The Best Restaurants in the Twin Cities (2024)

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The Best Restaurants in the Twin Cities (1)

Photographs by Caitlin Abrams

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We do love a list. Especially at the end of the year, we like to tidy up and take stock of what we’ve seen (and eaten), yes? It helps ready us to turn the page and begin again. In the past, we’ve taken the moment of the Best Restaurants issue to make a list heralding all the goodness we see in town, making sure to recognize the stalwarts who have long invested in the eating scene and saving our celebration of new restaurants for a different issue. This year, we shifted a bit.

We still think it’s extremely important to hit a balance between celebrating the new and shiny (who get most of the coverage during the year anyway) and the rooted restaurants who continue to build their legacies. It’s harder than ever for restaurants to keep being profitable and hold on to margins, and if we want to be considered a great food town, we have to have foundations that help bring the next generations forward. This year, we decided that The MSP 50 should reflect that delicate balance.

In the list ofthe 50 best restaurants that follows, we have 14 new and thrilling spots that opened this year. This bucket overflows with new vision and ideas of where we might be going with our dining dollars. There’s hope and optimism with each plate we’ve enjoyed. We also call out 13 Hall of Fame restaurants. These places have earned a spot in our hearts, and we wouldn’t recognize the Twin Cities without them. Among the remaining 23, we recognize a place for choosing maximalism, award some of the spots who set the tone for others, and champion those who champion our Cities—just like you do. Follow the fork.

Scroll tothe full list.

Hot Spots

Gather your groups—these spots are overflowing with locals having a good time.

Iconos Gastro Cantina

Maximalists, please report to your new weekend haunt. You can’t go more than a minute in this LynLake eatery without someone walking by with a shower of sparkles. There’s a fiery celebration just for ordering a flight of mezcal, but the big groups will likely be snapping photos of the huge El Cantarito: a mug containing an entire bottle of tequila with grapefruit and lime.

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A flight of mezcal co*cktails kicks off a sparkler party. It doesn’t even have to be your birthday.

Hai Hai

Christina Nguyen and Birk Grudem’s place in Northeast sets the agenda for millennial restaurant culture: Bartenders are friendly, the menu is fresh and accommodates all the ways of eating free of this or that, and the $6 kids’ meal rice bowl makes being a young parent less isolating. Hospitality is the art of loving your community through service, and what that means changes over time as the community changes. What’s most remarkable about Hai Hai today is how the team serves their community in such strong ways.

Emerald Lounge

Drinks and snacks can be a whole way of living. If you are a human on the go with varied people to meet and you require a vital space where you can feel special but also hear your conversation, please head to St. Paul’s West Seventh. There, you will find a smart slip of a space with compelling snacks, such as shawarma-spiced wings or a little hot bologna number with Red Dragon cheddar and Cry Baby Craig’s aioli, matched only by sophisticated co*cktails. Believe that the Pretty in Peach comes with a cayenne kick to your tequila and that the classic house martini is worth the market price Emerald sets.

Petite León

If every block could have a small corner eatery that glowed from within on a nightly basis, how much richer would our Cities be? The Kingfield neighborhood has many good spots, on many good corners, but the food and hospitality at Petite León speak to a certain casual charm that keeps the place booked from open to close. Jorge Guzmán’s menu allows diners to opt in with a luxe but real burger or dial up with a seasonal pasta that brings squash and sage to new heights. The co*cktails have their own following, and the industry shows up later on weeknights when a soft landing is required.

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The Kenwood

Some time ago, Don Saunders’s clubhouse The Kenwood changed hands. The name and space remain the same, but Joel DeBilzan has carved out a new following of loyalists. Keeping some of the classics, like the burger with pork belly, was a good move, but if you haven’t visited in a while, you’re in for a treat. There’s a pasta play happening that serves as both comfort and thrill ride: A bucatini carbonara with applewood smoked bacon will haunt you more than those pancakes ever did. And the house daily focaccia tucked underneath a porchetta Benedict is part of the call to bring you back in.

StepChld

You have to champion a place that refers to itself as “a slightly off-kilter concept.” What that speaks to most is evolution. Kamal Mohamed seems to be always listening: to his neighborhood, to his staff, to his gut. He’s unafraid to take chances, mix it up, and keep trying to make his Old Town neighborhood spot better and better. It’s working. The Ethiopian berbere-spiced tacos are eye-opening, the blueberry-ricotta pancakes at brunch sing of comfort, and The Cooper Burger remains a juicy friend when you need it.

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The Cooper burger, a double-patty smash, sits quietly in Old Town.

Billy Sushi

Some diners might have followed a strangely fantastic white Sherp truck to this North Loop sushi spot, and others will clearly have posted up at the bar after a Timberwolves game for the chance to spot a baller or two. But many, many others are here for the real star of the show: fresh fish. No one makes a show of cutting a giant tuna like Billy, but his sushi chefs are there every night cutting the freshest toro, salmon, uni, and more with killer precision and flair.

Wrecktangle’s Wrestaurant at the Palace

What more can be said about the local pizza kids who landed on Good Morning America this year, winning the title of best pizza in America? Well, how about “They’re not done yet”? After such a pronouncement, the group went on to open a new eatery connected to St. Paul’s Palace Theatre, and they show no signs of resting on any laurels. Have your award-winning Detroit-style Very Nice Breakfast Pizza, or branch out and try a sesame smash burger, a little spinach agnolotto, or an ice cream sandwich on toasted focaccia. Giddyup.

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wrecktangle-pizza

You can’t deny the pull of the pizza, or the pizza’s cheese pull, but this newest location kicks everything up a notch.

Animales

Barbecue is all about heritage smoking technique and good cuts of meat, but Jon Wipfli and his crew know a thing or two about bringing the razzle-dazzle. Never mind that the BBQ trailer’s big smoker is painted to look like a menacing mascot and the Ribfest weekend sells out online days before: The burger trailer dresses up for Halloween every year as McJonald’s, complete with fake golden arches, inspiring block-long lines for the team’s version of two all-beef patties with special sauce. Looking forward to the day they bring all that razzle-dazzle together under one roof and open in their own space in 2024.

O’Shaughnessy Distilling Co.

Just because it happens to employ one of the premier whiskey makers in the world doesn’t mean that it’s all copper stills and Old Fashioneds. Well, it kind of does, but here’s the big surprise: You’ll be sitting at happy hour, sipping a highball, when you get hungry, and suddenly you’ll be tucked into a high-backed booth pairing co*cktails with pan-roasted chicken and steak frites. That this happens to be a world-class distillery, a hot spot for events and parties (not just on March 17, either), and an easy patio hang in the summer clues you in to what the whiskey makers here know about sharing a glass of hospitality.

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Bar Brava

Brava is the Twin Cities wine bar where the wine pros go after a long day of professional drinking. Why? How else can you find what’s new and next? It’s our one wine bar where everyone has fully metabolized mainstream wine culture and is ready for the avant-garde, the experiments, the shaking of the cage. Think of Bar Brava like the fashion or gallery show where the up-and-coming artists show the pieces that may seem perplexing and enticing today but will change everything in five years. It’s an exciting place for the wine-minded, and what makes it even more so is that you don’t even have to be a wine insider to go: Absolutely everyone is invited.

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Setting the Tone

Being the best in your lane means knowing what’s expected, and then taking it up to 11.

Mara

When you want to be the featured jewel in the priceless necklace, go to golden Mara. Setting the standard for a hotel restaurant, which of course a Four Seasons restaurant would do, Mara treats anyone like they’ve just emerged from a royal carriage. It’s a Gavin Kaysen restaurant, so you’ll get all the good, forthrightly accessible food, prettied up into something brand-new. (Please don’t miss the bucatini with lobster—Kaysen has such a gift for uniting lobster and pasta into a symphony.)

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mara

Hotel restaurants don’t often happen like this. Find beet-cured trout and the best pita bread in town.

Brasa

Slow growth isn’t the norm, unfortunately, but maybe it should be. Brasa started with a small operation in Northeast in 2007, adding a spot in St. Paul two years later, then a south Minneapolis location 11 years after that, and only just now a suburban version in Hopkins. All along, the high-quality ingredients and slow-cooked meats have never faltered, just winning over more and more neighbors with each location. The east metro should put its bid in and wait patiently.

Kado no Mise

The spirit and philosophy of the Japanese art of kaiseki is bigger than dinner; it’s about experiencing reverence for nature, putting the slipstream of life into your mouth so that you can be one with the mysteries. True, it’s a lot to convey through dinner. But chef Shigeyuki Furukawa does it in a way that inspires equal parts awe and devotion in his North Loop restaurant. In July, you might find heirloom tomatoes, tofu, abalone, and shiso flowers trembling in a handmade lacquer bowl. In winter, you might find Wagyu beef, Japanese long potatoes, and Hokkaido uni—rich foods to warm you on cold nights, reminding you that life is complex and amazing. Not just dinner: It’s soul-lightening.

Union Hmong Kitchen

Yia Vang is one of our most important speakers, and he’s a cook. In his arms, and in his words, he carries the local Hmong population as he continues to make his family’s food, honoring their legacy while forging his own path as a young American. The food he makes is an act of storytelling, and sitting at his vibrant space in Uptown, you can feel the history reaching out from each bite laden with signature Mama Vang’s sauce. For all the import, it still manages to be a delicious, mouth-kicking good time.

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Find generous plates of spice- and flavor-laden Hmong cooking in Uptown.

Myriel

If you know when your foodist friend will be visiting from out of town, get a reservation for the tasting menu at Karyn Tomlinson’s restaurant so that you can give them a bite of Minnesota. Foraged items from the landscape and farmed vegetables and animals from small family businesses coupled with heirloom recipes from Tomlinson’s family bring that rural side of our state home to an elegant roost in a tiny, warm, and welcoming St. Paul eatery.

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Zelo

Welcome back. When everyone else got busy shouting about the demise of city business, this restaurant asked, “How about some spicy crab spaghetti? Maybe some brick-roasted chicken—remember that?” Defying the storylines, this upscale Italian came back for dinner this year for the first time since 2020 and just recently came back with lunch. We love it for that hearts of palm salad, for textbook fried calamari, for a Wild Acres turkey burger, and for an enduring love of the city that made it ante up and bet on downtown Minneapolis.

Afro Deli

It has been a joy to watch Afro Deli make a bid to be the Chipotle of Somali and East African food in Minnesota. First came the Cedar-Riverside location in 2010, then St. Paul. Now there are four locations, plus a State Fair booth, and founder Abdirahman Kahin was named the National Small Business Person of the Year for 2023 by the Small Business Administration and the Biden administration. Celebrate by treating yourself to lemony Senegalese-inspired Yassa Chicken over spiced Somali rice with a cardamom-fragrant spiced sweet tea.

Mr. Paul’s Balloon Emporium

There are no small rooms, only small ideas. While the back room at Mr. Paul’s may only seat about 12–14 people, the ideas coming out of this space could fill a stadium. Nick Kosevich and Tommy Begnaud will not be contained. They roll the counter service as Po’Boys and Jams during the week, shift it into the Back Door Burger Bar with a new menu each weekend, host out-of-town friends for theme dinners and events, and then throw experimental co*cktail spectaculars that blow your mouth and mind. So far out of the box, you’ll be shocked to find you’re still in Edina when you leave.

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No big deal, just a fried bologna sandwich party going on.

Em Que Viet

The Twin Cities has long had one of the United States’ most vibrant Vietnamese food scenes due to thousands of postwar immigrants opening humble, hardworking, very lovable restaurants, such as Northeast Minneapolis’s Que Viet, open since 1980. Now it’s time for the children of the founding generation to take the stage with Em Que Viet in St. Paul. It’s everything we loved about our first-generation restaurants, but with foodie pizzazz like co*cktails, fancy lemonades for the kids, and a little something special with squid ink in a risotto-like fried rice. The Twin Cities’ Vietnamese scene was always vibrant, but now it’s also vibing.

Owamni

It never seemed possible that Minnesota could produce one of those restaurants that sets the global agenda, like Denmark’s Noma or Spain’s El Bulli. But then came Sean Sherman, the Sioux Chef, and his Mississippi-riverside restaurant Owamni in downtown Minneapolis. Decolonized food: What is it? Sauces: How are they built without dairy or industrial oils? Bison: How can it be revelatory of the prairie, culinarily? Owamni asks and answers all these questions, and many more, in a way that lets us all see food, and restaurants generally, differently. So, the world has come calling. Incredible.

Paris Dining Club

When Jamie Malone decided to stop having a “restaurant” where she waited for us to turn up each night, we thought we’d lost access to her incredible French-styled food. Instead, she’s flipped the script, and now we wait for her to show up. Suddenly, she’s doing a tasting menu at Charlie’s in the Minneapolis Club, or she’s hosting an extravagantly baroque dinner table in the galleries of Mia or a quainter one in the flower warehouse at the farmers’ market with wine bestie Bill Summerville. Releasing us from the notion of “her restaurant” has also released her upon the Cities, and how grateful we are for that.

Muddy Tiger

Near the intersection of Highway 100 and 70th Street, in a quiet Edina neighborhood, we suddenly have the Twin Cities’ first restaurant specializing in the street foods of Pune, a city in the western Indian state of Maharashtra. Pop inside to try chef Jyotiee Kistner’s pani puri, crisp puffs of pastry filled just before you eat them—first with different pulses, then with mint- or tamarind-infused water. They’re like soup buns for hot days and fill your mouth with a dozen flavors in one of the nicest surprises of the year.

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New-to-you Indian cooking in Edina, found in a simple café that also lives as a roaming food truck.

New in 2023

This year brought more shiny and cool new eateries to the roster than we’ve seen in years.

Bar+Cart

Not all youth want to go to the thump-thump clubs on the weekends. Thanks to this gastropub that opened near Macalester on Grand Avenue, some want to gather in a more intimate group and sip on great co*cktails while slurping back oysters. Is that a jazz cellist playing on the micro stage above the doorway? Even if you’re long past your bohemian university days, you can pop in here and reengage with that vibe, drinking in the smart set and noshing from the open-latekitchen.

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The back bar at Bar+Cart glows with whiskey and mezcal bottles.

Juche

It’s dark, it’s small, and it’s jam-packed, serving food till midnight to a fervent crowd. At first bite, chef Chris Her seems to be mainly making the local-farm Korean ssam plates of crisp pork belly and fried gochujang chicken wings that you might find in any exceptionally good Korean restaurant. Then you find fries: a platter’s worth, drenched in gooey cheese sauce and a gravy-like mapo tofu that adds spice and umami. This is grub; this is after-bar; this is for anyone who’s gone drinking on Payne Avenue, where the people are real and the nights are real-er.

Crasqui

Chef and owner Soleil Ramirez, who also owns Arepa Bar in Midtown Global Market, opened Crasqui in St. Paul just before she ran a successful week at the State Fair. That ethic, that determination to provide hospitality on all levels, is what you find at this full-service restaurant aiming to be a view of Caribbean cooking through her Venezuelan lens. In the bright and fun space, you’ll be hard-pressed to choose between risotto with calamari, light and lively ceviche, beefy empanaditas, or the chorizo-laden rib eye. Get them all, then go back for cachapas—sweet corn pancakes—at brunch.

Maison Margaux

What’s the difference between Maison Margaux and all the other restaurants in that super-saturated chunk of North Loop, where a single block holds Spoon and Stable, Porzana, and Margaux, all in row? The difference is chic French elegance and your mood. For fashion-runway elegance, choose the main dining room, where an artist-made wall like a slab of marble sets the tone. For mischief, French-style, scamper downstairs to the art deco lounge in shades of vampire scarlet and raven. If you’re in a cozier mood, hit the French-blue bar for murmurs and laughter. Whichever you pick, you’ll find yourself in one corner or another of Minneapolis superchef David Fhima’s lifetime-best restaurant, a formidable feat.

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Chocolate soufflé with Chantilly crème.

Marty’s Deli

For a long time, the crew behind Marty’s Deli were sandwich nomads, popping up in various spaces and kitchens with fresh-made focaccia and a dream. Now, fully rooted in Northeast, Marty’s draws fans from all over the metro for that signature bread and sandwiches like the standard-setting chicken salad Pool and Yacht. With the new digs came a new breakfast sandwich endeavor (get the hash browns on your sandwich), plus a fresh newbie to the lineup: The Gigi, which shows off with locally smoked turkey, herby aioli, and kicky giardiniera.

Porzana

In the last decade, chef/owner Daniel del Prado, the Buenos Aires–born force of nature, has been remaking the Twin Cities with restaurants that serve vibrant, spicy, clean-tasting foods in sexy settings—think Martina, Colita, Josefina. Now he’s opened the latest and greatest, steak-oriented Porzana, in the North Loop. The biggest shock? It’s actually the greatest of his restaurants, with impeccable service, mere side potato dishes that leave you staggering in delight, and a national-caliber co*cktail program. Try the Parillada, save room for the pastas, and never believe you know what’s going to happen next in the Twin Cities—a decade ago, del Prado was a line cook in someone else’s restaurant; now he’s remade a whole metropolis in his (culinary) image.

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You have to get some steak, but get the excellent agnolotto pasta, the scallop tartare, or the killer carrots, too.

Herbst

Chef Eric Simpson moved to St. Paul during the pandemic after training in some of the world’s most important Michelin-awarded restaurants and growing into superchef Missy Robbins’s right-hand man. Since opening St. Anthony Park’s Herbst, he’s been dazzling diners with his combination of Michelin-caliber skills (putting glassy hats of salt-and-pepper crisp on new potatoes) and farm-first values (the potatoes come from a Wisconsin neighbor of co-owners Jörg and Angie Pierach). It feels like the restaurant St. Anthony Park has longed for—a little razzle-dazzle, a lot of heart.

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Ocean trout crudo now lives in a former grocery store in St. Anthony Park.

Baba’s Hummus House

Uptown is home to the metro’s first hummus house. Baba’s, on Lyndale, is a bright, friendly, modern café serving Jerusalem-style hummus in bowls gilded with flavorful ingredients, like the ones that made Baba’s State Fair–famous. You’ll find the silky hummus adorned with everything from garlic chili oil and kimchi to beef shawarma and lemon sauce. But this is also a Mana’eesh bakery, which means there are thick and chewy flatbreads covered in Arabic cheese on the menu next to falafel, salads, and a sesame orange blossom latte that bring modern Palestinian cuisine into our midst.

Gai Noi

For all its history, Loring Park has never been hotter. That’s because Ann Ahmed chose the former 4 Bells location to create her first downtown restaurant. Gai Noi is a celebration of small plates with big flavors from Southeast Asia, especially Laos. Lines have been forming for the no-reservation communal tables; the juicy co*cktails on tap; and the Panang-curried spaghetti, the shredded green papaya salad, or anything with sticky rice and spicy jeow sauce.

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Egg on a Roll

Cities need line cooks to set out on their own. It’s how the food scene keeps getting better. Cities also need better food at fast grabs to level up our full-time eating cycles. So, let’s keep heralding the best convenience store cowboys that we can. This year it’s Adam Bresina’s breakfast sandwich counter tucked in the North Loop. Those egg sandos are stacked with flavor and fresh sauces that could help bring the downtown workforce back if the bosses just created house accounts. Dreams—big for cities, eggs, and line cooks.

Eat Street Crossing

Of all the food halls in the metro, this newest iteration meets a lot of needs. Fashioned from an old theater on the end ofEat Street, its soaring space holds options for fast ramen, ice cream, legendary burgers, Brazilian pizza, sushi sandwiches, trendy bubble tea, and modern craft co*cktails. Plus, there’s a wine wall with bottles all under $25 and an upstairs mezzanine for private groups and gatherings, not to mention a courtyard patio that offers firepits and a place to gather your orders and your friends.

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Soul Lao

It’s a master class in pork belly. The food truck was great—is great—but now that these cooks have set up a space in St. Paul’s Sibley Plaza on West 7th Street for takeout or dine-in, the game has leveled up. The rotisserie turns fat and crunchy trussed pork that’s served simply and perfectly with sticky rice and green sauce. But you’re not getting out of there without the crispy coconut rice or the signature Noakeo’s egg rolls, if we’ve taught you anything. And according to its credo, “After the satisfaction of this meal, may you continue to act with good will and be blessed with everlasting compassion.”

Kruse Markit

Tucked into a former odds-and-ends furniture store, this under-the-radar Kingfield gem has quietly built a rabid following. It’s a market, it’s a café, it’s a bar, it’s a meetup spot, it’s a charming date stop open six days a week, from morning till night, where you can score ingredients for the rest of the week. The all-day menu delivers thoughtfully presented snacking boards, a couple of great sandwiches, and a robust selection of wines by the glass. Have those, then grab a Mucci’s pizza from the freezer case for the kiddos at home.

Oro by Nixta

There are well-known foods we grow and raise with such care that we label the final product with the exact seed strain and pinpoint on a global map where the food was grown—think coffee, chocolate, vanilla, wine grapes, apples, and heirloom tomatoes. Oro by Nixta is what happens when two great chefs, Gustavo and Kate Romero, decide to use that same heirloom, grower-oriented, careful treatment for corn. Individual tortillas can taste a little berry-like, a little flinty, a little like sweet corn, and once the Romeros add taco fixings like a chipotle adobo chicken filling or squash with pumpkin seed mole, it’s like you’re taking the tastiest class imaginable about the culinary essence of corn.

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It's way more than tacos in the side room of Nixta. Find aguachile and other gorgeous plates.

Hall of Fame

These institutions are the bedrock of our eating landscape. Once hot, still hot.

Travail

It’s been years since these guys hung slices of meat from an umbrella, but we’ll never forget that. You may not have to stick your head in a box to receive the sounds and smells of the forest along with a creatively turned bite, but the soul of the very special brand of Travailian creativity is alive and well in Robbinsdale. You’ll find an ever-churning selection of themed co*cktail menus in the basem*nt, an experiential kitchen laboratory on the main floor, and a rooftop patio and bar that can be at once casual with live music and then refined as a new tasting menu rolls out. Constant evolution is the ever-reaching name of this game.

Cafe Latte

In certain parts, Grand Avenue can feel like a small town’s main street: neighbors crisscrossing the road and waving, a steady patter of foot traffic all day. The heart of this vibe beats in Cafe Latte, which has been serving the community for decades. At this tried-and-true cafeteria (not a flashy, trendy reboot, just the real thing going on 40 years), the Quinn family’s scratch cooking and real hospitality are better than ever. Most of St. Paul has celebrated a life moment with one of Cafe Latte’s whole cakes, but it’s the small moments with a cup of soup or a French onion pizza that knit the generations in this neighborhood together.

St. Genevieve

Stop tapping away at your Duolingo app and just grab French life and style with two strong hands. Get to a stool at the St. Genevieve bar, the French bit of chic by legendary chef Steven Brown. You know the stool you want: It’s the one by the long Champagne buckets embedded within the bar. Now, summon bubbles. Next, bury your nose in your glass. Is it time for oysters, a tomato panisse, the best duck confit in town, strawberries and cream? Yes, yes, all of that, yes. Feed your French soul, right near Minnehaha Creek.

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Omelet, oysters, and bubbs.

Manny’s

Steak houses come and go; bravado cranks up and then peters out on the meat scene—but Manny’s might be eternal. The indie steak house is more like a steak home because it has become a rite of passage to surmount a Bludgeon of Beef after a Vikings game or toast a promotion with that bucket of gin that passes for a martini. What happens in the dark bar stays in the dark bar. We’ll continue to let the travelers think it’s about the meat cart, but we know the soul is glorious and permissive hedonism.

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No better celebration than a Bludgeon of Beef and a cold martini sipped in the bar.

Barbette

Maybe Winston Churchill famously said, “In victory, Champagne, in defeat Champagne!” or maybe he didn’t, but we understand the sentiment. In Uptown Minneapolis, we do good old Churchill one better: In victory, hit Barbette for two pounds of mussels in white wine with grilled bread, a bottle of something French, a big pile of fries, and a chocolate mousse—and in defeat, same. It’s the meal that lets creatives keep creating, and it’s good every day of the year. Isn’t that in and of itself a certain kind of victory?

Broders’ Pasta Bar

Should 50th Street and Penn Avenue in south Minneapolis be added as an honorary region of Italy? Seems logical, considering that, since 1982, the Broder family has taken over the intersection with a pasta bar serving fresh pastas; a deli selling containers of the very best puttanesca sauce; and a wine bar, Terzo, serving the best porchetta sandwich in the state.

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With every seasonal update, we reconfirm that Broders’ sets the bar for fresh pasta in the metro.

Meritage

In a perfect world, restaurants would just keep getting better over time. Instead of the flash of opening and a first-year shine that slowly tarnishes over the years, you’d have a gleaming culture and concept that built upon itself year after year. So it is at St. Paul’s favorite French spot, which cultivates new devotees at the bar while honoring legacy patrons who sell out wine dinners and continue to opt in for pressed duck and oysters. It’s a house strongly built, and it will, hopefully, anchor the city for years to come.

Revival

No better place remains for brutally crisp fried chicken. Sure, there are other chickie tenders around town that are beloved and bird sandwiches on other menus that hit the high notes. But. There is no other house of chicken that promises to fully and correctly fry you a whole bird and offer you a side of fried green tomatoes, a brisket that makes you weep, and a double burger for the table to share as a treat. Peerless.

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Setting the bar with a Tennesse Hot chicken sandwich on the daily.

Rainbow Chinese

Tammy Wong is basically the Alice Waters of Chinese chefs in Minnesota—she works with farms and has done so her whole life. She’s a brilliant chef and has been practically her whole life, since opening her Rainbow Chinese on Eat Street in 1987. Don’t miss Wong’s Szechuan Wontons in spicy black bean sauce, the wok-seared cauliflower, or her profoundly flavorful bone-broth soups. If you’ve been going for years, venture past her greatest hits to try the Chiu Chao Turnip Cake, a sort of cheffy Chinese comfort food that’s mild and mellow like a good quiche and will patch you up after even the roughest day.

Saint Dinette

While Lowertown has always been a food destination anchored by the Saintly City’s best farmers’ market, the neighborhood’s restaurant scene has been a bit volatile. Neighbors come and go, chefs dip in and dip out, but Saint Dinette stands its ground as a welcoming spot for an elevated meal. In the past decade, which has been so focused on chef culture, this spot has been watched over by owner Tim Niver, a true hospitalitarian who has made sure that, while the names at the stove may rotate, the mission remains: interesting and playful plates—twists on what it means to be fried fish for Lent at one turn, then a textbook French omelet at another—all in service of a humble curiosity that puts the eater first.

Joan’s in the Park

Susan Dunlop is undersung. Her St. Paul restaurant, co-run with life partner Joan Schmitt, is a haven for industry people who have reached a certain point in life where easy hospitality, combined with a devotion to seasonal and compelling ingredients, beats all the flash and splash. You go here to restore your faith in food and service but also to be comforted by the grace of the harvest expressed as wild nettle and ricotta gnudi with tomato petals or Minnesota sweet corn with pork belly and cilantro. Be as intentional as they are: Make the reservation. The space is small, and you’ll actually be able to have a conversation over a glass of expertly chosen wine.

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The Best Restaurants in the Twin Cities (24)

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Creative plates, like this wheat berry risotto, will wow you.

Black Forest Inn

Thank you, Black Forest, for bringing us big, juicy pork schnitzels, tasty little nubbins of tender spaetzle, icy steins of German beers, and the lightest, flakiest apple strudel since 1965. The arty world around Mia and MCAD thanks you—as do we—for the leafy beer garden, for the iconic Richard Avedon photo with the bullet holes (if you know, you know, and if you don’t, go into the bar and look!). Thanks for the $4 homemade soft pretzel with obatzta, one of the metro’s great bargains. But most of all, thanks for just making Minneapolis great and tasty, in your own special German ways, year after year after year. Prost!

Bar La Grassa

How can it still be so hard to get a reservation in a place so long in the tooth? We do live in a hot-to-trot world of insta-dining, where the new flashy spots get overrun on opening weeks, only to be deserted when the next thing opens. You’d think you’d be able to score a Saturday 7pm slot at BLG with ease, but you’d be wrong. Because here’s the thing: The fans never leave. Why would they, when the calamarata with raw tuna still sets a singular tone in the city, when the gnocchi with cauliflower and orange is as compelling as ever, when all their favorite people are still there? The good times haven’t changed, and those smart enough to recognize a winning horse bet big and bet early with rezzies.

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The Best Restaurants in the Twin Cities (25)

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The MSP 50

The 50 best restaurants of 2023, all in one list.

The Best Restaurants in the Twin Cities (2024)

FAQs

What is the Twin Cities known for for food? ›

Lefse, pickled herring, gravlax, Swedish meatballs—our Scandinavian roots have certainly made their mark in the Minneapolis food scene.

What is the name of the number one restaurant in the world? ›

1. Central (Lima, Peru): Named the world's best restaurant for 2023, Central has led the way in putting Lima center stage on the global culinary map. 2. Disfrutar (Barcelona, Spain): This restaurant was also named Best Restaurant in Europe.

Does Minneapolis have a good food scene? ›

North Minneapolis has local favorites like Wendy's House of Soul, the Get Down Coffee Co., and Sammy's Avenue Eatery, and south Minneapolis has a wealth of neighborhood restaurants and bars, with many of the city's most beloved spots on Eat Street, a historic stretch of Nicollet Avenue, and in Uptown and the Kingfield ...

What is the signature dish of Minnesota? ›

Tater Tot Hotdish

A pan of ooey-gooey goodness and one of the most classic Minnesota dishes. This mouthwatering medley of ground beef, sweet corn, and peas, all cozied up in a creamy, dreamy sauce, and crowned with a crunchy crown of golden Tater Tots is as amazing as it sounds!

What is the most popular food in Minnesota? ›

Food as an event

Tater tot hotdish is popular, as is wild rice hotdish; Minnesota is one of the leading producers of wild rice. Dessert bars are also common at Minnesota potlucks. Other dishes include glorified rice, German baked apples and cookie salad.

What fruit is Minnesota known for? ›

The Honeycrisp Apple was adopted as the state fruit in 2006.

Today, millions of honeycrisp apple trees are grown across the U.S. and Canada and as far away as South Africa and New Zealand. Honeycrisp apples are about three inches in diameter.

Is there a Michelin star restaurant in Minnesota? ›

There are no Michelin star restaurants in Minnesota, and the chances that we will ever have a restaurant rated with a star — or three — by the France-based Michelin Guide are slim to none.

What is the Minneapolis dinner scandal? ›

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Seven people went on trial Monday for what federal prosecutors have called a massive scheme to exploit lax rules during the COVID-19 pandemic and steal from a program meant to provide meals to children in Minnesota. The seven will be the first of 70 defendants to go on trial in the alleged scam.

What food is native to Minneapolis? ›

In addition to walleye and wild rice, indigenous Minnesotans have traditionally used ingredients such as bison, sweet potato, and corn.

What is special about Twin Cities Minnesota? ›

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden has been the largest urban sculpture garden in the United States since 1992, when it was expanded to eleven acres. Minneapolis is third to New York and Chicago for having the largest theatre market. The first formed Better Business Bureau founded in 1912 was in Minneapolis.

What food is Iowa known for? ›

Iowa is known for Sour Cream Raisin Pie, Iowa Ham Balls, Scotcheroos, Maid Rite sandwiches, Steak de Burgo, taco pizza, snickers salad, and corn, lots of corn. It's also the leading producer of pork in the U.S.A.

What does Twin City Foods produce? ›

Twin City Foods grows and processes, both conventionally and organically, the five major Northern vegetables: Green Peas, Sweet Corn, Carrots, Green Beans, and Baby Lima Beans. With years of expertise, we've perfected processes that seal in the freshness and goodness demanded by today's health-conscious consumers.

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