Any true Minnesotan can tell you that there is nothing on earth quite like freshly caught walleye. It’s not only our state fish, but a delicacy relatively unknown to most people outside of the Midwest. The West Coast can keep their crabs, the East Coast can have all the lobster they want – we have best (and freshest) seafood right here in our great state! There’s no shortage of spots to find this tasty treat in Minneapolis, but here are the eleven best restaurants that serve out-of-this-world walleye!
1. Stella’s Fish Café
If you are hungry (and we mean really, REALLY hungry), head straight for Stella’s. We promise you’ve never seen a walleye filet quite this enormous before. The Walleye Fish Basket is always a good decision, especially when you come for the epic Friday happy hour!
Stella’s Fish Café
Stella's Fish Cafe is located at 1400 W Lake St., Minneapolis, MN.
FireLake Grill House
FireLake’s take on the classic walleye sandwich is unique… it’s actually a walleye burger! It might sound unusual, but they manage to keep the fish nice and flaky, and their lemony sauce really ties this delicious dish together. The Heirloom Corn Crusted Walleye is served with a tasty piquillo pepper sauce and the roasted veggies round out this delightful dish. You can’t go wrong with classic walleye fish and chips – which are served with lovely little shoestring fries. If you come for breakfast, the Minnesota Walleye Hash is a must-taste (and if you aren’t a fish fan, the gluten free Lemon Ricotta Pancakes are to die for!)
FireLake Grill House is located at 31 S 7th St., Minneapolis, MN.
3. Tavern on Grand
Tavern on Grand has so many awesome walleye dishes that you’ll have a hard time even choosing which one to try first. Their walleye sandwich is famously tasty, but the walleye BLT and walleye tacos are pretty darn delicious too. They offer tons of ways to “customize” your sandwich – you can have the walleye deep-fried, grilled, or blackened – and there are several different sauce options to choose from as well (try that jalapeño tartar sauce or the Béarnaise!)
If you are looking for something truly unique, come in for breakfast to try the walleye hash. No matter what you choose, you’ll find the fish to be melt-in-your-mouth tender and oh-so-satisfying.
Tavern on Grand is located at 656 Grand Ave, Saint Paul, MN.
4. Gluek’s Bar & Restaurant
Gluek’s has been open 1934, so you had better believe they know what they are doing. It’s the oldest family-owned spot in the city and they’ve had plenty of time to perfect their walleye sandwich. The beer-battered and fried walleye is served with all the typical sandwich fixings, plus an out-of-this-world dill-caper tarter sauce that makes this Minneapolis classic extra special. The sandwich isn’t the only way to enjoy your walleye; they also offer good ol’ fashioned walleye fish and chips and amazing walleye cakes with red pepper aioli as an appetizer.
Gluek's Restaurant & Bar is located at 16 N 6th St., Minneapolis, MN.
5. Hell’s Kitchen
Sometimes, you just don’t need to dress up a dish that’s already divine. While fancy sauces and gourmet additions are fun, Hell’s Kitchen’s BLT is simple, classic, and done just right. The fish is light, crispy, and flavorful, so there’s no need to dress up this iconic Minnesotan dish; it’s perfect just how it is. They also have terrific walleye dinner entrees and tasty walleye hash for breakfast!
Hell's Kitchen is located at 80 S 90th St., Minneapolis, MN.
6. The Local
It may be a classic Irish pub, but they certainly know how to whip out one tasty walleye sandwich! The fish is potato-crusted and served on an egg hoagie with cucumber pepper yogurt and pickled onion slaw, which gives a unique spin to this traditional dish. You’ll love the truffle fries on the side! The atmosphere at here is fun and funky – just how you want a place called “The Local” to be – and the prices (and portions) just can’t be beat.
The Local is located at 931 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN.
Zelo offers some tremendously tasty walleye dishes, but one of the most unique is certainly the Walleye Milanese. The breading is done just right, so it doesn’t weigh down the deliciously light and flaky fish, and its served with marinated tomatoes over mashed potatoes. They also offer a terrific walleye sandwich on a buttery toasted bun and an extra-rich walleye dinner plate.
Zelo is located at 831 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN.
8. Lago Tacos
Fish tacos are awesome, but walleye tacos simply can’t be beat. To be honest, every thing on Lago’s menu is fantastic, but it’s hard not to order walleye whenever possible. They have great walleye tacos, as well as a tasty walleye burrito bowl that will make your taste buds do a little happy dance. In the summer, their outdoor patio simply can’t be beat!
Lago Tacos is located at 2901 Lyndale Ave., Minneapolis, MN.
9. Target Field
Sure, you could order typical ballpark hot dogs, but why bother with something you can find anywhere when there is walleye available!? Minnesota loves serving food-on-a-stick, but the Walleye Pike Fingers may just be the best thing you’ve ever tasted skewered like this before. There are several spots to snag some tasty walleye at Target Field; try Town Ball Tavern and State Food Classics!
Target Field (and its tasty walleye dishes) is located at 1 Twins Way, Minneapolis, MN.
10. Buster’s on 28th
Buster’s is delicious, and it’s no secret – it was featured on an episode of Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives” – and their walleye sandwich is certainly worth celebrating. Unlike some of the other spots on this list, Buster’s doesn’t rely on massively-sized filets to wow you; it’s all about the flavor. The Walleye Rachel is pan-seared and served with prosciutto, swiss and coleslaw on rye… and it’s heavenly. Don’t forget to order their otherworldly delicious fries on the side! This is a great neighborhood spot and they have an impressive beer list, which makes it an excellent hangout when you are looking for tasty food and brews with your buddies.
Buster's is located at 4204 28th Ave. S, Minneapolis, MN.
11. The Tin Fish
Some people are surprised to find the walleye tacos at The Tin Fish sold as singles instead of plates, but there’s a good reason for that: they are enormous. If you are extra hungry (or there to share), order the walleye platter. Although the walleye dinners are a littler pricier than some of the other options on this list, The Tin Fish is located right on the water on Lake Calhoun and the view can’t be beat, even when you have to wait a little longer at peak hours. They also have a grilled walleye sandwich that is always super fresh, but in our opinion, the tasty tacos are the way to go.
The Tin Fish is located at 3000 Calhoun Parkway E, Minneapolis, MN.
We certainly won’t share the location of our favorite fishing holes., but if you are looking for the freshest catch in the Twin Cities, these spots are a great place to start! The only trouble is picking which one to visit first…