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Aug 22, 2009 08:02 AM

Special dinner for two in Minneapolis - Saint Paul

I live in New York and my fiancee in St. Paul. I want to take her out for a really nice meal and surprise her with someplace new (oops Hi Kim if you read this!). She is an amazing cook and a foodie I suppose. She likes 'authentic' places and we don't go in much for fanfare or glitz. Our favorites are 112, La Belle Vie, or even Town Talk, but we also love venerables like the Monte Carlo (not to mention Al's Breakfast, The Nook, etc.). Was considering Sanctuary. Ethnic is great too. Any thoughts out there? Thanks a lot.

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  1. Alma, ftw.

    Restaurant Alma
    528 University Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

    1. Alma is a great recommendation. Meritage is another one to consider. My SO is a meat and potatoes guy and he's loved the short ribs and steaks he's had there and I have enjoyed the fish dishes. Enjoy your dinner...wherever you go.

      410 Saint Peter St, Saint Paul, MN 55102

      1 Reply
      1. re: BigSal

        I second Meritage. I also think Heartland does a nice job. Both in St. Paul.


      2. Heartland would seem to fit the bill. Down to Earth, with spectacular food and a menu that is crafted based on whatever ingredients are fresh that day.

        For ethnic, I would consider Gandhi Mahal, which is right by Town Talk. Great Indian and a lovely atmosphere, or Cafe Bonxai on University. The latter is particularly good if you like coconut curries, and don't mind fusion.

        1. Hmmmm. I'm not sure if Sanctuary is your best bet. I went there with friends about a month ago because we were in the neighborhood and wanted to try it. I loved the setting -- very restful, and decorated with furniture from an old church. For example, I think the hostess station is actually an old pulpit. May sound a bit kitschy, but i thought it worked. And the host is very welcoming.

          The menu is kind of a combination of asian and other influences. Frankly, I can't even remember what I ordered, but remember thinking it was ok, not great. My SO had a soup, think it was a fruit soup. It didn't do much for him -- kind of blah. He also had crab cakes which he thought were pretty good.

          The patio that night was a lovely spot for a summer evening. The menu emphasizes fresh stuff. I would definitely try it again.

          But I think there are some options that are a cut above. In that League, I concur in the recommendations for Alma and Heartland. Both are excellent cooking, very fresh and local, and in a setting that is restful but not fussy. I would also recommend Corner Table. A small place where we have had excellent meals, very fresh and local.

          1. Heartland and Alma would be my first two choices.