Caffetto is handy if you need wireless internet late at night--they're open till 1:00 a.m., later than any other area coffee shops. The atmosphere is generally quiet, with many people studying at the small tables or on the rather ratty couches. The walls often display artwork by local artists.
There is a selection of board games, as well as a basement area that includes pinball machines and a pool table in addition, in case you're there to slack off instead of to study. The lighting is rather dim and the outlets can be scarce, so you may want to bring an outlet splitter.
St. Martin's Table is a tiny combination bookstore/cafe, with the latter entered through the former. The menu changes daily, with a variety of sandwiches on homemade bread, creative salads, and hearty soups, as well as tasty desserts. The small seating area is warm and cozy, and the food arrives amazingly quickly. For only slightly more money and time than fast food, St. Martin's Table offers a much more pleasant and healthful lunch experience.
It would be easy to miss Evergreen Chinese if you didn't know it was there. Tucked into a basement on Nicollet Avenue's Eat Street, it isn't striking from the outside, but hides some of the best Chinese food in town, especially for vegetarians--everything on the menu can be made with one of their multiple meat analogues. The service is friendly and the prices are fantastic. The award-winning and delightfully spicy Three Cup Tofu is a special favorite!
Cinema Revolution has the best selection around of foreign and art films on DVD. Rentals run about $4, but you can buy a card for a certain number of rentals for a discounted price. A must for those difficult-to-find films!
Whether you're a vegetarian or just love good southern Indian food, the Udupi Cafe is an amazing find. The prices are fantastic, especially for the full-meal specials, which include appetizers, bread, drinks, and dessert. The mango lassis are the best I've ever had--thick, fruity, and tall!
On the upside, Sullivan's Supervalu grocery store has lots of parking, and it is far from overwhelmingly huge. In fact, its tiny size means that the selection is limited and the prices are high. It's convenient if you're in the area and need just an item or two, but not recommended for a regular grocery shopping trip.
Saint Vincent de Paul is only a few blocks from the much larger Saver's thrift store, but I prefer the former. Although it is smaller, the prices are much better--probably because you have to be prepared to do some digging to find gems. That's how I like my thrift stores; you find what you're willing to work for!
Muddy waters offers free wi-fi and good people-watching opportunities. The clientele and decor have a lot of character, but the coffee, though strong, is disappointing.
I love the Riverview. It's a discount theater, but without the sticky floors, broken seats, and poor sound of so many "cheap seats," and with so much more character! The amphitheater seating means there's not a bad seat in the house. The huge, lit marquee and swanky lobby are an extra treat.
The ticket counter is small and for popular films the line often extends out the door and down the sidewalk, so be prepared. Rest assured, though; there are so many seats I've never seen it sell out.
Harry Singh has run his Caribbean restaurant on Nicollet Avenue for nearly 20 years, although it's a relatively recent discovery for me. The small space, with its unassuming storefront, belies the size and punch of Harry's delicious dishes. There are plenty of vegetarian options, which arrive in large portions. Although the food is spicy, Harry makes his own special hot sauce in the restaurant in case you need an extra kick, and loves to come from the kitchen to chat with you about it. If you're looking for something different from the usual fare, for reasonable prices and with a friendly proprietor to boot, Harry's is the place to be.