10 Killer Patios
10 great patios, no particular order
10. Jax There's a reason this old school Nordeast supper club has been going for 75 years strong: The leafy patio with its kitchy trout pond. They give you a net, and you literally scoop out your supper. Then the staff snaps a souvenier photo of you and your prize, cooks it up, and removes the bones tableside.
9. Sample Room This renovated 1900s saloon is perched on the banks of the Mississippi River and it even has its own dock for boaters to pull right up to the restaurant. The "sampling" philosophy extends from small plates to spirts, with several flights of tequilas, scotches, and bourbons available.
8. W.A. Frost St. Paul's classic cobblestone patio looks like a vast English garden--right now it's covered with greenery and flowers in bloom--and it's one of the few places in town that serves a multi-course chef's tasting menu for brunch.
7. Obento-Ya This one's as tiny as an apartment building backyard, but the birch trees, soothing fountain, and funky mural make it feel cozy.
6. Black Forest Tucked away from the traffic on 26th and Nicollet, this vine-covered enclave is a great place to knock back sauerkraut, spatzle, and German beers. Before you go, download an alphorn ringtone for your cellphone from their website.
5. Tin Fish Snag one of the Adirontack chairs that looks out over Lake Calhoun and have a plate of grilled fish with a side of the city's best people watching.
4. Northcoast This place has the most sophisticated food and digs out on Lake Minnetonka--not to mention a great view.
3. El Patio Mexican Grill The owners of Tacos Morelos opened a place in St. Paul, with a patio so perfect, they named the restaurant after it.
2. Sea Salt Sitting within earshot of Minnehaha Falls serves as a reminder of how fresh the catch is at Sea Salt. 1. Barbette Fine, this one's not a patio, but the hard-to-snag sidewalk seats are tres romantic after dusk when they turn on the twinkling strings of lights.
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