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Your Top 5 Restaurants in Town

Recognizing how many various factors go into this determination and the fact that this may change from moment to moment, try to balance all considerations and give us a snapshot of your top five restaurants right now.

I'll start:

Bar La Grassa
On's Kitchen
Homi
Smoke in the Pit
Szechuan Spice

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  1. House of Curry
    Bangkok Thai Deli
    Modern Times Cafe
    India Cafe
    Muddy Waters

    2 Replies
    1. re: american_idle

      What do you like to eat at Modern Times Cafe?

      1. re: ChancesR

        Anything for breakfast and lunch. I haven't had anything bad there. The 2012 Sandwich is good, breakfast is great, and I've had some great daily specials too. I don't think it's "the best", but it's one of my favorites.

    2. The Strip Club
      Sea Salt
      Burch
      Himalayan Restaurant
      Borough

      1. I'll choose these on where I'm usually apt to go myself instead of the usual suspects:

        Ward 6
        Tongue in Cheek
        Ngon
        Meritage
        Restaurant Alma

        1. Sapor
          Moscow on the Hill
          Black Sheep Pizza
          Egg roll basket (new place for me, had an Amazing bahn mi for lunch friday)
          Fuji ya

          That was harder than I thought it would be!

          1. Saffron
            Ngon
            Pizzeria Lola
            Bar La Grassa
            Rainbow Chinese

            1. Wow, this is hard.

              Sea Salt
              Meritage
              The Nook
              Los Ocampo
              Brasa

              1. Sea Salt- Grilled catfish po-boy
                the Nook- Paul Molitor
                Brasa- pork rice bowl
                Saaigon- meatball bahn mi
                Meritage- pomme frites

                1. Sonora Grill Midtown Global Market
                  Masu Sushi and Robata
                  The Strip Club
                  Bangkok Thai Deli
                  Manana Pupuseria

                  1. Based on where we actually go:

                    Meritage
                    Tea House
                    On's
                    Sonora Grill
                    Black Sheep

                    ~TDQ

                    1. My top 5

                      Pho79
                      Travail chain of restaurants
                      Don Yangs
                      Anchor for their lamb burger and grass fed beef burgers
                      Crescent Moon for their football pizzas

                      I've been to a lot of great restaurants that one would think would be on my list but I have to list what I keep going back to.

                      1. Travail
                        Piccolo
                        Bar La Grassa
                        On's
                        Marvel Bar (for me, cocktails count as food)

                        House of Curry would probably replace at least one of the above but I've only been there once.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: vadouvan

                          Try House of Curry on Sundays. They are running a special dish called Hoppers. They are kind of a coconut milk based crepe cooked in a concave pan that makes them bowl-shapped. You use them to pick up the other stuff served with it, similar to that Ethiopian bread. They are humble but delicious. Most Sri Lankans don't make them, as they are a bit tricky, so they are a special treat. When I had them 2 weeks ago, they came as an order of 5, with one being an Egg Hopper (egg coddled at the bottom, effectively soft poached), and an onion sambol with fish made in Goraka, which is a curry-like paste made from some kind of native fruit. Also, if you haven't had the appetizer of Spicy Cauliflower yet, you're missing out. Maybe my favorite thing I've eaten this year.

                          1. re: american_idle

                            I'm sold! Sounds amazing.

                            I realize I left Brasa off my list. We go there a lot. I don't know what to take off the list though. I think I need two lists. With and without children.

                            ~TDQ

                            1. re: american_idle

                              Thanks for the tip. I'm familiar with hoppers but haven't had them at House of Curry. Haven't had their cauliflower either.

                              I'll try to report back but I am an extremely deadbeat online poster and usually just lurk.

                          2. What do you get from smoke in the pit? Everything I have had from there has had the acrid flavor from being smoked too hot.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: mitch cumstein

                              Strange. I haven't had that experience. If I want a quick bite I'll have their brisket sandwich. But if I want to be fully immersed, I'll have their pork ribs. They're some of the best I've had.

                            2. This is hard.

                              On's Kitchen
                              Los Ocampo
                              Meritage
                              Tanpopo Noodle Shop
                              Sea Salt

                              1. Dong Yang (most of the menu)

                                Obento-Ya ($13 is high for ramen but it's really good)

                                Holy Land (lemon garlic rotisserie chicken)

                                Smack Shack ($17 lobster roll, only thing I'd order at Smack Shack)

                                Sonora Grill (east Lake location) not ceviche, go for the coconut rice, pork, eggplant fries

                                Most places I go often cost $15-$25 per person. I am not as into the finer places as I once was.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: JimGrinsfelder

                                  Jim, re: the Holy Land rotisserie chicken. Is this at the main location? I just noticed they have rotisserie chicken at their MGM location, too. Can you vouch for that as well?

                                  I was also referring to the Lake Street location. Try their weekend breakfast, if you haven't already!

                                  ~TDQ

                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                    I haven't seen what they're doing at MGM. On Central, it's cooked over a combination of wood and charcoal and it's the best rotisserie chicken I've ever tasted.

                                2. I'm headed to MSP next weekend and am trying to stretch my horizons and add some new places to my "list" (I tend to visit the same restaurants every time I go to MSP). I have been gleaning some ideas from this thread--if anyone's interested, so far the top 5 restaurants people have mentioned:

                                  Meritage (5 mentions)
                                  On's (4 mentions)
                                  Sea Salt (4 mentions)
                                  Bar La Grassa (3 mentions)
                                  Brasa (3 mentions)

                                  (a couple of people mentioned a sixth restaurant on their lists, so I included those in the count).

                                  A number of restaurants had two mentions each.

                                  I think I'm headed to Meritage or Sea Salt--very different places, but each appealing in its own way

                                  9 Replies
                                  1. re: prasantrin

                                    Prasantrin,

                                    I recommend you add Tiny Diner & Barbette to your list. Inventive, well-executed and reasonably priced food with good wine/beer selections and capable and friendly service.

                                    Both what I'd call "mid-range" places where I can get in and out for $30-$50 per person including a beer or glass of wine, tax and tip.

                                    Oh, and both these restaurants are run by the same folks. But for some reason, I never really enjoyed their Red Stag and haven't tried Pat's Tap.

                                    1. re: JimGrinsfelder

                                      I took a look at their menus--I'll add Barbette to my list With only 4 lunches (one of which is reserved for Filfillah), 4 dinners, and 4 breakfasts (at least a couple at Al's) though, it's difficult to fit everything in! You should see my google map--far more on the map than I could possibly fit in, even if I were there for a couple of weeks, but I always like to have options.

                                        1. re: sandylc

                                          Okay, okay. I'll add Lucia's to my list, too. But seriously, my map can't take any more places!

                                          (it's not likely I'll make it to either Lucia's or Barbette this trip, but I reuse the same map with additions/subtractions every visit, so I'll make it there eventually)

                                          A question that is addressed to everyone/anyone (although it will probably get lost here), I noticed 112 Eatery wasn't on anyone's list. How come?

                                          1. re: prasantrin

                                            We still love 112 Eatery, but for a top 5 list, I tried to list the places we go to most often. 112 Eatery isn't open for lunch, which makes it a place that's hard to bring a toddler. We only get there for date nights

                                            ~TDQ

                                      1. re: prasantrin

                                        I don't think you can go wrong with any of those places. The only thing I'll warn about is Sea Salt. I've only been there once or twice this season, but I think it's starting to show its wear a little. It's still one of my favorite spots, but that's also because it's almost the only game in town for casual seafood. I can't recall where you're living now, but if you have lots of options for seafood, you might find Sea Salt a little underwhelming, although you just can't beat the venue. And the falls are amazing this year due to all the rain.

                                        ~TDQ

                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          Also, Sea Salt almost always requires a LONG time waiting in line, and another long wait for your food. If you don't mind this, great - but be forewarned. (One strategy is to get your beer/ice cream first to quash your hunger during your wait.)

                                          If you do go on a Sunday evening, the Mill City Hot Club often performs and they are wonderful.

                                          1. re: ChancesR

                                            About the line, we got there before they opened but stood around chatting for a bit (10 minutes maybe?) before we went to line up. Because of that, the line was already about 15-20 people long by the time we joined it. Oops. It was maybe another 5-10 minutes before we got to the front?

                                            But my friend and I had a lot of catching up to do, so we didn't mind. But a note to other first timers, when they say there's almost always a long line, they mean it! Even a weekday afternoon!

                                      2. Piccolo
                                        Saffron
                                        Bar La Grassa
                                        Travail and their assorted subsidiaries
                                        Hells Kitchen for brunch...

                                        1. Piccolo
                                          Grand Szechuan
                                          On's Kitchen
                                          Bangkok Thai Deli
                                          Alma

                                          1. Meritage
                                            Saffron
                                            Osteria i Nonni
                                            Maya Cuisine
                                            Origami

                                            Honorable mention for Cheeky Monkey at dinner. Need to get to House of Curry ASAP!

                                            1. La Belle Vie
                                              Restaurant Alma
                                              Piccolo
                                              Heartland
                                              Brasserie Zentral

                                              1. Piccolo
                                                Butcher and Boar (house made pickles way better than Tiny Diner's)
                                                Victory 44
                                                On's
                                                Burch
                                                Lucia's