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Twin Cities Food Writers’ Favorite Dining Neighborhoods of 2023

The enclaves and avenues where local food experts loved to eat this year

A photo from inside a darkened restaurant interior through wide double doors that open onto a sunny patio in a brick alleyway.
A year of dining in the North Loop (here, at Porzana).
The Restaurant Project

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 the neighborhoods we were most excited to dine in in 2023. Have thoughts to share? Feel free to add them in the comments.

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

North Loop, it’s all North Loop right now. But I WANT it to be the greater downtown, so let’s get on that.

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

My own. We live in Prospect Park so our choices are limited. Hey — anybody! Open up something super exciting in our ‘hood. We will single handedly keep you afloat!

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

I’m going to say Lyndale Avenue writ large for this one. Yes, Heavy Table has been systematically eating at every spot on Lyndale as part of its current Checklist series, but there has been a terrific amount of change (and improvement) on Lyndale, with spots like Kung Fu Hotpot and Baba’s Hummus House and Bebe Zito offering some of the tastiest foods in the metro. It’s also a street with real nightlife (think about the newly opened and surprisingly good Fool Me Once, or the super-creative THC-driven Hi Flora). It’s a joy to see places serving food until 10 or 11 or later, and keeping people out and about and in the streets in a way that makes the city feel alive.

Natalia Mendez, freelance writer and Eater Twin Cities contributor

I moved closer to Eat Street, and some of my favorite spots (Pho Tau Bay, Lu’s, Little T’s, Yeah Yeah, and more...) are in the area. It’s been fun exploring some of my old haunts and discovering new favorites.

Alex Lodner, freelance writer and Eater Twin Cities contributor

I love exploring outside of the Twin Cities. We are surrounded by great little food towns like Stillwater, Waconia or Lanesboro. Go out and find your favorite meal outside of your usual commute.

Stacy Brooks, freelance writer and Eater Twin Cities contributor

The North Loop is my go-to due to its walkability and the wide range of dining and drinking options — some of my favorite spots are Backstory Coffee, Edwards Dessert Kitchen, Spoon and Stable, Tullibee, Fulton Brewing, and Number 12 Cider.

Justine Jones, editor of Eater Twin Cities

Kudos to all of St. Paul for doing low-key fancy neighborhood restaurants like no other. Herbst, Myriel, Hyacinth, Estelle, Joan’s in the Park, Gus Gus, Ngon Bistro (RIP) — they’re atomized across the entire city, tucked away on unsuspecting street corners. Each one is like a little bright sun for its respective neighborhood.