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Sep 16, 2008 01:08 PM

MSP near S 8th St and Nicollete Mall

I'll be in town for dinner tomorrow night and would like to find a non-chain restaurant near S 8th St and Nicollete Mall in Minneapolis. I see a bunch of chain restaurants nearby and that just won't do. Can you steer me away from the McCormick & Schmidt's, the Rock Bottom Brewery's, the chain restaurants of the world?

Solera looks intriguing - what else should I be considering within a 5 block radius?


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  1. Without knowing your tastes, check out this thread on nearly the exact same location downtown.

    1 Reply
    1. re: KTFoley

      Thank you - I was stretched for time and couldn't search and this is very helpful.

    2. Welcome to Minneapolis.

      I went to Solera for the first time a few weeks ago and was pretty impressed overall. A couple of our favorites were the scallops with serrano ham and the short rib empanadas. The consistency was not quite as high as Toro in Boston (to give you a point of comparison - I lived in Boston until May of this year), but everything was tasty.

      Vincent is also in that area. I have only been for bar snacks and wine, but the food was very good - especially the steak tartare.

      Also, as mentioned several times in the linked thread (which has other suggestions for places a little further that are great such as 112 eatery), if you happen to be in the area for breakfast Hell's kitchen is fantastic.

      7 Replies
      1. re: LauraB

        Thanks for your recommendations, Laura. I plan on hitting Hell's Kitchen for breakfast on Thursday - really looking forward to it. I was just at Estragon this week in Boston, so I'll probably skip the tapas, but I appreciate the Toro comparison - very helpful.

        Many of the restaurants in that thread are of a certain cuisine - is there anything very Minnesotan that I could hit? I'm not really looking for jello salad, but I'd love something I can't get in Boston.

        1. re: gini


          Jfood just started an assignment that will take him to MSP every other week. Last week he was his first 4-dayer and he had one of the best meals in his life at 112. Jfood, a few years ago, had a similar assignment in Boston and jfood would put 112 above almost any restaurant in Boston and it can give Clio a run for it's money, and thems are fighting words.

          1. re: jfood

            I can't imagine comparing Clio and 112 Eatery. Clio is one of the only high end restaurants in Boston.112 Eatery is a cozy American Bistro serving food about 2 steps below Eastern Standard Kitchen in Boston. 112 is fine for what it is, but I wouldn't put it above almost any restaurant in Boston as you would.

            1. re: gini

              As far as the food itself, jfood would respectfully disagree and place 112 and clio together. and jfood thinks that clio is the best of boston. both easily qualify as 10+ for food.

              as far as an overall dining experience from soup to nuts, jfood would agree that the ambience of clio and 112 are totally different. whereas jfood would give clio a 10+ on service and decor, 112 probably gets a 6-7 on service and a 4 on an elegance criteria but a 8-9 on cool looks criteria.

              Let's put it this way, if anyone asks jfood would he like to join them at either, he is sprinting to the door.

          2. re: gini

            The most "Minnesotan" restaurants I have been to recently and loved the food are:
            112 eatery (would be a short cab ride from 8th and Nicollet)
            Restaurant Alma (a bit longer cab ride to NE Minneapolis)
            Heartland Restaurant (over in St. Paul - probably not your best choice if you want to stay close, but delicious)

            Very near your requested area is Dakota. They have a midwestern/Minnesotan vibe to the menu, but I have not been in years so I do not have any recent experience. (I think they have even changed chefs.) So you would have to search to see if anyone has been recently and reported.

            1. re: LauraB

              The food there is really pretty good, but I think it's a tad over-priced. However, the Dakota is a music club, so the price of the food may well be worth it if you enjoy the music as well. A side note - Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl (local food critic and darling of many on this board) raves about the burger at the Dakota. I've not had it, so I can't comment.

              Other places to consider that are within walking distance if none of the above appeal: Cosmos, Chambers Kitchen, Masa, Mission American Kitchen, Manny's, D'Amico Cucina. (Note that most of these are best visited on an expense account...) None of these is particularly "Minnesotan" but I've generally had good meals at them.

              Places Links to places within walking distance:

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

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

              Vincent A Restaurant
              1100 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403

              Chambers Kitchen
              901 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403

              900 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403

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

              D'Amico Cucina
              100 N 6th St, Minneapolis, MN 55403

              Cosmos Restaurant
              601 1st Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55403

              Mission American Kitchen & Bar
              77 South 7th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402

              1. re: bob s

                I've only had lunch at the Dakota, but the Cobb burger that Dara raves about was pretty average, and the service was terrible. If I were to visit again, it would only be for drinks and music.

                I think Cosmos, Mission and Firelake all offer great food and showcase local Minnesota ingredients.

                31 South 7th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402

        2. Thank you for all of your kind recommendations! I ate at 112 Eatery for dinner. I loved the cozy space, the warm room and the simple American bistro menu.

          Bread: incredibly soft, practically tasteless baguette. It didn't get any better from toasting.
          Butter: again, I wish it had any taste at all.
          Nuts: overly sweetly crusted almonds.
          Olives: I love olives. Yum.

          duck & radicchio salad: I adored the combination here, as well as the sliced hard boiled egg on top. The overly sweet dressing reminded me of cafeteria-grade bottles, but it worked.
          cauliflower fritters: deep fried cauliflower fritters dusted with Parmesan cheese and parsley. Certainly fine.

          cheese: a blue, two semi-softs, and harder one. None were explained or presented to me, and it was so dim in there it was hard to make out. The addition of honeycomb was fantastic.

          While I enjoyed a glass of syrah, it was clearly being kept at a room temperature of about 80 degrees. I also had a glass of scotch with the dessert after commiserating with the barkeep about simple selection.

          So it was certainly a fine American bistro experience. I'd like to try Vincent the next time I'm in town - looks great, but I needed something a bit cozier last night.

          11 Replies
          1. re: gini

            Thanks for your report, and jfood, for yours as well.
            Appreciate being able to keep tabs on the place,

            1. re: karykat

              jfood back in MSP next week and planning on a return to 112 and he must try Heartland, looks great. Just need a third place and he's all set.

              1. re: jfood

                Did you try Restaurant Alma? I had my favorite restaurant experience of the last year or so here July. (My review is here:

                1. re: LauraB

                  good news; bad news

                  the link says they cannot find

                  good news the place looks great and the website very cute.

                  1. re: jfood


                    Try this link instead:

                    LauraB entered the right link, but the flaky chowhound linking mechanism doesn't know how to ignore trailing punctuation - not LauraB's fault...

                    And if the link *still* doesn't work, do a search for "LauraB alma" and you'll find her review.


                    P.S. I second the recommendation for Alma. I was there last week, and I *loved* the buffalo tartare and the lightly-smoked pork with onions. My husband's corn flan appetizer and duck entree were even more sublime.

                    1. re: AnneInMpls

                      sounds like heartland, 112 and alma for jfood next week.

                      thanks anne

                      1. re: jfood

                        If you are in the area for breakfast, you ought to give serious thought to hitting Hell's Kitchen.

                        1. re: brentk

                          looked great when jefood was there last time but stay in edina, office in eden prairie

                        2. re: jfood

                          all 3 in one week! some of the best places in town, for sure. prepare yourself for awesome food overload Jfood-- i look forward to reading your impressions. it's one of the best times of year to visit alma & heartland too, as they will showcase the best local produce. i just visited 112 this week & sat upstairs for the first time-- very nice! the food was excellent of course. :)

                          1. re: soupkitten

                            jfood went to 112 last week and promised the bartender/server he would return asap. the foie gras meatballs were unbelievable.

                            tried for a burger at salut. let's just say the chef was having a bad day 3 times. at least the MOD agreed with his "Wow that's overcooked!"

                            1. re: jfood

                              Good luck with Alma. I've always been underwhelmed, but several others love the place.

                              For a great burger, I have two recommendations: Town Talk Diner and Bulldog NE. Bulldog has more interesting varieties of burgers; Town Talk has a more extensive menu and a truly fun drink menu and bar.

                              Town Talk Diner
                              2707 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55406

                              Bulldog NE
                              401 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414