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Food & Drink

  • BEST APPLE ORCHARD

    Fischer's Croix Farm Orchard

    If you're longing for the apples of your youth--juicy, crisp, slightly floral, tart and sweet, the taste of fall--then pick your own from 20 old-fashioned varieties at Fischer's Croix Farm Orchard in Hastings, just 20 minutes from downtown St. Paul. These apples taste even better while you're walking the rows of burgeoning trees, lugging bushel bags, as the promise of… More >>
  • BEST ASIAN GROCERY

    Shuang Hur Oriental Market

    Need tripe or pork ears, bitter melon or long beans? Sometimes we come here just to watch the lobsters and crabs and fish in their tanks and listen to snatches of Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, and Spanish. This place is as enormous as it is exotic. It's packed to the ceiling with everything from 50-pound bags of rice and lentils and… More >>
  • BEST BAGELS

    Bruegger's Bagels

    Kettle-boiled and stone-hearth-baked, Bruegger's bagels--crusty, dense, and chewy--were the first true New York nosh to hit town. Twenty years ago they set the standard by which all others are measured. The stores in Dinkytown and on Lake Street were the first arrivals, but the metro area now has more than 30 outlets of this 250-franchise national chain. As the corporate… More >>
  • BEST BAKERY

    Patrick's Bakery & Cafe

    Starting in May, Patrick's French Bakery will have expanded hours, staying open till 8:30 p.m. or later. This is good news, because there's nowhere in the Twin Cities we'd rather be than standing with our noses pressed to Patrick's pastry cases, watching those chocolate-and-butter fantasies glow like geometric butterflies. Butterflies! Buttery butterflies, come down to settle on Earth from their… More >>
  • BEST BARBECUE

    Scott Ja-Mamas Restaurant

    As in "You got your mama's barbecue?" If not, find the real McCoy at this tiny joint on the corner of Nicollet Avenue and Diamond Lake Road. (Head west on Diamond Lake, but don't go too fast, it's easy to miss.) The baby back ribs are tender and meaty, not at all greasy, and the sauce is melted in, instead… More >>
  • BEST BREAD

    Linden Hills Turtle Bread Company

    Those woven baskets at the Linden Hills Turtle Bread Company, they are a shrine to the possibilities of flour, water, and fire, and we are ecstatic to worship there. But which to take home? The simple baguette, sweet and plain and airy, as hard to describe as a single cloud in a blue sky, and as essential to a happy… More >>
  • BEST BREAKFAST

    Grandview Grille

    There are certain things you expect when you're indulging in breakfast at a ma-and-pa diner. Grandview Grille has them all, from reasonably priced staples like eggs over easy to the most basic of basics, like toast and oatmeal. But what makes this spot so special is the unexpected. Say, for instance, you innocently order a specialty skillet breakfast. You might… More >>
  • BEST BURGERS

    Convention Grill

    Have you had It yet? The newcomer? The new champ? Certainly, it's been a few years since the local scene had a new cult burger--one that can actually stand head-to-head with the legends at places like the Convention Grill & Fountain, Matt's Bar, or the St. Paul Grill. But lo and behold, here one is, a brand-new contender, in downtown… More >>
  • BEST BURRITOS

    El Burrito Mercado

    A man whose opinion we highly respect once likened the idea of stuffing rice into a burrito to serving spaghetti with a side of mashed potatoes--a definite starch overload. The folks at El Burrito Mercado tend to agree, noting a subtle but nonetheless significant difference between a side order of rice and a burrito filled with the stuff. It's advice… More >>
  • BEST CANDY STORE

    Candyland

    A great candy store should have big, open, glass cases that allow you to ogle the merchandise, sparking memories of both the insane sugar lust of childhood and the fanciful paintings of Wayne Thiebaud (who has celebrated the sixth food group in a series of wonderful and nostalgic still-life studies). It should also, without question, have Swedish fish, jawbreakers, and… More >>
  • BEST CHEAP EATS

    Little Tijuana Restaurant

    Little Tijuana Restaurant is punk rock. It even has a punk one-chord nickname (T's, for short). The heaping portions of authentic Mexican fare provide the perfect punctuation for any situation. A late-night bite after that concert or film? Dig into the chicken and cheese dish or bean burrito platter. How about a hangover brunch or some quick vittles for that… More >>
  • BEST CHEESE SELECTION

    Surdyk's

    At first blush it doesn't look like much happened during Surdyk's recent renovation. The walls are still bright white, and there are no plastic salamis dangling from the ceiling. But after a moment, you can appreciate the new layout's subtle efficiency. No more stumbling into a rack of fancy pickles (or another patron) while you peruse the gourmet groceries. No… More >>
  • BEST CHINESE RESTAURANT

    Chan's Chinese

    Whenever a chef emerges from the kitchen carrying the green net on the aluminum pole, all eyes turn to watch: Who's dinner? Which of the live lobsters, world of crabs, various species of fish, or swimming eels will leave its tank by the door to meet wok and ginger? Wherever that critter is going, that's one lucky table. There is… More >>
  • BEST CHOCOLATE

    River Chocolate Company

    River Chocolate Company's truffles are the most intense and opulent we've ever tasted. And we eat a lot of chocolate. They're handcrafted with organic cream, butter, and the real stuff imported from Belgium, along with organic nuts, fruit, and the best spices. River Chocolate uses traditional methods to make small batches of eight very different flavors. Our favorite? Well, there's… More >>
  • BEST COFFEE (BY THE POUND)

    Peace Coffee

    It wasn't until we became hooked on Peace Coffee's robust, smooth French Roast that we read about how it actually got to our kitchen. Grown under a canopy of trees (which provide a home to birds and bugs), these beans are not treated with chemical fertilizers or pesticides, nor cultivated in ways that harm the surrounding foliage. They are purchased… More >>
  • BEST COFFEE HOUSE

    Coffee News Cafe - CLOSED

    One of the great culinary plagues afflicting the Twin Cities is the bland, tasteless, mass-produced sandwiches that can be purchased at just about every coffee shop in town. Bully for the company that thought up this idea, but really, how hard is it to make a freakin' turkey sandwich? Are the baristas whose tip jars seem to become larger and… More >>
  • BEST DELICATESSEN

    Zaroffs Deli

    How did a nice Jewish deli end up on this side of Highway 394, next to a Galyan's? Goes to show, you can take the deli out of New York. But you can't take New York out of this Jewish deli. The chicken soup is loaded with shreds of dark and white meat, chopped carrots, and matzo balls the size… More >>
  • BEST DIM SUM

    My Le Hoa - CLOSED

    Dim sum should probably come with a warning from the Surgeon General--or be banned outright as a threat to the public health. With 86.2 percent of Americans already wearing elastic-waistband pants, the last thing we need is a marathon meal where food comes to your table on a cart, whether or not you ordered it. Yet this is the delightful… More >>
  • BEST DINER

    Diner

    Just east of the small industrial wasteland around Hiawatha Avenue, south of the Seward neighborhood and north of Lake Street, lies the Diner. An immediate neighbor of such other neighborhood institutions as Stardust Lanes and the Hexagon Bar, the Diner has been on the corner of 26th and 27th since 1950, when the restaurant was converted from a garage. And… More >>
  • BEST DOUGHNUTS

    Sarah Jane's Bakery

    As we noted the hubbub last spring over Krispy Kreme's Maple Grove opening, we couldn't help wondering what all the fuss was about. Didn't people realize that the most heavenly of all confections--the chocolate butter cream square--had existed for years at Sarah Jane's Bakery in northeast Minneapolis? Made by sandwiching a rich cocoa butter cream between two doughnut halves and… More >>
  • BEST FISH MARKET

    Coastal Seafoods

    Fish flies into Coastal Seafoods every day. For more than 20 years, Coastal Seafoods has been supplying metro restaurants and residents with saltwater and freshwater creatures--and the know-how to enjoy them. Let's talk tuna. Coastal is the only Twin Cities source of sushi-grade tuna that hasn't been blasted with carbon monoxide (it prevents discoloring and masks freshness, so you… More >>
  • BEST FRENCH RESTAURANT

    Stillwater

    What is it that we look for when we look for French Food? Is it that Epcot Center-ish lineup of French mascot foods, like croissants, crêpes, moules, and steak frites, preferably served by a guy in a striped shirt and a beret? Or, by French Food, do we mean that which comes from the French tradition of technique and finesse… More >>
  • BEST FRESH PRODUCE

    The Wedge Community Co-op

    The first grocery store in the Twin Cities to become certified organic, the Wedge is renowned for its produce. The selection is as broad as it is deep, and everything is identified by where and how it was grown (field of origin, certified organic, transitional, conventional). The Wedge stocks more produce from more local growers than any other Twin Cities… More >>
  • BEST FRIED CHICKEN

    Nardie's in Arnellia's

    Walked into Nardie's the other day. (Nardie's, in case you are not of the fried chicken pursuing persuasion, is the little back-of-the-bar joint at the nightclub Arnellia's.) And people were piled up around the soul-food window like they were handing out gold back there. Which, in a way, they were: golden chicken wings, fried up so crisp you could hear… More >>
  • BEST FRIES

    Barbette

    New York City's famed Lespinasse in the St. Regis Hotel recently closed. Do you care? Of course not, because you got yours. New York may have lost a four-star restaurant with astronomical prices, but Lisa Carlson, an ex-chef de partie from that famed French establishment, has been helming the kitchen of little can-do CafÈ Barbette for the past two years.… More >>
  • BEST GOURMET GROCERY

    Buon Giorno

    It's a sprawling, generous market, stacked with artisan goodies from the tip of Italy's boot to the top of its Alps. Find the likes of raw cow's-milk taleggio in all its blooming, runny glory. Or the beloved guanciale (cured pork jowl). There's a wide variety of prosciutto, as well as speck (dry-cured pork loin) and brefasola (dry-cured beef tenderloin). Plus… More >>
  • BEST GREEK RESTAURANT

    It's Greek To Me

    Enter this cozy, dark-paneled place, and garlic embraces you like Mama in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Classic moussaka, spanakopita, and the lamb selections are sure bets. But daily specials, such as scallops Aekaga (with fresh bell peppers and plenty of garlic) and lamb shanks with roasted tomatoes, live up to their sunny promise. The gyros--grilled pita piled high with… More >>
  • BEST HOT DOGS

    The Wienery

    Stroll into this West Bank institution and you'll soon know the difference between the salted roadkill that passes for hot dogs in too many other joints and the succulent Vienna beef that the Wienery jams into its casings. The meat is pithy, juicy, and eminently flavorful. But the unpretentious proprietors here also know that true tubesteak transcendence requires a strong… More >>
  • BEST ICE CREAM PARLOR

    Grand Ole Creamery

    If you're meandering around the neighborhood of the Grand Ole Creamery, it's practically impossible not to be pulled in by the divine smell of fresh waffle cones. Sweet, golden, and somehow both soft and crunchy, one of these without ice cream could leave you content. But then you'd be missing out on the cool, creamy yin to the waffle cone's… More >>
  • BEST INDIAN GROCERY

    Asian Imports

    Just about anything you'd need to create an authentic Indian feast can be found at Asia Imports, the Twin Cities' most inclusive ethnic grocery. Need some fasting items? Try the seeds rajagro flour or salted chana. Perhaps your recipe calls for coconut? Then choose between the ultra-fine coconut powder and the more conventional shredded variety. And maybe, just maybe, you're… More >>
  • BEST INDIAN RESATAURANT

    New Delhi

    At lunchtime New Delhi is a hopping place. The diverse diners--as much a melting pot as the Indian metropolis this young restaurant is named for--pop up and down from the white-draped tables to survey an expansive buffet filled with treats like pungent beef curry, delicately spiced tandoori chicken, deep-fried pakoras, and warm, doughy naan. At $6.95, it's no wonder the… More >>
  • BEST ITALIAN GROCERY

    Delmonico's Italian Foods

    For almost 70 years, tiny Delmonico's Italian Foods in northeast Minneapolis has been the real deal. Located in a quiet neighborhood across from Polk Park, Delmonico's remains the epitome of an amiable old-school, no-nonsense neighborhood market. This decidedly isn't one of those ambitious Alice's Restaurant one-stop superstores--the place is seriously small, but crowded in the best sort of way (and… More >>
  • BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANT (CHEAP)

    Broders' Pasta Bar

    This neighborhood trattoria makes homemade egg noodles so fresh and delicate that the menu warns against ordering them for takeout--they'll never taste as good reheated. Here you won't find red or white sauce, or garlic bread, or sugar shakers of powdery Parmesan (this is no chain spaghetti house). Each pasta dish is tossed to order. Weekly specials spotlight regional Italian… More >>
  • BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANT (NOT CHEAP)

    Pane Vino Dolce

    Recently at Pane Vino Dolce, we had chard. Chard magically transformed into cloth and folded around little packets of cheese and ham in such a way that it looked like nothing so much as a wee little shirt whisked off a wee little shelf. And it sat there on the plate in a dark sauce, offering that signature Italian combination… More >>
  • BEST JAPANESE RESTAURANT

    Nami

    Not long ago Nami celebrated its one-year anniversary, and already this mere babe on the local scene has toddled to the top of the heap. Why? The elegant, soaring warehouse space that feels more Miami than Minnesota, the throbbing late-night bar that feels more Milan than Minnesota, and, of course, the low, low prices that feel more Minnesota than we… More >>
  • BEST KOREAN RESTAURANT

    King's Fine Korean Cuisine

    If you're living a life bereft of King's seafood-scallion pancake (a springy omelet stuffed with sweet squid and tender green onions), we don't know that we'd call that living. And what about that spicy, nutty pork bul go gi! Oooh, that's really living. Not only does King's have some of the tastiest tabletop treats in the Twin Cities, King's offers… More >>
  • BEST LATINO GROCERY

    El Burrito Mercado

    When it comes to quality Latino grocers in the Twin Cities, no one covers the bases quite as well as El Burrito Mercado. The produce section has quantity as well as quality, with large mounds of ripe avocados, plentiful bunches of plantains, and a sea of multi-colored chili peppers. The deli has fresh chorizo, as well as a plethora of… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL CHEF

    Alexander "Zander" Dixon

    A chef can be more than an exacting palate demanding things from cowering cooks. In the best instances a chef can be a creative force of good for the entire world around him. For real. Remember four years ago when Alexander "Zander" Dixon opened a narrow storefront restaurant in a rundown block of buildings on Selby Avenue in Cathedral Hill?… More >>
  • BEST MEXICAN RESTAURANT

    Tio Pepe's Taco Hole in Chino Latino

    Ever heard of Tio Pepe's taco hole? If you care a whit about real Mexican food, you should make it your business to hear of it. Here's the lowdown: Tio Pepe's is a short section on Chino Latino's menu where some of the best Mexican food in the history of the Twin Cities has been appearing. Look here for such… More >>
  • BEST MIDDLE EASTERN BREAD

    Holy Land Grocery & Deli

    Holy pita! How can we choose from all these different flatbreads? There's wheat, white, pocket or no (Greek style), Lebanese (square)... Plus slabs of chewy, stretchy Afghani barbari, slathered with olive oil and sesame seeds, roasted garlic, or hot spices. And the spongy, sour East African injera, made with flour from teff (the minuscule Ethopian grain). But don't stop at… More >>
  • BEST MIDDLE EASTERN GROCERY

    Bill's Imported Foods

    If you know about--and care about--your feta (domestic, Bulgarian, Greek, French), you should go to Bill's. You'll also find endless olives, cheeses (the best price on manchego), plus many different kinds of dates, dried apricots, nuts, seeds, spices and herbs. The frozen Greek and Turkish specialties (spanakopita and baklava) are ready to bake and serve (easy, authentic, and cheap). Choose… More >>
  • BEST MIDDLE EASTERN RESTAURANT

    Emily's Lebanese Deli

    Tiny and well-worn, this beloved neighborhood spot just northeast of downtown Minneapolis is easy to miss. But do stop. The traditional selections, seasoned with a light hand, are delicious. Kibbi, for instance, "is like Lebanese meatloaf," explains a young woman with a rope of shiny black hair. Or maybe it's more like a pâté--ground beef, cracked wheat, cinnamon, cardamom, onions,… More >>
  • BEST NATURAL FOODS GROCERY

    Mississippi Market

    These intimate neighborhood co-ops are for those who like to shop as much as they like to cook. First of all, you can get what you need without endless (and hopeless) wandering. Here merchandise is arranged not to seduce or awe, but to help you get what you need and move on. You can buy major staples--from brown rice and… More >>
  • BEST NEIGHBORHOOD CAFÉ (MINNEAPOLIS)

    French Meadow Bakery & Cafe

    Fluffy pancakes in the morning, hearty soups and sandwiches at lunch, organic artisan breads all day, every day. And now expert, fancy gourmet dinners at night with worldwide wines and beer. What, pray tell, is there not to be in love with at French Meadow these days? Someone should give owner and founder Lynn Gordon a medal; it's as if… More >>
  • BEST NEIGHBORHOOD CAFÉ (ST. PAUL)

    Saigon Restaurant and Bakery

    The amount of love we have for Saigon is pretty much incalculable. Whether it's those crisp and spicy bánh mì sandwiches (French baguettes filled with a combination of Vietnamese and French ingredients, like sweet pickled carrots and spicy liver pâté) to those fragrant brimming bowls of pho or other noodles, we have yet to find a dish at Vietnamese sweetheart… More >>
  • BEST NEW RESTAURANT

    Heartland Restaurant

    Of course it would take a guy from Hoboken to give the Midwest the restaurant it most desperately needed. Lenny Russo has long had a reputation as one of Minnesota's most exacting chefs, making all his stocks and other foundations for his cooking from scratch even when he helmed such giant kitchens as W.A. Frost and Company's. But it has… More >>
  • BEST PIZZA

    Punch Neapolitan Pizza

    Different strokes for different folks, they say. But we hate to admit that our favorite stroke-book might just be our tattered takeout menu from Punch, which we extract from the desk drawer whenever times get tough. From it we read about how the Punch proprietors keep their 800-degree oven stocked with wood, in order to cook that unbelievably tasty pizza… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO EAT OUT WITH YOUR KIDS

    Egg and I

    If food is love, the Egg and I is a great place to start the day. Here kids (of all ages) rev up their forks and dive into fat Kamikazes (pancakes laden with bananas, blueberries, and nuts). The waffles are remarkably crisp and airy, the eggs offer a lesson in the nuances of sunny side up or down and can… More >>
  • BEST POWER LUNCH

    Aquavit

    Pity the power lunch. Years ago when the options for downtown dining were fewer, the spots for power lunching were more concentrated. In fact, back in the day, a dedicated schmoozer could work through various seats of power like café un deux trois, the New French Café, and Azur in a single day. No more! Blame in-house company cafeterias, blame… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT (MINNEAPOLIS)

    Vincent

    Many places these days can dazzle us with their cooking. And yet somehow it is only at Vincent lately that we feel really and truly happy. Perhaps it is the generous wine list--the way a mere party of two can flight their own wines, having, say, a crisp muscadet with the fish-based appetizers (at $5.50 a glass, $16.50 a carafe,… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT (ST. PAUL)

    Zander Cafe

    There are little Zs all over the Zander Café wine list, annotations that indicate selections from chef Alexander "Zander" Dixon's personal collection. One would do well to look to the little Zs, for with each one comes an unusual, wonderful little treat. In fact, sometimes it seems like everything at Zander is stamped with some kind of Z, visible or… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT FOR A FIRST DATE

    Bryant-Lake Bowl Theater

    There are certainly more impressive (read: expensive and fancy) options, but on a very first date, who needs the pressure? (Also, more cynically, are you really sure yet that this person is worth a hundred-dollar dinner?) So allow us to suggest a more casual option, the Bryant-Lake Bowl, where you'll find all the first-date necessities and more. The food is… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT FOR APPETIZERS

    Auriga

    There are about a million reasons to love Auriga, home of Doug Flicker, one of Minneapolis's most accomplished chefs. But for reasons million-and-one through million-and-eleven or so, consider this: Auriga is truly a standout place to eat light. Did you know that on Sundays to Thursdays from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. all of Auriga's pizzas are half-price? For around… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT FOR DESSERT

    Crema Cafe

    May 15 is a magical day for Minnesotans, not just because it marks the day when we're encouraged to start planting annual plants out-of-doors, but because it's the day beloved Crema Café switches to summer hours. Yes! We made it through the winter! And as our reward, starting on May 15, Crema will be open every single day from at… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT FOR GLUTTONS

    Kramarczuk

    At this master butcher's shop, Orest Kramarczuk makes sausages just like his father did, and they're still the best in town. In the attached cafeteria, you can get them freshly grilled to juice-split perfection with plenty of house kraut on a whole wheat bun--Polish, bratwurst, Italian or Ukrainian, all requiring both hands to heft. But don't stop there. Try varenyky… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT FOR LATE-NIGHT DINING

    Tiburon Bistro

    Here's some hot news for club kids, music lovers, and other insomniacs: Starting in early May, Tiburón will be staying open until two o'clock in the morning! And serving food the whole time! Yes, indeed they have been serving food until 1:00 a.m., and that has been lovely. But 2:00 a.m., that's after bar! So not only will you be… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT FOR OUTDOOR DINING

    No matter what you think of German food, this patio is a cool, romantic oasis in the middle of a hot town. Sure it's a beer garden, but who can sneer at a lovely brushed-steel sculpture and waterfall in the shelter of twining grapevines? If you've been married (or divorced) long enough to remember your very first date here, rest… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT FOR ROMANCE

    W.A. Frost & Company

    Everybody knows that W.A. Frost has more romance than the Love Boat, more charm than a whole factory run of that cereal the leprechaun shills for, a patio that's more beautiful than a pyramid stack of Miss Universe contestants, and more fireplaces than God in His Heaven. But did you know that W.A. Frost is a-changing? It's true. The corner… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE

    Easy Creek Bistro

    Arkansaw, Wisconsin is 90 miles southeast of the Twin Cities, 45 miles west of Eau Claire, and roughly 2,000 miles away from Napa, California. But once you find the Easy Creek Bistro, you'll swear you're in that lush West Coast haven. Easy Creek is a country gem, hand wrought by co-owners Bill Rocheleau and Steve Knowlton from the remains of… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT TREND

    Mexican Food

    Sometimes we think Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak should give a medal to each and every Mexican family in south Minneapolis. And the ones in St. Paul, too, even though they're pretty clearly out of his jurisdiction. (Obviously no one wants a medal from the governor, because that guy is a big goober, but hey!) Maybe we could get Jesse to… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT WHEN SOMEONE ELSE IS PAYING

    Aquavit

    We periodically get e-mails from readers looking for our advice for a last-meal-on-earth-type scenario (the company's closing down, and they're out for a last hurrah; they're selling the house and moving to Madagascar and want a last bit of luxury to remember America by). Invariably, we tell these readers: Go to Aquavit! Have one of the tasting menus! Why? Well,… More >>
  • BEST SALAD

    Practically synonymous with towering cakes (such as the famous chocolate caramel turtle cake), Cafe Latté is not necessarily the first place you think of when it comes to salad. So, here's a gentle reminder: wheat berry, broccoli, and cheddar; lemon, basil, and shrimp; caesar with grilled tuna. Always fresh, ever inventive, these salads are tossed to order as you head… More >>
  • BEST SCONES

    Bakery on Grand

    Move over, croissants--scones have captured the latte-and-chai crowd. Of course, a good scone is pretty hard to find. It must be gently handmade with attention to a balance of flour, butter, and cream; otherwise it's a doorstop. At the Bakery on Grand, Jessica Anderson, formerly of Lucia's, turns out delicate, tender, and crumbly scones, studded with currants and flecked with… More >>
  • BEST SEAFOOD RESTAURANT

    Oceanaire Seafood Room

    Oh, the good times we've had at the Oceanaire Seafood Room. The oysters as fresh as mermaids newly broken through the surface of the sea, the cocktails as potent as sea spray whipping over a yacht's prow, the matchstick fries as crisp as the sound of a snapping sail. Of course, there are people who go to the Oceanaire for… More >>
  • BEST SERVICE AT A RESTAURANT

    Tiburon Bistro

    In a string of visits to newbie hotspot Tiburón, what impressed us most wasn't the burbling wall-of-waterfall, the enormous shark tank, or the wall that changed all the colors of a sunset on Venus (though those did impress us). To tell you the truth, what impressed us most were the sweet, attentive, intelligent, curious, and conversationally inclined servers. This is… More >>
  • BEST SOUL FOOD

    Lucille's Kitchen

    This war has left a lot of people feeling out of joint with America. But if you want to remind yourself of what is true and real and good about this country, you could do a lot worse than to stop in at Lucille's Kitchen, the north Minneapolis soul-food spot of such excellence, it should rank in our top tourist… More >>
  • BEST STAR CHEF EXPERIENCE

    Steven Brown at Rockstar

    Poor, poor Steven Brown. Locked away in the terribly located, terribly unattractive RockStar, making adorable, world-caliber food for hardly anyone at all. You should have seen the plates that that kitchen sent out a few weeks ago, plates filled with gorgeous little gnocchi, formed carefully into crescent moons, seared until crisp and brown, resting like exquisite bits of art in… More >>
  • BEST STEAK HOUSE

    If you're like most of us, chances are your pockets are way too shallow to accommodate this temple of dead cow's hefty prices on any kind of regular basis. Plus, it's not at all unlikely that the pinstriped, cigar-puffing examples of Carnivorus Americanus who congregate in its clubby environs might run more than a bit too boisterous for your druthers.… More >>
  • BEST STEAK HOUSE ON A BUDGET

    Erte

    Softly lit, velvet draped, appointed with vintage posters and paintings, erté conjures an era both gracious and unpretentiously chic. Its steaks are prime examples of how good such classic American fare can be. USDA Prime and Choice Angus beef sirloin, filet, and special cuts are charbroiled to tender, juicy perfection. Not just for beefeaters, the menu covers a range of… More >>
  • BEST SUNDAY BRUNCH

    Uptown Diner

    Yeah, we know. The New Uptown Diner doesn't technically serve a brunch (that is, the word doesn't exist on the menu), but on Sundays it's open until 3:30 p.m. and will happily serve you excellent eggs Benedict. The black T-shirt-and-denim-clad servers strike just the right balance between affability and promptness, a welcoming comfort--no, necessity--known all too well by those recovering… More >>
  • BEST SUSHI

    Origami

    In the quest to figure out the answer to which sushi bar is best in this notoriously volatile category, we recently visited several top sushi spots in a single night. Origami was head and shoulders above the competition. Kohada (marinated gizzard shad) was as slight as salted smoke on the tongue, the slice of fish topped with fresh-grated ginger. The… More >>
  • BEST TAKEOUT

    French Meadow Bakery & Cafe

    If bread is the foundation of civilization, then maybe we're not all going to hell in a hand basket. Because man, we sure have a lot of great loaves! The best, perhaps, is the Twin Cities' first: the French Meadow baguette. It's of sourdough origin, substantially chewy, and wheaten with a slight tang. We mention this only because the bread… More >>
  • BEST THAI RESTAURANT

    Seward's True Thai

    Picking the best Thai restaurant gives us a headache. The styles of our favorites are so radically different. There are the herb-filled dishes at Seward's True Thai, where every meal feels like it's happening in a springtime meadow. There are the elegant, sophisticated concoctions at King & I, and whenever we eat there we feel as though we've finally grown… More >>
  • BEST VEGETARIAN-FRIENDLY RESTAURANT

    Birchwood Cafe

    A clean, well-lighted place, the Birchwood Café was fashioned from an old neighborhood creamery in the heart of Seward. Drawing in area residents--artists, students, entrepreneurs, moms, teachers--it serves up delicious and humble mostly vegetarian food at modest prices. The menu is so thoughtful and creative it appeals to carnivores and vegans alike. Those unbelievably buttery, crumbly scones and tender muffins… More >>
  • BEST VIETNAMESE RESTAURANT

    Quang

    There are a lot of tasty Vietnamese dining spots around town (and certainly Quang, which shares an "Eat Street" address with this year's winner, deserves a mention), but there's something about the hole-in-the-wall Jasmine Deli that gives it the edge in this competitive category. Packed during the lunch hour with MCAD students, Minneapolis Institute of Arts staffers, and downtown denizens… More >>
  • BEST WINE AND LIQUOR STORE

    Surdyk's

    Back in 1934 the 11th liquor license in the great state of Minnesota was granted to a Surdyk, and ever since then people named Surdyk have been selling wine and liquor to the most discriminating among us. A lot of wine and a lot of liquor. In fact, lately they have been selling us between eight and nine thousand different… More >>
  • BEST WINE BAR

    Bar Lurcat

    In the best of all possible worlds, a wine bar will have a wine list that inspires curiosity and delight. A list that appeals both to wine newcomers and old hands. A list that satisfies at various price points. Bar Lurcat offers all that and more. The list changes often but usually offers some 200 wines, including at least 40… More >>
  • BEST WINE LIST

    Chiang Mai Thai

    There are so many good wine lists in the Twin Cities nowadays, trying to pick between some of our beloveds--Café Barbette's European cheapies, W.A. Frost and Company's deep back catalog, and Heartland's stash of restaurant-only allocations--is like trying to choose hotel pools from among a dozen in a resort's brochure. They all look great! And yet swimming through Jon Provenzano's… More >>
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