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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.