Meritage or Heartland or somewhere else?
My husband and I are fairly new to Minneapolis. Next week, my sister and brother-in-law are visiting. They want to see Garrison Keillor on Saturday; PHC ends at 7:00, a great time to head to a nearby restaurant. Where would you suggest we go? (foodie, local, not loud)
Both are great options in my mind. I'd say it's a pretty close toss up in terms of consistently good food, but I'd probably lean a bit towards Meritage in that regard. The oyster bar at Meritage is great, but in general I like the atmosphere at Heartland a bit better. Either way, they're both good choices.
I love Meritage but I agree, it isn't quiet. I've always had a great experience at Heartland (we always order both one of each the flora and the fauna prix fixe and share) but I've only been to the deli since it moved downtown.
If it doesn't have to be high-end dining, Tanpopo for a nice warm bowl of noodles. Nice quiet, serene space. Local sourcing from the farmers market across the street.
For something pretty different, Babani's. Supposedly the first (and the only?) Kurdish restaurant in the U.S. Quiet. Maybe a little shabbier than Tanpopo but still presentable.
re: The Dairy Queen
+1 on Tanpopo (Japanese food) and Ngon (Vietnamese/fusion). Ngon is a bit fancier (though still casual) and the fusion side of the menu is more expensive than Tanpopo. Ngon features local food and - even more importantly - local beer.
I haven't been to Moscow on the Hill for dinner in years, so I can't speak to the noise level in the evening, but I remember really enjoying their food. It's just up the hill from downtown St. Paul, across the street from W.A. Frost (another place I haven't been for years - I hear it's good again). Neither of these places is particularly "local" in terms of the food, but they're both nice.
Meritage is a touch noisy, but it's a matter of the acoustics vs. crowd.
Meritage was the best meal of my life (did a 5 course tasting two years ago). I've twice had the prix fix at Heartland and left both times hungry and wondering where my money went. My vote would be for Meritage between the two.
For somewhere else, Ngon is nice, as is WA Frost (i like to get easy food in the bar or better yet, downstairs in the cozy lounge). Cheng Heng is a Cambodian restaurant on University that is hole in the wall but tasty.