clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
A white container with barbecue ribs, links, and vegetables in it, and small container of yellow sauce.
Barbecue from Animales.
Justine Jones

38 Essential Restaurants in Minneapolis and St. Paul

A guide to the defining restaurants of Minneapolis and St. Paul

View as Map
Barbecue from Animales.
| Justine Jones

The Eater 38 is a tapestry of Minneapolis and St. Paul’s essential restaurants, comprising many cuisines, neighborhoods, and price points. This map is updated every quarter to include cornerstone restaurants of Twin Cities cuisine, from long-established spots to newcomers. The Eater 38 spans the Cities’ restaurant scene in all its vibrancy, from tangy chicken tinga in Northeast to red-wine spaghetti in the North Loop; from fragrant pho in Frogtown to lake trout on the banks of the Mississippi River. This season, we welcome Café Cerés, Animales, Uncle Franky’s, iPho by Saigon, Al’s Breakfast, and Kalsada.

Note that these restaurants are listed geographically.

Read More
If you buy something or book a reservation from an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

El Burrito Mercado

Copy Link

Original owners Maria and Tomas Silva, originally of Aguascalientes, Mexico, opened St. Paul’s El Burrito Mercado as an 800-square-foot market in 1979. In ’95, they moved to Cesar Chavez Street and renovated the historic, 13,000-square-foot Henly’s Furniture building, which today includes a restaurant and cantina. The tender molcajete Mexicano, birria tacos, tamale platters, and fresh ceviche — not to mention the remarkable deli and bakery, stocked with everything from barbacoa to fluffy conchas — make El Burrito Mercado an essential St. Paul restaurant.

Birria tacos with a small dish of red consomé on a white plate.
Birria tacos from El Burrito Mercado.
El Burrito Mercado


Copy Link

Meritage, tucked into an elegant, glass-paned storefront in downtown St. Paul, is one of the Cities’ most romantic dining destinations. More than anywhere else, it successfully emulates a Parisian dining ambiance. Sample oysters at the crescent bar; sip a glass of champagne infused with an absinthe-soaked sugar cube. Chef Russell Klein’s menu, which changes often, always features a seasonal preparation of Au Bon Canard foie gras. The Magret duck breast a l’orange is worth the $46 price tag.

iPho by Saigon

Copy Link

iPho by Saigon, a standout in a city stacked with great pho restaurants, is famous for its 10-pound jumbo pho, so big it toes the line between huge soup bowl and tiny bathtub. iPho offers every kind of meat combo imaginable, from a seafood medley to brisket and flank steak. This broth runs a little on the sweet side and is laced with anise and cloves. Families coalesce here all nights of the week (except Mondays, when iPho is closed), giving the space a warm, convivial feel.

Bole Ethiopian Cuisine

Copy Link

Chef and owner Rekik Abaineh started anew in St. Paul’s Como neighborhood in 2021 — her restaurant Bolé Ethiopian Cuisine, originally on University Avenue, burned down in the social uprisings following the murder of George Floyd. Abaineh wasted no time firing the ovens, dishing up her rich, berbere-spiced beef tibs and rolls of spongy, lace-like injera. Everything from the fried tilapia to the hearty veggie sampler is remarkable — but the key to a perfect meal at Bolé is a glass of honey wine and a slice of cheesecake.

A bowl of rich meat stew with an egg on it on a white plate, with injera bread and salad in the background.
A rich stew from Bole.
Bole Ethiopian Cuisine


Copy Link

Chef Leah Raymundo makes it clear that her food is “not your lola’s cooking” — she favors creativity over narrow expectations of authenticity but roots Kalsada’s menu in essential Filipino flavors and dishes. The kinilaw features coconut and citrus-marinated ahi tuna tartare; the chicken adobo gets a little added truffle funk. Don’t overlook the day menu either. The best brunch move is to share dishes: the tender tocino with eggs and garlicky rice, the royal purple ube pancakes, and the truffled chicken adobo. Prepare to battle for the exquisitely fatty bits of chicken skin left in the bowl.

Chicken adobo with an egg and greens in a white bowl on a wooden table.
Kalsada’s truffled chicken adobo.
Tim Evans/Eater Twin Cities

Karyn Tomlinson’s Myriel — a name that nods to Les Miserables — is at once rustic and refined. The a la carte menu isn’t available online because it changes often, but expect dishes like beef, pork, and lamb sausage (sourced from local farms) with white bean ragout and fermented pepper with pink celery leaves. Tomlinson also makes an infamous crust. If apple pie appears on the menu, order it without hesitation, and pair dessert with a Scandinavian egg coffee. Myriel’s interior, all European silhouettes and shades of cream and sand, is stunning.

A dark marble bar with a lamp and greenery on it. Above is a wooden rack for wine glasses and wine glasses dangling from it; attached to the wall is a mirror.
Inside Myriel on Cleveland Avenue in St. Paul.
Jes Lahay / Eater Twin Cities


Copy Link

Cecil and Faye Glickman opened Cecil’s on St. Paul’s Cleveland Avenue in 1949. More than 70 years later, the Twin Cities’ oldest Jewish deli is still serving hearty matzo ball soup, potato latkes with applesauce and sour cream, and a whole array of popular hot sandwiches. Try the Sasha, made with hot brisket pastrami and the “bird sauce” the deli has been making in-house for 40 years. Cecil’s is also stocked with grocery items, including handy Passover items like gefilte fish and matzo.

Al's Breakfast

Copy Link

Al’s Breakfast is the Twin Cities’ greatest old-school breakfast diner. As Dinkytown’s dining scene has shifted throughout the decades, Al’s 10-foot-wide storefront has barely changed since 1950. Grab a seat at one of the 14 bar stools for an iconic American breakfast: a salami scramble, poached eggs over corned beef hash, or blueberry-walnut pancakes with pure Minnesota maple syrup. Al’s opens at 6 a.m. most days, but plan to wait a while for a seat during the breakfast rush.

A man in a white apron standing with his hand behind his hips and smiling behind a diner counter.
Al’s Breakfast in Dinkytown.
Katie Cannon/Eater Twin Cities

Restaurant Alma

Copy Link

First opened in 1999, Restaurant Alma has a longstanding reputation as one of Minneapolis’s finest restaurants. Chef Alex Roberts’ prix fixe menu changes regularly, but expect elegant — though never ostentatious — dishes like foie gras bread pudding, red beet farrotto, and caramelized tiramisu. The restaurant has an extensive wine list and is known for its accommodating vegetarian menu. Dim and intimate, it’s far and away one of the Cities’ most romantic restaurants.

A dark restaurant space: two small wooden tables are placed in front of a curved booth with a dark blue seat and dark woodwork, in the background is a white brick wall and lamps hanging from the ceiling.
Restaurant Alma is counted among Minneapolis’s finest restaurants.
Katie Cannon

Kramarczuk Sausage Company

Copy Link

A beloved Ukrainian bakery, delicatessen, and restaurant, Kramarczuk’s first opened in Northeast Minneapolis near the Nicollet Island bridge in 1954. Anna and Wasyl Kramarczuk came to Minnesota from Ukraine as refugees in the late 1940s — several years after settling in Minneapolis, they bought one of the city’s oldest butcher shops and made it their own. Today, Kramarczuk’s is beloved for its vast array of savory sausages and its restaurant menu, which features favorites like pierogi, borshch, and hefty Krakowska and pastrami brisket sandwiches. The James Beard Foundation named it an America’s classic in 2013.

Nixta Tortilleria & Mexican takeout

Copy Link

Chef Gustavo Romero crafts delicately flavorful heirloom corn tortillas at Nixta in Northeast Minneapolis. Romero grew up on a farm in the central Mexican state of Hidalgo, where he played in fields of Oaxacan heirloom corn — since opening Nixta in 2020, his mission has been to preserve and celebrate heirloom corn varieties, which have suffered in recent decades due to hybridization and industrial tortilla production (though they’re making a culinary comeback in Mexico City). Romero nixtamalizes his corn in-house. In shades of slate blue, pale yellow, and pink, these tortillas are ideal canvases for okra tostadas, duck carnitas tacos, and masa fried peppers. Oro, a sit-down restaurant, is coming soon.

Three tacos in a beige takeout container; a person’s hands above them.
Tacos from Nixta.
Tyson Crockett

Uncle Franky's

Copy Link

This tiny roadside restaurant is the Twin Cities’ finest purveyor of Chicago dogs. Get one run through the garden, topped with tomatoes, peppers, onions, and a zippy, jewel-like relish. (Hold the ketchup for a traditional Windy City bite, or add it — this is Minneapolis, after all.) Uncle Franky’s also serves a great Reuben and a noteworthy Juicy Lucy, if it’s a burger kind of day.

A hot dog in a bun dressed with tomatoes, peppers, onions, and relish on white paper.
A Chicago dog from Uncle Franky’s.
Eli Radtke

Animales Barbeque Co.

Copy Link

Chef John Wipfli’s Animales serves exceptional barbecue out of a food truck at Bauhaus Brew Labs in Northeast Minneapolis. These ribs don’t come slathered in sweet sauce — they’re dry-rubbed, a bark of crushed peppercorns and salt stealing nothing from the meat’s oak-smoked flavor. The menu changes often, adding pork shoulder congee bowls, beef cheek banh mi, and hot beef sandwiches to the mix. Get there early, as Animales often sells out.

A white container with barbecue ribs, links, and vegetables in it, and small container of yellow sauce.
Barbecue from Animales.
Justine Jones

Hai Hai

Copy Link

In 2017, James Beard–nominated chef Christina Nguyen and co-owner Birk Grudem expertly transformed a divey neighborhood strip club into a lush Southeast Asian restaurant. Hai Hai’s deep teal walls, ferns, and paper lanterns make the space hum with tropical charm, even in the dead of winter. The cocktails are excellent — think lychee slushies and espresso martinis with Vietnamese coffee and coconut — and the menu features dishes like delicate water fern cakes, beef larb lettuce wraps, and a tender Balinese chicken thigh with macerated kale and bean sprout salad.

A small white dish of water fern cakes.
Water fern cakes from Hai Hai.
Bill Addison/Eater

El Taco Riendo

Copy Link

El Taco Riendo might just serve the best chicken tinga in the Twin Cities. This marinade doesn’t overload on heat — it balances the tomatoes’ tang with the chipotle peppers’ smoke, rounding it all out on a slightly sweet note. Order it on tacos or up the ante with a chicken tinga chimichanga, which pairs well with an ice-cold horchata. El Taco Riendo is a cornerstone of Northeast’s Central Avenue dining corridor — owner Miguel Gomez rebuilt the restaurant after it was severely damaged in a fire in 2020.

Three chicken tinga tacos in tortillas garnished with onions, cilantro, and radish slices.
Chicken tinga tacos from El Taco Riendo.
Justine Jones

Travail Kitchen and Amusements

Copy Link

There’s no party like a Travail party. This trail-blazing chef collective specializes in creating an atmosphere of delight and wonder. Travail made its name subverting the traditional restaurant model, eliminating servers, and bringing chefs table-side to dish out an intriguing tasting menu (including cocktails bubbling over with liquid nitrogen). The latest iteration of the restaurant is an expansive three-level building in Robbinsdale. Buy a ticket for the tasting menu (think delicata squash tempura, nitro passion fruit fluff, and celery root mezzaluna) or sip a curated cocktail flight at the basement bar.

Four small bite-sized dishes on a white serving tray.
A Travail tasting menu lineup.
Travail Kitchen and Amusements

Sammy’s Avenue Eatery

Copy Link

Back in 2012, chef Sammy McDowell pooled his personal savings and opened Sammy’s Avenue Eatery, a sunny, casual sandwich spot in North Minneapolis. Ten years later, the restaurant is a cornerstone of Broadway Avenue, a place where people come as much for the juicy sandwiches as for the sense of community. Catch the teacher’s union gathering there for turkey melts and tuna clubs, or come on a day when McDowell is collaborating with local chefs on a soul food menu (think smothered chicken and rice or cheeseburger meatloaf). Sammy’s was even featured in Season 6 of Hulu’s Small Business Revolution.

Two subs with bacon, turkey, provolone, lettuce and tomato in buns on a a green and white checkered paper.
Subs from Sammy’s Avenue Eatery.
Sammy’s Avenue Eatery

Bar La Grassa

Copy Link

James Beard Award-winning chef Isaac Becker’s sultry Italian restaurant is a North Loop classic. Start with the soft eggs and lobster bruschetta, infused with intoxicating truffle oil. Then it’s onto the pasta: Mafalda bolognese, crab ravioli, or red wine spaghetti sprinkled with pine nuts. Bar La Grassa’s open-floor dining room is elegant and a little crowded, which gives it the convivial feel of a French brasserie.

Dark red spaghetti topped with seeds in a white dish.
Red wine spaghetti from Bar La Grassa.
Bar La Grassa

Union Hmong Kitchen

Copy Link

Chef Yia Vang first started Union Hmong Kitchen as a roving pop-up around the Twin Cities. When he 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. Years later, his pop-up Union Hmong Kitchen is now a permanent restaurant in the North Loop’s Graze food hall, and Vang was a 2022 James Beard finalist for best chef Midwest. The menu standouts at UHK are the Zoo Siab meals — which means “happy meals” in the Hmong language — made with proteins like chile-glazed pork shoulder and Hmong sausage, all served with purple sticky rice, pickled veggies, and sides like chilled khao sen noodles. Vang’s much-anticipated restaurant, Vinai, is on the horizon, and his noodle pop-up Mee-Ka is now open in Uptown.

Grilled whole fish with purple rice and greens on a red plate on a grey wooden table.
Whole fish from UHK.
Union Hmong Kitchen

Soul Bowl

Copy Link

Chef Gerard Klass and Brittney Alise Klass started Soul Bowl as a pop-up in 2018 with a mission to celebrate the culture and community of North Minneapolis: For two days, they served bowls of black-eyed peas, cornbread dressing, and barbecue-braised beef out of New Rules on Lowry Avenue, and ran a line around the block. The Klasses have since expanded Soul Bowl to two permanent locations at Graze Provisions and Libations in Minneapolis’s North Loop, and on Chicago Avenue in Richfield (plus a stand at Target Field). The restaurant is beloved for its customizable soul food bowls: Diners can start with bases like mac and cheese (eminently creamy and well-seasoned) or yellow rice, add veggies (think sweet plantains, smoked mushrooms, and candied yams), and finish with meats like barbecue chicken and Cajun salmon.

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

Spoon and Stable

Copy Link

Chef Gavin Kaysen worked as an executive chef for Daniel Boulud before leaving New York for Minneapolis, his hometown, in 2014. His list of restaurants — three Bellecour Bakery locations, Demi’s intimate tasting menu experience, opulent Mara at the Four Seasons Hotel — is long, but there’s something essential and enduring about Spoon and Stable. This North Loop restaurant, which dates to 1906, was once a horse stable. The menu changes often, keeping pace with Midwest seasonality, but still manages to feel timeless. Expect dishes like cappelletti with butternut squash, striped bass with collard greens, and a delicate strawberry and sorrel mille-feuille.

A delicate green and pink mille-feuille dessert in a white dish.
Strawberry and sorrel mille-feuille from Spoon and Stable.
Erin Kincheloe

Billy Sushi ビリー寿司

Copy Link

At first, it was chef Enkhbileg “Billy” Tserenbat’s sushi food truck that became a sensation. Now, it’s his glam North Loop restaurant, Billy Sushi, which he opened in the middle of the pandemic. Tserenbat is known for his larger-than-life presence, both as a host and as a chef. The sushi menu runs a little pricey, but the fatty cuts of sashimi and creative rolls like the Toro Mania — a kakiage mix topped with bluefin tuna, scallion, and yuzu sauce — make it well worth the cost. Specialty rolls run $19 to $35, and you can pay a small premium for the Oh Em Gii, a tempura and spicy tuna roll topped with a sheet of 24-karat gold. Billy Sushi is typically quite busy — a reservation is a wise move.

A sushi roll topped with wagyu beef and gold leaf on a black plate.
Billy Sushi’s lobster wagyu roll.
Billy Sushi

Owamni by The Sioux Chef

Copy Link

Owamni won the intensely competitive James Beard Award for best new restaurant in 2022. Here, chef Sean Sherman and co-owner Dana Thompson have brought Indigenous cooking to the forefront of the national restaurant scene. The decolonized menu is built on foods that are indigenous to North America — meaning no flour, dairy, beef, pork, or refined sugar is used in the kitchen. In their place are game tartare with duck fat squash, smoked lake trout tostadas, and Labrador tea custard. Owamni started as a kickstarter campaign, breaking a site record in 2016 by bringing in $150,000 in a month. Today, it’s a modern, full-service, Indigenous restaurant, stationed in a white stone building on the banks of the Mississippi River, not far from St. Anthony Falls — or, in the Dakota language, Owámniyomni, a sacred site of peace and well-being.

Oglala Lakota chef Sean Sherman stands behind the serving bar at his restaurant Owamni. Sherman is plating food on a white plate; he is wearing his hair in two braids and is wearing a black T-shirt. There are two people in the kitchen behind him, and lamps hang down over the bar from the ceiling.
Chef Sean Sherman in Owamni’s kitchen.
Heidi Ehalt

Pimento Jamaican Kitchen & Rum Bar

Copy Link

Pimento is a pillar of Jamaican cuisine in the Twin Cities, and a popular resident of Nicollet Avenue’s Eat Street. Chef Tomme Beevas and his neighbor Yoni Reinharz started Pimento as a pop-up in 2012, carting Beevas’s backyard grill around the city; in 2013, they won Food Network’s Food Court Wars. During the social uprisings of 2020, Pimento operated a robust mutual aid network out of its restaurant space. Today, Beevas continues to serve as a community leader with Pimento Relief Services, a nonprofit he runs that supports healing and long-term rebuilding in Black communities. The menu features entrees like Kingston-style jerk chicken, slow-roasted jerk pork, curry veggies, and braised oxtail, all served on a bed of seasoned rice and beans with slaw and plantains, dressed with a selection of house-made sauces. Make sure to try the sweet, pillowy coco bread, too. The rum bar often hosts live music and other events on the weekends.

Lu's Sandwiches

Copy Link

A casual spot on Nicollet Avenue’s Eat Street, Lu’s serves generous banh mi that are expertly balanced in their crusty/chewy and pickled/roasted ratios. The baguettes crackle beautifully around the tender grilled pork, and the zippy vegetables balance the savory meats. The classic grilled pork banh mi is one of the best in the city, but options like the Special Ham, made with Vietnamese meatloaf and pork belly, or the pork meatballs (marinated Shanghai-style) are also great bets. Lu’s operates three Minneapolis locations and a food truck, but its cafeteria-style space on Nicollet is the original spot.

Quang Restaurant

Copy Link

One of the cornerstone restaurants of Nicollet Avenue’s Eat Street corridor, Quang was founded by matriarch chef Lung Tran 30 years ago. The original Quang was a four-table bakery across the street from the present location, where Tran and her five kids sold Vietnamese pastries and food. The restaurant grew in popularity as news of Tran’s fragrant, hearty dishes traveled by word of mouth. Three decades later, the current restaurant is run by her children, and it’s now a go-to for enormous bowls of pho — aromatic and balanced, the beef sliced into delicate sheets — classic stir fry and noodle dishes like pad thai, and banh mi with red roast pork and pate. Quang’s space is casual and bustling on any weekend evening.

A smiling woman in a red shirt and hair net in the kitchen at Quang, building banh mi.
Chef Khue Pham in Quang’s kitchen.
Rebecca Slater / Eater Twin Cities

Sooki & Mimi

Copy Link

James Beard Award-winning chef Ann Kim’s Sooki & Mimi is perhaps the most exciting restaurant to open in Minneapolis’s Uptown neighborhood in recent years. A sibling to other Eater favorites like Pizzeria Lola and Young Joni, Sooki & Mimi recently transitioned from a prix fixe to an a la carte menu. Look for dishes like mushroom birria tacos and a butcher’s cut with morita au poivre. The cocktail menu, formulated by veteran bar lead Adam Gorski, is equally notable, including items like tepache fermented on-site. Kim also has a thing for hidden bars, so look for the light in the alleyway on the building’s west side and slip into the basement speakeasy, where the vinyls are always on rotation.

The view of the sun-filled dining room and bar. Lots of blonde wood, vaulted ceilings with soaring beams. A small bar is at the center of the room with a few stools and in the background are several, soft focused staff members in white shirts and black pants.
Inside Sooki & Mimi in Uptown.
Jes Lahay

Taqueria y Birrieria Las Cuatro Milpas

Copy Link

Las Cuatro Milpas is said to be the first restaurant to introduce birria to the Twin Cities restaurant scene, when chef Hector Hernandez, originally of Mexico’s Zacatecas state, moved to Minneapolis. Twenty-some years later, birria tacos and quesabirria are among the nation’s hottest culinary trends — and Hernandez is still selling Minneapolis’s finest birria dishes under an emerald-green awning on East Lake Street. Stop in for lamb, goat, and beef birria tacos, cups of hot, brothy birria stew, or pizzabirria, loaded with cheese and served in an aluminum tin. Las Cuatro Milpas is a cornerstone restaurant on East Lake Street’s bustling stretch of Mexican restaurants and groceries.

A person’s hands dip a birria taco into a Styrofoam cup of birria stem with a lime wedge on the rim and a plastic spoon.
Birria tacos from Las Cuatro Milpas.
Las Cuatro Milpas

Ramen Kazama

Copy Link

Chef Matthew Kazama left his gig as ramen chef at Fuji Ya, one of the Twin Cities’ first Japanese restaurants, to open Ramen Kazama in 2015. A drummer and singer in the Minneapolis punk rock group Birthday Suits, Kazama brings a bit of punk flair to his work as a ramen chef, infusing his cooking with the same passion that drives him as a musician. The ramen menu plays to classics like rich tonkotsu and shoyu ramen, though the karamiso ramen, made with a spicy pork miso broth, is a standout. The Ramen Kazama space is casual but cozy — there are few better spots to enjoy a steaming bowl of ramen on a snowy winter evening.

Reverie Cafe + Bar

Copy Link

Located on a bustling corner in Minneapolis’s Powderhorn neighborhood, Reverie Cafe and Bar is one of the Twin Cities’ most-loved vegan restaurants. The entire menu is plant-based, built around familiar dishes with fine dining flourishes. Mojo smoked Brussels sprouts with sweet horseradish crema make for a great starter. As far as entrees go, the crispy cauliflower tacos and kimchi BLT (made with tempura tempeh bacon) are highlights. Reverie’s dark chocolate beignets are almost the size of baseballs — they come hot, dusted in sugar, and suffering nothing from the lack of butter. The backyard patio is a favorite spot for dining at all times of the year.

In the foreground is a wooden fence; behind it are diners dressed in warm clothing, and a bright, colorful graffiti mural made with mostly orange, blue, and red colors, lit by globe lights in an outdoor space.
Reverie’s outdoor patio.
Theresa Scarborough

Matt's Bar

Copy Link

Matt’s, stationed in the first floor of a simple stucco building on Cedar Avenue, is one of the most legendary dives in the Twin Cities. (Former President Barack Obama ate here in 2014.) It claims to be the home of the original Jucy Lucy — that iconic, gooey, cheese-stuffed burger. (To distinguish its Lucy from other Twin Cities versions that have since proliferated, Matt’s spells its burger without the “I.”) According to local legend, in 1954, a Matt’s customer requested two beef patties with a slice of cheese in the middle. After his first oozy bite, he declared “That’s one juicy Lucy!” The restaurant has maintained its exquisitely divey interior: Slide into a pleather booth or grab a seat at the roomy, unadorned bar.

A white stucco building with red awnings and large red lettering that says “Matt’s” on Cedar Avenue in south Minneapolis.
Matt’s Bar on Cedar Avenue.
Matt’s Bar

Chef Facundo DeFraia learned the secrets of Argentinian cuisine in his grandmother’s Buenos Aires kitchen, and after a stint on the west coast, he landed in Minneapolis, where he helped his friend Danny del Prado open Martina. In 2018, DeFraia struck out on his own and opened Boludo in south Minneapolis. The tiny Nicollet Avenue restaurant, styled with black and white tile and Argentinian mementos affixed on the walls, really does feel like a pizza and empanada shop straight from the avenues of Buenos Aires. The menu is succinct: DeFraia’s empanadas are crispy and densely flavorful, and the chewy pizza crust has a touch of sweetness that makes a dreamy complement to the tangy tomato sauce.

Petite León

Copy Link

Chef Jorgé Guzmán impressively managed to open Petite León a year into the pandemic. Not long after, the restaurant earned him a James Beard nomination for best chef Midwest. Guzmán draws on his Yucatán peninsula roots with this menu, like the pollo al carbon, for example, or the Bavettee in piquillo sauce. The piquillo peppers, stuffed with tangy goat cheese, are a must; as are the fresh tuna agua chile and the creamy tamale. Bar lead Travis Serbus’s cocktail menu is notable as well. Look for citrus-forward pours like the Moon Dog, made with mezcal, tamarind, and lime.

A stark black dish with a black central line of charred bits decorated with pops of yellow and lavender. A pool of golden sauce sits off to the side and a faint dusting of gold powder decorates the top left side of the plate.
Petite León is a relative newcomer to Minneapolis’s Kingfield neighborhood.
Lucy Hawthorne

Mama Sheila's House of Soul

Copy Link

Chef Sheila Brathwaite and her husband Frederick Brathwaite opened Mama Sheila’s on the corner of Bloomington Avenue and 38th Street in south Minneapolis in 2018. In the years since, the restaurant has established itself as one of the Cities’ premier destinations for exceptional Southern cooking — a tricky cuisine to track down in this chilly northern landscape. The soul food buffet is stocked with Southern classics like catfish, smothered chicken, salmon croquettes, candied yams, and black-eyed peas. (Leave room for banana pudding and peach cobbler.) Mama Sheila’s always has soul music playing, and the restaurant’s gilded interior, hung with portraits of Prince and other Black musicians, is a go-to gathering space for events, parties, and community meetings.


Copy Link

Chef Ann Ahmed’s latest restaurant is an enchanting homage to Laotian and Southeast Asian cooking, and one of Eater’s best new restaurants of 2022. After opening Lemongrass in Brooklyn Park and Lat14 in Golden Valley, Ahmed’s debut of Khâluna on Lyndale Avenue is perhaps her most ambitious yet — and another step down the path she’s paving for Southeast Asian food in the Twin Cities. Try the mieng paa — a small plate made with puffed rice, banana blossoms, and peanuts — the duck laab, or the whole fried red snapper with mango tamarind slaw. Ahmed’s rainbow rice, when sprinkled with lime, turns from delicate blue to lavender. The bar menu offers cocktails with flavors of passionfruit, persimmon, and makrut lime.

Rainbow rice and sakoo, a type of tapioca dumpling, on plates, with sauce and a lime wedge.
Rainbow rice and sakoo from Khâluna.
Caroline Yang for Eater

Revival MPLS

Copy Link

Co-owners Nick Rancone and chef Thomas Boemer helped kickstart a fried chicken renaissance in the Twin Cities when they opened Revival in 2015. Since then, they’ve expanded to St. Paul and St. Louis Park, and combined Revival Smoked Meats, their Carolina-style barbecue operation, with their fried chicken menu on Nicollet Avenue. The Southern-style offerings range from Tennessee hot half-bird, its fatty skin expertly crisped, to classic brisket and pork shoulder. Save room for a slice of not-too-sweet banana cream pie.

Two plates with towers of Tennessee hot and Southern fried chicken.
Hot chicken from Revival.
Joy Summers


Copy Link

Chef Danny del Prado is one of the Twin Cities’ most celebrated chefs, and his Linden Hills restaurant Martina is an elegant platform for his Argentinian and Italian cuisine. (Sister restaurants include Rosalia, Colita, and as of summer 2022, Macanda.) 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. From the grill, try the pork chop with corn puree, or the parillada for two, made with bavette, sweetbreads, chorizo, and bone marrow.

A white bowl filled with spaghetti with red sauce and lobster.
Spaghetti and lobster from Martina.
Kevin Kramer/Eater Twin Cities