COURTESY OF ST. GENEVIEVE
Food & Drink

The Best Restaurants in the Twin Cities Right Now

Published On 10/04/2017
Saint Dinette

Saint Dinette

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.

Terzo

Terzo

Southwest

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.

Heirloom

Heirloom

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.

Joan's In The Park

Joan's in the Park

Highland Park

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.

Spoon & Stable

Spoon and Stable

Downtown

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.

Heyday

Heyday

Uptown

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.

St. Genevieve

St Genevieve

Southwest

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.

Mucci's Italian

Mucci's

West Seventh

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.

Pimento Jamaican Kitchen

Pimento Jamaican Kitchen

Whittier

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.

Upton 43

Upton Forty-Three

Linden Hills

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.

Flickr/Tony Webster

Icehouse

Whittier

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.

Kyatchi

Kyatchi

Southwest

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.

Flickr/Chloe Lim

Hoban Korean BBQ

Uptown

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.

Tilla Mpls

Tilia

Linden Hills

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.

Erte & The Peacock Lounge

Erte

Northeast

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.

Corner Table

Corner Table

Kingfield

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%.

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The Twin Cities' Best New Restaurants of 2017

Published On 11/13/2017
T he last few years have marked a shift for the Twin Cities dining scene. Several cornerstones of our culinary heritage have closed, among them La Belle Vie, Vincent’s, Piccolo, Saffron, and Haute Dish... but let's focus on the future. A host of ambitious newcomers have created outstanding food inspired by cuisines spanning the world, and it's all at your fingertips. Understated, elegant Japanese food? Check. Perfectly executed Southern barbecue, exploding with flavor? Check. Better happy hour deals and multi-course tasting menus? Check. Here are the best restaurants to grace Minneapolis and St. Paul in 2017, and here's hoping they stay forever.
Walker Art Center

Esker Grove

Lowry Hill

Fresh, artfully arranged food to enjoy at the art museum
Minneapolis master chef Doug Flicker may have closed his beloved restaurant Piccolo last year, but he's back with this gorgeous new restaurant at the famed Walker Art Museum. The recently revitalized space overlooks the stunning new sculpture garden and features an expanded patio that is as stylish as the world-class museum it adjoins. Flicker carries that stylishness over to his impeccably arranged, Instagram-worthy small plates, and Esker Grove’s menu has everything from breakfast boudin noir to chestnut soup, all made by sourcing impeccable ingredients and letting them sing with few accoutrements. Whether it’s an artfully arranged herb and seaweed salad, a coconut and squid ink-bathed tuna crudo, or a dashi-tinged pumpkin, you’re guaranteed to receive it impeccably cooked at peak freshness. No wonder Anthony Bourdain loves this Flicker's work.

Mercy

Downtown Minneapolis

Downtown's best party spot runs on booze, decadent food, and a wood-burning oven
Mercy, the latest iteration of Le Méridien Hotel's mercurial restaurant space, is one of the best places to pick for groups. In addition to twice-daily happy hours and incredible food, Mercy has not one but two liquor-strong punch bowl options -- perfect for group dates and long chats. It’s easy to stay put a while since the old space feels fresh again with the addition of handsome dark wood finishes, warm globe lighting, and a windows that have been swathed in plants. Food-wise, do not skip the crab-stuffed grilled cheese on brioche with a side of red pepper soup for dipping; it's just as luxurious as it sounds. Order the beer can chicken and you’ll get a boozy chaser with your entrée, free of charge. And the happy hours are no slouch either, featuring discounts on a range of seafood items and an appealing list of extravagant cocktails.

Eliesa Johnson Photography

Hi-Lo Diner

Longfellow

Boozy milkshakes, twice-daily happy hour, and a helluva history
Not many places in Minneapolis or anywhere else can claim an origin story like Hi-Lo's. It's a beautifully restored, art deco 1957 Fodero Diner that was shipped piece by piece from a field in Gibsonia, Pennsylvania, and it's become an instant hit with the Minneapolis foodie community. All the standard diner fare can be found on its menu, but not without a twist to elevate it from ho-hum to, well, high-low. Minnesota-sourced ingredients like crawfish, tart apples, cheese curds. and juniper inflect the menu with a truly local flavor. Hi-Lo serves comfort food in abundance alongside healthy options to suit every dietary need, and even the pickiest eaters should have no problem finding something they like. The time-capsule facility is parked only a few blocks away from the gorgeous Mississippi river, and any trip to Hi-Lo requires that you accompany your meal with a short stroll by the water.

Courtesy of Bellecour

Bellecour

Wayzata

A French bistro with a great bakery and not a shred of pretension
Since the day his plane landed from NYC, chef Gavin Kaysen has kept his pedal firmly pressed to the culinary metal, most recently opening Bellecour, an accessible French bistro with everything from snails to rabbit sausage to roasted cauliflower. What could be a stiff and formal experience is infused with approachable warmth through every facet of Bellecour’s existence, bringing French dining into the modern era. It's so approachable, that -- if you want -- special chef’s tables are available in the kitchen for the most avid culinary voyeurs to feel a part of the process. As for the menu items, try the black truffle country pâté; or the roasted bone marrow with gremolata, or the warm foie gras gingerbread. The best part: Those are just the appetizers. Of the explosion of new French restaurants in the Twin Cities this is easily one of the best. Kaysen has smartly designed every aspect of the experience to evoke a tasteful fantasy of French life, right down to a bakery that allows diners to bring home freshly minted breads and pastries post-meal. (Which you have to do. Duh.)

Kado no Mise

North Loop

A traditional Japanese restaurant with an amazing omakase tasting menu
More than most other restaurants that opened this year, Kado no Mise is fancy and particularly focused on its elegant, minimalist aesthetic. Every detail in this multi-story gem is considered -- down to the delicately patterned plates -- and you are sure to leave with at least a few Instagram-worthy snapshots by the end of your meal. It helps that Kado no Mise is a truly great traditional Japanese restaurant. Along with simple and impeccably crafted Japanese staples from agedashi tofu to seasonal miso soup, this place has the freshest nigiri on this side of Lake Superior. Like the décor, the food's flavors feel traditionally Japanese: clean, understated, and extremely fresh. The locally based Tattersall Distillery anchors the cocktail menu with intriguing mixers like grapefruit crema and lemongrass, but Kado no Mise also carries an extensive list of sakes or, better yet, Japanese whiskys. Pro tip: It’s expensive, but spring for the traditional omakase tasting menu. You won't regret it.

Courtesy of Bardo

Bardo

Northeast Minneapolis

Maniacal attention-to-detail in an otherwise-calm dining room
Bardo serves modern New American food in a calm, blue and white dining room, and its name "bardo" is defined as "the state of the soul between death and rebirth" -- which on the outside seems to be as serene and meditative a restaurant concept as ever existed. Just wait until you taste the food. It's clear chef Remy Pettus has infused time, care, and personal attention to every aspect of his dining experience -- from hand-made sauces to herbed dusts and powders that finish every dish. Everything is taken just a little bit further than it needs to be into an over-the-top success. When is the last time you had salted cucumbers and yogurt in your cocktails? Or a rich rye whiskey blended with, among other things, peaches, thyme, and egg whites? Why stick with scalloped potatoes when you can make an aligot potato with fresh chevre? It all works marvelously, of course; Bardo's food is staggeringly good. And when the weather warms up again, the restaurant boasts one of the most luxurious off-street patio spaces in the Twin Cities.

Delicata

Como Park

The best pizza brunch -- yes, pizza brunch -- in town
Thank God Delicata came to St. Paul. The space is filled with warm woods, cheery hues, and bright lights, practically guaranteeing you will stay for hours. The friendly aura extends to the staff and servers, all of whom are ready to ply you with pizza and a wink and a smile. Delicata's menu is anchored with a thoughtful mélange of pizzas, with classics like pepperoni nestled alongside more exotic offerings like shrimp and pesto; artichoke and feta; and delicata squash and prosciutto pizzas. If you are one of the many who prefer pizza in the morning, you’re in luck here too. Delicata serves a slam-dunk brunch that mercifully skips old faithfuls like eggs Benedict for more creative options like a breakfast pizza smothered in either maple butter, bacon, fontina, agrodolce, and apples; or a Southwestern take with eggs, roasted chili sauce, chicken, onions, queso, sour cream and cilantro. Cap off your day with a trip to the Como Zoo and a scoop of Delicata's hand-made gelato.

Lora Marie Hlavsa

Gray Duck Tavern

Downtown St. Paul

A casual bar in the Lowry Hotel with excellent food options
More isn’t always better, of course. When you need somewhere to get filling, straightforward dishes executed with panache and passion while wearing your comfiest jeans-and-sweater combo, Gray Duck is the spot. Gray Duck’s approachable pricing fills a long-vacant void in downtown St. Paul’s dining options: an appealing medium between overpriced fine dining and dirty dive bars. It only gets better during happy hour, when diners can find deals on noshes like East African samosas, tamarind chili wings, and Calabrian chili-laced chong qing chicken. If you stay through dinner, you can savor creative dishes like duck schnitzel; a casserole filled with ground brisket, strozzapreti pasta, and a plethora of cheeses; or fresh carved meats that rival those of Fogo de Chão. That knack for fusion and creativity applies to the tightly curated cocktail menu as well, which includes oddities like paprika-laced mezcal alongside rum and salted caramel options. Minnesota Wild fans in particular will appreciate Gray Duck Tavern’s free ride program, guaranteeing safe passage from their doors to the game.

Dalton & Wade Whiskey Common

North Loop

A whiskey bar and restaurant with Southern roots and decor
For the Twin Cities’ most thoughtful whiskey experience, look no further than Dalton & Wade Whiskey Common. Diners can find classy takes on down-home soul food like smoked bologna sandwiches, pan-fried lake trout, pimento cheese Texas toast, and that beloved foundation of Minnesota winter meals, a bourbon mushroom cream-infused hot dish. If you’re feeling extra, dive into a perfect barbecue spread of brisket and hickory-smoked pork shoulder with a side of rye biscuits, sorghum butter, corn pudding, and fried apples. The restaurant is lined with cozy booths tucked right next to floor-to-ceiling windows that provide a bright view of Minneapolis’ trendy North Loop. All of this -- and the very Southern chandelier made of leather belts -- makes Dalton & Wade feel as comfy as a well-worn flannel shirt, and one of the best new spots to toss back a few.