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14 Must-Try Global Eats Along University Avenue

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University Avenue is filled with small, family-run restaurants working hard to expand your culinary horizons and, more importantly, fill your stomach. And with the newly-opened Green Line light rail, it's easier than ever to travel the St. Paul stretch of University, stopping for lots of global eats along the way.

That's where this map comes in, telling you not only the best global spots to eat on University Avenue, but also giving some specific suggestions of what to order at each. From Southeast Asian to Ethiopian to Russian and more, here are 14 must-try global restaurants on University Avenue, spanning Minneapolis and St. Paul.

There's lots more to eat on University Ave., we know, we know. Why not tell us your must-try dish/go-to spot in the comments?

Theresa Swaney


· The 13 Must-Try Global Dishes on Lake Street [Eater MPLS]
· All Eater Maps [Eater MPLS]

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Emily's Lebanese Deli

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A family-run restaurant on the Minneapolis side of University Ave., Emily’s Lebanese Deli is known for its home cooked Lebanese dishes. Enjoy cabbage rolls, liberally spiced lamb shish kabob, and baklava in a casual environment that feels more like your grandma’s dining room than one of Northeast’s favorite global eateries.

New Bohemia Wurst + BierHaus

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Visit New Bohemia to enjoy the pleasures of a communal dining hall that is authentically Central European. That is say, order your favorite wurst and bier from the register, and then enjoy jostling elbow to elbow for a seat at one of New Bohemia’s long wooden tables. Don’t forget to grab a bottle of specialty mustard on the way.

Green Spoon

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A contemporary Korean-American fusion eatery just on the eastern outskirts of the University of Minnesota, Green Spoon serves salads, ramen, sandwiches, wraps, burgers, and entrees to hungry students and Korean food lovers. Try everything from a whole Korean fried chicken to the absolutely essential kimchi & cheese fries as you sip down Asahi, a Japanese beer, for lunch or dinner.

Caspian Bistro

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Caspian Bistro and Marketplace is easy to miss, despite the fact that it's been in business for 30 years and is one of the few Persian restaurants in the Twin Cities. Visit Caspian Bistro to enjoy tasty piles of meat with fluffy rice and sautéed vegetables, like their Chelou Kabab Chengeh that comes with two skewers of cubed and charbroiled filet mignon, basmati rice, and a grilled tomato.

Russian Tea House

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The only thing that outshines Russian Tea House's hospitality is their Russian food, including dumplings and pastries at prices to die for. Only open on Fridays and Saturdays from 11am to 3pm, Russian Tea House has been a staple of University Avenue’s Midway region for more than 30 years. Order downstairs and head upstairs for an intimate lunch of piroshki (Russian meat filled bread dumplings), borscht, and tea cakes.

On's Thai Kitchen

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A newcomer to the University Ave. scene, On's Thai Kitchen has only been around a few years, but has quickly made a name of itself as a modern eatery with well executed dishes. With 105 items on the menu, On’s Thai Kitchen is also not joking around when it comes to giving eaters options. Give yourself some time to peruse the menu and try something new like Kaou Jub (rice noodles in dark broth topped with fried bacon, tofu, and hard boiled eggs).

Fasika Ethiopian Restaurant

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At the intersection of University Ave. and Snelling Ave., in what is quickly becoming known as Little Africa, sits Fasika, a small but vibrant Ethiopian restaurant. Fasika’s menu is filled with plethora of meaty stews most of which are heavily spiced with peppers, garlic, onion, cumin, and ginger and easily consumed with spongy injera bread. Fasika is also one of the best bets for vegetarian fare along University Ave.

Homi Mexican Restaurant

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University Ave. isn’t known for its Mexican eateries, so Homi Restaurant provides both diversity and delicious yet simple Mexican favorites that are made from scratch by owners Hortencia Reyes and Miguel Lopez. The restaurant is small, so take a seat, order your favorite dish (they are all good), and enjoy the Spanish language television that reports the news from afar.

Ngon Vietnamese Bistro

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A truly contemporary restaurant, Ngon Bistro mixes French and Vietnamese cuisine with local, sustainable ingredients for a unique and upscale fusion dining experience. While the crispy rabbit dumpling appetizer is a must, from there it is just as easy to enjoy their traditional Vietnamese pho as their steak au poivre. With a patio, late night specials, and live jazz bands, Ngon Bistro is a University Avenue treasure.

Trung Nam French Bakery

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It’s really simple: when you are looking for beautifully cooked croissants with a light, fluffy, buttery crust, and filled with ingredients like blueberry, apricot, and chocolate, go to Trung Nam Bakery. Housed in a former Popeye’s, this French-Vietnamese bakery has limited hours (8am-1pm) but is well worth the effort.

iPho by Saigon

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At iPho by Saigon, you can slurp the authentic flavors of Vietnamese pho or savor the rich pâté on a bahi mi sandwich, all served with the restaurant's super-friendly, super-fast service (and sweet potato fries).

Trieu Chau

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It is hard to talk about the best global eats on University Avenue without talking about Trieu Chau. A small but long-standing Vietnamese restaurant, Trieu Chau’s kitchen is constantly pumping out bowl after bowl of piping hot pho, tightly rolled spring rolls, and crispy egg rolls to hungry eaters. Don’t miss your chance to talk to owner Minh Nguyen, who is almost always behind the register, and always ready to chat.

Little Szechuan

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The St. Paul location of acclaimed mini-chain Little Szechuan has just reopened with a new concept: an all hot pot restaurant. What is hot pot? You get a hot pot of broth (spicy or non-spicy) and your choice of over 100 items (including Szechuan crispy pork, tofu, enoki mushrooms, and at least 97 more), which you cook in the broth at your table for a fully interactive dining experience.

Bangkok Thai Deli & Supermarket

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Want to try authentically made Thai dishes that go beyond pad Thai and green curry? Step into Bangkok Thai Deli and point to anything on the menu. While there is nothing special about their location in a former Burger King, the variety of options, including deep fried fish, soups, and stir-fries, will keep you traveling to the far eastern reaches of University Ave for some time to come.

Emily's Lebanese Deli

A family-run restaurant on the Minneapolis side of University Ave., Emily’s Lebanese Deli is known for its home cooked Lebanese dishes. Enjoy cabbage rolls, liberally spiced lamb shish kabob, and baklava in a casual environment that feels more like your grandma’s dining room than one of Northeast’s favorite global eateries.

New Bohemia Wurst + BierHaus

Visit New Bohemia to enjoy the pleasures of a communal dining hall that is authentically Central European. That is say, order your favorite wurst and bier from the register, and then enjoy jostling elbow to elbow for a seat at one of New Bohemia’s long wooden tables. Don’t forget to grab a bottle of specialty mustard on the way.

Green Spoon

A contemporary Korean-American fusion eatery just on the eastern outskirts of the University of Minnesota, Green Spoon serves salads, ramen, sandwiches, wraps, burgers, and entrees to hungry students and Korean food lovers. Try everything from a whole Korean fried chicken to the absolutely essential kimchi & cheese fries as you sip down Asahi, a Japanese beer, for lunch or dinner.

Caspian Bistro

Caspian Bistro and Marketplace is easy to miss, despite the fact that it's been in business for 30 years and is one of the few Persian restaurants in the Twin Cities. Visit Caspian Bistro to enjoy tasty piles of meat with fluffy rice and sautéed vegetables, like their Chelou Kabab Chengeh that comes with two skewers of cubed and charbroiled filet mignon, basmati rice, and a grilled tomato.

Russian Tea House

The only thing that outshines Russian Tea House's hospitality is their Russian food, including dumplings and pastries at prices to die for. Only open on Fridays and Saturdays from 11am to 3pm, Russian Tea House has been a staple of University Avenue’s Midway region for more than 30 years. Order downstairs and head upstairs for an intimate lunch of piroshki (Russian meat filled bread dumplings), borscht, and tea cakes.

On's Thai Kitchen

A newcomer to the University Ave. scene, On's Thai Kitchen has only been around a few years, but has quickly made a name of itself as a modern eatery with well executed dishes. With 105 items on the menu, On’s Thai Kitchen is also not joking around when it comes to giving eaters options. Give yourself some time to peruse the menu and try something new like Kaou Jub (rice noodles in dark broth topped with fried bacon, tofu, and hard boiled eggs).

Fasika Ethiopian Restaurant

At the intersection of University Ave. and Snelling Ave., in what is quickly becoming known as Little Africa, sits Fasika, a small but vibrant Ethiopian restaurant. Fasika’s menu is filled with plethora of meaty stews most of which are heavily spiced with peppers, garlic, onion, cumin, and ginger and easily consumed with spongy injera bread. Fasika is also one of the best bets for vegetarian fare along University Ave.

Homi Mexican Restaurant

University Ave. isn’t known for its Mexican eateries, so Homi Restaurant provides both diversity and delicious yet simple Mexican favorites that are made from scratch by owners Hortencia Reyes and Miguel Lopez. The restaurant is small, so take a seat, order your favorite dish (they are all good), and enjoy the Spanish language television that reports the news from afar.

Ngon Vietnamese Bistro

A truly contemporary restaurant, Ngon Bistro mixes French and Vietnamese cuisine with local, sustainable ingredients for a unique and upscale fusion dining experience. While the crispy rabbit dumpling appetizer is a must, from there it is just as easy to enjoy their traditional Vietnamese pho as their steak au poivre. With a patio, late night specials, and live jazz bands, Ngon Bistro is a University Avenue treasure.

Trung Nam French Bakery

It’s really simple: when you are looking for beautifully cooked croissants with a light, fluffy, buttery crust, and filled with ingredients like blueberry, apricot, and chocolate, go to Trung Nam Bakery. Housed in a former Popeye’s, this French-Vietnamese bakery has limited hours (8am-1pm) but is well worth the effort.

iPho by Saigon

At iPho by Saigon, you can slurp the authentic flavors of Vietnamese pho or savor the rich pâté on a bahi mi sandwich, all served with the restaurant's super-friendly, super-fast service (and sweet potato fries).

Trieu Chau

It is hard to talk about the best global eats on University Avenue without talking about Trieu Chau. A small but long-standing Vietnamese restaurant, Trieu Chau’s kitchen is constantly pumping out bowl after bowl of piping hot pho, tightly rolled spring rolls, and crispy egg rolls to hungry eaters. Don’t miss your chance to talk to owner Minh Nguyen, who is almost always behind the register, and always ready to chat.

Little Szechuan

The St. Paul location of acclaimed mini-chain Little Szechuan has just reopened with a new concept: an all hot pot restaurant. What is hot pot? You get a hot pot of broth (spicy or non-spicy) and your choice of over 100 items (including Szechuan crispy pork, tofu, enoki mushrooms, and at least 97 more), which you cook in the broth at your table for a fully interactive dining experience.

Bangkok Thai Deli & Supermarket

Want to try authentically made Thai dishes that go beyond pad Thai and green curry? Step into Bangkok Thai Deli and point to anything on the menu. While there is nothing special about their location in a former Burger King, the variety of options, including deep fried fish, soups, and stir-fries, will keep you traveling to the far eastern reaches of University Ave for some time to come.

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