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Who Were the Best Newcomers in 2017?

Experts dish on which new restaurants blew them away

The bar at Hai Hai in Northeast
Kevin Kramer / Eater Twin Cities

Every year Eater reaches out to friends who cover the food scene and ask what their best —and worst — meals of the past year have been. Today food critics, bloggers, and seriously culinary fans are weighing in on which restaurants they found themselves returning to time and again. Today we ask, which new restaurants delivered above and beyond exceptional dining?

Jason DeRusha,WCCO and Minnesota Monthly

Bellecour, Kado no Mise, Grand Café, Bardo, with strong late debuts from Martina and Hai Hai.

Stephanie A. Meyer, culinary coach, blogger

The Grand Cafe, Bellecour, Octo, Bar Brigade, Bardo, The Lexington, Martina. The #L2 ladies had spectacular meals at Grand Cafe and Bellecour in particular, given the complexity, beauty, service, and wine experience.

Mecca Bos,

The Lexington lives up to its legacy, even if all you do is sit on that fireplace mantel with a glass of wine in your hand as the jazz trio plays and plays. Come to think of it, it's exactly the way I want to spend every Saturday night, forever. On the other end of the spectrum, Bull's Horn is the neighborhood bar everyone wishes they had, so they travel to another neighborhood to have it.

Two large teal chairs sit in a lounge, before a fireplace Katie Cannon / Eater Twin Cities

Amelia Rayno, Star Tribune

Martina, Hai Hai, Grand Cafe, Octo Fishbar, Kado No Mise/ Kaiseki Furukawa, Bar Brigade

Nancy Ngo, Pioneer Press

The Lexington. OCTO Fishbar. Grand Cafe’s reincarnation. Kado no Mise. JUN.

Jess Fleming, Pioneer Press

I gotta be St. Paul -- The Lexington. Also loving Octo Fishbar.

A chef behind a raw bar
Shucking at the raw bar at Octo Fishbar
TJ Turner

Amelia Rayno, Star Tribune

Martina, Hai Hai, Grand Cafe, Octo Fishbar, Kado No Mise/ Kaiseki Furukawa, Bar Brigade

Joy Summers, Eater Twin Cities

Grand Cafe, Bellecour, Hai Hai, Martina, Bardo and Bar Brigade. Also, I have to say I love the neighborhood vibe at NOLO’s Kitchen for cozy comfort eating and warm hospitality. Also, a great pro-tip is that Pajarito has a fantastic lunch and strong wifi. It’s my secret spot for a working lunch. (And killer cocktails for when the work is done.)

Daniel del Prado inside Martina
Kevin Kramer / Eater Twin Cities

The Lexington

1096 Grand Avenue, , MN 55105 (651) 289-4990 Visit Website

Bar Brigade

470 Cleveland Avenue South, , MN 55105 Visit Website

Octo fishbar

289 5th Street East, , MN 55101 (651) 202-3409 Visit Website


739 Lake Street East, , MN 55391 (952) 444-5200 Visit Website

NOLO's Kitchen

515 Washington Avenue N., Minneapolis, MN Visit Website

Hai Hai

2121 University Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418 Visit Website

Grand Cafe

3804 Grand Avenue South, , MN 55409 (612) 822-8260 Visit Website


4312 Upton Avenue South, , MN 55410 (612) 922-9913 Visit Website


730 North Washington Avenue, , MN 55401 (612) 208-0706 Visit Website

Kado no Mise

33 North 1st Avenue, , MN 55401 (612) 338-1515 Visit Website