Unassuming Italian fare, by the son and daughter-in-law of Twin Cities dining legend Mama D. The emphasis is on pasta, but dinner also features osso bucco, cornmeal-crusted red snapper and slow-braised short ribs with polenta. Parking tip: Access the restaurant's parking lot from Raymond Avenue.
2356 W. University Av., St Paul, 651-917-7997, www.caffebiaggio.com
CHENG HENG RESTAURANT
The detours and blaze-orange cones haven't reached this Cambodian gem just yet, which means there's absolutely no reason you shouldn't be indulging in the kitchen's aromatic noodle soups, the marvelous plear salad (green peppers, radishes, mint and lime-scented beef) and some of the city's most irresistible spring rolls. Parking tip: On-street meters, get 'em while they last.
448 W. University Av., St. Paul, 651-222-5577
Chef On Khumchaya is clearly cooking her heart out, and her passion and warm hospitality permeate every inch of this modest but comfortable new restaurant. Do not miss the steamed whole tilapia, the fragrant hot-sour soup, the chicken with garlic sauce or the incredible crispy soft-shell crab. Parking tip: There's a small lot behind the restaurant.
1613 W. University Av., St. Paul, 651-644-1444