Out-of-Towners’ Guide to Minneapolis-St. Paul

Becca Dilley, Brenda Johnson, Crystal Liepa / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley, Brenda Johnson, Crystal Liepa / Heavy Table

Welcome to the Twin Cities! Don’t know where to find interesting, high quality food and drink? Whether you’re looking to splurge or eat on the cheap, we’ve got you covered. Looking to drink killer cocktails and treat a hangover the next morning? No problem. Want to know where the locals get their donuts, sausage, tacos, and coffee? You’ve come to the right site.

The Guide is a collection of places our contributors take out-of-towners (or suggest others take visitors). It’s not a “best-of” list. It also is not comprehensive. There are numerous places that we love that didn’t make it into the Guide. If you asked us where to eat, drink, and hang out, this is what we’d tell you. Together, the interactive map (posted at the end of this article), list, and corresponding foursquare list will help you plan out your gastronomic tour of the Twin Cities.

Hey locals! Along with using the guide and sending it to folks visiting town, we hope you will add your recommendations in the Comments section (and tell us why our suggestions are completely off-base). We plan to update the guide annually, so your feedback will help us improve the document, as well as provide out-of-towners with additional suggestions.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We talked about this story on the Current and, as per reader feedback, offered some additional St. Paul recommendations including The Buttered Tin, the St. Paul Farmers Market, and The Strip Club Meat and Fish. We also talked about this story on MPR and mentioned Dari-Ette Drive In, Ngon, and Tanpopo.)

Celebration Restaurants

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Brasserie Zentral; 505 S Marquette Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55402; 612.333.0505 | Our review
“Brasserie Zentral’s very existence raises the question: Where else in America can you score a meal that successfully channels the opulent glory of the Austro-Hungarian empire? Okay, so maybe it’s been done before, Chef Russell Klein certainly puts his own spin on the genre. Food at Zentral is alternately (and often both) awe-inspiring and comforting, and the friendly, knowledgeable service is the cherry on the sundae that makes this glorious feast a meal to remember.” — James Norton

Broders’ Pasta Bar; 5000 Penn Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55410; 612.925.9202 | Our review
“Broders’ is where we’ve celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, and the closing of our first house, and there’s no secret why it’s our favorite destination: the perfectly cooked, seasonally sauced housemade pasta. Whether you’re snuggled with your sweetie at the bar with a couple glasses of wine and a piece of bestia nera flourless chocolate cake or at a table passing plates of pasta and risotto to share among friends, Broders’ knows how most of us like to celebrate — with good, unpretentious food at reasonable prices, and a great wine list to boot.” — Jill Lewis |

Corner Table; 4537 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55419; 612.823.0011 | Our review
“You only think you’ve eaten pork belly, but really, you haven’t experienced swine perfection until you’ve dined at Corner Table. Refined wine choices, cozy interior, and five-star level cuisine make this neighborhood gem the spot I always can’t wait to return to.” — Joy Summers; seconded by Becca Dilley:  “They use local seasonal produce, but their main focus is their charcuterie: house cuts of pork, charcuterie, and terrines. It’s an awesome way to taste the best the Midwest has to offer!”

Eat Street Social; 18 W 26th St, Minneapolis, MN 55404; 612.767.6850 | Our review
“A Minneapolis institution with sister restaurant, Northeast Social, as another option, this is a great place to enjoy the sights and sounds of Eat Street and revel in their craft cocktails. Highly recommended is the steak tartare, and if you’re looking for an after-dinner drink, check out the Torpedo Room for tiki drinks.” — Liz Scholz

Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table

Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table

Heyday; 2700 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55408; 612.200.9369 | Our review
“With inventive food, funky style, and good cheer, this restaurant personifies the Lyndale-Lake neighborhood. Skillfully blending creativity and restraint, Chef Jim Christiansen delivers interesting, high-quality, tasty creations. And pastry chef Diane Yang’s desserts are truly remarkable — the most inventive and scrumptious the area has to offer.” — Joshua Page

Piccolo; 4300 Bryant Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55409; 612.827.8111 | Our review
“Chef Doug Flicker has gotten plenty of praise for his small restaurant with small plates; it’s deserved, and it’s unlike anything else in the Twin Cities. The plates are seasonal, surprising, and visually impeccable. Piccolo both breaks your Midwestern stereotypes (this will not be a heavy, belly-busting meal) and upholds them (the staff and neighborhood vibe is Minnesota Nice).” — Elizabeth M.C. Scheibel

Restaurant Alma; 528 University Ave SE Minneapolis, MN 55414; 612.379.4909 | Our interview with Chef Alex Roberts
“For unpretentious fine dining within reach (really, a $55 menu is a great value here), head to Restaurant Alma. The always-changing prix fixe menu showcases chef-driven, local food at its best, and is consistently pegged as one of the best in town. A bonus? Unlike some of the newer, flashier [louder] places in town, you’ll be able to carry on a conversation with ease. [If a casual, inexpensive experience is more up your alley, head to Chef Alex Roberts’ other restaurants, Brasa Rotisserie — mentioned under Cheap Eats]” —  Maja Ingeman

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Saffron; 123 N 3rd St, Minneapolis, MN 55401; 612.746.5533 | Our review
“When you’re sharing good news with a group, why not share food as well? The top of Saffron’s menu has two sections of delicious, shareable items with the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors that are the restaurant’s trademark. The drink menu also offers everything you need for for toasting — bubbles, sherry, wine, and cocktails that can hang with those from bars more loudly proclaiming their prowess. The atmosphere is classy but never stuffy. This crew knows hospitality; you’ll feel like they are celebrating with you.” — Elizabeth M.C. Scheibel

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

The Lounge at La Belle Vie; 510 Groveland Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403; 612.874.6440 | Our interview with barman Adam Gorski
“It’s the swankiest spot in town, but inside the more casual Lounge you can celebrate with a beautiful bubbly to match your budget, whether modest or deep pockets. The food and service are simply the best in the Twin Cities.” — Joy Summers

Breakfast Spots

Crystal Liepa / Heavy Table

Crystal Liepa / Heavy Table

Al’s Breakfast; 413 14th Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414; 612.331.9991 | Our snapshot
“This tiny, venerable, covered-alley nook of a breakfast spot has difficulty with parties larger than two, but the squeeze is worth the hassle. Al’s chewy blueberry pancakes are legitimately second to none and the ambiance alone is worth the modest price of your check.” — James Norton

Bogart’s Doughnut Co.; 910 W 36th St, Minneapolis, MN 55408; 612.886.1670 | Our review / interview
“If you’re the type to substitute pastries and coffee for a true breakfast, head to Bogart’s Doughnut Co. — before 9am if you’re able (there’s a very real risk of sell-out) — for a vanilla cream-filled doughnut and coffee. The newly opened product of several years of success at south Minneapolis’ Kingfield farmers market, Bogart’s doughnuts steer clear of greasy sugar bombs in favor of wholesome, fluffy brioche dough and pared-down, classic toppings.” — Maja Ingeman

CC Club; 2600 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408; 612.874.7226 | Our review
“Nothing says ‘I’m hungover’ like walking into a dark dive bar with a bunch of other people who are also probably hungover, or maybe haven’t left from the night before. The food is simple but delicious in that greasy diner kind of way.” — Liz Scholz

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

Five Watt Coffee; 3745 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55409; 612.259.7519 | Our preview
“When I visit a new city, one question reigns supreme: Where do I get good coffee? The Twin Cities are blessed with excellent independent coffee shops, including Peace Coffee, Angry Catfish, Spyhouse, Bull Run, Kopplin’s, and Dogwood, but my highest recommendation goes to the newest kid on the block, Five Watt. With killer coffee, inventive espresso drinks, top-notch tea (from Verdant), and dynamite pastries (from Patisserie 46), Five Watt is an extremely friendly and fun place to sate your caffeine cravings.” — Joshua Page

Good Day Cafe; 5410 Wayzata Blvd, Minneapolis, MN 55416; 763.544.0205 | Our review
“Though I could come here and order the same dish — the fried egg sandwich — every time. Good Day Cafe has an extensive breakfast menu that’s worth a dozen visits to explore. From apple souffle pancakes smothered in sugary glaze to a range of Benedicts (I’m partial to the Alaskan, with its smoked salmon), it’s hard to make a bad choice. It can be hard, however, to get a table on Saturday or Sunday mornings, so be sure to call ahead to get your name on the waiting list.” — Jill Lewis

Grand Cafe; 3804 Grand Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55409; 612.822.8260 | Our review
“Grand Cafe brings their dinnertime A-game to weekend brunch. The Kobe Corned Beef and Hash is the best in town: large chunks of browned potatoes and tender beef mingle with mustard, melty Swiss cheese, onions, peppers, and peas. And the huevos rancheros are served atop a quesadilla, for goodness sake.” — Ted Held

Haute Dish; 119 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55401; 612.338.8484 | Our [dinner] review
“On the weekends, Haute Dish has the best brunch imaginable — great for hangovers, potato lovers, late brunchers, and lovers of eggs.” — Becca Dilley

Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table

Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table

The Kenwood; 2115 W 21st St, Minneapolis, MN 55405; 612.377.3695 | Our review
“Looking to kick-start a day at the lakes? Head to The Kenwood, a sunlight-infused space just off the north end of Lake of the Isles. The full [weekend-only] brunch menu has a range of beautifully executed classic egg dishes (eggs benedict, eggs en cocotte) and more Midwestern-inflected options (pork belly with johnny cakes, potato hash) that are perfect for a leisurely brunch conversation with friends. And if weekend brunch just isn’t in the cards, check out the equally high-quality dinner menu.” — Maja Ingeman

Sun Street Breads; 4600 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55419; 612.354.3414 | Our review
“Grab coffee from local roaster Dogwood and excellent pastries to go if there’s a lot on your traveler’s agenda, or take a seat in Sunstreet’s sun-filled space (the kitchen is fast, so you’ll still have lots of day left). While everything on the menu is satisfying, the biscuit sandwiches are Sunstreet’s specialty. They leave you fortified for a full day without weighing you down. You might still end up with a pastry to go: A raspberry cream scone is easily consumed while strolling around the lakes.” — Elizabeth M.C. Scheibel

The Buttered Tin; 237 7th St E, St Paul, MN 55101; 651.224.2300 | Our review
“Start the day with the optimism of a perfectly cooked, golden yolked egg at The Buttered Tin. The pastry case promises all kinds of confection jubilation like a bacon-studded take on the Twinkie; the savory breakfast boasts perfect hash browns and locally sourced ingredients; plus the easy-casual welcoming of the staff makes every morning a good one.” — Joy Summers

Victor’s 1959 Cafe; 3756 Grand Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55409; 612.827.8948 | Our interview with the crew
“Cuban hashes and scrambles, full of black beans, chorizo, yucca and plantains.” — John Garland

Local Color

A Baker’s Wife; 4200 28th Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55406; 612.729.6898 | Our favorite cookie
“You’d really miss out if you came to the Twin Cities without filling your face with amazing (and amazingly cheap) old-fashioned doughnuts from A Baker’s Wife. To super-size your experience, walk around the corner to Angry Catfish (half coffee shop, half bike shop) for a hot cup of Intelligentsia or delicious espresso drink. What’s more Minneapolitan than eating donuts and drinking fancy coffee in a bike shop?” — Joshua Page

Bryant-Lake Bowl; 810 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55408; 612.825.3737 | Our review
“There isn’t a better place in town to take in the local flavor. With a theater, a bowling alley, and a full bar and restaurant, the BLB draws in families, artists, disaffected hipster wannabes, career barflies, and Uptown condo dwellers. Sit outside on a beautiful summer day and watch the city go by.” — Ted Held

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Casper’s & Runyon’s Nook; 492 Hamline Ave S, St Paul, MN 55116; 651.698.4347 | Our review
“If you’re visiting the Twin Cities, you’ve got to at least hear about the local creation known as the Jucy Lucy. Try one, or just get a regular burger, at the Nook (my pick for best burgers of all time). The Nook is welcoming to the various burger tourists it attracts while remaining a neighborhood bar. If you’re skipping the Jucy and you’ve had a long day of sight-seeing, dealing with family, or whatever brought you here, go for the Lodge Burger — the bun mostly stands up to the pile of patty and toppings, and the whole thing definitely stands up to a traveler’s appetite.” — Elizabeth M.C. Scheibel

Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table

Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table

Kramarczuk’s; 215 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414; 612.379.3018
“The James Beard Award-winning butcher and restaurant is the crown jewel of Northeast Minneapolis’ Eastern European heritage. Dine in for cabbage rolls and dumplings or take away from their incomparable selection of house-made sausages, bratwurst, kielbasa and more.” — John Garland; seconded by James Norton: “Eastern European deli Kramarczuk’s makes what may be the best bratwurst in town, high praise for a sprawling metro area with no shortage of people with Polish, German, Ukrainian and other Central European roots. Pick up and enjoy some of shop’s baked goods, or — if you can score access to a grill — a pile of their brats (best when beer-boiled) and cherry bombs, sweet/hot sausages that are my summer favorite.”

Rustica Bakery; 3220 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55416; 612.822.1119 | Our thoughts on the kouign amann
“There’s nothing about Rustica’s bittersweet chocolate cookie in and of itself that screams ‘Twin Cities,’ but it’s hardly worth the trip here if you don’t pick up one (or six). Moderately sized but with a depth of dusky chocolate flavor that’s impossible to resist, this cookie defines the best of what local bakeries have to offer. If the cookie isn’t enough to convince you, Rustica’s selection of European-style breads and other bakery treats will. Stop by for a snack on your way to Lake Calhoun because there’s no way the generic ice cream treats you’ll find at the snack bar can compare.” — Jill Lewis

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

The Bachelor Farmer; 50 2nd Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55401; 612.206.3920 | Our review
“The restaurant that drew national attention for capitalizing on a “new Nordic” trend has created a nice niche for itself in the Twin Cities. Owned by Target heirs Eric and Andrew Dayton, the space feels like a slightly fancy, modern hipster’s take on an old-fashioned, imagined Scandinavian heartland. And the food doesn’t disappoint — don’t miss the shareable toasts, which arrive on an ornately tiered silver tray and feature flavors like lox and steak tartare. Make an evening of it — head downstairs before or after your meal for cocktails in the living room-esque Marvel Bar. [If you’re in town in mid-August, don’t miss The Bachelor Farmer’s rendition of kräftskiva, a Swedish crayfish festival — it’s a fun festival replete with local music, boozy snowcones (aquavit luge, anyone?), and, of course, crayfish.]” — Maja Ingeman

Triple Rock Social Club; 629 Cedar Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55454; 612.333.7399
“Get a double dose of our great eats and killer music scene with a happy hour at Triple Rock Social Club. Bar food favorites taste better with the best jukebox in town, plus the burger and beer specials don’t hurt. If you’re feeling brave, order the Chef’s Revenge: you may never be hungry again, but you’ll definitely be happy.” — Joy Summers

Cheap Eats

Be’Wiched Deli; 800 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55401; 612.767.4330 | Our review
“For a quick lunch bite, Be’Wiched is a good choice. Highly recommended: the asparagus sandwich. Each sandwich comes with two tastes of their deli salads, which are also good on their own or as part of a half sandwich-half salad combo. Gets busy during the week because of the north loop lunch crowd.” — Liz Scholz

Butter Bakery Cafe; 3700 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55409; 612.521.7401 | Our review
“Butter’s claim to fame is its (obviously) buttery, crumbly scones — any version featuring chocolate in some capacity is a sure thing. But the rest of the breakfast menu is not to be missed, especially since nothing costs more than $8. The stuffed-to-the-gills, vegan-chili-topped breakfast burrito can easily feed two (with a scone on the side), and the tender biscuit sandwich featuring egg and cheese is the most satisfying breakfast $5 can buy.” — Jill Lewis

Downtown Minneapolis Skyway
Andrea Pizza; 811 LaSalle Avenue (Highland Court Building), Minneapolis, MN 55402; 612.630.2882
Maison Darras; 733 Marquette Ave Suite 211, Minneapolis, MN 55402; 612.206.3161
La Loma Tamales; 608 2nd Ave S Suite 164, Minneapolis, MN 55407; 612.354.2379 | Our review

“While generally only open for lunch, these three local businesses (also with locations in St. Paul) provide meals as tasty as downtown sit-down restaurants that cost three times as much. Andrea Pizza has the best fast pizza, with plate-size slices for $3.61. Maison Darras brings French refinement to $5.49 paninis and hearty $7.42 salads. La Loma (at street level, in a food court) serves tacos and burritos of higher quality, and equal or lower prices than Chipotle, with a much shorter line and the option of tamales. Ask locals for help navigating the skyway. We were confused by it once, too.” — John Garland

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

El Taco Riendo; 2416 Central Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55418; 612.781.3000 | Our review
“Located in an unassuming storefront on Central and Lowry in NE Minneapolis, El Taco Riendo serves simple, great tacos. On doubled-up corn tortillas, topped with a little cilantro and white onion, there is little interference between your tastebuds and the best al pastor in town.” — Ted Held

Hola Arepa; 3501 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408; 612.345.5583 | We learned about their cheese here
“What started as one of the best food trucks in the cities is now the best spot to fill your belly for just a couple of bucks. Get an a la carte arepa, a griddled corn cake stuffed with braised meats, house made sauces and crumbly cheese, for under $10. It’s a complete meal that won’t break the bank, and the vibrant restaurant vibe will leave you feeling like a rich man.” — Joy Summers

Marla’s Caribbean Cuisine; 3761 Bloomington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407; 612.724.3088 | Our review
“This is the spot for satisfying cravings for fiery, delicious Caribbean (specifically, Trinidadian) food. We return again and again for Marla’s doubles, jerk chicken roti, and sweet potato pie. Other not-to-miss dishes include oxtails with red beans and rice and channa and potato roti.” — Joshua Page

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Masu Sushi and Robata; 330 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414; 612.332.6278 | Our review
“While their regular menu is among the top 3 spots for sushi lovers in the Cities (Fuji-Ya and Origami are the others) their happy hour menu (M-F 3-6pm) has some serious values. Steamed buns, robata, edamame, chicken wings, simple maki rolls, house sake and tap beer, all on the cheap. It could make for an early grazing dinner or a good way to close out your Northeast bar crawl (M-Th 10pm-midnight).”— John Garland

Quang Restaurant; 2719 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408; 612.870.4739 | Our review
“Quang has some of the tastiest pho, banh mi and spring rolls, and your other Vietnamese favorites. It’s big enough so you rarely have to wait if you want to dine in,  and is a mainstay of Eat Street.” — Liz Scholz

Sen Yai Sen Lek; 2422 Central Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55418; 612.781.3046 | Our review
“Beautifully balanced Thai food from the Isaan region — daily curry specials are just the tip of the iceberg at this brightly colored neighborhood restaurant. Try the khao soi, a perennial customer favorite featuring yellow curry, beef, and mustard greens — or khao pad kapi, fried rice with a fresher flavor, chewy dried shrimp, and brightly sweet-tart green papaya. Even better, they’re focused on local purveyors and giving back to the community, from meat and produce farmers to their local beer list.” — Maja Ingeman

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Verdant Tea; 2111 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404; 612.223.8907 | Our interview
“A very small but delicious menu features homemade chai and noodle soups. Great for tea and lingering.” — Becca Dilley

World Street Kitchen; 2743 Lyndale Ave S #5, Minneapolis, MN 55408; 612.424.8855 | Our interview
“There may be no finer rice bowl in American than the one dished up at World Street Kitchen, the fast-casual-with-a-soul spinoff of downtown’s sophisticated Saffron restaurant. But if rice bowls aren’t your thing, try WSK’s Bangkok Burritos and/or tacos for some extremely fine Asian-Latin-Middle Eastern fusion food.” — James Norton

Some Other Places Not to Miss …

Black Sheep Pizza; 600 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55401; 612.342.2625 | Our review
“If you come to the Twin Cities with a hankering for pizza, check out Black Sheep in Minneapolis’s warehouse district or St. Paul’s downtown. With just the right amount of smoky flavor from the coal-burning oven, Black Sheep’s crust is first-rate: thin but sturdy enough not to collapse under the weight of sauce and toppings. The sauce is pleasantly simple, bringing out the bright flavor of properly stewed tomatoes and making the “cheese and sauce” and “tomato and oregano” pies minimalist perfection. For a more adventurous offering, go with the #5: fennel sausage, hot salami, thinly sliced white onion, and cracked green olives. It’s brilliant!” — Joshua Page

Blackbird Cafe; 3800 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55409; 612.823.4790 | Our review
“A cozy neighborhood joint with a design scheme straight out of a Wes Anderson film. Blackbird is equally suitable for an elegant dinner or a sandwich and a beer. Not to be missed: the fish po’boy with red cabbage slaw and cajun mayo, and the spicy peanut noodle bowls with chicken confit and a soft poached egg.” — John Garland

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Brasa Premium Rotisserie; 600 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN; 612.379.3030 / 777 Grand Ave, St Paul, MN 55105; 651.224.1302 | Our review
“Brasa’s Caribbean-inflected meats and sides will completely satisfy both the carnivore and the vegetarian. With twin locations, one in each twin city, you are never too far away from their succulent pulled pork and so-good-it-can’t-be-good-for-you creamed spinach. Eat in or take out.” — Ted Held

Fika; 2600 Park Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407; 612.871.4907 | Our review
“Nothing says Minnesota like a somewhat perplexing obsession with Scandinavian culture. Head to the American Swedish Institute to take in a beautiful, hundred-year-old mansion and exhibits on Scandinavian-American culture; stay for the actually excellent cafeteria food. Fika’s putting out bright, elevated dishes and homemade sodas for a bargain (try the gravlax or any of the smörgås). It’s open Wednesday evenings and most days for lunch, so plan accordingly.” — Maja Ingeman

Marvel Bar; 50 N 2nd Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401; 612.206.3929 | Our review
“We’ve got a secret that the rest of the country hasn’t picked up on just yet: some of the best drink makers around are actually in a speakeasy behind and below The Bachelor Farmer. They’re making amazing cocktails, like a Scotch steeped with nori, that tastes like a bracing, ocean-kissed twilight hour — or try their hyper-diluted Gatsby, threaded with a palate-teasing salinity. These stunning cocktails will change the way you order, but if you prefer the classics, this is also the spot for the best martini in town.” — Joy Summers

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

The Rabbit Hole; 920 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55406; 612.236.4526 | Our review
“Totally wacky Korean-meets-American by way of Wonderland (like the ‘Duck Duck Dduk’, featuring squishy rounds of rice dough and a rich duck confit-like sauce). Also cool: a slightly moody and weird atmosphere and great drinks menu.” — Becca Dilley

Ready to hit the road? Explore the map below — and add our foursquare list — to plan your gastro-tour!

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The Heavy Table team of writers, editors, and photographers has been documenting food and drink in the Upper Midwest since 2009.

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18 Comments

  1. You should cross the river more. This is a very Minneapolis-centric list, with the Buttered Tin and the Nook being the only St. Paul restaurants to earn a mention. Those two places are great, but so are Meritage, Ngon’s, On’s Thai, and the Strip Club – all worthy of being on this list. The Minneapolis sky-way joints listed (Andrea, La Loma, Maison Daras) all have St. Paul sky-way locations too.

  2. Wendy 08/28/2014

    Birchwood!

    • Tracy 08/29/2014

      Thank you Wendy! It’s where I send all my out-of-town friends! :)

  3. Andy 08/28/2014

    No Travail/PAMP love? :|

  4. Kevin 08/28/2014

    Either the food scene in St. Paul has dipped to suburb-level or you forgot to cross the river. The lack of restaurants from St. Paul is really surprising.

  5. KTFoley 08/28/2014

    Where do those contributors live, exactly? There are 44 listed addresses for Minneapolis and 3 for St. Paul.

    This is aimed at visitors, remember, so mentioning that some other location exists somewhere in St. Paul doesn’t really help them.

  6. Josh Page 08/28/2014

    I’m a big fan of numerous spots in St. Paul, especially in Little Mekong. Here are some places visitors may want to check out:

    Wung Lee’s Supermarket and Deli: http://heavytable.com/wung-lee-supermarket-deli/

    Family Lao Thai: http://heavytable.com/larb-family-lao-thai-restaurant/

    Thai Cafe: http://heavytable.com/the-papaya-salad-at-thai-cafe-in-st-paul/

    Trieu Chau: http://heavytable.com/trieu-chau-on-university-avenue-in-st-paul/

    On’s Kitchen: http://heavytable.com/ons-thai-kitchen-in-midway-st-paul/

    Thanks for the feedback. We’ll use it when we update the Guide next year.

  7. How about a few more St. Paul breakfast establishments: Day by Day Cafe and Capitol View are my favorites, and Cook has gotten spectacular press.

  8. Zack 08/28/2014

    I kind of feel like Isaac Becker not making this list in any form is kind of a disservice to out-of-towners. He’s a James Beard winner and 112 & Bar La Grassa are crazy accessible…and the latter is my fave restaurant in the city :)

  9. Josh Page 08/28/2014

    On behalf of the Heavy Table Crew, I offer a huge mea culpa for the Guide’s lack of balance. You’re absolutely correct: we gave short shrift to St. Paul’s dining scene. We’ll balance much more aggressively next year. Please keep adding places in both of the Twin Cities that we missed. Thanks! Josh Page

  10. Seriously, why even call it a Minneapolis-St. Paul list? what about The Strip Club, Meritage, Heartland, Colossal Cafe, Bon Vie …?

  11. Jill 08/28/2014

    Also, read this again:

    The Guide is a collection of places our contributors take out-of-towners (or suggest others take visitors). It’s not a “best-of” list. It also is not comprehensive. There are numerous places that we love that didn’t make it into the Guide. To keep the document from growing out of control, our contributors had strict instructions to only submit one place per category. If you asked us where to eat, drink, and hang out, this is what we’d tell you.

    As you can see, we were only allowed to submit one place per category. I can’t speak for the others, but I spend 90 percent of my time on the Minneapolis side of the river, so yeah, my picks are heavily weighted toward that part of town. That doesn’t mean I don’t like St. Paul restaurants, but if you were to ask my top picks, these are what you get. (And for what it’s worth, I would have picked the Nook, too, but someone beat me to it!)

  12. Bryant Lake Bowl for brunch

  13. KTFoley 08/29/2014

    Jill, I DID read that and it was what prompted my first question.

    Submissions should have been the first step rather than the end product. A discerning editor would see the obvious imbalance in the first draft and ask him- or herself whether the result meets the stated objective. This list parodies the notion of a “Twin Cities” resource, so, no.

    The method gave a result that’s not useful to the readers, so the method needs to be put up for examination. “Everybody name one location” might have been expedient it also turned out to be sloppy. The credible time to address that is before hitting the “publish” button.

  14. Ryan 08/29/2014

    Great timing! I’m an out-of-towner visiting former contributor Jason Walker who recommended this and digging an excellent pour-over at 5 Watt as I type. Thanks for the list, only wish I was staying longer!

  15. James Mac 08/30/2014

    I don’t dislike Broders pasta at all. After all the pasta talk though. La Grassa does a better job. It’s the consistency, the flavors and the all around originality that makes it. Sure, we can get some traditional pasta anywhere from nice old knowledgeable grandma, but its the flavors that count. Plus the prices are much more affordable for your average Joe who doesn’t happen to live in in Edina, and that means alot

  16. My Annoying Opinions 09/05/2014

    Whatever the criteria for the list I’m a little worried that anyone making restaurant recommendations would pick any Thai restaurant over On’s Kitchen or Bangkok Thai Deli (regardless of where they live).