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Feb 29, 2008 06:29 AM

MSP-Almost have been to every restaurant in Uptown....

Hello. I have vowed to go to every restaurant in Uptown and I only have a few left. I want to go somewhere that is friendly to a loner, and not too noisy so I can read a book and watch the scenery inside or outside. This is tonight, and I need some suggestions. Here are the ones I haven't been to yet (that I remember)

Old Chicago
Stella's Fish Cafe
Pizza Luce
Restaurant Miami
Campiello (dress code? only for couples?)
Chang Mai Thai

There are probably some others that I haven't gone to. Really like Felafel King, Figlio, Taste of India, Egg and I.

Your suggestions are most welcome!!


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  1. Crema will be fine, although I bet their menu will be fairly limited. Depending on the crowd on a Friday night, you may or may not feel squeezed in the space.

    While Old Chicago and Stella's are perfectly fine, I think they're geared more toward a group than a single diner and, unless you get there early, will be too crowded for a book. Pizza Luce and Herkimer may be the same.

    Campiello is a little fancier, but we drop in after a movie without dressing up all the time. They have a few smaller tables near the bar where you would find it to be a little more quiet.

    I prefer Tum Rup and Amazing Thailand over Chiang Mai for Thai food.

    If I were looking to curl up with a book and have a leisurely dinner, I'd think about Lucia's Bakery (closes early, so perhaps the Wine Bar instead), Barbette, Common Roots, or Namaste. I've eaten solo in all of those restaurants and have enjoyed myself. There are undoubtedly other places, but that's what comes to mind at the moment.

    3 Replies
    1. re: bob s

      Embarrassing confession: I have never been to Campiello because I can't figure out where the front door is. Is the entrance on Lake Street, or do you have to enter through the parking lot?

      In response to mahlerii's question, Crema is good for solo dining. Old Chicago can be pretty boisterous. May not be book friendly.

      The food at Chiang Mai Thai is fine, in my opinion. I'm sure you could get a seat at the bar, but Friday nights in the restaurant tend to be busy so you may have to wait for a table.

      I agree with bob's suggestion of Common Roots (but maybe you've already been there and are looking for something new.)

      If you're willing to go as far down Lyndale as Crema, you could go just one block more to El Meson.

      1. re: StPauliGirl

        I think they promote entering through the parking lot. In the winter they lock the doors on Lake Street, but sometimes, you can enter by the bar (corner of Lake and Girard) in the summer.

        1. re: StPauliGirl

          El Meson is great, but the atmosphere will not work for book reading-my wife and I love going there for their food, though. If I drive my car there, I could park in the lot at Campiello, which is where I am gravitating to at the moment.

      2. Herkimer and Luce should be fine for solo

        1. imho, bluntly, old chicago is for frat boy reunions. they do have a very broad selection of beer if you are a beer lover, but then again, that may mean the beer is not-so-fresh. . .

          pizza luce is casual and aging-punk-rocker staffed, sometimes crowded, food is average similar to the downtown luce.

          herkimer is a microbrewery (again, if you like beer) with food that can be decent bar food, nothing spectacular. can get loud. i liked sitting outside there in the summer months.

          chiang mai thai's food used to be better, imho, but some dishes there are good. sometimes gets raucous in the bar area in the evenings.

          i never went to stella's, the consensus on the boards seems to be that the food is of uneven quality but i think the oysters are supposed to be good.

          i second Bob's sentiments on lone-diner uptown recs & would add marla's on lake & dupont (mom & pop indian/caribbean--not fancy).

          6 Replies
          1. re: soupkitten

            oh i meant to ask-- is restaurant miami new? what & where is it?

            1. re: soupkitten

              I haven't been because I don't think I'm their target and I'm just not hip enough. Dara reviewed the place

              It definitely does NOT seem like the place to go if you are seeking a "not too noisy" place.

              Restaurant Miami
              913 West Lake St., Minneapolis

              1. re: MplsM ary

                wow. . . thanks for the link Mary, looks like a crazy place. i am torn between a desire to support owner proprietors who are doing something pretty out there & independent. . . and thinking it's all just so silly! i may have to stop in for a "her womb is so polluted" or 2 just to say i did-- like when i'm wearing my cool-kid boots and not my frumpy chef-pants-and-bandanna ensemble. . . but yeah doesn't sound quiet & mellow by any means! :)

            2. re: soupkitten

              I went to Marla's in an earlier incarnation. It is the same restaurant with a different owner? I have only had the buffet here, not supper. I was very impressed, however.

              1. re: mahlerii

                I'm pretty sure it's a different owner.

                1. re: mahlerii

                  yes the restaurant was named natraj before, & before that it was mughal's. the new owner is a cousin of harry singh's, & she has added a page of caribbean specialties to the menu. the food is still very good.

              2. Here's my own peculiar spin from my days of soloing and reading in Uptown:

                If you are looking for recs from your OP list, I would agree with soupkitten that Old Chicago is really a frat boy/travel suit kind of place. It's a national chain with forgettable pizza and 101 beers. You can get the same beers at William's a few doors down, plus a much more interesting crowd, but on a Friday don't expect to be able to read - too noisy. I've soloed at Williams, but only during the week. And you can get better pizza at Luce with a much hipper crowd, also. I haven't eaten at the uptown Luce, though, so won't comment on crowd/solo/reading.

                Taste of India is also forgettable in terms of quality of their food, compared with say the now gone New Dehli, but it is passably good and would be a relatively quiet spot for reading and solo.

                Chiang Mai is definitely a see-and-be-scene and will no doubt be absolutely slammed on a Friday night. The food was among the best Thai when the place opened, but that was many years ago, and I don't think it compares favorably to Tum Rup or Amazing.

                Herkimer will be busy busy, but of all the brew pubs in town, they probably have the best apps. Beer's tasty too. And I've soloed there before a number of times.

                The only time I ate at Campaniello I came away with the impression that it's definitely not as upscale (read dress code and romantic couples) as say D'Amico Cucina on 6th, but the food was quite good. It was fairly quiet and would probably work for solo.

                Falafel King (the LynLake location) is pretty much more of a cafeteria than a true restaurant, at least in terms of ambience. Tasty falafel though, and I've soloed there as well.

                Egg and I for brekkers.

                My impression of Figlio is to expect it to be like Chiang Mai - full of 30-something hipsters on their way to (or later, from) the club scene. I've not been, but the only people I know personally who have fit this description, and that's what the crowd has looked like from the outside. Sort of like a Mediterranean version of Chino Latino.

                Good luck and have fun!

                4 Replies
                1. re: Loren3

                  I think I'm going to Campiello because I found out that there is a program going on called "Restaurant Week" where upscale restaurants are having 3 course meals at either $15 or $30. The other restaurants in the area are Barbette, Herkimer and Stella's. Has anyone ever participated in this before? Is it a great deal?

                  1. re: mahlerii

                    Call ahead. I think that there are limited #s of reservations at each restaurant for Restaurant Week. I'd find it hard to believe that there would be open reservations on a Friday night. But who knows...

                    1. re: bob s

                      I was able to get a reservation at 7:30 pm by calling them. But wasn't able to get a seat until 8pm. I asked if I could come back and they said yes. I almost went to Barbette, but I wanted Campiello. And it was worth it! Although I couldn't read a book because the light was not bright enough (mostly by candlelight, which kept going out, much to the chagrin of the waiters and waitresses) the food and people-watching more than made up for it. I had a seat next to the kitchen (reminded me of Figlio) so I was watching the cooks and the waitresses and their version of Gordon Ramsey (2 minutes on table 43!). After my bread was brought by a surly looking waiter, my waitress was personable, helpful and congenial. I really felt welcome there even though I was on my own. It was also very noisy, but of course, it was friday! The $30 deal was a great idea! There were many great choices! I chose a Caesar Salad with Toasted Semolina Croutons which would have been $7.50, the Grilled Hangar Steak with fried potato ribbons (which reminded me of pasta) truffle oil and parmesan cheese which would have been $19.50 and for dessert Nutella Semifreddo with Hazlenut Torrone for $7.50. All the food was exceptional. Took awhile to get the steak, but once it came, wow! I would like to go with my wife sometime. Highly recommended! Now, where to go to next month?