Good Places To Eat in MSP
Hi everyone! Newbie here, I've been lurking for a while, I like what I see! I'll be visiting my brother in the cities in a couple weeks and I would like to take him and and his family out for a nice supper. There will be 5 of us and I'd like to do it for 150.00 or less if its possible. We will also have our 2 kids (10 and 13) along so it should be kid friendly. The kind of food doesn't matter, just looking for something GOOD! This will be on saturday if that makes a differance. Many thanks in advance !!!!
My two cents:
Brasa- Relatively inexpensive, locally sourced pork and chicken, made southern style, delicious and kid friendly, located on East Hennepin in Minneapolis.
Loring Pasta Bar- Very good atmosphere, often live music, fresh pasta, located in Dinkytown.
I 2nd Brasa, but i dont think they take reservations and the place is very small... but the food is amazing. I've personally not had the best of experiences at loring, good atmosphere but I've had some really sub par food there, in fact, it was the only dish I have ever sent back.
There was also a place featured on Diners drive in and dives called something like victors 1959, has anyone ever been there?
If you ordered moderately, you could probably stay within your limit at the Strip Club in St. Paul. It's the first place I think of when the criteria are good food, friendly (to kids and all), and fun for a big group (could share a bunch of small plates).
Check out the website and see what you think:
I recommend Axel's in Mendota Heights. You'll be towards the top of your budget, but the food is wonderful, great menu selection, salads always fresh, soups homemade (try the french onion - my favorite place for it), service superb, popovers to die for, steak and walleye are specialties. Must have order of onion rings - we call them Donuts. Fireplaces in both great rooms, children are very welcome.
In the spirit of "hate the chow, love the chowhound" I felt a need to reply to this in case anyone else is reading this posting after the fact. I have eaten at Axel's only when forced to by relatives. The food is maybe a step better than a Chili's or Applebee's, but it is the same quality--large portions of bland food, cooked adequately, but not well.
re: The Dairy Queen
I am going out on a limb here, I suppose. I think most of you will be cool with that. I am going on the record as strongly recommending this restaurant. To be fair, all I ever order is the walleye or the steak The sides are beautiful - crispy green beans, potatoes any way you want. My nephew and nieces loved it. My foodies from Cincinnati loved it. My chef sister from San Francisco loved it. It's a classic. Like Mancini's, but in our family's opinion, better. Note: All other Axel's I feel are sub-par. Go to the one in Mendota Heihgts.
I'd recommend La Gran Colombia on Central Ave. NE in Minneapolis, which I recently went to.
My review here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/570843
Great food, good service, in your price range, and your brother will be happy with all the leftovers.
Also very friendly to families with kids - lots of kids when I was there, big families with extension tables.
with a 10 and 13 year old I might be tempted to take everyone to Ngon Bistro.
Downtowner woodfire grill is a kid friendly option (pizzas, other good stuff)
Is it $150 with drinks? if so then you might be heading to more of a bar place - Shamrocks would work. Very reasonable. Its a good spot, a great neighborhood burger joint......- but I don't know if I'd consider it "drive in from white bear good"
Ngon Vietnamese Bistro
799 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55104
995 7th St W, Saint Paul, MN 55102
Downtowner Cafe [SEE DOWNTOWNER WOODFIRE GRILL]
253 West 7th Street, St. Paul, MN 55102
There are tons of great places all over the Twin Cities, but I think I'd recommend heading towards downtown St. Paul (or a bit beyond). Here are a few casual, moderately-priced places that I like:
- Tanpopo: Home-style Japanese food in a sleek and stylish atmosphere.
- Bon Xai: Asian-influenced and American dishes - great value for the money (perhaps because the restaurant is in a slightly scruffy neighborhood). The coconut soup is fabulous, and I love the delicious pork chops.
- Cossetta's: Cafeteria-style Italian food. It's not knock-your-socks-off great, but it's good and is a fun, casual place to eat.
- Punch Neapolitan Pizza (the sit-down place in Highland Park): Great European-style pizza and affordable wine (assuming that the kids would be OK with European-style pizza, which is quite different from the classic American style).
And I second the recommendation for Ngon - it's a little more upscale and the food is a wee bit fancy. Very tasty, too.
I haven't had good food at Boca Chica, though - instead, I'd go down the street to El Burrito Mercado (super-casual cafeteria in a grocery store) or head to Minneapolis.
For more ideas, see the recent topic "Money's tight - Any cheap date suggs?
Hope you have a good time here!
Punch Neapolitan Pizza
704 Cleveland Ave S, Saint Paul, MN 55116
1613 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55104
Tanpopo Noodle Shop
308 Prince St, Saint Paul, MN 55101
Cossetta Italian Market
211 7th St W, Saint Paul, MN 55102
El Burrito Mercado
175 Cesar Chavez St, St Paul, MN 55107
In the "bubbly, chewy, oversized slice" pizza category (think Fat Lorenzo's and Sbarro style), it's good.
One hint...if you're just going there for pizza and nothing else, you can skip the ridiculously long line and go to the right hand side of the counter (by the registers). It will save you at least 15 minutes during their busy times.
I think you'll like it. As served in the restaurant, the crust is chewy and thin, sort of New York style foldable. But you can buy the pizza dough there (in a lump) and make your own pizza using your own choice of sauce, cheese, etc., however thick or thin you prefer.
Their sausage is really great. Kind of surprising because it is fairly lean.
ditto on MSPD's tip to go to the other end of the line for cossetta's pizza slices. they usually have a pepperoni, a sausage, and a "special"-- usually with either too many olives, or too many green peppers on it :) when the pizza is fresh, it's good pizza by the slice, but not mindblowing imo, & not any better than the BTS pizza at the pizza luces around town (i used to work at the "luch" downtown). dh loves the cossetta's sausage too, so we often would pick up a slice as a fast meal when blowing in or out of downtown st paul. i did order a whole pie at cossetta's once, & remember it being really good-- the pizza places will sometimes cook the BTS pizzas that will sit under heat lamps a little underdone, and i like my pizza crust a little more done, so i guess i might be hard to please ;) but i feel it's important to support pizza places that sell BTS pizza in msp, since there are not a lot of them. i *do not* want to live somewhere where there is whole-pie pizza only!!!
With all due respect to vtnewbie, in twenty-two years of living here, Cossetta's pizza has never once knocked my socks off. In fact, I would have to be very, very hungry before I'd even consider eating a slice of their mediocre-at-best pizza. That being said, until Punch opened, Cossetta's was one of the two best places for pizza in the Twin Cities. The other was Broder's, provided they listened very closely to the numerous instructions and sub-instructions contained in my order.
Cossetta's macaroni and red sauce is even worse than their pizza. It's almost Olive Garden bad. It makes me ashamed to be part Italian.
I do, however, agree with BigE and vtnewbie that Cossetta's has very good sausage -- excellent on the grill come summer-time.
For meatbeast, I'd suggest taking your brother and family to Murray's for lunch. Order a nice, rare Luncheon Steak or New York Strip plus some fries or the au gratin potatoes. Order from the rest of the menu (e.g., appetizers, salad, dessert) at your own risk.