There’s no denying that Minneapolis has grown up into a dynamic force to be reckoned with in the national (and international) restaurant world. There are hundreds of mind-blowingly delicious places to dine in the Twin Cities and compiling a comprehensive, definitive list of the best restaurants in the area is near impossible. Instead, we’ve gathered together some of the truly tasty, one-of-a-kind dining experiences in Minneapolis that definitely deserve a spot on your Minneapolis Foodie Bucket List. Here are 13 epic restaurants to kick off your dining adventure (listed at random – we simply couldn’t choose a favorite!)
1. Travail Kitchen & Amusements
Holy smokes, this place is delicious... like unbelievably out-of-this-world, impossible-to-describe delicious. Travali's menu is designed to tantalize your tastebuds and they aren't lying about the "amusements" part; your meal is only part of the experience here. It's clear that chefs Bob Gerken, Mike Brown, James Winberg like to play with their food, and their unexpected presentations of fine dining fare is nothing short of magical. Meals are prepared right in front of you, utilizing all kinds of molecular gastronomy tricks to dazzle all of your senses.
This is NOT your typical restaurant. There are no menus. Instead, you buy a ticket (which ranges from $74 to $113, depending on the day and time) and are presented with a literal smorgasbord of 14-20 chef's choice tasting courses. These creative plates fuse complex, rich flavors with a circus-like culinary performance that will seriously leave your head spinning. The experience is worth every penny.
4124 W Broadway Ave, Robbinsdale, MN
2. Cafe Alma
Restaurant Alma rose to fame on its splendid menu, and a new expansion into the equally delicious Cafe Alma and a whole new wonderful experience at Hotel Alma. Chef Alex Roberts, a Best Chef Midwest James Beard Award winner, has risen to incredible success with his expertly imagined dishes inspired by well-seasoned comforts. The hospitality-driven attitude and fresh, seasonal ingredients make Alma an understated (and underrated) restaurant in the diverse Minneapolis dining world.
528 University Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN
3. Spoon and Stable
Spoon and Stable offers a truly unique experience. First off, you will be eating in a historic horse stable in the center of the North Loop. Second, your meal will be designed by culinary master and James Beard Award winner Chef Gavin Kaysen... you may recognize his name from his appearances on Food Network's 'The Next Iron Chef' and 'Chopped All-Stars.' Third...just prepare to be amazing. The Star-Tribune chose Spoon and Stable as the Best Restaurant of the Year in 2015, and their award-winning quality hasn't dimmed a bit. It's not easy to snag a reservation at this nationally-recognized restaurant, but it's definitely worth the extra effort.
211 N 1st St, Minneapolis, MN
4. Brasa Rotisserie
This is slow-cooked soul food at its finest. Brasa brings out everything we love about neighborhood restaurants. Although they specialize in rotisserie fare - it's impossible to choose a favorite among the chicken, pork, and beef options - Brasa also offers a solid selection of vegetarian items that definitely aren't lacking in flavor. If you have never tasted yucca, Brassa will leave one heck of a first impression. Brasa features a vibrant blend of Southern-Caribbean dishes, including some mighty fine cheesy grits, fried plantains, and pulled chicken. Both the Minneapolis location (on Hennepin Ave.) and the St. Paul location (on Grand Ave.) can get quite busy and the fun, upbeat atmosphere is hard to beat, but if you are in a hurry, Brasa also offers take-out! But the best part of all? This epically delicious menu has great prices and won't break the bank (which is good, because you'll want to keep coming back for more!)
600 E Hennepin, Minneapolis, MN & 777 Grand Ave. Saint Paul, MN
If you are craving an authentic Southern-fried feast, Revival is about to become your new favorite spot. This might just be the best fried chicken outside of the true South. It's that good. If you ever make it past the glorious chicken, you'll find equally delicious creamy grits, pork shoulder, old school mac and cheese, and the sweetest sweet tea you've ever tasted. Chef Thomas Boemer brought the traditional touch of his Southern childhood to the Minneapolis food scene in the best way imaginable; his menu simply blows the competition out of the water. Come hungry and prepare to eat WAY more than you planned to.
4257 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN
6. Bar La Grassa
Bar La Grassa is undeniably delicious and the definition of a perfect date spot. The lively atmosphere only enhances the dining experience and the enormous top-notch menu offers unique choices and creative preparations than are sure to delight your tastebuds. Bar La Grassa's food is rich, adventurous, and fun - everything you would expect from chefs Issac Becker (from the delicious 112 Eatery) and Josh Thoma (from famous favorites La Belle Vie, Solara, and Bario). The numerous bruschetta appetizers, tasty pastas, creative pizzas, perfectly balanced entrees, impressive wine list, and an out-of-this-world dessert menu make Bar La Grassa a shining star in the Minneapolis food scene.
800 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis, MN
7. Butcher & The Boar
From the penny-tiled floors to the epic handmade specialty sausages, this place is pretty darn impressive. Since opening in 2012, Butcher & The Boar has stirred up excitement from both local foodies and international visitors, topping the lists of best restaurants and collecting a consistent stream of awards. Just one year after opening, Chef Jack Riebel snagged nominations for James Beard Awards for both Best New Restaurant and Best Chef Midwest, and the buzz shows no signs of calming anytime soon. The menu is diverse, creative, and universally tasty, but there's truly no competition for the sausages served here. From the house specialty to the German nachos, it's clear that Butcher & The Boar is an expert in the meat world. With an exceptional wine list, a cocktail menu highlighting amazing bourbon, large portions, and an all-weather heated outdoor beer garden out back, Butcher & The Boar is worth every penny.
1121 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN
This Linden Hills restaurant has a small menu packed with big flavors. Chef Steven Brown celebrates comfort food by taking it above and beyond anything you imagined possible. Whether you are looking for an out of this world brunch, creative snacks from the "In Between" menu, or an unforgettable dinner, Tilia reigns supreme across any meal. One great contributor to the quality here is simply the size of the dining area - it's an intimate space that defines itself with a true neighborhood atmosphere - giving the chefs the opportunity to prepare and serve meals with great care and attention to detail. The dishes are reasonably priced, always fresh, and simply delicious.
2726 W 43rd St, Minneapolis, MN
9. Manny's Steakhouse
If you love steak, you will love Manny's. This place is a meat-lover's paradise. Manny's Steakhouse has becoming a legend, both as an icon in Minneapolis and on the international stage - Men's Journal recognized Manny's on its 2015 list of the "Top 10 Steakhouses in the World." With nearly three decades of experience serving up the best cuts you can find, it's no small wonder that this has become a stop for everyone from professional athletes to presidents. Come hungry - the meals are massive - and expect to pay for top-quality dishes at this old fashioned dinner club. The service is excellent, the wine list is phenomenal, and the experience is one-of-a-kind.
825 S Marquette Ave, Minneapolis, MN
10. Brewer's Table
This gastropub is located upstairs above Surly Brewing Co. and offers an unexpectedly awesome meal for guests who come to enjoy the beer. The Brewer's Table menu focuses on creating excellent pairings to complement their brews while also featuring fresh, locally sourced ingredients to elevate dishes far above your typical brewery fare. The atmosphere is casual and fun, with seating available on an open outdoor patio during the warmer seasons. Food & Wine Magazine recently recognized Brewer's Table as one of the top restaurants for 2016, and the attention has drawn in a sizeable crowd excited to try the ever-changing menu; make reservations if you want to guarantee a table.
Located at Surly Brewing, 520 Malcolm Ave SE Minneapolis, MN
11. The Bachelor Farmer
If you are looking for a trendy downtown spot, check out The Bachelor Farmer. This delicious eatery is committed to using farm-fresh, locally sourced ingredients, and it definitely shows in the rich flavors folded into their expertly crafted meals. The quality and complexity found at The Bachelor Farmer hasn't flown under the radar; Chef Paul Berglund took home a James Beard Award this year for Best Chef Midwest (Berglund was also nominated in 2014 and 2015). That said, plan ahead, make reservations early, and be patient - there is never a dull moment here and your meal will definitely be worth the wait. Head downstairs to Marvel, the basement bar, and enjoy a creative cocktail to kick off your epic dining experience.
50 N 2nd Ave, Minneapolis, MN
12. 112 Eatery
James Beard Award-winning chef Issac Becker certainly lives up to his impressive reputation at 112 Eatery. This eclectic restaurant in the North Loop area offers a fresh take on favorite comfort foods and infuses an exciting spark of creativity into every item on the menu. 112 Eatery has risen to an iconic spot on the Minneapolis foodie scene, particularly for their truly legendary burger, foie gras meatballs, and epic dessert menu, and you'll be hard-pressed to find an item on their menu that is anything less than delightful. This restaurant holds a top spot on Zagat's best restaurants list, so reservations are a must when you choose to dine here. 112 Eatery is well-suited for special occasions, as their menu leans to the pricier side, but if you are searching for the perfect place for a lively celebration, look no further.
112 N 3rd St, Minneapolis, MN
Heyday is simply amazing. The restaurant itself is stunning, with an open kitchen, exposed brick walls, and rustic wood ceilings, but the food is absolutely the star of the show. Heyday's menu is truly unique, always fresh, and surprisingly affordable for the quality of their meals. Everything from the tasty appetizers to the epic desserts is a treat to your tastebuds and the beautifully plated dishes showcase the care and attention to detail used in their creation. Heyday is a great place to impress your date, especially if you are looking for a lively atmosphere and the opportunity to try something you may have never even heard of (and if you need help choosing, don't hesitate to ask the knowledgeable servers for suggestions). Be adventurous; you will discover something amazing.
2700 Lyndale Ave. S Minneapolis, MN
Are you hungry yet? Get your forks and knives ready – this is one unforgettable food journey! Cheers! Bon appetit!