worth the money?

                If your king crab legs were great, you must have rooted out the good item on the menu. TCL and I went because we heard they had Baked Alaska. Almost everything we had (Lobster Mac and Cheese, Polenta, Asparagus, and something else) was completely forgettable.

                The one exception was the Baked Alaska, which we'll remember as the only inedible Baked Alaska we've ever had. All of their desserts are prepared elsewhere, frozen, and then reheated when they're ordered. You might be able to pull that off with a piece of pie, but Baked Alaska that has been "baked," frozen, and then re-heated gives you a merangue that is rock hard on the outside, tasteless inside, causes the cake base to become permanantly glued to the piece of cardboard it is originally prepared on.

                1. re: Danny

                  Man, they must have been punishing you for complaining about the food; the exterior of the baked Alaska I ordered had a soft, velvety texture, and was fantastic -- and no problem whatsoever with the cake base becoming stuck to anything other than the inside of my stomach. I don't have your inside sources about whether it was made on site, but I'd happily pay $10 for another one. I suspect some of your dissatisfaction with the restaurant stemmed from ordering stuff like lobster mac and cheese; why mess with lobster in such a fashion? Alaska Eatery is definitely at its best when its working with wood grilled straightforward cuts of fish or meat.

                  1. re: jrnorton23

                    When your menu reads like this: Lobster & Truffle Mac n' Cheese - Cavatappi noodles, white truffle oil, lobster claw meat $18.95, you should get something an awful lot more impressive than what I got. It wasn't bad, but it certainly wasn't memorable. Take the Macaroni and Cheese side at Cafe Levain, toss a piece of lobster claw on top of it, and you have what I got.

                    The table behind us also had the Baked Alaska, and noticed the same texture oddities. They bluntly asked the server if it had been frozen and reheated, and got the admission that not only was it frozen and reheated, it was made off-site.

                    As for simply prepared fish, I don't see why I'd go there when I can go to Oceanaire for only a few dollars more? Oceanaire provides a much broader selection of fish, a much more memorable experience, WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY better service, and much better atmosphere. (Not to mention that their vastly superior baked alaska is only $7.) If we were only dissapointed by the food, I'd say I'm overreacting, but that just isn't the case.

                    The entire experience wasn't good. The service was spotty and unprofessional (our server rolled her eyes after we told her that the manager had already taken our dessert order). The restaurant itsself was pretty empty, but the bar was packed. In fact, there were so many people in the bar watching the hockey game that at one point they turned off the muzak and had the hockey game's audio playing through the entire restaurant! (After a few minutes of hockey, they went with silence in the dining room. I guess they can't have different audio in the bar and dining room - so they went with hockey in the bar, and nothing in the dining room.)

                    This is why I put out my warning after seeing it suggested as a special occasion restaurant. If I was looking for a romantic evening, and got that sort of atmosphere, I'd be very, very dissapointed.

                    In a lot of ways, Alaska Eatery reminded me a lot of the short lived Billfish grill, which was just on the other side of 394. The owners at Billfish made no bones about the fact that they were testing a concept that they wanted to build into a chain (even going so far as to put Billfish Grill #1 on the receipts) I was curious to see if Alaska Eatery is from the same mold, so I just did a little research. It should come as a surprise to noone that the restaurant is owned by a company that specializes in corporate food: http://www.foodservicenews.net/fsnarc...

                    I'd say that you're much better off driving 10 minutes to the Oceanaire. If gigantic restaurants in the middle of a parking lots are your thing, head in the other direction to Maple Grove and hit Pittsburgh Blue, where the Oceanaire/Manny's Lite concept is executed a lot more soundly.

              2. A couple more ideas.

                Best of India has some very good Indian food.

                Little Tel Aviv is in Minneapolis but spitting distance to St. Louis Park, just off Lake Calhoun in the strip mall next to Walgreens. It's a Kosher Israeli dairy deli.

                In the same strip mall you'll find Punch Neapolitan Pizza.

                Welcome to "The Cities."

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                Best of India
                8120 Minnetonka Blvd, Minneapolis, MN 55426

                3 Replies
                1. re: MplsM ary

                  Links to other Places that didn't stick.

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                  Punch Pizza
                  3226 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55416

                  Little Tel-Aviv
                  3238 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55416

                  1. re: MplsM ary

                    thanks for the reco. just went to Best of India and it was pretty good. Coming from Chicago I was initially afraid of any restaurant in a strip mall, but I guess I will need to learn to adjust.

                    1. re: DukeFan

                      surprisingly, a lot of 1st ring suburban strip malls incubate some of msp's best emerging new ethnic restaurants, because the rent is cheap & the entrepreneurs choose to get into a nicer new build-out with less hassle than an older, shabbier storefront closer to metro center (with higher rent). not saying you should troll suburban parking lots for grub, but don't discount any rec from the boards about a gem that happens to be in an out of the way strip-mall, it might be a winner!

                  2. I'm an SLP'er and admit to generally leaving the city to dine.

                    Folks have mentioned most of the handful of small non-chain places. I'll mention El Gordo in the Knollwood Center. It's not bad basic Mexican fare and their carnitas torta is excellent. And the Big Bowl in the SLP Byerlys does fine no-brain take-out.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: demijohn

                      went to Good Day cafe a couple morning ago and breakfast was quite good-- very very good omlette. Went to Broders Pasta for dinner last night as well. Broders was very disappointing for me. Pasta was overcooked and the service was awful. I know there are alot of fans of this place on this board, but i honestly don't see that all the fuss is about.

                      on a other note, those I am overall been pleasantly surprised by the dining options in the area, I have to say that I feel the service has been very disappointing (not the Minnesota Nice) I was expecting. With few exception, I almost always feel like I am inconveniencing the server and the speed of service is much slower than I have come to expect as well.

                      1. re: DukeFan

                        I've never been to Broder's Pasta Bar but when I lived in that neighborhood I did a lot of takeout from the deli. I wouldn't write off anyplace based on one experience, but I'd still give Broder's a chance - at least on the deli side of the street if I were you.

                        As for service, I'm glad you brought that up. I think we've become too complacent on that score. I don't think we should have to spend a mint to get fast and courteous service. I know I've become inured to it to the point that when I go to Pepitos and my food comes to the table five to seven minutes after I've ordered it (bean lupitas - always the bean lupitas), I'm surprised and delighted. That just shouldn't be.

                        1. re: MplsM ary

                          Places links:

                          -----
                          Broders Cucina Italiana
                          2308 W 50th St, Minneapolis, MN 55410

                          Broders' Southside Pasta Bar
                          5000 Penn Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55419

                          Pepitos
                          4817 Chicago Ave, Minneapolis, MN

                    2. In SLP .. Check out Brix (Italian) and McCoys (burgers). Both in the Excelsior Grand complex....Decent places, nothing fabulous, but consistent and dependable along with being probably real close.