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What are your favorite restaurants on Eat Street (Nicollet Ave)?

Hello!

What are your favorite places on Eat Street? I'm looking for recommendations for a horde of hungry medical librarians who will soon be converging on the Convention Center in Minneapolis.

Here is what I have on my list thus far:
- The Jasmine trio: Jasmine Deli, Jasmine 26 and Cafe Kem
- Quangs
- Rainbow Chines
- Christo's
- Black Forest (?)
- Jerusalem's (??)
- Gangchen
- Salsa a la Salsa

I haven't been to all of the above, so I welcome any feedback.

Many thanks!

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Jasmine Deli
2532 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404

Jasmine 26 Restaurant & Bar
8 East 26th Street, Minneapolis, MN

Gangchen Restaurant
1833 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403

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  1. Evergreen for vegetarian Chinese.

      1. re: Haricotsv2

        I liked Peninsula as well. Right across the street from Black Forest.

      2. In order of preference

        Quang
        Evergreen Chinese
        Pancho Villa
        Jasmine 26
        Gangchen
        Pho Tau Bay

        Gangchen is the closest to the CC, and PTB is the furthest.

        Cafe Kem is best for Fro-yo, which it does very well I think.

        I'd only recommend Black Forest for beer and ambiance. I don't recommend Jerusalem's or Rainbow at all. Peninsula is uneven, but has a ton of options. Salsa a La Salsa is pretty good, but I prefer Pancho Villa.

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        Evergreen Chinese Restaurant
        2424 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404

        Pancho Villa Restaurant
        2539 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404

        Pho Tau Bay
        2837 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408

        Gangchen Restaurant
        1833 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403

        Jasmine 26 Restaurant & Bar
        , Minneapolis, MN 55401

        6 Replies
        1. re: kevin47

          Thanks, everyone!

          I haven't eaten at Gangchen. Would you please tell me more about it?

          I'm also curious about Pho Tau Bay (say, compared to Quang) and Pancho Villa.

          Thanks again!

          -----
          Pancho Villa Restaurant
          2539 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404

          Pho Tau Bay
          2837 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408

          Gangchen Restaurant
          1833 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403

          1. re: Cassandra

            I have had only one experience at Gangchen (for lunch) and I regret to say, I was pretty disappointed. Nothing special or particularly crave-worthy; nothing I would care to try again. No real emphasis on high-quality ingredients that I could tell. Huge portions, though.

            Pho Tau Bay, at least prior to its remodeling (I haven't been to PTB since their remodeling), is a lot less concerned about appealing to non-Vietnamese. Their decor (and lack of upkeep, etc.) kind of reflected that. Quang is shinier and brighter and has more unconventional (ie., non traditional) menu choices. I prefer the food at PTB, except for the banh mi which is forgettable.

            To answer your original question:

            I like the patio at Black Forest this time of year, but the food won't really blow your mind, though I do love their purple sauerkraut. Dara once listed their burger as one of the best in the Twin Cities. I tried it and thought it was pretty average and concluded she was trying to be cheerleadingly provocative.

            Jasmine Deli is fine if, again, you don't insist on perfectly traditional banh mi sandwiches. Jasmine 26 has been on my wish list forever, but I never make it over there. The menu looks appealing!

            Peninsula makes their own tofu, so that's what I always get. I also like their black tapioca pearl smoothies.

            ~TDQ

            -----
            Pho Tau Bay
            2837 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408

            Gangchen Restaurant
            1833 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403

            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              DQ, PTB did a nice remodel. Bathrooms redone and a nice tile floor. I love the grilled pork bahn mi, buy a little extra meat and it's a great sandwich. My only so-so experience was a disappointing Lemongrass Chix.

              Pancho Villa serves some really nice dishes.

              -----
              Pancho Villa Restaurant
              2539 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404

              1. re: stymie

                Great to know about the remodel! I'll get out there one of these days!

                It was the squishy baguette that killed the PTB banh mi for me, but you're right, extra meat would make it a better sandwich. Have you gotten their banh mi to order?

                ~TDQ

                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  I like to eat it there. Bread has never been a problem, maybe a fluke. Their grilled pork is about the most flavorful I've ever had. Great on the Broken Rice platter too. Pretty sure the bread comes from the same St. Paul bakery used by most of the V.N. joints. Give it another try.

                  1. re: stymie

                    Well, it's been a couple of years since I tried it, but I tried it more than once and it was the same flabby bread. It was more like hoagie bread than a Vietnamese-style baguette. It was definitely not bread from Ala Francaise or Trung Nam (which are both fantastic of course!). Perhaps they changed their bread providers recently in the year or two since I tried their banh mi? I really have to get over to PTB because, you're right, their pork is just fantastic! I'm glad to hear it's as good as ever!

                    ~TDQ

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                    Ala Francaise
                    823 University Ave W Unit Rear, Saint Paul, MN 55104

        2. Quangs: I travel domestically frequently and try Vietnamese wherever I go. Nothing compares to Quangs. I'm a spring roll and grilled beef bun girl, with an occaisonal limeade.

          Peninsula: This is where we go when we're looking for a little more upscale on Eat Street. Nothing on Eat Street is actually upscale, but comparatively, this seems the nicest.

          Evergreen: I don't crave Chinese a lot, but when I do, this is where I go.

          For some reason, I don't care for the Jasmine trio or for Pho Tau Bay. PTB is because Quangs is that much better to me.

          -----
          Pho Tau Bay
          2837 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408

          1 Reply
          1. re: debbie421

            Why try Vietnamese anywhere else domestically when Anthony Bourdain said we have some of the best Vietnamese food in the country? ;-) Personally, I think he was overselling his point a little in order to find something nice to say to an over-eager young journalist. And I suspect he had some of those places along University Avenue in St. Paul in mind when he said it (because that's where Dara took him to eat), but he actually did say that.

            Anyway, I'm going to respectfully disagree that nothing compares to Quang's as (setting aside PTB for a moment since we're obviously of different minds on Q's vs. PTB) several of those spots along University Avenue in St. Paul absolutely beat Quang's if, again, you're looking for traditional Vietnamese dishes. (It you just want good food and don't mind variation from tradition, that's a different story. It just depends on what your priorities are, of course, and the OP hasn't specified hers--she's just asked for our personal favs and then for comparisons of a few specific places.) You don't have to leave the Twin Cities; you just have to cross the river.

            Eat Street has a nice assortment of average to good restaurants of many ethnicities, but I don't think the restaurants on Eat Street are necessarily the best of their kind in the Twin Cities. (Although, Peninsula might be the best Malaysian restaurant in the TC's since I think it's the ONLY Malaysian restaurant we have. Or has that changed? And Evergreen might be the best vegetarian Chinese, though to be honest, I haven't done a lot of exploring on that point.)

            You can do better for Vietnamese, Mexican, Chinese elsewhere in MSP, though not all in a row as on Eat Street. Also, Eat Street has a good collection of Asian grocery stores. You may not find everything you need for Vietnamese cooking in one of those grocery stores, but you have a good shot of finding everything you need if you visit all of those grocery stores.

            ~TDQ

          2. Taste of New York for a mediocre slice. It's not the best, but will do in a pinch.
            Rainbow is great chinese, if you can afford it.
            Stay away from Seafood Palace, it's gone to the dogs.
            Cristos is overrated and not good. Quangs beats Pho tau bay, hands down.