Best of

the Twin Cities

BEST KOREAN RESTAURANT

Dong Yang Oriental Food

So much noise is made in the sense-world of food about the importance of taste—as well as its Siamese twin perception, smell—that we tend to ignore the rest of our senses in the midst of a meal. Sure, sight, with its inverse relationship with the stomach, gets some play, as does touch, what with Iron Chef judges flapping their lips about texture and "mouthfeel." But a good meal also appeals directly and passionately to that lonely fifth sense: sound. No joke. Remember the first time you heard fajitas whizzing past your table at Chi-Chi's? Human beings respond to that sound much like sharks react to the splashing of injured seal pups. That same killer instinct kicks in the moment you hear the approach of a sizzling dish, and no dish sizzles quite like the Dolsot Bibimbap at Dong Yang—a hidden grocery-store lunch counter known only to devout food-seekers and Columbia Heights' sizeable Korean population. We're telling you, so ferociously will you devour this meal that it may as well be chum. The name means "hot stone bowl of mixed rice," and that stone is so scorching that its contents—rice, vegetables, and beef, topped elegantly by a single raw egg—sputter like sweat on a Harley tailpipe for five solid minutes while you gullet them down. Order "No. 13" and do as the Koreans do: Mix everything in the bowl before you eat it, dig for the crusty golden rice at the bottom, and don't forget to pile on the chili paste (it's in the ketchup bottle). Bring friends and round out the meal with succulent sliced beef (bulgogi), fried dumplings (mandu), kimchee pancakes (jeon), or short ribs (kalbi). Then commence with the full symphony of epicurean acoustics: slurping, mmmm-ing, burping, sighing, and groaning with the bloated pleasure of eating one of the Cities' most sensational culinary masterworks.

BEST KOREAN RESTAURANT (2008) Dong Yang

BEST BAGEL Common Roots

BEST BAKERY Rustica

BEST BARBECUE 128 Cafe

BEST BARTENDER Dan Oskey, the Strip Club

BEST BEER SELECTION IN A BAR Muddy Pig

BEST BLOODY MARY Hell's Kitchen

BEST BREAKFAST D'Amico Kitchen

BEST BREWPUB Barley John's

BEST BURGER The Anchor Fish & Chips

BEST BURRITO Pineda Tacos

BEST CANDY STORE Sugar Sugar Candy

BEST CARIBBEAN RESTAURANT Harry Singh's

BEST CENTRAL/SOUTH AMERICAN RESTAURANT El Rincón Salvadoreño

BEST CHEAP EATS Taj Grill

BEST CHEESE SHOP France 44

BEST CHEF Sameh Wadi of Saffron

BEST CHILI The Loon Cafe

BEST CHINESE RESTAURANT Szechuan

BEST COCKTAILS Prohibition

BEST COFFEE White Rock Coffee Roasters

BEST COFFEE SHOP Bull Run Coffee Bar

BEST DELICATESSEN Broders' Cucina Italiana

BEST DESSERTS Cosmos

BEST DIM SUM Mandarin Kitchen

BEST DINER St. Clair Broiler

BEST DIVE BAR The Red Dragon

BEST ETHIOPIAN RESTAURANT Fasika

BEST FARMERS' MARKET St. Paul Farmers' Market

BEST FRENCH FRIES Acadia Cafe

BEST FRENCH RESTAURANT Meritage

BEST GREEK RESTAURANT Gardens of Salonica

BEST HANGOVER BREAKFAST Triple Rock Social Club

BEST HAPPY HOUR Il Gatto

BEST HOT DOG Italian Veggie Dog from the Wienery

BEST HOTEL BAR The Living Room at the W Hotel

BEST ICE CREAM PARLOR Pumphouse Creamery

BEST INDIAN RESTAURANT OM

BEST IRISH PUB The Local

BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANT Bar La Grassa

BEST JAPANESE RESTAURANT Fuji-Ya

BEST LATE-NIGHT DINING The Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant

BEST LOCAL BEER Summit Unchained Series

BEST MARGARITA The Cobra Verde at Barrio

BEST MEXICAN RESTAURANT El Burrito Mercado

BEST MIDDLE EASTERN RESTAURANT Babani's Kurdish Restaurant

BEST NEIGHBORHOOD BAR (MINNEAPOLIS) Merlins Rest Pub

BEST NEIGHBORHOOD BAR (MINNEAPOLIS) Merlins Rest Pub

BEST NEIGHBORHOOD CAFÉ (MINNEAPOLIS) Victory 44

BEST NEIGHBORHOOD CAFÉ (ST. PAUL) Tanpopo Noodle Shop

BEST NEW RESTAURANT Piccolo

BEST OLD-GUY BAR Yannarelly's Bar

BEST OUTDOOR DINING Seven Sushi Ultralounge and Skybar

BEST PANCAKE Colossal Cafe

BEST PEPPER DISH Habanero Hell Poppers, Chino Latino

BEST PIZZA Galactic Pizza

BEST PLACE TO EAT WITH KIDS D'Amico and Sons

BEST RESTAURANT (MINNEAPOLIS) La Belle Vie

BEST RESTAURANT (ST. PAUL) The Strip Club

BEST RESTAURANT FOR A FIRST DATE Northeast Social

BEST RESTAURANT FOR ROMANCE Forepaugh's

BEST RESTAURANT TREND House-made charcuterie

BEST RESTAURANT WHEN SOMEONE ELSE IS PAYING Corner Table

BEST RESTAURANT WORTH THE DRIVE Nosh Restaurant & Bar

BEST SANDWICH Bacon, egg, and harissa sandwich at 112 Eatery

BEST SEAFOOD RESTAURANT Sea Change

BEST SERVICE Lucia's

BEST SOUL FOOD Brasa

BEST STEAKHOUSE Mancini's Char House

BEST STREET FOOD Chef Shack

BEST STRIP CLUB LUNCH Schieks Palace Royale

BEST SUBURBAN BAR Barley John's

BEST SUNDAY BRUNCH Grand Cafe

BEST SUSHI Giapponese Sushi

BEST SWEET ROLLS Isles Bun & Coffee

BEST TACO Carne asada from Los Ocampo

BEST TAKE-HOME BREW Town Hall Brewery

BEST TAKEOUT Marla's Caribbean Cuisine

BEST TAPAS Subo

BEST TEA SHOP TeaSource

BEST THAI RESTAURANT Sen Yai Sen Lek

BEST THEMED BAR Donny Dirk's Zombie Den

BEST VEGETARIAN-FRIENDLY RESTAURANT Triple Rock Social Club

BEST VIETNAMESE RESTAURANT Saigon Restaurant and Bakery

BEST WINE BAR Kings

BEST WINE LIST Barbette

BEST WINE SHOP France 44

BEST WINGS Girvan Grille