Recommendation for Lunch and Dinner near the Downtown West Area of Minneapolis
I will be staying near the Minneapolis downtown west area near the convention center for about 4 days. My schedule probably will give me more free time during lunch time than dinner time. Regardless, any recommendations will be appreciated. I have a wide acceptance of cuisines: Chinese, Japanese, French, Italian, Jamaican, Indian...etc. If you think there is any Minneapolis signature cuisine, please feel free to suggest. Like California has really great Chinese food and Mexican food, Louisiana has great Cajun food, South Carolina has excellent pork barbecue.
Although only a few are located right in your desired area, the crew at Travail named their favorite places to eat on days off. I have yet to visit Haute Dish, Cafe Levain, or Dakota but I agree with all of their other recommendations.
"Our favorite places to eat on days off: Piccolo, Haute Dish, Tilia, Cafe Levain, Butcher and The Boar, Sea Change, Burch, 112, Brasa, Dakota, The Blue Door, and Meritage."
To this list I would add World Street Kitchen and The Bachelor Farmer (especially their Sunday Supper). There are so many great options in Minneapolis its difficult to think of them all.
Only two of those places are walking distance, Dakota and Butcher and the Boar. 112 and Haute Dish are also walkable, depending on how much you like to walk. So unless you have a car... Cabs in Minneapolis are pretty expensive.
Other options are Salsa a la Salsa, Vincent for the prix fixe lunch. Sadly, not many restaurants near the convention center. If you care to name your hotel, that will make it easier to list recommendations.
The Hilton location makes this easier for your evening options. "Close to the convention center" means you can get there via the skyway system from the Hilton.
If you walk up Nicollet Mall toward the river, or ride the bus as ChillyDog suggests, you'll find 112, Haute Dish, and I would add Saffron (and probably make it number one, although solo dining at the bar in 112 works pretty well).
Very close to your hotel (and, thus, shorter walks from the convention center) are Vincent, Butcher and the Boar (dinner only), and Masa ("upscale" Mexican). And Salsa a la Salsa in the opposite direction on Nicollet Mall.
I like a lot of the suggestions above (especially Butcher and the Boar and Saffron). A couple I would add that are a little further, but still either a nice weather walk (~1.5 miles) or a not too bad cab ride are Bar La Grassa (they have a pasta bar that is perfect for solo dining - you get to watch the kitchen and the pastas come in small and large so even as a single person you could try a couple), Black Sheep Pizza and Borough.
I feel horrible. I almost always go to the some of suggested places when I traveled (see my Vancouver trip).
However, I have a feeling that I won't able to try many of these fine suggestions because I have been invited to several business dinners, so I may be "stuck".
For what its worth, I tried a placed a chain called Market Barbeque. I didn't even know it is a chain, and I was in a rush (20 min limit). I ordered the sliced beef brisket sandwich. I thought it was pretty good.
I think my Monday dinner is free, so I hope to try at least one of the suggested places. Again, thank you for your help.
Maybe too late for this trip, but for anyone visiting Minneapolis and researching....besides walking, cab or bus, there are pedi-cabs (like a bicycle, but a "taxi" service) all over downtown Minneapolis, centralized around Nicollet Mall. Cheap, quick and easy. Just walk over to Nicollet Mall, and you'll see them waiting around.
There is also a free bus that runs up and down Nicollet Mall. They don't run as often as they should for my use and I'll frequently walk faster than they go with stops and stoplights, but they're there.
But....I work 50 yards from the Hilton and I walk to just about any of the places mentioned over my lunch break. 112 Eatery, Bachelor Farmer, Butcher and The Boar, Haute Dish are all walkable from the Hilton if you're in reasonable shape.
I would also add Cafe Lurcat, Saffron and La Belle Vie (the bar if you don't want refined/upscale) to the mix.
I don't get where Salsa a la Salsa is coming into this conversation. The times I've been there (both voluntary and otherwise), I was thinking "why do people like this so much?" Just a very average restaurant in my opinion.