My Thrifty Valentine

Seven suggestions for a romantic date night in the Twin Cities under $50

Nightingale (see pictures of Nightingale's Valentines treats)

Because of the small-plates concept and well-priced wine list at Nightingale, the thoughtful new late-night eatery in Whittier, you can really have a classically elegant evening and come in just under the $50 mark — bubbly included. Deviled eggs may evoke a retro cocktail party, but they can really be elevated when topped with caviar, and they are set off beautifully by a glass or two of sparkling Italian rosé. Move along to what is fast becoming one of Nightingale's signatures, a fresh ricotta bruschetta with Egyptian dukkah spices and a hint of mint, and share the sumptuous steak tartare with grilled bread and sunchokes. You'll have just enough change and appetite left over to devour the silky and simple chocolate pot de creme with sea salt. (2551 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.354.7060;

Deviled eggs with champagne at Nightingale
 Check out more photos from the tasting menu at Nightingale in Minneapolis...
B FRESH Photography

Location Info


Black Forest Inn

1 E. 26th St.
Minneapolis, MN 55404

Category: Restaurant > German

Region: Uptown/ Eat Street

Butcher & the Boar

1121 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Minneapolis (Downtown)

Piccolo Restaurant

4300 Bryant Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55409

Category: Restaurant > Small Plates

Region: Kingfield

Sea Change

806 S. 2nd St.
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Category: Restaurant > Seafood

Region: Minneapolis (Downtown)


2551 Lyndale Ave. S
Minneapolis, MN 55405

Category: Restaurant > Small Plates

Region: Uptown/ Eat Street

Pizzeria Lola

5557 Xerxes Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55410

Category: Restaurant > Pizza

Region: Southwest Minneapolis


3800 Nicollet Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55409

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Kingfield


They say sex is like pizza: Even when it's bad it's still pretty good. And Ann Kim's pies at Pizzeria Lola are very, very good. They're also unique, and therefore special, and served in a setting that is very date appropriate. Besides, there is just something about eating with your hands and not being afraid to get a little messy that's very intimate. Order up a carafe of Barbera and split a simple salad of greens, blue cheese, crispy pancetta, and biting sherry vinaigrette, followed by the Sunnyside pizza, a rich and elegant melange of Pecorino, cream, smoky guanciale, leeks, and two runny-cooked eggs. When the toppings hit the bit of tomato sauce on the crispy, wood-fired crust, the overall effect is like eating the simplest, most perfect Bolognese sauce you've ever had. Don't leave without having some homemade vanilla soft serve topped with a good glug of olive oil and flakes of sea salt, and do it all for $42. (5557 Xerxes Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.424.8338;


If you manage to snag a reservation on Valentine's Day, Blackbird is doing a fixed, five-course dinner for $35 a person, but this low-key neighborhood spot is an even better deal when you can order off its regular menu. Go out on Friday instead and start with a small but filling plate of earthy truffled gnocchi and a refreshing shaved apple salad. Then share a full pound of mussels (for an astounding $8) in a smoky, tomato-based broth and a subtle, delicious plate of whipped robiola flavored with lavender oil and sprinkled with pistachios. Blackbird's desserts never disappoint and are always just $6. Make a toast over whatever they have for dessert (cross your fingers for key lime pie) with two perfect Kir Royales, all for about $46. (3800 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis; 612-823-4790;

Check out photos from the tasting menu at Nightingale in Minneapolis...

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