If you're headed to a show at the Guthrie this summer, why not start the evening with a pre-theater meal downtown? That way, you can park early, enjoy a relaxing dinner, and ensure that your stomach won't start rumbling somewhere in the middle of the second act. While there isn't any shortage of great eateries in downtown Minneapolis, the following restaurants are a walkable four blocks or less from the theater and are our picks for the top five restaurants near the Guthrie for dinner before a show.
1. Sea Change
You can't get closer to the theater than at Tim McKee's Sea Change, on the ground floor of the Guthrie. The restaurant focuses on sustainable seafood and environmentally responsible fishing methods, so there's no need to clear your conscience before heading upstairs for the show. Order a sampling of fresh seafood at the raw bar, including clams, scallops, and oysters, or try the grilled octopus or fried frog legs. Seafood entrees include a variety of sustainable fish options such as Arctic char, swordfish, and bouillabaisse, while land-lovers can satisfy their appetites with beef, chicken, and pork selections. Dinner is served daily from 5 p.m., and online reservations are available.
Just across the plaza from the Guthrie is Spoonriver, Brenda Langton's latest downtown eatery. With husband and co-owner Timothy Kane, Langton focuses the menu on fresh, organic, local ingredients, featuring items such as grilled grass-fed beef skewers, warm duck confit cassoulet, and a local charcuterie plate. Dinner is available Tuesday through Sunday starting at 5 p.m. Call for reservations.
3. Wasabi Fusion Cuisine
If you need to get your sushi fix before the show, head to Wasabi for a variety of maki, nigiri, hand, and specialty rolls, as well as sashimi. Wasabi also offers shabu shabu (Japaneses hot pot) and hibachi dining, where chefs cook your food on a tableside grill complete with pyrotechnics and culinary acrobatics. Just make sure you allot enough time for the dinner theatrics so you're not late for the real show at the Guthrie. Wasabi is open for dinner starting as early as 4 p.m. Call for reservations.
For a relaxing pre-theater meal, head to Sanctuary, next door to Wasabi and just a block from the Guthrie. Dine in the serene interior or out on the patio as you enjoy menu items featuring fresh, local, and organic ingredients, such as vegetable tarts, beef carpaccio, risotto, and hickory-smoked pork chops. Chef Patrick Atanalian also offers a $35 five-course tasting menu Monday through Thursday. Sanctuary offers parking (free before 5 p.m.; paid after 5 p.m.) in lots on both sides of its restaurant, and dinner patrons can leave their cars in the lots while they attend the show. Sanctuary is open for dinner Monday through Saturday starting at 5 p.m., and online reservations are available.
5. Spill the Wine Located a mere four blocks from the Guthrie, Spill the Wine offers a variety of dishes to suit your palate, as well as a broad sampling of wines. The menu varies and includes a handful of small plates and a concise list of salads and entrees. Try the lamb chop appetizer, a caramelized pair of meaty chops laced with tender, juicy fat, or maybe the duck rillettes with fig jam. For an entree, the beef short ribs are hearty and fork-tender, nestled atop a creamy mound of pureed Yukon gold potatoes and drizzled with foie gras gravy. The wine list is both wide and varied, and features local, domestic, and international wines, as well as organic and dessert wines, both by the glass and bottle. Spill the Wine is open daily for dinner and offers online reservations.