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Jul 10, 2008 04:17 PM

MSP--Where to eat near the Convention Center/Hilton Tower


I'll be in MSP next week for work and I'm staying at the Hilton and I'll have meetings between there and the Convention center. Most of the meals will unfortunately be in the hotel/center--but when I can get out to eat--where do you suggest I go? I'm really looking for regional favorites--it does not have to be 5 star (it's probably better if it is not). I'm coming from NYC metro--so I'm not interested in trying any Italian/pizza places. I love ethnic foods--so please give me some of your favorites and approximate distance (by foot, cab, etc) from where I'll be. I will not have a car for this trip--so I'll probably want to stay in the city.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. A half block away on 10th Street is Hell's Kitchen (regionally unique), an excellent choice for breakfast or lunch. A short block away is a string of moderate to fine restaurants in The Local (Irish), The Dakota (jazz music), Brits (British of course), Masa (Mexican) and Vincents (French) on Nicollet Mall. If you encounter bad weather you could easily skyway walk over to the Hyatt and have dinner at Manny's (steak) or Oceanaire (seafood). You don't have to cab or even walk too far to satisfy yourself with some of Minneapolis' best or interesting places. There's much more downtown.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Davydd

      Agree with all recs. However, The Dakota is booked for the entire convention. So is Brits. So is Manny's. You'll have great meals at Vincent, Masa, Hell's Kitchen.

      If you have a more specific food request (specific ethnic, for example), we can add to the list(s) started here.

      1. re: Brad Ballinger

        Brad, are you talking about the Republican National Convention?

        It looks like the OP is referring to the facility (Convention Center next week) rather than the event (in September). Do your statements about the restaurants being booked still apply to the OP's time frame?

        1. re: KTFoley

          You mean there's another convention? Sorry, my bad on that. There have been some posts on the RNC and I quickly assumed this was one.

          So, no, those places are not booked for the convention the OP is attending. Note to OP: indulge away.

    2. strong 2nd on hell's for breakfast. *definitely* hit 112 eatery (downtown, short cab) for 1 or more dinner. you may enjoy saffron across the street as well. maybe check them out for their great $5 you-call it martini happy hour with special prices on small plates (mediterranean/middle eastern). downtown is long on trendy & chain restaurants and short on substance (honestly most of the food downtown *sucks*-- or is just not notable-- i wouldn't take friends from nyc to most places downtown), but there are some notable exceptions, which the others will clue you in on i'm sure.

      check out eat street (nicollet, south of your hotel). some great small vietnamese places. i enjoy quang, other hounds like jasmine deli, pho 79. twin cities are strong on restaurants featuring local ingredients, and tis the season-- in no order: heartland, restaurant alma, lucia's, barbette, craftsman, strip club, spoonriver, sapor. . . scores of others, but these are strongest cuisine-wise. closest to your hotel would be spoonriver, sapor, alma, barbette, lucia's, craftsman. if i had to rec not accounting for distance: alma, heartland (though heartland would be a cab ride into st paul & not much around the restaurant to see). if you will have any blocks of time to get into some of the neighborhoods outside of downtown you can also get into some good eats (good museums, good parks, good theater, sights etc.) if you are interested in taking some food/food gifts back to nyc i'd make a point of picking up some mn/wi cheeses, maple syrup & sugar, and real hand-harvested wild rice (as opposed to commercial monoculture "wild" rice).

      *duh* where are my manners? welcome to msp Kimie!

      1. 3rd for Hell's Kitchen, as well as all of Davydd and Soupkitten's excellent recommendations, especially 112, Saffron. I would also add Restaurant Alma (short cab ride into NE Minneapolis) and Porter + Frye (2 blocks on foot)-- although it's pretty fancy, you could eat delicious food at the bar. Vincent's is pretty schmancy as well, and Manny's and Oceannaire are quite spendy.

        Have a wonderful time here!

        1. Definitely Hell's Kitchen and the ethnic restaurants on Eat Street - you can take the #17 bus down Nicollet Ave. to save on cab costs and/or shoe leather.

          If you're up for a long walk (or shortish cab ride), Al's Breakfast in Dinkytown is really fun (aka breakfast as theater). It's about 3 miles, one way.

          If you can sneak away during the day, head towards Uptown and the lakes for a walk and a picnic (maybe from Lucia's bakery). The "near" end of the Lake of the Isles is about 2 miles away, and there are many good restaurants at the "far" end near Lake Street and Lake Calhoun. For sit-down food, I like Barbette (French) and Marla's (Indian & Caribbean).


          Hell's Kitchen
          80 South 9th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402

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

          1600 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55408

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

          5 Replies
          1. re: AnneInMpls

            P.S. Here are the Places links for the restaurants mentioned above, so that you can follow the links, look at the maps, read other threads, and decide if they're your kind of place(s).

            Lucia's Restaurant
            1432 W 31st St, Minneapolis, MN 55408

            Restaurant Alma
            528 University Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

            750 S 2nd St, Minneapolis, MN 55401

            Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant
            1010 Nicollet, Minneapolis, MN 55403

            1806 St. Clair Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105

            Quang Pastry & Deli
            2719 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408

            Jasmine Deli
            2532 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404

            Saffron Restaurant & Lounge
            123 North 3rd Street, Minneapolis, MN 55401

            Brit's Pub & Eating Establishment
            1110 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403

            Vincent A Restaurant
            1100 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403

            The Local
            931 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55402

            Sapor Cafe-Bar
            428 Washington Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401

            Oceanaire Seafood Room
            1300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403

            Craftsman Restaurant
            4300 Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55406

            112 Eatery
            112 N 3rd St, Minneapolis, MN 55401

            1070 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403

            Manny's Steakhouse
            825 Marquette Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55402

            Pho 79 Restaurant
            2529 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404

            Jasmine 26 Restaurant & Bar
            8 East 26th Street, Minneapolis, MN

            The Strip Club
            378 Maria Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55106

            Porter and Frye
            1115 Second Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55403

            1. re: AnneInMpls

              The #18 bus is actually a better choice for checking out eat street. #17 only goes as far as 24th. #18 runs much more often too. It's not too far and a cab ride would be cheap enough not to raise any eyebrows on an expense report. I do encourage you to check out South Nicollet to get a true taste of Minneapolis. Anthony Bourdain commented in the the new afterword to Kitchen Confidential that there is better Vietnamese in Minneapolis than in New York. Quang is the original. Jasmine is very good and Ngon Bistro is the slightly upscale new standard bearer.

              1. re: mnitchals

                Note to the OP: Ngon Bistro is located in St. Paul and not on Nicollet (i.e., Eat Street).

                1. re: mnitchals

                  I'm so excited to get to a Vietnamese restaurant! Hearing that this is a cuisine that is done really well in MSP is very exciting. I'll post back after this short trip and let you know where I was able to go. Thank you, everyone that posted here!

                  1. re: mnitchals

                    Pho Tau Bay is also very good and on Nicollet.

                2. I stayed at the same hotel 2 weeks ago. Very nice.
                  We ate at Origami Sushi which is probably a $10 cab ride from there, and the sushi was fantastic! They also have happy hour sushi starting at 5 and ending at 7 in the small bar area upstairs. Service and food were both fantastic. If you go, definitely get the Takoyaki (see link below) - even regular price, so good! On happy hour, we ordered a few orders of the Sushi/Sashimi Combo and everything was fantastic. Paid $99 with tip (and we ate A LOT, both on and off HH menu. I had the lemon Chu-Hi and it was refreshing. We got a few of the rolls and really could not have been happier.
                  Hell's Kitchen is right across the street and around the corner. Unfortunately, we did not make it there. Brit's Pub is great (especially if the weather is nice and you can sit next to the Bowling lawn upstairs - we were there when it was 80 degrees at 11:30pm!!). Unfortunately, you will find almost nothing that serves food in the downtown area after 11. NOTE TO MINNEAPOLIS: Someone could make a KILLING if you served food until 2 or 3am (especially in the summer!). Brit's had 60+ people there at 11:30 at night and their kitchen stops serving at 11 - is that really smart??!!
                  Finally, we came upon Palomino Restaurant (on Hennepin about 5 blocks from the Hilton) and they serve until 12:30. We ordered the calamari, artichoke & king crab dip, a pizza, and baked feta. We preferred them in that order. They have happy hour from 4-6; 10-close. The waiter was fantastic and the chef came out and chatted with us for a while. We were very pleased with the meal. And, since it was happy hour, everything was 1/2 off! They had a great root beer on tap - 1919 Draft. I still have to post on my trip which I will do soon. Have a great stay!


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: WildSwede

                    Too bad you didn't head over to 112 Eatery. They serve full menu until MN (M-TH) , and until 1am on Fri & Sat You might even be able to get a table that late walking in off the street (or at least a seat at the bar?) I don't know that for sure though, I've never tried going there that late.

                    1. re: autmommy

                      Yeah, we were there on a Tuesday night and just went in the direction of where the people we talked to along the way pointed us. I am glad that we found Polomino tho, the garlic aioli that came with the calamari sure puts a hop in your step and a twinkle in your eye!!