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Dinner near Varsity Theater?

  • kate.s Apr 27, 2010 02:12 PM
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Hello! My husband and I will be visiting Minneapolis for the first time in late May. We will be seeing a show at the Varsity Theater on Sunday night and we would like to take our friends, who are graciously letting us crash at their house, out to eat beforehand. What are some some good places that are within walking distance? Our friends are not really foodies, but are open to pretty much anything. Cheap to fancy, any suggestions are welcome. Thanks!

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  1. The Loring Pasta Bar is right around the corner on the same block and owned by the same folks. I recommend that.

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    Loring Pasta Bar
    327 14th Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

    1. Dinkytown isn't exactly a food haven.

      I like Shuang Cheng, but opinions of that place are varied to say the least.

      Tea House (my favorite Chinese in town) just opened an outpost down that way. Not sure what the initial reviews are.

      If it were me, I'd head down 4th into NE. At that point, the options open up substantially. Brasa, Alma and Red Stag come to mind and none more than a few minutes driving. And though it is fancy, Alma doesn't have any sort of dress code.

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      Shuang Cheng Restaurant
      1320 4th St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

      1. Kafe 421 is right around the corner, not a bad spot within walking distance. Loring Pasta Bar is the only other restaurant worth mentioning that's within walking distance. Agree with Big E on his reco's, but none are close enough to walk...although none are that far either.

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        Kafe 421
        421 14th Avenue S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55415

        Loring Pasta Bar
        327 14th Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

        1. If Asian is something you'd enjoy, Pagoda is also right down the street from the Varsity. In my opinion, Shuang Cheng is very inconsistent, so I would hesitate to recommend it.

          I'm going to (try to) put links to Alma and Tea House here to so you can see the relative locations of them

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          Restaurant Alma
          528 University Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

          Pagoda
          1417 14th St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

          Tea House
          2425 SE University Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414

          1. What do you consider walking distance? If you have good shoes and strong leg muscles, there are lots of possibilities.

            I agree with BigE that there's not any great food in Dinkytown. Several places are pretty good, though. I like Kafe 421 for nicer-than-you-would-expect dinners; I love their steak cobb salad and the salmon salad with mango relish. The lamb sandwich is good, too. Pagoda is pretty good for Chinese food. I haven't been to the Loring Pasta Bar, but have seen mixed reviews.

            The new Tea House is in Stadium Village, about a mile away towards St. Paul. Across the street is the Caspian Bistro, which has nice Persian food - mostly kabobs and rice. Nearby are a few other nice-but-not-great places, such as Korea Restaurant for homey Korean food and Jasmine Orchid for good bare-bones Vietnamese food.

            On West Bank, about 1.5 or 2 miles away, choices include Chai Thai (a teeny place with very good food), Keefer Court (a hole-in-the-wall mom-&-pop Chinese bakery & restaurant), Acadian Cafe (student hangout for burgers and great beer), and K-Wok (Chinese and Filipino).

            I agree (again) with BigE that your best bets are towards NE Mpls, about 1/2- to 1 mile away. Restaurant Alma is fabulous, and a board favorite, but it's pricey (especially if you order wine) and service is extremely leisurely. If you go there, plan for a long dinner and tell your server your time constraints. Red Stag is very nice - think retro supper club with very upscale, local food - and not much cheaper than Alma. Brasa is more casual, and quite non-foodie-friendly - this would be my choice for a great dinner in the area. Again, it's not particularly fast, especially when busy, so leave lots of time for dinner.

            Enjoy your visit and your dinner! We'd love to hear what you choose and what you thought!

            Anne

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            Restaurant Alma
            528 University Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

            Jasmine Orchid
            304 Oak St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

            Kafe 421
            421 14th Avenue S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55415

            Caspian Bistro
            2418 University Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

            Loring Pasta Bar
            327 14th Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

            2 Replies
            1. re: AnneInMpls

              The Loring Pasta Bar is a very cool space but the food is mediocre. Not awful, just not great.

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              Loring Pasta Bar
              327 14th Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

              1. re: AnneInMpls

                Trying to add a link for Brasa Rotisserie...

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                Brasa Rotisserie
                600 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414