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Dinner options

We are off to the Twin Cities for a wedding and need two dinner rec's. One near the Guthrie (pre curtain, please) Thursday. Doesn't have to be amazing, just prepared to get us to theater in time. Preferably walking distance to the theater.

Second, Friday night. Meritage and Heartland can't take us Friday at 6:30 or 7:00 (wedding party to go to following dinner). What would be your next choice?

We are staying at the St Paul Hotel. we're always looking for good breakfasts when we travel... again, walking distance preferred.

Thanks. This is my first trip not for a conference or staying with friends, so I'm looking forward to independent exploration.

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  1. Meritage does a lovely weekend brunch if you can wait that long (they open at 10am? 10:30am? Something like that.)

    The Buttered Tin would be a bit of a walk, but a fine stop for breakfast.

    Gosh, if you couldn't do either Meritage or Heartland... I haven't been there yet but Louis (Cossetta's new upscale venture) is new and might be fun for a change? Certainly walkable.

    I like Spoonriver near the Guthrie.


    1. For your pre-theater dinner, you don't need to leave the building. Sea Change is putting out some great food right now, and you might be able to hit part of happy hour. Seafood focused, obviously, but they usually have a handful of non-fish entrees.

      For Friday, it depends on how much time you have and how far you can stray. I like Fuji Ya, which would be a few blocks away.

      1. For Friday, it sounds like you are looking for a restaurant in St Paul? If that is correct, I'd suggest taking a look at Selby Avenue. It's about a five minute drive from downtown and the St. Paul Hotel and you have a number of options:

        W.A. Frost: Fine-dining classic American style.
        La Grolla: Upscale Italian Trattoria
        Happy Gnome: Gastropub
        Moscow on the Hill: Russian classics

        If staying downtown is a must for Friday dinner, I'd suggest Kincaid's or Pazzaluna. While neither are in the league of Meritage/Heartland, you will get a satisfying meal and they are right across the street from your hotel. The St. Paul Grill is pretty popular too so don't totally discount it.

        I'd try to work in Mickey's Diner one time too. It's a legendary dining car that's been open 24 hours a day since 1931 and you could walk from your hotel as it's only 3 blocks. Their breakfasts are outstanding and you won't find a place with more character ... and depending on what time you go, characters.

        1. Close to Guthrie you could hit Zen Box Izakaya for not very expensive japanese pub-grub.

          1 Reply
          1. re: JimGrinsfelder

            I'd strongly recommend Sea Change or Sanctuary near the Guthrie. Big E gives the 411 on Sea Change above. I'll just throw out that Sanctuary has the best tasting menu value in the Twin Cities and the food there continues to be some of the most underrated in the metro area.

            Have a great trip.

          2. How many of you are there? Heartland has a fair amount of bar seating (no reservations), and you can order from the dining room menu. Mertiage has non-reservation space in their oyster bar.

            Speaking of oyster bar, go to Sea Change prior to the show. They have a lot of space. Make a reservation. I've been to Sanctuary twice. I've never been impressed. For breakfast, if you were planning to walk to Heartland, you can walk to Buttered Tin.

            1. Thanks! We have reservations at Sea Change for Thursday and my husband is so happy with the breakfast ideas.

              Friday night we can go anywhere - the post dinner party is in Minneapolis and we have a car. There are 5 of us, so bar probably won't work. Any thoughts on Lucia?

              4 Replies
              1. re: LauraBear

                Two other dinner thoughts, both in St. Paul. Ngon on University Ave. for very fresh Vietnamese French in a relaxing place. Or Café 128, for a very nice bistro with very good food.

                And, of course, my first choice is always, hands down, Restaurant Alma in Minneapolis.

                1. re: karykat

                  Both lovely options, Ngon and Cafe 128, but neither walkable from the St. Paul Hotel. Honestly, I wasn't completely clear on whether the OP wanted Friday night's dinner to be walkable (Sat night and Sun morning, yes, but Fri, unclear to me), but if she did, Ngon and Cafe 128 wouldn't work, sadly.

                  karykat, have you been to Cafe 128 since the ownership change in August? Anything new or different to report or have they kept it the same?


                  1. re: karykat

                    Just checked out Cafe 128 because your rec in this thread popped into my thread at an opportune moment, karykat. Pretty much same as ever--same ribs. The pho on the menu as a first course surprised me. Fab house-made chile sauce accompanied the pho.


                  2. re: LauraBear

                    Lucia's is a great, often overlooked spot. Small menu that focuses on fresh and local--fall is a great time to eat there. I also love La Belle Vie's lounge for a casual dinner--or you can order the fancy food either in the main restaurant or in the lounge. The cocktails there are great. For both you'd want a reservation--Lucia's is pretty small, and La Belle Vie can be busy on weekend nights.

                  3. Thank you all. We had a marvelous dinner at Sea Change before theater. Absolutely the highlight of the weekend. Enjoyed breakfast at Buttered Tin and a quick lunch at Mickey's, so thanks for all that. Saturday dinner did not have to be walkable so we settled on Moscow on the Hill, which was fun. We don't have a good Russian restaurant in Boston, so it was a nice change. (Wedding party convened at Sea Salt for lunch, which was also great. And brunch at Amsterdam, which my companions seemed to like.)

                    Wasn't until I walked around the hotel that I realized that meritage and heartland are in that neighborhood, creating confusion re: our mobility for Sat dinner. Sorry! We did have a car and loved exploring your beautiful cities.