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12 of the Best Restaurants in Downtown Rochester

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Head to the rooftop of H3 Plaza for downtown dining with a view / AB-Photography.us
Food & Drink // Rochester // List

12 of the Best Restaurants in Downtown Rochester

By Lisa Havelka

Rochester is home to some of our favorite bars and restaurants in all of Minnesota. Whether you're seeking a quick bite over lunch or a fabulous night of fine dining, here are 12 of the best restaurants in Rochester to try the next time you're downtown.

  1. Benedict's
    Benedict's

    Weekends are made for brunching, and Benedict’s is the best brunch in town. Eggs Benedict, the restaurant's signature dish, can be ordered seven different ways including an incredible crab and asparagus option. Seeking something sweeter? Order the decadent Elvis pancakes, which are covered in bacon, bananas and peanut butter like The King's favorite sandwich. And since this is brunch, Benedict's also offers a variety of fresh morning cocktails to pair with your meal.

  2. Chester's Kitchen & Bar
    Bowl of pasta with Mediterranean toppings including feta cheese and olives

    Mediterranean Pasta at Chester's Kitchen & Bar in downtown Rochester / @forever_you_studios

    Chester's Kitchen & Bar

    Right in the heart of downtown, delicious meals and top-tier people watching are both on the menu at Chester’s. Their classic American food pops in a contemporary, casual setting with a seasonal al fresco patio that extends onto the Peace Plaza courtyard—the gem of downtown Rochester. For an extra bit of fun, pair your meal with live jazz performances on Friday and Saturday nights.  

  3. Twigs
    The sun-baked patio of Twigs Tavern & Grille

    The sun-baked patio of Twigs Tavern & Grille  / AB-Photography.us

    Twigs

    Rather than offer a gluten-free option or two, Twigs builds its entire menu around dishes that can be easily tweaked to accommodate dietary restrictions without dialing back on flavor. Owner Michelle Salz was actually diagnosed with celiac disease in 2008, so she understands the importance of maintaining a contaminant-free kitchen and a menu that's memorable. Mains include everything from walleye with garlic wine sauce to applewood-smoked meatloaf wrapped in mashed potatoes and cheddar cheese. The restaurant also boasts one of Rochester's very best sun-baked patios.

  4. Mango Thai
    Mango Thai

    Take your taste buds on a flavorful global journey with the delicious, pan-Asian menu at Mango Thai. The extensive menu ranges from Vietnamese pho to Korean BBQ spareribs, Chinese Dim Sum and a variety of Thai curries. The Panang curry is particularly popular, along with the Pad Kee Mow and spicy basil fried rice with vegetables. The intimate, modern decor makes for a great group outing or date night.

  5. Thai Pop
    Thai Pop
    Thai Pop

    Housed in a timeless space on the corner of historic Third Street, Thai Pop brings a taste of Thailand to downtown Rochester. With Annie, the owner and chef originating from Thailand the dishes she serves up are authentic with fun flavor twists. Learn about the Thai culture and the stories behind her dishes when dining in. The Yum Yum Wings are a popular choice with guests.

  6. Newt's
    Newt's

    One word: burgers. Twelve different burgers, to be exact. The most popular patty is the Works Burger, a whopping 3/4-pound burger that's smothered in cheese, layered with hardwood smoked bacon, crisp lettuce, fresh sliced tomato, red onion and Newt’s famous Bleu Cheese sauce on a special Kaiser bun. If you're looking for delicious and unique burgers, Newt's is your spot.

  7. Nupa
    Nupa

    Family owned and operated since 2009, Nupa serves up fast, fresh and healthy Mediterranean staples like gyro, falafel, kabobs and hummus. Little touches like scratch-made tzatziki sauce and imported Greek olive oil elevate the menu and provide a taste of the Mediterranean with every bite. Visit Nupa’s downtown location in the First Avenue Food Court, or one of their other locations around town. 

  8. Olde Brick House
    Olde Brick House

    Everyone’s Irish at the Olde Brick House, an authentic Irish pub in downtown Rochester. Stop by after work for a relaxing "Irish Recess" (happy hour) of poutine and discount drinks, or visit any time for delicious Scotch eggs, bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie and all your other favorites from the old country.

  9. Pasquale's Neighborhood Pizzeria
    Pizzeria worker behind a deli case full of of pizzas

    Pasquale's Neighborhood Pizzeria in downtown Rochester serves authentic, New York-style pizza by the slice or the pie / AB-Photography.us

    Pasquale's Neighborhood Pizzeria

    This downtown eatery and Italian marketplace specializes in authentic, New York-style pizza and Italian classics made with the same time-tested ingredients Italians have been using for centuries. Pizza is available by the slice, as a standard 18-inch pie, or as a massive, 30-inch "BRONXosaurus" that's ready to feed the whole neighborhood! Save room for their signature, custom-filled cannoli’s and decadent New York cheesecakes. 

  10. Bleu Duck Kitchen
    Bleu Duck Kitchen

    With a name that's a nod to the Adam Sandler movie "Billy Madison", Bleu Duck Kitchen focuses on playful dishes like Buffalo frog legs, al pastor meatloaf, and shrimp and grits served with mascarpone polenta, tempura nori, fermented black beans and Brussels sprouts. The drinks are just as dynamic; while "Technically" a Martini weaves prickly pear & orange blossom gin into a perfectly balanced pairing of dry vermouth, lemon bitters and soda, Proust's Madeleine emulates the iconic French cookie with brandy, ginger liquor, black tea syrup and lemon juice.

  11. Pittsburgh Blue Steakhouse
    Pittsburgh Blue Steakhouse

    Next time you have an occasion worth celebrating, get dressed to the nines and head to Rochester's premier steakhouse, Pittsburgh Blue. Located in downtown's chic Hilton Hotel, the restaurant is known for its perfectly aged, Pittsburgh-style steaks. As the legend goes, Pittsburgh steelworkers would flash-cook their meat directly on the blast furnaces for a steak that's charred on the outside but still pink in the middle.

  12. Victoria's Ristorante & Wine Bar
    Victoria's Ristorante & Wine Bar

    The large-portion Italian meals at Victoria's are sure to leave you full and satisfied. A personal favorite is their scratch-made Fettuccine Alfredo, which uses fresh parmesan cheese straight from the Eau Galle Cheese Factory just over the border in Wisconsin. Decadent desserts and an extensive wine list round out the menu, making this the perfect spot for a first date, anniversary or other milestone celebration.

Lisa Havelka

Lisa Havelka is the southern regional coordinator for Explore Minnesota. Born and raised in southern Minnesota, Lisa loves antiquing, visiting Minnesota wineries, riding motorcycles, and catching live shows at Minnesota’s many music venues.