Sep 14, 2023 - Things to Do

Can't get a table at a hot Twin Cities restaurant? Try this tip instead

two drinks and a bowl of rice

Our order included a margarita, which is available only at the bar, and a Lotus tonic, as well as the duck fried rice. Photos: Torey Van Oot/Sami Sparber/Axios

Last Friday, the Axios Twin Cities team hatched an ambitious — some might even say audacious — plan for a night out on the town.

  • Our colleague Sami Sparber was visiting, so we decided to try to score a table for three at Khâluna at 7pm on a Friday night without a reservation.

Reality check: When we arrived at the buzzy Minneapolis restaurant, the host kindly informed us there would be a table available but not until after 9pm.

Yes, but: The bar, which serves the full food and drink menus along with special cocktails only available in those seats, was wide open. We saddled up immediately.

What we ordered: We shared the shrimp rolls, Nick got a pasta dish with shrimp, squid, scallops and a tom yum ragout and Torey and Sami tried the confit duck leg fried rice.

  • Cocktails included a floral Lotus Tonic and the restaurant's spins on a margarita and an old fashioned.

Our thought bubble: We're so glad we stayed. Our bartender was just as attentive and knowledgeable about the menu as the table-side servers and the food and drinks were delicious — no long wait required.

The bottom line: Next time your go-to restaurant appears booked, stop — or call — and check the bar, especially if your group is small like ours.

More coverage: Review: Minneapolis' Khâluna is worth the wait

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