La Belle Crêpe
Don’t let the seemingly endless remake of downtown’s Main Street keep you from this civilized — and convenient — quick-service gem. Chef/owner Alain Lenne makes his small — emphasis on small — business work in what had been the tiniest Fanny Farmer candy shop in the land. The menu offers sweet and savory options, along with five egg-centric breakfast alternatives. Espresso, too. Open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Oh, and check out the playful riffs on pho and bánh mì at Lenne’s Come Pho Soup, also located in the Medical Arts Building’s stately lobby.
825 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-333-1100, labellecrepe.com
Oceanaire Seafood Room
Home to what is arguably the city’s most impressive crabcake (the shrimp cocktail is something of marvel, too), this homegrown chain (it’s now under the aegis of Houston-based Landry’s) is the place for fresh oysters (bargain alert: They’re marked down to $1 on Sunday, except on Easter Sunday), and uncomplicated grilled fish of all stripes. Happy hour (4-7 p.m. weekdays, plus 8 p.m.-close Sunday and 9 p.m.-close Mon.-Thu.) deals abound, including $6 blackened fish tacos, $7 Thai-style grilled shrimp and $8 filet mignon sliders. Lunch weekdays, dinner daily.
50 S. 6th St., Mpls., 612-333-2277,theoceanaire.com
Restaurateur Rick Webb is back at 9th and Nicollet. He opened this Italian stalwart in 1999, sold it in 2008 and repurchased it last year. One of his first acts? To renovate the place, and it’s a beauty. Now done up in timeless grays and creams, the space takes full advantage of its architectural roots (it was the longtime home of Albrechts, a high-fashion specialty store) and offers a downtowner’s elegant sense of location. Love the thin-crust pizzas that chef Jason Gibbons coaxes out of his ovens. Satisfying pastas, too. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner daily.
831 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-333-7000, zelomn.com
Rick Nelson • 612-673-4757