Favorite Restaurant to bring out-of-town guests?
We often have friends visiting us here in the Twin Cities who are coming from places like Boston, NYC, LA, and San Francisco. With all the good food you can get in those cities, where do you like to take out of town guests to show them the Twin Cities food scene? We often do places like Brasa, Broders, and Isles Bun, and those seem to be a hit, but would love more suggestions. We live just west of Mpls but are willing to drive as far east as St. Paul and don't mind driving south toward the airport either. I'm looking for any recommendations--fancy dining (entrees $25 and up) to the best cheap eats. Thanks in advance!!
How about cuisine they're unlikely to have experienced out there? The Twin Cities has some of the biggest Hmong and Ethiopian/Somali/Oromo populations in the U.S. You might consider restaurants like Fasika (ambience as well as good food), Cheng Heng (more Cambodian than Hmong, but somewhat comparable cuisine), Asian Deli (lunches only), and the restaurant at Sun Foods (Dale & University; it's instructional to wander the aisles, too). Maybe one of the Tibetan restaurants in town.
In the realm of fancier restaurants, I don't think you'd go wrong with a visit to Heidi's 2.0 or Heartland or Travail, to name a few places.
For higher end, Alma is always my first choice. I would probably add Piccolo to that list as well, if your friends are on the adventurous side. Tilia is great, but the no-res policy can be a bummer.
Saffron is another good spot. Great combination of food and cocktail quality.
I'd add In Season or Lucia's to the other good suggestions given for higher end places. In the summer, I'd hit The Tin Fish to show off Lake Calhoun.
I almost always end up taking people to Ngon Bistro, as it demonstrates a true strength of the area (Vietnamese food), a commitment to local sources (for food and beer), and really tasty food. It doesn't hurt that the atmosphere in the restaurant is quite pleasant, as well. I tend toward a St. Paul-centric view based on where I live, and I like that it's not super expensive.