There are countless restaurants in the Twin Cities that deserve our attention. Everyone knows the Minneapolis and Saint Paul favorites like Cossetta, Pizza Luce, Revival, and Matt’s Bar, but the lesser known joints in the area are worthy of praise as well. Finding a great hole in the wall restaurant is like finding a pirate’s hidden treasure. Luckily for you, we’re willing to share our list of ten restaurants in Minneapolis that really don’t look like much, but are actually totally amazing.
1. Black Sea Restaurant
The Black Sea opened in 2000, the first and only Turkish restaurant in Saint Paul. They serve authentic Turkish comfort food that will definitely wow your taste buds. It has a snug dining room that is completely unassuming, making dining there so much more personal.
The Black Sea Restaurant is located at 737 Snelling Ave., Saint Paul, MN 55104.
2. Eli's East Food & Cocktails
Eli's has two locations: The downtown location has been open since the 1960s and has a dim, romantic atmosphere. The menus vary at the Northeast location, making each spot it's own. The majority of their items are house made, including their pastrami. It's the perfect place for a casual dinner with friends and family.
Eli's East is located at 815 E Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55413.
3. Fasika Ethiopian Restaurant
If you were to walk by Fasika, you might barely even notice it. The exterior of the building sort of looks like one of the many corner stores in Minneapolis and Saint Paul that sell knock off sunglasses and handbags- but inside you’ll find some of the most vibrant and exciting Ethiopian food you'll ever eat. The restaurant has both meat and veggie plates available, so there's something for everyone.
Fasika is located at 510 Snelling Ave., Saint Paul, MN 55104.
4. Firebox Deli
Who knew that some of the best, most succulent and smoky brisket in all of the Twin Cities would come from a little hole in the wall in North Minneapolis? Firebox Deli is family owned and operated and concocts some of the best barbecue we've ever eaten, and we've eaten a lot.
Firebox Deli is located at 4707 Lyndale Ave. N, Minneapolis, MN 55430.
5. Uncle Franky's Northeast
We've walked by Uncle Franky's before and have honestly passed it by without giving it much thought. If only we'd introduced ourselves to this tiny Northeast joint sooner, we would have had so many more opportunities to shove more hot dogs with a myriad of toppings in our face. Whether you're a Coney Island Chili Dog lover or go for the classic Chicago Dog, you'll leave Uncle Franky's satisfied.
Uncle Franky's is located at 728 Broadway St. NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413.
6. Korea Restaurant
For a restaurant to survive on the University of Minnesota campus, it has to be good. Broke college students only spend their money on cheap and delicious food, making the area incredibly competitive. Hidden within Stadium Village stands Korea Restaurant which can easily be missed on your way to TCF Bank Stadium, but this joint serves practically every Korean dish under the sun, and most of it is under ten bucks. What could possibly be bad about that?
Korea Restaurant is located at 211 SE Oak St., Minneapolis, MN 55414.
7. Manning's Cafe
Manning's Cafe has been open in the Como neighborhood of Minneapolis since 1932. The unassuming building lacking a lot of natural light serves the best dive bar burgers in the entire city, and for an incredibly fair price. Other bar food fare comes highly recommended, like their fried chicken drummies. Manning's is a sacred place for those who are dedicated to it, and that's what'll keep the restaurant open for another 80 years.
Manning's Cafe is located at 2200 Como Ave. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414.
8. Marla's Caribbean Cuisine
Marla Jadoonanan was born in Trinidad and immigrated to Minnesota when she was 15 years old. At age 40, she quit her day job and embarked on the risky journey of opening her own restaurant. Her food is heavily influenced by Trinidad and India, a fusion that is oh so tasty. She'll be around the restaurant if you want to pay her a visit and say hello after you eat the most delicious spicy meal.
Marla's Caribbean Cuisine is located at 3761 Bloomington Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55407.
9. The Muddy Pig
This cozy pub in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood of Saint Paul has over 40 beers on tap and specializes in upscale, pork-centric comfort food. It's been rated as one of the best neighborhood bars and with it's warm atmosphere and killer menu, we can see why.
The Muddy Pig is located at 162 Dale St. N, Saint Paul, MN 55102.
10. Pho Tau Bay
It's not a secret that Eat Street has quite a few heavy hitters when it comes to authentic Vietnamese restaurants. Any Minneapolitan in the mood for pho is likely to head to Quang Restaurant, Pho 79 or here to get their warm, hearty, savory soup to satisfy a hangover or help heal them from a nasty cold. Pho Tau Bay looks just like many of the historic buildings in the area, but inside this hole in the wall is something entirely special.
Pho Tau Bay is located at 2837 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55408.
Minneapolis and Saint Paul’s hole-in-the-wall restaurants deserve to be given a try – inside many, you’ll find something absolutely spectacular. Of course, we couldn’t cover all of the underrated restaurants in the Twin Cities, so that’s where you come in: what’s your favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Minneapolis and why? Let us know in the comments below!