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W.A. Frost and Company in St. Paul.
W.A. Frost and Company

9 Twin Cities Restaurants Where the Views Match the Food

Luminous city skylines, rushing waterfalls, and verdant garden settings

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W.A. Frost and Company in St. Paul.
| W.A. Frost and Company

What Minneapolis and St. Paul lack in hills and mountains, they make up for in other gorgeous vantage points: bluffs above the Mississippi River, 27th-floor cocktail bars, and lush, Secret Garden-style patios. (For a guide to dining on high, here’s a list of essential rooftop bars in the Twin Cities.) Watch the sun set behind the Minneapolis skyline from Aster Cafe’s breezy patio, hear the rush of St. Anthony Falls from Owamni, or gaze on St. Paul’s charming downtown square with an absinthe cocktail in hand at Meritage. Here are nine restaurants with excellent views in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Note that these restaurants are listed geographically.

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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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Sample Room

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The Sample Room abuts Gluek Park and the mighty Mississippi, though the latter is only visible from the restaurant’s sprawling bluff-top patio. Come for mimosas, French toast, and classic eggs Benedict at brunch — or watch the sun set on the river with an heirloom salad and lamb birria tacos in hand.

A hand holds a small card depicting the Sample Room up to the background of the actual Sample Room, matching the lines in the card to the building’s facade. The building is light tan and brick.
The Sample Room.
The Sample Room

Nicollet Island Inn

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The limestone building that houses the Nicollet Island Inn was first built in 1893 — more than a century later, the hotel and restaurant retains much of its old-fashioned charm. Both the outdoor patio and the indoor dining room, bar, and lounge have scenic views of the river and the island. Come for a weekend brunch or enjoy a wedge salad and New York strip steak for dinner.

Aster Cafe

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One of the Twin Cities’ most romantic restaurants, Aster Cafe offers marvelous views of both the Mississippi River and the downtown Minneapolis skyline from its cobblestone patio. Order a glass of orange wine and a basil flatbread and watch the sun set behind the skyscrapers — or come for Sunday brunch and enjoy live swing music.

Owamni by The Sioux Chef

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Located in a white stone building near St. Anthony Falls — known as Owámniyomni in the Dakota language — James Beard award-nominated Indigenous restaurant Owamni has an excellent vantage point of the powerful Mississippi rushing through Minneapolis. New this summer is the Tantanka Truck: Order Indigenous arepa-style tacos and grab a seat on the lower patio.

Prohibition Bar

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Possibly the highest-elevated public lounge in Minnesota, Prohibition offers panoramic views of downtown Minneapolis and beyond. The cocktails are worth the elevator ride to the 27th floor of the Foshay Tower: Try a Manhattan made with oak-aged bourbon, or the “Jackie Diamond,” a mix of Keeper’s Heart whiskey, cherry dark bitters, and orange peel in a smoked glass.

Cafe & Bar Lurcat

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Verdant Loring Park looms large through the floor-to-ceiling windows at Cafe & Bar Lurcat. Take in views of the shimmering lake from the chic dining room and order a selection of small plates to share (think ginger fried rice, steak tartare, and citrus beet cured salmon). Pair them with a half bottle of chardonnay.

The Kenwood

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The Kenwood doesn’t sit atop a skyscraper or even opposite a city park, but there’s something charming about the quiet streetscape beyond its picture windows. Come for a summer brunch and catch views of the Lowry Hill neighorhood’s Victorian mansions over an omelette Florentine or pancakes with pistachio butter.

W. A. Frost and Company

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W.A. Frost and Company has arguably the most gorgeous patio in town. Lush with hedges, mossy trees, and ivy crawling over the restaurant’s entire facade, the garden views here are stunning — come for happy hour and pair bacon-poached chicken wings with a juniper and rosemary gin and tonic.

Meritage

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A local bastion of fine French cuisine, Meritage has lovely views of downtown St. Paul’s charming red-brick square and the stately Landmark Center. Start with a half dozen oysters and a champagne cocktail at the curved, Parisian-style bar — for dinner, the duck breast à l’orange is worth the $44 price tag.

Sample Room

A hand holds a small card depicting the Sample Room up to the background of the actual Sample Room, matching the lines in the card to the building’s facade. The building is light tan and brick.
The Sample Room.
The Sample Room

The Sample Room abuts Gluek Park and the mighty Mississippi, though the latter is only visible from the restaurant’s sprawling bluff-top patio. Come for mimosas, French toast, and classic eggs Benedict at brunch — or watch the sun set on the river with an heirloom salad and lamb birria tacos in hand.

A hand holds a small card depicting the Sample Room up to the background of the actual Sample Room, matching the lines in the card to the building’s facade. The building is light tan and brick.
The Sample Room.
The Sample Room

Nicollet Island Inn

The limestone building that houses the Nicollet Island Inn was first built in 1893 — more than a century later, the hotel and restaurant retains much of its old-fashioned charm. Both the outdoor patio and the indoor dining room, bar, and lounge have scenic views of the river and the island. Come for a weekend brunch or enjoy a wedge salad and New York strip steak for dinner.

Aster Cafe

One of the Twin Cities’ most romantic restaurants, Aster Cafe offers marvelous views of both the Mississippi River and the downtown Minneapolis skyline from its cobblestone patio. Order a glass of orange wine and a basil flatbread and watch the sun set behind the skyscrapers — or come for Sunday brunch and enjoy live swing music.

Owamni by The Sioux Chef

Located in a white stone building near St. Anthony Falls — known as Owámniyomni in the Dakota language — James Beard award-nominated Indigenous restaurant Owamni has an excellent vantage point of the powerful Mississippi rushing through Minneapolis. New this summer is the Tantanka Truck: Order Indigenous arepa-style tacos and grab a seat on the lower patio.

Prohibition Bar

Possibly the highest-elevated public lounge in Minnesota, Prohibition offers panoramic views of downtown Minneapolis and beyond. The cocktails are worth the elevator ride to the 27th floor of the Foshay Tower: Try a Manhattan made with oak-aged bourbon, or the “Jackie Diamond,” a mix of Keeper’s Heart whiskey, cherry dark bitters, and orange peel in a smoked glass.

Cafe & Bar Lurcat

Verdant Loring Park looms large through the floor-to-ceiling windows at Cafe & Bar Lurcat. Take in views of the shimmering lake from the chic dining room and order a selection of small plates to share (think ginger fried rice, steak tartare, and citrus beet cured salmon). Pair them with a half bottle of chardonnay.

The Kenwood

The Kenwood doesn’t sit atop a skyscraper or even opposite a city park, but there’s something charming about the quiet streetscape beyond its picture windows. Come for a summer brunch and catch views of the Lowry Hill neighorhood’s Victorian mansions over an omelette Florentine or pancakes with pistachio butter.

W. A. Frost and Company

W.A. Frost and Company has arguably the most gorgeous patio in town. Lush with hedges, mossy trees, and ivy crawling over the restaurant’s entire facade, the garden views here are stunning — come for happy hour and pair bacon-poached chicken wings with a juniper and rosemary gin and tonic.

Meritage

A local bastion of fine French cuisine, Meritage has lovely views of downtown St. Paul’s charming red-brick square and the stately Landmark Center. Start with a half dozen oysters and a champagne cocktail at the curved, Parisian-style bar — for dinner, the duck breast à l’orange is worth the $44 price tag.

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