If you could eat in one restaurant...
We are in MN for a family reunion. We are staying up in the Brainard Lakes area but we have to drive one of the kids down to the airport and fly him home. Husband said, "Find us a restaurant in Minneapolis." OK.
We are from Boulder, CO. We eat when we travel. We travel a lot. We'll eat anything. Price doesn't matter and neither does location, though we will be eating after 7p.m. at night. We will eat in the nastiest dive if the food is amazing. I'll put on a dress and open up my wallet for a 7 course tasting menu.... if the food is worth it.
So... what is the best Minneapolis/ St Paul has to offer? If you could recommend one restaurant that will rock my world, what would it be?
Travail has yet to reopen (as Travail, not as Pig Ate My Pizza), so another vote for Piccolo. When Anthpny Bourdain did a show on the nation's heartland a couple of years back (that also included Colorado--didn't know you guys were in the heartland), he commented that Piccolo was the best place he visited.
Piccolo is also located in a neighborhood (instead of downtown). So that sort of setting might also be appealing.
At one end of the spectrum, I'd recommend heidi's or Corner Table. And at the more divier end, I'd recommend Himalayan Restuarant for the most incredible Nepalese food. All of them rock my world in different ways.
I'll probably pass on the Nepalese. With Naropa University in Boulder and more climbers than you can shake a stick at, we have our fair share of Nepalese food. (Funny side story about that.... our English friends complain all the time that the Indian food in this town is REALLY all Nepalese food. Lucky for them, they've hunted down a true Indian restaurant that they say makes a proper curry.)
I don't mean to sound like a total tool by saying that we travel "a lot". We are not world class jet setters, by any means, but we do manage to get around and we always try to eat the best a place has to offer.
Thanks for help so far. Looking forward to more suggestions.
I'm going to go out on a limb and recommend a few dishes as it's really hard to figure out what experience you are going for and I don't know how I'd pick one other than maybe by saying "that thing sounds really good."
I'm sure others could add a lot to this list, but here's a start.
Korean BBQ pizza at Pizza Lola.
Getting about 6 appetizers/small entrees from 112 Eatery (check the menu)
Calamatrata with raw tuna or foie gras tortellini at Bar La Grassa
Sitting at the bar at La Belle Vie for the rabbit pappardelle and lamb burgers and cocktails.
The smoked fish/meat "toasts" course at The Bachelor Farmer. And the drinks and the unique wine menu.
Full tasting menu at Piccolo or Alma.
My wife is driving through Brainard as I write. She just texted me that a place called "The Barn" has incredible pie. FWIW.
For TC, +1 on rabbit paparadelle in the lounge at La Belle Vie. Add some Bouillabaise and an Old Cuban, and that is about as good as it gets.
OK, answering your post at face value: if *I* could eat at one restaurant, I'd eat at either On's Thai Bistro or Bangkok Thai Deli (both on University Avenue in St. Paul) but probably the former because I've eaten there most recently and it's the one I can vouch for the most at this time. It is the best of the kind of food I enjoy, which is hole in the wall/mom and pop "ethnic" (for want of a better word) food. I've had better Thai food at Lotus of Siam in Vegas and perhaps you have, too.
But, you're getting a lot of great recommendations, so if you've had a lot of great Thai food on your travels, then you've got many other options!
I think I'll add myself to the Piccolo bandwagon. There simply isn't anything else like it in MN. It's small, vibrant, fun.
On the formal side, La Belle Vie is as good as things get in MN, based on the accolades. Outstanding food and cocktails. I've only eaten in the lounge, but they have the big time dining room tasting if you really want to indulge.
Re the Nepalese comment. There is a strong connection between the climbing community in this town and the number of Nepalese now living in Boulder. My guess is that folks went to Nepal to climb and over the years encouraged people from Nepal to move to Boulder.