Where to Eat in the Twin Cities Right Now
Indulge a little.
While the Twin Cities dining scene has obviously experienced some major changes over the last year-plus with COVID-19, our local restaurateurs are highly resilient. Several outstanding concepts debuted amidst stay-at-home orders last year, and the trend continues in 2021 with more new spots popping up every month. In addition to the new kids on the block, there are also notable Twin Cities hotspots that came onto the scene prior to the pandemic. Here’s hoping spring and summer bring a return to dining normalcy—and a chance to check out our list of standout restaurants right now.
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 last 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 make a reservation on Tock.
The gist: This Argentinian favorite opened a second location in January—both shops are 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 $5 (you’ll want at least two) and pizzas range from $14 - $18.
How to order: Open for takeout only via Boludo’s website- note: At peak times, orders may take up to two hours so don’t procrastinate!
The gist: Acclaimed chef Nick O’Leary (Travail, Borough) began his burger shop out of dive bar Tony Jaros’ kitchen—now, he has two locations, and we’re thrilled.
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: Online for pick-up or delivery or stop by both locations for dine-in.
The Butcher’s Tale
The gist: The Butcher is back—and the reinvention of Butcher & The Boar promises to be better than ever by bringing back the spot’s original butcher—Peter Botcher. Got all that?
The food: Not surprisingly, lots of meat—plenty of sausages, ribs, and steaks as well as lighter dishes and rotating fish features. Also, bourbon and a mostly unchanged beer garden.
The cost: Entrees range from $29 - $69.
How to order: Make a reservation for indoor or outdoor dining on Open Table—takeout and delivery coming soon.
The gist: Centro is a colorful spot by chef Jose Alarcon housed in a former factory featuring flavorful street tacos and Viv!r is its new sibling—a Mexican cafe, market, and bakery.
The food: At Centro, we recommend the Nopales (cured cactus, mushrooms, kale) and Carnitas en Adobo (pork shoulder, pineapple, salsa verde) tacos. Viv!r’s got chilaquiles, tortas and empanadas as well as Mexican sweet bread and mole chocolate cupcakes.
The cost: Centro: $3 - $5 per taco, $6-9 for entrees. Viv!r: $3 - $22, depending on what you order.
How to order: No reservations needed. You can dine in or sit on the newly-expanded patio. Or, order curbside takeout.
The gist: This spot run by three high school friends started serving fried chicken from a walk-up window outside The Pourhouse during COVID. Now, CHX has its own address off Hennepin in Lowry Hill and will be opening once again on June 11.
The food: Chicken, duh! Hand-breaded crispy tenders with an impressive secret sauce are served in quantities of three, four, or six. The homemade 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 on a brief hiatus during the move, but June’s just around the corner.
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 and guac, then order the mushroom 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 $9 - $21.
How to order: Order takeout on Toast; make a dining room or patio reservation.
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—chicken banana blossom salad, Balinese cauliflower, 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 $11 - $17.
How to order: Order on ChowNow for curbside pickup, dine indoors, or on the seriously gorgeous patio.
The gist: Top Chef star Justin Sutherland serves up contemporary Southern cuisine along with bourbon-forward beverages. The restaurant itself isn’t brand-new but got a notable new space last summer when it moved up the hill from Lowertown.
The food: Start with some crawfish hush puppies (or the whole roasted hog jowl if you’re feeling brave) then move along to the “meat bar,” a daily curated selection of cured and smoked pig with accoutrements. The 24-hour smoked beef brisket and smothered tomahawk pork chop may result in some meat sweats, but they’ll be worth it.
The cost: Entrees range from $14 - $32.
How to order: Make a reservation on Resy—indoor and patio seating available—or do delivery on DoorDash.
The gist: Just-opened Josefina is definitely worth a trip west. Daniel del Prado does it again with clean, simple Italian pizzas and pastas.
The food: You’re near Lake Minnetonka, so think bigeye tuna crudo, oysters or—if you’re feeling fancy—caviar service to start. You can’t go wrong with a pizza that pops out of the wood-fired oven with a nice crisp. The vongole (littleneck clam) and pineapple fra diavolo with calabrese sausage are standouts.
The cost: Pizzas range from $12 - $19; other entrees from $18 - $28.
How to order: Make a reservation for the pizza bar on Resy or do takeout on Toast.
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 lumpia and move on to bacon pineapple fried rice, drunken noodles or braised duck ramen.
The cost: Entrees range from $13 - $36.
How to order: You can dine in, eat on the patio, or order takeout on Tock.
The gist: This St. Paul institution has been around since the end of prohibition, but after a total facelift in recent years The Lex is back and better than ever.
The food: It definitely harkens back to a simpler time. Get the double bone pork chop or “famous” smoked chicken pot pie along with a bathtub-style Old Fashioned, if you’re dining in.
The cost: Entrees range from $16 - $75.
How to order: Make a reservation for the dining room, walk up to the rooftop patio or order takeout on ChowNow.
The gist: Chef Daniel del Prado’s debut restaurant Martina features standout Argentinian-Italian fusion dishes, and newer adjacent neighbor Rosalia is more casual, with wood-fired pizzas.
The food: Martina serves up seafood, pork and veggies as well as delicious handmade pastas. The cinnamon fried calamari is a must followed by gnocchi, octopus or spaghetti fra diavolo with lobster. At Rosalia, grab a Bianca pie with mozzarella, lemon ricotta and arugula.
The cost: Entrees at Martina range from $21 - $32, pizzas at Rosalia range from $9 - $16.
How to order: You can dine indoors or on the patio at both places as well as order to-go through Toast.
The gist: The purveyor of the Twin Cities’ best burger is a huge hit no matter what side of the river you’re on.
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; $7 for fries.
How to order: Parlour is offering pickup and delivery through Toast and ChowNow, respectively, as well as dine-in.
The gist: Taking over the quaint space vacated by Blackbird Cafe, this neighborhood bistro is led by acclaimed chef Jorge Guzman, who uses sustainable, locally grown ingredients to cook thoughtful food.
The food: Tons of interesting appetizers and small plates, from aguachile negro to smoked beef tongue to grilled octopus. There are just three entrees on the menu: Yucatecan chicken, steak bavette, and the fish of the day.
The cost: $$
How to order: Order takeout on ChowNow or make a reservation on Resy.
The gist: James Beard nominee Thomas Boemer brings authentic Southern comfort food to the Midwest-—most notably, the best fried chicken. Also, a third outpost is opening soon-ish in St. Louis Park.
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 dine-in and patio service.
The gist: The Midwest may not be the first place you think you’d find a Japanese-Italian fusion restaurant but Daniel del Prado always delivers something deliciously unexpected. Sanjusan opened in March, and it’s already getting a lot of buzz.
The food: A mix of fish, pasta, and pizza that works. Dig into Wagyu nigiri and panzanella while you wait for your perfectly plated squid pappardelle, spicy tuna pizza, or chicken yakitori skewers.
The cost: Entrees range from $11 - $25.
How to order: Make a reservation for indoor or outdoor dining on Tock, as well as curbside pickup orders.
Sooki & Mimi
The gist: James Beard award-winning chef Ann Kim opened her fourth restaurant in February, the name of which pays homage to her grandmothers. Sooki & Mimi serves up international flavors through a five-course prix-fixe menu.
The food: A combination of Korean, Latin American, and Midwestern flavors, offerings change seasonally. Right now, you’ll find tostadas, kimchi dumplings, mole verde, and tacos.
The cost: $80/person for a five-course meal.
How to order: Make a reservation on Tock. Sooki & Mimi doesn’t do takeaway.
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.
The cost: Entrees range from $16 - $38.
How to order: You can dine indoors or on the patio and also order to-go through Toast.
Travail Kitchen & Amusements
The gist: The creative, trendy kitchen has coped with COVID by doing different dining concepts such as to-go family meals, parking lot dining parties and indoor cocktail flights paired with bar food.
The food: Travail has always been known for experimentation: Expect things like prosciutto-wrapped porchetta for the family meal, a seafood boil at the parking lot party and whiskey flights with truffle popcorn at the basement bar.
The cost: $60 - $150 for takeout family meals, $87/person for parking lot parties, $50 - $75 for basement bar flights.
How to order: Reservations and family meal orders both available on Tock.
The gist: The meat venture by celebrity chef Justin Sutherland launched last year inside the Keg & Case Market space vacated by In Bloom.
The food: The menu hinges on a 20-foot-long wood fire cooktop that expertly roasts proteins and veggies. Your choice of meat or seafood comes with handmade tortillas or try the flash-grilled wet tacos seared with cheese. The 36-ounce tomahawk ribeye is pretty tempting, too.
The cost: Entrees range from $8 - $90.
How to order: Reservations for indoor and patio dining are available.
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, fennel pollen, 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 $11 - $19.
How to order: Pie orders for pickup are processed through Tock. At this time, Young Joni is open for takeout only.
Jenna Bennett Williams is a writer for Thrillist who is all about frequent visits to the outdoor patios of restaurants on this list. Follow her on Instagram @jennabennnettwilliams.