Best Brunch - 2011
Nicollet Island Inn
The Nicollet Island Inn's five-course Sunday brunch will make you rethink your notions about eating blowout meals in the morning versus evening. The Inn's historic dining room is laid out like a wraparound porch, and its wide wall of windows offers a panoramic view of the Mississippi River and St. Anthony Main. Arrive at your table to find a basket of petite pastries and a server offering beverages: coffee, orange juice, champagne, and mimosa, all with free refills. The mood is relaxing, as the dining room is scored with soft conversation, soothing jazz, and the occasional champagne cork popping. Pace yourself for a host of choices, between the likes of mini eggs Benedict or crème brûlée French toast; strip steak with wild mushrooms or bouillabaisse; apple crisp or key lime cheesecake. The brunch's $36-a-person tab might be more than you're used to spending on morning meals, but it's a serious value compared to an equivalent multicourse dinner. So go ahead and indulge. You'll have the rest of the day to work it off.