Downtown St. Paul
There’s just no way you can get enough of this place. Dig into the incredibly amazing burger (which recently tied for our best burger of the year), or the delicious house-made bologna sandwich. If you’re searching for something a little more sophisticated, opt for the grilled octopus with black bean puree & chorizo, or the duck tartare with celery & Ritz crackers. It also offers a solid laundry list of top-shelf cocktails to help you wash it all down.
It may not be of the new breed of Italian/crudo concepts out there, but it is NAILING Italian food in all of the best ways. If you’re looking for expertly prepared dishes like duck egg with sautéed king trumpet & beech mushrooms, porcini sauce, summer squash, crispy leeks, and preserved lemon relish, or a prosciutto-wrapped pork loin with fingerling potatoes, dandelion greens, and roasted plum tomatoes with tomato demi, then this is the place for you. Also, if you can get there between 11am-4pm Monday-Friday, walk up to their outside window and enjoy a sandwich from the Porchetteria. You’re welcome for that little pro tip.
Downtown St. Paul
Recently opened by the former chef of St. Paul’s beloved W.A. Frost & Co., this place is catching on like wildfire. Focusing on what it's calling "modern farmhouse cuisine," the menu features a variety of exciting dishes, like an ocean trout pastrami, black pudding with celery root, and pork jowl with sweet potato puree. Oh yeah, it also does brunch.
One of the many Twin Cities restaurants that never seems to get enough love, Joan's deserves a place on this list. The restaurant features a seasonal menu of expertly crafted dishes that utilize quality ingredients, all sourced as close to local as possible. With current offerings that include pork belly with braised winter onions, short rib meatballs with pickled cucumber, and a Carolina blue crab toast, it’s incredibly difficult to go wrong.
If you haven’t taken the time to eat at this Downtown hot spot yet, cancel your plans and head there ASAP. It’s 100% worth it, and the crew puts a lot of work and effort into the array of exquisite dishes and cocktails. While nabbing a reservation might still be a little difficult, walking into the bar hasn’t ever really been an issue -- and you can order the full menu there, or choose from the equally delectable bar-only menu.
When it comes to affordable yet incredibly classy high-end food that is insanely delicious, this is the spot to hit. It also doesn’t hurt that it has one of the best cocktail programs out there. The seasonal chicken liver tart is a Twin Cities must have, the bison tartar is a treat, and the chilled mussels are quite simply a culinary experience.
Chef Steven Brown is no slouch when it comes to putting together delicious food. His newest restaurant only further illustrates that. St. Genevieve manages to execute some great spins on a number of French classics, from the simple tartines, to entrees like the salmon topped with egg yolk & pickled spring onion. But no matter how great the food is, it's all about the bubbles and vino here at this French favorite. We highly encourage you to talk to your server or bartender about what you're looking for so they can set you up with your new favorite cocktail.
When Strip Club/Saint Dinette co-owner Tim Niver announced he had plans to open up a small Italian joint in St. Paul, it left us asking if that’s what we really needed. But, as usual, the guy knows what people want. This restaurant manages to serve some super-comfortable food without skipping on the classics. Fresh-made pastas, pizzas, and chicken parmesan all make appearances on the menu. And of course, given that it’s Italian, the wine list is truly wonderful. Order your vino by the half glass, full glass, or bottle.
This recently opened Jamaican spot is delivering in impressive ways, with tender, juicy jerk pork and spicy beef Jamaican patties that are great for a quick lunch on the go. Should they have it available, though, go for the braised oxtail special. The meat is slow-simmered with carrot, potato, and butter beans for a deep, rich flavor, and served with country gravy, easily making it one one of the best things we’ve eaten in months.
Chef Eric Harcey’s modern Scandinavian themed restaurant hits all the right spots with a variety of unique, bold, and otherwise stellar flavors. The chicken liver mousse with honey vinegar, blueberry, and granola cracker is out of this world and the hay roasted pork chop is easily one of the best pork dishes in town right now.
If you’re looking for a place that has serious dinner and cocktails game, this restaurant should be at the top of your go-to list. The food is both playful and refined, featuring dishes like a soft shell crab Caesar salad and a vegetable bread pudding. They’ve also got great bar snacks (including a changing lineup of delicious wings) and the cocktails are definitely on point. The full-size cocktails are all fun and delicious -- we recommend the Mad Monk with tequila, green chartreuse, and lime margarita with a smoked salt rim -- but the $5 dollar sipping shots are where it’s at. Check out the Playing Make Up, Wearing Guitar a carbonated bourbon Manhattan made with cola-cherry bitters or the Satan Laughs & Spreads His Wings which features bourbon, hazelnut orange liqueur, and spicy bitters.
If there’s one thing that makes sushi more amazing, it’s when your rolls are made using sustainably caught fish. You can feel good about not depleting the oceans for your fish fix at this South Minneapolis restaurant. While Kyatchi utilizes ingredients like wild caught and sustainable red snapper, spot prawns, and uni to make some of the best sushi in the Twin Cities, it also makes some ridiculously delicious hot dogs and a spot on bowl of ramen.
If you’re into grilling meats, Minnesota’s first Korean BBQ spot is a must visit. Order up a variety of beef and pork cuts, toss them onto the grills in the center of the table along with some veggies and cook’ em as you like’em. Hoban also has other classic Korean dishes like bulgogi beef, pajeon, and bibimbap.
This all-purpose Minneapolis restaurant delivers food of the highest caliber. Perfect for lunch or dinner any day of the week, the food is approachable but executed as it would be in any fine dining restaurant. It’s comfortable enough for a nice family dinner, yet elevated enough to perfectly accommodate special nights out. Tilia’s the kind of place where you can get an amazing burger or fish sandwich, as well as a beautifully pressed chicken with black garlic and schmaltz roasted potatoes or a parmesan agnolotti with asparagus and oyster mushrooms. The restaurant also has one of the best and most interesting beer selections in town.
This oft-overlooked steakhouse in Northeast is definitely worth putting back on your radar if you’re into good, classic cooking. Dishes like the Burgundy beef short ribs, the double thick pork chop, or the duck breast with lingonberry-apple glaze, braised red cabbage, and buttered potato are all great choices, or you can just order a big 16oz ribeye with a classic Manhattan on the side.
Easily one of the best dining experiences in the whole of the Twin Cities, Corner Table has the full package. The food is always tip-top, but their gnocchi game is particularly on point and if the dish has duck or pork, you should probably go ahead and order two plates worth because it really is that good. They’ve also got a top-notch wine program featuring some of the best pairings the Twin Cities has to offer and the service given is never less than 100%.