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A few days in MSP, looking for some suggestions

I'm a fairly eclectic foodie, but trend toward healthier dishes, and love veggies and fish over everything else. (E.g., my favorite cuisine is high-end Japanese and sushi, although I dabble in Ethiopian veggie patters, and love a grilled fish, etc.)

I wear two hats, the snob hat, but also the open, culturally diverse hat, if you know what I mean. ;)

Anyway, I'll be in MSP for three evenings, and also have time for two lunches. I will be dining solo.

Off the top of my head, I was thinking La Belle Vie, since that seems to be the highest-rated restaurant, but do you think the chef would be okay modifying the tasting menu to no meat, and, would it be weird to go solo and just...read?

One other night I have for the Bachelor Farmer, since my guess was that that was the most regional. Good idea/bad idea?

One more night I'm totally open?

Two lunches, not a clue, but I'm feeling either vegan/vedge stuff, Ethiopian, and/or Vietnamese?

Thanks in advance!! Price is not an issue, although prices in MSP seem very reasonable in general anyway. I notice that there does not seem to be a Japanese-run sushi establishment, so I'm steering clear of that scene.

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  1. Vegetarian here.

    I think Bachelor Farmer has a single veg entree. I've never been because they don't cater to me at all.

    LBV is the most formal dining room in the city. You can get the same food in their Lounge, however, so might be more fitting to dine solo / read there. I don't know about having dishes modified.

    I've heard great things about Borough, but not sure if they can skew veg either. I understand they have some great fish too.

    Alma has enough veg dishes to choose your own 4 course tasting and has won a James Beard award (or two, I forget). Also do fish.

    For an interesting ethnic adventure, The House of Curry is a Sri Lankan restaurant about 20 minutes south of Minneapolis. Otherwise St. Paul has many Asian restaurants on University Ave. Depending where you're from, you may not have access to Vietnamese or Hmong food. Can you get Pho where you're from?

    1 Reply
    1. re: american_idle

      I'm from Philadelphia so pho central. Tons of veggie options in the city if you get there. Must try Vedge.

    2. I haven't been to La Belle Vie in a few years, but when I went, I went with two vegetarians and they had a tasting menu option for them. I don't see it on the website now, but hopefully someone else can chime in with more recent information.

      I'd also consider dining at Saffron and the vegetarian tasting menu at Heartland.

      3 Replies
      1. re: jaycooke

        I would never suggest the vegetarian menu at Heartland. $7 of (uninteresting) food for $35 and you'll leave hungry.

        Saffron is another good suggestion. I hear great things about Corner Table as well (again, haven't been).

        Most of the top restaurants in MSP can do something for you (I've emailed with most, most are happy to do it given some notice, harder a la minute). I thought LBV might just be too formal. Almost everywhere else is come as you are.

        Haute Dish does a veg tasting on Sundays only.

        Hmong Village and Midtown Global Market are great suggestions too.

        1. re: american_idle

          La Belle Vie isn't necessarily formal. A suit isn't necessary there.

          1. re: Jordan

            I talked to the LBV host when confirming my reservation and they didn't bat at an eye at my request. I'll be wearing a suit for fun anyway. ;)

      2. "MSP" covers a fair amount of square mileage, so it's hard to know where exactly you'll be, but if you can make your way past the river to Saint Paul, it would be fun to visit one of the Hmong markets.

        There's one northeast of downtown ("Hmong Village") and one northwest of downtown ("International Hmong Marketplace"). Both have a flea-market format with clothing, videos, and household goods, and both have informal food courts with a variety of Hmong versions of fresh and prepared southeast Asian foods.

        Another choice, closer to downtown Minneapolis, is Midtown Global Market. It's not so much that the food there is unique, but (I'd say) most of it is quite well executed and it's fun to stroll around and make a meal of maybe an Asian appetizer, Mexican main course, and a Salty Tart pastry. Plenty of references on CH as to vendors and specialties.

        1. Fantastic Vietnamese (/French fusion with local ingredients) food: Ngon Bistro. Also a superb local beer list, if that's of interest.

          My favorite Ethiopian/East African food: Flamingo.

          Both of these places would make great lunch destinations.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mtullius

            Ngon looks great. I'm a little confused, as they say they can make "vegan" pho but when I look at the online menu it's said to be made with oxtail and bones (for the broth).

            Flamingo also looks outstanding!

          2. Thanks so much all! I'm staying at the W which I believe is downtown Minneapolis. Truth be told I'm a little concerned that the weather will be so cold as to make waiting for cabs a pain. Is über available?

            5 Replies
            1. re: dndicicco

              No, Über isn't legal in Minneapolis.

              1. re: Jordan

                Yes, Uber is legal here: https://www.uber.com/cities/minneapolis

                (You're probably thinking of Lyft, which was only in St. Paul, until this week).

                1. re: jaycooke

                  Hmm. The news has been reporting that Uber is operating illegally in the city limits, and that they've received some fines and tickets as a result.

                  1. re: Jordan

                    Again, you are confusing Lyft and UberX with straight-up Uber: http://www.startribune.com/local/blog...

                    Lyft and UberX have users use their own cars. That is not currently legal in Minneapolis (but is in St. Paul). Uber is ok, and quite popular here.

                    1. re: jaycooke

                      Ah, I didn't know there was both an Uber and UberX. That's confusing! Thanks for setting me straight.