At Masa, the views to the mall are huge, and the D'Amico-run kitchen specializes in big, bold Mexican flavors. So does the bar. Zip in before 6 p.m. weekdays for the happy hour menu's tasty five-under-$5 items.

1070 Nicollet Mall, Mpls. • 612-338-6272 •

The News Room seems to stretch half a block down Nicollet, making it a prime parade-watching venue. The vast menu is an eclectic, something-for-everyone affair and features five kid-focused items — served with fries and a chocolate chip cookie — for $5.95.

990 Nicollet Mall, Mpls. • 612-343-0073 •

Behind the big windows of elegant, big-city Vincent, chef Vincent Francoual and his crew turn out scrupulous spins on classic French fare, including cassoulet, escargots in garlic butter, steak tartare, lamb shanks braised in red wine, steak frites and what just might be the city's most unforgettable chocolate cake. Lovely service, too.

1100 Nicollet Mall, Mpls. • 612-630-1189 •