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visiting minneapolis from nyc

oystersallday Feb 7, 2008 07:40 AM

hi all,

i am back in msp and was hoping to find a great restaurant for this evening. the place should be intimate--good for a date and birthday. although i am somewhat flexible with money, i would prefer more reasonable options. i don't know if there any new spots that have opened in minneapolis since i last visited in may. i have been told that 112 is good. what is your advice? i am willing to travel to st. paul.



  1. cheeseguysgirl Feb 7, 2008 12:52 PM

    Agree with all previous posts. Also, Cafe Ena and Corner Table (not new since May), as well as Blackbird and Heidi's (new).


    8 Replies
    1. re: cheeseguysgirl
      Chris Mitra Feb 7, 2008 01:17 PM

      Oh, yeah, Heidi's is a great suggestion -- and it is new since May. Blackbird is good and new, but not intimate -- tables are very close to each other. Heidi's is perfect.

      1. re: Chris Mitra
        bob s Feb 8, 2008 08:59 AM

        I have not been to Heidi's but went to Pane Vino Dolce several times. Is Heidi's "intimate"? I don't ask to suggest that it isn't, but my experience with PVD was that it was quite loud when busy. There have been a few situations where I've wanted to try Heidi's but I've been scared off by the noise. I'm sure I'll make it over to see for myself sometime, but I'd love to hear from others what the noise level is like.

        1. re: bob s
          mnitchals Feb 8, 2008 09:41 AM

          Well it is intimate in the sense that you are very close to your other diners and the wait staff is appropriately friendly and interested in you and your dining party. But it's not intimate in the sense that you can stare into each other's eyes in the dark candle-light. It might be good for a first date since you can always talk about the other people there but maybe not if you are proposing.

          1. re: mnitchals
            oystersallday Feb 9, 2008 10:16 AM

            Just to let you all know--I went to 112. As was mentioned, the restaurant did not rate high on the intimate scale but the food and service were very impressive. We had the duck and radicchio salad, the haricots verts, the steak, the pan friend gnocchi, a spare rib and the stringozzi with lamb. (let's just say that we went to town and ate our leftovers yesterday). Our favorites were the salad, the gnocchi and the steak. Good gnocchi is hard to find and these were light and soft, subtly sweet, and perfectly pan roasted. The salad was well-dressed,flavorful and crispy with shredded duck. The steak was perfectly prepared and not overwhelmed by the ponzu and nori combo (which I was initially suspicious of but which actually tasted delicious.) Staff was helpful, warm, and friendly and even though the music was a bit loud and they were out of the sea urchin risotto---we were very happy with the overall experience. Given all that we ate (and drank)--our meal was not that expensive and I was struck by the generosity of the portions and the general affordability of the menu.

            Thanks for all of your advice. I hope to make my way down your list of recommendations next time I am in town.


            1. re: oystersallday
              The Dairy Queen Feb 13, 2008 03:47 AM

              I'm glad you enjoyed your visit to the Twin Cities--I love 112's gnocci--I also had a wonderful gnocci at WA Frost in St. Paul not too long ago. So much gnocci, so little time...


              1. re: The Dairy Queen
                The Dairy Queen Feb 13, 2008 09:36 AM

                Sorry--I don't mean to bump this again, but I realize I should have mentioned that I think the gnocci I had at WA Frost might have been a special--I'm not sure it's a staple on their menu. (I'd hate for someone to run over there just for the gnocci and be disappointed if it weren't available. On the other hand, if you're there, and they have the gnocci, order it!)


                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                  oystersallday Feb 29, 2008 06:33 AM

                  i plan to come back to the cities in the next few months...so maybe i will try WA frost.
                  i have to say that on a different note, i also went to manny's tortas and LOVED it.

                  1. re: oystersallday
                    The Dairy Queen Feb 29, 2008 07:56 AM

                    Yes, Manny's is a favorite of mine, too. I love their Cubana.


    2. drew13000 Feb 7, 2008 10:29 AM

      Al Vento in South Minneapolis is dark and intimate--at least in the front room. The back room can be a little noisy if there's large groups.

      1. Chris Mitra Feb 7, 2008 09:40 AM

        Meritage is new since you were last here. Here's a thread about it, which coincidentally seems to mention a few birthday dates:


        1. The Dairy Queen Feb 7, 2008 08:24 AM

          Oh, how about Signature Cafe in Minneapolis? Cute little neighborhood spot.


          1. MSPD Feb 7, 2008 08:13 AM

            As TDQ mentioned, 112 is not "intimate". You can get a good idea at: www.112eatery.com

            My wife's birthday is coming up in a couple weeks and I'm taking her to Grand Cafe for a quiet, romantic dinner. www.grandcafempls.com Take a look at the dinner menu for price point.

            Not "new" but it's likely this was off your radar in May. It's a wonderful spot in a south Minneapolis neighborhood.

            1 Reply
            1. re: MSPD
              JimGrinsfelder Feb 10, 2008 10:13 AM

              I wanted to love Grand Cafe. There's a lot to like about it. The space is definitely the best intimate space in Minneapolis restaurants. The bakerboy oven is funky. The chef is talented and, apparently, a pretty good guy.

              The service was off the night we went. They were totally in the weeds and could not hide their distress. They were rushing people and wondering around with scowls and lots of whispering to each other. It was not a good scene.

              The wine list was ok, but nothing on it struck me as particularly good or good with the food.

              I'll go to Alma or Vincent instead.

            2. The Dairy Queen Feb 7, 2008 08:03 AM

              These recent Valentine's Day threads might be helpful to you. Personally, I like Heartland in St. Paul, but I have a very St. Paul bias--there are a ton of lovely places not in St. Paul. I love love love 112 Eatery, but I don't think of it as especially intimate/romantic.



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