So, you’re visiting beautiful St. Paul and you’re downtown, at the Winter Carnival, say. It’s about noon, and you want a nosh. Where should you go? Here are some ideas.
Right on Rice Park is the St. Paul Hotel, which has a couple of fabulous restaurants. The St. Paul Grill is the fancier (and more expensive) option, with a full bar, while the M Street Cafe downstairs is also very tasty, with the choice to order the buffet or off the menu. We highly recommend the scrumptious fried egg sandwich.
Anita’s Cafe, also on Rice Park in the Landmark Center, serves breakfast and lunch, and has a daily lunch special. Their food is fresh and delicious (they’re also a catering company), and served cafeteria style so it’s quick. They’re also very reasonably priced. Yelp labels them as a Mexican restaurant, and they do serve some Mexican dishes, but their menu has a much wider range.
Pazzaluna is a bit off Rice Park to the east, and a little expensive, but serves really good Italian food. We recommend going for happy hour if you want to enjoy the bar and sample their food offerings for a little less money. They recommend reservations.
Sakura is a Japanese restaurant that serves excellent sushi, as well as other Japanese favorites like bento boxes (a personal favorite). It has a full bar as well as the sushi bar, and is open for lunch and dinner.
Meritage, a fine French and seasonal restaurant, is also really close to Rice Park in the historic Hamm Building, and recommends reservations. Their food is as beautiful as it is delicious, and worth every penny. They have an outdoor terrace and an oyster bar, in addition to their lovely dining room.
If you’re looking for something a little simpler, Mickey’s Diner has been offering diner food in an art deco dining car since 1939. It’s a St. Paul institution. Stop in for a malt or a meal and soak up the ambiance.
This is, of course, a mere sampling of the great dining options in downtown St. Paul, so you should explore on your own, but it’s a place to start.