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MSP - Valentine's Day $$

I'm looking ahead to Feb 14 and trying to think of a decent romantic place to go.

I'm thinking more Erte (a distinct possibility) more than Manny's as we are newlyweds and probably won't spend a ton of money. (like $$ not $$$$)

I went to a Mediterranean place about 4 or 5 years ago near the U of M (Minneapolis side) It wasn't too fancy but a nice affordable place to go so I'm also hoping someone here can remind me of what that place is called...

edit: Any suggestions for a place that has great rack of lamb would also be appreciated (probably bumping our bill to $$$ :)

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  1. You probably went to Kafe 421, a really great place.

    Kafe 421
    421 14th Avenue S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55415

    4 Replies
    1. re: churchka

      has it changed names in the past few years? That doesn't sound right. But that is the right area....

      *** Mangia *** that is the place I was thinking of

      1. re: babaoriley7

        mangia is right, but it's not the same type of place anymore. i think it's some sports bar or something..

        it was pretty nice, but what a terrible location.

        1. re: babaoriley7

          I don't think Kafe 421 has been there for quite five years has it? Mangia is right for the timeframe -- it was tucked into an exterior corner of the Dinkydome building next to the Lodge fraternity house. It is now a bar and I can't remember the name. Menu reads like a Champps or Majors.

          1. re: babaoriley7

            Indeed. It is called Downtime now and it is not good except for $2 pints at happy hour. The inside of the place smells like a fryer exploded.

        2. Was it the Caspian Bistro? It's on University Avenue, just east of Washington. I usually hear people refer to it as Mediteranian, but it's Persian. Great food at reasonable prices.

          1 Reply
          1. re: tart1

            That doesn't sound right either. Although at this point, I'm not sure I'd know it if I heard it.

          2. This is my short list so far (in order):

            112 eatery
            Heidi's Minneapolis
            Cafe Maud
            Bayport Cookery

            I've never been to any so if they aren't right for V-Day your input is appreciated. Are the Valentine's menus going to be way more expensive than I think?

            2 Replies
            1. re: babaoriley7

              I love Bayport Cookery! In fact we are going there for New Years. Their tasting menus are yummy and the fact that it is tiny and in a small town that is a little bit of a hike add to the romance for me! I would love to be taken there for Valentines! I believe they do have an ala carte menu but if you are there you should do the tasting menu. It looks like they will have a special 5 course menu on Valentines. Their regular five course is $55 and $20 for wine pairing. I would think for Valentines it may be a bit more. The other places are great too but this is a real destination and you can make it more of an event.

              1. re: babaoriley7

                Erte is sweet, but not terribly romantic.

              2. Though I haven't been there for a couple of years now, I liked taking romantic interests to The Barbary Fig on Grand in St. Paul. Good food, nice environment, fair prices. Don't know if that's too far from Mpls for you.

                1. I'd nominate Signature Cafe in Prospect Park. Nice cozy room, good people, good chow. Beer/Wine only. Could be considered near the U of M East Bank, if that's what you mean.

                  Signature Cafe & Catering
                  130 Warwick St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: ajs

                    Signature is always great! great price points for food and wine.

                    Heidi's was excellent and reasonable the first and only time I've gone.

                    1. re: ajs

                      How about the decor? romantic type place for V-Day?

                    2. A great place just outside the Cities that has a great rack of lamb for $20 is Paddy Ryan's Irish Pub in Hudson WI. It has a great atmosphere and good homemade food.

                      1. consider fugaise for v-day. i was just looking at their posted v-day prix fixe menu and remember thinking it was a good deal for the awesome quality of food and service there. now my brain is crashing and i can't seem to remember the details--aargh. i think it was $80/couple, or $120 with wine pairings, or was it $130, 5 courses *i think.* the menu isn't on their website, you'd have to call if you're interested.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: soupkitten

                          I looked into it and it is 80/person so probably too expensive for us this time around. The menu did sound delicious though.

                          1. re: babaoriley7

                            oh crud. i knew it had to be too good to be true. well good luck w/ all the other great suggestions. . .

                            i would like to retract fugaise and put in my vote for: craftsman, ngon, or tanpopo for v-day $$

                        2. A great place is Carousel Restaurant. It's on the 22nd floor and the whole room spins so you get a great view of Saint Paul. The food is great too. I was there a few years ago and it was $60 per person for V. day.

                          Carousel Restaurant
                          11 Kellogg Blvd E
                          St Paul, MN 55101-1005
                          Phone: (651) 605-0190

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: baxter08

                            The Carousel is no longer. The hotel is now a Crowne Plaza facility instead of a Radisson. Although many out-of-date reviews & listings are still present on the web, a call to the number confirmed that it has been replaced by Restaurant 11. That one does not spin.

                          2. Grand Cafe has really started to peak. Former sous chef at Auriga runs the kitchen. Jasmine 26 has a sexy feel, isn't expensive, and is food you can eat with your hands (always hot). JP's would be a good choice too.

                            3 Replies
                              1. re: bworp

                                Formerly Bakery on Grand. It's on Grand Avenue south of 38th Street in South Minneapolis.

                                1. re: bworp

                                  We've been to the Grand Cafe a couple times now and really like it. The only problem is that it can get LOUD. I don't know if that is so romantic.

                              2. Definitely look at the "Cheap Fancypants Food Challenge" thread for ideas.


                                My list of cheap fancypants places that could be considered romantic would include Ngon Bistro, Mairin's Table, Tanpopo, Bon Xai, and Vincent's - the bar area (might be fully booked for V-day, though).

                                Istanbul Bistro has lamb on the menu - not rack of lamb, though - and relatively low prices. Great lentil soup, too. The decor is nice, but not particularly romantic. But if you're with the one you love, even take-out fast food would be romantic! (Too bad there isn't a take-out joint with rack of lamb.)


                                Ngon Vietnamese Bistro
                                799 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55104

                                Cafe BonXai
                                1613 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55104

                                Tanpopo Noodle Shop
                                308 Prince St, Saint Paul, MN 55101

                                Vincent A Restaurant
                                1100 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403

                                Mairin's Table
                                23 4th St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413

                                Istanbul Bistro
                                15718 Wayzata Blvd, Wayzata, MN 55391

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: AnneInMpls

                                  You will find us at Blue Nile, I think =)

                                  ..sharing finger food.. guess you gotta be pretty comfy w.one another. Not "fancy" but it's fun and they have curvey sofa-soft comfy booths (old school). I recommend the gosa platters only. Heard the regular rice dishes aren't so hot.