Best of

the Twin Cities

BEST CHEAP EATS

Taj Grill

What, exactly, is a steaming pile of penne alfredo doing at the Taj Indian Grill lunch buffet? It's an understandable inquiry, but considering you just paid $4.95 to get in line—pause and let that price wash over you—you don't ask questions. After all, this generous buffet (11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily) requires at least three trips to taste all it has to offer. Start off with the onion salad and a helping of beef nihari with a side of soft naan. Round two is chicken themed: The rich tikka masala and tandoori chicken make for a colorful second course, one that vegetarians can exchange for the veggie curry with coconut milk and the deep-green palak paneer. Fill your third clean plate with creamy kheer, the sweetly spiced rice pudding, which will leave you muttering, "$4.95...just $4.95." Even if you add a self-serve pop, this tasty Indian experience is still cheaper than a run through Jimmy John's, and infinitely more satisfying.

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BEST BAKERY Rustica

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BEST BARTENDER Dan Oskey, the Strip Club

BEST BEER SELECTION IN A BAR Muddy Pig

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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 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 KOREAN RESTAURANT Dong Yang Oriental Food

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

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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