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The dishes that define our little part of the world.
The dishes that define our little part of the world.
Katie Cannon

The Iconic Dishes of the Twin Cities

The dishes that taste like home.

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The dishes that define our little part of the world.
| Katie Cannon

When describing our cities, there are plenty of ways to approach a stranger. There is the Minnesota Nice standard: we can out-nice each other into a standstill at a four-way stop. We are friendly to a fault, just so long as you swear allegiance to the correct Ju(i)cy Lucy. Our 10,000 lakes are a source of pride and everyone has somewhere "up North" to visit on summer weekends. Kids are taught to ice skate before they can walk and we absolutely do not talk like those people in the movie Fargo. (Go bears!)

For us, we can't describe our state without including the flavors of Minnesota. Holidays smell like lefse. A fresh-caught walleye fish-fry is a holy occasion. And the steak dinner is king of meals in our land of bread and milk.

These are the icons of our dining industry, the foods that make us feel at home. But we also want to hear from you! What is the one dish you would use to introduce your Minnesota to the world? Please let us know in the comments!

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Tavern on Grand

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656 Grand Ave
Saint Paul, MN 55105
(651) 228-9030
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Every other summer weekend it is our Minnesotan duty to pack up the car and head to the cabin. Once there, we take to the nearest lake in search of our state fish: the walleye. While other fish from the store can be prepared any which way, walleye requires a shore lunch. Whenever we can't make it to the cabin, Tavern on Grand has us covered with the tender fish, fried perfectly crispy served on chewy bread with tart and creamy tartare sauce.
Katie Cannon

2. Murray's Steakhouse

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26 S 6th St
Minneapolis, MN 55402
(612) 339-0909
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We are a meat and potatoes people and the butter knife steak at Murray's is the pinnacle of Midwestern eating. Charred on the outside, cooked to order on the inside and smooth as Dino's voice paired with two fingers of Scotch.
Katie Cannon

3. Al's Breakfast

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413 14th Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 331-9991
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The blueberry studded pancake arrives threatening to bury the plate attempting to carry it. What seems like a million bluberries mingle with the twangy buttermilk dough, shrouded by a toasty brown crust. Don't be shy with that maple syrup. This fat cake is just like mom never made.
Eater file photo

4. Matt's Bar

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3500 Cedar Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55407
(612) 722-7072
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We can argue all day about who has the first or the best cheese stuffed burger, but you can't call yourself a Minnesotan without choosing a side. We're coming down on Matt's Bar. The perfectly sized patty, the hot-as-the-surface-of-the-sun cheese, satisfyingly squishy bun and perfectly seasoned grill make for the best jucy lucy in town.

5. FIKA

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2600 Park Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55407
(612) 871-4907
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Many of the region's early settlers were of the Scandinavian variety and the Swedes brought with them a tasty, tasty take on meatballs. Subtly spiced (because, let's be honest, these folks were pretty light on the spice in most instances) the meatballs are dressed in a creamy gravy and at Fika attached to the American Swedish Institute they are served atop a creamy bed of mashed potatoes with a lingonberry accompaniment. The tart-sweetness is a fabulous complement to the richness of the dish. Heaven even if your ancestors didn't pass down any Ole and Lena jokes.

6. St. Paul Grill

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350 Market St
Saint Paul, MN 55102
(651) 224-7455
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While the rest of the world might be discovering the native grain we call wild rice as a "super food," we're still pouring ours into a cream-heavy soup. Wild Rice Soup is as cozy as a cableknit sweater, mellow as Sunday morning. Health food it's not, but it's a nice way to get your grains. The down-home version at the elegant St. Paul Grill acts as an ambassador to eating in our corner of the world.
St. Paul Grill

7. Kramarczuk's East European Deli

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215 E Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 379-3018
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Polish heaven must smell amazing. At least, that's what we're assuming after every heavily perfumed visit to Kramarczuk's in Northeast Minneapolis. The polish sausage here, available in the deli or at the restaurant is best served nestled into a bed of sauerkraut. The wafts of caraway, mellowed cabbage and a serious punch of garlic is entirely intoxicating.

8. Mickey's Diner

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36 7th St W
Saint Paul, MN 55102
(651) 698-0259
Visit Website
We are a people who enjoy a hearty breakfast. That is why we will pack in the diners dotting every major roadway early in the morning for a bottomless cup of coffee, eggs our way with hashbrowns, toast and meat. Here inside the cities, that means hitting Mickey's Diner for America's Favorite All Day, it's just exactly that served around the clock, seven days a week.

1. Tavern on Grand

656 Grand Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105
Katie Cannon
Every other summer weekend it is our Minnesotan duty to pack up the car and head to the cabin. Once there, we take to the nearest lake in search of our state fish: the walleye. While other fish from the store can be prepared any which way, walleye requires a shore lunch. Whenever we can't make it to the cabin, Tavern on Grand has us covered with the tender fish, fried perfectly crispy served on chewy bread with tart and creamy tartare sauce.
656 Grand Ave
Saint Paul, MN 55105

2. Murray's Steakhouse

26 S 6th St, Minneapolis, MN 55402
Katie Cannon
We are a meat and potatoes people and the butter knife steak at Murray's is the pinnacle of Midwestern eating. Charred on the outside, cooked to order on the inside and smooth as Dino's voice paired with two fingers of Scotch.
26 S 6th St
Minneapolis, MN 55402

3. Al's Breakfast

413 14th Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
Eater file photo
The blueberry studded pancake arrives threatening to bury the plate attempting to carry it. What seems like a million bluberries mingle with the twangy buttermilk dough, shrouded by a toasty brown crust. Don't be shy with that maple syrup. This fat cake is just like mom never made.
413 14th Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414

4. Matt's Bar

3500 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55407
We can argue all day about who has the first or the best cheese stuffed burger, but you can't call yourself a Minnesotan without choosing a side. We're coming down on Matt's Bar. The perfectly sized patty, the hot-as-the-surface-of-the-sun cheese, satisfyingly squishy bun and perfectly seasoned grill make for the best jucy lucy in town.
3500 Cedar Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55407

5. FIKA

2600 Park Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407
Many of the region's early settlers were of the Scandinavian variety and the Swedes brought with them a tasty, tasty take on meatballs. Subtly spiced (because, let's be honest, these folks were pretty light on the spice in most instances) the meatballs are dressed in a creamy gravy and at Fika attached to the American Swedish Institute they are served atop a creamy bed of mashed potatoes with a lingonberry accompaniment. The tart-sweetness is a fabulous complement to the richness of the dish. Heaven even if your ancestors didn't pass down any Ole and Lena jokes.
2600 Park Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55407

6. St. Paul Grill

350 Market St, Saint Paul, MN 55102
St. Paul Grill
While the rest of the world might be discovering the native grain we call wild rice as a "super food," we're still pouring ours into a cream-heavy soup. Wild Rice Soup is as cozy as a cableknit sweater, mellow as Sunday morning. Health food it's not, but it's a nice way to get your grains. The down-home version at the elegant St. Paul Grill acts as an ambassador to eating in our corner of the world.
350 Market St
Saint Paul, MN 55102

7. Kramarczuk's East European Deli

215 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414
Polish heaven must smell amazing. At least, that's what we're assuming after every heavily perfumed visit to Kramarczuk's in Northeast Minneapolis. The polish sausage here, available in the deli or at the restaurant is best served nestled into a bed of sauerkraut. The wafts of caraway, mellowed cabbage and a serious punch of garlic is entirely intoxicating.
215 E Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55414

8. Mickey's Diner

36 7th St W, Saint Paul, MN 55102
We are a people who enjoy a hearty breakfast. That is why we will pack in the diners dotting every major roadway early in the morning for a bottomless cup of coffee, eggs our way with hashbrowns, toast and meat. Here inside the cities, that means hitting Mickey's Diner for America's Favorite All Day, it's just exactly that served around the clock, seven days a week.
36 7th St W
Saint Paul, MN 55102

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