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Phoenix

Twin Cities Restaraunts

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Here's a few of my favorite restaraunts I've found since moving up here a few years ago.

 

Sushi

Origami - The food looks amazing and tastes even better. This has got to be my favorite restaraunt I've found in the Twin Cities so far. I only wish I could afford to go their more often.

 

Italian

Bucca Di Beppo - I may be crazy but it's been my limited experience that the one in downtown has better tasting food then the one in Maple Grove.

 

Indian

Taste of India - I've seen quite a few of these around the cities but only been to one. The one I went to didn't have much to offer visually as far as ambience or the food itself, but the food tastes spectacular. The spicy goat dish, that I only know as the "Poo Poo Platter" because of how it looked, was the best.

 

Vietnamese

Mai Village - They have a seven course beef dinner that takes about two hours to get through. It's a great meal if you have the time.

 

Other

3rd Ave Market (On the corner of South 3rd Ave and 19th St) - They have a Gyro burrito for $5 that's as big as your head and it's really good. The store and neighborhood may appear a bit risky but I've never had any issues. Then again, I always bring my dog so the bums and crackheads wouldn't dare mess with me. If anyone actually stops in, be sure to stop by my place for a glass of absinthe to go with it. :)

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There's a Bucca Di Beppo here in Albuquerque, so I think it's a chain. I've never cared for it; delivering large portions of food never really struck me as the kind of selling point I wanted in a restaurant. The blandness really doesn't help. :) Maybe it's a lot better in the Twin Cities than here?

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I must admit I was hoping more for responses from other Twin Cities locals with their own suggestions so that we could share our favorites. I'm still hoping to hear from those people, but in the meantime I suppose I'll defend mine.

 

Dan - To call Bucca Di Beppo a chain is a little misleading, in my opinion. It's true that there are a few scattered around the country which would technically make it a chain, but when I think of a chain I think more of restaraunts like The Olive Garden, Burger King, or something along those lines. To my understanding, the first Bucca was the one in downtown Minneapolis and due to it's popularity has grown from a mom and pop place to having a few around the country. They're not found in most cities, and their food doesn't come premade and frozen ready for the cooks to reheat and mix and match to create different dishes. This is why I'm convinced that the two in the Twin Cities taste different. This may also explain why the one in Albuquerque tastes bad to you. If the store feels like a chain to you then my guess is that the Bucca in your area may have lost touch with the mom and pop origins, and instead, tried to save on costs by hiring kids with little experience in how to make these dishes from scratch properly.

 

As far as the big portions, it's true that ordering one dish is way more then I alone could finish in a sitting. There's been a lot of talk in the media about fast food restaraunts increasing food portions, which in turn is causing the fattening of Americans. Though I agree that the portions at fast food restaraunts have gotten bigger, I don't think this is why Americans are getting fatter. I think those Americans show poor self control when it comes to eating, and as they get fatter they want bigger portions to satisfy their hunger which in turn leads the fast food industry to increase portion size. The differences between Bucca and a fast food restaraunt are night and day, but I will mention that the whole idea they stress up here is that the food is meant to be served family style. Bring some friends and/or family, collectively decide on a dish, and when it arrives start passing it around for all to enjoy. If there's still some left, and in my experience there always is, then you've got a tasty lunch the next day as well.

 

[/rant]

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When I want good Italian food in the cities, I head over to Pazzaluna in St. Paul. There is also a French restaurant nearby called A Rebours that I have tried a couple of times and I was pretty impressed.

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I have been to Bucca a couple of times. A+ in my book. I would like to go there more often.

I live near St. Cloud, so most of the restaraunts I frequent are in this area or Maple Grove. Joe's Crab Shack is good. I can take the kids there and they can have fun and the food is good.

Guadalajara is good for Mexican dishes. At least the one in St. Cloud.

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Phoenix,

 

Don't be offended by my considering it to be a chain; it's just a personal rule of mine that I call any restaurant with 92 or more locations to be a chain, so BDB counts by just one store. Enjoy whatever you want, I just would never recommend the Bucca Di Beppo here in Albuquerque over Trombino's Bistro or Scalo, which are both very definitely family-owned-and-operated restaurants that serve amazing authentic Italian food (in regular-sized portions, even).

 

:cheers:

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There's a Bucca here in Seattle, and while I wouldn't call it fine dining, I was surprised to find out that it was a chain; TGIFriday's it ain't. Good old-fashioned family trattoria eating in my book. Great calamari!

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I went to the BdB here in Seattle (actually Lynnwood to be exact) and I found it to be underwhelming, to say the least. I'll never go back again.

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With 21 BdB's in Cali (most in the LA/OC area), I think it is safe to call it a chain. I would put it above Olive Garden (which I hate), but I would not purposefully go back. But keep in mind I was spoiled by time time dating that Italian chef. That, and we really have some fabulous Eye-talian food down here in the Summerland.

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In the Twin Cities every week through the end of August. The only thing I like from Buca is the pesto salmon! Wonderful!

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Alyssa brings up a good point about perspective. She dated an Italian chef and has been spoiled in that area. I was raised on Chef Boyardee, noodles with generic spaghetti sauce, or some other "Italian" dish that would involve poking holes in the plastic before microwaving, this may explain my preference for BDB. :)

 

MasterPC - I'm going to have to try that one. Thanks for the tip.

Edited by Phoenix

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Phoenix , I'm t rying to get together with MPC while he's here. Invite to you ?

PM me.

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I was raised on Chef Boyardee, noodles with generic spaghetti sauce, or some other "Italian" dish that would involve poking holes in the plastic before microwaving

I was raised on that crap and similar too (steak ums, mac 'n' cheez in a box, etc...)

'tis why I avoid chain junk like the plague now.

Besides, The North End of Boston (Italian section) is 5 mins away.

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I just do not get the fascination with Bucca Di Beppo. To me, not much better then an Olive Garden. If I 'have' to hit an Italian chain, then Maggiano's maybe. People seem to love Bucca, and I find it tasteless to tastes-like-a-can.

 

Figlio's is great in the TC for tapas. So is Chino's, after 10pm.

 

Cuban- Victor's 1959 Cafe.

 

Dakota is both great dining, and the best live jazz in the Cities.

 

Firelake is nice for an upscale steakhouse.

 

More traditional steakhouse is Murray's.

 

I used to LOVE Sydney's for brunch, til he got busted for embezzling.

 

Doolittle's is good for great wine deals, and the best chicken around. Roti-style.

 

The Temple is great for Asian-inspired French dining.

 

Palamino is very nice, and surprisingly, an upscale chain, I recently found out (onacuz I was in Cinci, and there it was.)

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Well, it's not in the Twin Cities, but if you are near St. Cloud, Antons is an excellent choice.

There's not a big choice around St. cloud, but this is a friendly place with good food.

 

Awesome pop-overs (if you're into that sort of thing).

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Bucca DP is a chain, there are several in Southern California. But it is decent eating. I prefer smaller places for Italian dining.

 

 

I just recently visited the Twin Cities area, and my best meal was at Famous Daves BBQ. I believe there are a few scattered around that area. I went to one which was out by some huge Cabelas store.

 

But Famous Daves was the best BBQ I've ever had. However, I am from SoCal, which is starving for good smokehouses.

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The best BBQ I ever tasted is from the mom and pop store a couple of miles down the road from my house. "Betty's BBQ" is lipsmacking good. Betty is about 60-70 and slaves away in the kitchen.

 

I took a slab of ribs to HAN II. I was tempted to lie and say I made 'em.

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We have Famous Dave's around these parts as well and it's not bad but assuming it is anything like what Alton Brown finds riding his cycle around the south is preposterous.

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When I spent summers in NC we used to go to the Hawg Wild Bar-B-Que, but then it burned down :closedeyes: so we started to go to Ettowah Bar-B-Que, which was very tasty

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To call Bucca Di Beppo a chain is a little misleading, in my opinion.

 

It's definitely a chain. They're here too. Maybe the original is in Minneapolis and it's better than the others, I don't know. I think the foods ok and the portions are good - price is definitely good. But I don't like the gimmicks -- tables in the kitchen, etc. I don't like corporate places that try to pose:authentic. But that aside it's ok. I'd rather eat at Mama Emilia's here where I live for Italian. I try to eat at locally owned, independent places.

 

Having been to Italy a few times, nothing here can compare for the most part. You just have to say to yourself "it is what it is".

 

My brother told me that when my dad went to Italy to visit him, that after ordering his food, he wondered where his side salad was. ::sigh::

Too many trips to Olive Garden.

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Phoenix, there's several BDBs here in the DC area too. Chains can be of any quality. Ruth's Chris, Benihana and P.F. Changs are all chains. As are Denny's, Cracker Barrel and Golden Corral. ;)

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A new Famous Dave's just opened here. It gets a rousing, "Ok." The ribs aren't bad at all. The bar has never heard of Regan's Bitters or Plymouth gin. :thumbdown:

 

The best ribs ever served? Hickory Log. They are extraordinary.

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Dan - To call Bucca Di Beppo a chain is a little misleading, in my opinion. It's true that there are a few scattered around the country which would technically make it a chain[/rant]

 

 

There are more then a few. I travel around much of the country for work on a near-weekly basis, and BDB is fully a chain in just about every sense of the word. Think Cracker Barrel-like, or Bennigan's. Maybe there aren't quite as many, but there are at least a couple dozen, and to me, one can't say they are still small-time and have 20+ restaurants, on both coasts and everywhere inbetween. Once a place has got more then five or so, it's a chain to me. More then 5 or so, and you have to have a central office/corporate office to run the logistics, supply chains, HR, etc.

 

and I still say BDB is crap food. I know a lot of folks like it. I just don't know why.

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A thread after my own heart.

 

I also travel quite a bit and my steadfast rules for eating while away on business are:

1. Never eat anywhere there's one of at home

2. Never eat at a chain

 

I have eaten at places that have two or three locations in the same or adjoining towns if they are local favorites and come recommended. As long as they don't serve pre-prepped/frozen/trucked in crap.

 

I'm with Larspeart, the one place here in town that has me fooled is Maggiano's. I actually go there occasionally on purpose. Otherwise the only time I hit a chain is purely out of convenience or necessity.

 

And to respond to your closing statement Lars, because the general public are gluttonous idiots with palettes deadened by cigarettes and budweiser. Give them a pile of overcooked anything, twice-baked and covered in cheese, and they'll line up around the block for it.

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The Daily Grill is a nice chain option. I'm a pretty big fan. Nothing out of the ordinary, just mainly american fare with things like fish and chips sprinkled in, but they have a well stocked bar, and great food.

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Hans, you couldn't have put it better. I may stick with chain hotels (eh, mostly), due to having some type of feeling of normalness and routine, but for food, his rule #1 is also mine. If I can eat there at home, I don't want to eat there elsewhere. I'll eat there at home. When I hit a new town, I start asking the locals/clients/the concierge 'where would YOU go to eat?'. Now, I have some pretty darn TINY towns I visit or drive through in my territory (the Great Plains... all of 'em), so once in a wile, the answer really IS (sadly) the Applebee's.

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