Crescendo Exquisite Food & Fine Wines

118 S Broadway Ave
Albert Lea, 56007
Reviews:
This place is a gem. It's open only a few nights a week, and run by a multi-talented guy -- he's the chef and, when his work is done, also the piano player. The menu is limited but intriguing, and changes seasonally. Outstanding dishes (in September) included the sweet potato ravioli appetizer, the pork, and the lobster. As my 10 year old (who ate a bit of everything) put it, "they use exactly the right amount of spice." It's located in a bit of a culinary wasteland. The waiter started off his explanation of the menu by describing the food as "gourmet," which I assume reflects the fact that he is not infrequently bombarded by requests for cheeseburgers.
I am very impressed. I grew up in Albert Lea, and still have family in town, but hadn't been here despite hearing only good things for years. I guess I figured my family was so pumped to have one good place to eat that they were inflating their reviews. Nope, the food and service were exceptionally good. You could plunk this place into some of the coolest neighborhoods in the biggest cities and it would flourish. I had our server pick my meal from appetizer to dessert, and she nailed it. The sweet potato ravioli was possibly life changing...we'll see if the change sticks. I might drive some of my foodie friends 2 hours to eat here. If you live closer than that, definitely go.
Crescendo is an amazing gem in the middle of Albert Lea. The minute you enter the door you feel like you've walked into a sophisticated, but very comfortable place. The menu is tremendous, the service is outstanding and the wine list is as good as you can find in southern Minnesota. The music starts later in the evening and adds a tremendous atmosphere after a great dinner. We can't recommend this place enough for a truly wonderful evening of fine food, wine and music.

(507) 377-2425

Diners

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Diana’s Diner

522 S Broadway Ave
Albert Lea, 56007
Reviews:
No review available for this restaurant

(507) 377-1555

Diners

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The Elbow Room

310 E 8th St
Albert Lea, 56007
Reviews:
Great old school burger joint. Follow the waitress ' recommendations of what to order. She was spot on . Patty melt, Dick's limey burger, tots and mac and cheese wedges. We had a great lunch.
Have the patty melt. And the tots. With yellow mustard. Great food and friendly staff.
We stopped on our way to Minneapolis, small local place, juicy flavorful burgers, friendly service.

(507) 373-1836

Breakfast & Brunch

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Wok-N-Roll Buffet

2344 Hendrickson Rd
Albert Lea, 56007
Reviews:
A pleasant surprise in the middle of nowhere. Had dinner there on a Friday night and enjoyed my meal. This buffet could hold its place against buffets in Minneapolis. The food was fresh, warm, and well seasoned. Among the notable dishes were the black pepper shrimp and the dumplings. The hot and sour soup was a little watery but had good taste. Disappointed that there no wok seared fried rice. The service was attentive, and dirty plates were promptly cleared. A nice ice cream selection was offered. This family friendly restaurant is worth consideration.
No sushi. No hibachi grill. No cold shrimp. I was so disappointed. I know that this is a Chinese buffet and that they are not really supposed to have sushi, but most of the buffets that I go to have a very small selection, and they most always have cold shrimp available. This place had neither. What a bummer. The jalapeno chicken was delicious and had a good kick to it. I'd also recommend the black pepper shrimp as it was the best thing on the menu. Hands down. They also offer banana pudding, cheesecake, coffee cake and a nice selection of fruit. The service was pretty great and I liked how they are located directly next door to a Walmart which makes it easy for us to park our semi and walk across. You can also park on the street and walk a short distance inside. This wasn't phenomenal food, but it was fresh and hot and cheap. 22$ for a nice dinner in a clean restaurant with constant re-fills and friendly staff, I'll take it.
My husband and I work in the Food & Beverage industry, so the most important thing for us is cleanliness. If the dining room and restrooms are clean, that means the kitchen is clean. And this place is squeaky clean. The food is good, not spectacular, but good and it was fresh and new pans were replacing empties quickly. On another comment site, there was a comment complaining that they don't fill the pans. Good. There is a reason for that. It ensures that the food is always fresh, because what's in the pan will be eaten quickly and more will be made, little will be wasted and nothing gets cold. You always want the pans to be replaced quickly, not sitting forever. The buffet area was always being wiped down and cleaned. These people care about the food they are serving. My only complaint is this - as a mother of 3 small children, there is no changing table in the bathroom. Our infant son needed his diaper changed and there was no place to change him. We had to go to a gas station down the road. We stopped here as a midway point between visiting family in North/Central Minnesota and our home in Iowa. And we will definitely come here again on our travels.

(507) 377-1155

Chinese, Buffets

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112 On Broadway

112 S Broadway
Albert Lea, 56007
Reviews:
I had an out of town guest for lunch today and thought we would try the 112. If there hadn't been a couple sitting at the tables outside I would have thought they were closed on Sundays. The hours on the outside of the building do not mention Sunday at all. We seated ourselves and were soon greeted by a woman who asked us. "What can I get you." I had expected her to bring menus or ask us what we wanted to drink. I wasn't sure if she was taking a drink order or a food order. After she left to fetch our drinks I noticed one beat up, photocopied, tri-fold menu. It was about the size of the napkins in the table-top napkin box. I ordered the Buffalo Chicken Salad and my companion ordered a Roast Beef Slider. Our food arrived in a timely fashion and my salad was quite tasty. My companion said his Slider was okay. I did need to go to the bar for a drink refill as the wait staff neglected to notice my empty drink when the food was delivered. All in all a pretty good showing for the 112. I'll be back.
We had lunch here while driving through Albert Lea on our way to Des Moines. I don't have much to say about this place. It didn't wow me. It wasn't bad, it was just ok. We shared the prime rib panini and the baked mac n cheese, which in my opinion wasn't creamy enough. I WOULD say if you're ever if Albert Lea, this is a decent place to have a meal.
We had a pleasant and tasty dinner at 112 on Broadway - meatloaf, caprese salad, chicken/ranch wrap. All were well-prepared and served in a friendly and skillful manner. We did not try the liquid refreshment. Be aware that most of the seating is at high tables.

(507) 373-3000

American (New), Bars

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Iron Skillet Restaurant

820 Happy Trails Ln
Albert Lea, 56007
Reviews:
I have eaten here a few times. There are few places in Albert Lea that I would take a visitor from out of town. The Iron Skillet and the attached bar, Skol, have been pretty consistent in their quality and service. In the past I have enjoyed the buffet. Always with a variety of meats, seafood and salad. This visit I opted for the Steak and Shrimp off the menu. I always order my steak "medium rare". When it arrived I noticed that it was more like "medium/medium well". The server cheerfully offered to send it back to the kitchen so they could prepare another for me. By the time the new steak came out I was already full from the salad bar and the sides and asked that the steak be packaged to go. When the server returned with the check she told us that she had taken my meal off of the bill and had comped us another 10% for the hassle. I have never had such good service in Albert Lea. A welcome surprise. We'll be back. PS. My least favorite thing about the Iron Skillet is they insist on serving everything on a... iron skillet. That means that by the time you finish your food it is cold. On my most recent visit I asked the waitress to bring me my steak on a plate. She seemed confused so I explained that I like to enjoy a leisurely meal and that usually means a cold meal at the Irion Skillet. She was happy to oblige. The steak was excellent and warm to the last bite.
Their Green Chile Smothered Burrito is incredible. I was really impressed. Good corn bread too. Their staff needs a little work but everyone was still genuinely nice and attentive. Will definitely come back. Maybe I'll try something other than the green chile burrito but not likely. It was that damn good.
First of all they brought me the wrong meal. Then when they brought the correct one it was dried out chicken and the mashed potatoes actually had a skin of dried potatoes to cut through. Disgusting. They forgot my beer and my biscuit. The only reason they got a star was for a fairly decent salad. I will NEVER go here again. Plus the waitress was lousy as well

(507) 379-2616

American (New), Buffets

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China Restaurant of Albert Lea

805 E Main St
Albert Lea, 56007
Reviews:
Was a little leery of this as there were only two tables occupied, but my concern was unfounded. Large menu with large variety of choices. We split won tons and king pap happy family. Tons were very meaty and flavorful. The specialty dish was fresh and tasty. Will return.
After reading the mixed reviews of China Restaurant I was a little hesitant to give them a try. The first thing that struck me about the place was the look and feel of the dining area. The dining area is clean tidy and well cared for as opposed to the exterior of the building which is sad and tired. The menu appeared to be the same old Americanised Chinese food you can find in every US town with a population over 5000. There were absolutely no surprises on this menu. My dining companion and I both ordered from the lunch specials. Soup, egg roll, entree and "fried rice". The food was hot and prepared fresh. That being said, my entree was almost devoid of flavor. The server was very attentive, polite and well dressed.
Delicious food. Good service for being under staffed. We would go to four stars except when I dropped my wallet under the table i saw, crammed under the little space between the floor and the table stand, what could have been swept up and used for a full meal with dust for garnish. Since I had just eaten I could not loose my apatite instead almost lost my stomach. If this is what the guests get imagine the back of the house. Try a deep cleaning and then standard cleaning . Geez.

(507) 377-8888

Chinese

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Jake’s Pizza

126 W Clark St
Albert Lea, 56007
Reviews:
Best pizza around!!! I love Jake's. They have been around so long for good reason. I would definitely recommend them.
Worst pizza! For a $20 large all meat pizza it have very little meat, very thin crust and rubbery cheese..
Awesome pizza. The BEST in the area, hands down. Menu has great topping ideas and the cheese bread is just that... CHEESY. Premium, high quality food ingredients sets Jake's apart from the cheaper pizza chains. Thin crust with lotsa REAL cheese.

(507) 373-7350

Pizza

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Taco King

104 S Broadway Ave
Albert Lea, 56007
Reviews:
The Taco King? What taco? Oh you mean the taquitos they serve there. At least that's what my supreme burrito came looking out as. I feel like I got jipped and skimped on my food. At least for the price I paid and how small it was you'd think it'd be good. Nope, just a plain ole soggy burrito with just beef in it. What a rip off.
Excellent authentic Mexican food. Friendly folks. Was an impromptu stop during a storm. Will be on our list now.
Pretty run of the mill americanized mexican food. Tastes ok, but portion size for the cost is pathetic. After spending $10 dollars for lunch, I was still hungry and had to buy an apple and banana at wal-mart. The sauces were tasteless . The enchilada sauce was reminiscent of canned sauce. I would recommend going to taco john's and paying half as much for double the quanity and the the same quality. People in Albert lea just don't know what good food is. Dont believe the 4 star reviews.

(507) 377-2485

Mexican

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Big Island Grille and Bar

2306 E Main St
Albert Lea, 56007
Reviews:
Absolutely love the food here! Everything had great flavor and tasted fresh and homemade. Service was attentive and although the chef forgot to put the meat on our nachos it was quickly fixed and additional meat was brought out to us by him personally.... very good customer service! I would have given it 5 stars but the people that were there that seamed to be some type of owners or people in charge in some way were standing pretty much in front of the door smoking. They were out there as a group about 3 times during our time there. Didn't like that at all. Keep up on the great food and service but maybe move the smoking section on the side of the building or in the courtyard.
The quality of the food earns its own star, otherwise this would be a single-star review based on the service my family received. When we arrived the table was mopped clean with a dripping wet towel and the puddles left there, upon which the menus were plopped. We ordered coffee and had to ask, on two occasions, for its condiments. No one had silverware and we had to steal a straw from the bar just to stir the coffee. The coffee itself was very weak and tasted bad; not worth two dollars, as I couldn't force myself to finish what was in my tiny 5oz cup. Our table went largely ignored even though there was only one other table occupied in the whole of the dining room. It was an awkward experience as we had to ask for every little thing which should already have been provided, when our server ever eventually came by. I don't enjoy leaving a bad review but the hospitality here left a lot to be desired. Even a smile would have improved it.
We decieded to have dinner here for something different and were both very impressed with the overall experience..GREAT chicken and wild rice soup!! steak was done to order..prices are quite reasonable!! will dine here again defintely!!

(507) 373-1621

American (New), Steakhouses

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