La Grolla is probably my favorite Italian restaurant in St. Paul. It's a smaller restaurant, with tables tucked into corners, understated decor and big windows that welcome in a lot of natural light. La Grolla has a diverse dinner menu, with dishes ranging from the classic cappellini pomodoro (my favorite) to a Norwegian salmon stuffed with crab and lemon/chive sauce. In addition to the menu staples, the chef whips up a plethora of nightly features. Our server mentioned at least a half a dozen specials, including osso bucco (a veal shank stewed for hours). It's not the most vegetarian-friendly menu, but the pasta is so tasty that I keep coming back for more. There are a few menu items that I have in my La Grolla rotation, and all are perfectly wonderful. Last time, I opted for the penne vodka for my main course. The penne was perfectly cooked to al dente so it still had a bit of a bite to it. And the sauce was lovely -- creamy with a hint of tomato sweetness but not at all heavy or overpowering. Think of a light pink Alfredo sauce without all of the guilt! The portion size was absolutely giant, so I get to enjoy my penne vodka again this weekend. Overall: freat food, fun atmosphere, and good times. I've never had a bad meal at La Grolla, and I expect I never will. --chrissybell06
You can still find them, but every year there are fewer and fewer quality cocktail lounges and steakhouses. Mancini's is old-school, a throwback to when people actually had fun drinking, eating and dancing. I have never had a bad meal or time at Mancini's, ever. I always eat steak that is charcoal-broiled to perfection and a shrimp cocktail. The relish tray and garlic bread will blow your mind. Everything is perfect -- the lighting, the staff, the mood, the vibe, the noise level, the food and the cocktails. You will be treated like royalty. Go to Mancini's before a Wild game, have an awesome supper, drink some fine cocktails, take their shuttle to the game, return on the shuttle after the game and go to their cocktail lounge for a fun night of dancing and drinking. Repeat. God bless the Mancini family! --dog815
- BARS BAKERY: Small family bakery known for killer caramel rolls, Bars distinguishes itself with a relatively limited selection and a high quality quotient. --James Norton
- SWEENEY'S SALOON & CAFE: American. Neighborhood bar with sandwiches, burgers and pasta.
- CAFE LATTE: American/bakery. Popular upscale cafeteria noted for its decadent chocolate layer cakes and other sweets. Large-scale sandwiches are made-to-order with house-baked breads, soups and salads.
- CHEEKY MONKY DELI: American. The menu is simplicity itself: just sandwiches, soups and salads at lunch, with a few entrees later in the day. But it's rare to encounter this level of craftsmanship in the quick-service genre.
- DIXIE'S ON GRAND: American. Lively restaurant and bar serving southern food, including jambalaya and barbecued ribs. The generously portioned family style Sunday brunch is popular.
- LA CUCARACHA: Mexican. A varied menu of tacos, enchiladas and other Mexican specialties.
- THE HAPPY GNOME: American. Neighborhood tavern is essential for beer geeks, and the food is pretty good, too.
- MOSCOW ON THE HILL: Eurpoean. Hearty, well-made Russian fare (blinis, pierogis, borscht, pelmeni, smoked fish and other standards) is on the menu, along with what has to be the Twin Cities' largest selection of vodkas.
- THE MUDDY PIG: American. Neighborhood tavern with bistro fare.
- SAJI-YA: Japanese. Sushi, teppanyaki and a full Japanese menu.
- TAVERN ON GRAND: American. Cabin-themed restaurant specializing in walleye.
- LEXINGTON RESTAURANT: Steakhouse. Landmark St. Paul restaurant offering a variety of steaks, chops, prime rib, seafood and pasta.
- W.A. FROST & CO.: American. The food matches the appealing historic surroundings at this landmark. Chef Wyatt Earl does beautiful things with locally sourced meats and poultry, and small plates boast big flavors.