The Best Restaurants in the Twin Cities Right Now
While the Twin Cities dining scene is obviously experiencing some, um, changes right now with COVID-19, there’s still a lot of good going on. Several new restaurants have managed to open in the last six months -- and then there are the new-ish hotspots you had on your radar to check out before the pandemic. With so many options spanning all types of cuisines and neighborhoods, how do you know what to prioritize? Below you'll find our go-to guide of the best restaurants in the Twin Cities right at this very moment -- so, the next time you need to shake things up at meal time, look no further than this list.
The gist: The owners of popular restaurant Soul Bowl just opened a brand-new chicken outpost inside Glam Doll Donuts with wings inspired by the flavors of soul food.
The food: Wingz, with a “z,” can be ordered boneless, bone-in, vegan, or cauliflower. They come in small or large with a choice of ten bold “saucez” with great names like Steph Curry and T.H.U.G. Passion. Hot Cheetos street corn makes for a nice side.
The cost: Wingz range from $8-13.
How to order: You can dine in or order on ChowNow for curbside pickup.
The gist: Billy Tserenbat, the man behind Twin Cities food truck turned brick-and-mortar Sushi Fix, opened a second concept in the former Sweet Chow space this spring.
The food: Standout sushi, including the NoLo YoLo (salmon, red snapper,) Silly Billy (spicy tuna, shrimp tempura,) and George Clooney (snow crab and shrimp topped with big eye tuna).
The cost: Sushi dishes range from $7-$25.
How to order: Order takeout on Upserve or dine in.
The gist: This super-small Argentinian empanada shop is sure to satisfy with doughy filled pockets and unique oval-shaped pizzas big on flavor.
The food: The Jamon Y Queso (fried ham and mozzarella) and Puerro (creamed leeks, gorgonzola) empanadas are seriously stellar. Boludo’s Argentinian pizzas have nice, chewy crusts, salted to the edges. Try the Peras with pear, gorgonzola, pine nuts, and dill or the Campo- chorizo, mushroom, onion.
The cost: Empanadas are about $4 (you’ll want at least two) and pizzas range from $14-18.
How to order: Takeout is online on Boludo’s website. Note: At peak times, orders may take up to two hours, so don’t procrastinate!
The gist: The joint venture between acclaimed chef Nick O’Leary (Travail, Borough) and seasoned restaurant owner Josh Thoma (the Lexington, Smack Shack) that began in a dive bar kitchen now has two locations, including a brand-new shop in St. Paul.
The food: Everything’s good, but the Nacho Burger with tortilla chips, pico, guac, and sour cream is unusual and delicious -- so is the PBJ Burger with bacon, peanut butter, and jelly.
The cost: Burgers range from $10-12.
How to order: Currently, you can only order online from the Roseville location on ChowNow for delivery or pickup, but West Seventh is so new it’s not an option yet. You can stop by both locations for dine in.
The gist: This colorful spot by chef Jose Alarcon housed in a former factory features fast-casual, flavorful street tacos.
The food: We recommend the Nopales (cured cactus, mushrooms, kale) and the Carnitas en Adobo (pork shoulder, pineapple, salsa verde), which are as colorful as the restaurant. There are also family-style enchilada and taco options for takeout to feed a bigger crew.
The cost: $3-5 per taco, $30-40 for family to-go meals.
How to order: You can dine in, sit on the patio, or order on ChowNow for curbside pickup.
The gist: This just-open spot run by three high school friends is deliciously simple, serving fried chicken from a walk-up window located outside The Pourhouse.
The food: Hand-breaded crispy tenders with an impressive secret sauce are served in quantities of three, four, or six. The honey buttermilk biscuits are some of the best you’ve had, too.
The cost: Chicken ranges from $11-15 per order.
How to order: CHX is so new it’s still cracking out of the egg (pun intended). Currently, they are only accepting walk-up orders, but takeout will be coming soon-ish.
The gist: After rising to local fame with Martina, chef Daniel del Prado’s second restaurant located in a transformed South Minneapolis gas station does “elevated” Mexican right.
The food: Colita serves ribs, tostadas, and tacos using smoking techniques from all over the world. Start with crispy masa chips, then order the calabaza quesadilla or chicken tinga tostadas. If you’re dining in-person, odd drinkware and fun garnishes make cocktails even more fun to imbibe.
The cost: Entrees range from $13-19.
How to order: Order takeout on Toast or make a dining room or patio reservation (weather permitting).
The gist: The second restaurant from chef Christina Nguyen of Hola Arepa fame features authentic Southeast Asian street food inside a former strip club.
The food: You’ll find lots of big flavors and unusual dishes -- banana blossom salad, Balinese chicken, sticky rice with mock duck, and Vietnamese crepes are all must-haves. Also, the boozy tropical slushies and extensive cocktail menu make it feel like you’re on vacation without ever leaving Minnesota.
The cost: Entrees range from $13-15.
How to order: Order on ChowNow for curbside pickup or dine on the patio as long as weather permits (indoors currently closed).
Lat14 Asian Eatery
The gist: Nestled in the suburbs, you’ll find small, shareable plates with creative flavors inspired by the diverse cuisines of Southeast Asia.
The food: Try a mix of dishes from Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and the Philippines -- start with basil wings or beef satay and move on to bacon pineapple fried rice, drunken noodles, or braised duck ramen.
The cost: Entrees range from $13-35.
How to order: You can dine in, eat on the heated patio, or order takeout by calling 763-400-7910.
The gist: This St. Paul institution has been around since the end of prohibition, but after getting a major renovation and total facelift, The Lex is back on the map and better than ever.
The food: It definitely harkens back to a simpler time -- get the pork chop or smoked chicken pot pie along with a bathtub-style Old Fashioned, if you’re dining in. The Lex is also doing family-style meals you can pick up and make at home.
The cost: Entrees range from $17-55; family-style dinners to-go range from $75-$125.
How to order: Make a reservation for the dining room, walk up to the patio (weather permitting) or order takeout on ChowNow.
The gist: Chef Daniel del Prado’s debut restaurant has retooled a bit for COVID times -- but still features standout Argentinian-Italian fusion dishes.
The food: Seafood, pork, and meat are cooked over a wood-fire grill and pastas are all handmade. The cinnamon fried calamari is a must, followed by pork fusilli, seared scallops, or spaghetti fra diavolo with lobster. If you’re dining onsite, Martina also has a standout bar program with house-blended spirits.
The cost: Entrees range from $19-25.
How to order: You can dine indoors or on the patio as weather permits using a fill-in order sheet to limit contact and also order to-go through Toast.
The gist: The newer, second location for the purveyor of the Cities’ best burger is a huge hit with eastsiders.
The food: It’s next to impossible to order anything other than the Parlour Burger -- ground chuck, ribeye, and brisket topped with gooey American cheese on a soft egg bun -- unless, of course, you add in fries.
The cost: $16 for the burger; $6 for fries.
How to order: Parlour is offering pickup and delivery through ChowNow as well as indoor and patio (weather permitting) reservations.
The gist: James Beard nominee Thomas Boemer brings authentic Southern comfort food to the Midwest -- most notably, the best fried chicken -- to both sides of the river.
The food: Start with fried green tomatoes and white cheddar grits, then -- of course -- chicken. You can get it Southern fried, Tennessee hot, or pair it with thick waffles and real maple syrup.
The cost: Chicken orders range from $9-30.
How to order: Revival is offering pickup and delivery through ChowNow as well as patio reservations (indoors currently closed).
Spoon and Stable
The gist: This modern American hotspot inside a renovated horse stable earned chef Gavin Kaysen a James Beard Award for “top chef in the Midwest,” so you know it’s good.
The food: The restaurant’s seasonal menu changes often and features dishes like halibut, duck, pork, heritage grain pasta, and steak. You can also order spirit-free cocktail kits to mix at home.
The cost: Entrees range from $18-38.
How to order: You can dine indoors or on the patio as weather permits and also order to-go through Toast.
Travail Kitchen & Amusements
The gist: The creative, trendy kitchen has had several iterations over the past decade, but their latest chapter just began with a move to a new building. Because of COVID, Travail pivoted from their aim to become Michelin-starred to family takeout and ticketed dinner events.
The food: Travail has always been known for experimentation, so their menus change often. Expect things like ceviche, prime rib, crab, pasta, and curries.
The cost: Ticketed dinners: $85-$150/person; takeout family meals: $60.
How to order: Reservations and family meal orders both available on Tock.
The gist: The latest meat venture featuring celebrity chef Justin Sutherland just opened inside the Keg & Case Market space vacated by short-lived restaurant In Bloom.
The food: The menu hinges on a 20-foot-long wood fire cooktop that expertly roasts proteins and veggies. Start with the grilled corn and then move along to a “lava bowl” (rice, veggies, meat) woodfired roasted red snapper, or wet barbacoa tacos.
The cost: Entrees range from $10-35.
How to order: Woodfired is so new they haven’t set up online takeout just yet -- until they do, you can try calling 651-999-3959 to place an order. Reservations for indoor and patio dining are available.
Yeah Yeah Taco
The gist: A tiny space along Eat Street planned to open its doors this past spring as a cocktail bar… but then COVID hit. So, the team decided to pivot and turn their concept into casual Mexican eats, because who doesn’t like that?
The food: Pick from burritos, tacos, bowls, and quesadillas with four flavor combinations: elote and sweet potato, salsa macha chicken, “best” pork, and classic carnitas. All are good, but the shagbark bacon glaze on the pork is clutch.
The cost: All dishes are $4-11.
How to order: Order on ChowNow for delivery or pickup.
The gist: James Beard Award-winning chef Ann Kim serves small plates and unique wood-fired pizzas inspired by her Korean heritage.
The food: Pies use gourmet ingredients like prosciutto, gruyere, honey, and brown butter. You can’t go wrong with the YOLO (fennel sausage, Nueske’s bacon, pepperoni) or the Korean BBQ (beef short ribs, sesame soy chili.)
The cost: Pizzas range from $10-19.
How to order: Pie orders for pickup are processed through Tock. At this time, Young Joni is open for takeout only.