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45 of the Best Minneapolis Restaurants

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Try the Vietnamese street foods at Hai Hai restaurant and bar in Minneapolis / Matt Lien courtesy of Meet Minneapolis

45 of the Best Minneapolis Restaurants

By Brian Fanelli

From the nation's best Somali cuisine to classic diner fare and authentic birria tacos, here are 45 incredible Minneapolis restaurants to check out the next time you're in town.

  1. Afro Deli
    Afro Deli

    Afro Deli is what happens when fast casual dining meets African, Mediterranean and American fusion. With a menu that ranges from Somali-Italian fusion (the best-selling Chicken Fantastic) to classic Mediterranean gyro and hummus platters, and American standbys like cheeseburgers and steak sandwiches, Afro Deli is a lot like Minneapolis—diverse, delicious and totally unique. 

  2. Al's Breakfast
    Al's Breakfast

    Some restaurants try to be everything to everyone, but not Al's. Since opening in 1950, Al's Breakfast has earned its reputation as one of America's best classic diners by reliably serving up no-frills breakfast foods cooked to perfection. Reportedly the narrowest restaurant in Minneapolis, arrive well before you're hungry and expect to wait a bit before landing a counter spot on one of the diner's 14 stools.

  3. The Anchor Fish & Chips
    The Anchor Fish & Chips

    I'm a firm believer that the best restaurants pick a lane and own it completely, and The Anchor hasn't used their blinker in years. The star of the menu at this Irish pub is, unsurprisingly, the fish and chips. The Anchor uses battered and deep fried wild Alaskan cod served on a bed of thick, hand-cut chips. Elsewhere on the menu you'll also find shepherd's pie, meat and veggie pasties, curry chips and a handful of other pub staples. And, of course, plenty of Guinness. 

  4. Banana Blossom
    Banana Blossom

    You can hardly step outside in Minneapolis without finding an amazing Vietnamese spot, but Banana Blossom stands out as a combination Vietnamese-and-Thai restaurant that excels at both cuisines. From bahn mi sandwiches and pho to papaya salad and red curry, the only thing more impressive than Banana Blossom's flavors are its prices.

  5. Band Box Diner
    Band Box Diner

    Another old-school, no frills diner, the Band Box may be the greasiest spoon in all of Minneapolis—and I consider that high praise. Located just south of downtown Minneapolis in the Elliot Park neighborhood, the diner has been serving up fluffy short stacks, sugary French Toast and incredible burgers since 1939 and shows no signs of slowing down. For the Real Diner Experience, grab a seat at the counter to make friendly banter with the cook and watch sausages sizzle on the flat-top griddle while enjoying for your meal.

  6. Birchwood Cafe
    Birchwood Cafe

    The Birchwood Cafe was at the forefront of the Midwest's farm-to-table revolution and remains one of the region's star players when it comes to organic, farm-fresh fare. The menu changes often to keep up with the growing season, but you can always rely on the Savory Waffle: a massive, Belgian waffle cooked to perfection and topped with a combination of eggs, bacon, and seasonally appropriate fruits and vegetables. Like looking into the Mississippi River, you'll never order the same Savory Waffle twice but you'll always come away impressed.

  7. Boludo
    Boludo

    Another contender for smallest restaurant in Minneapolis, Boludo mimics its environment by packing an incredible amount of flavor into a compact package: its Argentinian empanadas. With a variety of perfectly balanced fillings, these flaky, savory pastries are the heart of Boludo but not its only achievement. The restaurant is also home to some of the best and most unique pizzas in Minnesota, which stand out from the crowd thanks to a salted crust and sweet sauce. 

  8. Bull's Horn
    Bull's Horn

    The answer to a question nobody asked (but absolutely should've), Bull's Horn is what happens when an award-winning chef retires from the world of fine dining to open a dive bar. Sidle up to the counter for a few cheap beers and mix drinks, and once you're nicely buzzed, treat yourself to some of the world's best bar food. From dill pickle fried chicken buckets to fried bologna sandwiches, you'll recognize the whole menu but nothing really compares. 

  9. Chimborazo
    Plate of Ecuadorian food at Chimborazo in Northeast Minneapolis

    Plate of Ecuadorian food at Chimborazo in Northeast Minneapolis / @hueandfood

    Chimborazo

    Looking for flavors from the Andean highlands but not up for climbing a mountain? The humble-looking Chimborazo restaurant in northeast Minneapolis features impeccably cooked foods from Ecuador and the Andes that will taste intimately familiar to Ecuadorians and delicious to all. Open daily for brunch, lunch and dinner, there's never a bad time to visit this delicious Minneapolis institution. 

  10. Common Roots Cafe
    Common Roots Cafe

    The phrase, "local sustainable nosherie," is emblazoned above the door to Common Roots Cafe, so there's no question about what you'll find inside: a Jewish bakery, deli and cafe that sources ingredients locally and makes every business decision with environmental sustainability in mind. Full meals like bagels and lox or challah French toast are fantastic, but don't sleep on the bakery case or happy hour menu, either.

  11. Dumpling
    Dumpling

    Not surprisingly, the stand-out items at Dumpling are its perfectly balanced, crispy-yet-chewy handmade dumplings. Along with familiar, pork and vegetable dumplings, you'll also find delicious new flavors like orange chicken or falafel dumplings. Pro tip: leave some room for an order of Nutella wontons for dessert. 

  12. Eastside
    Eastside

    Run by Minneapolis super chef Jamie Malone, Eastside deftly threads the needle to serve meals that are simultaneously upscale, adventurous and comforting. Take, for instance, the restaurant's pandemic-inspired pivot to woodfired pizzas, which they've plainly dubbed Woodfire at Eastside. The chewy crusts are familiar, while toppings run the gamut from n'duja to white clam cream sauce and Catalan-inspired meatballs. It's a hard line to walk, but Eastside consistently delivers the goods.

  13. Hamburguesas El Gordo
    Hamburguesas El Gordo

    With a name that translates to "fat burgers," you can move on to the next restaurant now if you're on anything close to resembling a diet. For everyone else, Hamburguesas El Gordo specializes in a style of heavy-on-the-toppings, too-much-is-never-enough burgers, hot dogs and tacos more commonly served by street vendors in northern Mexico. The restaurant's signature dish, the Del Gordo burger, is a testament to culinary maximalism: Topped with mozzarella and cheddar cheese, ham, bacon, lettuce, onions, tomatoes, avocado, peppers, ketchup and mustard, it's every bit as delicious as it is messy.

  14. FireBox Deli
    FireBox Deli

    Minnesota isn't exactly known for BBQ, but it seems the pit wizards at FireBox Deli never got the memo. You can order your meats a la carte, on a sandwich, as part of a plate or go all-in with the Firebox Feast, which basically includes the entire menu. (Seriously, the feast comes with an entire rack of pork rips, eight whole wings a pound of pulled pork or beef brisket and six different sides.) The FireBox Fries are another menu standout: a plat of fries topped with cheddar cheese, beef brisket, FireBox sauce and hot sauce. 

  15. Football Pizza
    Exterior of Football Pizza restaurant in Minneapolis

    Football Pizza serves Afghani fare and football-shaped pizzas

    Football Pizza

    Named for its signature football-shaped oval pizzas, this combination pizzeria and Afghani restaurant/bakery is a real Minneapolis gem. Football Pizza uses a traditional Afghan flatbread for the crust, tops them with fresh meats, cheese and vegetables, and includes a side of the restaurant's spicy, cilantro-based green sauce for dipping. Elsewhere on the menu, you'll also find delicious Middle Eastern staples like goat kourma, gyro, kabobs and baklava. 

  16. Hai Hai
    Minneapolis restaurant serves four plates of Vietnamese food on a wooden table

    Try the Vietnamese street foods at Hai Hai restaurant and bar in Minneapolis / Matt Lien courtesy of Meet Minneapolis

    Hai Hai

    The Twin Cities has no shortage of incredible Southeast Asian food, but Hai Hai stands out for its focus on Vietnamese street foods and inventive cocktail program. Chef Christina Nguyen includes a few common-to-American-restaurant dishes on the menu like spring rolls, beef larb and khao soi (all done to perfection), while dishes like the Vietnamese crepe with pork belly and shrimp taste like they were plucked right off the streets of Hanoi. For best results, grab a spot on the patio and a Mekong Manhattan before placing your order.

  17. Hard Times Cafe
    Hard Times Cafe

    The unofficial crust punk capital of Minnesota, Hard Times Cafe is a worker-owned cafe in Cedar-Riverside that specializes in tasty vegan and vegetarian dishes with a side order of bathroom graffiti. Located just steps away from the University of Minnesota campus, it's a common late-night study hangout for students, as well.

  18. Heather's
    Heather's

    Usually when I hear the phrase "new American cuisine," my brain automatically tunes out, but Heather's is the rare restaurant that takes this somewhat cliched category and turns it into something truly terrific. The menu is all fairly standard stuff—burgers, chicken sandwiches and pastas all feature prominently—but the ingredients are so fresh, the spices so balanced, and the overall execution so finely tuned that you can't help but be amazed. 

  19. Himalayan
    Himalayan

    Himalayan is one of the best Indian restaurants in Minneapolis—along with the excellent Nepali and Tibetan cuisines that round out the menu. Every option is phenomenal, but I always come back to the creamy Kathmandu curry and momos. Currently open for takeout and delivery, in better times Himalayan also offers one of the city's best lunch buffets. 

  20. Hola Arepa
    Hola Arepa

    When the pandemic is over, Hola Arepa is where I'll go to celebrate. I'll order the shredded beef and sweet plantain arepas, an order of cornmeal empanadas to share with the table, and a mezcal cocktail to toast the friends I haven't seen in person for over a year. The arepas are always perfectly crisp and sweet, the fillings are always savory and rich, and the drinks are always deceptively strong. Top marks all around.

  21. Kramarczuk's Sausage Company
    Kramarczuk's Sausage Company

    This being the Midwest, there are a lot of competing opinions about where to find the best Polish sausage in town. But for my money, you can't beat Kramarczuk's. Open since the 1954, this authentic Eastern European grocery/deli/bakery/restaurant combo is your one-stop shop for scratch-made polish sausage, borshch, cabbage rolls, pierogi and basically everything else from The Old Country. Order your kielbasa with kraut and onions or "Cossack style," in a bun with melted cheese. 

  22. Lu's Sandwiches
    Lu's Sandwiches

    Despite a fairly broad-sounding name, there's only one type of sandwich you can order at Lu's: the delicious Vietnamese bahn mi. Starting with a crisp French baguette and your choice of meat, tofu or mock duck, bahn mi sandwiches are topped with cilantro, cucumber, pickled carrots, jalapeños, onions, butter and pork pate. A byproduct of the French colonization of Vietnam, bahn mi can be found basically everywhere in Minneapolis. But Lu's has simultaneously perfected the form and streamlined the ordering experience so that, miraculously, the best bahn mi in town is also the fastest one out of the kitchen.

  23. Matt's Bar & Grill
    Matt's Bar Juicy Lucy burger

    Matt's Bar, Minneapolis / @karaleedee

    Matt's Bar & Grill

    There's an ongoing debate about which restaurant first served Minnesota's now-famous Juicy Lucy, but there's no question that the "Jucy Lucy" you get at Matt's Bar is the definitive version. Just a simple cheeseburger with the cheese stuffed inside the patty rather than served on top, plenty of Minneapolis restaurants try to dress up the Juicy Lucy as something its not, but the OG burger you'll get here is greasy, straightforward and far better than its fancied-up imitators.

  24. Maya Cuisine
    Maya Cuisine

    Continuing the trend of no-frills restaurants that prevail against far fancier competition, Maya Cuisine serves up some of the best Mexican food in Minneapolis by focusing on the basics. You won't find any zany flavor combos here, but if you're seeking the city's most well balanced pastor tacos, its freshest corn tortillas or a spicy bowl of pozole on a cold winter afternoon, there's no better place to find it than Maya.

  25. Modern Times
    Modern Times

    Another tentpole of the Minneapolis punk scene, Modern Times is the best place in town to nurse your hangover and run into the band from last night's house show. It's also the rare restaurant where nearly every menu item can be ordered vegetarian, vegan or with organic meat—not to mention gluten-free. Open daily for breakfast and lunch.

  26. Olive & Lamb
    Olive & Lamb

    To me, the ideal Mediterranean restaurant experience is a big group dinner where we order a heaping pile of kabobs, gyros and salads for the table, a few bottles of wine, and slowly make our way through the meal over a few hours. To you, it might be a gyro wrap and side of fries to-go. You'll find both at Olive & Lamb, a counter-service Mediterranean restaurant in Northeast Minneapolis that somehow nails the fast casual and sit-down experiences without compromising on either. 

  27. Pho 79
    Pho 79

    In South Minneapolis, there's a stretch of Nicollet Avenue we call Eat Street. It's a bustling strip of restaurants where you'll find every type of cuisine under the sun, including this humble little restaurant with some of the best pho in town. The competition for Vietnamese food on Eat Street is fierce; Quang, Pho Tau Bay, Jasmine 26 and Pho Hoa are just a few of the other noteworthy spots you'll find within a few blocks. You truly can't go wrong with any of them—and if we're talking about vegan broth, Pho Tau Bay takes the cake—but there's just something about Pho 79 that I can't resist. 

  28. Pimento Jamaican Kitchen & Rum Bar
    Pimento Jamaican Kitchen & Rum Bar

    Also on Eat Street, Pimento is what you get when a Jewish rapper and Jamaican business executive become neighbors and decide to open a restaurant together. One half of the restaurant specializes in counter-service Jamaican street and comfort foods—think Kingston-style jerk bowls with all the fixings included—or make your way to the rum bar to enjoy a drink, kick back and stay a while. For now, Pimento is only doing takeout and delivery, but under normal circumstances the rum bar also features live music every night of the week. 

  29. PinKU
    Chef John Sugimura PinKU restaurant Minneapolis

    Experience Japanese street food at Northeast Minneapolis' PinKU

    PinKU

    There are plenty of restaurants in the Twin Cities where you can find world-class sushi and ramen, but PinKU offers a side of Japanese cuisine you won't find anywhere else in town: street food. Chef and owner John Sugimura sources fresh seafood daily—they don't even have a storage freezer!—and curates a small, rotating menu of Japanese street food dishes like gyoza, onigiri, udon noodles and poke.

  30. The Red Sea
    The Red Sea

    Since opening in 1990, The Red Sea has been a standby for delicious and authentic Ethiopian and Eritrean meals. And don't get me wrong, the food is incredible; but what really sets The Red Sea apart is how—unlike most Ethiopian restaurants—this one is also a night club. Where else can you start your night by sharing a massive platter of Ethiopian food with friends, then seamlessly transition over to the bar to hit the dance floor? 

  31. Reverie Cafe & Bar
    Reverie Cafe & Bar

    Located just a block away from beautiful Powderhorn Park, Reverie serves some of the best bar food in town. The curbside burger is a cheesy thing of beauty, and the nachos are piled so high with toppings it always feels vaguely like you're getting away with something. It would be one of the best places for bar food in town even without an angle, but it just so happens everything on the menu is 100% vegan, too. Dinner is available daily, with brunch served weekend mornings and afternoons. 

  32. Runyon's
    Runyon's

    Located right on the cusp between downtown Minneapolis and the North Loop, Runyon's is the sort of low-key sports bar that feels familiar whether it's your first or fiftieth visit. The drinks are cheap, TVs are prominently placed above the bar, and the walls are covered in a seemingly infinite collage of Minnesota sports photos and news clippings. Mix that atmosphere with the best Buffalo Wings in town and you've got a guaranteed touchdown on your hands, even if the Vikings are playing. 

  33. Safari Restaurant
    Safari Restaurant

    While there are a good number of counter-service Somali restaurants in town (including Safari's own express option inside the Midtown Global Market), Safari Restaurant is one of only a handful to offer the full sit-down experience. The menu is brimming with brightly flavored traditional Somali curries, along with some Italian-style pasta dishes that became staples of Somali cuisine through colonization. Your server will place a banana on your table when you're seated—just remember: it's not an appetizer, save it for later to mix into your rice when the meal arrives.

  34. Sammy's Avenue Eatery
    Sammy's Avenue Eatery

    Named for its owner and long-time restauranteur, Sammy McDowell, this sunny little deli and cafe in North Minneapolis proves you don't need to reinvent the wheel to stand out. The menu consists of classic, familiar soups, sandwiches and salads made with fresh ingredients and a certain magic that elevates them into truly great meals. Whether it's the thick and flavorful bread, Sammy's house-made special sauce or simply the care given to everything on the menu, Sammy's is sure to impress. 

  35. Sen Yai Sen Lek
    Sen Yai Sen Lek

    Co-owned by husband and wife team Joe and Holly Hatch-Surisook, Sen Yai Sen Lek (Thai for big noodle little noodle) specializes is single-dish, farm-to-table rice and noodle entrees that evoke the Bangkok street food Joe grew up with. My personal favorite dish is one you won't find at most American Thai restaurants: khao soi. The spicy, curried egg noodle soup is packed with beef, cilantro, pickled mustard greens and shallots, and on a cold winter day, few things are more satisfying than a bowl of khao soi and a seat by the window to watch the snow fall softly on Central Avenue. 

  36. Soul Bowl
    Soul Bowl

    Housed on the second floor the North Loop's hippest food hall, Graze Provisions, Soul Bowl describes itself as, "soul food reimagined for the urban millennial." The menu is stocked with soul food staples like mac and cheese (Return of the Mack and Cheese), candied yams (D'angelo Candied Yams), cornbread and fried chicken (Fantasia Fried Chicken), available either as a build-your-own affair or as one of their signature bowls. The menu also includes handheld dishes like the A.A. Sandwich, which takes a cornbread bun and tops it with mac and cheese, collard greens and fried chicken.

  37. Spoon and Stable
    Spoon and Stable

    Located inside a former horse stable in the North Loop, Spoon and Stable has a well-earned reputation as one of Minnesota's most delicious and exciting fine dining establishments. Run by James Beard-award winning chef Gavin Kaysen, the restaurant masterfully combines Midwestern ingredients with French techniques to produce meals that are familiar yet unique. Although the dining room is closed for the time being, you can still have the Spoon and Stable experience by ordering takeout, picking up one of their "GK at Home" meal kits to cook at home, or by signing up for a livestreamed cooking class with Chef Kaysen himself. 

  38. Taqueria las Cuatro Milpas
    Taqueria las Cuatro Milpas

    The stretch of East Lake Street between Hiawatha Avenue and I-35W is home to dozens of Mexican restaurants where you'll reliably find incredible tacos, burritos, pozole and other taqueria staples. But Taqueria las Cuatro Milpas is one of the only spots on the strip serving birria, a rich beef stew more commonly found in the north-central states of Mexico than the upper Midwest. A large section of the menu is dedicated to the restaurant's varied birria stews, or you can have the tender, shredded birria on an order of tacos, a quesadilla or a torta. 

  39. Trio Plant-Based
    Trio Plant-Based

    Soul food is the name of the game at Trio Plant-Based, Minnesota's first Black-owned vegan restaurant. Cauliflower wings, BBQ jackfruit riblets, collards, mac and cheese, yams—it's all here, it's all delicious and it's all completely vegan. You'll also find a handful of plant-based burgers on the menu, from classic cheeseburgers to pretzel-bun burgers piled high with Buffalo mac and cheese.

  40. Tullibee
    Tullibee

    Housed in the ground floor of the boutique Hewing Hotel, Tullibee fully embodies the spirit of the trendy-but-not-unbearably-so North Loop neighborhood it calls home. A rotating, farm-to-table menu revolves around shareable fish and meat dishes that thrive on the razer's edge between familiar and daring. The restaurant even has its own in-house butchering program, and uses a wood-burning grill to cook each cut of meat to perfection over an open flame. 

  41. Uncle Franky's
    Uncle Franky's

    This tiny little building in Northeast Minneapolis has a surprisingly wide-ranging menu, but the star of the show at Uncle Franky's will always be its hot dogs. One of the few (only?) restaurants in Minneapolis to custom-make their own dogs, these all-beef wieners are yet another example of how a simple, familiar meal can excel when done right. The all-natural casings are snappy, the poppy seed buns are firm (but not too firm) and the toppings are balanced. If you're feeling particularly hungry, order yours as a double-dog (two dogs, one bun) and get ready for a nap. 

  42. Victor's 1959 Cafe
    Victor's 1959 Cafe

    With delicious Cuban dishes like mango pancakes, sweet plantain omelets and cafe con leche with house-made sugar paste, Victor's 1959 Cafe is one of the city's most popular brunch spots. You should expect to wait a bit before being seated, but if you're willing to brave the waitlist your patience will be rewarded with one of the best tasting brunches around. 

  43. Wendy's House of Soul
    Wendy's House of Soul

    While other restaurants in town are perfecting the art of the soul bowl, Wendy Puckett is more interested in SOULROLLS: an unlikely fusion between soul food and egg rolls. Originally developed as a way for Wendy to trick her kids into eating more vegetables, these days SOULROLLS are the signature dish at Wendy's House of Soul. The rolls come in nearly 20 different varieties, from the breakfast-themed 9 a.m. roll to the Jive Turkey roll, which comes stuffed with turkey, cabbage, broccoli, carrots and fresh garlic. Or if you prefer something more traditional, Wendy's also serves up some of the city's best chicken and waffles, chicken wings and sides.

  44. Young Joni
    Young Joni

    Having already established herself as one of the city's most celebrated pizza purveyors at her first two restaurants, Pizzeria Lola and Hello Pizza, Ann Kim's third venture in Northeast Minneapolis feels like an extension and evolution of her formidable reputation. Like her other restaurants, Young Joni is a pizzeria at heart. But its elegant, open dining area and emphasis on bold small plates elevates this pizza joint into something that's not quite fine dining, but not terribly far off either. 

  45. Zen Box Izakaya
    Zen Box Izakaya

    These days you can find an incredible bowl of ramen in practically every corner of the city, but the tonkotsu ramen at Zen Box Izakaya—the city's first dedicated ramen joint—is still nearly impossible to beat. Executive chef and owner John Ng stays mostly true to the Japanese process of cooking ramen broth, tweaking the tradition just slightly by roasting the chicken and pork bones before tossing them in the pot to boil for 10-12 hours. The resulting broth is rich, fatty and creamy, with just a hint of smokiness: the perfect base for your noodles, egg, menma, kikurage and pork chashu. 

More Minnesota Food & Drinks

Beyond these incredible restaurants in Minneapolis, Minnesota’s renowned chefs and vast array of dining destinations have fueled its reputation as a foodie haven. Minnesota-based craft distilleries, breweries, wineries and cideries produce a host of uniquely flavorful beverages that are winning fans around the globe. Vegetarian and vegan restaurants reside in nearly every corner of the state. Trendy food halls allow you to taste your way across multiple countries in a matter of minutes. No matter what kind of food you crave, you'll find it in Minnesota.

Brian Fanelli

Brian Fanelli is a writer and editor for Explore Minnesota. When he isn't writing about life in The North, you'll find him browsing the sci-fi shelves in a local bookstore, biking one of Minnesota's spectacular trails or walking his Chihuahua around Minneapolis.