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An ice cream shake topped with marshmallow rainbows, multi-color sprinkles, in a plastic Bebe Zito cup.
Summer moves pretty quick. If you don’t stop and look around, you might miss it.
Bebe Zito Ice Cream/Facebook

38 Essential Restaurants in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Summer 2021

Cereal studded ice cream shakes, rich ropa vieja, perfect summer patios, and more

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Summer moves pretty quick. If you don’t stop and look around, you might miss it.
| Bebe Zito Ice Cream/Facebook

The Eater 38 is a tapestry of restaurants — spanning multiple cuisines, neighborhoods, and price points — that represents the defining dining destinations in and around Minneapolis and St. Paul. As more restaurants are opening for in-person dining, each level of service, from eating inside, to patios, to curbside pickup, is noted in this geographically sorted map.

If your favorite neighborhood restaurant didn’t make the list, it doesn’t mean it isn’t an important part of our cities. This is just a starting point and updated quarterly. For those looking for newer restaurants, check out the Eater Twin Cities Heatmap. For this season, we say see you soon to Gardens of Solonica, Spoon & Stable, and Lowry Hill Meats. Fresh for summer we welcome Bebe Zito, Vivir, and El Cubano.

Restaurants are listed by location, from north to south.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Travail Kitchen and Amusements

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4134 Hubbard Ave N
Robbinsdale, MN 55422
(763) 535-1131
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There is no party like a Travail party. This trail-blazing chef collective specializes in creating an atmosphere of delight and wonder and serving elevated comfort dishes like curried deviled eggs, salmon tartare, and buttery ham and cheese croissants. The third iteration of the restaurant, a newly built and expansive three-level building, has opened in starts-and-stops thanks to the pandemic. But whether you’re tucked into the basement bar or surveying downtown Robbinsdale from the roof, this place is always sophisticated fun.

A selection of drinks on a black background including one black collins glass, one clear garnished with apples and cinnamon, one opaque like a clarified milk punch, one shockingly verdant green with a grassy garnish, and a coup glass with flower petals mixed into an amber liquid
Travail’s basement bar is hosting it’s grand re-re-reopening this month. Reservations are required
Travail [Official]

2. Hai Hai

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2121 University Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418
(612) 223-8640
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Chef and co-owner Christina Nguyen goes hard on the herbs, fish sauce, and lime juice inside her exemplary Vietnamese restaurant in Northeast. The rich teal walls and giant inside-outside bar pair with tons of giant tropical greenery to give the restaurant a permanent summertime feel. Come prepared to order the entire menu: From supple water fern cakes to crackly crusty banh xeo to the fresh sugarcane cocktails, it’s really all delicious.

The brightly colored, wallpapered dining room at Hai Hai
Tropical vibes in Northeast
Kevin Kramer / Eater Twin Cities

3. ViV!R

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1414 Quincy St NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413
(612) 345-5527
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An all-day Mexican cafe from chef Jose Alarcón and co-owner Jami Olsen is perfect for meeting up with friends for a coffee or a light cocktail and feast of empanadas and burritos. Shop the small retail corner or make reservations for a spectacular agave spirit experience in the adjacent private bar. Vivir has a little bit of something for everyone, all on an industrial corner of Northeast Minneapolis.

4. Young Joni

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165 13th Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413
(612) 345-5719
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Young Joni’s pizza is really good, but the restaurant is so much more than a simple pie shop. The menu also includes small plates like house-made Thai sausage lettuce wraps and Japanese sweet potatoes topped with undulating bonito. Order at least a couple of kinds of pizza like the classic pepperoni and La Parisienne: prosciutto, gruyère, ricotta, brown butter, caramelized onion, arugula, and pickled mustard seed. Save room for Minnesota-approved church lady basement bars.

Photo by Katie Cannon

5. Nixta Tortilleria & Mexican takeout

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1222 NE 2nd St
Minneapolis, MN 55413

Chef Gustavo Romero takes the humble tortilla and elevates it to an art form. The heirloom corn varieties he uses and his nixtamalization process create a perfect canvas for his Mexican comfort kits to shine. Bi-weekly take-home menus include Mexican dishes that varied depending on seasonality. All the love and care from the DF are right inside this tiny counter-only spot in Northeast.

Black and white image of Gustavo Romero from the torso up, hands on his hips, wearing a chef coat and an apron. A corn cob tattoo is visible on his forearm.
Chef Gustavo Romero has built the perfert restaurant for COVID times: deeply flavorful comfort foods built to be enjoyed at home.
Nixta [WEB]

6. Animales Barbeque Co.

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1121 Quincy St NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413
(612) 400-2153
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Jon Wipfli’s smoker outside of Abel Seedhouse + Brewery is a warm-weather rite; this year, he expanded the operation with more smoke, more dishes, more sides, and more sauces. Best practice is to grab the broth-laden birria tacos, which are highly popular and often sell out.

7. Wrecktangle Pizza

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729 N Washington Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(612) 695-6525
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In a land obsessed with pizza, it still feels like we hadn’t truly lived the full potential of the cheese, sauce, and crust before Wrecktangle unleashed its Detroit-style pan-cooked pizzas upon us. This hefty entry is otherworldly in no small part due to the crackly cheese border that cradles every thick slice.

8. Demi

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212 N 2nd St Suite 100
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(612) 404-1123
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Every piece of artwork, garnish, and silverware has been carefully selected inside celebrity chef Gavin Kaysen’s small, intimate, tasting menu-only restaurant. Even as the world looks entirely different, this special occasion stop offers the pinnacle of Minneapolis fine dining.

A dark dining room bar that’s filled with still wood shelves with small porcelain serving implements
Tailored tasting menu from star chef Gavin Kaysen
Demi [Official]

9. Soul Bowl

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520 N 4th St
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(612) 567-7044
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Creating a restaurant built upon music and neo-soul food was a long-held dream for Gerard and Brittany Klass; Soul Bowl, their fast-casual restaurant in North Loop, is its physical manifestation after years of hard work. Whether you order fried chicken, greens, or vegan comfort food classics, these bowls pack a ton of flavor into compostable containers.

A fried chicken sandwich with sauce and shredded lettuce on a poppyseed bun
The famous Big K.R.I.T.
Soul Bowl [Official]

10. Lat14 Asian Eatery

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8815 7th Ave N
Golden Valley, MN 55427
(763) 400-7910
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Chef-owner Ann Ahmed cooks the food from all around the 14th parallel in Southeast Asia, which means delicious versions of pineapple pork fried rice, lumpia, Bangladeshi beef curry, and a banh mi tartine all happily exist on this endlessly devourable menu. The bar serves a wide array of herbaceous alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

Lat14 [Official]

11. Billy Sushi ビリー寿司

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116 N 1st Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(612) 886-1783
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Chef Billy Tserenbat has built a bombastic reputation for serving sushi in somewhat unlikely spaces. At first, it was his sushi food truck that became a sensation. Now, it’s this North Loop restaurant he first opened in the middle of the pandemic. Now that things have loosened up, the good times have returned to the bar and dining room. Take full advantage of the saki list while ordering the best selection of sushi.

12. Restaurant Alma

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528 University Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 379-4909
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Chef and owner Alex Roberts' Restaurant Alma has managed to become a crown jewel of Minneapolis fine dining with a constant evolution of locally-sourced foods, second-to-none wine list and intimate surroundings. The restaurant has reduced takeout hours, but still creates stunning new American, seasonal meals for celebrating an occasion in a more intimate setting. Stop by the cafe in the morning and lunch for light meals and heavenly baked goods.

Photo by Katie Cannon

13. Zen Box Izakaya

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602 S Washington Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55415
(612) 332-3936
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A true Izakaya in the heart of Minneapolis’ East Town neighborhood, this is an ideal stop before a Guthrie show or after a long meander down by the Mill City Ruins. The foods are perfect for soaking up a night of drinking: crispy fried karaage or hearty bowls of udon. Thanks to chef and co-owner John Ng’s ramen obsession, the weekly specials are the stuff of dining legend. Order early in the weekend before they sell out.

A table spread with Japanese dishes
Order one of everything, including a six pack, and recreate the izakaya experience at home.
Zen Box Izakaya/Facebook

14. Brunson's Pub

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956 Payne Ave
St Paul, MN 55130
(651) 447-2483
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This is just a phenomenal neighborhood bar. Everything is good, from the top shelf drinks to the bartenders who know which beer to pour a regular as they cross the threshold to the hearty comforts of the amped-up bar food menu from chef Torrence Beevers. Owners Thomas and Molly LaFleche met while working at another bar and this place is their dream realized. It’s an ideal stop for crusty-spiced chicken “wings” (thighs) or mountainous burgers adorned with pulled bacon. The patio is a hidden gem, set back off the street for a quiet reprieve inside a busy city.

Burgers and more in a quintessential Minnesota bar setting
Brunson’s Pub/Facebook

15. P.S. Steak

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510 Groveland Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 886-1620
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P.S. Steak is located inside one of the most beautiful locations in Minneapolis. The old-world elegance of 510 Groveland includes marble, chandeliers, and other stunning, historic touches. Inside the incredible steakhouse and lounge menu live up to the ambiance and is served with polished service that is some of the most attentive and considerate around. The free valet service saves trying to find parking in this populated area.

A grand entryway with marble floors and an elegant chandelier
The stunning entry to P.S. Steak
Lucy Hawthorne

16. Union Hmong Kitchen

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693 Raymond Ave
St Paul, MN 55114
(612) 431-5285
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When chef Yia Vang first began cooking and serving foods from Hmong culture made with the fine dining skills he had gained working in area kitchens, Hmong food wasn’t a familiar cuisine in the Twin Cities restaurant world. Fast forward years later, his original restaurant Union Hmong Kitchen is the best place to get a taste of the fresh flavors and char-kissed meats. Yang has also become a nationally known chef with a highly anticipated restaurant, Vinai, on the horizon. Still, his first restaurant, the nomadic Union Hmong Kitchen, is the best place to order a takeout feast built to share with others.

Chef Yia Vang is wearing a plaid shirt and denim apron, smiling, in front of a black background
Chef Yia Vang is serving fantastic fried chicken sandwiches, Hmong sausage with sticky rice and more at Union Hmong Kitchen’s moving kitchen
Katie Cannon

17. Bebe Zito Ice Cream

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704 W 22nd St
Minneapolis, MN 55405

Bebe Zito is a brilliant mishmash of flavors, eye-popping design, and a healthy dose of merriment. Co-owners Ben Spangler and Gabriella Grant built an ice cream shop in Minneapolis’ Wedge neighborhood with equal parts fine dining and fun. The menu features ice cream flavors like MSG-spiked cream steeped with generous amounts of vanilla. Dad’s coffee flavor takes an intensely flavored bourbon base, spikes it with coffee, and takes all the edges off with chocolate chips. On the weekends, there’s a burger pop-up serving some skinny-smashed beef draped in an American cheese blanket. It’s the real-world incarnation of sweet summer memories.

A double scoop ice cream cone with a green ooze dripping down to a red waffle cone
The corner ice cream shop grows up and leans into weird whimsy
Bebe Zito / Facebook

18. Pimento Jamaican Kitchen & Rum Bar

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2524 Nicollet Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55404
(612) 345-5637
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During the unrest in the wake of George Floyd’s killing, this restaurant became a touchstone for the city. It turned from serving food to acting as a collection point for neighbors in need. While it has long since returned to serving its incredible jerk chicken and coconut rice, the eatery remains an example of its one love philosophy. Stop by the neighboring rum bar on summer nights for live music.

19. Quang Restaurant

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2719 Nicollet Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55408
(612) 870-4739
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Quang on Nicollet Avenue, aka Eat Street, was founded as a tiny spot by matriarch Lung Tran and remains family-run. The giant portions of fragrant pho, piles of flavorful bun, and giant banh mi are wonderfully affordable and satisfy every time.

A smiling woman in a red shirt and hair net in the kitchen at Quang, building banh mi
Giant vats of pho, shatter-crisp eggrolls, and huge banh mi are so satisfying and astoundingly affordable
Rebecca Slater/Eater Twin Cities

20. World Street Kitchen

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2743 Lyndale Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55408
(612) 424-8855
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Chef Sameh Wadi’s restaurant takes inspiration from street foods from around the world and turns them into dishes that can wake even the sleepiest tastebuds. The Yum Yum Bowl isn’t just a clever name, but the tasty comfort of rice, quivering egg, various meats, veggies, and savory sauce. There are giant fried chicken sandwiches, perfect-bite tacos, and curry-stuffed burritos here, all made even better with an added pint of Milkjam ice cream from next door.

A hand holds a paper boat of two tacos topped with green sauce
Street food from all over the world at this Uptown spot
World Street Kitchen [Official]

21. Manny's Tortas

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Midtown Global Market, 920 E Lake St #125
Minneapolis, MN 55407
(612) 870-3930
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Consider these tortas an ideal in sandwich construction: hot griddled meats are layered with melty cheese, crispy lettuce and tomato, spicy peppers, creamy avocado, and beans — with the option to add more toppings to taste. Manny Gonzalez is also a Minneapolis treasure. His kind, enthusiastic greetings from behind the counter make stopping by this stand inside the Midtown Global Market a treat.

22. The Bungalow Club

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4300 E Lake St
Minneapolis, MN 55406
(612) 866-3334
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Perched not far from the Lake Street Bridge that connects Minneapolis to Saint Paul, this restaurant is the ideal summer stop for a mellow patio, sheltered by a giant trellis covered in green vines. The reasonably priced tasting menu, which changes weekly, includes three courses to savor while catching up with friends or building to a conversation crescendo on a date; a recent menu featured lamb crudo served with potato chips, gnocchi sardi in pomodoro sauce, and chicken meatballs over polenta with lemon and salsa verde. The restaurant is a pole star of cozy dining, and the kind of spot every city dweller would be lucky to find just down their street (that said, it is also worth a drive).

A huge plate of spaghetti with meatballs
A neighborhood gem worth driving across town to enjoy
The Bungalow Club/Facebook

23. Meritage

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410 St Peter St
St Paul, MN 55102
(651) 222-5670
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One of the most romantic dining destinations in the Twin Cities is Meritage in downtown St. Paul. Chef Russell Klein’s fare is hearty in the winter, light and lovely in the summer, and decadently briney around Oysterfest time. From the more casual raw bar that serves creative cocktails to the intimate dining room and its fat book of beautiful wine offerings, this restaurant remains an ideal date-night destination.

24. Stewart's

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128 Cleveland Ave N
St Paul, MN 55104
(651) 645-4128
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An intimate bistro in a quiet St. Paul neighborhood, Stewart’s is often an undersung gem. The crowd-pleasing dishes range from tasty sandwiches to new-American-style entrees. It’s an ideal place to meet with parents while visiting nearby St. Thomas University. The patio seats are the height of fun city-summer dining.

25. Hyacinth

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790 Grand Ave
St Paul, MN 55105
(651) 478-1822
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Intimacy, comfort, and Italian romance dominate the little dining room of Hyacinth. Chef-owner Rikki Giambruno relocated from running a popular New York restaurant to St. Paul and brought all his talent to this neighborhood spot serving a succinct menu that changes often depending on what is at its peak seasonality. Giambruno’s skills particularly shine when he plays in the vegetable sphere: ingredients like cabbage, zucchini, or frisée become shining stars of the meal, brought to new heights of savory flavor.

A plate of spaghetti
Order takeout pasta and other Italian dishes from this small spot on Grand Avenue
Hyacinth/Facebook

26. Matt's Bar

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3500 Cedar Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55407
(612) 722-7072
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This neighborhood dive bar is the first stop to make for a true Juicy Lucy experience. The cheese-stuffed burger was possibly invented here (an easy argument to start with any Minneapolis resident, though, is who makes the best). The Matt’s Bar version features a perfect-sized patty with molten cheddar, offering the ultimate beef and cheese bite.

27. DeGidio's

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425 7th St W
St Paul, MN 55102
(651) 291-7105
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This family-owned eatery on St. Paul’s West 7th Street has been around since the wild Prohibition days when the area was home to members of organized crime. Nowadays, the restaurant is a bastion for deeply satisfying cheese and red-sauce-covered Italian comforts. The dining room is often filled with young and old enjoying hefty plates like the hot dago: a mountain of sauce, spicy sausage, bread, peppers, and, of course, lots of cheese.

A sliced open Italian sausage is buried under red sauce and covered with a layer of toasted, melty white cheese in a plate filled with sauce and two pepperoncinis.
Pure, red sauce, old school goodness
DeGidio’s/Facebook

28. Pajarito

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605 7th St W
St Paul, MN 55102
(651) 340-9545
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Chefs Tyge Nelson and Stephan Hesse bring their fine dining background to St. Paul’s West 7th Street and a new Edina location. Salsas and sauces are made entirely from scratch, like the irresistible cashew and chile de abról salsa served with their just-fried tortilla chips. The shaved beef torta is a toasty take on a Philly cheesesteak served end-side down in a thick, spicy sauce. Dignity be damned with this sandwich: tuck that napkin under the chin, throw those elbows out akimbo, and dig in.

29. Victor's 1959 Cafe

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3756 Grand Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55409
(612) 827-8948
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Victor’s 1959 Cafe has been serving up Cuban comforts on 38th and Grand for more than 20 years. Even without sliding into those wonderful worn and graffiti-covered booths, the Buena Vista Social Club vibes remain. Order up deliciously sweet cafe con leche for morning takeaway, or long stewed meats, beans, and rice for hearty dinner.

The vibrant exterior of Victor’s is filled with tropical colors and flowers on a sunny summer day
Victor’s patio shines in the summertime
Victor’s 1959 Cafe [Official]

30. Hot Hands Pie & Biscuit

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272 Snelling Ave S #100
St Paul, MN 55105
(651) 300-1503
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This town was short on great biscuits until Tara Coleman arrived with this breakfast and lunch restaurant on Snelling Avenue, not far from Macalester College. These handheld bites are perfectly leavened, chewy, and packed with butter. Order a stunner of a breakfast sandwich with smoky bacon, yolky egg, American cheese, and a swipe of spiced mayo, and slap on a slice of pie for dessert.

Three biscuit breakfasts, one with gravy, one as a sandwich with bacon and cheese, another sliced with a side of jam
The best biscuits in town
Rebecca Slater

31. El Burrito Mercado

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175 Cesar Chavez St
St Paul, MN 55107
(651) 227-2192
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El Burrito Mercado is an icon of St. Paul shopping and continues run by the family who founded it back when cilantro was a hard-to-source ingredient. This pillar of the community has everything from an in-person restaurant, a panaderia, deli items to-go, and a grocery store with everything you could ever need to make your favorite Mexican dishes at home. Every visit ends with arms filled with a few more items than were on your original list. Shop the store, dine in the restaurant or out on the patio, or grab elotes and esquites outside in the parking lot.

32. Mucci’s

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786 Randolph Ave
St Paul, MN 55102
(651) 330-2245
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Welcome to the world of Tim Niver hospitality. The master of front-of-house service always dreamed of making a red sauce joint like Mucci’s; recipes — like a tightly layered lasagna and decadent tiramisu — are inspired by his mother’s Italian kitchen and executed by a remarkable kitchen team.

33. Martina

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4312 S Upton Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55410
(612) 922-9913
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Chef Daniel del Prado’s Linden Hills restaurant is fueled by wood fire to create stunning Argentinian and Italian dishes. The well-designed (and well-lit) dining room makes for an Instagrammer’s dream of lighting and composition. Order the potato churros to start, which balance a soft, creamy interior with craggy, crispy fried edges.

A large open room set with tables, a large white wall to the right sports just a few green plants and the open kitchen is barely visible to the left
Big city dining in a quiet Minneapolis neighborhood
Kevin Kramer / Eater Twin Cities

34. Joan's in the Park

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631 Snelling Ave S
St Paul, MN 55116
(651) 690-3297
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Joanne Schmitt and her wife chef Susan Dunlop took over a former pizza joint in Highland Park, and transformed the restaurant into destination fine dining. Now, nine years later, it has become a touchstone for the neighborhood, and a regular stop for those in the know. Make a reservation for the intimate dining room and seasonal tasting menu featuring five courses — a selection of fresh-made breads to start. Summer nights are the best time to savor these dishes on their romantic patio.

35. Cecil's

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651 Cleveland Ave S
St Paul, MN 55116
(651) 698-0334
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At the first sign of a sniffle, or a tiny tickle in the throat, it’s a good idea to order Cecil’s bubbe-approved matzo. A combination delicatessen and restaurant, Cecil’s is the number one spot for Jewish comfort fare like great pastrami or a crumbly rugelach or an aromatic loaf of rye bread.

36. Bull's Horn Food and Drink

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4563 S 34th Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55406
(612) 208-1378
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Doug Flicker was a longtime fine-dining chef who influenced a generation of Minneapolis chefs, but he walked away from the world of white linen to open a neighborhood bar alongside his wife, Amy Greeley. The two have created a watering hole with all the best of the corner bar: a jukebox, pulltabs, and a menu loaded with fantastic things from the fryer and the grill. Stop by for the famous pickle brined chicken: tangy, juicy meat wrapped in a crusty shell.

A crispy fried sandwich with shredded lettuce in a basket with a side of pinto beans
A phenomenal fried chicken sandwich in a chill neighborhood bar
Bull’s Horn/Facebook

37. El Cubano

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870 Dodd Rd
St Paul, MN 55118
(651) 227-1510
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Tucked off Dodd Road in a residential area of Saint Paul is this Cuban and Dominican restaurant serving some of the best rice and beans to be found anywhere. The humble fare is deeply satisfying, including the namesake Cubano — a mix of crusty bread, salty meats, tangy mustard, and pickles with a melted layer of cheese. The ropa vieja stewed with poppy tomatoes is sized for two or three meals, along with a side of rice, beans, savory-sweet plantains, and a salad.

38. Pizzeria Lola

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5557 Xerxes Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55410
(612) 424-8338
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This was James Beard Award winner Ann Kim’s first pizza restaurant and it remains one of the best to be had in the Twin Cities. Order a pepperoni pie, with the little meat slices that curl up as they bake, and save room for soft serve topped with olive oil and sea salt for dessert. This casual, family-friendly eatery is also offering frozen pizzas to-go.

1. Travail Kitchen and Amusements

4134 Hubbard Ave N, Robbinsdale, MN 55422
A selection of drinks on a black background including one black collins glass, one clear garnished with apples and cinnamon, one opaque like a clarified milk punch, one shockingly verdant green with a grassy garnish, and a coup glass with flower petals mixed into an amber liquid
Travail’s basement bar is hosting it’s grand re-re-reopening this month. Reservations are required
Travail [Official]

There is no party like a Travail party. This trail-blazing chef collective specializes in creating an atmosphere of delight and wonder and serving elevated comfort dishes like curried deviled eggs, salmon tartare, and buttery ham and cheese croissants. The third iteration of the restaurant, a newly built and expansive three-level building, has opened in starts-and-stops thanks to the pandemic. But whether you’re tucked into the basement bar or surveying downtown Robbinsdale from the roof, this place is always sophisticated fun.

4134 Hubbard Ave N
Robbinsdale, MN 55422

2. Hai Hai

2121 University Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418
The brightly colored, wallpapered dining room at Hai Hai
Tropical vibes in Northeast
Kevin Kramer / Eater Twin Cities

Chef and co-owner Christina Nguyen goes hard on the herbs, fish sauce, and lime juice inside her exemplary Vietnamese restaurant in Northeast. The rich teal walls and giant inside-outside bar pair with tons of giant tropical greenery to give the restaurant a permanent summertime feel. Come prepared to order the entire menu: From supple water fern cakes to crackly crusty banh xeo to the fresh sugarcane cocktails, it’s really all delicious.

2121 University Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418

3. ViV!R

1414 Quincy St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413

An all-day Mexican cafe from chef Jose Alarcón and co-owner Jami Olsen is perfect for meeting up with friends for a coffee or a light cocktail and feast of empanadas and burritos. Shop the small retail corner or make reservations for a spectacular agave spirit experience in the adjacent private bar. Vivir has a little bit of something for everyone, all on an industrial corner of Northeast Minneapolis.

1414 Quincy St NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413

4. Young Joni

165 13th Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413
Photo by Katie Cannon

Young Joni’s pizza is really good, but the restaurant is so much more than a simple pie shop. The menu also includes small plates like house-made Thai sausage lettuce wraps and Japanese sweet potatoes topped with undulating bonito. Order at least a couple of kinds of pizza like the classic pepperoni and La Parisienne: prosciutto, gruyère, ricotta, brown butter, caramelized onion, arugula, and pickled mustard seed. Save room for Minnesota-approved church lady basement bars.

165 13th Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413

5. Nixta Tortilleria & Mexican takeout

1222 NE 2nd St, Minneapolis, MN 55413
Black and white image of Gustavo Romero from the torso up, hands on his hips, wearing a chef coat and an apron. A corn cob tattoo is visible on his forearm.
Chef Gustavo Romero has built the perfert restaurant for COVID times: deeply flavorful comfort foods built to be enjoyed at home.
Nixta [WEB]

Chef Gustavo Romero takes the humble tortilla and elevates it to an art form. The heirloom corn varieties he uses and his nixtamalization process create a perfect canvas for his Mexican comfort kits to shine. Bi-weekly take-home menus include Mexican dishes that varied depending on seasonality. All the love and care from the DF are right inside this tiny counter-only spot in Northeast.

1222 NE 2nd St
Minneapolis, MN 55413

6. Animales Barbeque Co.

1121 Quincy St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413

Jon Wipfli’s smoker outside of Abel Seedhouse + Brewery is a warm-weather rite; this year, he expanded the operation with more smoke, more dishes, more sides, and more sauces. Best practice is to grab the broth-laden birria tacos, which are highly popular and often sell out.

1121 Quincy St NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413

7. Wrecktangle Pizza

729 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401

In a land obsessed with pizza, it still feels like we hadn’t truly lived the full potential of the cheese, sauce, and crust before Wrecktangle unleashed its Detroit-style pan-cooked pizzas upon us. This hefty entry is otherworldly in no small part due to the crackly cheese border that cradles every thick slice.

729 N Washington Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55401

8. Demi

212 N 2nd St Suite 100, Minneapolis, MN 55401
A dark dining room bar that’s filled with still wood shelves with small porcelain serving implements
Tailored tasting menu from star chef Gavin Kaysen
Demi [Official]

Every piece of artwork, garnish, and silverware has been carefully selected inside celebrity chef Gavin Kaysen’s small, intimate, tasting menu-only restaurant. Even as the world looks entirely different, this special occasion stop offers the pinnacle of Minneapolis fine dining.

212 N 2nd St Suite 100
Minneapolis, MN 55401

9. Soul Bowl

520 N 4th St, Minneapolis, MN 55401
A fried chicken sandwich with sauce and shredded lettuce on a poppyseed bun
The famous Big K.R.I.T.
Soul Bowl [Official]

Creating a restaurant built upon music and neo-soul food was a long-held dream for Gerard and Brittany Klass; Soul Bowl, their fast-casual restaurant in North Loop, is its physical manifestation after years of hard work. Whether you order fried chicken, greens, or vegan comfort food classics, these bowls pack a ton of flavor into compostable containers.

520 N 4th St
Minneapolis, MN 55401

10. Lat14 Asian Eatery

8815 7th Ave N, Golden Valley, MN 55427
Lat14 [Official]

Chef-owner Ann Ahmed cooks the food from all around the 14th parallel in Southeast Asia, which means delicious versions of pineapple pork fried rice, lumpia, Bangladeshi beef curry, and a banh mi tartine all happily exist on this endlessly devourable menu. The bar serves a wide array of herbaceous alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

8815 7th Ave N
Golden Valley, MN 55427

11. Billy Sushi ビリー寿司

116 N 1st Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401

Chef Billy Tserenbat has built a bombastic reputation for serving sushi in somewhat unlikely spaces. At first, it was his sushi food truck that became a sensation. Now, it’s this North Loop restaurant he first opened in the middle of the pandemic. Now that things have loosened up, the good times have returned to the bar and dining room. Take full advantage of the saki list while ordering the best selection of sushi.

116 N 1st Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55401

12. Restaurant Alma

528 University Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
Photo by Katie Cannon

Chef and owner Alex Roberts' Restaurant Alma has managed to become a crown jewel of Minneapolis fine dining with a constant evolution of locally-sourced foods, second-to-none wine list and intimate surroundings. The restaurant has reduced takeout hours, but still creates stunning new American, seasonal meals for celebrating an occasion in a more intimate setting. Stop by the cafe in the morning and lunch for light meals and heavenly baked goods.

528 University Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414

13. Zen Box Izakaya

602 S Washington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55415
A table spread with Japanese dishes
Order one of everything, including a six pack, and recreate the izakaya experience at home.
Zen Box Izakaya/Facebook

A true Izakaya in the heart of Minneapolis’ East Town neighborhood, this is an ideal stop before a Guthrie show or after a long meander down by the Mill City Ruins. The foods are perfect for soaking up a night of drinking: crispy fried karaage or hearty bowls of udon. Thanks to chef and co-owner John Ng’s ramen obsession, the weekly specials are the stuff of dining legend. Order early in the weekend before they sell out.

602 S Washington Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55415

14. Brunson's Pub

956 Payne Ave, St Paul, MN 55130
Burgers and more in a quintessential Minnesota bar setting
Brunson’s Pub/Facebook

This is just a phenomenal neighborhood bar. Everything is good, from the top shelf drinks to the bartenders who know which beer to pour a regular as they cross the threshold to the hearty comforts of the amped-up bar food menu from chef Torrence Beevers. Owners Thomas and Molly LaFleche met while working at another bar and this place is their dream realized. It’s an ideal stop for crusty-spiced chicken “wings” (thighs) or mountainous burgers adorned with pulled bacon. The patio is a hidden gem, set back off the street for a quiet reprieve inside a busy city.

956 Payne Ave
St Paul, MN 55130

15. P.S. Steak

510 Groveland Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403
A grand entryway with marble floors and an elegant chandelier
The stunning entry to P.S. Steak
Lucy Hawthorne

P.S. Steak is located inside one of the most beautiful locations in Minneapolis. The old-world elegance of 510 Groveland includes marble, chandeliers, and other stunning, historic touches. Inside the incredible steakhouse and lounge menu live up to the ambiance and is served with polished service that is some of the most attentive and considerate around. The free valet service saves trying to find parking in this populated area.

510 Groveland Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55403

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16. Union Hmong Kitchen

693 Raymond Ave, St Paul, MN 55114
Chef Yia Vang is wearing a plaid shirt and denim apron, smiling, in front of a black background
Chef Yia Vang is serving fantastic fried chicken sandwiches, Hmong sausage with sticky rice and more at Union Hmong Kitchen’s moving kitchen
Katie Cannon

When chef Yia Vang first began cooking and serving foods from Hmong culture made with the fine dining skills he had gained working in area kitchens, Hmong food wasn’t a familiar cuisine in the Twin Cities restaurant world. Fast forward years later, his original restaurant Union Hmong Kitchen is the best place to get a taste of the fresh flavors and char-kissed meats. Yang has also become a nationally known chef with a highly anticipated restaurant, Vinai, on the horizon. Still, his first restaurant, the nomadic Union Hmong Kitchen, is the best place to order a takeout feast built to share with others.

693 Raymond Ave
St Paul, MN 55114

17. Bebe Zito Ice Cream

704 W 22nd St, Minneapolis, MN 55405
A double scoop ice cream cone with a green ooze dripping down to a red waffle cone
The corner ice cream shop grows up and leans into weird whimsy
Bebe Zito / Facebook

Bebe Zito is a brilliant mishmash of flavors, eye-popping design, and a healthy dose of merriment. Co-owners Ben Spangler and Gabriella Grant built an ice cream shop in Minneapolis’ Wedge neighborhood with equal parts fine dining and fun. The menu features ice cream flavors like MSG-spiked cream steeped with generous amounts of vanilla. Dad’s coffee flavor takes an intensely flavored bourbon base, spikes it with coffee, and takes all the edges off with chocolate chips. On the weekends, there’s a burger pop-up serving some skinny-smashed beef draped in an American cheese blanket. It’s the real-world incarnation of sweet summer memories.

704 W 22nd St
Minneapolis, MN 55405

18. Pimento Jamaican Kitchen & Rum Bar

2524 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404

During the unrest in the wake of George Floyd’s killing, this restaurant became a touchstone for the city. It turned from serving food to acting as a collection point for neighbors in need. While it has long since returned to serving its incredible jerk chicken and coconut rice, the eatery remains an example of its one love philosophy. Stop by the neighboring rum bar on summer nights for live music.

2524 Nicollet Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55404

19. Quang Restaurant

2719 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408
A smiling woman in a red shirt and hair net in the kitchen at Quang, building banh mi
Giant vats of pho, shatter-crisp eggrolls, and huge banh mi are so satisfying and astoundingly affordable
Rebecca Slater/Eater Twin Cities

Quang on Nicollet Avenue, aka Eat Street, was founded as a tiny spot by matriarch Lung Tran and remains family-run. The giant portions of fragrant pho, piles of flavorful bun, and giant banh mi are wonderfully affordable and satisfy every time.

2719 Nicollet Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55408

20. World Street Kitchen

2743 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408