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May 31, 2010 12:34 PM

MSP: Quiet weekend dinner for group of 9 in south Minneapolis?

Hail, fellow hounds. Coming from Los Angeles, I'll be hosting dinner on Saturday, June 12th, for a group of 8 driving up from Northfield (yes, it's graduation season...). I'm seeking recommendations of a moderately priced (ca. $40/head, before wine) restaurant, preferably south of Downtown, possibly with a private-dining space. Two of our group are hearing-impaired, so low music/ambient noise is ESSENTIAL. Cuisine-wise, we'd steer toward Mediterranean and away from Asian, but I'm open to all suggestions.

After a week of research on the Cities dining scene, I'm intrigued by Corner Table and Grand Cafe. Piccolo also caught my eye, but some of our group get confused by the many-small-plates approach. I'm also considering Sea Change, at the Guthrie Theater, after the 7:30pm curtain.

Thanks for your help!

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  1. Interesting that you mention Corner Table. It was coming to mind first before reaching the end of your post. We have had excellent food there. It's a small menu, as you know, but well-balanced so everyone should be able to find something. It's quality local food (mostly), very well-executed with some creative flair. And it's quiet. I pay attention to that because my dinner companion has hearing problems. We don't have hearing problems there. The room is small with mostly small tables. But I've been there with a larger group and they were able to put tables together for us and that worked well. It would be essential to make reservations early to be sure they can accommodate you.

    The other place I think of right away is Restaurant Alma. Excellent seasonal food. It might be just a bit more than you'd like to spend. $45 for a three course tasting menu. I think of Alma as pretty quiet but would mention that concern when making the reservation to get seating that takes that into account.

    Restaurant Alma
    528 University Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

    Corner Table
    4257 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55409

    2 Replies
    1. re: karykat

      Thanks; your feedback is spot-on with my concerns. I had presumed that Restaurant Alma would be beyond my budget, and while the 3-course tasting menu is a good fit, I suspect my group is likely to veer into the pricier, a la carte selections. Also, the wine mark-up at Alma seems to border between "oh my" and "ouch". Are wine prices at Corner Table (not on their web site) comparable, or scaled closer to their food prices?

      1. re: glasshousejmb

        Wine prices vary- there's a small but good selection, and you can find a @28 bottle as well as a $50 one. Since they are a neighborhood place, they really do make sure that there's a price point for people who visit regularly. Scott, the owner, is extremely personable and loves to talk food and wine so if you go, hopefully he'll be there.
        My husband and I usually spend around $70-80 with a bottle of wine.

    2. Corner Table is a great neighborhood restaurant. They have a large table in the front room that can probably seat 9, just make sure you reserve it. As karykat noted, the chef has a real passion for local and in-season food, and it's always good.
      Grand Cafe is excellent also- a little more limited in menu choices than Corner Table, but not much. They always have a version of the same chicken and beef dish, usually rotating what they cook it with, and both are delicious. They have a back room that's much more private than the front of the house- you can probably just call to reserve it. They also have a side patio space that they used to use- not sure if they still do- and the outside front area is also really nice, especially for a group.

      Corner Table
      4257 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55409

      1. I do not have any hearing issues but have found Alma to be very loud/noisy the few times I have been there.

        1. throwing lucia's and craftsman into the mix. i like sea change but think it's way too easy to spend upward of your budget there--you'd be better off with alma. though, sea change is a striking space, & your party can go enjoy views of the riverfront from there.

          Lucia's Restaurant
          1432 W 31st St, Minneapolis, MN 55408

          Craftsman Restaurant
          4300 Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55406

          Sea Change
          806 Second Street S., Minneapolis, MN 55415

          1. I asked my significant other about noise in the places we've been. He said that Corner Table is, from his standpoint, as quiet as it gets. He said he thought that upstairs at Alma was pretty quiet.

            He thought it was hard for him to hear in Craftsman. But said that he's only been there twice and not for a good while. The main room there is large, compared for example, to Corner Table which is very small. I've liked the food at Craftsman very much but it might not be the best choice if noise is also a criterion.

            I'm sure there are lots other places that meet all your criteria that we haven't thought of yet.

            Corner Table
            4257 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55409