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Feb 15, 2009 03:46 PM

Minneapolis chowdown

Hello. My fellow foodie friend and I are planning a weekend trip to Minneapolis, MN. We live in Madison, WI and just randomly decided to take a peak at our neighbor and what the city has to offer. We're looking for:

Must-go local eats (both cheap and upper scale): restaurants, dinner, cafe ... etc.
local dive bar institution or something casual like for nightlife
Is there something very unique in Minneapolis or MN in general?

In all, we don't have to do the touristy stuff, but love to pig out on the best of Minneapolis. I would greatly appreciate it if you could let us know your favorite places.



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  1. Minneapolis and St. Paul are certainly known for Vietnamese food. Quang and Jasmine Deli on "Eat Street" are outstanding examples of the genre.

    We also have an outstanding and diverse latin cuisine. Los Andes has terrific

    Punch Pizza (several locations) is a local favorite, and lives up to it's reputation. It's neapolitan style pizza done very, very well. Chefs here go to great lengths to source their ingredients, and this is an outstanding example.

    Walleye is popular here for no particular reason, and you can find it just about anywhere.

    Northeast Minneapolis has an abundance of dive bars and karaoke. Psycho Suzi's is my favorite example of the former (though Mayslacks is less self-consciously divey and I like their signature sandwich) and U Otter Stop In has karaoke every night at 9.

    On the upscale side, Southwest Minneapolis has a number of quality, affordable smaller restaurants. Heid's, which is relatively new, may be my favorite restaurant in the city.

    One place I can recommend regardless of the hour, mood or budget is Cafe Barbette in our Uptown area. They serve food from 8a-1a, and I have never been disappointed by the food or the vibe there. The fries are frequently touted as the best in the city.

    If you are headed over to St. Paul, The Muddy Pig and Happy Gnome each has an extraordinary selection of beer on tap (with great descriptions as well), and the Blue Door Pub has an awesome take on the "Juicy Lucy", a burger stuffed with cheese (traditionally) and or other accoutrements (less traditionally).

    3 Replies
    1. re: kevin47

      Fantastic suggestions. Thank you much!

      1. re: mios

        You are welcome. I would add that this is not the sort of city (e.g. Chicago) where you can walk into any old place and expect to find a great meal. It pays to do your research.

        1. re: kevin47

          Wow - are there really places like that?

    2. My response will skew Minneapolis, specifically Nordeast. This is just a list, I find doing the research is half the fun of visiting a new city.

      Must-go downscale: Jasmine Deli, Quang, Gorditas al Gordo, Los Ocampo, Chai's, Punch, Brasa, Midtown Global Market, Holy Land, Pineda's, Tanpopo, many many more great inexpensive dining options.

      Must-go upscale: La Belle Vie, Lucia's, Cosmos, Heartand, Meritage, Fugaise, Alma (my must-go pick), Solera, Origami, Cucina, Chino Latino (bear with me, it's a suburban zoo, but the food is good and the atmosphere is party)

      Downscale Bars/Nightlife (not clubs)/Dives: Nye's, NE Grumpy's, Mayslack's, Triple Rock, Club J├Ąger, Red Stag, Bryant Lake Bowl, U Otter, The Hexagon, Terminal Bar, The Dinkytowner, Stasiu's, NE Palace, Psycho Suzy's...of these Nye's is a MPLS institution.

      As for uniquely Minnesotan; we have this thing up here called a Jucy's essentially a cheeseburger with the cheese inside the burger. I find them harder to eat than a regular cheeseburger, and not any better tasting...but I'm a non-native that likes my cheese under my burger. If you are here on a weekday, try Al's breakfast (it's a day waster on the weekend as you'll wait an hour and a half to get in). It made the latest issue of Esquire as one of the best breakfasts in America.

      1. For this kind of weekend:

        Dinners at 112 Eatery and The Strip Club (sit at the bar...the guys there are good conversation). Barrio for later-night drinks/nosh.

        Breakfast at Al's.

        Burgers at The Nook.

        Tamales and al pastor at the Mercado Central (La Loma and Taqueria La Hacienda respectively)

        Lunch at Brasa.

        Psycho Suzi's, Mayslacks, Grumpys and Triple Rock is how I would narrow down the "dive" bars.

        Kopplin's for coffee and the baked goods they bring in from Rustica (it's next door to the Nook...I'd do a lazy coffee/newspaper, bowl at Ran-Ham Lanes (seriously old school bowling alley) one door down in the basement, then do burgers and fries at the Nook. Wash your hands after bowling. Ran-Ham's balls are like 1,000 years old).

        2 Replies
        1. re: MSPD

          That sounds like a hell of a plan MSPD. Breakfast at Al's, a lunch burger at the Nook, dinner at 112/Strip Club/any number of places. I can't imagine a much better day.

          1. re: MSPD

            Wow, sounds great, MSPD! I'd follow this plan, and I live here.

            Me, though, I'd probably plan a second breakfast at Maria's (for the corn pancakes).

            And I'd want to do a taco taste-off between Mercado Central/Taqueria La Hacienda and Midtown Global Market/La Sirena Gorda. (Apples to oranges, though, because it'd be Al Pastor vs seafood tacos, but hey...) Plus, going to Midtown Global Market would mean I could have something tasty from the Salty Tart bakery.

            And if I was *still* hungry, I'd swing by Keefer Court for some Chinese baked treats (meat-filled buns or sweet bean cakes or egg tarts) followed by a local Surly beer at the Birchwood.

            Yum. I think I need to plan a "tourist in my own town" weekend soon.


          2. If I was traveling into town for a burger, it would be the Vincent Burger.

            what else? kinda depends whats good in Madison I guess.

            a bowl of Pho at Saigon or Tom Yum at Bangkok(just a few blocks apart) and maybe some firey hot stir-fry beef and basil. if you're in that part of town might as well grab the best croissants in the Twin Cities at Trung Nam. and hell, if you're in that part of town might as well grab some ice cream from Grand Ole Creamery or Izzy's. and why not stop in the Golden Fig to sample some local products.

            A shwarma from Abu Nader is definitely worth a stop. or a Gyro from either Franklin Market or It's Greek To Me.

            at Midtown Global, a huarache from Ocampo and fish floutas from La Sirena Gorda.

            1 Reply
            1. re: getgot211

              What do you like about the Vincent burger?