There are exactly one zillion places to eat in Minneapolis proper. Hennepin Avenue is home to many of those restaurants.
For starters, the Uptown Bar and Cafe (3018 Hennepin Ave, 612-823-4719). This is the place to be on Saturday and Sunday morning, preferably with the person you picked up the night before. They specialize in American style cooking; burgers, veggie burgers, skillets, eggs, tacos, and the list goes on. A good place to satisfy groups with differing tastes. Large Portions. $5-$9. They have bands at night too.
Figlio (3001 Hennepin Ave, 812-822-1688) is across the street from the Uptown Bar and Cafe, and located in one of the only “malls” in uptown. The prices are a step up $8-$15 and their specialty is pasta. Killer salads.
Chino Latino is also in the same area, but you would never know it. It has no sign, but can be identified by either all the hipsters milling in the area or the gold and orange sparkly awning. This is not somewhere anyone on a budget should go, but go anyway. Get one umbrella drink and soak it all in. The place is gorgeous and it doesn’t get much hipper than this in Uptown.
Baja Tortilla Grill (23rd St. and Hennepin, 612-374-9900) is a very popular spot. The food is as fresh as it gets and the prices are very budget orientated.
D’amico and Sons (2210 Hennepin Ave, 612-374-1858) A delicious high end Italian deli. A little uptown secret: They have a bottomless glass of wine for $3.95. A place where your glass is always full.
There are also plenty of places to get a quick and cheap slice of pizza, as well as Thai and other rice related foods.
A few blocks east is Lyndale Ave right on the corner of Lyndale and Lake Street is Falafel King (701 West Lake St, 612-824-7887). Do I need to tell you they have falafels? They do, and gyros, killer spinach pie, baklava, and a host of other things I can’t spell. If you’re lucky the Falafel King may actually be working with his gold and red velvet crown on. $4-$8.
Across the street is La Bodega (3005 Lyndale Ave, 612-823-2661). It’s a Spanish tapas bar, meaning appetizer portions to share, so order a couple. They have a full bar including Sangria. If you end up there in the evening you may see some Flamenco dancers take the floor. Italian and Spanish wines.
Two blocks south on Lyndale Ave is Pizza Luce’ (3200 Lyndale, 612-827-5978). They have happy hour from 4pm-7pm M-F. A pint of beer and a slice of pizza is only $5. There is also a Pizza Luce’ Downtown (119 N. 4th St.- 612-333-7359) and they have happy hour from 4pm-7pm, $2 pints, $1 shot specials.
Going North on Lyndale, you will run into The Leaning Tower of Pizza (24th St. and Lyndale, 612-377-3532). The absolute best pizza in the city of Minneapolis. They don’t sell slices but pizzas range $9-$18. If you are there on a Monday, Thursday, or Friday, yours truly will be tending the bar. Come say hi. Only open at night, starting at 4pm. Happy Hours are 5pm-7pm.
The C.C. Club, located on the corner of 26th and Lyndale is an establishment that is tried and true. Nothing has changed in this place since the 1970’s, including a couple of the bartenders and some regulars. The food, however, has been transformed into genuine nourishment. Even though its base still consists of burger and fries, this isn’t your ordinary bar food. They serve chicken no less than 10 different ways, the appetizers are huge, there is fish and chips and a veggie burger to boot. The full order of nachos is enough to stump four men. I know, I saw it with my own eyes. Burgers and most sandwiches run around $5.95 with chips and ‘slaw. For $1.25 more you can get a huge helping of seasoned waffle fries, worth the upgrade.
The Wedge (22nd St and Lyndale) is the co-op of all co-ops in Minneapolis. We are not worthy, we are not worthy. Actually what makes this co-op so awesome is the deli full of fresh salads, breads, burritos, smoothies, fancy coffee, and at least six hot plates a day. The food is truly delicious and nutritious. It’s not cheap, but the portions and quality will take you a long way.
A few more blocks east and you hit Nicollet Avenue. Ethnic restaurants galore. Everything Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese, Mexican, Indian, and some things I am unsure about.
Taco Morelos (26th and Nicollet) This is a great place to get an authentic Mexican burrito or anything else Mexican, as far as food is concerned. They have raised their prices recently but a good size burrito shouldn’t cost you more than $5.
Los Amigos Supermercado (28th St and Nicollet) Yes, this is a grocery store, but a really awesome one. They have everything from organic carrots to some really cool Mexican foods that are fun to try. Fresh baked pan and other Mexican pastries are made fresh daily. Just like in Mexico the fresh breads come in the early evening. Everyone is friendly and helpful. A good place to buy a pinata.
Java Restaurant (2801 Nicollet, 612-870-7871) Middle Eastern and American cuisine. They’ve been around since 1974, so, they must be good, or at least the belly dancing that goes on on Saturday and Sunday nights keeps them coming.
The farther north you go on Nicollet Avenue, the deeper it takes you through Downtown Minneapolis. Around Grant St. you can no longer drive on Nicollet, unless of course you are a Bus, Taxi, or Cop Car. This area Downtown is known as Nicollet Mall. An outdoor mall with all the brand names and Peavey Plaza, where there is often outdoor music playing. Peavey Plaza is actually the courtyard of Orchestra Hall.
Across the road is Brits Pub ( 11th St. and Nicollet). This is a true British Pub, well, as close as you will get in Minnesota. They have all the traditional favorites like Fish and Chips, Bangers and Mash, bread pudding and pints of all the English favorites. If you are there in the summer, go upstairs and check the patio, they have lawn bowling. $8-$15.
Keys Cafe (10th St. and Nicollet Ave.) is only open until 2pm. They serve a wide variety of items with specials everyday. They also have a small section of baked goods. All I can say is everything I have ever tried here has been delicious. Mmmmmmm. $5-$10.