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Oct 7, 2008 07:44 PM

Good restaurant in downtown St Paul

The art crawl is this weekend and we are thinking of taking my parents out there. Any suggestions for a place to eat in downtown St. Paul?

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  1. We've enjoyed Meritage several times. Conistantly good.

    Additionally, Pop! is in the old Fhima's space...we've enjoyed the original location (though the food is a little too safe for our taste) but have not tried the St Paul version so try at your own risk.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Foureyes137

      I second the Meritage recommendation. It has a great menu for a variety of palates. I typically lean toward fish/seafood entrees and my SO prefers beef. Meritage satisfies both. It is a great venue, cozy, charming, but not pretentious. Great french fries and melt in your mouth and delicate, ricotta gnocci for starters are delicious. Their wine list is nice too. They introduced me to a wonderful Basque wine, Txokolai.

    2. If you are thinking a little more casual than Meritage, Senor Wong's is a fun place to grab some drinks and food. The place is a fun mix of Asian/Mexican (think Chino Latino). The owner is the son of the owner of the Red Dragon in Mpls, so the drinks are big and potent and fun. Only a few blocks away from Lowertown too!

      1 Reply
      1. re: run2eat

        Speaking of Senor Wong's, they now have a Sunday Brunch. I haven't tried it yet, but the descriptions sound interesting:

        FIVE-SPICE BRIOCHE FRENCH TOAST - Two brioche French toast topped with caramelized plantains, macadamia nuts, whipped cream and served with our house made root beer-maple syrup.

        SPICY CHICKEN TINGA OMLETE - Spicy chicken tinga and Oaxaca cheese filled omelet. Topped with roasted corn and black bean salad, Chihuahua cheese, and queso fresco.


        Senor Wong
        111 East Kellogg Blvd., Saint Paul, MN 55101

      2. Meritage is definitely one of the best restaurants we have in downtown, though given the art crawl and its size, you will probably want to set up a reservation. This can be a bit spendy, but I've never had anything less than a stellar meal here.

        If you are looking for something a bit more "relaxed", I recommend getting some Japanese noodle soup at Tanpopo Noodles. This is right in the heart of the art crawl; great atmosphere, great food, and reasonably priced. Their Sesame Spinach is one of my favorite dishes at any restaurant.

        If you're really hungry, you can't go wrong with the Pasta Bar at Trattoria da Vinci (also in Lowertown). You only get one trip, but you'll be hard pressed to finish all of the food on your plate. There are other items on the menu, but no matter how delicious they sound, I can't resist the Pasta Bar :) Again, great atmosphere, great food.

        At the moment, I can't say that I'm a huge fan of POP! I love the idea, the menu items are definitely fun (in terms of descriptions and variety), and I've really enjoyed the atmosphere / attitude of the wait staff, but the two times I've been there, I've found the food to be mediocre (once for a Chicken Satay salad which was neither bad nor remarkable; and another time for their Swedish Meatballs, which sounded great in theory, but the sauce was really bland for my tastes). I'll keep checking back there periodically to see if the food improves as they settle in.

        2 Replies
        1. re: fetik3

          I love Tanpopo, too, but I expect it would be absolutely swamped for the Art Crawl. Worth it if you can get in, though! :)


          1. re: fetik3

            ... and links to the restaurants I mentioned:

            Tanpopo Noodle Shop
            308 Prince St, Saint Paul, MN 55101

            410 Saint Peter St, Saint Paul, MN 55102

            Trattoria Da Vinci
            400 Sibley St Ste 190, Saint Paul, MN 55101

          2. Assuming you meant dinner meal: second Meritage; like Christo's at the Depot (close to Lowertown). LoTo across from Mears Park is nice for drinks - wouldn't recommend dinner. I've only eaten lunch at Trattoria De Vinci - they have a nice "build your own" pasta bar that's a reasonable value - dinner menu looks nice - the building itself is beautiful - authentic Italian atmosphere (busts, hangings, nice music).

            If you go Saturday and are looking for brunch, M Street Cafe in the St. Paul Hotel does a wonderful job.

            1 Reply
            1. re: rp1760

              Oh yeah, I so often forget all about Christo's. That may be because when I've gone there I've usually indulged in the retsina tasting tray.