Thursday, November 3, 2011

Enjoy the Last Days of Summer Dining Al Fresco in the Twin Cities

by Phyllis Louise Harris
September 2011

Patio dining at a local restaurant is still the best way to enjoy the best part of Minnesota weather and your favorite food. There is still time to enjoy the last few weeks of summer outdoors so here are a few suggestions…..

Supatra’s at 967 West Seventh in St. Paul is a very good place to go for outdoor dining and fresh, flavorful Thai food. The cozy patio is filled with colorful flower boxes and umbrella tables for dining or drinking under the sun or stars. Try the Silver Noodle Salad with Chicken and Shrimp for a tasteful mixture of bright Thai flavors combined with cellophane noodles and fresh vegetables. Sarongs are a fun way to eat meatballs wrapped in noodles and deep-fried for a crisp crust. Dip them in the sweet dipping sauce for a great snack.  Satays, those nicely charred skewers of grilled meat, are a traditional street food so good for outdoor snacking, or try Country Style Red Curry or Holy Basil Supreme for heartier dining.  In addition, Supatra’s now has more than 50 items on the menu that are gluten-free for people on restricted diets.   For hours and information call 651-222-5859.  Closed on Sunday.

Thom Pham’s Wondrous Asian Kitchen on 6th Street and Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, offers a sidewalk cafĂ© where Twins fans congregate before and after ballgames.  It is one of the few restaurants offering outdoor dining downtown.  Some favorite choices of Thom Pham diners are Walleye with Jalapeno and Basil, Cranberry Curry, and Spare Ribs in a Korean BBQ Sauce. Or just sip a selection from the area’s largest sake collection and munch on Wondrous Cranberry Puffs.  The restaurant is open every day for lunch and dinner and offers all-you-can-eat Dim Sum on Saturdays and Sundays.  For information call 612-338-1479.

Obento-Ya Japanese Bistro’s backyard patio at 1510 Como Avenue in Southeast Minneapolis is a cozy place to dine under the stars (or sun as the case may be). Here the Miso Soup is one of the best in town. Also check out the Robata selections along with a variety of Sushi, Sashimi and other Japanese dishes.  Call 612=331-1432.  Open for dinner every day and lunch Monday through Saturday.

Curry ‘N Noodles in downtown Hopkins has a small enclosed patio for their Chinese and Indian menu or lunch buffet.  Located at 802 Mainstreet just a few steps from the Hopkins Theater, the restaurant offers a wide variety of dishes.  Closed on Tuesday.  Call 952-681-7834 for information.

If picnics are still your favorite way of dining outdoors head to Sakura’s Japanese Restaurant at 350 St. Peter Street in St. Paul and pick up a Bento Box filled with a complete Japanese lunch.  Choices include Tempura, Sushi, Teriyaki, Sashimi and more.  Then head to Rice Park a block away and enjoy outdoor dining in the city or take the short drive across the river to Harriet Island and dine by the water with a view of downtown St. Paul.  To order ahead call 651-224-0185.  Open every day for lunch and dinner.

Or stop by Keefer Court Foods at Cedar and Riverside in Minneapolis, the state’s first Chinese bakery and choose from an assortment of picnic food such as Barbecued Pork Buns, Coconut Tarts, Sticky Rice Dumplings, Soups, and Moon Cakes to name a few.  Take an assortment to your favorite picnic spot or head to the river drive just a few blocks away.   Closed on Tuesday.  

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