St. Paul >Food & Dining > Forepaugh's
276 Exchange St S, St Paul, MN | Directions 5510244.941106 -93.103740
Monday To Friday From 11:00 AM To 02:00 PM Monday To Thursday From 05:00 PM To 09:00 PM Friday To Saturday From 05:00 PM To 10:00 PM Sunday From 11:00 AM To 02:00 PM Sunday From 05:00 PM To 09:00 PM
Neighborhoods: West Seventh
History, romance and French-inspired cuisine intermingle at this elegant 19th century mansion. – In Short
Three floors of bedazzled rooms are romantic and lush enough to inspire longings in even the black-hearted. Good thing the new menu, laden with hearty American and European fare, is enough to satisfy any hankering. In the summer months, Forepaugh's is loaded with Victorian charm and sweet fixings. Wintertime, the fireplaces snap, crackle and blaze. For daters, this is the perfect setting for an intimate evening, an ornate and cozy dining spot rich in history that also offers a menu rich with tradition and inspiration.
Avoid this moldly oldie – My husband and I took his and my parents to dinner here a couple of nights ago. We thought it would be a charming and appropriate place to dine after our tour of the James J. Hill house.
Charming is not a word I would use to describe our evening. Instead, words such as freezing, ignored, musty and inedible come to mind. Our reservations were for 5:30 p.m., the first seating. When we entered the chilly room on the first floor, we asked if the heat could be turned up. "Oh, sorry," we were told. "The heat only has two settings: on and off. It's been off all day, and we just turned it on. The room will warm up in a while." Gee, thanks. We were seated by windows, and several of us left our coats on for most of the meal.
Our waitress was pleasant, but we saw her only occasionally, with lengthy waits in between. I believe an hour went by between the time we finished our salads until the entrees were served. She came by once to say she didn't know what the hold up was and she was sorry for the wait.
Forepaugh's decor reminded me of Norma Desmond, the aging star of the movie Sunset Boulevard: though it surely has seen better days, it has an inflated view of its appeal. The house could use some new wallpaper and a good cleaning. I realize it is a Victorian home, but its owners aren't keeping it up. I think they assume that guests will find it quaint, no matter how infrequently repairs, replacements and cleaning are done. Sorry, but this guest wasn't fooled; the grand old dame is definitely not ready for a close up.
Finally, I come to the food -- as much an afterthought in my review as it seems to be for Forepaugh's owners. My pork entree was so tough, I could barey cut, let alone chew, it. The salads were swimming in dressing. My husband's Beef Wellington had some tasteless filler between the poor cut of meat and the pastry. I felt like asking for a discount when the bill came.
The next time I want charming, I'll go to W.A. Frost instead.
Friendly but absent waitress – We went here for brunch and our waitress was friendly but where did she keep disappearing to? Luckily our wait assistant was always hovering near-by. The food was okay but the house/history is so interesting that I would make it back here just for the ghosts.
Don't Let Ghosts Scare You Away – Ghost stories are many but the deliciously divine sauces and seasonings discovered in each and every item they skillfully prepare is cooked just for you. Food that tastes like real home-cooked delights right from Paris. Traditional dishes are their specialty. No fooling around the only scary thing could be dinner prices for folks who are scared of higher prices. The food is worth the cost. The service is turn of the century comfort, with a wait staff that truly pampers your dining adventure. Our best treat is to come early ahead of your reservation and start with a Brandy Alexander made from real ice cream in the cozy bar just as you step inside. Want to see Minnesota's governors? Their pictures are in the room across from the bar. Yes, rooms are Forepaugh's feature too. This mansion once was the Forepaugh residence. We prefer the long staircases to each level, but there is an elevator. This is a white linen and napkin experience, and great tasting coffee is served from silver pots. You can join a shuttle to many evening events. A dessert cart offers more than your tummy will safely hold. If a canary ventured in from the balcony that is opened seasonally he would share Forepaugh's secret to everyone.
We were invisible! – For a restaurant that has had a combination of good food and quality service, this past evening was absolutely horrible.
It seemed that the ghosts in the restaurant were in the front room. Our problem was that we were the ones that were treated as if we had vanquished. Even lousy service would have been preferable to no service.
Forepaughs is with out a doubt the BEST restraunt I have been to (and I eat out frequently). My girlfriends and i were encouraged by our faboulous server to try the house infused martini. We then decided on a couple seafood samplers. Complimented with a delicious and again recommended pomigranted martini. After our appetizers we had salads. There house salad was suprisingly great considering it's a vinagear base and i'm a ranch fan. After perfectly spacing everything out our waitress brought our entres. I had the specialty,Beef Wellington. The meat was oh so tender, my girlfriend enjoyed scallops that she raved about for weeks. The other two ladies had the walleye with bannana, yes, bannana! It was magnificent. After dinner our waitress bought us over a port list that was very impressive. We each tasted a different one. We then picked out deserts from their HUGE desert cart. We all shared the gateu and crembrule. My girlfriends and I will definitly be back to enjoy the wounderful food and phenominal service. Everyone needs to have this experience. Faboulous!!!!!!!!!
Magnifique! – I've been twice, once in the bar, once upstairs, and will be back for more! This is classic French cuisine in a classy atmosphere. The rooms can be a little quiet, but it is elegant. Food is very well done, service is relaxed, and the rooms are gorgeous. I am picky about my French, and I love this place. Not busy during the week, but can be busy on weekends (I overheard the staff talking about a bunch of weddings on weekends)
Avoid this restaurant – This restaurant was the BIGGEST let-down I have experienced in the twin cities. Wall paper was falling off the wall, felt like we were sitting on the tables around us, service was slow and failed at recommending entrees, and worse of all, the food was horrible! Ordered the veal and couldn't eat more than a couple bites because of terrible quality and lack of any palatable flavors. Went there for my husband's birthday and is now a running joke of how bad dining can be. DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME OR MONEY! We love eating out and wouldn't care spending $100 + for the two of us on a good meal...I wouldn't go here again if they paid me!
Great spot - some things could be better – Love the mansion and the ambiance, but the dining room is so quiet that you can follow the other conversations going on. Stay away from the lamb kebab, I guess, lamb should be eaten as chops. Limited menu and few people during the week.
a big letdown – After going here for drinks one night, the bartender recommended their excellent brunch. We made reservations, but had to wait 15 minutes for anyone to show up to seat us. Glasses were dirty (lipstick marks) and when one of my party asked for a mimosa, he was brought a glass of champagne and a glass of orange juice to mix himself. Food was basically reheated.
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