Restaurants around the St. Paul UofMN campus [MSP]
I'm starting a class on the St. Paul campus this week (wine tasting!) and it is in the evening. I'll be done with "class" at 8 on Mondays and 6 on Wednesdays. I am wondering if there is anything noteworthy within a reasonable walking distance from campus. I'm open to anything, delis, ethnic restaurants, white tablecloth restaurants ect.
My wife and I are big fans of Muffaletta, which is very close to the St. Paul campus on Como Ave.. A lot of the meats are sourced locally, which is a nice touch. They're also doing something kind of neat, "Tender prices for Tough Times", a nightly special Sunday - Thursday for $10. The food is consistently very good.
I adore the steak kebab at Mim's, and the hummus is delicious as well! And it's on Cleveland right at the intersection of Buford. I ate there every day during my Split Rock workshops.
Mim's is decent, but not fantastic. But, they're across the street from campus. I've found the felafel to be the best bet on their menu.
On a nice day, you can walk south on Cleveland (which becomes Raymond) and go to Pho 79 at Raymond and Energy Park Drive. They're one of my favorite Vietnamese restaurants, and they're open every day.
A lot of people rave about Abu Nader at Como and Raymond/Cleveland, but I've never had a great experience there.
If you're on campus on a Wednesday, be sure to visit the Dairy Salesroom (open 3-5PM) and the Meat Lab (open 2-5PM). If you're a bacon fan, the meat lab's bacon is fantastic. They also have a wide range of sausages, and a handful of snacks you can eat while you're there. (Mostly jerky and sausage sticks). The beef, lamb, pork and turkey are all campus raised, and sold at supermarket prices.
You can also buy the dairy salesroom's ice cream by the scoop at The Gopher Spot.
Another nice option for groceries in that area is the Speedy Mart on Como. They have a nice selection of meats and house made sausages.
I always get the exact same thing at Abu Nader (falafel sandwich), and I find that the quality varies a lot depending on who puts the sandwich together. I very much appreciate the people who take the time to layer the ingredients appropriately. But even when it's not perfect, it's still really really good. Their bread is amazing.
Finnish Bistro (kitty-corner to the St. Anthony Park library) is kind of good. I haven't had their cookies in a while, but I remember them being delicious when consumed in the morning (and rock hard in the evening). Their French toast is yummy, save for the way overripe bananas.
I'll second Pho 79. I don't eat pho, but I can say that their noodle salads are delicious.
Like Abu Nader, Finnish Bistro has a bad habit of microwaving foods. Don't order anything at Finnish Bistro that is in the cooler but will be served warm - they just microwave it.
I talked to another Abu Nader fan and got the scoop - during busy times, they cook big batches of stuff and serve it fresh. When it is slow, they microwave the leftovers from the busy periods.
They do make their pita on-site, so if you can get that fresh, go for it!