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May 14, 2013 06:47 AM

Anniversary dinner

Recommend me a place to take my wife for a good anniversary dinner in the Twin Cities! I don't have a ton of money, so I would like to keep it under $100.

What say you?

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    1. re: american_idle

      We just went to Alma for our anniversary. The bill was well over $100 for the three-course meal, desserts and two glasses of wine for my husband. I don't drink but I had a coffee. Terrific food, though.

    2. I love Alma too (that's where we had our 2nd in March), but it can be tough to get out of there for under $100 if you plan on drinking wine or beer. They don't have a full bar there either. If you both get the tasting menu, you are at $100 right there alone.

      I guess it depends on what you like to eat. Here are some of my restaurant value plays that serve good food and can lean toward romantic:

      Steak: Erte in NE Minneapolis
      Italian Non-Red Sauce: Cafe Biaggio
      Vietnamese: Ngon
      French: Cafe Vin
      American: The Loring Pasta Bar w/drinks at The Kitty Kat Klub afterwards
      Modern American: Haute Dish has a $35 dollar three course menu of a salad, lobster Mac and Cheese, and Tater Tot hot dish.

      It's your anniversary so the food will never matter as much as the company on that day. I hope you have a good one.

      19 Replies
      1. re: Db Cooper

        Didn't realize how much Alma has gone up in price. Also, I don't drink with my meals, good point.

        1. re: Db Cooper

          Totally agree about Alma.

          I was going to recommend Ngon Bistro, too.

          If you can go on Sunday, Cafe Levain's Sunday Suppers or Meritage's recession Sundays if they are still doing them...

          Scusi in St. Paul isn't in the same caliber as the above, but it's in the old Heartland space and a very nice dining environment and affordable, pretty good food.

          Happy anniversary!


          1. re: The Dairy Queen


            One request if I may. Please come back after and let us know where you ended up going with a brief report. So many other anniversary threads don't end up with that information from the OP and it is frustrating. A lot of us here have to plan these meals every year and it is always nice to know what places do it right and which ones don't.

            I appreciate it.

            1. re: Db Cooper

              Will do.

              My wife wanted Italian, so on the recommendation of a very good friend, I am going to Andiamo in Eagan. If I am to believe what I'm being told, apparently this place is one of the best kept secrets in the Twin Cities. We shall see... :)

              I will be sure to report back tomorrow!

              1. re: Freeze666

                I didn't know that Andiamo had sit-down dining. I've only ever had their takeout. Look forward to hearing about it.

                  1. re: Db Cooper

                    The website menu pics are an absolute train-wreck. They would be better served by taking those pics down!! Looking forward to the review, def not holding my breath on the best kept secret nod. Parmesan gelato. why.

                    1. re: Db Cooper

                      Db Cooper, I think you're confusing Andiamo with Brianno's (popular take-out only in Eagan).

                    2. re: Freeze666

                      I've never heard of it! Any input on how they compare to Broder's (my Italian go-to in MSP)?

                        1. re: forgottendreamr

                          Does Broder's still have an hour wait on weekend nights?

                          1. re: gildeddawn

                            They're still pretty busy most of the time, but if you come early/late you can get in without too much trouble. Now that the patio is open, waiting isn't as much of a hassle as it is when the temperature drops.

                            1. re: forgottendreamr

                              Also - they have a phone-ahead policy that helps a bit with the wait as well. They recommend calling an hour ahead of time.

                              1. re: bob s

                                Nice - that would help a lot. Thanks!

                                1. re: bob s

                                  their phone ahead policy is not as good as it used to can put your name on the list, but the wait doesn't start until you show up.

                                  1. re: forgottendreamr

                                    Hm. That's less helpful. What's the point of being on the list at all, then?

                        2. re: Db Cooper

                          OK, so Andiamo was quite good. How would I describe it? In a nutshell, I would say that it's a superior version of the Olive Garden. Very similar atmosphere, but FAR better food.

                          Would I recommend it for a romantic dinner for 2? For a "normal" night out, for sure. But I wouldn't say that it's ideal for a special occasion like an anniversary. And that's OK. That is not what Andiamo is going for. It is a down-to-earth family-friendly Italian joint. And that's a good thing.

                          The Cioppino and the Chicken Andiamo (what we ordered)were LEGIT. I would go so far as to say that the Cioppino is probably the best Italian dish I've ever had for under $20 (it was $19). Seriously delicious stuff right there.

                          I will end by saying that I have found my new go-to for Italian food. This place is definitely a gem, and I would recommend it for anybody. I can't wait to go back and sample more of their menu.

                          1. re: Freeze666

                            Thanks for the report. It's good to hear you enjoyed it.

                            It's one of only a handful of non-chain restos out this way so we like to frequent it. Also, at least two places have already failed in that location; I would hate for this one to have the same fate.

                    3. Without any sense of location or preference, there is a infinite universe. So, three places that have a more "romantic" feel.

                      Our go to spot is Grand Cafe. You could get out for $100 if you order well, but easy to go over that. I love the feel of the place (better after dark.)

                      Another odd little intimate space is 128 Cafe on Cleveland across from St. Thomas. Yes, it is a basement, but I find it a nice place to connect with my dining companion.

                      And, Al Vento is another favorite, but can generate quite an array of opinions on this board.

                      1. My go to is W. A. Frost - should be able to stay under $100. If you haven't been, the patio is one of the best in the Twin Cities.

                        1. I've always liked The Barbary Fig on Grand Avenue in St. Paul. It may not be the gastronomic pinnacle that Alma or Meritage are, but the place is attractive, the patio is a fun place to dine (when it's not 93 degrees out), it's fairly quiet and not crowded, and apps and dinner for two and wine should come in well under $100.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: steve_in_stpaul

                            Great suggestion...always good food and almost never too loud to hear your companion.

                            1. re: steve_in_stpaul

                              I haven't been there in ages...need to add it back to the list!