One week in Minneapolis
I will be in Minneapolis for one week and will be staying at the Millenium hotel. I would like some dinner recommendations nearby my hotel where it would be ok to dine alone. I have already gotten some recommendations for breakfast and more upscale places. I am looking for inexpensive to middle-range prices. Any type of cuisine but Asian.
Just across the street from the Millenium at the Hyatt is Manny's if you like steak and Oceanaire if you like seafood. You can't go wrong with either and many will say they are the best in their categories.
Within 2-3 blocks as you walk down Nicollet Mall is Brit's Pub (British), Vincent (French), Masa (Mexican), The Local (Irish), Hell's Kitchen (this should be on your breakfast list), The Dakota, The Newsroom (medium priced), Zelo's (Northern Italian) and McCormick & Schmick's (seafood again). Off Nicollet Mall no more than a block is Staccato's (American medium price), and Key's (another good breakfast). You can venture farther on the skyway system connected to the Millenium and find several fast food joints and more restaurants.
south of the millenium is eat street (nicollet ave), a diverse collection of ethnic eats with generally good pricing. as far as downtown goes, 112, saffron, & hell's kitchen make most chowhounds' fave lists. vincent is another fave, it has a great happy hour & many people like to eat alone in the bar. good sushi places, but not what you're after. i rec the local and brits for the atmosphere & beer, and for being friendly toward solo diners, but i don't really rec the food, though it's in your price range and if a good pint will make up for weak bar food, it's your call.
i'd encourage you to take a cab, bus or long walk out of downtown at some point to check out some local faves outside of downtown-- your odds for great chow at better prices increases as soon as you get a few blocks away from the big hotels. though there are some downtown gems, downtown can seem overpriced and chain-y, and many hounds avoid eating there. i'm sure other hounds who run with the biz crowd will have some good tips for you, dt is not my arena.
out of curiosity, what are your current recs for breakfast & upscale?
Thank you both for the suggestions.
Recs for breakfast are Hell's Kitchen, Panera and Keys.
For upscale: La Belle Vie, 20.21, The Chambers and Vincent A Restaurant. But I don't think I will be going to any of them, I don't really enjoy eating alone, so I rather keep it simple.
I do want to avoid the temptation of ordering too much room service! That's why I asked for solo dining recommendations.
In NYC is very common to dine alone at the bar and many good restaurants offer this possibility. Is this common in Minneapolis too?
I personally would eat alone anywhere and everywhere. I think that would be accepted just fine. Many business travelers are going to be doing that. But it's a matter of your own comfort level.
If you do want to cab it, Restaurant Alma a bit out of downtown would be on my list. Wouldn't be the cheapest, but is excellent.
Re: dining alone, yes, common here. I'm in the camp that doesn't understand the stigma, though sharing meals with friends, family (especially my wife) is always preferred.
La Belle Vie and 20.21 (though you said skip Asian) have very approachable solo dining at the bar with friendly/knowledgeable staff. 112 Eatery as well.
That said, your inexpensive to mid-range request didn't last long. Most of your recs (Vincent, 20.21, La Belle Vie, Chambers, Manny's, Oceanaire, Masa, The Dakota, Alma) are all among the higher tier of price for MSP, though you can order selectively. Check menus online for prices.
Oh...skip Panera for breakfast. Not at all noteworthy. Go to Hell's Kitchen and Keys first and then you'll probably want to go back to one of them.
Instead of Panera for one of your breakfasts, I would recommend Cafe Patteen. It is a lovely, independently-owned coffee shop in the International Centre. Go on a weekday for great coffee, espresso, scones and quiche.
From your hotel, take the skyway through the Convention Center, then follow the signs towards the Hilton Hotel and Int'l Centre.
Here's a link to a skyway map: www.mplstmo.org/pdf/mpls_skyway.pdf
920 2nd Ave S # 295, Minneapolis, MN
There was a thread about solo dining in MSP just a week or so ago that you can read at http://www.chowhound.com/topics/479357
Also, as for price, I think it depends on how much walking you like to do. I think there are some places within reasonable walking distance that would suit your needs. One place you might want to try for one meal would be Be'Wiched. You can read about it at http://www.chowhound.com/topics/446992
Also the thread about solo dining might be just what you're looking for.
Hope you have a great visit and enjoy your meals.
Just to add on to the thread. If you are interested in going anywhere by cab, The Birchwood cafe is always on my list for great food at an utterly reasonable price and people eat alone there all the time. I often see people with a glass of wine and a book over dinner. Great for all three meals of the day.
You could try Cafe Lurcat on Loring Park. They have a substantial bar with an excellent bar menu that would be perfect for a solo diner. If the weather is nice you could take the pedestrian bridge over to the Walker Gardens and check out the sculpture. This would all be an easy walk from the hotel. Nick and Eddie is another place located on Loring that may be suitable for solo dining, I haven't been there personally but it seems there are more positive things said than negatives and they have been around long enough now that they should have worked out the kinks.
If you are willing to cab it try Alma on in NE Minneapolis. You won't find a better meal for the money in MPLS. Not that it's cheap, it's just consistently excellent. For cheap eats try one of the Vietnamese joints south on Nicollet. Personally, I prefer Pho 79, but Jasmine Deli and Quang have their proponents too.
Just an FYI for out of towners. This is not a "flag down a cab" kind of town outside of downtown. If you take a cab someplace, make sure you have a phone number and a cell phone so you can summon a ride back to the Millenum.