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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 !!!!

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    1. re: MSPD

      My brother lives in White Bear Lake. But a little drive is no big deal. Thanks!!!

    2. 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.

      1. 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?

        1 Reply
        1. re: saintfirky

          I went to Victors 1959 a couple weeks ago for lunch. Fun place - very small. I had a breakfast dish, friend had a cubano sandwich. Both good for a diner place - very reasonable prices - tab for 2, no alcohol, $18. don't think i recommend it for a nice place.

        2. 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:


          1. 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.


            5 Replies
            1. re: rp1760

              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.

              1. re: Reluctant Foodie

                I agree with you completely, RF. There are such better places here.

                1. re: Reluctant Foodie

                  I will admit that I have affection for their popovers, although, I don't think I'd ever had popovers before that, so, I didn't really have a point of comparison.


                  1. 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.

                    1. re: rp1760

                      I will codify my objection with the fact that I've only ever eaten at the Axel's Charhouse attached to the hotel in Roseville.

              2. 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.

                1. 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

                  Shamrock Grill
                  995 7th St W, Saint Paul, MN 55102

                  Downtowner Cafe [SEE DOWNTOWNER WOODFIRE GRILL]
                  253 West 7th Street, St. Paul, MN 55102

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: St Paul Susie

                    Exactly the three that I would respond, though I might also add Boca Chica for good Mexican.


                    1. re: Grandview

                      Oh yeah, mexican, I have had some really amazing meals at Pancho Villa, Portions and menu are huge and prices are cheap. They also have a big family style meal for like 40 dollars which looks like enough to feed 5 by itself. Super kid friendly too.

                  2. 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

                    Cafe BonXai
                    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

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: AnneInMpls

                      Cossetta's pizza IS "knock your socks off" great. Truly excellent pizza without being trendy. Try it if you want to know why pizza became popular in the US.

                      1. re: vtnewbie

                        I've never had Cossetta's pizza - sounds like I need to give it a try! If I can resist the spicy Cossetta's salad and the comfort-food pasta, that is...


                        1. re: AnneInMpls

                          You HAVE to try the pizza. It is a little...check that, a lot on the greasy side, but it's worth it. Pick up a slice next time you're in there. Their Italian sausage is so good...I normally pick up a pound from the market after I have my meal.

                          1. re: AnneInMpls

                            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.

                            1. re: MSPD

                              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.

                              1. re: MSPD

                                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!!!

                              2. re: AnneInMpls

                                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.