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Twin Cities Dining Experts’ Favorite Meals of 2022

Ube pancakes, omakase, and tortas

Rainbow rice and sakoo, a type of tapioca dumpling, on plates, with sauce and a lime wedge.
Rainbow rice and sakoo from Khâluna.
Caroline Yang for Eater

It’s an Eater tradition to round out the year with a survey of local food experts — editors, writers, reporters, and a select few others — on the highs, lows, and surprises of the past 365 days in dining. Today, our panel looks at our favorite restaurant meals of 2022. Have thoughts to share? Feel free to add them in the comments.

Stephanie March, food and dining editor of Mpls.St.Paul Magazine

A meal at Myriel is just the right amount of refinement, humility, simple elegance, and hospitality. It’s not about a specific dish, it’s about the whole evening unfurling around you.

Mecca Bos, food writer, chef, and Hidden BIPOC Foodways founder

Everything at Khâluna, from the food to the room to the hospitality is as close to a perfect restaurant experience as I’ve had in Minnesota, hands down.

Em Cassel, editor and co-owner of Racket

It’s a tie! Emerald Lounge on West Seventh has become my go-to special-occasion spot, and I was so so so charmed by it the very first time we visited. But I also had an unforgettable dinner thanks to Petite León, where we splurged on waaaay too much food and left feeling absolutely stuffed and satisfied. (Don’t worry: Though stuffed, we got the tarta de queso to go.)

Natalia Mendez, Eater Twin Cities contributor

Petite Leon’s Friends with Benefits, no doubt. Chef Cleophus Hethington from Atlanta brought mouthwatering cuisine from across the African diaspora. South American and Afro-Caribbean flavors danced across our palates with a perfect wine pairing. I’m still haunted by the tamal course featuring beautiful brick of masa paired with shaved fennel and impossibly smooth beans.

Trish Gavin, bar maven and Eat Street Crossing beverage director

Definitely the ube pancakes at Kalsada.

James Norton, editor and co-founder of Heavy Table newsletter

I have two answers for that. The easy answer is a full-on omakase dinner with spirits pairing at Kado no Mise, that I enjoyed along with Mike Norton of Baja Ontario. It was a non-stop onslaught of top-notch fish (and A5 Wagyu, and other delicacies) prepared with a ton of care and skill. Almost too much food / flavor / entertainment, but not quite.

The second is a little more obscure: It was a dinner at a spot in Bloomington called Dosa South Indian Grill, enjoyed as part of Heavy Table’s Lyndale Avenue Checklist. Just a killer mutton dosa, really delightful papadi chat, and surprisingly delicious dal makhani (a curry of lentils and beans.) When I lived in Cambridge, Mass., there was an Indian restaurant called Punjabi Dhaba that was really popular with the comp-sci and engineering folks from MIT, and Dosa South Indian is the closest I’ve come to that sort of gritty, full-flavor, no frills excellence around here.

Ali Elabaddy, Eater Twin Cities contributor

Tortas from La Familia Tapatia, because it was the best way for me to finally reconnect with friends this year as we ate and caught up with each other at local parks.

Alex Lodner, Eater Twin Cities contributor

Can I have two? We dined on the patio of All Saints this summer and every bite was amazing. Butcher’s Tale just launched a brunch service and it is impeccable. And those cocktails...

Justine Jones, editor of Eater Twin Cities

I got to share a meal of venison tartare, blue corn mush, and elk sandwich with my family at Owamni this summer, and will probably spend the rest of my life thinking about it. No matter who you are, I think, eating at Owamni is an intense practice in subjectivity, a hard look at where and who you come from. The iced sumac tea was incredible, too.