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Best food in or near Eagan?

  • t
  • torym Oct 6, 2010 09:28 AM

I'll be in Eagan for business for two separate weeks, one in Oct. and one in Nov. I don't need super-fancy food or sky-high prices, but I appreciate good food and I'm not cheap.

Need I rent a car, or are public transport/taxis good for getting to M/SP? I love light, hot, fresh yeast rolls, and would like to leave the area feeling like I've tried some of the best local food.

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  1. I'd rent a car if I were you. MSP doesn't do so well with public transportation unless you are staying near MOA in which case you could take the light rail to downtown Minneapolis, but you'd miss all the great restaurants we have in St. Paul.

    Eagan isn't just rolling in unique and fabulous restaurants. It's mostly chains, but there is Sambol, which has pretty good Indian food (I'm not a connoisseur of Indian cuisine so I could be off the mark, but I think it's decent). There's also El Loro which has fairly decent Mexican food. And Jensen's Supper Club which is fine too. While none of these places are "slumming" if you really want a feel for the best local food you need a car and you need to go to St. Paul and Minneapolis, for the most part. I'd highly recommend Meritage and Bar LaGrassa as my top 2 choices.

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    Sambol Restaurant
    1260 Town Centre Dr, Saint Paul, MN 55123

    Meritage
    410 Saint Peter St, Saint Paul, MN 55102

    El Loro
    2501 Horizon Dr, Burnsville, MN 55337

    Jensen's Supper Club
    3840 Sibley Memorial Highway, Eagan, MN 55122

    3 Replies
    1. re: Seige

      hate me all you want for being a snob, but jensen's supper club is only "fine" in an "it's okay" way. to me it would be alright if stranded in the area w/o a car, but it doesn't fit the op's "best local food" criterion, imo. i wholeheartedly agree w your top 2 recs in st. paul & minneapolis. i'd add restaurant alma as usual.

      note to the op that cabs seem to be pretty pricy here. if you can get to a light rail stop that would be a good start, otherwise consider the rent a car. i'm drawing a blank on the request for light fresh yeast rolls. i don't think many restaurants serve those in the area-- even old-school places like jensen's supper club-- they've got those popovers, instead. hmm.

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      Restaurant Alma
      528 University Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

      1. re: soupkitten

        Oh don't get me wrong. I don't think any of my Eagan suggestions meet the "best local food" criterion. That's why I told them to rent a car. It's just that if he/she didn't have a car then those are the places I'd go to rather than Arby's or Houlihan's, etc. which are the other types of choices you have in Eagan. I think we're on the same page, soupkitten.

        1. re: Seige

          phew! cuz i went to jensen's on someone's rec, and was a little bummed out to realize i schlepped my butt all the way out there, but i could have had an awesome meal at any of the above for pretty much the same price, and people at the next table were all cooing over the drawn butter candle thingy and the lame-- er, sorry: 'classic'-- "blu cheese" with mandarin orange segment salad. . . the food was pretty average and it was imo not worth the reverse commute to the burbs for this one!

    2. I'd second the car rental recommendation.

      From there, the question comes down to what you like. Meritage is about as good as it gets in St. Paul. Other options would include:

      The Strip Club - Old school vibe in a new steakhouse.
      Brasa - Southern food in a casual setting. Local ingredients used nearly across the board. If you go to Brasa, I would recommend a stop at Grand Ole Creamery (across the street) on your way home.
      Heartland - Locally focused in a new, grand space. $40, 3 course menu.

      Plenty of other options too, depending on what you are looking for.

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      Grand Ole Creamery
      750 Grand Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105

      Meritage
      410 Saint Peter St, Saint Paul, MN 55102

      The Strip Club
      378 Maria Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55106

      1. well i will give up on the best or even good local food in eagan and offer merely pleasant instead. Hovies in Eagan is a little dinner that offers ok breakfasts. I have never had lunch there but they do make their own hamburger buns (i watched them prepare them during breakfast).

        Hovie's

        (651) 452-2753
        Eagan
        1450 Yankee Doodle Rd
        Eagan, MN 55121

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        Hovie's
        1450 Yankee Doodle Rd, Saint Paul, MN 55121

        1 Reply
        1. re: zfwp

          I've had the burger's at Hovie's and they are pretty good. Just a basic burger and fry place, but the prices are good and anyone I've brought there has gone again.

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          Hovie's
          1450 Yankee Doodle Rd, Saint Paul, MN 55121

        2. Closest good food to Eagan would be I Nonni in Lilydale.

          http://www.inonnirestaurant.com/MenuP...

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          I Nonni
          981 sibley memorial hwy, Lilydale, MN 55118

          1. The only place for food in Eagan that I travel for is Brianno's. Now it is just a Deli/take out spot, so I'm not exactly sure if that type of eatery is what you're looking for, but it sure beats Arby's.
            http://www.royalcliffineagan.com/bria...

            1. Try Pardon My French off of Cliff in Eagan! http://www.pardonmyfrench.eu/

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              Pardon My French
              1565 Cliff Rd Ste 1A, Saint Paul, MN 55122

              6 Replies
              1. re: Love2Grub

                Pardon My French is the only thing in Eagan. The Brianno's pizza could be an option. As for I Nonni its good but I think its over rated and a very boring environment I would much rather go to Bar La Grasa.

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                I Nonni
                981 sibley memorial hwy, Lilydale, MN 55118

                Pardon My French
                1565 Cliff Rd Ste 1A, Saint Paul, MN 55122

                Brianno's
                2280 Cliff Rd, Saint Paul, MN 55122

                1. re: astadtler

                  Pardon my French has a weak wine list and I disagree with I Nonni. It is a top 10 restaurant in the Twin Cities especially when Jay is your server. He could teach almost every server in this town how to do it.

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                  I Nonni
                  981 sibley memorial hwy, Lilydale, MN 55118

                  1. re: astadtler

                    Pardon My French is not the "only thing" in Eagan. It's also important to note that PMF's core competency isn't full service meals, extensive wine list, etc. It's a bakery first with cafe meals (e.g. quiches, soups, salads, with some dinner specials). I don't even think their original intention was to serve dinner entrees but they realized they have a massive, massive space and a couple events like their Valentine's Day dinner went well. I could be wrong.

                    I've posted extensively on Eagan and surrounding communities Burnsville, Apple Valley, etc. (now archieved under the General Midwest Archive) board if the OP wanted to search. Many of the themes in there are still current. There are a scattering of interesting places (Brianno's sandwiches are also very good) like Classic Sai Gon for Vietnamese, the wood oven pizzas and a few other items at Buon Giorno market (attached to I Nonni), the Thai place just over the border in Burnsville (County 11 and Highway 13) etc.

                    The thing is, if you're on business in Eagan for a week, you most likely have a car which gives you access to near South Minneapolis, Highland Park, downtown St. Paul, West 7th Street, Bloomington, etc. within an easy 10-15 minutes tops. There are good restaurants in Eagan, but there are better/more restaurants within that expanded radius. Yes, you won't meet the OP's criteria of "feeling like I've tried some of the best local food" if you limit yourself to a typical American suburb.

                    And I also disagree with I Nonni but I know a few people that haven't been blown away by it as well.

                    1. re: astadtler

                      Finally went to Pardon My French this past weekend. And while it's no Meritage, for Eagan and for what it is, we thought it was pretty good. I had La Gratinee Tarte Flambee. Hubby had the lunch special of Hachi Parmentier. We thought both were quite good. For dessert he had a strawberry napoleon; I had the lemon tart. Again, both quite good and a nice departure from other suburban options like Dairy Queen and Burger King. While we were there another patron was also raving about their crepes being quite "cozy." Having feasted daily on fresh made crepes in Paris, I think their crepes might be a hard sell for me, but I'm willing to try them when we go back. And we will go back.

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                      Meritage
                      410 Saint Peter St, Saint Paul, MN 55102

                      Pardon My French
                      1565 Cliff Rd Ste 1A, Saint Paul, MN 55122

                      1. re: Seige

                        I saw El Loro recommended; sorry, but DO NOT GO THERE. Unless, of course, you are interested in a pile of gloppy, greasy, bland STUFF.

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                        El Loro
                        2501 Horizon Dr, Burnsville, MN 55337

                        1. re: sandylc

                          It's interesting how much each location of El Loro/Toro varies in quality.

                          My favorite restaurant in Eagan http://www.ansarisgrill.com/ just had a fire, but I'm hoping they're going to be open again sooner than later. There are few places in Apple Valley and Burnsville I'd like to recommend: Satay2Go http://www.satay2go.com/ has great Malaysian food with a few other surprises - there's nothing like it in Mpls/St Paul. The El Azteca Mexican place in the same building has decent food, slightly better than the El Loro/Toro chain IMO.

                          Burnsville is kind of a black hole for non-chain food. I've had good (but not great) 'American' and 'Italian' food at the Roasted Pear - Their signature pizza was tasty - but I'd rather you tried Nha Sang http://www.nhasangrestaurant.com/ instead. There are a handful of overpriced, mediocre Thai places in the area too...

                          Yes, you will want to rent a car. As someone without one that likes the South Of the River vibe, getting around the SW burbs by bus is teh suck.

                  2. Doolittles in Eagan & Pardon My French

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                    Pardon My French
                    1565 Cliff Rd Ste 1A, Saint Paul, MN 55122