Back in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the North Loop was Minneapolis’s warehouse district, a manufacturing and wholesale center for everything from farm implements to Model T Fords and the original Milky Way candy bar. Today, many of Minneapolis’s upscale restaurants have moved into these historic brick and limestone buildings. Humming with creativity, the North Loop is within an easy walk from downtown, and the Mississippi River beckons to the northeast. Here are ten restaurants for a swanky night out in the North Loop.Read More
10 North Loop Restaurants For A Swanky Night Out
Lamb bolognese ravioli, ice-cold martinis, and omakase tasting menus
1. Bar La Grassa
James Beard Award-winning chef Isaac Becker’s sultry Italian restaurant is perpetually packed. Small and large plates here are best shared with friends. Waiting for a table? Step into the snack bar for a slice of pizza and a stellar cocktail before heading over to Bar La Grassa for plates of gnocchi with cauliflower and orange, or dreamy soft eggs and lobster bruschetta.
Borough is fancy enough for date night, but casual enough for a post-work meal. The elevated patio is perfect for lingering on warm evenings, while the elegant dining room, finished with lush fabrics and metal accents, offers a cozy respite during the chillier months of the year. Pair a lobster salad, garnished with huckleberries, with lamb bolognese ravioli. Sneak downstairs for a swanky cocktail at Parlour after dinner.
3. Nolo’s Kitchen & Bar
Nolo’s got it all. This casual, sunny restaurant serves breakfast through dinner — downstairs resides a nouveaux-dive bar with a food-service window. The rooftop at Nolo’s has become a mainstay of the North Loop scene. As for the menu, the weekend brunch features malted waffles and the requisite avocado toast, or grab a ham and arugula wood-fired pizza for dinner.
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4. Monte Carlo Restaurant
A throwback to a by-gone era, Monte Carlo hasn’t changed in decades — and that’s high praise. Belly up to the glossy polished bar for an ice-cold martini, or settle into the sophisticated dining room for a plate of iconic Monte Carol wings, which come coated with a carefully guarded secret spice rub. The expansive patio is an ideal spot for a summer cocktail.
A seat at the intimate, curved bar at Demi — Spoon and Stable’s more elusive sister — is one of the hottest reservations in town. Chef Gavin Kaysen delights with an artful tasting experience. The menu changes frequently, but recent dishes include dry-aged lamb ribeye with gem lettuce and puffed basmati rice, and rhubarb clafoutis with parmesan ice cream. Reservations sell out quickly.
6. Spoon and Stable
James Beard Award-winning chef Gavin Kaysen changed the conversation around Minnesota dining when he returned from New York to open his first restaurant in his hometown of Minneapolis. The urban chic dining room at Spoon and Stable boasts a glass-encased, floor-to-ceiling wine “closet” and an open, bustling kitchen that serves elevated American cuisine (think striped bass crudo and pork chops with tamarind glaze). From the dessert menu, try the honey and cream cake, served with beeswax ice cream.
7. Kado no Mise
Right above Sanjusan are three connected, equally seductive dining experiences: Kado no Mise serves fine Japanese dishes on a omakase prix-fixe tasting menu, while Kaiseki Furukawa features an immersive 10-course seasonal tasting menu at the chef’s counter. Across the dimly lit hall is Gori Gori Peku, an intimate bar serving premium Japanese whisky.
Chef Danny del Prado and Shigeyuki Furukawa’s marriage of Japanese and Italian cuisines shines in this sparse dining room on North First Avenue. The menu features vibrant dishes like crimson-hued beef carpaccio, squid ink pappardelle, and a variety of small plates and thin-crust pizza. The cocktail menu is intriguing, but be sure to save room for an after-dinner Japanese whisky upstairs at Gori Gori Peku.
9. Billy Sushi ビリー寿司
If you’re in Chef Billy Tserenbat’s house, you’re bound to have a good time. At Billy’s Sushi, the self-described “three ring performance” starts with a unique Japanese cocktail menu. Fans of local music will appreciate the monikers — Billy’s Live Bait is a favorite. From there, order ample colorful sushi rolls like the Oh Em Gii, a tempura and spicy tuna roll topped with a sheet of 24-karat gold.
10. 112 Eatery
A true warehouse district classic, James Beard Award-winning chef Isaac Becker’s 112 Eatery serves sophisticated yet accessible dishes in a cozy bistro setting. The older sister to Becker’s Bar La Grassa and Snack Bar, 112 Eatery’s menu ambitious but confident. Try the octopus with avocado puree or the tagliatelle with foie gras, and save room for the tres leches cake.