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9 Bone-Sticking Eastern European Dishes to Try Right Now

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These long, cold Minnesota winters are the perfect time to take a tour of the Twin Cities's best Eastern European dishes. From vodka shots to dumplings, to succulent meats and endless potatoes, Eastern European menus offer lots of tasty options to stave off winter's chill, not to mention making it easy to store fat for the icy months ahead. Without further ado, we present 9 Eastern European dishes in the Twin Cities that are stick-to-your-bones good.

Did we miss your favorite Eastern European bone-sticker? Let us know in the comments.


Theresa Swaney

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Crossroads Deli

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No list of Eastern European dishes would be complete without at least one entry for borscht. The problem is that borscht is like Miley Cyrus, everyone’s got an opinion. While Crossroads Delicatessen’s borscht may not be to your particular liking, it is a perfect starting point for the uninitiated. Eaters beware though, this borscht is of the beet-less variety and is instead heavy on tender meat, crisp cabbage, and sweet and sour broth. Beet lovers should head to any one of the Twin Cities’s Russian restaurants for their cravings.

Mort's Delicatessen

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Continuing the culinary traditions of Jewish Lithuanians, Mort’s Delicatessen serves up a plethora of hard to find Eastern European dishes as well as new American favorites. First things first: order Mort’s one pound potato knish (think potato empanada topped with sour cream and chives). Second, fill what’s left of your stomach with a half order Mort’s reuben, a corned beef sandwich topped with sauerkraut, horseradish, cheddar, and russian dressing.

St. Petersburg Restaurant

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You might be surprised to learn that you can party like a Russian jetsetter without even leaving the Twin Cities metro. St. Petersburg Restaurant and Vodka Bar, an upscale Russian eatery in Robbinsdale, offers chandeliers galore, Russian music, and dancers on the weekend, along with high-end vodkas and entrees. Shell out for an authentic Chicken Kiev, and keep the party going all night long by trying their house-made coffee-infused vodka.

Hammer & Sickle

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Ever wonder why vodka is the drink of choice in Russia? Try a vodka shot from the new Hammer & Sickle restaurant in Uptown this winter and you will have your answer: it gives you that warm tingly feeling that cold-climate dwellers need. Between vodka shots, get an order of vareniki, or potatoes dumplings. Hammer & Sickle has six different traditional and contemporary varieties, like vareniki stuffed with potatoes, chorizo, and jalapeños.

Rye Delicatessen

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If you are in the mood for a traditional Old-world pastry, head over to Rye Delicatessen and order a dozen rugelach. This small croissant-meets-nut roll pastry gets its name from Yiddish and has a long history stemming back to Jewish Eastern Europeans. Rye Delicatessen fills theirs with dried apricots, currants, and walnuts and at $10 for a dozen they are an excellent investment for the holidays or a quick snack.

Nye's Polonaise

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You can’t talk about Eastern European dishes in the Twin Cities without mentioning Nye’s Polonaise Room. Hipster decor and attitude aside, Nye’s serves up some genuine old-world fare, the kind your grandparents used to eat. You won’t be disappointed ordering their pierogi and polish sausage plate, which comes with a potato and prune pierogi (Polish dumpling), a juicy Polish sausage, and side of sauerkraut.

Kramarczuk's East European Deli

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Everyone knows Kramarzcuk’s has a wide selection of delicious sausages at their deli counter, but have you ever visited their restaurant? This cafeteria style eatery will have you longing for the Soviet Union as you indulge in Ukraine and Polish favorites. You can’t really go wrong, but their Ukrainian meatball dish is definitely worth a try. The all beef meatball is topped with creamy tomato sauce and laid over a bed of egg noodles to keep your stomach full and toes warm.

Russian Tea House

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The Russian Tea House isn’t open very often, only Fridays and Saturdays from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm, but when it is open, it is worth the visit to this cozy house on University Ave in Saint Paul for a plate of beef stroganoff over potato vareniki or dumplings. For only $5, this simple but filling dish gives you is exactly what you need during winter: a hearty meal.

Moscow on the Hill

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Along Selby Ave in Saint Paul sits Moscow on the Hill, a contemporary casual restaurant with dim lighting and over 60 different vodka options. While you should definitely have a shot of their house-made horseradish vodka, Moscow on the Hill’s Babushka Stew is really where it is at: Duroc pork shoulder stewed in a clay pot with vegetables and your choice of mashed potatoes or buckwheat pilaf. If vodka and stew don’t fill you up, nothing will.

Crossroads Deli

No list of Eastern European dishes would be complete without at least one entry for borscht. The problem is that borscht is like Miley Cyrus, everyone’s got an opinion. While Crossroads Delicatessen’s borscht may not be to your particular liking, it is a perfect starting point for the uninitiated. Eaters beware though, this borscht is of the beet-less variety and is instead heavy on tender meat, crisp cabbage, and sweet and sour broth. Beet lovers should head to any one of the Twin Cities’s Russian restaurants for their cravings.

Mort's Delicatessen

Continuing the culinary traditions of Jewish Lithuanians, Mort’s Delicatessen serves up a plethora of hard to find Eastern European dishes as well as new American favorites. First things first: order Mort’s one pound potato knish (think potato empanada topped with sour cream and chives). Second, fill what’s left of your stomach with a half order Mort’s reuben, a corned beef sandwich topped with sauerkraut, horseradish, cheddar, and russian dressing.

St. Petersburg Restaurant

You might be surprised to learn that you can party like a Russian jetsetter without even leaving the Twin Cities metro. St. Petersburg Restaurant and Vodka Bar, an upscale Russian eatery in Robbinsdale, offers chandeliers galore, Russian music, and dancers on the weekend, along with high-end vodkas and entrees. Shell out for an authentic Chicken Kiev, and keep the party going all night long by trying their house-made coffee-infused vodka.

Hammer & Sickle

Ever wonder why vodka is the drink of choice in Russia? Try a vodka shot from the new Hammer & Sickle restaurant in Uptown this winter and you will have your answer: it gives you that warm tingly feeling that cold-climate dwellers need. Between vodka shots, get an order of vareniki, or potatoes dumplings. Hammer & Sickle has six different traditional and contemporary varieties, like vareniki stuffed with potatoes, chorizo, and jalapeños.

Rye Delicatessen

If you are in the mood for a traditional Old-world pastry, head over to Rye Delicatessen and order a dozen rugelach. This small croissant-meets-nut roll pastry gets its name from Yiddish and has a long history stemming back to Jewish Eastern Europeans. Rye Delicatessen fills theirs with dried apricots, currants, and walnuts and at $10 for a dozen they are an excellent investment for the holidays or a quick snack.

Nye's Polonaise

You can’t talk about Eastern European dishes in the Twin Cities without mentioning Nye’s Polonaise Room. Hipster decor and attitude aside, Nye’s serves up some genuine old-world fare, the kind your grandparents used to eat. You won’t be disappointed ordering their pierogi and polish sausage plate, which comes with a potato and prune pierogi (Polish dumpling), a juicy Polish sausage, and side of sauerkraut.

Kramarczuk's East European Deli

Everyone knows Kramarzcuk’s has a wide selection of delicious sausages at their deli counter, but have you ever visited their restaurant? This cafeteria style eatery will have you longing for the Soviet Union as you indulge in Ukraine and Polish favorites. You can’t really go wrong, but their Ukrainian meatball dish is definitely worth a try. The all beef meatball is topped with creamy tomato sauce and laid over a bed of egg noodles to keep your stomach full and toes warm.

Russian Tea House

The Russian Tea House isn’t open very often, only Fridays and Saturdays from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm, but when it is open, it is worth the visit to this cozy house on University Ave in Saint Paul for a plate of beef stroganoff over potato vareniki or dumplings. For only $5, this simple but filling dish gives you is exactly what you need during winter: a hearty meal.

Moscow on the Hill

Along Selby Ave in Saint Paul sits Moscow on the Hill, a contemporary casual restaurant with dim lighting and over 60 different vodka options. While you should definitely have a shot of their house-made horseradish vodka, Moscow on the Hill’s Babushka Stew is really where it is at: Duroc pork shoulder stewed in a clay pot with vegetables and your choice of mashed potatoes or buckwheat pilaf. If vodka and stew don’t fill you up, nothing will.

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