Twin Cities Restaurant Guide
last updated January 2018
We’re recent transplants to the twin cities (summer 2014) but have fallen in love with the area and food scene overnight. Here’s where we frequent. It’s a short list but an ongoing collection. A little bit about our tastes: we’re classic (maybe basic?), far from fancy eaters who care a whole lot about quality. We like to wear jeans and go to dinner without a reservation. We find ourselves at bakeries and coffee shops most often. I’m not sure if that’s to do with having a toddler or loving coffee and pastries. Only 24 hours in Minneapolis? Here’s where I’d go.
Venezuelan stuffed arepas, yucca fries, and house made cocktails. So much flavor packed into everything. My favorite restaurant in the Twin Cities. Here’s what I order: El Diablo (cocktail), Shredded Beef and Plantain arepa, yucca fries with chimichurri sauce.
Pizza! So far, this is my favorite pizza shop in Minne. The outdoor patio is classy yet casual in the summer. Here’s what I order: The Bahn Mi pizza, but even the plain cheese is excellent with a glass of the $5 sparkling white wine.
More pizza! It’s a toss up (get it) between Lola, Young Joni, and Red Wagon for me. They both make killer pizzas. Here’s what I order: Cauliflower appetizer, The Iowan, and and Old Reliable.
Young Joni is owned by the same brilliance as Pizzeria Lola. Expect a wait. It’s a city favorite. If you get the chance, sit at the bar near a wood-fired oven to watch the fire roar and the food cook. It’s amazing. Here’s what I order: The Cauliflower, Bibimbap Grain, and any of the pizzas
House made pasta. No wonder there’s always a decent wait. Here’s what I order: seasonal house salad, penne rosa al rosmarino, and tiramisu with house made mascarpone.
Fine southern dining. Don’t miss their St Paul location! Here’s what I order: 2 piece all white chicken, mac + cheese or white cheddar grits, collard greens, and biscuits + sorghum butter.
Swanky Italian food. You might want to claim a reservation first. Here’s what I order: cauliflower gnocchi.
Fine Midwest fare made with French techniques. Reservations can be hard to come by, but I recommend skipping those and eating at the bar. You can order from both the restaurant and bar menu here. I prefer the bar menu as it’s not quite as fancy. Whatever you do, don’t skip the house made cocktails. The menu is always changing.
Local, seasonal ingredients with a Scandinavian composition. We finally caught a reservation here and it was magnificent! It’s right across the street from Spoon and Stable. During the day, I frequent their cafe. We took guidance on what to order from our server. She too was excellent. Save up, and go for all the courses.
Good real food is their motto. And that it is. Birchwood cares as much about flavors as they do the ethics of food. Go for dinner, breakfast, or lunch.It’s super vegetarian friendly. Here’s what I order: the menu is always changing based on the season. If an ingredient sounds iffy, order it anyways. You can’t go wrong here.
Diner food done right. It’s classy food with just enough grease to qualify as diner food. The restaurant is an original 1957 Fodero Diner shipped from Gibsonia, PA and restored to its original beauty. If you take a picture while there, it’ll blur the decade lines. It’s open all day and into the night. Go for every meal and cocktails too. Here’s what I order: A Fjord Fiesta to start (cocktail made with Aquavit), pancakes or the biddy board for breakfast and chicken pot pie for dinner. Kev goes for a Hi-Top, usually the Gary Co’oper.
The Lynhall is as beautiful as it is delicious. Go for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and/or for coffee and a treat. Beyond serving thoughtful, fresh food, this place is a community builder in the Twin Cities. Don’t miss their ongoing classes and events. Side note: I wrote the end of my book here!
A celebration of salads—this little spot is my new favorite place for lunch. The salads a hearty and could almost be split they’re so large. They have two spots in the skyway + a food truck. Plan to stand in line. It’s worth the wait. Here’s what I order: The Cowboy Salad.
Local, sustainable, really good food. This spot reminds me of Birchwood—quality ingredients with ethical sourcing practices. It’s super vegetarian friendly too. Here’s what I order: a vegetarian falafel. On the list for next time—the wild rice veggie burger.
This is my new favorite coffee shop. It’s modern but warm. If you stay, they’ll serve your coffee in a beautiful, hand thrown ceramic mug. Don’t just go for coffee, their menu and bakery case is so good. Try the biscuit!
Their house cup of coffee is perfection to me. It’s a light roast but not lacking in flavor. It’s bright but not too hoppy (like an IPA). I upped my coffee budget for their beans. Here’s what I order: a cup of house coffee and a scone.
This cafe, restaurant, and urban inn is one of our favorite spots. We’ve been to all three. If you’ve ever heard the hum of hospitality, you’ll hear it here too. Here’s what I order: Coffee and a croissant (maybe my favorite in town).
Artful, swanky coffee house. I take a number from their interior designer with every new location they open. Here’s what I order: a latte with house made almond syrup and a pastry.
Bogarts is perfect—down to the simple homemade donut menu, subway tiled wall, and red sign. You’ll find us picking up donuts here most Saturday mornings. They’re not too sweet or fried tasting. Here’s what I order: you have to try them all, the menu is so small. But don’t miss an order of holes!
This is what bagels should taste like. If their bagels weren’t already the star, their homemade cream cheese spreads might steal the show. Here’s what I order: plain bagel with a shmear of lemon blueberry cream cheese.
Rustica is home to the best pastries and cookies in the twin cities. Their bittersweet chocolate cookies made me move here (they ship these anywhere!). Here’s what I order: a bittersweet cookie or a croissant.
This is a tiny bakery/cafe in our neighborhood. Everything is made from scratch, down to the bread. Here’s what I order: a seasonal brioche roll to-go for breakfast or the roasted veggie sandwich and house salad for lunch.
My first google search after moving to the area: Best Biscuits in the Twin Cities. That landed me here. Here’s what I order: a biscuit with house made jam.
Though they serve dinner, lunch, and weekend brunch, it’s the cupcakes we find ourselves going back for. The cake is perfectly sweet and moist with a tight crumb. I break my cupcake in half to top the frosting. Here’s what I order: a vanilla or champagne cupcake.
The newest ice cream shop to hit the area. It’s gourmet but recognizable. Here’s what I order: a scoop of Black (it’s vegan and divine).
One of the finest bakeries in the Twin Cities. They’ve recently opened up a beautiful space in Lowertown, serving breakfast and lunch. Here’s what I order: a pastry. Always a pastry.
It’s a hopping spot for breakfast or brunch but worth any wait. Here’s what I order: a rosemary biscuit with house made jam.
Modern flare with old school Italian recipes. The pizza is excellent (the fry their dough) but it’s the fresh pasta and house-made tiramisu that we’ll be going back for. Get there early or plan to wait a bit. It’s worth it.
Classy Mexican food, killer cocktails, and delicious chips and salsa. My friend recommends that you order family style. I’d have to agree. Here’s what I order: chips and salsa, elote style brussels, and the barbacoa tacos with a seasonal marg.
Delicious street food served in a restaurant, I love this casual spot. My 4-year-old loves it too! Here’s what I order: falafel, pita, hummus, cauliflower steaks.