In Minnesota, sparkling city lakes and the quaint neighborhoods that surround them may seem like a dime a dozen, but White Bear Lake, just a hop, skip and a jump from both downtowns, has a charm all its own. Retaining its small-town character WBL plays host to countless visitors during the summer months. To tempt guests and locals alike, it is home to over 80 restaurants and bars. Choosing just a few to highlight was not an easy task. Please add your favorites to the comment section below.Read More
Eight Excellent Places to Eat in White Bear Lake
The lakeside suburb is teeming with great eats.
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Red Lantern Sushi
For fresh sushi, and maybe some sake, locals head to the cozy Red Lantern. Japan-born chef Wei Wang, along with partner chef Jordan Wolterstorff, use sustainable, seasonal fish from around the globe in their dishes. The White Bear Lake location is a loungy, speakeasy-esque space with dim lighting and Sinatra crooning in the background. Weekend reservations are highly recommended.
Pezzo’s founding chef, Gary Bougie, who sadly passed away in 2014, brought his coal-fire pizza know-how to White Bear Lake after opening Slyce in a Chicago suburb. While the focus is on those bubbly pies straight out of the red-hot coal oven, the restaurant is also known for their generous salads like the Italian Table salad, overflowing with fresh veggies, prosciutto and pepperoni.
Acqua Restaurant and Wine Bar
For a fancier meal right on the water, choose one of several levels of outdoor seating at Acqua. The eatery serves contemporary Italian dishes in a gorgeous setting. It’s a perfect spot to spend a spring evening watching the moon rise over the marina while sipping a limoncello cocktail.
Family-owned Donatelli's has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, but the stripmall space is no rough and tumble dive. The laid-back, welcoming eatery has been serving pastas and Italian-American classics for over three decades. The massive menu includes traditional Italian favorites like baked manicotti and gnocchi as well as family friendly dishes like pizzas and Italian "fries"- homemade pizza crust covered with garlic butter and cheese and served with a side of red sauce for your dipping pleasure.
Open since 1995, Cravings is a quaint cafe with a charming drive-through to boot. While it’s sister restaurant, Cravings Wine Bar and Grille in Woodbury, boasts wine dinners and a contemporary elegant decor, the White Bear Lake location retains more of a down-home diner sensibility, with unassuming dishes like Belgian waffles and indulgent stuffed French toast. They keep it classic at dinner with rich Burgundy beef stew or hearty sandwiches and soups.
Big Wood Brewing
Relative newcomer Big Wood Brewery fits right in at White Bear Lake, although it could have easily found a home in Northwoods country. The charming tap room has plenty of wood accents to be sure. Wood chairs, a wood bar, even wood accents on the walls. Some of their award winning beers even have plaid on the cans. Brewmasters Jason Medvec, Steve Merila and Ty McBee keep 10 brews on tap at all times, rotating weekly. Food can be brought in from local eateries like Ingredients Cafe or Washington Square, where you can also find Big Wood beers on tap.
Owner and chef Pornouma (her friends call her Oh) Marid has been serving fiery Thai food in her humble shop for 11 years. Oh is proud of her made-to-order, MSG free dishes, many of which come from her family recipes. Perennial favorites include a variety of curry dishes, traditional Pad Thai and a kicky Tom Yum soup. The restaurant recently reinstated their dine-in service and have expanded their hours. Oh will gladly customize her dishes to your personal heat tolerance, but request "Thai Hot" at your own peril.
Johnny Michael,s considered by many to be at the helm of the craft cocktail movement in the Twin Cities, opened this basement bar to great accolades last fall. The steampunkish space with a dark sense of humor and a quirky drink list has been attracting fans from far and wide, possibly thanks to concoctions like the Una Vida De Pecado, crafted with Mezcal, Reposado Tequila infused with dark roasted coffee beans, cacao, chipotle blood orange liquor, Campari, and lime.
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