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Let's Do Lunch: Where to Eat for Restaurant Week

The best excuse ditch work for a hour (or more.)

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Today through Friday, February 27th area restaurants are dropping prices and polishing menus to entice eaters out of the late winter doldrums. The mid-day  tasting menus are mostly ulticourse lunches are $10. You can read through the entire list here, but these are the restaurants that we would reserve first.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. 128 Cafe

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128 Cleveland Ave N
Saint Paul, MN 55104
(651) 645-4128
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Located at the base level of an apartment building, this darling Merriam Park neighborhood spot has long been known as an ideal date night destination, but only recently began serving lunch. Chef and owner Max Thompson flexes his culinary muscle with a mix of inventive creativity and heartening comfort foods. Begin with the supper club salad, an update on the classic worth licking the plate in public. Next, dive into the utterly addictive rice bowl. Each forkful carries a new flavor combination of rich, savory, sweetly spicy, snappy greens and succulent pork.

2. Vincent A Restaurant

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1100 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 630-1189
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Simply the best excuse to take the rest of the afternoon off. Settle in at Vincent, order a bottle of wine and luxuriate in the beautiful dining room while supping on the classic French fare. While most restaurants for the week are offering lunch appetizers, Vincent offers dessert. Tapioca pudding with caramelized pineapple to kiss your cheeks and send you on your way.

3. The Third Bird

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1612 Harmon Place
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 767-9495
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This Loring Park eatery has done nothing but gain steam since first opening. During the midday hours, the sunlight streams in the huge windows and it's easy to pretend the temperatures aren't so frigid. Begin with a sultry bowl of French Onion soup before attacking the chicken. Chef Lucas Almendinger has built an impressive name for himself with the care lavishes on poultry. Here it's accompanied with noodles and perfectly pickley sauerkraut.

4. Lake & Irving Restaurant and Bar

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1513 W Lake St
Minneapolis, MN 55408
(612) 354-2453
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Located right on Lake Street with huge windows allows for great midday people watching, if you can stand to tear your eyes away from the plate. For Restaurant Week the lunch options includes a decadent salad with duck confit, lardons (basically bacon cubes) and frisee dressed in a mustard vinagrette. We love their sandwiches for lunch and the Cubano is the granddaddy of what two slices of bread aspires to become.

5. Lucia's Restaurant and Wine Bar

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1432 W 31st Street
Minneapolis, MN 55408
(612) 825-9800
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Curious about how Lucia's is faring since it was announced that founder, Lucia Watson would retire? Use this as an excuse to dig into the locally sourced dishes like house-made parpadelle with mushrooms, spinach and truffle sour cream. This lunch is $20, but serves three courses, salad, entree and dessert. Chocolate sea salt cake with vanilla ice cream is impossible to walk away from. [Photo courtesy Lucia's Facebook Page]

6. Smack Shack

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603 Washington Ave N
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(612) 259-7288
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Remember standing on long lines for the chance to grab lunch from Smack Shack's truck? These days there is no need to brave the temperatures for longer than it takes to run from the sidewalk into the roomy dining room inside this North Loop eatery. Classic calamari kicks off the meal and then diners have a choice of several sandwiches including the singular lobster roll - a sandwich so perfect it's hard to believe that it is built here in the Midwest and not on the East Coast. This lunch does bump up a bit in cost ($20), but did we mention the lobster? Because there is a lot of lobster.

7. Masa

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1070 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 338-6272
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Downtown Minneapolis power lunchers have long known the allure of this elegant Mexican eatery. For Restaurant Week they have a slew of selections, making this the best spot to please a crowd. No matter whether you're looking for tacos, tortas or carnitas, thhey have options available. [Photo courtesy Facebook]

1. 128 Cafe

128 Cleveland Ave N, Saint Paul, MN 55104
Located at the base level of an apartment building, this darling Merriam Park neighborhood spot has long been known as an ideal date night destination, but only recently began serving lunch. Chef and owner Max Thompson flexes his culinary muscle with a mix of inventive creativity and heartening comfort foods. Begin with the supper club salad, an update on the classic worth licking the plate in public. Next, dive into the utterly addictive rice bowl. Each forkful carries a new flavor combination of rich, savory, sweetly spicy, snappy greens and succulent pork.
128 Cleveland Ave N
Saint Paul, MN 55104

2. Vincent A Restaurant

1100 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Simply the best excuse to take the rest of the afternoon off. Settle in at Vincent, order a bottle of wine and luxuriate in the beautiful dining room while supping on the classic French fare. While most restaurants for the week are offering lunch appetizers, Vincent offers dessert. Tapioca pudding with caramelized pineapple to kiss your cheeks and send you on your way.
1100 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55403

3. The Third Bird

1612 Harmon Place, Minneapolis, MN 55403
This Loring Park eatery has done nothing but gain steam since first opening. During the midday hours, the sunlight streams in the huge windows and it's easy to pretend the temperatures aren't so frigid. Begin with a sultry bowl of French Onion soup before attacking the chicken. Chef Lucas Almendinger has built an impressive name for himself with the care lavishes on poultry. Here it's accompanied with noodles and perfectly pickley sauerkraut.
1612 Harmon Place
Minneapolis, MN 55403

4. Lake & Irving Restaurant and Bar

1513 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55408
Located right on Lake Street with huge windows allows for great midday people watching, if you can stand to tear your eyes away from the plate. For Restaurant Week the lunch options includes a decadent salad with duck confit, lardons (basically bacon cubes) and frisee dressed in a mustard vinagrette. We love their sandwiches for lunch and the Cubano is the granddaddy of what two slices of bread aspires to become.
1513 W Lake St
Minneapolis, MN 55408

5. Lucia's Restaurant and Wine Bar

1432 W 31st Street, Minneapolis, MN 55408
Curious about how Lucia's is faring since it was announced that founder, Lucia Watson would retire? Use this as an excuse to dig into the locally sourced dishes like house-made parpadelle with mushrooms, spinach and truffle sour cream. This lunch is $20, but serves three courses, salad, entree and dessert. Chocolate sea salt cake with vanilla ice cream is impossible to walk away from. [Photo courtesy Lucia's Facebook Page]
1432 W 31st Street
Minneapolis, MN 55408

6. Smack Shack

603 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55401
Remember standing on long lines for the chance to grab lunch from Smack Shack's truck? These days there is no need to brave the temperatures for longer than it takes to run from the sidewalk into the roomy dining room inside this North Loop eatery. Classic calamari kicks off the meal and then diners have a choice of several sandwiches including the singular lobster roll - a sandwich so perfect it's hard to believe that it is built here in the Midwest and not on the East Coast. This lunch does bump up a bit in cost ($20), but did we mention the lobster? Because there is a lot of lobster.
603 Washington Ave N
Minneapolis, MN 55401

7. Masa

1070 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Downtown Minneapolis power lunchers have long known the allure of this elegant Mexican eatery. For Restaurant Week they have a slew of selections, making this the best spot to please a crowd. No matter whether you're looking for tacos, tortas or carnitas, thhey have options available. [Photo courtesy Facebook]
1070 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55403

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