Dinner in Minneapolis
April 1, 2013 6:09 PM   Subscribe

Suppose you were taking 4-6 people for dinner in Minneapolis on a Friday night with a budget of $20/person (including tax and tip). Where would you go?

It's that time of year when one takes prospective graduate students out to dinner. In the past, people have gone to Chino Latino (year after year after year), the Town Hall Brewery and the King and I. Chino Latino is a terrible choice, as it's way too loud and sort of obnoxious. Actually being able to talk to these people would be good. (Never mind the offensive advertising campaign and the fact I kind of hate Uptown.) I don't think there was anything wrong with Town Hall or the King and I, but it seems like one could find somewhere more interesting. Brasa has been suggested, but it seems like the risk of having to wait forever makes it a bad idea.

There needs to be a decent vegetarian option. We should have a car with a sufficient number of seats, so location is not such a big deal. Taking reservations is probably a plus, but not obligatory if they're not super crowded on Fridays.
posted by hoyland to Food & Drink (24 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Dude. Brasa takes reservations.
posted by clavicle at 6:20 PM on April 1, 2013

Response by poster: Not unless something changed since January.
posted by hoyland at 6:24 PM on April 1, 2013

posted by triggerfinger at 6:29 PM on April 1, 2013 [3 favorites]

Brasa's great but I haven't been there on Friday night so I don't know if it's loud. My other thoughts are Bryant Lake Bowl (also might be too loud) or Birchwood Cafe.
posted by loveyallaround at 6:30 PM on April 1, 2013

WHAT. Dammit. Sorry. (I was sure I had been there with reservations and a party of less than 8.)

Really though, I would not worry overmuch about the wait. You could get there at like 6:00 if it would ease your mind. I think it's sufficiently right for your purposes to be worth it.
posted by clavicle at 6:31 PM on April 1, 2013

Loring Pasta Bar in Dinkytown
Cheeky Monkey Deli in Selby/Dale
True Thai in Riverside
Mona in downtown Mpls

or seconding Birchwood!
posted by JannaK at 6:31 PM on April 1, 2013

Yeah BLB is loud. Birchwood is awesome. I like True Thai also, you'll want reservations. OK stopping now.
posted by clavicle at 6:35 PM on April 1, 2013

I love On's Thai in St. Paul. It's also a place you can be sure to hear everyone even on Friday night.
posted by advicepig at 6:37 PM on April 1, 2013

Zen Box

Pizza Luce
Sen Yai Sen Lek
Gandhi Mahal
Kafe 421
Tea House on University

FWIW, King and I Thai closed.
posted by wocka wocka wocka at 6:39 PM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Blackbird Cafe, I've only been there once and I was expensing it to my company. It was tasty and just about in your price range.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 6:54 PM on April 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

Birchwood is one of the better recommendations. If there's any stretch to the budget, Caffe Biaggio in St Paul is just a bit beyond this budget. Kafe 421 may be a bit of a stretch as well. Modern Cafe in Nordeast?
posted by kaszeta at 7:02 PM on April 1, 2013

Gorkha Palace is still around, isn't it? It should meet your price, vegetarian and conversational needs.
posted by gimonca at 7:12 PM on April 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

I know you'd rather be out of Uptown, but Namaste is good, has vegetarian options, is relatively quiet on Fridays, and is around the edge of your price requirements. Only thinking of it because I had a great meal there not too long ago.
posted by antonymous at 7:14 PM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm fond of The Black Forest Inn. Man, I miss that place.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:25 PM on April 1, 2013

Sorry, but if St. Paul's on the table (no pun intended), I definitely second Cheeky Monkey. Also Pad Thai Grand Cafe.
posted by loveyallaround at 7:35 PM on April 1, 2013

Goda Cafe has great service and a pleasant atmosphere.
posted by Esteemed Offendi at 7:56 PM on April 1, 2013

Friends and I, all from out of town, always* seem to end up at The Old Spaghetti Factory, across the river from Dinkytown. Bonus points in that it's a walk away from the Guthrie, which is is a lot of fun to walk through at night.

*I now have a big list of othet places to check out!
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 8:22 PM on April 1, 2013

I love Shuang Cheng.
posted by cthuljew at 11:21 PM on April 1, 2013

Seconding Kafe 421.
posted by w1nt3rmut3 at 11:48 PM on April 1, 2013

If you're trying to get grad students to come to Minneapolis take them to Pizza Luce.
posted by entropone at 6:01 AM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Seconding Ghandi Mahal and Gorkha Palace.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:30 AM on April 2, 2013


Or Lola's Pizza (delicious neapolitan-style pizza).

Or, if you're low-key, Evergreen Chinese on Nicollet (zero ambiance, incredible food).
posted by airguitar2 at 11:47 AM on April 2, 2013

Head down University to Ngon for delicious Vietnamese-esque food and local beer. Teach them early that St Paul exists. Shish is also delicious, but I don't know if they do reservations.

Blackbird and Victor's (Cuban) in Minneapolis are great, too.
posted by Maarika at 5:33 PM on April 2, 2013

Blackbird is run by an old friend, so I have to support her. :7)
posted by wenestvedt at 12:06 PM on April 4, 2013

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