You Can Get Reservations for Free Dinner in Taco Bell's Insane Test Kitchen
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%.
1. Saint Dinette261 5th St E, Saint Paul
2. Terzo2221 W 50th St, Minneapolis
3. Heirloom2186 Marshall Ave, Saint Paul
4. Joan's in the Park631 Snelling Ave S. , St. Paul
5. Spoon and Stable211 North First St, Minneapolis
6. Heyday2700 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis
7. St. Genevieve5003 Bryant Avenue S, Minneapolis
8. Mucci's786 Randolph Ave, Saint Paul
9. Pimento Jamaican Kitchen2524 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis
10. Upton Forty-Three4312 Upton Ave S, Minneapolis
11. Icehouse2528 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis
12. Kyatchi3758 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis
13. Hoban Korean BBQ2939 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis
14. Tilia2726 W 43rd St, Minneapolis
15. Erte1304 University Ave NE, Minneapolis
16. Corner Table4257 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis
Sant Dinette in Saint Paul is famous for its burger, which is a masterclass in simplicity—it’s a rich and succulent double burger engulfed in creamy cheddar cheese between light-yet-buttery toasted buns with a side of sweet pickles. An order of crispy, salty, crinkle cut fries will complete your true Saint DInette dining experience. Don't forget about its amazing cocktail list, which include signature cocktails Thanks for Last Night and Healthy Vacation. If you're there for brunch, make sure to indulge in the killer Bloodys.
Terzo Vino Bar is not only one of the best Italian restaurants in Minneapolis, but it’s also one of the best spots for a glass of wine in all of Minnesota. With a cellar holding over 1,000 bottles of 300 different selections, the wine list updates often, allowing you to become well-versed in the Italian way of wine. Plus, it’s reasonably priced (by-the-glass options for just $10-$15), which is perfect because Terzo’s also has some great food that screams to be paired with a decent glass of vino. Expertly prepared dishes include duck egg with sautéed king trumpet and beech mushrooms and a prosciutto-wrapped pork loin with fingerling potatoes and dandelion greens.
Opened by the former chef of St. Paul’s beloved W.A. Frost & Co., Heirloom is now one of the most popular restaurants in Merriam Park. Heirloom's "modern farmhouse cuisine" method that its known for essentially means it's farm-to-table catered to the seasons. The ever-changing dinner menu is fruit- and vegetable-heavy (save for the occasional chicken, steak or seafood dish), which makes this a very safe spot if you're dining out with a vegetarian group. This trendy spot is also host to a mighty list of Midwestern wines and beers on tap, a lot of them directly from St. Paul.
A pair of industry vets created this wine bar-ish nosheteria that aims to be a comfortable, "come-as-you-are kind of place” in Highland Park. Joan’s 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 impossible to go wrong.
The crew puts a lot of work and effort into the array of exquisite dishes and cocktails at this Downtown/Northloop. 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. The pastries are a solid choice for brunch, and mix up your typical Sunday mimosa morning with a Coffee 43 cocktail, which features cold-press coffee, Licor 43, tequila, and cream.
When it comes to affordable yet elegant cuisine, Heyday is your spot. It's easily one of the best restaurants in the Twin Cities, if not the country. Head to this rustic-chic space (it sports exposed brick and a gorgeous wooden-beamed ceiling) for favorites like the chicken liver tart, chilled blue mussels, and grilled quail, which all help to create a downright exquisite menu. Be sure to leave room for at least one of the inventive desserts including pea shell sorbet, and wash it all down with a creative cocktail like the Don't Think Twice with pisco, aperol, grapefruit, and elderflower.
St. Genevieve oozes just as much French elegance as its name suggests. Its is the midwestern answer to the French's "buvette," which is essentially a tavern where champagne flows all day and the food is just there to soak it up. While the beverage menu (with dozens of local and Eurpoean wine, champange and beer options) is usually the buvette's main contender, Genevieve's gourmet cuisine (Chicken paillard. Norwegian salmon. Duck breast.) is what makes it a must-visit. Good new for date night: you don't have to order in French (unless you can. Then you definitely should).
Eating at this West 7th Italian restaurant comes close to eating in your own home. Owner and Chef Tim Niver likes to work the room, adding to the cozy, familial vibe of the purposely small dining space. Getting a table at Mucci's is first-come-first-served, which makes seating a group difficult, but it is so worth it. House-made pastas and traditional Italian pizzas (big slices of mozzarella, entire leaves of basil, and thin crust) are the shining stars here. Not in the mood to wait for a table? You can order any of the dinner dishes for takeout, too.
This Jamaican Kitchen is serving up authentic Caribbean food to hungry Minnesotans one order of oxtail at a time. Using old family recipes, the chefs at Pimento have transported the islands to the States with a meat-heavy menu that is also seriously spicy. Choose from five homemade sauces to raise or lower the spice content, or pair your meal with one of the many Jamaican sodas they offer. Beer and wine are also available, so whether you're eating at their Food Network contest-winning food court location or their new flagship store on Nicolette Ave, you'll be having a summery time.
Chef Erick Harcey's vision of Midwest meets Sweden comes to life at Upton 43, located in Linden Hills. This highly praised eatery combines Swedish flavor with French technique for distinctive (all day) brunch and dinner menus, the staples of which are the pancakes and the meatballs, of course. Decor here is as minimal as possible — blank white walls and tables, rows of sleek, modern booths — so the dishes stand entirely on their own (as they should, this restaurant takes presentation very seriously). This is where to be if you want a full culinary experience.
This laid-back Whittier spot hosts live indie and jazz music acts daily in a two-story, polished industrial bar and restaurant (complete with plenty of large, comfy leather booths for the whole party). Head upstairs and watch the show, or stay downstairs for gourmet European and American fare like lobster gnocchi or a lamb platter. And it wouldn't be a real night at the Icehouse without going for one of their specialty cocktails or something from its massive top-shelf whiskey collection.
Kyatchi lives to serve Japanese-style cuisine with an American twist. The Minneapolis sushi hotspot dishes out soups, salads, small plates, grilled fish and seafood, meat skewers, rice, noodles, and, in a true cultural mélange, hot dogs. If you’re intrigued, good; hot dogs, like the kimchi dog with mustard, sesame oil, and Japanese mayo, all come with Japanese potato salad, whose savory flavor gives any typical ballpark frank a run for its money. If it’s more traditional cuisine you’re craving, try veggie or pork ramen, or scallop yuzu kosho, with raw scallops, veggies, chili pepper, yuzu peel, and sea salt. Kyatchi emphasizes sustainable ingredients and delivers them to you in a casual, open dining space decorated with Japanese artwork.
Hoban is widely regarded as the best Korean BBQ in Minnesota, that might be because it’s essentially the only one other than its original location in Eagan, but we swear the DIY Korean grills and authentic cuisine are well worth a trek. It features traditional Korean Bul Go Gi (thinly sliced beef that’s marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, sugar, and pepper) served with raw veggies and steamed rice. The catch is you get to grill it yourself right in the center of your table … flag a waiter to help you sear your meat and veg properly, or you can just give it a go and hope for the best. You can also order prepared, traditional dishes like hot pot and Bibimbap as well as Bachan (Korean small plates) like exquisitely sweet and crunchy vegetable tempura.
New American plates are doled out at Tilia, a breakfast, lunch, and dinner spot in Linden Hills. The lunch and dinner menu offer potato leek soup, potted meat, bacon cheeseburgers, and Parmesan agnolottim, but Tilia’s best meal is its Saturday and Sunday brunch, which leans heavily on savory flavors apart from the glazed brioche donuts and custard dipped sweet potato brioche French toast. Try a fish taco torta or buttermilk biscuits to complete your belly-filling meal. Tilia also offers over 15 beers on draft and as many bottled brews.
Erte is a popular neighborhood venue with a retro feel that has been around for over 15 years. Vintage cocktails are served alongside great dishes like bacon-wrapped jumbo shrimp and crispy duck confit with apple, cabbage and fennel.
With a larger beer list, a patio, and a brunch service, Corner Table has expanded from the former La Chaya Bistro location down the road. Be sure to try the pork belly, the fried rabbit, and the sweet potato waffles will.