By Nicole Crosbie

Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean that you have to skip an appetizer or dessert. Here are five dining options that will allow you to order both without feeling guilty.

Photo Credit: The Blue Door Pub

Blue Door Pub

1811 Selby Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55104
(651) 493-1865
Hours: Mon to Sun 11 a.m. – 1 a.m.
Website & Reviews

If you love State Fair food and want to eat delicious, deep-friend food year round, stop by The Blue Door Pub for appetizers. Cheese curds ($7.50), beer-battered green beans ($6.50) and deep fried pickles ($6.50) are three popular items, in addition to “Latin Kisses” (jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon for $7.50) and tater tots ($4.00). Burgers range from $6.50-$8.50 and aren’t your typical burgers. Interesting selections include “The Luau” (a cheese filled patty with Canadian bacon, pineapple slices and sweet chili lime sauce) and the “Breakfast Blucy” (a cheese filled patty with bacon and a fried egg). Salads range from $4.50-$8.50 and sandwiches are around $7.50.

Photo Credit: Fusion


2919 Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55408
(612) 824-6300
Hours: Sun to Mon, Thurs to Sat 4 p.m. – 2 a.m.; Tues to Wed 4 p.m. – 12 a.m.

This sushi bar has a fun, youthful vibe with a wide variety of food and drink choices. Maki sushi options include Sake (salmon for $5.25), Crunchy (shrimp, avocado, masago, cucumber and spicy mayo for $14.00) and Spicy Tuna (spicy tuna, avocado, cucumber, daikota sprouts and leaf lettuce for $7.00). Signature rolls are a little more expensive at $16.00 and include the Fusion Roll (shrimp, tobiko, gobo, cucumber, spicy mayo and topped with fried potato and truffle oil) and Crabby Dragon Roll (soft shell crab, avocado, cucumber and sweet sauce), among others. Be sure to leave room for dessert like the Lava Cake (chocolate souffle cake and ganache for $7.95), Créme Brulee (flame torched vanilla ice cream custard for $6.95) or Raspberry Sucree (raspberry almond bark with apricot glaze, topped with raspberry coulis and vanilla ice cream for $6.95).

Photo Credit: Black Sea Restaurant

Black Sea Restaurant

737 North Snelling Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55104
(651) 917-8832
Hours: Mon to Sat 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Note: Black Sea Restaurant does not accept credit cards or checks. Cash only.
Website & Reviews

This small family owned restaurant offers authentic Turkish cuisine at very affordable prices. Appetizers start at $3.25 and popular dishes include Fried Eggplant with spicy homemade yogurt ($4.15) and the Black Sea Meze with cucumbers, olives, feta cheese, tomatoes and peppers ($6.25). Soups and salads range from $3.95-$4.95 and entrees start at $8.15. Spicy chicken and beef shish kebobs ($9.25) and Turkish meatballs ($8.95) are well-liked entrees. For dessert, try the Baklava ($2.75).

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Darbar India Grill

1221 West Lake Street
Minneapolis, MN 55408
(612) 822-3300
Hours: Sun to Thurs 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Fri to Sat 11:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Website & Reviews

With a mix traditional Indian and modern American décor, Darbar India Grill has a causal atmosphere. Appetizers start at $4.95 and include Vegetable Samosa (crispy patties stuffed with potatoes and peas) and Cheese Pakora (homemade Indian cheese fried in chickpea batter), both $4.95. If you haven’t tried Indian bread before, try the Naan ($1.99) or the Bhatura ($3.95). Entrees range from $10.95-$20.00 and popular choices include the Chicken Tikka (boneless chicken breast marinated in yogurt with spices and saffron for $12.99) and the Tandoori Murg (chicken marinated in tandorri sauce for $10.95). If you don’t eat meat, there are a variety of vegetarian options, including the Mixed Vegetable Curry ($10.95) and the Bangan Bhartha (baked eggplant with tomatoes, onions and peas for $11.95).

Photo Credit: Acapulco Mexican Restaurant

Acapulco Mexican Restaurant

Various Locations
1240 Frontage Rd W
Stillwater, MN 55082
(651) 351-9462
Website & Reviews

This family owned Mexican restaurant is operated by the Leon family. Parents Jesus and Maria have nine kids and the family members who are old enough are all involved in the restaurant- from cooking, menu planning, bartending, construction and architecture. Start your meal out with Acapulco’s famous cheese sauce ($3.99), chori queso dip ($4.49) or Guacamole Dip ($3.99). Entrees range from $10.00-$14.00 with chimichangas (beef or seafood) and tequila cream mole enchiladas two favorites. Soups and salads range from $3.99-$9.50.

There are locations in Coon Rapids, Woodbury, Blain, New Brighton, Maplewood, Ramsey and Stillwater.

Nicole Crosbie loves fashion and shopping, she has lived in Minnesota her whole life and loves finding new places to shop, eat and explore in the Twin Cities. She has degrees in public relations and psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.