Where to eat now that you’re vaccinated

2021-04-08 06:52:24 –

It’s been a long time since the pandemic broke out in the United States.

For some of us, the curtains are a little further apart as we get vaccinated. For many of us, one of the first things to do is to eat in a restaurant.

So the question is: where should I go?

First and foremost, go to your favorite restaurant. They probably need a business and you have a vested interest in making the restaurant stand out.

But if you’re looking for an East Metro location with that “healing yourself” atmosphere, here’s the location on my list of candidates.


Salmon Oscar in Lexington, St. Paul. (Jess Fleming / Pioneer Press)

When you’re looking for a place to celebrate, Lexington always meets the bill. A 100-year-old environment, lovingly restored great service, and great menus can turn any bad day into a great day.

Chef Jack Libel is still fighting cancer, but chef Antonio Marie adds some of his own touch while maintaining the high quality we expect.

I start with a crunchy martini (my husband always gets the old-fashioned ones) and some wings or walleye cakes, then salmon oscar, steak diane or my favorite, depending on my mood Beef Cut-I like to go to the New York Strip Steak. To be honest, I’ve never had a bad meal at The Lex and have tried most of the menus, so you do too.

Lexington: 1096 Grand Ave., St. Paul; 651-289-4990; thelexmn.com


A cocktail called a vaccine in Baldamar, Roseville. (Jess Fleming / Pioneer Press)

Baldamar is a relatively new place in our dining scene, but it quickly became established (remember?) As a great place to bring friends, dates, or guests outside the city.

The space in the Rosedale Center’s Outlot is gorgeous, from luxurious tall booths to pretty tiles, and you can monitor your actions in the open kitchen.

The service here is very attentive and adjacent to the over-the-top, but if you want to feel cared for, this is definitely the place for you.

The menu was carefully selected and almost everything we tried was what we ordered again. We’re fans of flavorful hanger steaks made with chimichurri, but if you’re a true steak enthusiast, bespoke prime cuts are definitely worth a look.

They have an aquavit-based cocktail called a vaccine (they recommend taking two doses), which is just completely in the nose.

Baldamar: 1642 County Road B2 West, Roseville; 651-796-0040; baldamar.com


Blood orange salad from St. Paul’s hyacinth. (Jess Fleming / Pioneer Press)

This restaurant is everything I love — intimate, adorable and delicious. It’s one of the first places I think when I need to pamper myself.

I love their interesting botanical cocktails, but there is also a great wine list.

Pasta is made from scratch and weakens the knees. The small menu removes stress from what you order. Everything is good. Just point your finger at something and you’re ready to go.

The menu changes frequently, but the last time I went there, the mushroom linguine and duck breast were amazing. And don’t skip salads here — they are some of the most creative and flavorful items on the menu.

Hyacinth: 790 Grand Ave., St. Paul; 651-478-1822; hyacinthstpaul.com


I Nonni’s revamped pasta dishes, drawn in the fall of 2020. (JessFleming / Pioneer Press)

If you’ve never been to this hideaway gem in Lily Dale, now’s a great time to check it out.

The Italian restaurant hires award-winning chef Tim McKee and veteran Front of the House man Joe Piri to organize the menu and keep things running smoothly.

McKee has a kitchen that extrudes fresh pasta and changes the menu each season. When the weather is nice, the patio behind the restaurant feels like a real vacation. It’s one of my favorite places to meet friends during happy hour. Especially for those who have never been there. They always swear to return soon and leave.

I Nonni: 981 Sibley Memorial Highway, Lilydale; 651-905-1081; osteriainonni.com


New York strip steak at Mancini’s Char House & Lounge in St. Paul, June 10, 2020. (Nancygo / Pioneer Press)

If you don’t want to include St. Paul’s original “heal yourself” spot, think again.

The Mancini family was so paranoid about changing the mood that you might not notice the new carpets and fresh paint, but the old-fashioned mood of this recently refurbished friendly steakhouse. I love it.

You can choose steak, lobster, walleye or chicken. All come with relish trays, salads, potatoes, and the restaurant’s seriously addictive garlic toast. There are always one or two mancini on the restaurant floor, chatting with customers and keeping the machine running smoothly. It’s a very St. Paul’s place to celebrate, and I mean it in the best possible way.

Mancini’s: 531 W. 7th St., St. Paul; 651-224-7345; mancinis.com

Handsome pig

Spareribs were offered on Thursday, July 16, 2020 at Handsome Hog’s new patio at 173 Western Avenue in St. Paul. (Scott Taxi / Pioneer Press)

Chef Justin Sutherland’s flagship restaurant really has it all. Atmosphere, great food, creative cocktails. Oh, and he added a killer patio to launch.

When Sutherland moved from the original Lower Town space to the current more spacious Capitol Hill restaurant, the addition of a wood-burning oven allowed more tools and a larger kitchen, expanding the menu. It’s done.

So if you haven’t been there since you moved, it’s really a must-see. You can’t get enough wood-fired mussels in bacon bone-in soup, and Brussels sprouts are some of the best in town. Main dishes include smoked pork indip, fried chicken, catfish, and a more traditional barbecue platter.

Handsome pig: 173 N. Western Ave., St. Paul; 651-219-4013; Handsome Hog.com

Kindred Haas

Mixed mushroom pizza in Kindred Haas, Egan. (Jess Fleming / Pioneer Press)

If you don’t think of pizza as dealing with yourself, Kyndred Hearth can change it all.

You might have missed the lovely spot of James Beard winner Ankim at the Omni Viking Lakes Hotel in Eagan, which opened during the pandemic.

Not only one of her famous pizzas, but also homemade pasta, fun wood-roasted shared plates like meatballs, and main dishes such as Korean stewed rib-jjim and hanger steak. Cocktails and wine lists are also decent.

Best of all, the rooms are modern and gorgeous, featuring a huge copper wood-burning oven.

Kindred Haas: 2611 Nordic Way, Egan; 651-689-9800; omn ​​ihotels.com/hotels/viking-lakes-minnesota/dining/kyndred-hearth

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