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Nov 12, 2010 04:53 AM

3 days after Xmas, need recommendations

We'll be staying at the Westin downtown (6th st.). Flying in on the 29th and leaving on the 1st. Need 3 dinner recs and 2 lunch recs, one of which must be in the mall of americas. The rest must be connected by skyway. We're also traveling with an infant so we don't want anywhere formal, just good food and pricing is not an issue. We eat all kinds of food but prefer to try things that are unique to, originated from, or done best by Minneapolis. The lunch recs can be for brunch. Any place that's been on tv (bizarre food, no reservation, man v. food, etc.) would pique my curiosity.

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  1. The "connected by skyway" I hope is flexible. 95% of downtown restaurants require you to exit the skyway in some manner and enter from outside. There are very, very few options if you need to stay in the skyway.

    Your best bets in the Mall of America are the crepe stand on first floor west, Salut, Chipotle, or the food court on 3rd floor south. The Thai place on the end (across from Chipotle) uses fairly fresh ingredients. I work a couple blocks from the MOA and that's my go-to when I have to go into the mall. If you go in with the expectation that the MOA is a throwaway meal, you're fine.

    Aside from that, budget 30 minutes to scroll through the recent threads on here -- there are many that are nearly identical to your request. You're going to get the same advice (e.g. Hells Kitchen for brunch, etc.)

    1 Reply
    1. re: MSPD

      Thanks! My knowledge of the skyway is limited. We want to stay warm but we can venture outside for a block or so for good food. Most importantly, we're not renting a car and don't want to take taxis so restaurants within a short walk from a skyway location is fine. We'll be eating very early because we have an infant with us.

    2. We've had quite a few places on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives, but none fit your criteria of being in MOA or the Minneapolis skyway.

      My knowledge of the Skyway is nil, so I'll leave that to the experts.

      At MOA, the non-food court dining isn't very inspiring. I've heard some good things about Crave, so that might be worth a look. Famous Dave's is consistently good (not great), for me.

      Good luck and enjoy your stay. If you have the ability to expand your options, let us know and we'll have plenty of other recommendations.

      1. Quick note about the Skyway. It closes in the evening, often depending on the hours of the adjoining business. If you are planning on 7 o'clock reservations, be wary.

        Hell's Kitchen is in the skyway system, and quite Minnesotan, at least as the breakfast menu (served all day) goes. Bank is in your hotel, and is an impressively preserved art deco room that should give you a flavor for our architectural history.

        As far as TV goes, Saffron's chef was on Iron Chef. The skyway will only take you within about 1/2 block of the door, but you will be rewarded for your efforts.

        Otherwise, Zelo is close to your hotel and always good.

        Hell's Kitchen
        80 South 9th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402

        831 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55402

        2 Replies
        1. re: kevin47

          Made reservations at Masa, Solera and Haute Dish. The first two are definitely reachable by skyway but I think we'll need to cab it to Haute Dish. Is Masa better than Barrio? Saffron better than Solera? I chose Solera because it seems to be a shorter walk and I favor Spanish over middleasterrn. Is the Duck in a Can worth ordering? We'll do Hell's Kitchen for lunch one day.

          1070 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403

          900 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403

          1. re: Worldwide Diner

            Neither Masa nor Barrio is outstanding and I guess I wouldn't say either is particularly unique to Minneapolis or necessarily represents Minneapolis . They are both good for what they are. Masa is sit-down dining, upscalish, and Barrio is a bar, again upscalish, and with special focus on the food. Barrio's menu was created by Tim McKee (who owns Solera) and who is a James Beard winner, but for his work at La Belle Vie (fine dining).

            Only the breakfast menu is good at HK. If you're going for lunch, I recommend ordering off the breakfast menu. Their wild rice porridge uses the state grain, which has been lake grown, hand-harvested and hand-parched (versus the oxymoronic cultivated wild rice.) Super rich; just get a cup. Their bison bread is fantastic (sounds weird, I know.) I like their lemon ricotta hotcakes, though, again, super rich.

            In a previous post about Haute Dish, someone mentioned the duck in a can was dreadful and their server responded that they hadn't perfected it yet. That was very early in the life of the restaurant, so, maybe they have since perfected it. I've had it at Au Pied de Cochon, where it originated, and I have to say, even under the very best circumstances, you order it for the novelty of it, and not because it's exceptionally delicious.

            On the Saffron vs. Solera debate, here's a little more info about the way Saffron's menu is set up, which is mezze (including lamb's brains), small plates, and entrees and it varies from traditional Middle Eastern to more experimental in the small plates, to even more experimental with the entrees. Their menu is online if you want to check it out.

            Enjoy your stay!


            1070 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403

            La Belle Vie
            510 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55405

            900 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403

        2. Napa Valley Grill at MOA is part of an upscale chain, (although so is Salut and Chipotle is a chain too) but has good food. Crave is fine, a bit less formal than Napa Valley (also one of several now that I think of it--what's with MOA? The crepe place is bad fast food in my personal opinion.


          1. Ended up going to Masa, Bar La Grassa, and Sea Change for dinner, and Hell's Kitchen twice for breakfast and brunch. Masa had a great Serano Relleno, tacos al carbon, and tinga de pollo taco. My mahi mahi was overbooked and quite fishy. The carnita on the taco and gordita was pretty bland. I loved the fact that they serve chips with two salsas and lime wedges.

            Sea Change was interesting, many of the things I wanted to eat reminded me of Marea in NYC. For example, they had sea urchin lard tomato brushetta on the menu, but it wasn't available while we were there. I did try the langoustine with chili oil and sea urchin linguine. The langoustine was great but the pasta could have used a little more sea urchin. I really dig the oysters with chimichurri. My wife had the tuna poke, steamed pork buns, and steak with egg foam over bitter greens. The pork buns came with spicy cucumbers. They are ubiquitous but still delicious. My wife loved the tuna, the seaweed salad, and the steak itself. The egg foam was heavy and salty, which rendered the greens undesirable.

            My impression of BLG is under that thread. Overall, I liked the creativity but there were a few poorly executed dishes.

            Hell's Kitchen
            80 South 9th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402

            1070 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403

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

            Bar La Grassa
            800 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401