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The 18 Essential Minneapolis Restaurants, October '13

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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.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Broders' Pasta Bar

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5000 Penn Ave. S
Minneapolis, MN 55419
(612) 925-9202
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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).

2. Tilia

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2726 W 43rd St
Minneapolis, MN 55410
(612) 354-2806
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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.

3. Piccolo

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4300 Bryant Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55409
(612) 827-8111
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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).

4. Corner Table

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4257 Nicollet Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55409
(612) 823-0011
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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.

5. Quang Restaurant

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2719 Nicollet Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55408
(612) 870-4739
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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.

6. Burch Steak & Pizza Bar

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1942 Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 843-1515
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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.

7. Butcher & the Boar

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1121 Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 238-8888
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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).

8. HauteDish

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119 Washington Ave. N.
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(612) 338-8484
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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.

9. The Bachelor Farmer

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50 North 2nd Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(612) 206-3920
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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.

10. Borough

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730 Washington Ave N
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(612) 354-3135
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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.

11. Sea Change

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818 South 2nd Street
Minneapolis, MN 55415
(612) 225-6499
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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.

12. Brasa Premium Rotisserie

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600 E Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 379-3030
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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.

13. The Anchor Fish & Chips

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302 13th Avenue NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413
(612) 676-1300
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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.

14. Victory 44

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2203 44th Ave N
Minneapolis, MN 55412
(612) 588-2228
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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).

15. The Blue Door Pub

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1819 Selby Ave.
St Paul, MN 55104
(651) 493-1865
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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.

16. Ngon Vietnamese Bistro

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799 University Ave W
Saint Paul, MN 55104
(651) 222-3301
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"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.

17. Meritage, a Brasserie

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410 Saint Peter St
Saint Paul, MN 55102
(651) 222-5670
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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.

18. The Strip Club

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378 Maria Ave
Saint Paul, MN 55106
(651) 793-6247
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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).

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1. Broders' Pasta Bar

5000 Penn Ave. S, Minneapolis, MN 55419
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).
5000 Penn Ave. S
Minneapolis, MN 55419

2. Tilia

2726 W 43rd St, Minneapolis, MN 55410
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.
2726 W 43rd St
Minneapolis, MN 55410

3. Piccolo

4300 Bryant Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55409
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).
4300 Bryant Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55409

4. Corner Table

4257 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55409
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.
4257 Nicollet Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55409

5. Quang Restaurant

2719 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408
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.
2719 Nicollet Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55408

6. Burch Steak & Pizza Bar

1942 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403
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.
1942 Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55403

7. Butcher & the Boar

1121 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403
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).
1121 Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55403

8. HauteDish

119 Washington Ave. N., Minneapolis, MN 55401
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.
119 Washington Ave. N.
Minneapolis, MN 55401

9. The Bachelor Farmer

50 North 2nd Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55401
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.
50 North 2nd Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55401

10. Borough

730 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55401
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.
730 Washington Ave N
Minneapolis, MN 55401

11. Sea Change

818 South 2nd Street, Minneapolis, MN 55415
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.
818 South 2nd Street
Minneapolis, MN 55415

12. Brasa Premium Rotisserie

600 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414
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.
600 E Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55414

13. The Anchor Fish & Chips

302 13th Avenue NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413
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.
302 13th Avenue NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413

14. Victory 44

2203 44th Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55412
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).
2203 44th Ave N
Minneapolis, MN 55412

15. The Blue Door Pub

1819 Selby Ave., St Paul, MN 55104
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.
1819 Selby Ave.
St Paul, MN 55104

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16. Ngon Vietnamese Bistro

799 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55104
"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.
799 University Ave W
Saint Paul, MN 55104

17. Meritage, a Brasserie

410 Saint Peter St, Saint Paul, MN 55102
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.
410 Saint Peter St
Saint Paul, MN 55102

18. The Strip Club

378 Maria Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55106
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).
378 Maria Ave
Saint Paul, MN 55106

Related Maps