Renee Steve

Cafe Biaggio
2356 University Ave
St. Paul

(651) 917-7997

Date of Review
June 14, 2003


Entree Price:
$15 to $20

Our Total Bill:







Renee's Side Steve's Side

  • Stuffed Mushrooms (shared) $7.95
  • Bruschetta (shared) $6.95
  • Antipasti Salad (shared) $7.95
  • Proscuitto and Melon Salad (shared)$7.95
  • Shrimp with Polenta $21.95
  • Raspberry Corn Cake $6.50

We had dinner with our friends, so we were able to order and try much more food than normal. You will notice their reviews attached. This is the first time we have tried having guest reviewers and it was fun.

I had actually been to Cafe Biaggio for lunch which was excellent and packed, so I had high expectations and everyone of them was fulfilled except that it was not busy at all on the Saturday that we were there. Everything was top notch throughout the meal. Even the things I wasn't so sure about were great.

The stuffed mushrooms were great and I was disappinted that because we were sharing I only got one. The Bruschetta was good, I especially like the tomato topped one. (They had three toppings, olive, white bean and tomato.) The Antipasti salad which had sausage and roast beef on it was excellent. It may not sound like it would be, but I would order that again in a heart beat. The mint and procuitto salad was very good as well. The shrimp was very good, cooked to perfection with a wonderful sauce and great mushrooms and polenta. The dessert was very good a little unexpected, but perfectly prepared and and a great alternative to the normal italian dessert. While mine was very good, I think Steve's peach dessert was actually close to amazing.

I will be back for both lunch and dinner, they are a great restaurant and a great addition to the neighborhood.

  • Flank Steak with Mushrooms, Spinach and Garlic $18.95
  • Peach Cobbler $6.50

Everything was excellent at Cafe Biaggio, which means that it should be closing soon if recent history is any guide; we have lost many dear friends in the past year. The difference here: it’s Italian. Americans, especially Minnesotans, love Italian food, and here, for good reason.

I should note that the bruschetta was only average. It was good, but similar to what you would find almost anywhere. To test the restaurant, and to find something unique and wonderful, you should try the other appetizers.

I would also like to go back to try different entrees. The flank steak was very good, but I would like to try a pasta dish and a seafood dish. That's what makes a great restaurant -- you want to come back to taste more dishes, confident knowing that the chefs will serve high quality food.

The dessert was the best dessert I've had in over a year. Not since the cranberry tart at Vincent's or the baklava at Black Sea have I had such a treat. The peach cobbler mascarpone was delightful, unlike anything I've had in the Twin cities. My only remaining goal: try the cannoli on my next visit.

Steve and Renee would like to thank their friends Kathleen and Steve for joining them on this review. Kathleen's Side Steve's Side

  • Spinach and Ricotta Cheese Gnocchi $13.95
  • Panna Cotta $6.50

Never having officially reviewed a restaurant, outside sharing my weekend dining experiences with Renee over lunch, I’ll start with the bad news first and proceed to the good news about a neighborhood haunt I’ve been curious about for months: Café Biaggio.

Bad news: the chairs made me think that the owners wanted us in and out as fast as possible. I’m the type that likes to spend three hours savoring dinner and these wooden chairs made me want to stand up before we were finishing ordering. My advice, for what it is worth, ask to sit against the wall where there are benches, then enjoy!

Good news: Despite just finishing a year of learning how to think critically, I have nothing but good things to say about the meal. The company was exceptional; the wait staff incredibly informative, especially about portion sizes and how the menu is set up; the food is not your everyday Minnesotan’s version of Italian. In fact I believe my assumed Italian family in Connecticut would frequent Café Biaggio if they ever needed to go out for dinner.

Not having a clue how to cook much myself, I have found myself looking up recipes for mushrooms stuffed with shell fish and prochiutto salads. Not to mention the gnocchi that was a highlight of the meal for me. Gnocchi is a special kind of pasta of which I don’t really think I want to know how make. The treat with this gnocchi, besides how it melted-in-my-mouth, was that it was suggested as a course between the salads and an entrée, meaning that it cost less than an entrée, but filled me up just the same and left me a little room for dessert. Bottom Line: despite finding a few recipes for gnocchi in my rarely used cook books, I’d venture that I’ll just return to Café Biaggio on a regular basis when my cravings for prochiutto and spinach gnocchi reveal themselves.

As a final note, I love wine. Particularly red wine with berry flavors that will cleanse my palette between courses and not make my head spin while I try to carry on a conversation. Recently, I had the opportunity to visit a much talked about restaurant that opened downtown. I was not a fan despite the hype and my visit was exacerbated by a wine menu that was only written, in what I assume was Italian, and a waiter who needed the wine steward to translate, but instead said, “I’ll just bring you something.” I’m not a language snob or a wine snob, but I need a description of what the wine tastes like even if I can’t pronounce the name when ordering. Applause to Café Biaggio, for a wine menu that I could read. A standing ovation for numbering the wines, so I didn’t need to stumble over the name and incidentally, it tasted far better than the wine the wine steward ‘just brought’ me at the other restaurant.

A big thanks to Renee and Steve for finally accepting our numerous offers to accompany them on a ‘review’ restaurant visit. It was a real pleasure, even if you beat us in Cranium afterwards.

  • Halibut over Polenta in a light red sauce $19.95
  • Chocolate Cappuccino Mousse Cake $6.50

When Renee and Steve invited us out to dinner, she asked for suggestions. Since I am no expert on the local dining scene, I suggested Café Biaggio thinking they would want something else. Everyone liked the idea so I could no longer put off bringing Kathleen to a place she had wanted to go for months.

I agree with Kathleen on the uncomfortable chairs. They made me remember the horrible stools I once sat on in 8th grade science class. They also made me yearn for the leather chairs we discovered at our favorite restaurant in the warehouse district.

As for the meal, almost everything was very good. I must note that I am a notorious picky eater which can make it extremely difficult to order. The meal started with bruschetta which was shared at the table. While it was tasteful, I would have rather been sampling the bread plate on the menu at our favorite restaurant (yes the same restaurant with the comfortable chairs). I had never before eaten an antipasto salad and was amazed at how delicious the Mama D’s salad was. The halibut was also nicely done but the polenta added nothing to the dish. As for desert, I usually can’t go wrong with something in chocolate and the Chocolate cappuccino mousse cake was no exception.

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