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Restaurants & Bars 1

Cheap-moderate eats near Minneapolis Hyatt Regency: report (long)

Mugs | Oct 23, 200512:30 PM

Thanks to all of you who supplied suggestions.

A tight schedule prevented me from straying more than a few blocks from the hotel. I've sorted my meals into Tier 1 and Tier 2. No order within the tiers. All prices before tip. Addresses at the end.

Safari, supper: I had the veggie delight, a Venn diagram of a mound of good basmati rice and a mound of crisp, cooked broccoli, onions, and maybe celery and carrots in a creamy sauce that tasted of tarragon. The sauce was mixed in sparingly, which was just right. Served with a whole banana, skin-on. The server explained that it's Somali custom to slice the banana into the rice. I did, but I liked the dish sans banana. $8

Hell's Kitchen, breakfast: The house-made lemon-vanilla yogurt was almost Greek in its texture and topped with several types of berries. The side order of multi-grain toast came with the joint's homemade peanut butter and two fruit marmalades. Add a bowl-sized cup of the house French roast coffee, and this was a pleasing breakfast. $10

Oceanaire, supper: Does anyone else out there get the sublime satisfaction I do from eating cheaply and well in an expensive restaurant? The menu posted outside listed a chopped salad which sounded good. I entered this well-appointed restaurant right when it opened at 5:30. I was a little under-dressed; the hostess understood and gave me a seat near the bar. The chopped salad was a marvel. Of a generous but civilized size, it contained lettuce, red pepper chunks, about four pitted Kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes, tiny shrimp, shreds of crab, good-quality feta, and capers. On top were a slice of Paremsan cheeese and two-three slices of hard-boiled egg. The use of the dressing, a Greek vinigarette, was a revelation to me because there was hardly any of it, which was fine. The dressing was treated as an equal ingredient rather than the dominant ingredient a la the Sherwin Williams logo of a paint can dumping its contents on the globe. Preceding the salad, to my great suprise and pleasure, was half a loaf of good sourdough bread and a relish tray of crudites on ice and a little aluminum pot of delicious herring. Heaven, for $10.95.

8th St. Grill, breakfast: I like a place which attracts business people in suits yet accommodates what looked like downtown street people, too. The Minnesota wild rice omelet containing carrots and celery was tasty and good-sized, and I favor a place which lets me get a bowl of fresh fruit in place of spuds and toast. $10


The Local, supper: I stepped into Brit's Pub for fish 'n' chips Friday evening but upon realizing it's British, duh, decided to stick with my heritage and go to The Local, self-consciously Irish. Noisy, crowded. I was seated at a small bar. Had a Kaliber. Maybe the fizz of that n/a beer is to blame for The Local's fish and chips tasting like they'd been cooked in Schweppe's. Neither had any snap or flavor. $15 including the near beer.

Bombay Bistro, lunch: Bulk loading on my part as I had three platefuls of pretty ordinary Indian food from the $10.95 lunch buffet. Odd service: upon entering I was told the buffet wasn't ready yet but would be in 10 minutes. Almost half an hour later, that the buffet was ready was signaled by the owner or manager and his cronies helping themselves to it.

1424 Nicollet Ave., Mpls.
(612) 872-4604

Hell's Kitchen
89 S. 10th., Mpls.
(612) 332-4700

1300 Nicollet Mall, Hyatt Regency Center (2nd floor), Mpls.
(612) 333-2277

8th Street Grill, 800 Marquette Ave., Mpls.
(612) 349-5717

The Local, 10th and Nicollet Mall, Mpls.
(612) 904-1000

Bombay Bistro, 820 Marquette Ave., Mpls
(612) 312-2800

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