Chefs in Minneapolis and Saint Paul know what they’re about. Together, they’ve helped the Twin Cities’ in becoming a blossoming foodie mecca. With hundreds of restaurants to choose from, it is admittedly difficult to narrow down the creme de la creme. It’s September, which means there are only four short months left to cross off your food bucket list for 2017, these 15 restaurants are the absolute must-visits before 2018.
1. Young Joni
Our first on the list of best restaurants in the Twin Cities in 2017 has to go to Young Joni. In July, Ann Kim's restaurant was listed as one of the best in the entire country. Her creative pizzas mixed with a Korean flair are highly coveted. It's hard to get a reservation, but it's totally worth the wait.
Young Joni: 165 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413.
2. 112 Eatery
112 Eatery is a MInneapolis staple that refuses to be ignored. This North Loop joint is beloved by many Minneapolitans for its elevated comfort food. For over a decade, Minneapolis residents have been head over heels in love with 112 Eatery's burger; every succulent bite is something to write home about.
112 Eatery: 112 N 3rd St., Minneapolis, MN 55401.
3. The Lexington
The Lexington has been open in Saint Paul on Grand Avenue since 1935. In the days of streetcars, it was one of the most elegant restaurants in the entire area. For a while, it felt as if The Lex had lost much of its grandeur from it's heyday, but after a lengthy remodel and reopening in February of this year, this restaurant is back and better than ever. While most dining spaces in the Twin Cities lean on the casual side these days, The Lexington is bringing opulence back to Saint Paul dining with dishes like their duck & foie gras meatballs in stroganoff. The luxury tasted so good.
The Lexington: 1096 Grand Ave., Saint Paul, MN 55105.
Is there a single thing about Cafe Alma that isn't to love? We don't think so. The part cafe, part restaurant, part hotel in the oldest neighborhood in Minneapolis is the perfect spot for just about anything. Brunch at Cafe Alma makes their food more accessible than the fancier, practically reservation only dinners the restaurant serves each night. We love their standard fried egg sandwich, but there's always a beautiful rotating menu in the works.
Alma: 528 University Ave. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414.
5. 510 Lounge & Private Dining
Just a couple of months ago, 510 Lounge opened and replaced the former cherished La Belle Vie. The chieftains behind the Kenwood in Minneapolis have taken over the space which was once a grand hotel facing Loring Park. 510 is just as luxurious as expected; small plates of divine French food are served in the lounge, but only those who have arranged ahead of time are able to experience the private dining this gorgeous restaurant has to offer. We can't wait to see what 510 does in the future.
510 Lounge & Private Dining: 510 Groveland Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55403.
6. Handsome Hog
For those who follow the restaurant scene in The Twin Cities, you'll know just how highly anticipated this whiskey and pork heavy restaurant was when it opened in 2016. We're happy to say Handsome Hog continues to impress its patrons. The brisket is the way to go at Handsome Hog. If you want some of the best BBQ in the area before the year ends, you know where to go.
Handsome Hog: 203 6th St. E, Saint Paul, MN 55101.
7. Spoon and Stable
The James Beard Foundation loves Spoon and Stable and nominated it for best restaurant (IN THE COUNTRY) in 2015. If you haven't visited this stunning restaurant yet, we'd like to know what you're waiting for. The restaurant is located in what was actually once a horse stable. It's an eclectic location to accompany their vibrant food.
Spoon and Stable: 211 N 1st Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55401.
8. Hi-Lo Diner
How many times in your life have you eaten inside a diner that has moved from one part of the country to another? We're guessing you haven't, which is what makes Hi-Lo Diner so unique. This diner started its journey in 1957 in Pennsylvania and now lies in Minneapolis, where we hope it's here to stay. If you love diner fare, this is the place to be with their modern takes on classics. Our favorites are hi-tops, which are fried pieces of dough with either savory or sweet toppings. Your taste buds will thank you for making paying a visit here before the end of the year.
Hi-Lo Diner: 4020 E Lake St., Minneapolis, MN 55406.
Revival opened it's second location in December of 2016, so now Twin Cities restaurants can opt to visit the Minneapolis or the Saint Paul location to get their decadent fried chicken and other southern comfort food. The relaxed setting makes you feel at home while you delve into down home comfort fare that is anything but forgettable.
Revival: 4257 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55409.
This tiny restaurant can be easily missed in the Linden Hills neighborhood in Minneapolis as you walk by, but the food served inside deserves to be noticed and celebrated. If you're looking for a place to do brunch, look no further than Tilia. The chefs do different takes on an Eggs Benedict with their Reuben Benedict, and anything you order with a poached egg will be creamy, rich, and oh so satisfying.
Tilia: 2726 W 4rd Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55410.
11. Maya Cuisine
For anyone who loves affordable and accessible eats with an elevated complexity of flavor, Maya Cuisine is the perfect spot to grab a bite to eat. A majority of their dishes at the front counter are under ten dollars. Considering the level of time and skill put into their cuisine, these dishes are definitely worth a higher price tag; but we’re grateful for how affordable they’ve kept themselves.
Maya Cuisine: 1840 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418.
Any restaurant on the first floor of the Meridian in downtown Minneapolis is bound to be phenomenal, and Mercy is no exception. Opened in spring of this year, Mercy serves updated casual cuisine that is bound to melt your heart and satisfy your stomach. And yes, they totally serve Beer Can Chicken worthy of Instagram.
Mercy: 901 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55403.
13. Mucci's Italian
The only Italian restaurants worth visiting this year are ones where the pasta is made fresh and the cheese is gooey and plentiful. Mucci's satisfies every Italian food dream you've ever had with their decadent dishes. We recommend you finish (or start, because why not?) any meal from Mucci's with one of their flaky homemade donuts.
Mucci's Italian: 786 Randolph Ave., Saint Paul, MN 55102.
14. World Street Kitchen
While many believed that Asian fusion restaurants were overdone and a thing of the past, World Street Kitchen has emerged to change their minds. With a brick and mortar location in the Whittier neighborhood and a wildly popular food truck, WSK serves the best yum yum bowls known to humankind. And they have the best, stickiest, Korean BBQ short ribs to accompany them. If you want to finish off your meal with something sweet, walk into the next room to enjoy a scoop of ice cream from Milk Jam Creamery.
World Street Kitchen: 2743 Lyndale Ave. S #5, Minneapolis, MN 55408.
Last, but certainly not least, is a newcomer to the Northeast food scene. The highly anticipated Bardo is now open and taking reservations located in the former Rachel's NE spot. Taking inspiration from the art deco building, the atmosphere of this newly renovated restaurant is absolutely stellar with an equally amazing, minimalist menu. You should definitely put Bardo on your bucket list for the end of the year.
Bardo: 222 E Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55414.
We hope you’re just as hungry as we are now. Of course, we couldn’t list all of our favorite restaurants in the Twin Cities- because that list would be a mile long- but these 15 are worthy of your bucket list before 2017 ends. What has been your favorite restaurant in Minneapolis or Saint Paul you’ve visited this year? Let us know in the comments below.