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An asparagus dish with a bright yellow sauce sits on a dark blue marbled plated against a black background.
A delicate asparagus dish from Demi’s tasting menu.
Erin Kincheloe

11 Restaurants for a Swanky Night Out in the North Loop

Lobster-and-eggs bruschetta, ice-cold martinis, and omakase at upscale spots in Minneapolis

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A delicate asparagus dish from Demi’s tasting menu.
| Erin Kincheloe

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, it’s the beating heart of Minneapolis’s upscale dining scene, home to elegant tasting menus, fine sushi, and a fair share of iconic local dishes. Humming with creativity, the North Loop is within an easy walk from downtown, tucked just below the rushing Mississippi River. Here are 11 restaurants for a fancy night out in the neighborhood.

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Bar La Grassa

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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.

A plate of spaghetti carbonara piled in a white dish.
Carbonara from Bar La Grassa.
Earth Girl Creative

Borough

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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 duck fat shortbread with braised lamb spaghetti, served with preserved ramps. Sneak downstairs for a swanky cocktail at Parlour after dinner.

Smack Shack

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Sure, Smack Shack leans a little casual, but it’s has one of the only menus in the landlocked Twin Cities dedicated to seafood, which gives it a ritzy edge. The lobster rolls, lobster cobb salad, and fried shrimp po’ boys make Smack Shack a summer dining destination, but in the chillier months, dishes like the Boston clam chowder, lobster poutine, and jambalaya are excellent substitutions. Plus, there’s an all-season heated patio.

Nolo’s Kitchen & Bar

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Nolo’s has 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 a requisite avocado toast — or grab a ham and arugula wood-fired pizza for dinner.

Three cocktails sit on a white countertop. One is amber colored in a goblet; one is lime green in a highball glass; one is translucent and garnished with an orange peel and tajin around the rim of a tall glass.
Cocktail’s from Nolo’s
NOLO’s Kitchen

Monte Carlo Restaurant

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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 cocktail in fair weather.

A seat at the intimate, curved bar at Demi — Spoon and Stable’s more elusive sister — is among the hottest reservations in town. Here, chef Gavin Kaysen delights with an artful tasting experience. The menu changes frequently, but recent dishes include Sakura Wagyu Farms pork coppa with roasted eggplant and shishito peppers, and rhubarb clafoutis with parmesan ice cream.

On a black speckled plate sits a few stalks of asparagus with a creamy yellow sauce and vegetable and herb garnishes.
An asparagus dish from Demi.
Erin Kincheloe

Spoon and Stable

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James Beard Award-winning chef Gavin Kaysen’s 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 Dungeness crab salad and pork chops with a tamarind glaze). From the dessert menu, try the honey and cream cake, served with beeswax ice cream.

An intricate mille feuille dessert is arranged on top of a pistachio-green sphere-shaped sweet in a white dish.
Strawberry and sorrel mille feuille from Spoon and Stable.
Erin Kincheloe

Kado no Mise

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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. 

Four pieces of sushi with white and silver fish over rice sit on a white stone plate.
Sushi from Kado No Mise.
Wing Ta

Sanjusan

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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.

Wooden skewers of juicy marinated chicken beside a red consomé of some sort and small handful of vegetables on a wooden plate.
Sanjusan is the work of chefs Danny del Prado and Shigeyuki Furukawa.
Wing Ta

Billy Sushi ビリー寿司

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If you’re in chef Billy Tserenbat’s house, you’re bound to have a good time. At Billy Sushi, the self-described “three ring performance” of the sushi bar, sake bar, and dining room 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 sushi rolls like the Oh Em Gii, a tempura and spicy tuna roll topped with a sheet of 24-karat gold.

A lobster waygu roll cut into an array of pieces is arrange on a black plate, topped with crumpled pieces of a gold sheet.
A “Butterfly Kiss” roll from Billy Sushi.
Billy Sushi

112 Eatery

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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.

A bavette in a rich red sauce garnished with delicate green vegetables in a white dish.
Bavette from 112 Eatery.
Earth Girl Creative 

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.

A plate of spaghetti carbonara piled in a white dish.
Carbonara from Bar La Grassa.
Earth Girl Creative

Borough

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 duck fat shortbread with braised lamb spaghetti, served with preserved ramps. Sneak downstairs for a swanky cocktail at Parlour after dinner.

Smack Shack

Sure, Smack Shack leans a little casual, but it’s has one of the only menus in the landlocked Twin Cities dedicated to seafood, which gives it a ritzy edge. The lobster rolls, lobster cobb salad, and fried shrimp po’ boys make Smack Shack a summer dining destination, but in the chillier months, dishes like the Boston clam chowder, lobster poutine, and jambalaya are excellent substitutions. Plus, there’s an all-season heated patio.

Nolo’s Kitchen & Bar

Nolo’s has 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 a requisite avocado toast — or grab a ham and arugula wood-fired pizza for dinner.

Three cocktails sit on a white countertop. One is amber colored in a goblet; one is lime green in a highball glass; one is translucent and garnished with an orange peel and tajin around the rim of a tall glass.
Cocktail’s from Nolo’s
NOLO’s Kitchen

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 cocktail in fair weather.

Demi

A seat at the intimate, curved bar at Demi — Spoon and Stable’s more elusive sister — is among the hottest reservations in town. Here, chef Gavin Kaysen delights with an artful tasting experience. The menu changes frequently, but recent dishes include Sakura Wagyu Farms pork coppa with roasted eggplant and shishito peppers, and rhubarb clafoutis with parmesan ice cream.

On a black speckled plate sits a few stalks of asparagus with a creamy yellow sauce and vegetable and herb garnishes.
An asparagus dish from Demi.
Erin Kincheloe

Spoon and Stable

James Beard Award-winning chef Gavin Kaysen’s 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 Dungeness crab salad and pork chops with a tamarind glaze). From the dessert menu, try the honey and cream cake, served with beeswax ice cream.

An intricate mille feuille dessert is arranged on top of a pistachio-green sphere-shaped sweet in a white dish.
Strawberry and sorrel mille feuille from Spoon and Stable.
Erin Kincheloe

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. 

Four pieces of sushi with white and silver fish over rice sit on a white stone plate.
Sushi from Kado No Mise.
Wing Ta

Sanjusan

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.

Wooden skewers of juicy marinated chicken beside a red consomé of some sort and small handful of vegetables on a wooden plate.
Sanjusan is the work of chefs Danny del Prado and Shigeyuki Furukawa.
Wing Ta

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 Sushi, the self-described “three ring performance” of the sushi bar, sake bar, and dining room 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 sushi rolls like the Oh Em Gii, a tempura and spicy tuna roll topped with a sheet of 24-karat gold.

A lobster waygu roll cut into an array of pieces is arrange on a black plate, topped with crumpled pieces of a gold sheet.
A “Butterfly Kiss” roll from Billy Sushi.
Billy Sushi

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.

A bavette in a rich red sauce garnished with delicate green vegetables in a white dish.
Bavette from 112 Eatery.
Earth Girl Creative 

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