Category: Trip/Restaurant Reviews

Louis Cossetta Alimentari Restaurant Review

Louis is a new restaurant that opened up on the top floor of Cossettas which is located downtown St.Paul on West 7th Street. The first floor of Cossettas is their deli and grocery store. The 3rd floor is their new upscale Italian restaurant.The Cossetta family came to St.Paul in 1911 from Calabria, Italy. In 1911 the family opened up a tiny food market named Cossetta’s. Four generations later the family is still running the business. I had a chance to join friends for dinner at the new “Louis” in the middle of the December. The décor is upscale and modern. They are open for dinner 7 days a week, no lunches. From 3-6 everyday they have “Happy Hour” specials on select appetizers and house wine. I had their house red for $4.00 a glass.

The menu consists of appetizers, salads, pastas and main dishes. I tried the fish of the day which was a Greek sea bass prepared with sundried tomatoes and light white wine broth. It was $28.00 and included roasted potatoes which I swapped out for creamy polenta. I enjoyed my dinner and would definitely go back to try more dishes. I also tasted pasta with a spicy red sauce and chicken Marsala. I enjoyed both of those dishes.

I would like to see gnocchi and risotto on the menu and maybe a chef’s special each day. Overall, my friends and I had a great experience and I would recommend this restaurant.

Dolce Vita USA™ Rating: 4 ½ star out of 5 stars

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Masu Sushi and Robata Mall of America Restaurant Review

Masu restaurant is located in Mpls and also Bloomington. Masu is open at the Mall of America from 10-11 Monday- Saturday and Sundays until 8:00.Masu offers Happy Hour Monday-Friday from 3-6. During Happy Hour select appetizers are half priced and there aredrink specials.

The menu consists of small plates, steamed buns, noodles and robata items. My favorite cold small plate is Japanese seaweed salad for $3.50. The hot small plate that I like the most is Agedashi Tofu for $6.00. The steamed buns are very tasty with your choice of filling. Fillings include: pork belly, chicken teriyaki, shrimp tempura, crispy pork loin and fried tofu. My favorite bun is the pork belly for $3.00. The buns are very small so order more than one!

Noodle bowls are offered in either a dashi broth or ramen broth. They also have Yakisoba which are pan fried noodles. The bowls range in price from $11.00-$13.00.

They offer many grilled or Robata small plates. My favorite is chicken liver and scallion with teriyaki sauce for $3.00 and quail egg with bacon. These are very small plates so I recommend ordering three robata items.
Lastly, they offer sushi Nigiri and Sashimi on the menu. My favorite sushi roll is the Firecracker roll. This roll is made up of shrimp tempura, crab, avocado, cucumber with spicy tuna and tempura flakes.

Dolce Vita USA™ Rating: 4 star out of 5 stars

Masu’s Happy Hour is a great deal! Check it out.

Mangia Mangia!

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I Nonni Italian Restaurant Review

I Nonni is a local restaurant in Lilydale, MN. I Nonni is open Monday-Friday and Saturday. I Nonni offers Happy Hour Monday-Friday from 4-6. During Happy Hour select appetizers are half priced and drink specials. The words I Nonni translates to the word Grandparents. This is a family run upscale Italian restaurant. I Nonni serves authentic Roman- inspired seasonal cuisine in a beautiful dining room. This restaurant has won many awards including the best fried squid (Calamari) in town. I would agree with the critics their Calamari is worth ordering. It is lightly fried and served on a bed of greens with lemons.

The menu consists of appetizers, antipasti, primi and secondi dishes. The best antipasti when it is on their menu is sweetbreads “alla cacciatora”. The primi dishes consist of various kinds of pastas. My favorite primi dish is Vongole, linguine with steamed manila clams, garlic, chilies, parsley and white wine broth for $11.00 small size. I also recommend Agnolotti which is butternut squash-spiced ravioli in a butter sage sauce. The secondi or main dishes range from pan seared scallops to cured cherry beef short ribs. My favorite secondi dish is Anatra which is pan roasted duck breast, duck confit bread pudding, lobster mushroom pan sauce, pomegranate glassato for $28.00.

I Nonni also has a wine shop which consists of every kind of Italian wine you can think of. They offer a couple times a year a wine tasting paired with small plates.

I highly recommend I Nonni. The average cost of the appetizers and antipasti dishes are $14.00. The primi dishes for a small size cost $12.00. The secondi or main dishes range between $26.00-$34.00.

Dolce Vita USA™ Rating: 5 star out of 5 stars

This is one of my favorite restaurants to eat at. The food is always wonderful and so is the service.

Mangia Mangia!

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Andiamo Italian Restaurant Review

Andiamo is a local restaurant in Eagan, MN. Andiamo is open seven days a week and offers Happy Hour every day from 4-6. During Happy Hour appetizers are half priced and house wine is $3.00 a glass. I think Andiamo offers one of the best Happy Hours in town. The menu is made up of pizzas, appetizers, salads, pastas and entrees. My favorite pizza is the Andiamo which consists of spicy cream, pepperoncini, onion, and chicken. Another pizza choice I recommend is their Arrabiatta. This pizza has sausage, pepperoni, burgundy onions, gorgonzola and mozzarella. The pizzas range between $10.00 -$12.00. My favorite appetizer is called Arancini. This is a risotto deep fried ball filled with sausage, peas and fresh mozzarella served with their house marinara sauce. For salads I like their warm tomato and spinach salad with goat cheese. They offer several pastas from Penne Al Forno to Shrimp Arrabiatta. My favorite pasta is Linguini Vongole. This pasta is linguini with clam juice, baby clams, lemon and red pepper for $14.00. They offer a good selection of entrees. They have the traditional favorites of Veal Marsala, Eggplant Parmigiana, and Cioppino. I recommend Grilled Mahi Mahi with coconut risotto, roasted pepper curry and pineapple salsa for $17.00. Andiamo service is friendly and on time. It is a small family owned atmosphere. The dress code is casual and the prices are reasonable. The portion sizes are large so many dishes can be shared.

Dolce Vita USA™ Rating: 4 star out of 5 stars

For the value and taste I recommend Andiamo.

Crave Restaurant Review

Crave is a local restaurant chain in St. Paul and Minneapolis, MN. There are four locations: Galleria, Shops at West End, Downtown Minneapolis, and Mall of America. The food is American but they also have a sushi menu. They offer Happy Hour from 4-6, Monday-Friday on select appetizers. Their dinner menu offers various appetizers. Some of my favorite appetizers include: Kogi Beef Tacos, Calamari and Caprese flatbread. Soups and starter salads rage from a Caesar to Poached Pear and Goat Cheese. The best Entrée salad on their menu is the Grilled Salmon. They offer several flat breads; my favorite is Southwest BBQ Shrimp for $13.95. Entrees include: Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Spicy Shrimp Fettuccini and Grilled Atlantic Salmon. They offer a full bar and a decent wine list. On Sundays they offer a family style brunch for $15.00 per person. They also offer a few breakfast items on Sundays.

Dolce Vita USA™ Rating: 3 ½ star out of 5 stars

Some dishes are better than others although there is nothing unusual about Crave’s menu. The ambiance is nice with a lot of gold and red in décor. The downtown Mpls location has beautiful light fixtures. Also, the downtown location offers a great roof-top patio overlooking downtown Minneapolis. If you’re looking for a better than average dining experience check out Crave.