Minneapolis & Western Suburbs

They call it a hot dish, I call it a casserole. When Holly and I first moved to Minnesota, we lived in Eden Prairie, a second-ring suburb of Minneapolis.

Black Forest Inn
1 E. 26th St., Minneapolis, 55404
Last visit: 1994

So I haven't been here in a while, so sue me. The food is excellent. This may be the best Germanic restaurant around the Twin Cities. Relaxed atmosphere, nice decor.

Café Odyssey
South Ave., Level 3, Mall of America, Bloomington
Last visit: August 31, 1998

The idea of this restaurant is that you can sit in one of three thematic dining rooms and enjoy an exotic -- and pricey -- meal. The menu is the same no matter where you sit. The ambience is much more mellow than you'll find at the Rain Forest Café, but the price makes it a wash where to go.

Chez Bananas
119 N. 4th St., Minneapolis
Last visit: Spring, 1999

If you like Caribbean food or a fun atmosphere -- preferably both -- then you will enjoy this place. Each tables comes with a Mr. Potato Head or a Magic 8 Ball. The specials are posted on the wall using magnetic refrigerator letters. We love taking friends here to eat...it is unusual, casual, and fun. And, you can get ginger beer.

3001 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, 55408
Last visit: November, 1999

Italian in an upscale way. You'll be able to manage an appetizer, a salad, the bread, your entrée, and a dessert if you gave up food for Lent. The oven is in view of the non-smoking section, so you can see them organize your table's order. (The smoking section has the street view.) My father-in-law claims that the ravioli here is the closest he's had to the ravioli he ate when he was stationed in Italy in the 1950s. You can go shopping in Calhoun Square to digest afterwards.

2451 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis
Last visit: 1996?

I prefer its brother, Giorgio's on Lake. This one is too cramped, although the food is as good.

Giorgio’s on Lake
1601 W. Lake St., Minneapolis, 55408
Last visit: 1996?

This is a fun place, with an excellent Caesar salad. You take a tray and identify the appetizers and sides you want, what you want to drink, etc. You take this to your table, and the entrée is brought later. Very good food.

Jax Café
1928 University Ave. NE, Minneapolis, 55418
Last visit: 1999

We've only been here for the Sunday brunch, but it is a fantastic brunch! There's the hot table, with eggs, potatoes, meats, waffles, and made-to-order omelettes. The salad table has a wide selection, along with muffins, biscuits, rolls, and cheeses.The sweet table? Be sure to leave room from the other two! This is all-you-can-eat, beverages are included with the meal, and be sure to spell the name for the reservation - you get the name gold-embossed on black matchbooks at each place-setting.

Rain Forest Café
South Ave., Level 1, Mall of America, Bloomington
Last visit: Spring, 1999

It usually takes a while to get in, but the food is different enough to make it worthwhile. You'll still see hamburgers and pasta dishes, but with exotic sauces and seasonings. The ambience is more like a Disneyworld ride than a restaurant, so kids will probably enjoy it. The background noise should be sufficient to nullify any audio surveillance equipment your dining partners are wearing.

Twin City Grill (formerly known as the Twin City Diner)
North Garden, Level 1, Mall of America, Bloomington
Last visit: October, 1999

An excellent place, with a fun atmosphere. The food is straightforward and good, with large portions. You can get on a waiting list if you arrive late, but if there's one or two of you a seat at the counter should be available. This is one of our favorite places to eat when we're at the mall.

Uno’s Pizzeria
6740 France Ave. S., Edina
Last visit: Spring, 1999

This is one of the franchises. I don't think it is as good as the original in Chicago, but I'm not sure why. I have to return there to compare! But it has a great, deep-dish pizza, which you can purchase frozen and partly-cooked for later enjoyment.

This page last updated on Wednesday, November 10, 1999.
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