Restaurant Features: Bar, Banquet Facility, On-Site Parking, Pull-Tabs, Live Music
Location: St Paul, MN
Address: 531 West 7th Street St Paul, MN 55102 651-224-7345
Hours: Sun-Thurs 4:30-10p Fri-Sat 4:30-11p
Atmosphere: Located on West 7th Street just a mile from downtown St Paul, Mancini’s Char House has been one of St Paul’s most well-known and popular steak houses since it first opened in 1948. With capacity to hold 600 guests, Mancini’s is a very big restaurant. There are two main dining rooms that each hold 200 people and a large lounge area that holds an additional 200 guests.
The lounge area is laid back yet lively, with live music from 8:30-12:30 Wed-Sat.
The lighting in Mancini’s is dim and inviting, with candles lit on every table. It is currently festively decorated with wreaths, pine boughs and white fairy lights. The main dining room is a big, long space that has several wooden tables as well as a series of tables along the outside of the room that have bench-style booths on one side and wooden chairs on the other . You can see the open kitchen at one end of the dining room, where the only cooking equipment needed is the charcoal grill.
Menu: Appetizers include Herring and Crackers, Mushrooms, Antipasti Salad Plate, and Shrimp Cocktail.
As the name implies, all Entrees at Mancini’s Char House are char-grilled over an open charcoal pit. Options include 8 oz or 12 oz Sirloin, 13 oz New York Strip, 8 oz or 12 oz Fillet, Beef Kabob, Chicken Breast, Walleye Dinner and Lobster Dinner. Two steak and lobster combinations available. All entrees come with a side salad, baked potato and bread.
Desserts offered are Vanilla or Spumoni Ice Cream, Cheese Cake and Lemon Cello Gelato
Price guide: Entrees $19-28 Surf & Turf $45-48 Dessert
What we ordered: We first started with a complimentary plate of pickles, pickled peppers and fresh tomatoes.
We were also served this giant basket of complimentary garlic toast which had at least a dozen thick slices of white and pumpernickel. Both were lightly buttered and seasoned before grilled on the charcoal pit and they tasted wonderful. I liked that the inside was still slightly soft while the outside was perfectly toasted.
Every entree comes with a small Dinner Salad with romaine, red cabbage, carrots, cherry tomatoes and choice of dressing.
My usual choice for steak is ribeye but since Mancini’s doesn’t have ribeye, our server suggested the New York Strip. This might just be my new favorite! The perfectly char-grilled steak was really tender (cooked medium) and had a great aged flavor, with just a sprinkle of salt for seasoning. The baked potato was really big and filling.
One of my companions also ordered the New York Strip, with french fries. This cut of meat seemed to be thicker than the cut I had but was just as tender. The fries were crinkle-cut and fried to a light golden brown with a soft, hot ce
Another companion ordered the 12 oz filet mignon with baked potato. Another thick, tender cut of char-grilled aged beef. I didn’t try any of this steak but it looked really good.
And another companion order the steak and lobster dinner. The sirloin was 8oz, very lean but aged to give it more flavor. The 6 oz lobster tail was pulled out of its shell and then char-grilled and served with melted butter. Delicious!
Our server recommended the lemon cello for dessert, so we all shared one order. The dessert was made up of light, creamy lemon-flavored gelato and some kind of tart lemon sauce. What a refreshing treat!
Service: We had excellent service at Mancini’s. Anticipating that it would be busy on a Saturday night, we called ahead to get a table for four. The restaurant was really busy and our table was not quite ready when we arrived, so we went to the lounge to have a drink while we waited. After ten minutes or so our table was ready and we were seated in one of the main dining rooms. Our server, Sonja, was very knowledgeable about the steaks and cocktails and did a fantastic job of getting us everything we needed. Our food was prepared reasonably fast for how busy the restaurant was but we never felt rushed.
Overall Impression: Mancini’s is a St Paul dining landmark for good reason. The char-grilled steaks are some of the best you might find for such reasonable prices. I like the relaxed but intimate atmosphere at Mancini’s and will be back to eat there again soon.