This is not dinner and a movie: Gobble a bag of liquid-buttered movie-theater popcorn, chew through a box of Skittles and stain your insides with a $5 bucket of soda.

Yack. If it's date night, that's not a good idea. Skip the gooey concessions, please.

Dinner and a movie should really mean dinner and a movie. This age-old combo might not be the most groundbreaking experience, but it can be done easily and right.

Plenty of Twin Cities movie theaters have great restaurants on the same block -- and some have brought the restaurant right into the theater.

With the freezing season here, there's no better time for the one-trip date.

South Minneapolis

The theater: The old-school one-screen Parkway is under continual renovation, but it's charming in any state. While there's traditional theater seating, couples should check out the leather loveseats up front. The theater plays movies that are just leaving the multiplexes (this week it's Oliver Stone's "W.") and classics (another Monday-night film noir series starts Dec. 8 with "Sunset Boulevard.").

The food: The Minjares family owns both the theater and Pepitos, the Mexican restaurant next door. The two are connected through a hallway, so you can order food in the restaurant and walk it right into the theater. (How about some real nachos?) You also can bring in cocktails from the restaurant's bar, or order them from the Parkway's concession stand (margaritas, even).

Parkway: 4814 Chicago Av. S. 21 and older. 612-822-3030.

Pepitos: 4820 Chicago Av. S. 612-822-2104.


The theater: Going "VIP" is a good way to impress any date. The renovated MOA theaters (or Theatres at the Mall of America, as they call them) have one swanky VIP theater with large, plush chairs and a wait staff.

The food: There are a lot of mall options, few of them great (although Tiger Sushi isn't bad). So forget dining, because the VIP theater has alcohol. While it doesn't have a full liquor license yet (I thought the MOA got whatever it wanted), it does serve beer and wine on Friday and Saturday nights. Each seat has its own mini- armrest table. A more expansive menu is coming.

21 and older. $2 upcharge on weekends. 952-851-0074.


The theater: The Atlantis 15 is the latest themed megaplex from the Cinemagic chain (its St. Michael location is a doozy, with upgraded food, alcohol and Imax under one roof). Atlantis is trying to replicate the idea in the southern suburbs. Statues of Poseidon and other goofiness support the theater's mythic ocean theme.

The food: No need to go anywhere else. The theater hopes to have its second-level restaurant and bar open by the end of the year.

14401 Burnhaven Dr. 763-746-0456.


The theater: If you like your movies without fart jokes or loud explosions, Landmark's Edina Cinema appeases all film snobbery with the latest indie fare.

The food: Just around the corner is Beaujo's, an intimate wine bar and bistro, with daily house-made desserts. Equally arty.

Edina Cinema: 3911 W. 50th St. 651-649-4416.

Beaujo's: 4950 France Av. S. 952-922-8974.


The theater: Landmark's other art house locations, the Uptown and Lagoon Cinema, are within a block of each other. If you like the trendy setting but abhor highfalutin films, the Lagoon has been playing a few blockbusters lately (last week it was "Quantum of Solace").

The food: Skip the obvious date spots (Figlio, Chino Latino) and go for something less frantic, like Lucia's. The storefront restaurant/wine bar is tucked nicely into bustling Uptown, and is a favorite for its locally grown bistro food.

1432 W. 31st St., Mpls. 612-825-1572.


The theater: As far as AMC megaplexes go, the newer Rosedale 14 has stolen some thunder from Southdale. It has fewer screens, but everything else is top-notch.

The food: Like Southdale, Rosedale has started its own big-box restaurant row, with Granite City, California Pizza Kitchen, Big Bowl and Flame. For a date, Flame does the trick: a fun atmosphere, some funky drinks and fire-cooked food (that can be hit or miss).

Rosedale 14: At Snelling Av. & Hwy. 36, Roseville. 1-888-262-4386.

Flame: 651-315-5005.

South Minneapolis 2

The theater: The retro Riverview is one of the best movie palaces around. It's cheap ($2-$3 tickets) but sophisticated (beautiful 1950s style, plus stadium seating). And it always has a great lineup of second-run movies.

The food: Kitty corner is the Riverview Wine Bar, a true neighborhood gem. The lighting is always taken down to a romantic level. The thin-crust pizzas are a favorite, and the wine flights are a steal.

Riverview Theater: 3800 42nd Av. S. 612-729-7369.

Riverview Wine Bar: 3753 42nd Av. S. 612-729-4200.

St. Paul

The theater: As one of the few movie houses left in St. Paul, the Highland and its 1940s façade still command respect.

The food: The theater is more of a casual date spot, so dinner and a board game at the nearby Chatterbox sound about right.

Highland: 760 Cleveland Av. S. 651-698-3085.

Chatterbox: 800 Cleveland Av. S. 651-699-1154.

Downtown Minneapolis

The theater: Think what you may about downtown Minneapolis, the Block E 15 ain't bad. Vibrant sound, comfy stadium seats.

The food: Block E's restaurants are another story. You could quickly ruin a date with Hooters or Applebee's. So walk across 7th Street to Seven for a night of sushi in style.

Block E: 600 Hennepin Av. S. 612-338-1466.

Seven: 700 Hennepin Av. S. 612-238-7777.

New Hope

The theater: One of the metro area's last remaining dinner theaters (for movies), the New Hope Cinema Grill has three theaters outfitted with tables for a true sit-down dining experience.

The food: Nothing extraordinary -- wraps, burgers, pizzas -- but they do have Surly beer on tap.

2749 Winnetka Av. N. 763-417-0017.

Columbia Heights

The theater: The vintage one-screen Heights (dating to 1926) has kept its classic feel, complete with a Wurlitzer organ. Nowadays it plays everything from indie films to this week's blockbuster war romance "Australia."

The food: It's not exactly romantic, but there's a Dairy Queen right next door. And ice cream never hurt any date.

Heights: 3951 Central Av. NE. 763-788-9079.

Dairy Queen: 3959 Central Av. NE. 763-781-7856. • 612-673-7909