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St Paul's best

After 5 years, I'm back out in the MSP area for about a year and have had great luck with my old favorites as well as some really excellent new restaurants in Minneapolis. However, it's been difficult to find a post devoted solely to St Paul's best. From some of the bets of the TCs threads it seems we have:

The Happy Gnome
On's Thai Kitchen

MSP please help! I seriously need to diversify - any price point and any cuisine, as long as its GOOD.


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  1. The Asian Deli Restaurant at 388 Western Ave. It is only open for lunch, but is fantastic! Great Laotian food!

    1. Ngon for Vietnamese, especially the Pho
      The Strip Club - Small plates and steaks
      The Nook - Best hamburgers in the Twin Cities
      Mama's - Best Hot Dago sandwich available
      Yarusso Brothers - Old school red sauce Italian
      Ward 6 - Neighborhood joint w/great Reuben sandwich
      Gopher Bar - Killer Coney Island dogs
      Caffe Biaggio - Killer Northern Italian fare and best carbonara in the city
      Lucia and Lucia Ancora - More great Italian.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Db Cooper

        We love Ngon, but I think their hu tu/mi is actually better than their pho. (I think the tu is with rice noodles and the mi with egg; I get the egg.) The pho does have the delectable house-made meatballs (reportedly made weekly by the chef's father), but the Hu Mi's shrimp balls are the true business. For pho, the best in the Cities still seems to me Pho Tau Bay, if only for their near heavenly tendon. A squidge of beef scallop down the gullet? Check.

        1. re: parkermsp

          We'll agree to disagree. That stock that Ngon makes for their Pho, to me, is better than any around and that includes Pho Tau Bay. Everybody has different tastes and preferences.

          I should have also added Taqeuria Los Paisanos for tortas. I know most point to Los Ocampo, but I prefer these.

          1. re: Db Cooper

            Have you had the Hu mi? Try the hu mi at Ngon. I'll try Los Paisanos.

            1. re: Db Cooper

              I'll second the tortas at Los Paisanos over those at Ocampo, though I prefer the latter for most everything else.

        2. Little Szechuan on University should be added to the list, too.

          1. Along with previously mentioned, I like:

            Cheng Heng
            Thai Cafe
            Homi Mexican
            Los Ocampo
            Hmong Village (Food Court)

            I really adore Ward 6, especially their breakfast dishes.

            1. also forgot to add WA Frost

              1. i will hijack this thread... has anyone been to Babani’s lately?

                1. Meritage, best French in town.
                  Los Ocampo best Mexican
                  Rum Mit Thai, great thai food, zero atmosphere!
                  Strip Club, great drinks and steaks
                  Bars Bakery, great pastries
                  Kopplins, fantastic coffee
                  Ngon Bistro, upscale Vietnamese
                  Senor Wongs, fun Asian/Mexican fusion with great happy hours.
                  Hmong Village for papaya salad and BBQ

                  1. Not all new...but my faves are:
                    El Burrito Mercado
                    Black Sheep Pizza
                    Pollo Campero
                    Trieu Chau
                    Russian Tea House
                    Cheeky Monkey
                    Blue Door Pub
                    St. Paul Cheese Shop

                    1. I'll add BJ's Hotdog Shoppe and Italian Beef. Best italian beef I've ever had.

                      1. Little Szechuan

                        Meritage (for oysters)

                        Bangkok Thai (are they still open?)

                        iPho by Saigon for Banh Mi (I didn't care for the the grocery store Ha Tien?)

                        Pho Cadao for Pho (gotta get to Ngon and try theirs)


                        Ristorante Luci

                        1. New on Grand Ave is Grand Central, a sandwich shop. Great sandwiches and salads. Macalester Campus area.

                          Brasa. Apologies if it's been mentioned (reading comprehension isn't what it used to be), Brasa usually gets lots of love on this board.

                          1. Missing from the thread:

                            Joan's in the Park
                            Black Sheep on Robert
                            Foxy Falafel

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Brad Ballinger

                              Black Sheep absolutely deserves a nod. Best pizza in MN, for me. And a nice (though small) tap selection.

                              1. re: Brad Ballinger

                                Hearty agreement on Foxy Falafel. Delicious food. Small space, but pleasant. Very gluten-free friendly, too, for those to whom it matters.

                              2. I Nonni has the best Italian food in the city imo. It's close enough to be considered St. Paul.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: NugarifiK

                                  I hesitated including I Nonni because it's not in STP, but I agree, excellent Italian if not the best. The service there is fantastic also.

                                  If we're going to I Nonni, then I'd add the deli, Buon Giorno. Though lots of folks go there for their lunchtime pasta bar, I'm a huge fan of their sandwiches and their deli selection. Not a huge selection, but high quality and a great price (as compared to the new Cossetta's deli, for example, whose prices border on the criminal).

                                2. A lot of St. Paul residents like Red Savoy Pizza.

                                  1. Shish on Grand (same owners as Grand Central)
                                    Colossal Cafe on Como (great for breakfast and nice dinner service, too)