Tastes from around the globe

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Food from all over the world – and you can have it all in Uptown! No matter if you are into European, Asian or American dishes, Uptown is the meeting place for food lovers. Places featured in this article are only some suggestions out of many more options, and certainly all of them will make your mouth water.

The land of smiles

Authentic Thai cuisine within walking distance is not a wish but a reality. In Uptown, there are no fewer than four places where you can find delicious curries, traditional soups such as Tom Yum or Tom Kha, fried rice specialties or noodle dishes as the much-loved Pad Thai: Tum Rup Thai (1221 West Lake), Sawatdee (1404 West Lake Street), Chang Mai Thai (3001 Hennepin Avenue) and Amazing Thailand (3024 Hennepin Avenue) all make up a great Thai experience.

How about trying out Indian or Vietnamese food? Crispy pork egg rolls, beef noodle salad or homemade broths are served in the family-owned Vietnamese Saigon restaurant (3035 Lyndale Avenue). Samosa, Pakora, Biryanis, the famous Indian Chicken Tikka Masala and many more – the menu at Darbar Indian Grill (1221 West Lake Street) is long and the food incredibly savory. Try the Darbar India platter and you’ll get a great taste of some of the best choices.

The colorfully arranged Indian dishes at Darbar Indian Grill are incredibly tasty.

Going local

High quality local American food – this is what you will find at Lucia’s (1432 West 31st Street). Seasonal and nourishing cuisine has been their passion for 27 years. Along with a full dinner menu and wine selection, sandwiches, salads and soups are available for casual dining or take-out. Breads, desserts and pastries baked on site nightly plus home made jams are always available. Our Kitchen (813 West 36th Street) is the mom and pop style place that serves hearty American breakfast choices. Their eggs with bacon and crispy hash browns or the crazy good cinnamon French toast will win you over, or try the breakfast special. Delicious daily lunch menus are also served at this casual “feel like home” location. Coffee house by day and dinner restaurant by night – that’s Gigi’s Café (824 West 36th Street). With recently changed management, you can expect even more all-American morning pastries, more daily soups and more locally farmed and sustainably grown ingredients.

Are you a chopstick-addict?

If you are an Asian food lover, you will get your money’s worth in Uptown! Start at Szechuan Spice (3016 Lyndale Avenue) where you can find all the authentic Chinese dishes you love. A juicy Szechuan Chicken with the perfect amount of spices, Soup Dumplings or Wontons – there is something there for everyone. If you get thirsty, go to a place close-by where it is all about sake. Moto-i (2940 Lyndale Avenue) brews its own sake on-site from water, rice, yeast and koji. Currently, they are brewing seven different sakes, each one worth a try. Also taste their wok or ramen dishes and finish with the Japanese five-spice sugar doughnuts.

Japanese food such as Sushi has become incredibly popular. You’ll have a hard time deciding among the different places. A hugh variety of Nigiri, Sashimi and Maki plus a regular Japanese kitchen menu and a fantastic Hibachi menu can be tasted at Sushi Tango (3001 Hennepin Avenue). Want to add some fun? Go for karaoke on Tuesday nights! Besides a sushi bar, an extensive sake menu and an overall Japanese food tasting, the Fuji Ya (600 West Lake Street) offers private Zashiki rooms for the ultimate Japanese dining experience. You’ll leave your shoes in front of the door and make yourself comfortable on cushions lying on the floor.

Kinsen Noodles & Bar (1300 Lagoon Avenue) was founded because Uptown was in need of an authentic noodle shop. Broth noodles, street noodles, ramen or stir-fried noodles – all in all over 20 different noodle dishes. They also serve daily specials to spice up your work week. And as they are committed to the neighborhood, you will get 10% off your bill if you can prove that you live in Uptown!

Parla italiano?

No worries if you don’t speak Italian. Even if Risotto (610 West Lake Street) is a truly Italian dining place serving authentic food in a warm and welcoming ambiance, the menu is available in English also. After studying culinary arts in Italy for five years, the owner truly knows how to prepare Risotto, the traditional Italian rice dish. Other than that, you can find Spaghetti alla Vongole, calamari in white wine or a selection of cheese and meat. Amore Vittoria (1601 West Lake Street) is another Italian favorite – a restaurant handcrafted by its owners, serving scratch Italian classics such as Gnocchi con Gorgonzola, signature Lasagna and an unforgettable Tiramisu. And if you are looking for an award-winning specialty pizza, Pizza Lucé (3200 Lyndale Avenue) is the place to go. With spring here, the place gets even better as it has a spacious outdoor patio. But don’t assume that Italian is the only European food served in Uptown. Real French Fries? Sure! And how about a French Bouillabaisse Soup or a delicious Crème Brûlée for dessert? Named “Best French Restaurant” by MplsStPaul Magazine, Barbette (1600 West Lake Street) also serves a fantastic breakfast such as a Brie and Herb Omelet.

It’s Greek To Me

That’s exactly the name of the place where you can find warm Greek hospitality and tasty Greek food like Mousaka, Dolmades or Thessalonian Chicken (626 West Lake Street). Don’t finish your meal without trying the traditional Greek pastry Baklava. All day and nights until 3am, you can find a Middle Eastern Falafel, Gyros or Pita Sandwich at Falafel King (701 West Lake Street). Want to feel like you’re visiting Madrid? El Meson (3450 Lyndale Avenue) is a typical Spanish place, rustically decorated. Try some of the signature dishes like Paella or Camarones al Ajillo. Sometimes, all you need for a great Saturday night are some delicious Tapas and a bottle of Spanish red wine while listening to live Flamenco music and dance.

My conclusion: Thanks to the diversity of the Uptown neighborhood restaurants, food from all over the world is not wishful thinking – it’s a reality. The only taste missing is good old Swiss cheese fondue.

Aline Anlinker recently moved to Uptown from Switzerland.