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Purple ube pancakes with toppings on a white place. In the background, a bowl of yellow arroz caldo stew, and a place with greens and fried chicken.
Ube pancakes and arroz caldo from Kalsada.
Justine Jones

15 Essential Twin Cities Brunches

Sweet ube pancakes, salmon Benedict, dim sum, and other great brunches around the Cities

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Ube pancakes and arroz caldo from Kalsada.
| Justine Jones

Fluffy ricotta short stacks, chicken fried steaks, and tender dim sum dumplings: There’s no better meal than brunch for the perpetually late, the always-hungry, and the slightly hungover. If you’re on the hunt for an Easter brunch this weekend, the Twin Cities have more than a few notable spots to explore: Try purple ube pancakes, order a classic hash, or sample pistachio cream croissants in an elegant dining hall. Here’s a trail of some of the Twin Cities’ most essential brunch spots.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Mandarin Kitchen

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Find one of the Cities’ best dim sum brunches at Mandarin Kitchen in Bloomington, tucked into a strip mall on Lyndale Avenue. On weekends, this spot is packed with families, and the line often wraps out the door. Build your brunch off the voluminous menu: Start with small dishes like pan-fried turnip cakes, and add pillowy steamed chicken buns, crispy egg custards, and steamed pork dumplings. At peak meal times, small parties of diners can expect to share tables — an arrangement that only adds to Mandarin Kitchen’s bustling, convivial atmosphere.

Heather's

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Heather’s has a great breakfast menu chock full of classics: open-faced egg sandwiches, avocado toast, and crepes. But the brunch specials can’t be missed. These change regularly, but recent highlights include pineapple upside-down pancakes — not to mention a classic croque-madame. Cap off brunch with a stroll around nearby Lake Nokomis (and grab a noodle salad from the little deli counter on the way out).

Saint Genevieve

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This intimate French bistro serves a delicate omelet du jour on its focused and elegant brunch menu. Try the wild mushroom and brie crepe or the shakshouka en cocotte with bacon and harissa. Drinks-wise, Saint Genevieve serves Vietnamese coffee, mimosas, and bloody marys. Brunch hours are Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. — make a reservation ahead of time if you can.

Victor's 1959 Cafe

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This classic south Minneapolis restaurant has been serving Cuban favorites and classics for more than 20 years. Order the Basque stew — eggs with a Creole stew of Spanish chorizo, ham, and vegetables — or the slow-cooked ropa vieja with eggs and plantains. Victor’s has a great coffee menu, too: try a cafe con leche sweetened with a house sugar paste, and pick it up at the little sliding glass window out front. Its cozy, newly renovated dining room and tropical-themed patio are now open for breakfast and lunch, Wednesday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. — Victor’s doesn’t take reservations.

Our Kitchen

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Our Kitchen flies a little under the radar — it’s a tiny restaurant on the West 36th Street thoroughfare that looks more like a country cottage than a bustling breakfast spot. But step inside for one of the best diner breakfasts you can find in Minneapolis. The pancakes are rough-hewn and studded with chocolate chips; the hash browns have a golden, crispy lid. Fair warning, you may have to wait to snag one of the bar stools.

Hola Arepa

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Hola Arepa’s fluffy masa cakes make a beautiful canvas for slow-stewed meats and beans, sauces like chimichurri and tangy aioli verde, and vegetables. A vegetarian favorite is the braised jackfruit arepa, with radish, citrus crema, and fresh oregano. Hola Arepa also serves rice bowls, small plates, sweets like mango chia seed pudding, and an intriguing cocktail menu. Patio seating is available, even in the chilly months.

A tostada in a white dish with chili verde sauce, a sunny-side-up fried egg, thin radish slices, and shavings of jalapeño.
A tostada from Hola Arepa.
Hola Arepa

The Lynhall

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The Lynhall’s brunch offerings are divided into separate breakfast and lunch menus (9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) at both its original Lyn-Lake location and its newer Edina spot. The restaurant serves smoked salmon scrambles, shakshouka, and vegetable quiches in its sunny dining hall, which has the feel of an elegant farmhouse. But the real standouts are the pastries: lavender and pistachio croissants nearly as big as loaves of bread, stuffed with rich pastry creams.

Maria's Cafe

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Maria’s serves every pancake you could dream of: Choose between chocolate chip, wild rice, plantain with cotija cheese, and more. A cozy neighborhood gathering spot on Franklin Avenue in the Phillip’s neighborhood, this restaurant specializes in both Columbian fare and American breakfast classics. The weekend specials feature arepas, black beans, sauteed yucca, and sweet plantains — or opt for a hearty plate of eggs, toast, and bacon.

Maya Cuisine & Bar

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A local favorite for tacos and chile relleno tortas, Maya Cuisine in Northeast offers a brunch buffet every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The buffet varies week to week, but expect classics like tamales, mole dishes, and pozole, plus pancakes, French toast, and desserts. (Recent specials include shrimp fajitas, buttered codfish, and sopa de mariscos.) Maya Cuisine’s buffet returned from its pandemic hiatus after an outpouring of support from customers — reservations in advance are recommended.

Keys Cafe - The original

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Keys Cafe’s original 1973 location has a storied feel to it — like it’s St. Paul’s very own Tom’s Restaurant, from Seinfeld, or Central Perk. The restaurant has expanded to nine total locations, but this Raymond Avenue spot, with its unmistakeable flamingo decal, is particularly special. The menu is stocked with American breakfast classics, from country-fried steak to egg scramblers, skillets, and hashes. Don’t miss the expertly crisped hash browns or the cushiony blueberry pancakes.

Kalsada

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Kalsada, owned by the same team behind Cafe Astoria, opened on Selby Avenue in April. It’s since emerged as one of the best Twin Cities spots for brunch. The ube pancakes are the most popular brunch dish here: They’re fluffy like a classic buttermilk shortstack, but the yam lends a sweet earthy flavor to each bite. A drizzle of sweetened condensed milk, cubes of mango and dragonfruit, and a scoop of ice cream finish it off. For something savory, the arroz caldo is the ultimate comfort breakfast — or try the crab omelet.

Hot Hands Pie & Biscuit

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It's all in the crust at Hot Hands. For brunch, choose from the savory pie selections — veggie pot pie, buffalo pot pie, or chicken pot pie (folklorically known as one of Minnesota’s best) — or sweet pies like pecan chess, sweet potato, or banana cream, which comes topped with a mascarpone that’s mounded like ski moguls. Also on the menu are biscuits, a breakfast sausage roll, and other pastries.

A hand holds a white plate with a biscuit breakfast sandwich on it, Criss crossed slices of bacon jut out from the edges, and oozy American cheese drips over the edges.
Biscuits and pie for breakfast
Rebecca Slater

Colossal Cafe

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An excellent spot for breakfast carbs, Colossal Cafe serves giant caramel rolls, crumbly biscuits, and yeast-based pancakes that rise to impressive heights. Try the simple short stack with maple syrup, or the signature topping of honey-brown sugar syrup, apples, walnuts, and slices of brie cheese. Other classics like omelets, frittatas, and breakfast sandwiches are available as well. Colossal also sells take-and-bake options that can be ordered in advance.

Handsome Hog

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Step into chef Justin Sutherland’s Handsome Hog for a smoky, southern-style weekend brunch menu. Try the rock shrimp and grits, the ham-brined chop with eggs, or the house benedict with apple butter and Cajun hollandaise. (Sutherland serves southern cooking that’s hard to find elsewhere in the Twin Cities.) Make a reservation ahead for dining inside or on the patio (weather permitting).

Hope Breakfast Bar

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Hope Breakfast bar has an extensive menu of savory plates for brunch. Bourbon-smoked salmon toast, stuffed poblano with fried eggs and tortillas, and chicken fried steak and eggs are favorites. For something sweet, try the carrot cake pancakes, made with real cake batter. Hope donates 3 percent of its profits to neighborhood causes through its nonprofit Give Hope. Make a reservation ahead of time at its St. Paul or St. Louis Park location.

Mandarin Kitchen

Find one of the Cities’ best dim sum brunches at Mandarin Kitchen in Bloomington, tucked into a strip mall on Lyndale Avenue. On weekends, this spot is packed with families, and the line often wraps out the door. Build your brunch off the voluminous menu: Start with small dishes like pan-fried turnip cakes, and add pillowy steamed chicken buns, crispy egg custards, and steamed pork dumplings. At peak meal times, small parties of diners can expect to share tables — an arrangement that only adds to Mandarin Kitchen’s bustling, convivial atmosphere.

Heather's

Heather’s has a great breakfast menu chock full of classics: open-faced egg sandwiches, avocado toast, and crepes. But the brunch specials can’t be missed. These change regularly, but recent highlights include pineapple upside-down pancakes — not to mention a classic croque-madame. Cap off brunch with a stroll around nearby Lake Nokomis (and grab a noodle salad from the little deli counter on the way out).

Saint Genevieve

This intimate French bistro serves a delicate omelet du jour on its focused and elegant brunch menu. Try the wild mushroom and brie crepe or the shakshouka en cocotte with bacon and harissa. Drinks-wise, Saint Genevieve serves Vietnamese coffee, mimosas, and bloody marys. Brunch hours are Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. — make a reservation ahead of time if you can.

Victor's 1959 Cafe

This classic south Minneapolis restaurant has been serving Cuban favorites and classics for more than 20 years. Order the Basque stew — eggs with a Creole stew of Spanish chorizo, ham, and vegetables — or the slow-cooked ropa vieja with eggs and plantains. Victor’s has a great coffee menu, too: try a cafe con leche sweetened with a house sugar paste, and pick it up at the little sliding glass window out front. Its cozy, newly renovated dining room and tropical-themed patio are now open for breakfast and lunch, Wednesday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. — Victor’s doesn’t take reservations.

Our Kitchen

Our Kitchen flies a little under the radar — it’s a tiny restaurant on the West 36th Street thoroughfare that looks more like a country cottage than a bustling breakfast spot. But step inside for one of the best diner breakfasts you can find in Minneapolis. The pancakes are rough-hewn and studded with chocolate chips; the hash browns have a golden, crispy lid. Fair warning, you may have to wait to snag one of the bar stools.

Hola Arepa

Hola Arepa’s fluffy masa cakes make a beautiful canvas for slow-stewed meats and beans, sauces like chimichurri and tangy aioli verde, and vegetables. A vegetarian favorite is the braised jackfruit arepa, with radish, citrus crema, and fresh oregano. Hola Arepa also serves rice bowls, small plates, sweets like mango chia seed pudding, and an intriguing cocktail menu. Patio seating is available, even in the chilly months.

A tostada in a white dish with chili verde sauce, a sunny-side-up fried egg, thin radish slices, and shavings of jalapeño.
A tostada from Hola Arepa.
Hola Arepa

The Lynhall

The Lynhall’s brunch offerings are divided into separate breakfast and lunch menus (9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) at both its original Lyn-Lake location and its newer Edina spot. The restaurant serves smoked salmon scrambles, shakshouka, and vegetable quiches in its sunny dining hall, which has the feel of an elegant farmhouse. But the real standouts are the pastries: lavender and pistachio croissants nearly as big as loaves of bread, stuffed with rich pastry creams.

Maria's Cafe

Maria’s serves every pancake you could dream of: Choose between chocolate chip, wild rice, plantain with cotija cheese, and more. A cozy neighborhood gathering spot on Franklin Avenue in the Phillip’s neighborhood, this restaurant specializes in both Columbian fare and American breakfast classics. The weekend specials feature arepas, black beans, sauteed yucca, and sweet plantains — or opt for a hearty plate of eggs, toast, and bacon.

Maya Cuisine & Bar

A local favorite for tacos and chile relleno tortas, Maya Cuisine in Northeast offers a brunch buffet every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The buffet varies week to week, but expect classics like tamales, mole dishes, and pozole, plus pancakes, French toast, and desserts. (Recent specials include shrimp fajitas, buttered codfish, and sopa de mariscos.) Maya Cuisine’s buffet returned from its pandemic hiatus after an outpouring of support from customers — reservations in advance are recommended.

Keys Cafe - The original

Keys Cafe’s original 1973 location has a storied feel to it — like it’s St. Paul’s very own Tom’s Restaurant, from Seinfeld, or Central Perk. The restaurant has expanded to nine total locations, but this Raymond Avenue spot, with its unmistakeable flamingo decal, is particularly special. The menu is stocked with American breakfast classics, from country-fried steak to egg scramblers, skillets, and hashes. Don’t miss the expertly crisped hash browns or the cushiony blueberry pancakes.

Kalsada

Kalsada, owned by the same team behind Cafe Astoria, opened on Selby Avenue in April. It’s since emerged as one of the best Twin Cities spots for brunch. The ube pancakes are the most popular brunch dish here: They’re fluffy like a classic buttermilk shortstack, but the yam lends a sweet earthy flavor to each bite. A drizzle of sweetened condensed milk, cubes of mango and dragonfruit, and a scoop of ice cream finish it off. For something savory, the arroz caldo is the ultimate comfort breakfast — or try the crab omelet.

Hot Hands Pie & Biscuit

It's all in the crust at Hot Hands. For brunch, choose from the savory pie selections — veggie pot pie, buffalo pot pie, or chicken pot pie (folklorically known as one of Minnesota’s best) — or sweet pies like pecan chess, sweet potato, or banana cream, which comes topped with a mascarpone that’s mounded like ski moguls. Also on the menu are biscuits, a breakfast sausage roll, and other pastries.

A hand holds a white plate with a biscuit breakfast sandwich on it, Criss crossed slices of bacon jut out from the edges, and oozy American cheese drips over the edges.
Biscuits and pie for breakfast
Rebecca Slater

Colossal Cafe

An excellent spot for breakfast carbs, Colossal Cafe serves giant caramel rolls, crumbly biscuits, and yeast-based pancakes that rise to impressive heights. Try the simple short stack with maple syrup, or the signature topping of honey-brown sugar syrup, apples, walnuts, and slices of brie cheese. Other classics like omelets, frittatas, and breakfast sandwiches are available as well. Colossal also sells take-and-bake options that can be ordered in advance.

Handsome Hog

Step into chef Justin Sutherland’s Handsome Hog for a smoky, southern-style weekend brunch menu. Try the rock shrimp and grits, the ham-brined chop with eggs, or the house benedict with apple butter and Cajun hollandaise. (Sutherland serves southern cooking that’s hard to find elsewhere in the Twin Cities.) Make a reservation ahead for dining inside or on the patio (weather permitting).

Hope Breakfast Bar

Hope Breakfast bar has an extensive menu of savory plates for brunch. Bourbon-smoked salmon toast, stuffed poblano with fried eggs and tortillas, and chicken fried steak and eggs are favorites. For something sweet, try the carrot cake pancakes, made with real cake batter. Hope donates 3 percent of its profits to neighborhood causes through its nonprofit Give Hope. Make a reservation ahead of time at its St. Paul or St. Louis Park location.

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