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Jun 7, 2009 04:38 PM

ISO Swedish restaurant in St. Paul

Actually either Minneapolis or St. Paul. Is there a Swedish restaurant in the area where we could have lunch, or coffee & Scandinavian pastries? We'll be visiting over the 4th and being Swedish-American (and living in the not very Scandinavian metro DC area) I think it would be fun find a taste of Sweden (excluding Ikea - we have them here :). Thanks!

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  1. The Swedish Institute has food related events once in awhile. I'm not seeing any listed for the 4th, but it wouldn't hurt to shoot them an e-mail. The tour of the place is fabulous!

    Engebretson's on East Lake Street carries many Scandinavian food items. They make their own ham loaf, lutefisk, blood sausage and the like but it is not a dine-in establishment. The attached gift shop is charming and filled with everything Scandinavian.

    Have a fun visit!

    6 Replies
    1. re: justalex

      Just a gentle correction, it's spelled Ingebretsen's with an "i"
      Ingebretsen's is great to browse, but if you really want pastries, the better stop is their stand in Midtown Global Market, Cafe Finspang

      There is genuinely a Scandinavian presence in Minnesota, but it's not very commercial.


      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        Thanks TDQ, for the correction. It's been a few years since I've been there. For some crazy reason, I always loved their ham loaf. But, then again, I like Spam too. :>)

        1. re: justalex

          Great tip on the ham loaf, thanks. I've never tried theirs, so, I shall put that on my list!


      2. re: justalex

        More on The ASI, which, unfortunately, may not help the OP, but during the summer, on Wednesdays only, from 4-7pm the Kaffestuga (cafe) at the ASI serves a (very limited) special menu, featuring cold soups, salads, sandwiches and desserts made with seasonal and local produce when possible. The "Swedish Garden Party" ice cream as well as the lemon-lingonberry sorbet are provided by Izzy's. Call ahead if you plan to bring a group of 8 or more. I haven't tried any of this personally, but I've peeked in and it looks wonderful.

        Now, I asked if you have to pay admission to go to the cafe and they seemed "pretty sure" (but not 100% convinced) that you don't have to pay to visit the gift shop or the cafe.

        Oh, the ASI is closed on July 4 (at least it is this year!)


        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          What a great tip! Especially about Izzy's Lemon-Lingonberry ice cream - I love that flavor, but only saw it at Izzy's main store once. I am SO at the American Swedish Institute next Wednesday for an afternoon snack.

          Thanks, TDQ, for this amazing info!


          1. re: AnneInMpls

            Along similar (but not Swedish) lines, the Germanic American Institute has a Kaffestube) (a german-type breakfast cafe) at their house on Summit in St. Paul on Saturday mornings in the summer from 9 - 12. (Not this weekend though because they have a german festival over the weekend.)

            They say they have Brotchen, other breads, cold cuts, cheeses, musli, "strong coffee" and other things. They ask for a donation for food costs (suggested $5). I am definitely going to try it on a weekend soon.

            The institute is in an old mansion at 301 Summit Ave. Here's a link with more info:


        Taste of Scandanavia Bakery & Cafe
        2900 Rice St, Saint Paul, MN 55113

        1 Reply
        1. re: NugarifiK

          Alas, the current "mini-chain" of Taste of Scandinavia bakeries don't really serve much Scandinavian food (though there is a "Finnish BBQ beef sandwich" on the menu :-) .

          The original owner, Soile Anderson, is Finnish and is a great cook - I fondly remember the open-face sandwiches and great Finnish breads that she made. But she sold out, and the new owner hasn't maintained the excellence - the food was really mediocre the last time I went.

          Luckily, Ms. Anderson is still cooking for us - she reopened (in the original location?) as The Finnish Bistro, as mentioned below. There isn't much Scandinavian food on the menu (as before), but what is there is probably excellent. I gotta get there and check it out.


        2. Another possibility might be a nice drive up to Lindstrom, MN. It's about 30 minutes from downtown Minneapolis and is in a beautiful area. I don't know what's happening there over the 4th of July (or where the Swedish food is), but you may be able to taste small-town 4th of July with a parade etc.

          Any local hounds know more about Lindstrom?

          3 Replies
          1. re: bob s

            What a fun suggestion. According to the "places to eat", I think you can scratch off Arby's and Pizza Man.

            Are Dinnerbel Bay, Swedish Inn, or the Gallery any good?

            The Karl Oskar Days sounds potentially promising, but not in sync with the OP's dates, I don't think.


            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              Other than a little sightseeing and some decent antiquing Lindstrom doesn't really have much to offer food wise, especially Scandanavian food-wise...

              Contrary to it's name Swedish Inn is not so Swedish. It's typical MN greasy-spoon fare. Nothing to write home about. Same can be said for the Gallery and the Dinnerbell. Both of which change management every few months or so.

              I'd say stick to Ingebretsen's or venture over to the Finnish Bistro in St Anthony Park, which isn't strictly Swedish/Scandinavian...

              Good luck

              1. re: mplsean

                Bummer about Lindstrom. Thanks for the info.

                The thing about Finnish Bistro is that they keep somewhat irregular hours, so, just make sure you know what's up before you go.


          2. Doesn't the Strip Club have swedish meatballs? Not a scandinavian place per se but perhaps an entree with a scandinavian tilt? I think I've seen commentary about them on the list but don't remember the verdict.

            There must be other places around town that do these as well?

            5 Replies
            1. re: karykat

              Pop! also has Swedish meatballs on the menu - between the Achiote-marinated Pork Tenderloin and the Matambre Steak with Chimichurri. Talk about fusion cuisine! (The S. meatballs are quite tasty.)



                1. re: Jordan

                  I think that Pearson's is less Scandanavian and more meh. Now I'm not an expert on Swedish food, but I assume it comes in colors other than shades of grey.

                  1. re: bob s

                    There are shades of white, too.

              1. re: karykat

                The meatballs at the strip club were one of the few items there i've ever been unimpressed with. they werent bad, and are not my cup of tea (i didnt order them, i stole a few tastes from a dinner companion) so i cant say definitively if they were or were not a good example, or if my issue is with the dish generally and not TSC's execution.

              2. Wow! Thanks, everyone :) I really appreciate your suggestions and warnings. I like the idea of the Swedish Institute and Ingebretsen's. And the menu at Taste of Scandinavia looked good (hmmm...will have some advance scouting done on that one) plus they sell limpa which I can't get around here. Hope they're back to being good because I'd love to try that French Toast Scandinavian style (whipped cream, powdered sugar, lingonberries on cardamom bread). Again - tak!