Blackbird cafe - my love for this place borders on obsession. Replaces Edina Grill as a go-to since their horribly executed move and expansion. Shoot your caloric wad on their desserts - I only feel guilty when it's not worth it and here it is.
Cafe 28 - brunch is the special secret, for Sunday mornings when Zumbro is crowded with Linden Hills yuppies and their screaming spawn and is simply too bright for your mild hangover. The coffee cake is heaven, don't skip it.
Also, the best burger and fries I've had in town yet. Well, Cafe Maude might match it, but the atmosphere at the 28 is infinitely LESS annoying.
The one negative thing I have to say is they once treated us like naughty children over a customization which really wasn't that big a deal, thus losing me as a weekly regular to Blackbird.
Dumb move on the part of the chef to have the waiter lecture me on how she's just gonna do it this ONCE. The hassle? Make a BLT when you have a fried egg and bacon sandwich already on the menu ie: nix the egg and add lettuce and tomato. I'm not kidding.
It's a testament to how good the food and room is that I still go back and still sell them to people. But the kitchen 'tude may bite you, so I warn.
Beaujos - generally I avoid 50th and France but I'll trek there on foot for this place. Snazzy wine list with sane pricing, damn fine food with consistency, service is warm and laid back. The croque monsieur and mushroom sandwiches are the trek-makers, the Foxglove Chard is the current highlight. I prefer reds usually, but rarely veer off their whites.
Liberty Frozen Custard - in the opposite direction, in all senses, this is the soft-serve to end the hunt for the perfect soft-serve. Summertime perfection - grab a cone and wander around Tangletown gardens across the street pretending to shop for perennials in pots. It's like another world in the middle of the city.
Tandoor Props on the awesome website, Tandoor. Tandoor is a strong entry in the "Indian in a strip mall behind a Red Lobster" category, the highlight being the vegetarian dishes which are way above the average in North Indian mainstream restaurants. Whatever you normally bypass as boring is probably worth experimenting with - aloo gobi is a perfect example, gingery and great.