Top 10 Twin Cities Date Nights: Foodie Edition + A Confession

minneapolis-date-nights

According to the online dictionary, a foodie is defined as someone who has an ardent interest in food, and the enthusiastic preparation of and consumption of good food. 

Ardent interest in food?  

Check.

Interest in the preparation of food?  

It depends on the day, if I am being honest.

Enthusiastic interest in the consumption of food?  

Maybe a little too true, but who’s counting? 🙂

One of the interests my husband and I share is food, and enjoying it together. This past year we decided to make “date night” a priority in our schedule and budget.

This started when our third son Cooper was three weeks old. We had reservations at Oceanaire. We decided to bring along our newborn baby because he was just that, a newborn, and I was little nervous about leaving him with an eleven-year-old babysitter. Plus, I figured he would just sleep the whole time.

We drove downtown, enjoying the peace and quite with our two girls at home and our sleeping three-week-old baby boy in the back seat. The streets were wet and shiny, and we pulled up to the restaurant and decided to use the valet service. We don’t usually do this, but what the heck, we were so happy to get out of the house together just the two of us, we decided why not. Or I mean, just the three of us. Keep reading.

Just between you and me, I felt like a million bucks that night. My non-maternity clothes sort of kind of fit, or at least I thought they did, and I was wearing high heels, which I hadn’t worn in approximately nine months.

The hostess walked us to our table.

Suddenly, I felt like I was missing something. I had my diaper bag. And coat. And…wait. Where’s Cooper?!?

I thought my husband grabbed him out of the back seat, and he thought I did the same. We ran outside in the rain together, only to see our car driving away from us down the streets of Minneapolis, three-week-old baby still in the back seat.

My amazingly fast husband chased our vehicle for about five blocks in the rain. The valet driver was shocked to learn that there was a baby in the back seat. Thankfully, Cooper was still there, and still sleeping.

Phew.

Well, maybe your life isn’t quite as dramatic as ours is, but chances are you could use a night out too. Here is our list of ten favorite restaurants, tried and true. I’m labeling the list Foodie Edition because some of these are a little more on the adventurous side. When I go out to eat, I love to try new things, especially food that I can’t easily make at home. It gives us something to talk about, to enjoy, to experience together.

Oh, and please just leave all of your children at home. It’s just safer that way. 🙂

1. Bachelor Farmer

If you visit one place on this list, I would recommend Bachelor Farmer in Minneapolis. More than just a restaurant, it’s an experience. Fresh, mostly local and organic food with a Nordic heritage, what Minnesotan wouldn’t love that? A candle-lit dining room with Scandinavian art and design, and food you have never tried to cook at home, let alone heard of before. This place isn’t easy to get a reservation, so call ahead, or show up early and snag a seat at the bar. After dinner, get a drink at the Marvel Bar around the corner. There’s no sign for this hidden hotspot, but you’ll find it. Order your husband a can of Hamms and some $1 Cheetos, and get yourself the Oliveto. This olive oil and egg mixed-drink will change your world. Trust me.

2. Burch

My second pick, and current favorite spot, is Burch. Technically a steak house with a pizza bar in the basement, I can’t decide which I like better – the food or the atmosphere. Large windows that look out to the bustle of Hennepin Avenue and food that is to die for. I had the best charred Brussel sprout salad of my life. Insiders tip, you can order off of the pizza menu if eating upstairs at the steak house. The lamb meatballs with carrot slaw – amazeballs. Did I just say that out loud?!

3. Lurcat

Okay, I inform just about everyone I know about Lurcat’s Sunday night date night deal. It is the best deal in the city, I think. Two appetizers, two entrees, two desserts, and a bottle of wine. All for $50. That’s $50 per couple, not per person. If you love fine dining but are on a budget, you must go here on a Sunday night. Everything is good, the house-made udon noodles with caramelized orange chicken are delish. I also love to eat in the bar – it has a more affordable menu with some great classic Lurcat dishes.

4. Tilia

Romantic little spot in Linden Hills, this place is bustling with people and has truly great foodie food. If your husband is into beer, you will score some brownie points. I think we had pheasant stew. I know, weird. I warned you about the foodie food.

5. Pittsburgh Blue

If you like more of the classics, this Manny’s-owned steakhouse is a fraction of the price, and you won’t be missing a thing. The decor is quite manly, and the food is even more. Try the Grown Up Mac + Cheese. Your inner foodie will thank you. Your skinny jeans will not.

6. Bar La Grassa

Kind of like a cult, this place has a following. BLG serves Italian like you’ve never had it, I’m still drooling a little bit over the lobster and soft egg bruschetta. Once again, trust me on this. If you haven’t been there, you must go. If you have, I’m guessing you’ve already been back because it’s just that good.

7. Alma

Local and organic, Alma has a great tasting menu for around $50 per person. Three courses with a great variety of choices, we just went there for our ten year anniversary dinner and literally passed our plates back and forth so we could both try everything. Nutella popcorn that came with our check made paying for the bill only slightly sweeter. 🙂

8. Union Rooftop

If it were summer, this place would be at the top of my list. The greatest rooftop. Good food. And wine. Love it.

9. Butcher and the Boar

I just love what this place has done for German food. I’ve never seen a bigger pork chop, and since when do I ever order sausage and mustard for a meal? I mean, it’s pretty much a Paleo’s dream. Gastoffs-without-the-singing-meets-Bar-la-Grassa. You won’t be sorry for trying this place.

10. Cafe Ena

I love Latin food. Plantains, ceviche, empanadas. Happy hour is Sunday-Friday with $3 glasses of wine. Need I say more?

 

How about you…what are some of your favorite restaurants around the Twin Cities that I missed? I would love to hear from you!

 

16 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for the suggestions! I love finding local places to eat instead of chain restaurants and reading a review from a non-food critic is great too b/c it calms my nerves.

    P.S. Don’t worry about forgetting the baby; I’ve had a few friends do this too. :o)

  2. Love this list and I would second every single place you listed! I didn’t know about Lurcat’s Sunday date night deal – it gives me an excuse to make my husband take me back!

  3. Nealy, my husband and I love every place you’ve listed here and we frequent them way too often! The one we haven’t tried yet, but have been meaning to, is Tilia. I’ve heard great things about it!

  4. Didn’t know about Sunday nights at lurcat?! So excited. I might recommend you try the restaurant haute dish. We went for restaurant week and it was amazing! Great food and service- didn’t have to talk about the kids (that good)

  5. Brassa rotisserie is a huge hit and Lucia in uptown too. A big go-to for my husband and I when we are craving a great hamburger or truffle tots with a cold beer is usually the Bulldog northeast that always has delicious local cupcakes for dessert. If you are in the North area off Hennepin be sure not to miss the best Japanese date night on the planet at Masu rabota too! Their duck gyoza and plum sauce is to die for

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