clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

The 18 Essential Minneapolis Restaurants, October '13

View as Map

It's time to update the Eater 18, your answer and ours to any question that begins, "Can you recommend a restaurant?" This highly elite group covers the entire city, spans myriad cuisines and, collectively, satisfies all of your restaurant needs—casual and less-casual—save for those occasions when you absolutely must spend half a paycheck (sorry, Alma and La Belle Vie). Every couple of months, we'll be adding pertinent restaurants that were omitted, have newly become eligible (restaurants must be open at least six months), or have stepped up their game. And keep in mind, this list is presented in no particular order.

This time around, after much reflecting and poring over reader emails and comments, we've rotated a couple restaurants off the list: Sea Salt (because its oh-so-short season is almost over), Bar la Grassa (because there's a new Isaac Becker joint up in here, and we're going to limit Becker to one restaurant per Eater 18), and Masu Sushi & Robata (because we've been hearing some lackluster feedback). New to the list: Isaac Becker's Burch Steak & Pizza, Kingfield's Corner Table, and St. Paul's Ngon Vietnamese Bistro.

And, just in case, rather than having a stage-4 meltdown over our having excluded your favorite restaurant from the list, wouldn't it be more productive to just nominate it for inclusion next time? Discuss, debate, comment.


October 2013: Added: Burch Steak & Pizza, Corner Table, Ngon Vietnamese Bistro; Dropped: Sea Salt, Bar la Grassa, Masu Sushi & Robata
July 2013: Added: Meritage, Borough, Sea Salt; Dropped: Sen Yai Sen Lek, Pizzeria Lola, Fika
April 2013: Added: Sea Change, Bar la Grassa, Haute Dish; Dropped: Travail, 112 Eatery, Szechuan Spice.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Broders' Pasta Bar

Copy Link
A South Minneapolis classic, Broders' often has a line of pasta-hungry diners out the door. Try the fettuccine con cinghiale (pasta with wild boar, porcini mushrooms, caramelized onions, and chestunuts).
Both lunch and dinner at this Linden Hills spot are great, but we really love Tilia for late-night dining (and drinking) and weekend brunch. The restaurant serves its "In-Between Menu" from 10 p.m. to close every day, so you can always get that fish taco torta. For weekend brunch, the Reuben benedict is worth the wait; and don't forget to add a side of smattered hash browns.

Piccolo

Copy Link
Chef Doug Flicker changes the Piccolo menu seasonally at this Southwest Minneapolis standby. The small plates are always adventurous and creative, and the best part is that you can order as many or as few as you want, to suit your appetite (and budget).

Corner Table

Copy Link
This South Minneapolis neighborhood restaurant has long been known for its original dishes and also its focus on sustainability. It just rolled out its fall menu, with standouts like boudin blanc, pappardelle with duck heart ragu, country ham wrapped cod, and its trademark, must-order charcuterie.

Quang Restaurant

Copy Link
Eat Street offers a ton of Vietnamese options, but Quang is the one that's always packed. Consistently good food, fast service, and low prices (for big portions) bring the crowds for pho and vermicelli salad. At lunch, the banh mi is one of the best on the block.

Burch Steak & Pizza Bar

Copy Link
Isaac Becker's latest restaurant is a two-floor dynamo: the ground floor holds the schmancier Burch Steak, with the more casual Burch Pizza in the basement level below (the steak menu is also available downstairs). The steak is available as grass-fed, prime beef, or domestic wagyu, in multiple cuts and sizes. Get the steak, by all means, but don't neglect the dumpling section of the menu (an entire section devoted to dumplings!) or the sides that Becker always does so well.

Butcher & the Boar

Copy Link
Widely considered the top new restaurant of 2012, Butcher & the Boar's got everything Minneapolis loves: a wide variety of housemade sausages and cured meats, a great selection of local beers, and, best of all, a year-round patio (heated and enclosed during the winter).

HauteDish

Copy Link
Landon Schoenefeld's North Loop restaurant may be best known for its creative takes on Minnesota hot dish fare—from tater tot "hautedish" to meatloaf in a can. But don't overlook the weekend offerings: an innovative brunch menu on both Saturday and Sunday and, most interestingly, a four-course veggie dinner on Sunday nights, always for the very reasonable price of $30.

The Bachelor Farmer

Copy Link
Bringing Minnesota dining back to its Nordic roots, Chef Paul Berglund offers a menu focusing on simple, seasonal fare. Make sure to order at least one (or two, or three) items from the "toasts" section of the menu.

Borough

Copy Link
With its North Loop location, basement bar (Parlour), and team of Travail alum chefs, this new entry to the Twin Cities dining scene has already made itself essential dining. Stick with the first and second courses to get more (and more adventurous) tastes like porchetta with tonnato, fried cauliflower with pickled chilies, or the oysters with smoked lemon ice and pickled shallots.

Sea Change

Copy Link
Tucked away in the Guthrie, Sea Change is often overlooked. But with James Beard award-winner Tim McKee at the helm and Jamie Malone - just named one of Food & Wine's Best New Chefs of 2013 - as chef de cuisine, Sea Change is one of Minneapolis's top tables. The restaurant serves lunch, but dinner is the real meal to go for, with an extensive raw bar that showcases the restaurant's creativity and its commitment to sustainable seafood.

Brasa Premium Rotisserie

Copy Link
Always packed, always tasty, Brasa is the casual restaurant from Alex Roberts (the James Beard-wining chef who also runs the kitchen at Alma). This is a place to go family style, and make sure to get the slow-roasted pork, the crispy yuca, and the collards.

The Anchor Fish & Chips

Copy Link
The fish and chips has made the Anchor justifiably famous, but everything on the British pub menu is reliably delicious, filling, and supremely affordable. On the weekends, they also offer a full English breakfast, The Full Whack.

Victory 44

Copy Link
Chef Erick Harcey dishes up an ever-changing blackboard of small plates at this North Minneapolis neighborhood spot. You can order a la carte (the Devils on Horseback and the bacon fries are standards), or get an 8-course tasting menu for two for $70 (or a 12-course for two for $100).

The Blue Door Pub

Copy Link
It's a controversial choice for Juicy Lucys (not Matt's or the 5-8?), but the Blue Door Pub has got a damn good Blucy. Whatever they've got as the special blucy is always worth a try.

Ngon Vietnamese Bistro

Copy Link
"Asian Fusion" doesn't do justice to the cooking at Ngon Vietnamese Bistro, so let's just look at a few of the dishes. From the crispy rabbit dumpling with tomato confit to the pho-spiced pork belly with cilantro sauce (and those are just from the appetizer list), the menu at this University Ave. restaurant is unlike any other spot in the cities. For entrees, choose from the "Traditionnel" or "Nouveau Indochine" sections of the menu, with dishes like oxtail pho or star-anised braised short ribs, respectively.

Meritage, a Brasserie

Copy Link
Known for its raw bar (and the oysters in particular), Meritage feels like a spot right out of 1920s Paris. While the entrees are enticing, the best bet is a glass of white wine (or bubbly) and an array of the amusements and introductions, including confit pig tongue, salmon rillettes, escargots, and potted foie gras mousse.

The Strip Club

Copy Link
If you're looking for a perfectly cooked New York Strip, this modern steakhouse is the place to go. But don't neglect the small plates menu, either, or you'll miss out on dishes like the Prairie Portage Poutine (french fries with sausage, gravy, wild rice, and brie).

Loading comments...

Broders' Pasta Bar

A South Minneapolis classic, Broders' often has a line of pasta-hungry diners out the door. Try the fettuccine con cinghiale (pasta with wild boar, porcini mushrooms, caramelized onions, and chestunuts).

Tilia

Both lunch and dinner at this Linden Hills spot are great, but we really love Tilia for late-night dining (and drinking) and weekend brunch. The restaurant serves its "In-Between Menu" from 10 p.m. to close every day, so you can always get that fish taco torta. For weekend brunch, the Reuben benedict is worth the wait; and don't forget to add a side of smattered hash browns.

Piccolo

Chef Doug Flicker changes the Piccolo menu seasonally at this Southwest Minneapolis standby. The small plates are always adventurous and creative, and the best part is that you can order as many or as few as you want, to suit your appetite (and budget).

Corner Table

This South Minneapolis neighborhood restaurant has long been known for its original dishes and also its focus on sustainability. It just rolled out its fall menu, with standouts like boudin blanc, pappardelle with duck heart ragu, country ham wrapped cod, and its trademark, must-order charcuterie.

Quang Restaurant

Eat Street offers a ton of Vietnamese options, but Quang is the one that's always packed. Consistently good food, fast service, and low prices (for big portions) bring the crowds for pho and vermicelli salad. At lunch, the banh mi is one of the best on the block.

Burch Steak & Pizza Bar

Isaac Becker's latest restaurant is a two-floor dynamo: the ground floor holds the schmancier Burch Steak, with the more casual Burch Pizza in the basement level below (the steak menu is also available downstairs). The steak is available as grass-fed, prime beef, or domestic wagyu, in multiple cuts and sizes. Get the steak, by all means, but don't neglect the dumpling section of the menu (an entire section devoted to dumplings!) or the sides that Becker always does so well.

Butcher & the Boar

Widely considered the top new restaurant of 2012, Butcher & the Boar's got everything Minneapolis loves: a wide variety of housemade sausages and cured meats, a great selection of local beers, and, best of all, a year-round patio (heated and enclosed during the winter).

HauteDish

Landon Schoenefeld's North Loop restaurant may be best known for its creative takes on Minnesota hot dish fare—from tater tot "hautedish" to meatloaf in a can. But don't overlook the weekend offerings: an innovative brunch menu on both Saturday and Sunday and, most interestingly, a four-course veggie dinner on Sunday nights, always for the very reasonable price of $30.

The Bachelor Farmer

Bringing Minnesota dining back to its Nordic roots, Chef Paul Berglund offers a menu focusing on simple, seasonal fare. Make sure to order at least one (or two, or three) items from the "toasts" section of the menu.

Borough

With its North Loop location, basement bar (Parlour), and team of Travail alum chefs, this new entry to the Twin Cities dining scene has already made itself essential dining. Stick with the first and second courses to get more (and more adventurous) tastes like porchetta with tonnato, fried cauliflower with pickled chilies, or the oysters with smoked lemon ice and pickled shallots.

Sea Change

Tucked away in the Guthrie, Sea Change is often overlooked. But with James Beard award-winner Tim McKee at the helm and Jamie Malone - just named one of Food & Wine's Best New Chefs of 2013 - as chef de cuisine, Sea Change is one of Minneapolis's top tables. The restaurant serves lunch, but dinner is the real meal to go for, with an extensive raw bar that showcases the restaurant's creativity and its commitment to sustainable seafood.

Brasa Premium Rotisserie

Always packed, always tasty, Brasa is the casual restaurant from Alex Roberts (the James Beard-wining chef who also runs the kitchen at Alma). This is a place to go family style, and make sure to get the slow-roasted pork, the crispy yuca, and the collards.

The Anchor Fish & Chips

The fish and chips has made the Anchor justifiably famous, but everything on the British pub menu is reliably delicious, filling, and supremely affordable. On the weekends, they also offer a full English breakfast, The Full Whack.

Victory 44

Chef Erick Harcey dishes up an ever-changing blackboard of small plates at this North Minneapolis neighborhood spot. You can order a la carte (the Devils on Horseback and the bacon fries are standards), or get an 8-course tasting menu for two for $70 (or a 12-course for two for $100).

The Blue Door Pub