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Last night in Mpls (Sunday)

wyf4lyf Feb 10, 2009 09:16 AM

At the beginning of May, I'm surprising my spouse with an anniversary trip to his favorite part of the country...and our last night will be in Minneapolis, staying on Nicollet Island. I'm looking for a very special place for dinner...romantic...perhaps with a view of the city and/or the river. We will want to take a carriage ride after dinner, and will need to be back to our hotel for that, so don't want to go too far from there, if possible.

Money not too much of an object...hubby doesn't drink, I might have a glass of wine...total can be around $250 if need be. But certainly open to a bargain!

I really want to end our trip with something memorable...knock our socks off!

Thanks for your help...

  1. Jordan Feb 10, 2009 09:44 AM

    Views and good food tend to not go together.

    Close by your hotel is Fugaise. I would definitely recommend it as something special, and it's easily in your price range.

    A little farther away is La Belle Vie, the best restaurant in the state. If you aren't going crazy with the wine, they will also easily fit under your price limit.

    Another special option is Solera, an upscale tapas place with good, creative small plates.

    You aren't far from Restaurant Alma. I've had nothing but mediocre experiences there, but many people swear by it.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Jordan
      wyf4lyf Feb 10, 2009 11:18 AM

      Good point...is there a place to go have a pre-dinner cocktail (even if it's an iced tea for the spouse) where we can look over the city or river before heading to dinner?

      1. re: wyf4lyf
        KTFoley Feb 10, 2009 12:22 PM

        Have a cocktail at Cue at the Guthrie Theatre, and then stroll up to the building's Endless Bridge for a glorious (and unique) view of the Mississippi River.

        I wish I could recommend the venue for your whole evening, but there are better places to eat.

        1. re: KTFoley
          mcgeary Feb 10, 2009 12:49 PM

          This is a nice idea -- and you don't have to have a ticket for a production to get into the building or eat at the restaurants, since they're open to the public. Tim McKee of La Belle Vie/Solera/Smalley's/etc. is taking over the dining operations at the Guthrie, which will likely mean massive improvement, but that's supposed to happen in April and I'm not sure they'll be up and running again by the time you're in town.

          1. re: KTFoley
            Jordan Feb 10, 2009 01:59 PM

            Good idea. The view from the endless bridge is really magnificent.

            Also, I should mention that if you do go to La Belle Vie, ask for the nonalcoholic cocktail menu. There are some nice and creative concoctions that your husband will enjoy. Far better than iced tea.

        2. re: Jordan
          BigE Feb 11, 2009 06:15 AM

          I'm surprised to hear of your experiences at Alma. My two trips have been nothing short of exceptional. The biggest downer for this sort of night, however, is the complete lack of romantic view. Dinkytown isn't exactly romantic.

          1. re: BigE
            Foureyes137 Feb 11, 2009 07:15 AM

            For shame. That's Marcy-Holmes. Dinkytown doesn't start for another 6 blocks ;)

            1. re: BigE
              karykat Feb 11, 2009 09:28 AM

              I've been to Alma many times and always found it exceptional too. Great ingredients, great combinations, wonderfully executed and great service.

              1. re: BigE
                Jordan Feb 11, 2009 10:35 AM

                I wrote up my most detailed review of Alma here:


                I know that many of the regulars on this board love, love, love it, but I have never been impressed. There are much better places in town.

            2. bob s Feb 10, 2009 11:12 AM

              In my opinion, one of the nicest rooms in the Cities is Cafe Lurcat. It looks out over Loring Park which, depending on when spring comes, may be lovely at the beginning of May. The food is quite good, but is not, admittedly, on the same level as La Belle Vie. (I think that LBV is probably the most consistent "knock your socks off" place in the cities.)

              For food, I'd agree with Jordan's recommendation of Fugaise. I also think that Cosmos and Vincent are at the upper level of food in the Cities. I've not been to Porter and Frye, but many here like it. (For what it's worth, I also agree with Jordan's feelings about Alma - but I think we are in the minority on this board.)

              Other nearby places to consider include Solera (as recommended), 112 eatery, and Chambers Kitchen. Solera and Chambers can be loud and fun but not classically romantic - both have solid kitchen but are a half step below the top places in the cities. 112 eatery is also a board favorite, but I don't find it to be particularly romantic.

              The only other possibility with a good view that I can think of downtown is 20.21 at the Walker Art Center. If you can snag a window table, you will have a great view. I've only eaten there once several years ago. It was fine, but did not knock my socks off.

              Have fun!

              1. MSPD Feb 10, 2009 04:24 PM

                Being on Nicollet Island, you'll already have the most spectacular view of Minneapolis available. My advice, based on what we have available here, is to keep the dining and view separate.

                If this was me making plans, I would walk up the street to Surdyk's at some point on Saturday (they are closed Sunday). Grab some chocolates and/or cheeses and stash them in your room. Then, go to La Belle Vie for dinner on Sunday.

                After dinner, I would do the carriage ride, have them drop you off at the Pavilion (across the street from the Inn) and have chocolates on the benches there. This is the ultimate view of Minneapolis (and also where I proposed to my wife almost 15 years ago).

                I would have recommended walking up to Fugaise for the dinner as others did, but they're closed on Sundays as well.


                8 Replies
                1. re: MSPD
                  Jordan Feb 10, 2009 04:50 PM

                  Good advice. I don't see that the OP specified Sunday for her trip, though.

                  1. re: Jordan
                    MSPD Feb 10, 2009 05:08 PM

                    I just assumed that from the subject line. Maybe the OP will clarify if it's Saturday night, leaving on Sunday, or Sunday night, leaving on Monday.

                    1. re: MSPD
                      Jordan Feb 11, 2009 03:49 AM

                      Oops, you're right. I was reading the text of the messages and didn't pay attention to the subject line.

                      1. re: MSPD
                        wyf4lyf Feb 11, 2009 09:15 PM

                        Oops...sorry. We'll be coming in Minneapolis on Sunday, early afternoon...so the dinner will be Sunday night. Thanks.

                    2. re: MSPD
                      wyf4lyf Feb 11, 2009 09:16 PM

                      Thanks for this info! I'm so excited to know the view from the island is so wonderful.

                      1. re: wyf4lyf
                        MSPD Feb 12, 2009 06:48 AM

                        It is! Here is a link to a site I found that gives you a feel for Nicollet Island:


                        1. re: MSPD
                          wyf4lyf Feb 15, 2009 11:05 PM


                          1. re: wyf4lyf
                            karykat Feb 16, 2009 09:51 AM

                            Report back after your trip to let us know how everything was.

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