Dining with RNC delegates

"Mr. Speaker, the great state of Texas wants to know, where's a good place to eat around here?"

601 First Ave. N., Minneapolis
612.312.1168, www.cosmosrestaurant.com

From the lobby of the Graves 601 hotel, take the elevator to the fourth floor, where you'll enter a secret cloister of modern design. The space feels at once classic and space-age. The dramatic stage-like lighting and the subtle striped patterns on the tabletops and floors create an urgent sense of forward motion, a signal that this is cuisine for the future. At Cosmos, top-shelf ingredients—Wagyu beef, foie gras, and artisanal cheeses—are turned into inventive combinations. A basic lamb chop becomes unboring when it's served with cured lamb belly, fava beans, chèvre foam, and lavender. Ahi tuna tartare is no longer passé when it's accompanied by crispy ginger, shaved ponzu, Sriracha mayonnaise, and avocado ice cream. Do you see why the place is otherworldly? Evenings are booking up fast, but the restaurant also turns out an excellent breakfast, lunch, and "blunch." $$$-$$$$

510 Groveland Ave., Minneapolis
612.874.6440, www.labellevie.us

Elephants on parade: Check out the convention action from the rooftop patio of the Liffey
Jana Freiband
Elephants on parade: Check out the convention action from the rooftop patio of the Liffey

Location Info


Cossetta Italian Market & Pizzeria

211 W. Seventh St.
St. Paul, MN 55102

Category: Restaurant > Deli

Region: St. Paul (Downtown)

The Liffey

175 W. 7th St.
St. Paul, MN 55102

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: St. Paul (Downtown)


410 Saint Peter St.
St. Paul, MN 55102

Category: Restaurant > French

Region: St. Paul (Downtown)

St. Paul Grill and Bar

350 Market St.
St. Paul, MN 55102

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: St. Paul (Downtown)



Based on a complete three-course meal for one, excluding tax, tip, and beverages:
$: less than $15
$$: $15 to $25
$$$: $25 to $35
$$$$: more than $35

For complete dish listings, visit our Restaurant section.

Celebrate "the good life" at the most lauded restaurant in the state, with its luxurious French-Mediterranean food, singular wine list, and expert service. The neat, white dining room has clean lines that complement ornate, turn-of-the-century moldings, gauzy curtains, and soft lighting. Every dish is prepared with a delicate touch, from the sweet-pea panna cotta with king crab and brown-butter vinaigrette to grilled beef tenderloin with morel mushrooms, Jerusalem artichokes, and Forme D'Ambert. The best way to experience the staff's talents is to order one of the multi-course tasting menus paired with the sommelier's wine flight, but the dark, sexy lounge also offers more casual meals, along with some of the most creative and carefully crafted cocktails in town. $$$-$$$$

821 Marquette Ave. S., Minneapolis
612.339.9900, www.mannyssteakhouse.com

The locals' favorite steak place just moved into brand new digs in the stunning W Hotel in the historic Foshay building. The clubby ambiance is classy yet without pretension, a mix of dark wood and red-and-white checked tablecloths, and the service is as smooth as the whiskey bread pudding. From the moment the dry-aged steaks roll up on the meat cart, everything about the Manny's experience seems to say, "This is where the power players play." $$$$


For trend-forward foodies who want to hit the latest hotspots, here are a couple of new places that everybody's talking about, home to some of the Twin Cities' most boundary-pushing chefs.

819 W. 50th St., Minneapolis
612.354.3512, www.heidismpls.com

Heidi's is what happened when chef Stewart Woodman, erstwhile New York City culinary star, moved back to his wife's hometown, launched a few flamboyant, short-lived restaurants, and then decided to scale back. The latest, Heidi's, is a precious little neighborhood place named after his beloved. And it means that his extraordinary entrées—black cod in tomato stew, with fennel, shrimp, and saffron, for example—cost less than $20 when they're served in the Woodmans' cozy, casual dining room. Stewart handles the appetizers and mains, while Heidi does the wine and desserts. And I wouldn't recommend skipping any of it. $$$

1115 Second Ave. S., Minneapolis
612.353.3500, www.porterandfrye.com

Located in the ultra-swank Ivy Hotel near the Minneapolis Convention Center, Porter & Frye is one of the most interesting restaurants in the city. The concept is Midwest modern, and the kitchen is home to some of the most talented, avant-garde chefs in the city, who are taking American cuisine and turning it inside out. Their playful flavor combinations aren't 100 percent successful, but when they work—take the swordfish with salsify, or the celery bisque with pork belly and deep-fried wild rice—they're nothing short of stunning. The space feels luxurious yet grounded, perhaps a result of adjoining the swank Ivy Hotel, tucked into the historic Ivy Tower, a castle-like 1930s landmark. The best seats are in the first-floor bar or the below-ground dining room with plenty of curvy privacy booths, including the most important-looking of Very Important Person tables in the city. $$$-$$$$


Sure, you can always stick with what's familiar—French food, Italian, steak—but I'd recommend you reserve at least one meal to sample our state's indigenous best. The chefs whose menus change with the seasons—locally raised, grass-fed beef, game birds, and heritage pork paired with sweet corn, mushrooms, berries, and greens, fresh from nearby farms—will give you the truest taste of Minnesota. All these restaurants are intimate venues with small seating capacity, so be sure to make a reservation.

1806 St. Clair Ave., St. Paul
651.699.3536, www.heartlandrestaurant.com

If anyone is completely dedicated to demonstrating that Midwestern cuisine can hold its own when it comes to fine dining, it's New Jersey-raised, French-trained Lenny Russo, chef-owner of Heartland. His serene Arts and Crafts dining room has white tablecloths and two fixed-price options, while the adjacent wine bar shows the same devotion, just with smaller portions and prices. The menu descriptions read like little novellas and showcase what's local and seasonal—Wisconsin elk roast with braised chard, roasted cipolini onions, and spiced blueberry catsup; Footjoy Farm Romano bean salad with baby roma tomatoes, young organic field greens, and St. Pete's Select blue cheese vinaigrette. It's contemporary Midwest at its best. $$$

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