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Twin Cities Food Writers’ Favorite Meals of 2023

Kanom krok coconut pancakes, baked Alaska, and a final order of mushroom birria tacos

Spaghetti noodles in panang sauce in a beige bowl.
Panang spaghetti at Gai Noi.
Justine Jones

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 2023. Have thoughts to share? Feel free to add them in the comments.

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

I did just have a hangover busting egg sandwich at Porzana’s new brunch, which hello. But I will double down on that place for beautifully and perfectly cooked steak, which can be tougher to find than you think. Also that raw scallop with shiso leaf lives in my head.

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

I love anything and everything that Ann Ahmed does, and our car points in the direction of Gai Noi when I get hungry.

Em Cassel, editor and co-owner of Racket

This might be cheating because it’s two meals, but we celebrated a friend’s birthday this summer by grabbing cocktails and snacks on the patio at Khâluna followed by dinner — and one last mushroom birria taco — at Sooki & Mimi. Experiencing the two back-to-back was an amazing reminder of what an exceptional food city we live in (and it probably would have been even more memorable if we didn’t also go to Cedar Inn after).

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

We had a dear friend come to town and visit and decided to take him to Gai Noi. It turns out that before visiting, he’d spotted Gai Noi on the New York Times list of best new restaurants and had silently hoped we’d pick it, but figured we’d pick another place if another place was better. Anyhow: It was ridiculously good. Big brassy bold flavors; loud, chaotic, fun, stylish atmosphere; tasty drinks; and shockingly good dessert, namely the kanom krok coconut mini pancakes. Gai Noi brings a ton of fun, but doesn’t skip out on spicy / earthy / funky tastes and delivers a terrific meal for the money.

Natalia Mendez, freelance writer and Eater Twin Cities contributor

I had the most impressive steak frites and tarta de queso at Petite Leon. The steak was perfectly cooked and arrived with a tiny dish of red wine and chili sauce, thick-cut fries, and a rich bearnaise aioli for dipping. My dining partner and I split the basque-style cheesecake for dessert, and she and I didn’t leave a crumb of it on the plate.

Alex Lodner, freelance writer and Eater Twin Cities contributor

Made a meal out of all the snacks at Kim’s, the newest iteration from Chef Ann Kim at the former Sooki & Mimi. Hard to choose a favorite, but the grilled prawns were out of this world. We ordered extra hotteok (fluffy pancakey bread) to slurp up every last drop of that sauce. Speaking of crustaceans, the colossal shrimp cocktail and vibrant ceviche at the brand new 801 Fish is the stuff of dreams.

Stacy Brooks, freelance writer and Eater Twin Cities contributor

P.S. Steak has a fabulous seasonal three-course date night menu for two that’s available Sunday through Thursday — my husband and I tried it out in June and we still talk about it. Everything about the meal was so dialed in, from the service to the surroundings to every bite of food. Our evening ended with a flaming baked Alaska, which was really the perfect closing flourish.

Justine Jones, editor of Eater Twin Cities

I finally had the chance to visit Myriel earlier this year, and if I wasn’t a duck girl before, here I am now, declaring my allegiance to the glassy, crispy skin on chef Karyn Tomlinson’s perfect confit.