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[MSP] Updated MSP Unique Dining Guide - Please Help

A little over a year ago (June 2007) I posted a list of "Restaurants serving more unique cuisines in the Minneapolis / St. Paul area". Soon after, by request, I created a two-column PDF version of the same. The list was last updated some time that summer, so obviously a number of the restaurants listed no longer exist or have changed address, and at least a few new restaurants serving less common cuisines have launched. But what are these? A few "deletions" I am sure of: "Aribel's" comes to mind. Among the new ones are T's Place, Gangchen, Qoraxlow, and Himalayan Restaurant. Below is a preliminary, updated version of the file. Any tips (deletions, additions, changes, etc.) regarding "less common cuisine"* restaurants would be very welcome.

* Anything other than American, Mexican, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Greek, Polish, Indian, Thai, Japanese, Korean, or non-regional Chinese.

Restaurants serving more unique cuisines in the Minneapolis / St. Paul Area

AFGHAN

Crystal Bistro Afghan Cuisine
6408 Bass Lake Road
Crystal
763-533-4900

Da Afghan
929 W 80th St
Bloomington
952-888-5824
http://daafghan.samsbiz.com

Khyber Pass Cafe
1571 Grand Ave
St. Paul
651-690-0505
http://khyberpasscafe.com

CAMBODIAN

Cheng Heng
448 University Ave. W
St. Paul
651-222-5577

Kolap Restaurant
601 N Dale St
St. Paul
651-222-2488
http://kolaprestaurant.com

CAUCASIAN

Baku
1115 Vicksburg Lane
Plymouth
612-745-0656
http://www.angelfire.com/mn/baku/
Azerbaijani, Georgian, Russian, and Armenian

CUBAN / LATIN CARRIBEAN

Babalu
800 Washington Ave N
Minneapolis
612-746-3158
http://www.babalu.us/

Cafe Havana
119 Washington Ave N
Minneapolis
218-338-8484

El Meson
3450 Lyndale Avenue South
Minneapolis
612-822-8062
http://www.elmesonbistro.com/

Victors 1959 Cafe (Cuban) .
3756 Grand Ave S.
Minneapolis
612-827-8948
http://victors1959cafe.com

DUTCH

Pannekoken Huis (four locations

)

White Bear Ave at 694
Maplewood
651-779-7844
Best Buy Mall

Hwy 55 at 494
Plymouth
763-559-5177
Next to Kelly Inn

CR 42 at O'Connell
Savage
952-226-4795

4995 Excelsior Blvd.
St. Louis Park
952-920-2120
(Miracle Mile)

ECUADORIAN AND PERUVIAN

Guyaquil Restaurant
1526 E Lake St
Minneapolis
612-722-2344

La Hacienda
2467 W 7th St.
St. Paul
651-699-3213
Mexican, Salvadoran, and Peruvian Cuisine

Sabor Latino
2505 Central Ave NE
Minneapolis
612-789-1754

ETHIOPIAN

Blue Nile Restaurant and Lounge
2027 Franklin Ave E
Minneapolis
612-659-7666
http://www.bluenilempls.com/

Dashen
2713 E Lake St
Minneapolis
612-724-8868

Fasika Ethiopian Restaurant
510 Snelling Ave N
St. Paul
651-646-4747
http://www.ethiopianrestaurant.com/...

Kilimanjaro Café
324 Cedar Ave S
Minneapolis
612-333-2211

Queen of Sheba
2447 W 7th St
St. Paul
651-690-0068
http://www.ethiopianrestaurant.com/...

Red Sea Bar and Restaurant
320 Cedar Ave S
Minneapolis
612-333-1644
http://www.redseaclub.com

T's Place
2713 E Lake St
Minneapolis
612-724-8868
http://www.tsmpls.com/
“Authentic Ethiopian – Asian Cuisine”

ERITREAN

Flamingo
490 Syndicate Street North
St. Paul
651-917-9332

FRENCH NORTH AFRICAN

Barbary Fig
720 Grand Ave
St Paul
651-290-2085

GUYANESE

Palm Court
2424 Central Ave. NE
Minneapolis
612-789-3373
Traditional Guyanese / Carribean

HMONG (SEE ALSO: LAOTIAN

)

Foodsmart
544 University Ave.
St. Paul, MN
651-665-0949
Grocery store with Hmong cafeteria in back.

Golden Triangle (Va Lor?)
371 W University Av
St. Paul
651-602-0602

International Market
217 Como Ave
St. Paul
651-487-3700
See “Ethnic Food Courts” at the end of this file

INDIAN – HYDERABADI

Kabobs Restaurant
7814 Portland Ave S
Bloomington
612-636-7786
http://thekabobs.com

ISRAELI

Little Tel-Aviv
3228 West Lake St
Minneapolis
612-929-1111
http://www.littletel-aviv.com/

KURDISH

Babani's Kurdish Restaurant
544 St. Peter
St. Paul
651-602-9964

LAOTIAN (SEE ALSO: HMONG

)

Family Lao / Thai Restaurant
501 University Ave W
St. Paul
651-224-5026

Thai Bazil
704 University Ave W
St. Paul
651-225-8080
http://www.restaurant.com/...

Vientiane Restaurant
995 University Ave W
St. Paul
651-645-4351

LEBANESE

Beirut Lebanese Restaurant
1385 Robert Street South
West St. Paul
651-457-4886
http://www.beirutrestaurantanddeli.com/

Emily's Lebanese Deli
641 University Ave NE
Minneapolis
612-379-4069

MALAYSIAN

Peninsula
2608 Nicollet Ave.
Minneapolis
612-871-8282

Rasa Sayang
2480 Winnetka Avenue North
Golden Valley
763-525-9876

Satay 2 Go Asian Cuisine
Apple Valley
6670 150th St. W.
952-891-8551
http://www.satay2go.com

Singapore!
5554 34th Ave S.
Minneapolis
612-722-0888

MOROCCAN

Mairin's Table
23 Northeast Fourth Street
Minneapolis
612-746-4272
http://www.mairinstable.com/
Moroccan dishes featured on some nights

MULTI

Midtown Global Market
Lake Street & Chicago Ave.
Minneapolis
612-872-4041
http://www.midtownglobalmarket.org/
See “Ethnic Food Courts” at the end of this file.

NEPALI – TIBETAN

Everest on Grand
1278 Grand Ave.
651-696-1666
http://www.hotmomo.com

Gangchen Bar & Restaurant
1833 Nicollet Ave
Minneapolis
612-872-8663
Some Tibetan items (momos, thukpa) on menu

Highland Cafe and Bakery
1931 Ford Pkwy
St. Paul
866-550-7172
http://www.highlandcafeandbakery.com
Separate Nepali menu available alongside standard American items

Himalayan Restaurant
2401 E Franklin Ave
Minneapolis
612-332-0880
http://www.himalayanmomo.com/

Namaste Cafe
2512 Hennepin Ave. S.
Minneapolis
612-872-2496
http://www.namastechai.com

PALESTINIAN

Abu Nader Deli & Grocery
2095 Como Ave.
St. Paul
651-647-5391

PAN-AFRICAN

Tam-Tam African Restaurant
605 Cedar Ave S
Minneapolis
612-339-0854
Central, East, and West African
http://www.tamtamsrestaurant.com/

PERSIAN

Caspian Bistro
2418 University Ave SE
Minneapolis
612-623-1113

PROVENÇAL

La Fougasse
5601 W 78th St
Bloomington
952-835-0126
http://www.sofitel.com/...

PUERTO RICAN

Puerta Azul
1811 Selby Ave
St. Paul
651-646-7003
http://www.puertaazulrestaurant.com/

SCANDINAVIAN

Kaffe Stuga
Radisson Hotel
7800 Normandale Blvd
Edina
952-893-8473

Scandia Bake Shop
5011 34th Ave. S.
Minneapolis
612-724-8353
Taste of Scandinavia (four locations)
http://www.tasteofscandinavia.com
Bakery and Cafe

401 W 98th St
Bloomington
952-358-7490

2900 Rice St
Little Canada
651-482-8876

845 Village Center Drive
North Oaks
651-482-8285

SOMALI
http://www.somaliresource.net/busines...

Note that some of the restaurants listed below may be closed, while others may have opened up and not yet made it to this list. Somali restaurants and groceries can be found in the West Bank and South Minneapolis neighborhoods, especially along Lake Street

Al-Uruba Restaurant
2800 27th Ave. South
Minneapolis
612-729-9898

Banadir Coffee
370 W Lake St
Minneapolis
612-821-9010

Café Sport
425 E Lake St
Minneapolis
612-825-6776

Cairo Grill
1922 Chicago Ave S
Minneapolis
612-870-6200

Casablanca Restaurant and Coffee Shop
411 Cedar Ave S
Minneapolis
612-746-3489

Gazira International Food and Deli
2115 Chicago Ave S
Minneapolis
612-872-0001

Gulet Deli and Grocery
922 E 24th St
Minneapolis
612-874-6970

HAMDI Restaurant
818 E Lake St
Minneapolis
612-823-9660

Hodan Restaurant
1304 E Lake St
Minneapolis
612-729-9988

Indian Ocean Restaurant
1401 11th Ave S
Minneapolis
612-338-1817

Kaah Restaurant
912 24th St E
Minneapolis
612-872-8390

Lake Plaza – Food Court and Bazaar
413 E Lake St
Minneapolis

Madina Somal Restaurant
3205 Cedar Ave South
Minneapolis
612-729-6884

Mandeeq Restaurant
1202 E Lake St
Minneapolis
612-724-8133

Marka Cafeteria
1206 E Lake St
Minneapolis
612-724-6711

Merkato Restaurant
605 Cedar Ave S
Minneapolis
612-746-0333

Qoraxlow Restaurant
1821 East Lake St
Minneapolis
612-822-4480

Safari Restaurant
1424 Nicollet Avenue
Minneapolis
612-872-4604
http://www.safarirestaurantmn.com/

Sahara Restaurant
408 Cedar Ave S
Minneapolis
612-332-1822

Tariq Restaurant
137 E Franklin Ave
Minneapolis
612-874-9500

SRI LANKAN

Sambol
1260 Town Center Drive
Eagan
651-688-8686
http://www.sambol.com/
Be sure to ask for the Sri Lankan menu.
TAIWANESE

Evergreen Taiwanese Restaurant
2424 Nicollet Ave.
Minneapolis
612-871-6801

TRINIDADIAN

Marla's
3761 Bloomington Ave
Minneapolis
612-724-3088
http://www.marlascuisine.com
Trinidad/Indian

TURKISH

Black Sea Restaurant
737 Snelling Ave N
St Paul, MN 55104
(651) 917-8832
http://www.blacksearestaurant.com/

Istanbul Bistro
15718 Wayzata Blvd.
Wayzata
952-476-7997
http://istanbulbistro.net/Home_Page.php

WEST AFRICAN – WEST AFRIKIN

Kenkayba's Place (Ghana?
)864 University Ave
St. Paul
651-762-9451

Three Crowns Restaurant & Catering
2817 Lyndale Ave S
Minneapolis
612-813-4444
Nigerian

WEST INDIES

West Indies Soul (Island Caribbean) .
625 University Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55104
651-665-0115
http://members.aol.com/westindiessoul/
Also at Midtown Global Market

ETHNIC FOOD COURTS

International Market
217 Como Ave
St. Paul
651-487-3700

Large food court with several vendors serving authentic Hmong and Thai food:

5 Star Deli
Asian Special Drink
B.T. Restaurant
Mr. Papaya Kitchen
Nyob Zoo Kitchen
One Stop Deli
Thai Thai Daily
and others....

Complex also contains large produce, craft and merchandise markets.

Midtown Global Market
Lake Street & Chicago Ave.
Minneapolis
612-872-4041
http://www.midtownglobalmarket.org/
Market is home to shops selling goods from around the world, as well as a number of food vendors, often side operations of local full-service restaurants:

A La Salsa (Mexican
)Café Finsprang (Scandinavian)
Farm in the Market
Grand Italian Ice
Holy Land Grocery & Deli (Middle Eastern)
Jade Asian Restaurant & Bar (Pan-Asian)
Jakeeno's Trattoria (Italian)
La Loma Tamales (Mexican)
La Sirena Gorda (Seafood)
Manny's Tortas (Mexican, desserts)
Pham's Deli (Pan-Asian)
Safari Express (Somali / East African)
Salty Tart (Pastries)
Taquería Los Ocampo
West Indies Soul (Carribean)

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  1. since i live outside of MSP, I don't have much to contribute. just want to thank you for putting a list together so when i do go to MSP i'd know where to go :)

    1. What a great list! One of my favorites, and close to home for us, is Mañana on E. 7th in St. Paul.... It's Salvadorean, though they have lots of Mexican stuff too. But the pupusas are to die for.

      -----
      Manana Restaurant
      828 7th St E, Saint Paul, MN 55106

      2 Replies
      1. re: mtullius

        Will be added to the list under Salvadoran:

        Mañana
        El Rincon Salvadoreño
        La Hacienda

        1. re: mtullius

          I would agree with Manana-it's been a while-but one of my favorites.

        2. Wow, thank you for that very detailed report. ^_^ Even tho I have never been to MSP, I feel like I need to visit up there. I've recently discovered I come from Swedish stock (on my father's side) and have gotten very into Scandinavian food/culture. I really envy you all up there, with your great choices!

          Even tho I live in Las Vegas, with so many high-end (and out of reach, 9 times out of 10, for us normal locals on a budget) places to eat, we lack for anything Scandinavian! Such sadness to me.

          This post makes me want to pack my bags and visit ASAP!

          1. Sad to report you'll need to delete:

            Thai Bazil
            Kenkayba's Place
            Puerta Azul

            Each one closed during the past year.

            I feel like such a Debbie Downer right now.

            1. CLOSED:
              Thai Bazil
              Puerta Azul
              West Indies Soul at the St. Paul address (has anyone had different information since AnneInMpls confirmed they were closing in June?)

              RENAMED:
              Va Lor is officially Golden Triangle.

              ADDED:
              Add Los Andes on Lake St. in Minneapolis to the list of Ecuadorian/Columbian restaurants.
              Add Lucuma Bakery & Deli on Cedar Ave in Minneapolis to the list of Peruvian/South American restaurants.

              RE-CLASSIFIED:
              Satay 2 Go is probably more accurately described as multi-ethnic Asian, which would include Malaysian.

              HARD TO RECOMMEND:
              Barbary Fig is indeed North African, but it seems to have gone downhill in recent years.
              Don't want to get anyone's hopes up about Pannekoeken Huis. It's a breakfast chain, with some dutch-style pancake specialties.

              1. Dashen also closed, it was replaced with T's Place, which you have listed.

                Casablanca is Ethiopian, not Somali.

                1. i think 3 crowns restaurant on lyndale is also closed, or maybe changing hands?

                  i'd add queen asian in st paul to the hmong category, and saffron for upscale north african/middle eastern/mediterranean

                  hmm... *thinking*

                  1. Triple Crown's number appears to be connected. I got their answering machine as they open today at noon.

                    West Indies Soul has moved to Lake St. in Minneapolis, according to the phone book. I called them and they are indeed open.

                    Thanks a million for all of your help. Let's keep the posts going, especially for new restaurants.

                    1. Fun list, tvdxer. I just wanted to ask, are these all places at which you've dined and, therefore, recommend, or is this just a list of places you've heard/read about?

                      West Indies Soul "Lake Street" location is in Midtown Global Market.

                      ~TDQ

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        Ha, if I dined at all of them you would have seen a lot more reports from me!

                        No, actually most of these places I have not yet dined at, though some I have - using my list. Actually, when I created the list originally, I don't think I had been to ANY of the restaurants on it. I love making lists, I love trying new cuisines, and my intent was to find all of the MSP-area establishments serving "less common" cuisines (stuff you can't expect to find in any city, or that most people have never tried, less even heard of - like Hmong, Guyanese, and Nepali). My first source was http://www.twincitiesdiningguide.com (strongly recommended), which though an excellent resource, put restaurants describe as "Hmong" under "Asian" with countless Chinese restaurants. Then I refined the list with the help of posts here (in threads like this one and in old threads) and other websites (such as the now defunct Somali Business Resource site).

                        The list itself does not seek to evaluate the restaurants in terms of quality, or exclude "poorly-performing" restaurants, even if their is a consensus against them. That's up to the reader of the list.

                        What I might do is expand the list to include not as "unusual" but still not Italian/Thai/Indian/etc. restaurants - probably adding Polish, Russian, non-Polish/Russian Eastern European (are there any in the Cities? Bosnian, etc.?), Korean, and perhaps Chinese regional cuisine (e.g. Little Szechuan).

                        1. re: tvdxer

                          HAHAHA! You crack me up. tvdxer, even if you haven't eaten at all of these restaurants (yet! I have confidence in you!) you certainly do your fair share of striking out into unexplored territory and reporting back--I always appreciate your reports on your adventures!

                          I thought I was a list person, too, but just reading your list and worrying that it might be incomplete exhausts me. Furthermore, I keep winding myself into a knot about what constitutes a "unique" cuisine and about whether I feel okay about adding anything to a list on Chowhound that I don't otherwise recommend. So, I'm glad you're undertaking such a list so I don't have to torment myself in order to do so. Whew!

                          Anyway, onto your most excellent and ambitious list...I don't see the "new" Hmong market on your list--the Golden Globe... Also, Rotisseria (Peruvian) on Lake Street probably belongs on your list somewhere--I don't think I saw it there... And there's a new Ethiopian place on West 7th in St. Paul in the old Steeler's bar --can't think of the name right now. I don't know if Tim McKee's new "Pirate"/BBQ joint in Stillwater is out of your range or belongs on your list but I know they are doing some really unique sourcing. There was a post awhile ago--say, in the past six months--about Hmong places and there was this really interesting sounding bakery in a reply (by, I think, KTFoley) to that post you might want to put on your list. I'm sure you can do a search here on Chowhound Midwest to pull the names up. I also think there are a couple Persian places you're missing, but I don't know the best way to find those for you--if I think of it later, I'll try to see if I can come up with the names. Sorry, I'm too tired to do so right now as I'm succumbing to being overwhelmed by the list. But, I figured it was better to pass along what I could, than nothing. ;-).

                          ~TDQ

                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                            Okay, Persian:

                            Shiraz: http://shirazmn.com/
                            And, Za'faran? http://www.kodoom.com/en/restaurant/1...
                            The last one I'm not sure about--it came up when I was looking for Shiraz...

                            Ethiopian: Dukem on West 7th http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/485399

                            Hmong: Cakes by Fhoua (and yes, the post I was thinking of wa KTFoley's) http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5170...

                            Jamaican: Smalley's in Stillwater http://74.125.95.104/search?q=cache:8...

                            I know this doesn't fit the typical profile of the restaurants on your list, but apparently, they are the first restaurant in the country to cook over Jamaican pimento wood, so, I thought I'd mention it.

                            Rotisseria http://www.citypages.com/locations/ro...

                            ~TDQ

                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              Is Rotisseria still open? Last time I was down in that area (about a month ago), I tried to go there, and the spot I remember it being was all closed up. Or did it just move?

                              1. re: greghoffman

                                Or, perhaps, I was just confused about where it was - that's always a possibility, too...

                                1. re: greghoffman

                                  you're not crazy Greg-- it moved down the street, now it's at 1532 east lake street, between bloomington & 16th. :)

                                  1. re: soupkitten

                                    Good to know, 'cause they made some really good chicken - thanks.

                        2. I think Cafe Havana has closed. I remember seeing something about it in either the paper or the Mpls-St Paul Mag, and it is off the Open Table website.

                          For Lebanese, I'd also add in Jerusalem's.

                          -----
                          Jerusalem's Restaurant
                          1518 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403

                          1. It looks like La Gran Colombia is a must-add! http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5151...

                            Also, I don't know if this is a helpful idea or bad idea, but City Pages has a pretty extensive restaurant list on its website that you can sort by ethnicity--in case you wanted to cross-check your list against that... But, yours is way more extensive than theirs in some ways...

                            ~TDQ

                            1. Not sure if my reply will bump this up to the top and make it a "current" post but I LOVE this list and I'm wondering if we can update it for now, as in July 2009. What's open, closed, and new? I really appreciate the efforts that went into creating this list and I'd love to see it continue. Thanks:-)

                              1. babalu is closed.

                                a lot is new. . . that's going to take some brainpower on my part that i can't seem to summon right this instant, but i'll start with

                                pak zam zam (pakistani)

                                -----
                                Pak Zam Zam
                                1839 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418

                                1. Be sure to check tvdxer's "final" stand-alone list from 2008 - it might be more up-to-date than this post.
                                  http://www.geocities.com/tvdxer/chow

                                  Here are some recent updates for the Midtown Global Market.

                                  CLOSED:
                                  - Farm in the Market
                                  - Grand Italian Ice

                                  NEW:
                                  - Andy's Garage (American/burgers) - back with new owners
                                  - Grassroots Gourmet (meat, cheese, and sandwiches) - replaces Farm in the Market

                                  And a few other updates:
                                  - Puerta Azul (Puerto Rican) is closed.
                                  - Kenkayba's Place (West African) is closed - it's now an Asian place (Red Pepper?)
                                  - West Indies Soul closed its St. Paul restaurant - they're only at the MidGloMo.

                                  Anne

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: AnneInMpls

                                    Also, Rotisseria has re-opened and closed and re-emerged in the western 'burbs in a completely different incarnation.

                                    Red Pepper is absolutely skippable, in my opinion. There's also now Maly's Deli in place of Golden Triangle in place of Va Lor.

                                    But the one thing I'll mention about this list (and no disrespect to adventure-hound tvdxer) is that it's just a list of what's available; it's not a list of recommendations.There are many places that aren't very good on it.

                                    ~TDQ

                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                      Thanks, TDQ. I figured as much and will review the places here and other websites before they go on my "TO VISIT" list. I hope to make one for my boyfriend's birthday in early August. A list that includes suggested dinner options, too:-) It seems there is a lot of info on this board. Not sure why I didn't think to look here earlier. I've used this board while working (I am a flight attendant.)

                                  2. Pannakoken House in Plymouth closed.

                                    1. For Liberian, I'd mention Vicky's Place in Brooklyn Park
                                      http://vickysplaceofbrooklynpark.com/...

                                      1. Safari on Nicollet has closed. The space has been taken over by Bali, an Indonesian restaurant. The back room is a bit of an odd space - a bit of a club/restaurant combo feel (for example, when we got there it was a couple of couples on dates, when we left we were the only couple left in the back and the only other people were part of a large group of guys that ordered bottle service of vodka). I did, however, enjoy the food.

                                        1. Baku seems to be closed,although their web site is still up. No answer when I called.

                                          1. Hey, this is brilliant! You mentioned a 2-column PDF of this list--have you updated this at all? I saw the Geocities site posted below which is now down, of course. I would love to have this printed out to have in my car, so I don't wind up paying for yet another mediocre meal!

                                            Perhaps we can all work on this collaboratively as a Google Document?

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: hackel

                                              You may still have a mediocre meal, even if you consult this list. It's not a list of places he's recommending, or has even tried, it's just a listing of places that sounded interesting to him.

                                              ~TDQ