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Photo by Kai Oliver-Kurtin
Photo by Kai Oliver-Kurtin

The 13 best restaurants in Minneapolis

Take a look at the best restaurants in Minneapolis, guaranteed to help get you through another tough winter

Written by
Cinnamon Janzer
&
Kai Oliver-Kurtin
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When thinking of Midwestern food, most people crave meat-and-potato dishes like burgers and fries or more obscure specialty meals such as Norwegian lefse. Enter the Minneapolis food scene, which single-handedly shatters all preconceived notions. From meticulously decorated venues that serve their own take on Asian street cuisine to low-key eateries preparing some of the best southern barbecue you’ll ever have, visiting all of the best restaurants in Minneapolis turns out to be one of the very best things to do while in town—period.

Minneapolis is home to several big-name chefs who bring star talent to the Twin Cities, including Gavin Kaysen, Ann Kim, Sean Sherman, Yia Vang, and Andrew Zimmern, among others. Whether you’re a local looking to satisfy your most gluttonous self or just visiting on vacation to catch a Twins baseball game (in which case you may want to review the best hotels in town), we know you’ll love all of these eclectic restaurants.

Best restaurants in Minneapolis

Located in a former horse stable, Spoon and Stable will likely require a reservation to experience. Once you’re inside, you’ll immediately realize why. Local chef and owner Gavin Kaysen, a two-time James Beard award winner, works on highlighting the seasonality of Midwestern food while adding a French flair to all dishes served at this North Loop outpost. Bowls of heritage grain pasta and plates of grilled meat are paired with classic cocktails and wines.

Found in the northeast part of town, Young Joni has taken the Minneapolis culinary scene by storm. James Beard award-winning chef Ann Kim turns out wood-fired pizzas, global fare, and craft cocktails. Check out the speakeasy-style bar in the back, aptly called Back Bar—when the red light is on, the bar is open for business. A thrilling place to spend an evening, Young Joni's decor also happens to be drop-dead gorgeous. The best part? The photo booth set up next to a wall filled with pictures of those who dined here before you.

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Located inside a historic industrial building that's the former home of Harris Machinery Company, The Market at Malcolm Yards is a trendy food hall with nine different restaurant concepts and a full bar. Choose from Korean-style fried chicken, sushi, burgers, empanadas, pasta, pizza, Indian street food, vegetarian bowls, and charcuterie plates. They also have a self-pour tap wall with rotating beers that will make you want to sample brews of every kind. This kid- and- dog-friendly food hall has ample indoor and outdoor seating with fire pits and patio heaters.

Martina is having a moment in Minneapolis. Although pricier than other venues in town, this Argentinian-inspired restaurant is an absolute must-visit. Martina serves dishes by Buenos Aires-born chef Daniel del Prado, including grilled meats and pasta. Given this spot’s popularity, we suggest you make a reservation in advance.

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Hai Hai brings Southeast Asian street food to Northeast Minneapolis. In addition to unique dishes like a Burmese tea leaf salad or Thai banana blossom salad that you can’t find anywhere else, the restaurant serves tropical cocktails and boozy slushies. Hai Hai's decor—designed to transport patrons to the exotic streets of Southeast Asia—adds to the entire experience, especially during a harsh Minneapolis winter.

 

From hushpuppies and cornbread to heaping plates of fried chicken and burgers, Revival offers southern comfort food at its three locations in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Saint Louis Park. Gluten-free options cater to those who usually have to pass on fried chicken, while just about any eater will revel in sides like white cheddar grits—a real menu standout. They also sell pork shoulder, brisket, and fatty smoked pork belly by the pound (or a half pound) if you need to feed a group. Or if you happen to be particularly hungry, of course.

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Once a small restaurant, Alma eventually bought the building next door and added a café and boutique hotel to the original space. It is more than possible to spend the entire weekend in the thoughtfully-designed building, eating seasonally-inspired dinners with a lot of wine and pastries in-between meals. They're open for dinner Thursday through Sunday, offering a prix fixe menu with optional wine pairings.

Holy Land is a Minneapolis staple and a local favorite. Stop by the shop in the Midtown Global Market or have a taste of the Mediterranean offerings while flying through the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport to see what all the fuss is about. The key is to order a dish like falafel, kebobs, or gyros and choose hummus as your side—the staff will give you enough to take home and last the rest of the week. Guy Fieri even visited for an episode of Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, which means it is more popular than ever. There are plenty of vegan and gluten-free options at Holy Land. 

 

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This tiny, unassuming Ecuadorian restaurant flew under the radar for years until it started scooping up award after award and made its way into the Minneapolis food scene. They offer authentic flavors from Ecuador and the Andes Highland that you'll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere in the Twin Cities. The affordable menu is meat-heavy, but vegetarians will enjoy the beans, sweet plantains, and yucca fries.

Nestled in the South Minneapolis section of Nicollet Avenue, Hola Arepa serves Latin street food with a focus on Venezuelan arepas. Their arepas are made fresh from cornmeal daily and stuffed with meat, veggies, cheese, and homemade salsas. The expansive, dog-friendly patio is a great place to lull away a summer afternoon while sipping on fresh and delicious cocktails with names like Heat of the Moment (try it—it has cinnamon!).

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Found in an old house in the Uptown neighborhood, this quaint spot with a front yard patio cooks classic South Asian dishes from Nepal and India, so expect a lot of curry and chaat. Even if it is between meal times, stop by Namaste to have a chai tea latte from their extensive menu that's been declared the best in town. Try a plain or masala chai, or opt for a specialty flavor like dark chocolate spearmint or cardamom pistachio.

When winter descends upon Minneapolis, hot bowls of ramen noodles get people through the frigid cold. Given the variety of eateries that offer this delicacy, it’s hard to pick a favorite—but Ramen Kazama wins the title because it only does ramen and does it well. Look for classic bowls of tonkatsu and shoyu ramen or a veggie variation with fried tofu. Plus, patrons get to drink Japanese coffee and kombucha. 

 

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Head to Victor’s 1959 Cafe for a Cuban breakfast to end all breakfasts. Think mango or banana pancakes (yes, they’re so good—get them), beans on beans on beans, Cubano sandwiches, empanadas, and all the eggs you can handle with plenty of cilantro and hot sauce on the side. Don’t forget to leave a message on the wall.

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