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Fine Dining in St. Paul?

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Hello,
Anniversary next week. Want to do two nights of fine and/or fun dining. We'd do Minneapolis, but drive back is a pain and would rather spend lodging $$ on dinner.
So, suggestions? Meritage still good? Manicni's (never been there)? Heartland (loved it last time year; still wonderful?)
My fabulous wife and I love pretty much all good cuisine.

Would really appreciate anything I'm not thinking of that is worthy of an anniversary dinner.

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  1. My husband took me to Moscow on the Hill (on Selby Ave) for my birthday a year ago and it was not Fine dining, but upscale and fun. The house infused horseradish vodka is pretty amazing. Good food, lots of different Russian specialties and the specials were good.

    2 Replies
    1. re: autumm

      Wow, what great suggestions. Hadn't thought of Moscow on the Hill and we've never been there. Maybe Moscow one night (with a cab ride to/from Woodbury) and Joan's on the second night. Just checked out their menu and it looks wonderful.

      Thanks to all who suggested something. Will file away others for future "dates" with my better half. Fuji Ya sounds great; we've always gone to Sakura.

      1. re: autumm

        I've become progressively more and more pleased with MOTH over the past year. I think they've really stepped up their kitchen, the drinks are excellent, and the environment both relaxing or invigorating, so it works whatever mood we're in. I've especially enjoyed the big shared appetizers platter, which varies from week to week. One week it included a little crock of a savory bean and tomato stew, topped with a perfectly cooked quail's egg, that was one of the best things I've eaten this year. They make a very good Moscow Mule, although due to theft it's no longer served in the traditional copper cup, alas. I would recommend their vodka flights, borscht, the marinated red cabbage and the beet salad, pickled vegetables, cheboureki, pate or russian herring appetizers, the Siberian pelmeni and the vareniki, and duck breast ekaterina. I've friends who love their wild rice cabbage rolls and beef stroganoff too, although I can't speak to them myself. The poached pear salad is a nice, light alternative too, with pears that are crisp and spicy.

      2. I love W. A. Frost, too, and it's extremely romantic. Others on this board aren't huge fans, but I've always had a lovely time, and it's perfect for an anniversary dinner, in my book.

        1. Mancini's has its charms, but it is not fine dining.

          1. I like mancini's but it is not in the anniversary week category, go some other time, autumn recommended Moscow on the hill, while I think meritage and heartland have better food... if you take a cab and like to get tipsy Moscow on the hill is a classic.

            1 Reply
            1. re: zfwp

              Or figure out who will be sober cabbie to get you home before you walk in the door.

              Take the cab:)

            2. Fuji Ya in downtown has much better than would be expected sushi in the midwest. A 10 seat sushi bar to, and they are a nice lunch spot. Not fine dining but cozy. Maybe not anniversary worthy, but a good date night

              2 Replies
              1. re: autumm

                I personally prefer Sakura for Sushi in Downtown St. Paul.

                1. re: gryffindor249

                  They both are pretty good. I couldn't remember the name for Sakura when I was posting last night.

              2. Joan's in the Park. Definitely anniversary-worthy. I was there recently and appeared about about half the people were celebrating a special occasion.

                A couple of other places that I'd recommend because I love their food- The Strip Club and 128 Cafe. And both have excellent service with a nice atmosphere.

                1. Wow, what great suggestions. Hadn't thought of Moscow on the Hill and we've never been there. Maybe Moscow one night (with a cab ride to/from Woodbury) and Joan's on the second night. Just checked out their menu and it looks wonderful.

                  Thanks to all who suggested something. Will file away others for future "dates" with my better half.

                  Autumn, Fuji Ya sounds great; we've always gone to Sakura.

                  1. Strip club Meat and Fish 378 MARIA AVE St. Paul. Excellent food. small cozy unique experience.

                    Although I also agree with Moscow or often forgot

                    PORTERHOUSE STEAK & SEAFOOD
                    235 LITTLE CANADA RD E

                    Great food and ambiance!

                    1. Heartland is a bit overrated and a lot overpriced. There is nothing unique about their sourcing of product which is / was their claim to fame / reason for expense.

                      If you go to Fuji-Ya, sit at the bar and try turning your decisions over to the chef, especially if it is a young man named Jordan.

                      My one experience at Meritage is arguably the best meal I've ever had.

                      I love WA Frost, but never eat in the dining room. I love the casualness of the bar for eating and the coziness of the lounge for snuggling.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: american_idle

                        The only "fine dining" experience that hasn't been mentioned here is probably the St. Paul Grill. It's your classic American fare, but I've never had anything there I didn't enjoy. It isn't knock your socks off creative food, but they do what they do very well.

                      2. Meritage is tops for sure. As good as ever.

                        Also would second Joan's In The Park. Nice atmosphere and the food is surprisingly good. The desserts are killer - my wife loves them. The wine list is a little bit of a weak link, but the corkage is very reasonable. I would go to Solo Vino or Thomas Liquor and get a nice bottle of CHampagne and bring it ot dinner!

                        1. One place not mentioned yet is Forepaugh's. I think it would be a perfect spot to celebrate an anniversary.

                          Jason DeRusha gave it a good review. http://www.minnesotamonthly.com/media...

                          1. Although we haven't been for a while, my husband and I used to really enjoy LaGrolla on Selby. We are also fans of Pazzaluna for any event. (Especially birthdays when you get a free bottle of wine up to the value of your age.)

                            1. Went to Forpaugh's last night. Fantastic service, very good food, delightful atmosphere. Shared beef marrow and shrimp appetizer. First taste of beef marrow and liked it okay. Entrees: Wife had Beef Wellington and loved it. My duck dish was very good. Enjoyed a Ridge Zin for $58. All in with tip was about $250.

                              Tonight... Moscow on the Hill.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: perrywillis

                                Correction. Dining room total was $218. We also ordered two glasses of wine with the appetizer. Did not want to give out misinformation. Sorry.
                                We went to Moscow on the Hill last night and loved it.
                                Thanks again to everyone for their suggestions.

                                1. re: perrywillis

                                  Wrote a long recommendation for MOTH before reading down and seeing you'd already made it there. What did you order?

                                2. re: perrywillis

                                  I'm glad you enjoyed Forepaugh's. My SIL worked there many years ago and I always loved my meals there. I appreciate the old school elegance. And the ghost stories. It is quite the place!

                                3. If not limiting yourslf to downtown or West 7th, I recommend Joan's in the Park as a no brainer suggestion.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Brad Ballinger

                                    Did the always advertise as restaurant and wine bar? Last time( near opening, been awhile) the wine list was the equivalent of a sysco truck frozen menu in quality, and most respectable restaurants offer as much or more offerings by the glass. Have they changed the program up, or is this another "Wine Bar"?(i.e kings/riverview/spill the wine)

                                    1. re: mitch cumstein

                                      Wine bar is more of a "marketing" term. There is a bar that has 7 stools, and there is wine by the glass. Although the wine list has improved since JITP first opened, it could still be much better. At one time, they were going to offer sake "cocktails," but I have yet to see them.