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Restaurant Near the Lagoon Theater

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Inasuitcase Jan 23, 2011 10:57 AM

Does anyone have a recommendation for a restaurant near the Lagoon? Happy Hour would be great but anything reasonably priced ($10-12/entree). This would be for a weekday evening prior to movie. Thanks!

  1. mitch cumstein Jan 23, 2011 11:37 AM

    I would say Lucia's wine bar menu would fit the bill. Smaller plates, but composed dishes, and always solid. I'm not a huge fan of that area for sining, but Lucia's is an oft forgotten staple in our dining community. Barbette would get a nod on the pre/post happy hour menu.

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    Barbette
    1600 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55408

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

    1. bob s Jan 23, 2011 12:33 PM

      I live in the neighborhood and love both Lucia's and Barbette. But I'd take also take a serious look at Bar Abilene which, since it's next door to the Lagoon, has the added advantage of letting you park/walk once. My family just ate there last evening and we remarked that we did not understand why they are not especially busy. Admittedly, it's not on the level of Lucia's and Barbette, but the kitchen puts out solid, tasty food and they have some good happy hour bargains as well.

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      Bar Abilene
      1300 Lagoon Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55408

      1. i
        Inasuitcase Jan 23, 2011 05:46 PM

        Thanks for the suggestions. We're going to give Bar Abilene a chance. They have goat cheese on their menu, which won me over. I am unable to do dairy (cow).

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        Bar Abilene
        1300 Lagoon Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55408

        7 Replies
        1. re: Inasuitcase
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          foreverhungry Jan 24, 2011 08:46 AM

          I'll be interested in what you think of Bar Abilene. The last time I went, I promised myself I would never go there again. The few times I had gone, it was always a disappointment. I wouldn't say the menu is overly interesting or ambitious, but their dishes never could live up to even a mid-level shooting menu. I'd seriously put Bar Abilene a step above Don Pablo's.

          On a related note, I often wonder why this area can't support decent Tex-Mex food. The only good offering in that area was Tejas, which sadly went out a couple years ago. Everything else is Chi-Chi's style Mexican, or small informal eateries, such as those on Lake in MPLS or in the Chavez St and Robert St areas of St. Paul. Nothing in the Rick Bayless or Milliken and Feniger of Border Grill. Given, Bayless is more Mexican than Tex-Mex, but there are no higher end Mexican restaurants in the area, and no decent Tex-Mex of any kind. Bar Abilene tries to fill that role, but I think caves in to cater to the typical Uptown crowd - keep it simple, dumb it down, and people will open their wallets. (Lucia's and Barbette are 2 notable exceptions, with Lucia's in a class by itself for Uptown area eateries).

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          Bar Abilene
          1300 Lagoon Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55408

          Don Pablo's
          2700 Lincoln Dr, Saint Paul, MN 55113

          Tejas
          3910 W 50th St, Minneapolis, MN 55424

          1. re: foreverhungry
            s
            SmartCookie Jan 24, 2011 08:52 AM

            Both Il Gatto and The Independent in Calhoun Square have good happy hours, and quite good food.

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            Il Gatto
            3001 Hennepin Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55408

            1. re: SmartCookie
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              foreverhungry Jan 24, 2011 11:11 AM

              Have you liked Il Gatto? The last time I went, I was split on their menu - the appetizers were excellent, and their pizzas looked quite good (and are good from what I've heard), but I didn't like the entrees. The entrees really should have delivered more, especially given their price points. It is a very nice space, though, and given their appetizers, happy hour should be quite good.

              The Inde does have a great feel to it, and I agree, it is super fun for happy hour.

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              Il Gatto
              3001 Hennepin Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55408

            2. re: foreverhungry
              bob s Jan 24, 2011 01:27 PM

              I agree that Bar Abilene has always struggled with how to define itself. I suspect that's because it's owned and managed by people who aspire to better food, but it's got an market defined by the dreck that's in the area. Since we live nearby and have young kids, we've relied on it as a place within walking distance where the family can go and we can get decent drinks and mac n' cheese for the kids. The food has been on a roller coaster with the menu becoming less adventurous over the years. But if you go in with only moderate expectations, I think that you can do OK.

              I think the food's better now than a couple of years ago. Cuisine Concepts moved some of the staff (including, I believe, the GM) up from Tejas last year after it closed. They're working on improving the menu. For instance, they're now making home made mac n' cheese instead of instant Kraft (much to my 6 year old's chagrin) and my wife had a decent mole tamale.

              Have you tried Masa foreverhungry? I think they're a better example of someone trying to fill the higher-end Mexican hole that you describe. Agree that Tex-Mex is lacking in this town. And what I'd do for some decent green chile...

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              Masa
              1070 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403

              1. re: bob s
                f
                foreverhungry Jan 25, 2011 05:04 AM

                Masa! Thanks. For some reason, Masa always falls off my radar. I need to make an effort to get there. I've read both ends of the spectrum about Masa, but enough positive to give it a shot. Thanks for reminding me about it!

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                Masa
                1070 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403

              2. re: foreverhungry
                s
                sandylc Jan 24, 2011 06:44 PM

                I like Masa. It isn't in Rick Bayless' class, but it is fresh and very very good. I've seen it get slammed online and I'm not sure why.

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                Masa
                1070 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403

                1. re: sandylc
                  s
                  snoboardbabe77 Jan 25, 2011 06:30 AM

                  Agree with foreverhungry. Definitely NOT a fan of Bar Abilene at all. I don't think the food is very good, the atmosphere is so-so, the service is only so-so, and even though I don't like to admit this-I'd rather go to Chino than Bar Abilene. Personally, if the weather is decent enough, I'd prefer the walk to Barbette or across the street to The Independent.

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                  Bar Abilene
                  1300 Lagoon Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55408

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