Twin Cities Restaurant Guide

last updated October 2017

Twin Cities Restaurant Guide | @thefauxmartha

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.

Minneapolis

Dinner

Hola Arepa

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.

Red Wagon Pizza

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.

Pizzeria Lola

More pizza! It’s a toss up (get it) between Lola and Red Wagon for me. They both make killer pizzas. So far, it’s the only two places I’d recommend for pizza in town. Here’s what I order: Cauliflower appetizer, The Iowan, and and Old Reliable.

Young Joni

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, Bibim Grain, and any of the pizzas

Broder’s Pasta Bar

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.

Revival

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.

Bar la Grassa

Swanky Italian food. You might want to claim a reservation first. Here’s what I order: cauliflower gnocchi.

Spoon and Stable

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.

The Bachelor Farmer

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.

Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

Birchwood Cafe

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.

Hi-Lo Diner

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.

Green + The Grain

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.

Common Roots Cafe

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.

Coffee

Northern Coffeeworks

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!

The Bachelor Farmer Cafe

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.

Cafe Alma

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).

Spyhouse

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.

Bakeries

Bogarts

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!

Rise Bagels

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

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.

Mon Petit Cheri

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.

Sun Street Breads

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.

The Copper Hen

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.

Ice cream

Milk Jam

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).

 

St. Paul

Bakeries

The Buttered Tin

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.

Dinner

Mucci’s Italian

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.