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Need some MSP date night suggestions

Having a chow mental block right now..... Going to downtown Minneapolis on Friday with chowspouse....... We've been sticking around St Paul a lot this winter (WA Frost, Mertiage, Shamrocks) and we finally don't have an early morning on Saturday!

Looking for some excellent chow, a few tasty drinks, people watching etc. (good wine list a plus)

What's new over the past few months? What would you highly recommend?

I can think of a lot of places that aren't doing anything for me right now.

We are having Sushi Saturday - so we'll skip that. And we usually head to Alma - but we want to have a little more of a bar scene so we aren't home while the kids are still up!

Thanks MSP Chowhounds......

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  1. Strongly consider Saffron. Great food and drinks. Cool ambiance. Romantic funky vibe. They also have a 3 course dinner for 30$ that looks good this month, but I also like to get a bunch of small plates and share.

    1. Bradstreet Crafthouse.

      1. I would second the recommendation for Saffron. Sameh Wadi is doing great things and his restaurant is still under appreciated, in my opinion. The current tasting menu is a great value.

        Otherwise, I'd get out of downtown and head to NE. My three choices there would be: Brasa, Alma, or Red Stag (for the fish fry).

        3 Replies
        1. re: BigE

          I very much like Brasa, but don't think it's a comfortable place to hang out. In the winter when the patio is not open, I think it would seem pretty small inside with a limited number of tables, so you probably wouldn't want to hang out for a good while there. It would work to stop there for dinner and then elsewhere for drinks or dessert. Otherwise, I think you'd want to look at other options.

          1. re: karykat

            I have not been to Brasa yet (surprising given my love for Alma) and I'm eagerly anticipating the opening on the one on Grand in May. I think it will be a great option for family dining vs date night.

            1. re: St Paul Susie

              I'm looking forward to the St. Paul one which will be close to us. As I remember, they give you a good amount of food. So it can be an economical take out option for sharing a dinner.

        2. I like the Saffron idea. I would also recommend the lounge at La Belle Vie. We had some very tasty drinks there a few weeks ago. I especially liked the Cobra Verde (a twist on a margarita with a touch of maraschino liquor and absinthe - sound s bit weird, but delicious). I also like that you can order from both the bar and the dining room menu (and then they have the tasting menu too, but I have never tried that - I have only gotten small plate type things). It would definitely fit your "bar scene" requirement, but be comfortable and delicious too.

          3 Replies
          1. re: LauraB

            I second the lounge at La Belle Vie. The lounge has a nice, swanky vive- not pretentious. In addition to great food, they have some interesting cocktails. I particularly like a blood orange and champagne marrtini I had there recently. My other thought is Vincent right off of Nicollet Mall. They have a nice bar area, good wine and good food (Pan Seared Scallops, Leeks, Fingerling Potatoes, Orange Butter Sauce).

            1. re: LauraB

              If you like the Cobra Verde, they also have it at Barrio and it's half-price during happy-hour on Mondays. Cheers!

              1. re: Foureyes137

                Mmm...Barrio had been on my list of places to try already, but I think that moves it up a notch. Thanks for the hint about the happy hour special (although I very rarely make it off work in time to take advantage of happy hour specials - unless they are the late night sort).

            2. I'd recommend Chambers. The bars offer several of the appetizers, but if you want a full meal, I believe they're still doing the restaurant week menu.

              1. I agree Bradstreet. Great cocktails, you can order a bunch of small plates, watch the pretty people preen. Have you tried Barrio yet? Or Red Stag.

                1 Reply
                1. re: sporkgirl

                  Barrio is a great idea, as is Saffron. 112 is another favorite, or maybe Cafe Maude???

                2. Thanks all - this board is perfect.

                  Right now I'm thinking barrio for a cocktail (chowspouse has been a few times) and I have a table at Bradstreet. Saffron is on the list for the next time. Really wish the weather was warmer so we could hop to more than one or 2 spots.

                  Really want to stick to downtown. Planning on cabbing it home and that always seems to be a challenge outside of downtown.

                  Haven't been to Red Stag yet. Will plan a visit on a non fish fry evening.

                  Thanks!

                  1. We ended up at the Living Room and ordered from the Manny's menu....... Then zipped back to St Paul to the lowertown Bulldog.

                    Thanks for reminding me of places I need to go to.