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Mar 22, 2008 03:50 PM

Special Dinner for College Reunion? (MN)

My 5 year college reunion is coming up in June and I and my former roomies want to skip out on the planned activities for a night to have a special dinner by ourselves. 2 of us studied abroad in Italy during college so we were thinking a nice, authentic (or as authentic as we can get in MN, anyway) Italian place would be nice if we can find one. However, I'd be happy to hear recs for other types of food as well, if you think the restaurant is something really special. The reunion is down in Northfield, so we'd prefer to stick to the south metro if possible, but we'll go further into the city if we must. As far as price, we're all still in grad/professional school, so we'll probably want to aim for a maximum of $30-40/person (not including alcohol). With all those caveats, what can you folks recommend for us?

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  1. I think with prudence in ordering, you'd be able to do Osteria I Nonni for $30-40 per person. Check out their menu to see if the price points work for you. I've not eaten there, but have only heard good things. It's in Lilydale, so you'd be just south of St. Paul.

    I Nonni
    981 sibley memorial hwy, Lilydale, MN 55118

    1 Reply
    1. re: bob s

      Its excellent - Highly recommended. The bill can add up pretty fast but its a wonderful option if it works.

      Anything with gnocci should be ordered - multi times

      Tell them its a special occasion. & enjoy

    2. Another option in the south metro is Al Vento in Minneapolis, near Lake Nokomis.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Jordan

        Not meant as a criticism or a slam - merely a question since I've not been to Al Vento. Is it "authentic" Italian?

        1. re: bob s

          The word "authentic" is thrown around here a lot. Did you know that you wouldn't recognize Italian food from just a few hundred years ago? Tomatoes and peppers didn't exist in Europe until they were brought over from the Americas, and it took even longer before people began to take to these strange foods. So, I don't know what "authentic" is supposed to mean. What exactly are you looking for?

          1. re: Jordan

            I agree that the word "authentic" is not always the most descriptive - but when I think of an "authentic" Italian restaurant, I mean one that serves either Northern or Southern Italian cuisine - whether it's a "red sauce" kind of place or higher end. My question to you was whether or not there is another cuisine at Al Vento - e.g., hamburger and steak, "fusion", etc.

            1. re: bob s

              Thanks for clarifying. Al Vento's food is Italian. Primarily Southern, but red sauce makes up a very small part of the menu.

            2. re: Jordan

              We both studied in central Italy (me on a language program in Perugia, my roomie on a geology program in a tiny town whose name I can't remember), and I'd love to find a place that offers something like the prix fixe menu at my favorite restaurant in Perugia (though I recognize this might not be possible, especially within out price range). The restaurant I'm thinking of served family style, and started you with a bread salad, then 2 or 3 pastas, then a huge plate with anywhere from 3-5 different kinds of meat (typically including things like duck or goose). They also occasionally had things like wild boar and such, which I've never seen at any place I've been here in MN but would love to get the chance to eat.

              Looking at the Al Vento menu, it does look like a decent option; are there other places in the Twin Cities that are doing similar things?

              1. re: MN Law Student

                That sounds great, but it doesn't sound like anything I've experienced in Minnesota. I think your best option is to find one of our decent, local Italian restaurants and manage your expectations accordingly.

                1. re: Jordan

                  Here it is--the name of the restaurant is Dal Mi'Cocco, on the off chance that anyone one here has heard of it :-)