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Kansas Citians moving to MN! Need new resturaunts!!

Hello everyone!

SO, we are relocating to MSP after a good 10 years in KC. While it's a little sad (friends, family, etc...) we are *really* excited about the potential food prospects in MSP! I mean, priorities, right? We are looking for a few recommendations to make the transition easier. Even one idea off the list would be very helpful...

1. Solid no-nonsense Chinese in Minneapolis proper (uptown, s. minneapolis, etc...)
2. Ethiopian
3. We had lovely Pho in a place on Eat St. the very end. Is there better?
4. Indian. Saag Paneer is a must, it's our son's fave!
5. Pizza, burgers, good old stuff
6. Mac and Cheese.
7. Thai
8. Schmancy, but not too $$$
9. Little neighborhood coffeeshops
10. Neighborhood bistro

We are trying to decide where to live, and while Eat st. area is tempting, we like to eat off the beaten path.

We are willing to trade KC BBQ for information. Thanks for the help!

Elizabeth et all

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  1. 1. I'd suggest either Ping's (1401 Nicollet Ave) or Rainbow (2739 Nicollet Ave)
    5. Pizza Luce (119 N 4th St and 3200 Lyndale Ave S)
    7. Tum Rup Thai (1221 W Lake St)
    9 Acadia has moved to 329 Cedar Ave S but I don't know if they're open yet. I also recommend the Boiler Room Cafe (1820 3rd Ave S)
    10 Bryant-Lake Bowl (810 W Lake St)

    1. 1. I`m afraid there is none better than Tea House in Plymouth for Szechuan food, but apparently they have a location in St Paul, which I haven`t tried, so I would check it out. I also like Hong Kong Noodle in Stadium Village (by the U of M) for coastal style Chinese.

      2. While I've had good Ethiopian food, the service has always been horrible. You can try the Blue Nile, but there are some more hole-in-the-wall places in Cedar Riverside that are good (but again, terrible service). I just went somewhere on Snelling and University, and their food varied wildly in quality (the chicken platter was good but the grand sampler was meh).

      3. Saigon noodle on University and Dale is my all-time fave. I'm not too impressed by the places on Eat Street.

      4. There's a place on 49th and Central (Columbia Heights) called Nala Pak. They had a fire and moved and have had a few re-models, but they make great Southern Indian food that's a bit different from the usual Indian we get here. You can also try Chutney's on 37th and Central for a bit more standard fare, and very friendly service.

      5. I like Pizza Luce for pizza, and if I can put up with the pretentious bobos, Punch's Woodfire Pizza. Honestly, though I usually go to California Pizza Kitchen if I'm outside of the city (in Maple Grove). I like basic burgers, so I go to Porky's, which I think is moving up to Central Ave. Another good option for both is Psycho Suzie's Motor Lounge, again in NE.
      6. Hmm, this I just make myself.

      The rest aren't really my style, and I'm sure you can find recommendations for them from other folks. I'm having spotty luck with the linking feature, so sorry if I don't have links for all the places. Also, there are a lot of Hmong here who moved to the US from Laos, so I think it's easier to find Lao food than Thai. They're similar cuisines, but not exactly the same. The best approach is to just try out all the mom&pop places on University in St Paul. I'm not wild about Thai food and I think Sawatdee is awful.

      Tea House
      1676 Suburban Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55106

      Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge and Tiki Garden
      2519 Marshall St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418

      1. For #5, I'm assuming that "good old stuff" includes "diner type food." If so, you are in luck, since in my (non-native) estimation, diners and greasy spoons are one of the area's real strong points.

        For fancy-pants diner food (didn't realize that existed? you're in for a treat!) try Town Talk Diner.

        Otherwise, ask around for neighborhood favorites, but definitely try some of these:

        -Mickey's Diner, downtown St. Paul (open 24/7 since 1939, I believe), also great breakfast
        -Snuffy's Malt Shop (if only for the name), St. Paul
        -The Dari-ette (closed for winter), an actual drive-in, Italian-American food as well as burgers and such, St. Paul
        -Matt's Bar in Mpls, home (original home even?) of the Juicy Lucy, a burger with molten cheese in the middle
        -The Nook, home of the Nookie Lucy, a version of the Juicy Lucy preferred by many

        And speaking of breakfast-- good 'greasy spoon' breakfast spots are also one of the area's fortes. You'll certainly want to go to Al's Breakfast in Dinkytown (be prepared to wait, but rest assured, it's worth it). Happy Eating!

        Matt's Bar
        3500 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55407

        Town Talk Diner
        2707 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55406

        Al's Breakfast
        413 14th Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

        Dairy-Ette Drive In [SEE DARI-ETTE DRIVE IN]
        1440 Minnehaha Ave E, Saint Paul, MN 55106

        Mickey's Diner
        36 7th St W, Saint Paul, MN 55102

        Nook - duplicate
        492 Hamline Ave, S St Paul, MN

        Snuffy's Malt Shop
        244 Cleveland Ave, S St Paul, MN

        1. Welcome to Minneapolis! If I were picking a place to live solely on the density of good restaurants and food shops, I'd go for Uptown. But there's an equal density of people, traffic, and noise, which I don't like.

          So if I were looking for a great neighborhood within a reasonable distance of the best food, I'd probably live in Seward - an area bounded, roughly, by Franklin Ave, Lake St, Hiawatha Ave, and the river. Here's what you'd get in Seward:

          1. Keefer Court (West Bank) is my current favorite "no nonsense" Chinese joint. It's tiny and very casual, and is a Chinese bakery as well.

          2. Ethiopian places abound on West Bank, but my favorite has closed, and I haven't picked a new favorite yet. (Instead, I'm obsessed with the great Somali food at Safari in the Midtown Global Market.) Others have recommended the Blue Nile at the edge of Seward.

          3. Alas, I haven't discovered a great Pho place in/near Seward proper. But you'd be only 2-3 miles from Eat Street and not too far from St. Paul's University Ave (where my favorites are Pho Ca Dao and Saigon). Jasmine Orchid and Bona are across the river near the East Bank campus - both are good options, though not world-class. (But try the Bona's Duck and Rice Noodle soup - it's WONDERFUL!)

          4. There's an OK Indian place at Franklin & 31st (I forget the name), plus lots of good places in Uptown. I like Marla's, partly for the food, and partly for the charm of the owner. My favorite Indian place is Bombay 2 Deli in N.E. Mpls, but they don't have saag paneer very often (they make three different dishes each day and serve them at a tiny counter in a grocery store).

          5. I gotta pass on this one - I don't eat much "Pizza, burgers, good old stuff." There's a Pizza Luce in Seward, but I'm not a fan.

          6. Ditto. It's hard to find a good, traditional mac & cheese in this town. Upscale gourmet versions are available, but I find them too rich to appreciate.

          7. True Thai at Franklin & 27th is my favorite Thai place in town. Chai's Thai Restaurant on West Bank is also good.

          8. Birchwood has schmancy food at good prices. It's a coffeeshop/cafeteria with gourmet, organic, locally produced food (and amazing desserts). For sit-down schmancy, I'd recommend the Craftsman. Or scoot across the river to Signature or Jay's Cafe.

          9. Coffeeshops abound, including Birchwood, Blue Moon, Cliquot Club, and 2nd Moon.

          10. See answer #8.

          Have I sold you on Seward yet? Me, I live just across the river from Seward, so I haven't done too badly for myself - plus, I'm just a bit closer to the great Asian restaurants in St. Paul!


          1 Reply
          1. re: AnneInMpls

            Oh, yeah - places links!

            Also I remembered the name of the Indian restaurant in Seward - Moti Mahal. I'm pretty sure they'd have saag paneer on their menu.


            Birchwood Cafe
            3311 E 25th St, Minneapolis, MN 55406

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

            Jay's Cafe
            791 Raymond Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55114

            Craftsman Restaurant
            4300 Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55406

            Jasmine Orchid
            304 Oak St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

            True Thai Restaurant
            2627 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55406

            Chai's Thai Restaurant
            414 1/2 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55454

            Moti Mahal
            3025 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55406

            Keefer Court Bakery & Cafe
            326 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55454

            Safari Express
            920 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55407

            Bona Vietnamese Restaurant
            815 Washington Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

            Blue Moon Coffee Cafe
            3822 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN

            Clicquot Club Cafe
            2929 E 25th St, Minneapolis, MN

            2nd Moon Coffee Cafe
            2225 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404

            Marla's Indian and Caribbean Cuisine - MOVED
            1123 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN

          2. If you choose to brave the wild Mississippi and end up in St. Paul (there are some wonderful neighborhoods here), you might consider:

            1. (obviously no recommendation here)
            2. Fasika (the place near University & Snelling) is the restaurant the other poster mentioned; my experience there has been universally good, if not great. The place is always packed and most of the customers seem to consider it "home cooking" IYKWIM. :-)
            3. "Better" pho is always open to interpretation, but +1 on Saigon; I'll also nominate Hoa Bien (though I'll admit it's been a while since I've been there).
            4. There are no good Indian restaurants within St. Paul city limits, but Minneapolis is not that far away, especially from some parts of St. Paul.
            5. I don't eat much pizza, but I like the pizza at Punch in Highland Park. More in the realm of "good ol" pizza, there's Red's Savoy Inn in a few locations. Burgers and such are good at Snuffy's and Casper's & Runyon's Nook. The St. Clair Broiler is a good "good old stuff" restaurant for breakfast through dinner; so are the two Key's Cafes in town.
            6. Can't answer this one; don't tend to eat mac 'n' cheese.
            7. There's Krua Thai (assuming it's still open; owners have been trying to sell the place), Taste of Thailand, and likely one or two others I can't remember right now.
            8. I'm a fan of Barbary Fig, a romantic kind of place that doesn't cost a lot. Ristorante Luci is good Italian, too, IME.
            9. There's a bunch: Dunn Bros is a local chain; the one on Grand Avenue always seems to be busy and tasty. Coffee News a little further down Grand is a favorite of mine. Then there's Jerabek's, Swede Hollow, and Cafe Juliahana...
            10. "Bistro", I find, is a term that is bandied about pretty loosely. Maybe if you let us know more of what you're looking for, I can make more specific recommendations.

            Enjoy it here! It really is a good place to live. Don't let an initial winter visit lead you astray. :-)

            1 Reply
            1. re: steve_in_stpaul

              Hoa Bien has moved into a new space that is much bigger and less freaky than the tiny shack it used to be in. It's my #2 pho restaurant, and the one I bring people to if I don't want to keep heading east to Dale or if I'm eating with people who would be weirded out by Saigon (it's not that bad...just a divey old seafood restaurant).

              At Hoa Bien I *wouldn't* recommend the grill-it-yourself option. It's a hassle and you're likely to get more hungry in the process than the resulting food would satisfy. Besides, isn't the point of eating out that you don't have to cook? It looks nifty when you see other people doing it, though.

              People keep saying the Barbary Fig isn't too expensive, by my experience a few years ago were high prices and small portions, but that was a while ago and maybe I'm just really cheap.

              I second checking out the Midtown Global Market since you can basically find all the international options you just listed under one roof, plus tons of other stuff.

              Midtown Global Market
              2929 Chicago Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407

            2. 2. Three threads (including one I started) looking for the best Ethiopian in MSP:


              Even though I made that post back in June (and received 7 responses - this must be one of the most helpful and talkative boards on CH!), I still haven't eaten Ethiopian in MSP. When I get some friends together we'll go to Fasika, which seems to be the most popular one on here. Their website is here:


              Check out the giant $26.25 "ultimate combination", which supposedly feeds 3 people...looks good to me!

              4. There are numerous Indian restaurants in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and even the suburbs. One place I strongly suggest is Bombay 2 Deli on Central Ave. in Minneapolis. It's more of a grocery store snack bar than a restaurant (very limited seating), but it's good, cheap, and has a very interesting menu. If you're visiting on the weekend, try the samosa chaat. They have curry too, but what ones are available varies day-to-day. Their simple and hard to find website (with menu) is here:


              A thread about Indian in MSP is here:


              One place I've seen suggested here, but have not yet been to, is The Kabobs in Bloomington:


              If you happen to be up in the Duluth area, make sure to try our own India Palace on Superior St. In a newspaper review a few years back, a "world traveller" who tries saag paneer wherever he goes claimed India Palace had the best, alongside a restaurant around the Swiss-French border.

              Bombay2Deli [SEE BOMBAY 2 DELI
              ]Minneapolis, MN, Minneapolis, MN

              1 Reply
              1. re: tvdxer

                ALERT! Fasika is the place I went to just last week, and I have to say that the Ultimate Combination was disappointing. My mom got the Chicken Tibs & Rice and everyone was stealing from her platter because it was so good. I'd skip the combo and just get a few entrees you know you'll like. We're definitely going back for more chicken tibs.

              2. Ok,

                We officially packed and ready to trek North. And now I am officially excited about food. We are bringing Oklahoma Joe's, Fiorella's, Arthur Bryants, and Gate's with us. But other than that, we are totally ready for MSP!!! though, it seems that many more of the good ethnic is in SP instead of M...;)

                Thanks again!

                P.S. We have a group in KC that meets for meals off the LTH/Chowhound forum. Please let me know if there's such a gathering up here.

                Up here. That'll take some getting used to!

                3 Replies
                1. re: ehadleyr

                  Welcome to the Twin Cities.

                  We seem to have “chowdowns” on this board every 3-4 months—whenever someone feels like organizing one. Here’s a link that discusses some past chowdowns http://www.chowhound.com/topics/46299... Just keep an eye out for the “chowdown” announcements the organizers will make here on the boards. Or, organize one yourself (anyone can be an organizer as these gatherings are completely grassroots—not sponsored by chowhound.com or cnet or anything).

                  Both Minneapolis and St. Paul have concentrations of “ethnic” eateries--I'm not sure one is better than the other. Minneapolis has “Eat Street,” which is packed with tons of spots http://www.eatstreetminneapolis.com/ as well as Lake Street, which is home to tons of wonderful places (in the thread I linked above there should be a post to our “Lake Street Taco Crawl” report), including Midtown Global Market http://midtownglobalmarket.org/ and Mercado Central http://www.mercadocentral.net/ , both of which have a bunch of interesting food stands places housed under a single roof.

                  St. Paul has University Avenue, which has tons of places, particularly Southeast Asian, as well as Snelling Avenue, which also has some terrific restaurants where it intersects University and where it intersects Grand. There’s a thriving Latino community on the West Side of St. Paul with a pocket of neat restaurants and Burrito Mercado, a terrific grocery. http://www.elburritomercado.com/home.htm (Sorry, no comprehensive links, St. Paul isn’t as well organized as Minneapolis, and I say that as lovingly as possible. But, there’s a ton of threads on this board, though, so it's possible to find them if you want to).

                  Both Minneapolis and St. Paul have terrific farmers markets here (especially in season)---
                  and a thriving co-op culture. (Start with The Wedge in Minneapolis or Mississippi Market on Selby at Dale in St. Paul) http://www.purefood.org/coops.htm (scroll down to “Minnesota”.) Actually, we have great grocery stores in general, I think.

                  We also have wonderful bakeries http://www.mspmag.com/dining/features... butchers, other purveyors of fine foods. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/439171

                  Lots of chefs in the Twin Cities subscribe to the local and sustainable philosophy. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/405174

                  Oh, and I forgot to link my favorite "cheap fancypants challenge" thread http://www.chowhound.com/topics/345700 THere's a bunch of new places that have cropped up in the past six months by chefs with fine dining creds, like Be'wiched, Blackbird Bistro, Heidi's, Cafe Levain, Nick and Eddies that might qualify for cheap and fancypants, but those places may still need some vetting on this board.

                  You didn't mention ice cream, but get thee to Izzy's in St. Paul http://www.izzysicecream.com/

                  Here's an old Mac & Cheese thread. I'm sure all the places mentioned therein are still good, though, there might be some new places that need to be added to the list: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/31485...

                  Here's a best burger thread from this past summer http://www.chowhound.com/topics/423633

                  For "fancy pizza" there's a perpetual debate over Punch Pizza, Pizza Nea and Pizza Luce, but otherwise, here's a best "old style" pizza thread http://www.chowhound.com/topics/361088 A best Chicago style pizza thread http://www.chowhound.com/topics/387336

                  A best fried chicken thread http://www.chowhound.com/topics/360794

                  I used to recommend newcomers check out two-time James Beard winning critic Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl's reviews in the free weekly City Pages, but she's apparently moving to Minnesota Monthly Magazine this month. So, the archives of City Pages are still pretty good, but I guess will gradually get stale. The search function there ain't what it used to be either. Still, here it is:

                  People on this board are very knowledgeable and helpful (speaking from experience) --so post your questions, and your reports, please!--here and we'll point you to the great chow! It won't be the same as home, of course, but there's lots that's wonderful and interesting about this place that will make you come to love it.


                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    TDQ is a wealth of information and a treasure! Search her previous posts for even more great restaurant tips.

                    And she's right - St. Paul is a wonderful place (I used to live there, even though I'm now "AnneInMpls"). Here are general links for the area around El Burrito Mercado - it has the fusion name of "District del Sol" - and for Grand Ave. (mostly chains now, but a few locally owned places that have held their ground).



                    Welcome to MSP, Elizabeth! Get some long underwear for the winter, and lots of mosquito repellent for the summer, and you'll be fine with the weather extremes. The food is always great here.


                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      wow. bookmark this post for all-purpose "intro to dining in msp" & "msp food 101" queries. an awesome overview.

                  2. You can take care of #6 and #9 on your list by going to Anodyne Cafe at Nicollet and 43rd St. Very creamy with good chewy noodles and comes in a fat coffee mug.

                    I've heard the somewhat new place Red Stag has mac and cheese on the menu but I've haven't gone to try it yet.

                    When the State Fair rolls around you'll want to try the mac & cheese on a stick!

                    1. Welcome to the great white north.

                      1. Jun Bo is on the 494 strip ( not minneapolis proper) and has probably the biggest/busiest dim sum service in town.

                      3. Pho 79 - on Nicollet- consistently good. Any time I tried some place else I have jonesed for Pho 79.
                      5. Convention Grill on France Ave (border of Minneapolis & Edina)- They do burgers and malts really, really well.

                      8. Lucia's in Uptown ( could fall in Category 10 too)
                      9. Anodyne at Nicollet and 43rd- most Baristas are pretty good and their food is solid
                      Java Jacks- Coffee Shop that has the bonus of sharing space with the best bakery in the Twin Cities
                      Gigi's - More of an all day cafe than a straight up coffee shop
                      10. We are blessed with a bounty of neighborhood restaurant/bistro/cafes in south minneapolis
                      Grand Cafe, Cafe Margeaux, Corner Table, Blackbird, Heidi's, Broders Pasta Bar, Cafe 28, Cave Vin, Cafe Maude - All good, all have character, all dish up great meals

                      Bonus Picks- Victor's Cafe on Grand & 38th. Cuban joint that does breakfast/brunch really well. (Can't vouch for their dinners) Mango pancakes/waffles are the bomb.

                      Ted Cook's 19th hole- It's tough to recommend BBQ to somone from KC but this take out only joint is solid

                      Pumphouse Creamery- Lot's of fun flavors and all sourced from local ingredients when possible (I have yet to see locally grown vanilla in MN)

                      Be'wiched- From Scratch Deli- in Wharehouse district. I salivate just thinking about the place

                      1. 1. Solid no-nonsense Chinese in Minneapolis proper (uptown, s. minneapolis, etc...) Rainbow or Seafood Palace
                        2. Ethiopian Not sure
                        3. We had lovely Pho in a place on Eat St. the very end. Is there better? Not sure
                        4. Indian. Saag Paneer is a must, it's our son's fave! Taste of India in Golden Valley
                        5. Pizza, burgers, good old stuff Matts Bar (Juicy Lucy), Punch Pizza, Convention Grill (Burgers)
                        6. Mac and Cheese. Not sure
                        7. Thai Tru Thai
                        8. Schmancy, but not too $$$ 112 Eatery, Heidis or Lurcat
                        9. Little neighborhood coffeeshops Note sure
                        10. Neighborhood bistro I really like Cave Vin and 112

                        1. TAM TAM's! Did someone already mention Tam Tam's on Cedar? It's more general African, but very good.

                          There's lots of places to buy Injera and berberr spice, to kind of make your own Ethiopian-ish dishes.

                          1. I would encourage you to settle into one of the neighborhoods in South Minneapolis where you'll find a plethora of great places to eat! Uptown, Kingfield, Linden Hills are all good and close enough to eat street and downtown for that matter.

                            I love neighborhood places and we have plenty of them - some fancier than others. Rice Paper in Linden Hills has great Thai food. Victor's 1959 Cafe at 38th & Grand in Kingfield neighborhood is a Cuban place best known for their great breakfasts, but I have to tell you their dinner menu rocks and in the summer they have a great patio. Just around the corner from them is Grand Cafe, more upscale and pricier but very good. Then there is always Lucia's in Uptown and My-T-Fine at 43rd and Bryant. Cafe Crema at 34th and Lyndale - fabulous ice cream there! It's Greek to Me at Lake St and lyndale is really good and they have a an awesome patio for summer dining. Barbette in Uptown - oh I could go on and on... Welcome to Minneapolis! There will never be a shortage of places for you to dine!