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summer trip to Minneapolis

My BFF and I are planning a long-overdue "girls weekend" this summer and chose Minneapolis for our rendez-vous. (I'm on the Atlantic, she's on the Pacific - we decided to split the difference!)

Looking for suggestions of places to eat while we're there. Nothing too fancy, but GOOD food appreciated...any type... what are the "best ofs" that we shouldn't miss.

And, OT, if anyone wants to suggest the perfect hotel or hotel location, we'll take advice....seems like staying along Nicollet Mall makes sense in terms of access to everything, including good food, but will it be too noisy????

We won't be renting a car, so everything needs to be downtown or easily accessible by public transportation (if that's an option there).

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  1. Drinks at Brit's on the patio are a must, especially if it's a nice summer day.

    Dinner suggestions: Barrio is great and on Nicollet Mall. You could also walk to Cafe Lurcat which is in Loring Park. I prefer to eat in the bar area and their small plates are delicious (get the burgers, fries and miso cod). Another option is 112 Eatery where you can have an expensive dinner or a fried egg sandwich.

    Nicollet Mall is not too noisy, so you'd be fine in one of the hotels along it (Hyatt, Millenium) but a few of the nicer hotels (the Ivy or the Grand) are just off Nicollet Mall and still centrally located - I would definitely recommend one of them for a girls weekend.

    Brunch on Sunday could be at Key's or Hell's Kitchen. Some people are mixed on their reviews of Hell's Kitchen, but I've had great experiences there.

    I would also recommend doing the Mill City Farmer's Market on Saturday morning. You can pick up an amazing breakfast sandwich at one of the stands and pop into the Guthrie free of charge - go up the escalator and walk out on the endless bridge - a great view of the river.

    Have a fun weekend!

    1. Great deals on hotels right now. Depending on your budget; Chambers, Graves, Ivy, and the W are all downtown/theater district and you can score rooms from 150-200 per night right now. If your budget is less than that: The Crown, Hyatt, Hilton, Ramada and Marriot are also downtown and VERY affordable right now.

      112 Eatery. Don't miss it, it will fit just about any bill.

      Public transportation in and around the city center is very convenient and relatively easy. I recommend a trip a few blocks south down Nicollet (Eat Street) for lunch one day ($1.75 bus fare, save your transfer if you come back downtown within 2.5 hours). The Twin Cities is lucky to have terrific Vietnamese, and it is hard to beat Quang, Jasmine/Jasmine 26 and Pho Tau Bay (roast pork bahn mi and a bowl of pho). Hit these up one day for lunch. Start with a cocktail at Azia, also on Nicollet.

      I'll defer to others for more ideas...but definitely hit some of the rooftops while in town..our favorite is Solera. Cheers.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Foureyes137

        I agree. If you're DT - have a drink at Brit's Pub, it's fun, low key and great people watching. If you're into scotch eggs, well you're in luck because that's where they're at!

        I personally am NOT a Hell's Kitchen fan but lots of locals like it so go check it out and decide for yourself - their menu is online and there is something for everyone. I'd probably take the bus over to Nicollet Island Inn on a Saturday (Sun. is a $30 5 course deal), but I've always been pleased and the view is great.

        Also, since you're not renting a car-might I suggest taking the 17 bus to Uptown. It is right there on Nicollet Mall and you can then explore say, Barbette which is fun for late night drinks and eats, or Lucia's for breakfast. Plus, you can walk around the lakes if you're feeling adventurous.

      2. I'd be tempted to take a cab to Restaurant Alma for a special dinner. It's close enough that a cab won't be expensive. You'll find phenomenal food and attentive service in a setting that's not pretentious or fussy. I'd recommend it.

        5 Replies
        1. re: karykat

          If you are near the Guthrie, Alma is just across the Stone Arch Bridge followed by an easy walk, very slightly uphill abt 2 blocks (google map it). Worth the trip!

          1. re: mplsbruin

            Alma in combination with the Stone Arch Bridge is a nice idea. But late diners should note this important fact: The Stone Arch Bridge closes (yes, CLOSES) at 10 pm. It's a city park and thus is subject to park hours. We've had park employees chase us off the bridge (albeit slowly and politely) when we've been strolling after our dinner at Alma's.

            http://www.nps.gov/miss/planyourvisit...

            You can walk back to downtown via the Hennepin Ave Bridge, but it's longer and a bit less scenic.

            Anne

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            Restaurant Alma
            528 University Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

            1. re: AnneInMpls

              Hey, we live right there and didn't know that - thanks for the heads up!
              NOW, something you should not miss is the colored lighting of the new I35W bridge at night, which is readily viewed from a lot of spots along the river in the Mill District (Guthrie, etc). Fairly awesome!
              And just to be accurate, the Hennepin bridge is "a bridge too far". The closer bridge to get back from Alma after 10 is the 3rd Ave bridge.
              And just to make my post legit, there's a great Greek restaurant, there's Brasa (roast meats - run by Alma owner) and there's a Polish deli (think it's Polish) all on the Alma side of the river, but north of Central (which is 3rd Ave on the other side of the bridge.

              1. re: mplsbruin

                I believe your Greek restaurant is named Gardens of Salonica and the Polish place is named Kramarczuk's.

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                Kramarczuk East European Deli
                215 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414

                Gardens of Salonica
                19 5th St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413

                1. re: cheeseguysgirl

                  Yup.
                  Thanks!
                  Also, Nyes for a throwback Minneapolis downtown experience.

        2. I did a hunt for best of downtown Minneapolis but the search function leaves so much to be desired.

          Atlantic and Pacific coasts are a little vague so I have no idea which foods and cuisines you have in abundance. I’m guessing that you have seafood covered and except for our two places in the parks (Tin Fish http://www.thetinfish.net/ and Sea Salt http://seasalteatery.wordpress.com/ ) there’s little to recommend. Sea salt is a short walk from the light rail. http://www.metrotransit.org/rail/ and Tin Fish is a two block walk from the 17 bus that runs on Nicollet Mall. http://www.metrotransit.org/

          Anyway, here are a few discussions on Minneapolis food.
          “If you had just a few months left in Minnesota, where/what would you want to eat on a farewell tour? Your top five, please...” http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/604322

          “Best Indian food-Downtown Minneapolis” http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/603658

          “MSP, downtown, three days....” http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/433569

          “A month in Minneapolis - need advice” http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/520157

          If you have questions about anyplace, just ask. A couple of these threads have far flung places but contain downtown Minneapolis spots as well. Since those discussions are amongst locals and have no reference to location it will take some Googling to sort out what is where.

          Hope you have fun and lots of great chow.

          1. You're all so helpful (that Midwest friendliness???)... These suggestions sound terrific (but don't let that stop anyone else from adding two more cents). We will start to research. Sounds like we could pretty much eat our way through the weekend if we want.

            Neither of us is really a big drinker, but we'll take those suggestions under advisement.

            In answer to Mary: I'm in CT but originally from NJ. With NYC just a quick train ride away, there isn't much we can't get in the way of food types. This was more of a "what's best" question, rather than a quest for something we can't get here. My friend used to live here in CT but moved back to CA. Originally from SoCal, she's living outside Sacramento these days. I have absolutely no idea what she's eating (haven't been able to visit)!

            We both love Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, etc. so it looks like we'll try some of those suggestions for sure. And seafood availability aside, the idea to go to the falls and then eat at Sea Salt sounds like fun.

            Keep those great suggestions coming....we're going to pick the best of the best!

            1 Reply
            1. re: hungrykids

              Do make sure to go to Sea Salt-it is one of my favorite things to do. Try not to go during peak hours-go a little earlier or later so you don't end up in line for over an hour.