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Best Places to Eat alone in MSP

Hello! I'm a college student and despite the fact that I have lived in the twin cities nearly four years I don't know anything about good restaurants in the twin cities. I hate trying to coordinate with all my friends on going to try new places so I was wondering if there are any great places for people eating solo in the cities? If not a couple of good places (paticularly for lunch) would be most helpful. I live in the mac/groveland area of Saint Paul is that helps. Thanks!

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  1. I don't know what your budget is, but if you want a splurge, I'd suggest the bar at 112 eatery in the Warehouse District. This place is a favorite of many on the board. Most of the time that I've eaten there, I've eaten by myself at the bar. It's always fun to sit and watch the world go by and I've usually struck up conversations with the people sitting on the stool next to me.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bob s

      I second 112 eatery. Many solo meals were spent at that bar (extended business engagement). I am not normally an eat at the bar kind of gal, and usually bring a book if I do, but this is the one place that the the friendliness of my fellow diners (and bar tender) consistently kept me from getting more than a few pages ahead in my reading.

      I cannot recommend this place enough, its super cozy, and you can consistently spend $25 for a great, full meal. Order an appetizer and the small portion of one of the pastas. For me, the scallop app and the foie tagliatelle were the best dinner in town.

    2. I just moved from the Mac-Groveland area, and I really liked the wine bar at Heartland for eating alone. It was very soothing and relaxing, and the service was wonderful. I kind of like eating by myself once in a while...

      1. If you feel like a drive I'd say Broder's pasta bar in SW mpls is perfect for solo dining (at the pasta bar) for dinner.

        Heartland wine bar - I think they are only open for dinner......

        Shish on Grand is a nice stop & Coffee News Cafe as well.
        Perfectly relaxing to dine solo at either spot. Especially at lunch.

        Signature cafe is a solid solo dining spot as well. (dinner) since the wait staff is very friendly (Natalie)

        1. I eat alone quite a bit. I've never run into any problems, especially at lunch. Which means, you should give us more of an idea of your price range and type of food you are looking for.

          2 Replies
          1. re: churchka

            My price range is probably $5-$50. I really want to try some interesting places but I don't have a particular type of food I'm looking for.

            1. re: sugoionna09

              Try Ngon Bistro, it is really great.

          2. As others have mentioned, the wine bar at Heartland in Mac Groveland is a great place to eat alone. The food and wine are superb and the bar is intimate.

            1. BeWitched on Washington is awesome for lunch. Super friendly staff and quaint little place full of business people having quick lunches.

              1. Al's Breakfast is actually better as a solo diner than with companions. You usually get seated faster, and you can trade quips with the staff. It's open only for breakfast and lunch, and is a bit of schlep from Mac-Groveland, but just in case you're ever in the area, keep it in mind.

                Closer to your neck of the woods, I'd recommend Russian Tea House on University near Fairview. It's in an old house next to Wendy's, and it looks like it's take-out only, but climb the stairs to find a cozy room with tables and chairs. It's a good place for a quick and tasty lunch - baked piroshki (meat filled buns), unrolled cabbage "rolls", and borshcht, plus dumplings on Fridays.

                And if you haven't tried Khyber Pass yet, definitely go there! They have a nice lunch buffet, so you can try everything to see what you like. Me, I adore the aushak (leek dumplings) and the lentil daal. And the grilled chicken. And that amazing green sauce.

                sugoionna, I'd love to hear back on the places you try and what you think of them!


                Al's Breakfast
                413 14th Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

                Khyber Pass Cafe
                1571 Grand Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105

                Russian Tea House
                1758 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55104

                3 Replies
                1. re: AnneInMpls

                  If you like Mexican food and are adventurous, try the restaurant inside the Burrito El Mercado supermarket on Cesar Chavez St in St. Paul. Speaking Spanish helps, but there are always folks in line just pointing at what they'd like. There is great latin music piped in and the food is always delicious.

                  1. re: BPfahnl

                    One doesn't even have to be adventurous to go to Burrito Mercado-- all the people who deal with customers speak English (at least, this has been my experience).

                    1. re: mtullius

                      Yup, my experience, too - everyone speaks English on the cafeteria line. Things may vary if you ask for details on ingredients, but most people are extremely fluent, and the ones that aren't will call in back-up, if necessary, for names of spices, etc.

                      And they're also quite nice about letting me practice my fractured Spanish, rusty as it is.

                      All in all, El Burrito Mercado is a great outing.


                2. Oh, and another idea: Check out the reviews from a visiting solo diner, jfood. He focused on the moderately-expensive-to-pricey places in town, and kindly posted reports of each visit.

                  You can find most of them by searching for "title:jfood" on this board. Here's a shortcut link to doing just that:


                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        t'was-- the suspense was killing me, i confess. i wonder what else was going on with cafe maude that night, or whether the kitchen can't handle a completely full house & keep quality up, or what-- hmm.

                        1. re: soupkitten

                          Bummer. I want everyone to have good experiences at all of our restaurants.


                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                            yeah. my hometown pride wants to show off our very best places, performing their a-game at all times, but logic would probably chime in to say that dropped balls and misfires are inevitable. stupid logic. :)

                          2. re: soupkitten

                            Bummer. I've never had a bad meal there, and the place is always packed.

                      2. On the west bank of the UofM campus (on Cedar Ave) there is a great little place called the Wienery. It's a great place for hotdogs, chili, and french fries. The food is good and won't empty your wallet.