“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating”
Lucky for those of us living in the Twin Cities; we are provided with seemingly endless opportunities to not only eat, but to do so abundantly well. I field frequent inquiries from friends and family regarding restaurant recommendations and I love sharing my culinary experiences so I decided to create a new feature. It will be a brief overview of our culinary adventures from the prior month.
March 2018 was notable for its bright, flavorful and sometimes eclectic dishes & cocktails. The only inaugural visit was to Octo Fishbar, all of the others were repeats because we enjoyed them so much and were compelled to return. Incredible food and skillful service reign supreme at the locations listed below.
Martina is located in the Linden Hills neighborhood of Minneapolis. The menu was created by Chef and co-owner Daniel del Prado. This Argentinian and Italian Inspired restaurant offers a provocative array of meat, seafood and pasta choices. The dining room and bar area have a warm, elegant decor. They have an imaginative libation list. I haven’t arrived early enough to get my hands on one of the infamous and much instagrammed “Egg” cocktails, They are available at brunch and they only make 12 each day so arrive early and thirsty!
Pictured: The Naked Ballerina cocktail and Steamed Mussels
Saint Dinette is located in the heart of Lowertown in Saint Paul. Their mission is to always honor the moment and to invoke the comfort of a “maison” (meaning a home or central location) and they do it beautifully, through both the superb menu and their consistently upbeat vibe. There’s a definite positive flow of energy when you walk through the door. Whether we are there for one of their inventive meals or simply stopping by for a pre-concert cocktail, we always feel warmly welcomed. It seems owner Tim Niver is always visible, whether he is greeting customers or assisting staff in the dining room.
Pictured: Mezcal Cocktail and Octopus with Patatas Bravas
Baja Haus has a genuinely festive energy. The interior makes you feel like you just might be on a tropical vacation somewhere along the Baja coast. We hit happy hour as part of our spring break “staycation” weekend. Their ingredients are always fresh and the menu is non-gmo. John and I have become quite curious about the different Mezcals and Tequilas on the market. Baja Haus has an impressive selection of both and the mixologists behind the bar are well versed in the specifics. I often tell people that the best grilled mahi taco I’ve ever had was ordered here. Owners Billy Tserenbet and Josh Friedt succeeded in bringing beach life to Lake Street.
Pictured: The Bad Hombre Cocktail and Miso Glazed Chicken Wings
Octo Fishbar is a seafood restaurant and is housed in the Market House Collaborative building in the Lowertown neighborhood of St. Paul. They occupy an open and airy space that is shared with Almanac Fish, Peterson Craftsman Meats and the Salty Tart Bakery & Cafe. I found it fascinating to be able to walk through this food hall while waiting for our table. The atmosphere and the meal left a great impression on our group. Bonus: Their sustainable approach to sourcing their ingredients translates to fresh, healthy and beautiful plates. James Beard Award Winner Tim McKee is the owner and visionary behind this creative and collaborative dining concept. See the menu here.
Pictured: Charbroiled Oysters and Skate
Bellecour is an alluring French Bistro and Bakery located on Lake Street in Wayzata. We look forward to visiting this gorgeous spot whenever we can. Whether it’s for dinner, brunch, cocktails at the bar or to satisfy a dessert craving, their menu has it all covered. Chef and owner Gavin Kaysen and his team carry off every dining experience with absolute finesse. The meals we have had here have been nothing less than spectacular and Diane Yang is the culinary genius behind the delectable pastries pictured below. Her creations never disappoint!
Pictured: Bellecour Pastries
The Lynhall is located on Lyndale Avenue South in Minneapolis. Founder Anne Spaeth has created an inviting communal dining space where customers can enjoy a fresh, farm to table menu and an abundance of mouth-watering, memorable pastries and desserts. The building houses a state of the art kitchen studio that is outfitted with professional grade video and audio equipment. This space can be used for recipe testing, cooking classes and high-end television production. There is also an intimate area (The Ambleside room) that is the perfect choice for hosting a party or private event. This venue is a culinarians dream.
Pictured: Mini Sprinkle Cakes and French Silk Mini Pies