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Experts Dish on the Twin Cities Restaurant Standbys of 2018

Which restaurants were we visiting on the regular

Which restaurants the experts return to time and time again
Katie Cannon/Eater Twin Cities

It’s that time of year when we look back at the year that was. 2018 was a wild ride with exciting openings and shocking closings. Every year Eater reaches out to friends who regularly covering all the food and fun in the Twin Cities and ask what their best —and worst — meals of the past year have been. Today those reporters and food fans are weighing in on which restaurants they found themselves returning to time and again. Here’s what they said when we asked, what were your restaurant standbys?

Colleen Lindstrom, myTalk 107.1 host the Colleen & Bradley Show

Bulls Horn and Carbone’s on Cedar in Minneapolis. For date night: Spoon and Stable for Girls Night Out: the Parlour burger at Parlour Bar is a 100% yes every time.

Elizabeth Ries, co-host Twin Cities Live

Revival and Blue Door Pub

Mike Marcotte, Give Me the Mike and KSTP’s Guy About Town

Bachelor Farmer is always a go-to for me, whether it’s for date night, with a group, or for a private party. The Afghan Room upstairs is an Instagrammers paradise if you can get up there for an event.

I spent multiple nights at Burch Steak. For my latest trip, I brought out-of-towners, who happen to be cattle farmers. They know beef. They said their steaks were the best cuts of meat they have ever tasted. That’s saying something.

Saint Dinette is a delightful standby if I’m on the east side of the Mississippi. I love all the natural light.

Laurel Elm sets the table inside Saint Dinette
Joy Summers/Eater Twin Cities

Bradley Traynor, myTalk 107.1 host the Colleen & Bradley Show, restaurant critic Lavender Magazine

Oof. Where to start/stop? Revival. Pimento Jamaican Kitchen. Mandarin Kitchen.

Stephanie Hansen, co-host Weekly Dish

I still eat at Red Cow once a week. My husband loves it, and their burger is fantastic.

Joan’s in the Park is doing a Prix Fix menu, and they keep getting better.

I have had some great experiences at Bardo in Minneapolis, and Grand Café with Jaimie Malone is a heavenly date night or girl’s night out.

I really lament that I don’t get to Rainbow Chinese more often as I think Tammy Wong is a wonderful chef.

Sharyn Jackson, reporter Star Tribune’s Taste section

Anywhere I could walk to with a new baby strapped to me during maternity leave. For me, that was La Mesa and Milda’s. The burger at the former and the pancakes at the latter were probably my most consumed restaurant meals this year.

Nancy Ngo, Pioneer Press Restaurant Reporter

Salty Tart Bakery, iPho, Ha Tien deli, Mi Casa Su Casa, Meritage, Commodore, Joan’s In the Park, Nightingale, and Pho Tau Bay

Jason DeRusha, WCCO host DeRusha Eats

I’m eating out so often at so many different spots, I’m not sure I have a top standby. I’m a quasi-regular at the bar at Dalton & Wade, the best whiskey selection in town.

Water fern cakes at Hai Hai
Joy Summers/Eater Twin Cities

Joy Summers, Editor Eater Twin Cities

I cannot stop going to In Bloom for lunch. The venison mortadella sandwich is the stuff decadent dreams are made of. Los Ocampo with my kids. Martina for everything and especially meeting friends for drinks - ditto Hai Hai. Dishes at Hai Hai are things I crave and I can afford to eat there on the regular. Always order the water fern cakes, banana blossom salad and Hanoi sticky rice. Oh and Mucci’s for perfect pasta and outstanding hospitality.

Burch Steak

1933 Colfax Avenue South, , MN 55403 (612) 843-1500 Visit Website

Rainbow Chinese

2739 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408 612-870-7084 Visit Website

Salty Tart

289 5th Street East, , MN 55101 (612) 874-9206 Visit Website

In Bloom at Keg & Case Market

928 7th Street West, , MN 55102 (651) 237-9630 Visit Website

Bull's Horn Food and Drink

4563 South 34th Avenue, , MN 55406 (612) 208-1378 Visit Website

Pimento Jamaican Kitchen

902 7th Street West, , MN 55102 (651) 808-1628 Visit Website


500 J Street, , CA 95814 (916) 545-7111 Visit Website

Bull's Horn

4563 S 34th Ave, Minneapolis, MN Visit Website

The Bachelor Farmer

50 North 2nd Avenue, , MN 55401 (612) 206-3920 Visit Website


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

Saint Dinette

261 5th Street East, , MN 55101 (651) 800-1415 Visit Website