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Apr 17, 2013 08:13 AM

City Pages "Best Of" 2013

Some good LOL's

Best Steak House - Burch

Best Vegetarian Friendly - Birdhouse (a few dishes versus entirely vegetarian restaurants


Best Take Out - Foxy Falafel (most restaurants have take out, this is the best?)

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  1. One of these years, I'm sure City Pages is going to recognize the genius that is The Chief and his master efforts at The Best Steakhouse off of Rice & Larpenteur.

    I used to try and rip City Pages Best of Lists apart. But now they are just like Zagat, inconsequential and meaningless.

    1. The "Best Vegetarian" category is one that needs to be revisited on every list I've seen. I was a vegetarian for 15 years, and it really annoyed me that a place would be named "best vegetarian" and only have one vegetarian option on the menu!

      24 Replies
      1. re: forgottendreamr

        Birdhouse has a few, but as a vegetarian myself, it's so far down the list of consideration for a place to go eat (I haven't been there yet), it's laughable. Taco Bell has more options if we're just talking "friendly".

        1. re: american_idle

          They can't just give it to Heartland year after year. The Twin Cities restaurant scene (or maybe I should widen that to the US) simply isn't very vegetarian friendly at the moment. The trend is an organ or dripping of some sort in every dish. The tide will turn again. Hopefully, soon.

          1. re: MplsM ary

            Is it difficult for restaurants to maintain integrity of product with both vegetarian and meat friendly on the same menu….while being able to attract lovers of both and remain profitable? Or do restaurants find themselves leaning one way or the other to not confuse people with their brand?

            1. re: MplsM ary

              I wasn't aware it had won this the past. Heartland doesn't deserve "Vegetarian Friendly" any year. Again, 10% of a menu (even if a bit of it is segregated / highlighted) does not make a place "vegetarian friendly" when there are restaurants that are only vegetarian. Is it supposed to be "Best Restaurant with a Vegetarian Dish"? If so, Heartland would be undeserving of that as well.

              1. re: american_idle

                Heartland was not "Best Vegetarian" between 2010 and 2013. City Pages archive does not appear to go back farther.

                1. re: american_idle

                  I'll bite. Who is deserving outside of The French Meadow or the Good Earth. Thrill me with your acumen.

                  1. re: Db Cooper

                    Depends on your criteria. We talking middle to upscale dining with a locavore spin? Because there are places that are decent food but certainly don't fit into the "fine" category. Evergreen Chinese can make just about everything vegetarian if you are in the mood for take-out style Chinese. Likewise, Bulldog is willing to put their "no-dog" on any of their regular offerings.

                    1. re: forgottendreamr

                      Still thinking :)

                      Also, there are entire cuisines that are very veggie friendly. Indian and Ethiopian will have a wide variety of veggie options for the vegetarian who doesn't want the one celeriac dish on the menu.

                      Seasonal menus are also a consideration. Broder's is generally quite veggie friendly in the spring/summer, but less so in the fall/winter.

                      Also, Bravo, much like Evergreen, does everything on their menu vegetarian.

                    2. re: Db Cooper

                      I don't think Good Earth belongs in the conversation. They are "natural", not necessarily vegetarian.

                      Restaurants I frequent that are more "vegetarian friendly":

                      Grand Pad Thai
                      On's Thai Kitchen
                      Bangkok Thai Deli
                      Thai Cafe
                      Cheng Heng
                      Dosa King
                      Indian Cafe
                      India Palace
                      Triple Rock
                      Muddy Waters (BBQ Tofu tacos the best thing I've eaten so far this year)
                      Common Roots
                      Gorkha Palace
                      Los Ocampos
                      Blackbird Cafe
                      Pizza Luce
                      Bar La Grassa (probably the best restaurant with the most choices)
                      Victory 44

                      Lots of SE Asia, some pug grub, and some fancy options. Bridhouses sustainable / healthy / whatever self-marketing has been successful. They have 1 (possibly 2) veg-friendly entrees and a few snacks. That just doesn't equate to the best option for vegetarians to me.

                      1. re: american_idle

                        Bulldog will do just about any burger with their veg patty as well.

                        Forgot about Evergreen, but I've never been there yet.

                        Forgot about Alma, they do a similar offering to Heartland (veg-specific prix fix, also haven't been yet).

                        The category was "Vegetarian Friendly", it should have no caveats of fine dining / localvore / whatever. It should be a place vegetarians can select from many menu items, not pigeonholed into a green salad or a half-assed afterthought ("Can you hold the bacon? Oh, it's pre-mixed? Drat.").

                            1. re: american_idle

                              As a 35+ year vegetarian, I've always chosen Brenda Langton's restaurants as my go-to places. She's added some meat items at Spoonriver, but the menu is still at least 50/50 vegetarian.

                            2. re: Db Cooper

                              Nobody. Edited to add that Ecopolitan does fit the bill, but it's a very specific niche.

                              1. re: MplsM ary

                                I agree that it is a good list, but I'd also say that most people wouldn't even think of those restaurants when it came to being vegetarian-friendly.

                                1. re: Db Cooper

                                  Db, can you clarify why they wouldn't be thought of?

                                  1. re: forgottendreamr

                                    Probably because most people aren't vegetarian / don't care. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade and am used to eating in the margins.

                                    I've had Alma's menu (as well as other higher end places) bookmarked for a couple years following my options, I just haven't been able to go yet.

                                    OH! Haute Dish does a veg prix fix on Sundays for $30.

                                    1. re: forgottendreamr

                                      Do the restaurants themselves market themselves in any way veg friendly? Do they include it on their menus? In their advertising?

                                      I've been to Los Ocampos 100's of times. At no point would I ever have though it veg friendly. They advertise at authentic Mexican fare. I don't even recall seeing a Veg section of the menu.

                                      Is it my job to figure it out or the job of the business to let potential consumers know?

                                      1. re: Db Cooper

                                        Nope (well, Modern Times does, maybe 1 or 2 others). Sometimes vegetarian options are noted / starred, like gluten free options are starting to be. Nope.

                                        Not all authentic Mexican dishes contain meat, or lard-cooked beans. The dishes aren't listed under a vegetarian section. El Tejaban actually does list vegetarian options (and the tamales ruled).

                                        This is getting away from the CP list (most of which are fine, I just found these 3 goofy).

                                        1. re: american_idle

                                          The three you found goofy are good examples. I mean, if The Strip Club is the best restaurant, how is Burch the best steakhouse?

                                          But at the end of the day, I'm not sure how many people are actually paying attention anymore.

                                          1. re: Db Cooper

                                            Well, to be fair, Strip Club was "Best Restaurant (St. Paul)". So, like 50th Best Overall by CP standards.

                                          2. re: Db Cooper

                                            I've never looked at it in that respect, so thanks for clarifying. I would argue that shouldn't be relevant here, because several of the other categories are awarded based off of something the restaurant wouldn't advertise itself for. Does Sea Change advertise as a seafood restaurant? Yes. Does Kings Wine Bar advertise itself as a "first date destination"? Not to my knowledge. I would think that Vegetarian Friendly would translate to "significant portion of the menu does not contain meat," not necessarily calling vegetarian out as a unique cuisine/niche.

                          1. its so slanted to minneapolis its not funny. There were very little mention of anything else.

                            1. Ted Cook's is take out, and best BBQ, but not as good as FF for take out.