My sister and I went to Loto Life Cafe for happy hour on Saturday afternoon. After two visits, I like this place, but I really want to love it. The location is ideal, about 3 miles from my house, in Lowertown St. Paul (Loto is short for Lowertown). It’s owned by David Fhima, Twin Cities restaurteur (also owner to Zahtar in Minneapolis and no-longer-opened Fhima and Louis XIII). The decor is modern and simple with a touch of chic, the floor to ceiling windows have a gorgeous view of Mears park. The menu is casual; sandwiches, wraps and pizza. This place has all the right ingredients but still somehow falls a bit short.

I am a sucker for a good happy hour menu which led me to Loto in the first place. Their happy hour menu is a nice blend of drink specials and lower-priced appetizers. The downside is that during the week happy hour is from 2pm – 5pm. I’m not sure about you but most people I know work until 5pm. The upside is that they extend happy hour throughout the weekend (pretty much all day Sunday).

During happy hour they have a $5.50 daily pizza. The one shown below is pepperoni and mushroom. It was solid, oozing with cheese, just enough sauce and a nice crunch in the thin crust. We also ordered risotto croquettes, they were alright but needed more cheese. Overall, I would say the food is decent, but not great.

If you live anywhere near St. Paul, Loto is worth the trip but don’t have super high expectations. If you do check it out and let me know what you think.

{Photo credit: Loto Life Cafe}

Note, I know the photos I take myself are complete crap. I have a 3 year old digital camera that is pretty worthless and admittedly, I know nothing about photography. One goal I have for 2010 is to purchase a new, nice camera that as long as I point and shoot, will take a decent food photo. Anyone have any suggestions?