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Sep 13, 2010 02:03 PM

Okay, now for some really cheap--still great--eats?

I'm the same " Prairie Gal" (logged in on my laptop; different name. Oops) who got the wonderful advice about La Belle Vie, for our 30th anniversary. We have reservations for this coming Saturday. Yeah!

Giiven that we're going to the Guthrie another night, and the fancy hotel's costing us for three nights, we're likely to need CHEAP food for the rest of the meals, this weekend (Okay, toss in your favorite brunch, anywhere, too, perhaps?).

We're adventurous, not afraid of restaurants that look frayed around the edges <g>, not afraid of ethnic neighborhoods, want to find some exotic foods that aren't available in Iowa...and some down home, Minnesota authentic "hot dish/Scandinavian" food too, maybe? Last time we were in the Twin Cities, we found a long, fascinating street/neighborhood of one after another small, ethnic restaurants, interspersed with specialty groceries (Asian, African, etc.) and lots of immigrant hustle and bustle. We loved it, but it was too late on a Sunday for much to be open. Could that have been along University Ave.? We can't remember...

Oh. We're staying at the Sofitel in Bloomington, but going to be up around the Walker one day, maybe downtown another, want to check out the Mid-Town uhm...what the heck was it?--Multi-Cultural Market (I've forgotten the name!) as well.



La Belle Vie
510 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55405

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  1. Midtown Global Market. Lots of cheap and ethnic and cheap ethnic in there. Los Ocampos has (had?) a stall in the MGM, but they also have a proper location right across the street now. The Huarachazo is a personal favorite.

    I'll assume "cheap" is <$10? The Triple Rock has really good bar food and a punk rock pedigree. I've always liked their Po Boy. Almost everything can be made veg / vegan if needed as well (except maybe the Big Ass Meatwhich).

    Midtown Global Market
    920 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55407

    Triple Rock
    629 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis, MN

    1 Reply
    1. re: semanticantics

      I'll assume "cheap" is <$10? >>>

      Yep. Around here, at home (we live in rural NW Iowa) we routinely get fantastic Vietnamese and (authentic; the menus are in Spanish and the patrons almost all, originally, from south of the Border) Mexican, for less than $10 per. More like $7! But, hey, I know we're traveling to the Big City, so I saved up. ;-)

      Good lunches for $10, dinners for $15 per would be appreciated. Maybe we should just camp out at the Global Market? Sounds like...

    2. Yes, what you describe could have been University Ave in St. Paul (starting about a block or two West of Snelling with Cafe BonXai and then going east on University Ave from there). Also, on Snelling a couple of blocks North of University is Fasika (Ethiopian) and a Korean joint. Univ Av is mostly Asian, with a Mexican, East African, Szechuan, BBQ thrown in for excitement.

      Or, it could have been "Eat Street" in Minneapolis, which is really interesting for 4-6 blocks from about 23rd to 29th St., give or take a few blocks.

      Or, it could have been Lake Street From about Mostly Vietnamese as far as the "cheap" end of the scale.

      Of the three, what you're going to find on Lake Street and University Ave is pretty much all inexpensive spots, with one or two exceptions. Eat Street has the cheap places interspersed among the more expensive (but not SUPER expensive) places, but it's also the most walkable.

      There's also a stretch of Grand Ave from just east of Snelling to 4-5 blocks west of Snelling that is pretty cheap because it's around the college campus. Afghan, St. Paul Cheese Shop (sandwiches, soups--take out, really), Shish (Mediterranean). If you go 7-8 blocks east on Grand you'll hit Everest (Himalayan). If you keep going on Grand, you get to a very packed commercial district that I don't think of as really cheap, but there is Brasa that is very affordable for what it is and the Chef won Best Midwest James Beard Award this past year. Also, Punch pizza, cheap, "neopolitan" style pizza, which is a little out of the ordinary for some people. Grand Ave is very very walkable, but, again, that's because lots of not so cheap restaurants in the area.

      Good places to start are Midtown Global Market (many ethnicities) and Mercado Central (Latin-only), both on Lake Street. There's a very affordable Somali place (Hamdi) right next to MidGloMo.

      To semanticantics: Los Ocampo still has the location IN MidGlo as well as the new, standalone one across the street.


      Midtown Global Market
      920 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55407

      Snelling Cafe
      638 Snelling Ave N, Saint Paul, MN 55104

      Mercado Central
      1515 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55407

      2 Replies
      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        The Afghan joint is Khyber Pass, right?

        Khyber Pass Cafe
        1571 Grand Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105

      2. One place that comes to mind is the Himalyan on Franklin avenue.

        Wonderful Nepalese food in a small place. Great dumplings, curries, samosas . . . .

        Their menu is here (but I did not see prices listed - can anyone help with that? I remember being very pleasantly surprised at how inexpensive everything was.)

        1. Whenever I hear cheap + ethnic + DELICIOUS, I think of Quang on Eat Street. My favorite will always be the Pho, but my boyfriend is in love with the grilled beef and eggroll salad. The spring rolls are fantastic - I occasionally get two orders so I can take one for lunch the next day. :)

          There are plenty of ethnic markets and stores near by (Lake street, Mercado Central, Midtown Global Market), but if you want THE asian market in Minneapolis, that would be United Noodle on 24th and Minnehaha.

          I know you're not going to go there, but I can't give my recommendation for "true Minnesotan" without mentioning them: Fisher's in Avon, MN. Walleye. Garrison Keillor. Lake Wobegon. Shoot... I'm getting hungry!!

          1. for the day you're hanging out downtown, you should check out world street kitchen, which is the new food truck by the chef at saffron restaurant. different- check, cheap-check, delicious-check.