Dinner and a Conversation

Jason and Joy’s favorite restaurants with intimate, quiet settings

Restaurant recommendations from MnMo food critics Jason DeRusha and Joy Summers


Jason’s Picks

I am that guy with a decibel meter app on my phone, checking to see if restaurants are as loud as I think they are, making sure I’m not just getting old. I am getting old. But sometimes I want to be able to talk without having to yell.

Lela: Lela’s dining room is gorgeous and divided into smaller sections to create a sense of privacy. The food speaks loudly here, with the bold flavors and precise technique from the recently resurfaced chef Stewart Woodman. Get the hanger steak or the braised lamb pasta. (Bloomington)

W. A. Frost: Frost is the most romantic restaurant in the Twin Cities. Watch the snowflakes flutter out the giant windows overlooking the patio or hide in one of the small rooms in the basement. (Cathedral Hill, St. Paul)

The Kenwood, Minneapolis
The Kenwood

Photo by Kyle Smith


Joy’s Picks

There’s nothing like settling into a long evening with friends only to discover that it’s almost impossible to hear a word anyone’s saying. These intimate eateries allow for plenty of easy conversation and delicious food.

The Kenwood: Chef Don Saunders’s restaurant has soft plaid walls and stunning plates of seasonal fare. It’s like a classy, up-north country club with an outstanding wine list and upscale comfort food. (Kenwood, Minneapolis)

Joan’s in the Park: This sweet neighborhood restaurant is known for its welcoming, polished hospitality and perfectly prepared steaks. That it’s easy to get lost in a long conversation is just an added bonus. (Highland Park, St. Paul)

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