Food & Drink

  • BEST APPLE ORCHARD

    Fischer's Croix Farm Orchard

    All you have to do is bite into a Fischer's Sweet Sixteen apple to understand the Garden of Eden and Adam's dilemma. Nothing should taste so good nor evoke such childhood memory and desire—of climbing trees, blazing fires, warm pie, hot cider laced with rum, of temptation and both kinds of fall. Pick from more than 25 heirloom varieties at… More >>
  • BEST ASIAN GROCERY

    Shuang Hur Oriental Market

    Sometimes we come here just to listen to the confluence of languages—Vietnamese, Hmong, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese. Sometimes it's for the smells—overripe bananas, musty dried shrimp, fresh meat, Lysol. The variety of smells and sounds reminds us that there's a whole world worth exploring beyond the conventional bright and efficient grocery chains. Enter Shuang Hur, where you'll find produce such… More >>
  • BEST BAKERY

    Patrick's Bakery & Cafe

    When last in Paris we got a chance to go to that mad temple of takeout luxury, La Grande Epicerie at the big department store Le Bon Marche. As we stood there, we were stunned by the salamis, floored by the smoked and fresh fishes, gobsmacked by the cheeses, and nearly brought to tears by the frais du bois, the… More >>
  • BEST BARBECUE

    Ted Cook's 19th Hole Bar-B-Que

    The flavors of a good barbecue march over your taste buds in stages of subtle intensity. Ted Cook's superb barbecue sauce leads with a bang of tang that's sweet, sour, and salty simultaneously. Now your buds are tingling but not scorched, ready for that succulent sauce-meat meld, where the pork ribs or the beef ribs (you can't lose, so choose… More >>
  • BEST BARISTA

    Espresso Royale

    Sean's command of ground beans, water, froth, and heat is thorough enough to satisfy even the most fastidious 1/3-decaf latte fiend. He's fleet of foot and finger, too, thank goodness. Otherwise, the MCTC students who sometimes storm Espresso Royale's Hennepin store would have torn the soft-spoken, curly-haired barista limb from lanky limb long ago. Is he friendly? He introduces himself… More >>
  • BEST BREAD

    When Rustica Bakery opened in 2004, the denizens of the East Harriet Farmstead neighborhood could hardly believe their good fortune. One can now pick up a sturdy baguette wrapped in crisp brown paper, a hearty levain loaf that cries out for generous dollops of homemade blackberry jam, or a pillowy focaccia ready for soaking up olive oil. Special breads star… More >>
  • BEST BREAKFAST

    Hell's Kitchen

    Breakfast is the new lunch. Just ask the downtown Minneapolis business types, already stuffed into suits at 7:30 in the morning. They've got their planners spread out not on some polished wood conference table in a high-rise, but on a café table at Hell's Kitchen. Are they actually getting any work done? Impossible. Because they've got massive plates of huevos… More >>
  • BEST BREAKFAST WITH A HANGOVER

    Keegan's Irish Pub

    Face it, unless you had a night so bad that dry toast is an adventure in gastronomy, the best tonic for excessive partying is a quiet, hearty breakfast in a soothing setting. Like Roseville's Pippin's with its tiny, warm caramel rolls. Or the Local with its two-for-one Irish coffees, British sports on the tube, and creamy hash browns. But most… More >>
  • BEST BURGER

    Matt's Bar

    Some things never ever change, and they never ever should. Matt's Bar, "home of the Jucy Lucy," looks no different than it did 30 years ago, except nowadays you don't have to squint through your neighbor's cigarette smoke to see the game on TV. Same oval, red plastic baskets loaded with skinless fries, same Jucy Lucys—two thin beef patties squeezed… More >>
  • BEST BURGER (GOURMET)

    Joe's Garage - CLOSED

    You think you can't improve on a good old American quarterpounder with cheese? You don't know how wrong you are. You could marinate the beef as if it were spicy Korean bulgogi and top it with a mild kimchee ($10). You could start with ground pork or yellowfin tuna and add Japanese sparks like ginger and wasabi ($12). You could… More >>
  • BEST BURRITO

    Pineda Tacos

    There's an old adage about taquerias—the worse the joint looks, the better the food must be. Pineda Tacos 1 and Pineda Tacos 3 (#2 closed to universal howls of protest in mid-March) don't offer a white-tablecloth experience, but they do provide the best excuse for a food coma this side of the McDonald's-owned Chipotle behemoth. The tortillas are soft and… More >>
  • BEST CANDY STORE

    Candyland

    Sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet temptation. Remember catching Swedish fish in your mouth, or picking candy dots off their paper strip hiding behind your math book, or sucking a Fire Ball slowly and examining how its coating changed as the searing cinnamon mellowed? (Maybe you're one of the unlucky ones the teacher made stick a wad of Bazooka on your nose… More >>
  • BEST CHEAP EATS

    Cafe Latte

    It's hard to see past : Cafe Latté's glistening Italian fruit tarts and the shiny chocolate tortes, the lingonberry and lemon scones or the Dakota bread, but this bustling, urbane cafeteria has been serving up some of the Cities' best salads, soups, stews, curries and sandwiches pretty darn cheap for over 20 years. An anchor in one of St. Paul's… More >>
  • BEST CHEESE SELECTION

    Surdyk's

    There is something reverent in the way Surdyk's staff offers slivers of cheese on squares of butcher paper, in their soft-spoken delight in describing a Gouda's four-year history, the buttery D'elice from near the Loire, a truffle-laced Sottoccenere from the Piedmont. No grab and go here; you stop, listen, and taste. Eureka! There is a hint of lavender in that… More >>
  • BEST CHINESE RESTAURANT

    Evergreen

    You've driven past it a thousand times; you'd be forgiven if you thought it was a flower shop. This unadorned restaurant, in a basement on Nicollet below the flower shop, is simply the best Chinese in the Twin Cities. The owners are a Taiwanese Buddhist couple (she cooks, he serves) who dish up Taiwanese specialties alongside Chinese standards. The 3-cup… More >>
  • BEST CHOCOLATE

    Legacy Chocolates - CLOSED

    Forty-one percent. 58.5 percent. 73.5 percent. 85 percent. Does that .5 percent really matter? When you're talking cocoa content—and you're talking with Micheal Roberts—it does. Roberts started Legacy Chocolates, with locations in St. Paul and Menomonie, Wisconsin, four years ago. And he knows that, while cocoa content is king with chocolate lovers, more is not always better. His truffles encased… More >>
  • BEST COFFEE (BY THE POUND)

    Peace Coffee

    Wake up and change the world. Put a little peace in your cup: Peace Coffee's French Roast, satiny dark, so rich and hefty you want to sip and savor it with a spoon. These premium beans are tenderly roasted in small batches, then delivered to stores not by gas-guzzling trucks but by fleece-and-flannel-clad peddlers on bikes (some toting 400-pound trailers… More >>
  • BEST COFFEEHOUSE

    Riverview Cafe & Wine Bar

    The Riverview is the heart of the Longfellow neighborhood. That's not your neighborhood? That's okay. Pull up a chair. Weekend mornings at the Riverview belong to babies and toddlers and their sleepy parents, nursing lattes. (The Riverview's clean, carpeted kiddie area is unparalleled and kept comfortably separate from more sedate seating areas.) The afternoons give way to couples quietly sharing… More >>
  • BEST COMMUNITY-BUILDING CAFE

    LoTo - CLOSED - CLOSED

    Strange times have befallen downtown St. Paul, specifically in the area around Mears Park. It was just months ago that one could wander in a post-apocalyptic haze amongst the skyscrapers and empty parking ramps on the weekends and evenings and see nary a single life form. Nowadays, thanks to businesses popping up around the area, LoTo included, the locals have… More >>
  • BEST DELICATESSEN

    Cecils Delicatessen and Restaurant

    Not much has changed at Cecils these past 50 years. Thank God. Serving St. Paul's Highland Park neighborhood, Cecils has established itself as the classic purveyor of good things from the Kosher deli tradition—real corned beef and pastrami (not too salty and nicely marbled), soft and hard salami (shipped in from Chicago), knishes, latkes, kugel. All breads are made fresh… More >>
  • BEST DIM SUM

    Mandarin Kitchen

    There are many ways to judge the excellence of a dim sum palace, but for us, the decisive factor has always been dumplings. Mandarin Kitchen has the most: chive flower dumplings, with their dark greens peeking through the translucent wrappers; cilantro dumplings, fragrant with herbs; pork dumplings that are fat and wide as grins; pork dumplings with quail eggs; pork… More >>
  • BEST DINER

    Uptown Diner

    A good diner should have breakfast all day long, and all night long for that matter because when the party is over and the bars close, god knows you don't want to be scrambling eggs all alone. The Uptown, through all its recent re-locations and despite the dancing Lucy, Snoopy and Linus statues outside the door of the current,… More >>
  • BEST FISH FRY

    St. Albert The Great Church

    The Lent tradition of the Friday fish fry doesn't water every mouth in town—this is Minnesota after all, not Milwaukee—but even without any real competition, St. Albert's fish fry sets a standard that would be hard to beat in any state. First of all, there's the gambling: raffle drawings every 10 minutes, plus bingo every other week. Then there's the… More >>
  • BEST FISH MARKET

    Coastal Seafoods

    Let's talk tuna, the talisman of a real fish market, the kind of market you might find on an ocean coast. Coastal is often the only Twin Cities source for sushi-grade tuna. Honest, authentic sushi-grade tuna that hasn't been blasted with carbon dioxide to make it look red. Every day, for the past 25-odd years, Coastal Seafoods, the source for… More >>
  • BEST FRENCH RESTAURANT

    Vincent - A Restaurant

    If you're looking for serenity, succulence, or a side of pomme frites, va to Vincent. Your bread will arrive in a little clay flowerpot, your salade Chinoise will arrive drizzled with an electric-green soy-peanut dressing, and your waiter may have just arrived from Provence last Sunday. (Ours did.) The food is a delightful mix of the traditional français fare you'd… More >>
  • BEST FRESH PRODUCE

    The place is tiny when you consider the wealth packed inside. Aisles too narrow for more than two carts snake past a pyramid of pale Colorado peaches, perilously stacked—knock them over and you'd set in motion a terrible domino effect of colorful catastrophe, as peaches would fall upon carrots, broccoli crowns, fat beets, broad red chard, mounds of woodsy mushrooms,… More >>
  • BEST FRIED CHICKEN

    Nardie's Cafe

    It takes a tough guy to make tender fried chicken. Just ask Leonard Lowe of Nardie's Café. He is very serious about wings—plump, meaty, significant, wholly satisfying fried chicken wings. Dark golden with a crackly coating, moist and tender, sizzled within moments of your order, they'll transport you into the celestial; let the devil deal with the rest of the… More >>
  • BEST FRIES

    Barbette

    It's a wonder Barbette's wildly popular fries aren't regulated by the state; serving them from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. seems a bit much for the public morals. These darling hand-cut irregulars are fried in small batches to crispy caramel perfection; tender and fluffy within, they taste like potatoes that went to Paris and came back with advanced degrees in… More >>
  • BEST GOURMET GROCERY

    Kowalski's

    How much resemblance do you suppose there is between Tuscany and Woodbury? If there's any, Woodbury has the Kowalski family to thank—it's not the Italianate facade of their mega-grocery that makes the eastern suburb more Italian, it's the quality of the groceries, and, thus, the elevation of the daily meals. In the 23 years since the Kowalski family first got… More >>
  • BEST GREEK RESTAURANT

    Christos Greek Restaurant

    Who knew one kitchen could do so much with so little? Just as an orchestra takes seven notes and produces an infinitely varied stream of poetry, in the narrow kitchen at the back of Christos's Agean blue-and-white Minneapolis dining room, a bevy of cooks tease olive oil, lemon, oregano, rosemary, and garlic into many, many rich and boldly flavored concertos.… More >>
  • BEST HARD-CORE VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT

    Ecopolitan

    When dining out as a vegetarian, sometimes we're thankful just to see a veggie burger on the menu, or something plain loaded with an impossible amount of cheese. Sometimes we're not even given a straight answer when asking about whether or not the "veggie" soup is vegetarian. At vegetarian-always-and-only restaurant Ecopolitan you don't even have to ask this question—but if… More >>
  • BEST HOT DOGS

    Minneapolis Farmers' Market

    At the Minneapolis Farmers' Market, Easter through November is hot dog season. That's when Dan Tollefson cranks up his griddle and sizzles hot dogs and brats in the crisp morning sun. His booth is on the northwest corner, right where there's room for the long lines that must form once the amazing smells of sizzling pork work their magic on… More >>
  • BEST ICE CREAM PARLOR

    Crema Cafe

    Crema Café is a little oasis on busy Lyndale Avenue. The tidy building features leafy plants, wrought iron tables, elegant murals, stone floors, tawny-colored walls, a secluded patio—and a literal gallery of awards, all honoring the marvelous ice creams and sorbets that fill the glass display case in the center of all the tasteful decor. And such acclaim is richly… More >>
  • BEST INDIAN GROCERY

    Patel Groceries

    We wince to think of it, but a trillion years ago when culottes were first in and we were dinner-party novices, we stood in an aisle in a local mega-mart trying to decide which was the packet of coconut called for in the curry we planned, the one whose contents were, as the label inexplicably boasted, desiccated, or the one… More >>
  • BEST INDIAN RESTAURANT

    Great India

    Once upon a time, under a general misapprehension of sophistication and worldliness, we thought we knew Indian cuisine. We thought we tasted alchemy. All of those spices! All of that toasting and grinding! Then we learned a thing or two about cooking and realized that when we thought we were tasting richness and complexity, we were really tasting...butter. Butter with… More >>
  • BEST ITALIAN (NOT CHEAP)

    Ristorante Luci

    We spent way too much time and money researching this item this year, visiting well known, super-spendy Italian restaurants throughout the metro. At one, we got absolutely sick on the abundance of oil, butter, and egg yolk—the thinking seemed to be: If you can't cook, why not just feed everyone savory forms of warm ice cream? At another we experienced… More >>
  • BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANT (CHEAP)

    Broders' Pasta Bar

    A neighborhood trattoria that speaks the international language of pasta—fresh stuff handmade every day. (The menu warns against taking anything home to reheat; hand-cut egg fettuccini just doesn't revive nicely in the microwave.) Try any of chef Michael Rostance's traditional or original creations, like rustic spaghetti alla puttanesca with a hot anchovy kick from the southern end of Italy; tender… More >>
  • BEST JAPANESE RESTAURANT

    Sakura

    Sakura is a sweet restaurant in downtown St. Paul for people with Minnesota lifestyles but Tokyo tendencies. The hospitality swells at your entry: As soon as you're seated, a reed basket full of piping hot towels arrives at your table like Wet Wipes from heaven. Sushi appears on a simple wooden platter, accompanied by tiny eruptions of wasabi and ginger.… More >>
  • BEST KOREAN RESTAURANT

    King's Fine Korean Cuisine

    King's Fine Korean Cuisine is two great restaurants in one. It's your hometown joint where everybody knows your name—if your name happens to be "Park" or "Kim." Alternatively, for those of us with names more like Olsen, it's the place where you can order by number, or throw yourself under the tutelage of the kind waitress, who will walk you… More >>
  • BEST LATINO GROCERY

    Cinco de Mayo Mercado

    Not long ago we got dragged to that most tired of south Minneapolis institutions: the block-club potluck. There was potato salad. There were brownies. There was even a cheese and fruit board that must have cost a week's paycheck and an entire morning of indecision at Surdyk's. But you know what really flew out of its casserole? A chicken tinga—chicken… More >>
  • BEST LIQUOR STORE

    Blue Max

    Eleven-hundred bottles of beer, on the wall (and in the cooler, and stacked on the shelves), 220 different kinds of single malt Scotch—seriously, Blue Max is nothing if not dizzying. They stock a huge selection of specialty hooch—"winter beers," "highland" and "lowland" Scotch, rare mead, aged maple bourbon, rum, tequila, gin, brandy, and more oddities, rarities, and fascinations than any… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL CHEF

    Tim McKee

    Being a great chef is many things—and it's much more than being a great cook. It's leadership and charisma. It's the ability to work with other, usually younger chefs, to convey to them your particular vision, and inspire them to sweat and scramble to achieve it—because only then can you take a night off, or walk a circle through your… More >>
  • BEST MEXICAN RESTAURANT

    Masa

    What if your corner taqueria (and in the Twin Cities in 2006, surely every corner, even in Shakopee and Orono, now has one) had not just flavor, but high style? What if each plate were composed to look as if it were the many-colored, multi-textured creation of an upscale chef? What if the tomatillo salsa, a Mexican standard for generations,… More >>
  • BEST MIDDLE EASTERN RESTAURANT

    Emily's Lebanese Deli

    When you enter Emily's the first thing you notice is the unassuming surroundings. Wood paneling, scenic photos, a display case filled with meat pies, baklava, and assorted olives. Place your order, however, and the whole universe shifts from unassuming to a dimension entirely fresh and flavorful; your plate arrives with a large wedge-shaped spinach pie with pillowy crust and a… More >>
  • BEST NATURAL FOODS GROCERY

    Whole Foods Market

    Big and broad, Whole Foods covers the whole gamut: organic produce; artisan cheese; wild and farm-raised fish; grass-fed, free-range, and organic meat; frozen vegan entrees; gluten-free baked goods; recycled paper towels and vitamins; cosmetics; yoga CDs; herbal sleep aids; and baby toys. With 183 stores throughout the U.S. and the U.K., Whole Foods is the largest grocery chain in the… More >>
  • BEST NATURAL GROCER IN A NON-GRANOLA NEIGHBORHOOD

    Lakewinds Natural Foods

    For people living out in the 'burbs, it's not always easy to find grocery stores that cater to special dietary needs. Though most of the Cub Foods and Rainbows around town have natural or healthy-living sections quarantined off from the normal processed items and pesticide-sprayed produce, variety can be pretty grim, and unless you want to pay $8 for a… More >>
  • BEST NEIGHBORHOOD CAFÉ—MINNEAPOLIS

    Corner Table

    Neighborhoods are filled with nothing so much as lots ofs neighbors, and in Kingfield, those neighbors can pretty much be divided into two camps: those who have significant caches of rare vinyl LPs, and those who remember how things used to be, back in the day. All of these neighbors find happiness, respite, and succor in chef and owner Scott… More >>
  • BEST NEIGHBORHOOD CAFÉ—ST. PAUL

    Heartland

    When chef Lenny Russo announced that he would be heading the new restaurants at the Guthrie Theater, you could almost hear the screams of anguish emanating from residents of Mac-Groveland: What about their beloved Heartland? Just when the renowned fine-dining restaurant opened its wonderful attached wine bar, featuring house-made charcuterie and unusual foodie treats like the odd cuts that resulted… More >>
  • BEST NEW RESTAURANT

    112 Eatery

    When 112 Eatery opened, it brought not just another new restaurant to the Twin Cities —it brought a new type of restaurant altogether. While we have had chef-driven restaurants of high cooking talent open on shoestrings before (Auriga); while we have had D'Amico Cucina alumni bringing their highfalutin foods to the masses before (Solera); while we have had fancy restaurants… More >>
  • BEST PIZZA

    Pizza Nea

    Don't let the chic Euro-decor, the semi-circular bar, the soft, kind lighting and clean lines fool you: The new kid on Uptown's block knows pizza. Here you'll find serious hand-tossed crusts wood-fired to ever-so-slightly charred perfection. You can always judge a pizza place by its simplest pies, and the classic Margherita ($7) suggests good things will follow on Pizza Nea's… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO EAT OUT WITH KIDS

    Yum

    The thing you're looking for most when you trundle the kids off for a meal is solidarity. Oh yeah, you may want high chairs or some certainty that there will be mac and cheese on the menu. But, mostly, you want to know that when your Junior dumps his fries on the floor ("Uh-oh, Mama, uh-oh!") somebody else two tables… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT FOR A FIRST DATE

    Duplex - CLOSED

    Ingredients for a great first date: an atmosphere both relaxing and romantic, delicious food at reasonable prices, and conversation that sparkles like just-Swiffered linoleum. If that's what you want, put your best foot forward and head to duplex. It's a tiny, red jewel box of a restaurant in what used to be the Pandora's Cup coffeehouse, and it exudes good… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT FOR APPETIZERS

    Cafe and Bar Lurcat

    The coolest place in town, the prettiest snacks around—Café Lurcat raises the bar. With its wide-angle view of charming Loring Park and its spare, dramatic 21st-century Deco interior, Café Lurcat serves an eclectic selection of noshes, nibbles, snacks, and apps to match its refined menu of grown-up drinks (real Martinis) and more than 200 wines. Sure, Lurcat has great people-watching… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT FOR DESSERT

    La Belle Vie

    Adrienne Odom is nothing short of a genius, and, for years now, she has been dazzling diners with her pastry work at the La Belle Vie in Stillwater, and at the tapas bar Solera in downtown Minneapolis. The one glaring fault of her oeuvre, however, has been that you needed to eat dinner in order to get it. No longer!… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT FOR GLUTTONS

    New King's Buffet

    New King's Buffet is conveniently located next to a tire shop; if your wheels collapse after your visit to the all-you-can-eat explosion of food, you'll have immediate, convenient recourse. Equally packed at noon on a weekday or at 7:00 p.m. on a Saturday night, New King's swarms with gluttons and gluttons-in-training (three-, four-, and five-year olds are all charged different… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT FOR LATE-NIGHT DINING

    Azia - CLOSED - CLOSED

    If you're burning the midnight oil, but you'd really prefer your late-night fires were used to sautée noodles or heat up a plate of pad Thai, head to Azia, where you can gorge yourself on Asian fusion until 1:45 a.m. Night owls will be treated to high ceilings, dark-stained wood, moody lighting, and bathroom sinks graced with real towels and… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT FOR OUTDOOR DINING

    Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge

    Okay, so the ambience isn't as romantic as W.A. Frost or the Black Forest Inn, and the views aren't as spectacular as a place like Café Lurcat, but Psycho Suzi's outdoor dining patio has other things going for it that some of the more obvious choices don't—like unpretentious personality and drinks so potent they are a mini spring break all… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT FOR ROMANCE

    Black Forest Inn

    When one thinks "romance," one does not usually think "beer garden," but if you can snag a spot on the Black Forest Inn's outdoor patio in the summer, you and your sun-dappled sweetie (or sweetie-to-be) will be basking in it. As shadows play fetchingly on your darling's face, try a beer sampler (a neat array of tiny beer shots), or… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE

    Singapore

    Singapore manages to offer not one but two restaurants in the middle of nowhere: Singapore Chinese Cuisine in Maplewood and the more elegant (and emphatic) Singapore! in residential south Minneapolis. At the northern restaurant, try all the curry-rich treats of that former British colony; at the southern one, the menu is a remarkable combination of Malaysian and Ethiopian specialties. At… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT TREND

    The last five years have seen wine lists in the Twin Cities getting better and better. It's almost hard to remember the days when a restaurant's manager would just sit down with the biggest wine supplier in town and let them write the Ravenswood-and-Turning-Leaf-for-all list that used to be the norm. Today, wine selections are more diverse, more interesting, and… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT WHEN SOMEONE ELSE IS PAYING

    Five Restaurant & Street Lounge - CLOSED

    We think of this category as fantasy baseball for food-heads—what do you dream about when you're scrubbing up the lasagna pan on a Thursday night? How about the "Grand Menu Degustation," the 10-course everything-plus-the-kitchen-sink menu that showcases the upper limits of local wunderkind Stewart Woodman's abilities? Woodman made his name in New York City cooking with the greatest of the… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT— MINNEAPOLIS

    La Belle Vie

    Like it or not, the status of a city's cuisine is judged by the restaurants at the top—never mind that native Minnesotans might get a meal from such a place once a year on their anniversary, the top white tablecloth restaurants are where business types flying through town dine, and when they fly out again, it's that one-restaurant snapshot they… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT—ST. PAUL

    W.A. Frost & Company

    It's been almost four years since chef Russell Klein took over the kitchen at St. Paul's most venerable old restaurant, W.A. Frost and Company, and in that time he has managed to transform a reliable and occasionally interesting restaurant into the most delightful and consistently surprising spot in St. Paul. Where to start? Klein's food is that rare combination of… More >>
  • BEST SEAFOOD RESTAURANT

    Stella's Fish Cafe

    Sometimes seafood likes to get dressed up fancy in white-wine sauces on snazzy china, and sometimes it enjoys being served up fresh in a red plastic basket with a nice cold beer. Stella's Fish Café specializes in the latter category—po'boy sandwiches the size of the mythical "one that got away" made with blackened catfish, fried shrimp, or fried oysters, and… More >>
  • BEST SERVICE AT A RESTAURANT

    Napa Valley Grille - CLOSED

    There's something incongruous about being coddled, feted, pampered, respected, celebrated, and deferred and demurred to, in a shopping mall. And not just any shopping mall, but one that's home to an amusement park, an aquarium, and enough food courts to feed all the teenyboppers in the five-state region, all of whom seem to be there on any given weekend. There… More >>
  • BEST SOUL FOOD

    Abundant Bistro & Cafe - CLOSED

    The northeast corner of University Avenue and Dale Street is now officially the epicenter of soul in the Twin Cities, thanks to the magical kitchen that lies within Jackie Williams's Abundant Bistro. The fall-away tender fried catfish sports a zesty batter and can be ordered with a side of bite-size hush puppies that will surely remind transplanted East Coasters of… More >>
  • BEST STAR CHEF EXPERIENCE IN A RESTAURANT

    Cafe Levain

    Five years ago you could go into most of our top chef-driven restaurants like Alma, Zander, or La Belle Vie and see the chef of note hurling pans behind the line just like folk. Nowadays not only are open kitchens falling from fashion, but you really have to work hard to find a lot of big-name chefs in their own… More >>
  • BEST STEAK HOUSE

    Murray's Restaurant And Cocktail Lounge

    You aced your Class B motor vehicle test. You won the Nobel Prize. You just found out Aunt Nedra left you the millions you thought were going to Mr. Chunky. You want steak. You'd prefer the steak to be the kind that yields to the gentle yet firm pressure of a silver butter knife. Murray's is your place. Its gleaming,… More >>
  • BEST SUNDAY BRUNCH

    Signature Cafe

    Imagine being invited to Sunday brunch at the home of your most elegant friend. She makes a handful of dishes—a strata, a plate of sausage, some homemade scones—and sets them out on the sideboard. She makes you feel welcome. You serve yourself. You linger over drinks. It hardly seems right to call it a buffet. That's what Sunday brunch is… More >>
  • BEST SUSHI

    Origami

    Just sitting at the sushi bar in Origami is a lesson in grace and courtesy, as well as in how to taste the most delicate and sublime gifts from our seas. Each of these classically trained, articulate chefs understands that his duty is not merely to prepare and serve elegant traditional Nigiri sushi and whimsical rolls, but to illuminate his… More >>
  • BEST TAKEOUT

    Chiang Mai Thai

    No babysitter? No bright lights, no big city. Nope, not unless you make the trek to Chiang Mai Thai, sighing just ever so remorsefully at its arty, wood-lined dining room and the memory of your evenings traipsing through its bargain-studded wine list, as you pick up your food at the bar and drive home to your own cluttered and overly… More >>
  • BEST THAI RESTAURANT

    Tum Rup Thai

    Just when you feared that Thai food in these towns would never begin to match what you've had on one of the coasts, that you'd never get any help breaking out of the Bermuda triangle of rice noodles, coconut milk, and peanut sauce, along came Tum Rup Thai. The menu here offers all the standards, but if you insist on… More >>
  • BEST VEGETARIAN-FRIENDLY RESTAURANT

    Sapor Cafe And Bar

    It's not so much that Sapor is a vegetarian restaurant, or even a fish- and chicken-serving one with a veggie aesthetic. It's that Sapor does to meatless entrees what it does to all of them: Chef Tanya Siebenaler and manager and wine fan Julie Steenerson seem to turn everything they put on a plate or into a glass several degrees… More >>
  • BEST VIETNAMESE RESTAURANT

    Mai Village

    Just inside Mai Village's exquisitely embroidered menus, before the lists of Vietnamese delicacies including sesame beef and steamed walleye in ginger-soy sauce, reads the sentence: "We are a family business concerned with your satisfaction." This tiny phrase says it all; from the wall of green bamboo stalks to your last course of seven-course beef, Mai Village's attention to detail is… More >>
  • BEST WINE BAR

    Riverview Cafe & Wine Bar

    It only took about a decade, but the core Twin Cities finally got a wine bar worthy of such a wine-smart metropolis. When the Riverview Wine Bar opened last year, we were impressed with the wide selection and stylish interior with its comfy fireplace and Tuscan color scheme, but the longer we've gotten to study the wine offerings the more… More >>
  • BEST WINE LIST

    La Belle Vie

    There are quite a few remarkable wine lists in Minnesota. The deep, old, California red majesty of steak palace Manny's comes to mind, as does the unspeakably lengthy compilation of exotica featured at Stillwater wine bar Cesaré, and the astonishing Spanish breadth on offer at downtown Minneapolis's tapas restaurant Solera. Still, even thinking of all those excellent lists, the new… More >>
  • BEST WINE STORE

    Hennepin-Lake Liquors

    Some people only sip from Riedel's $40 hand-blown stems, while others buy the new Riedel line at Target. Some people see Bordeaux futures as a financial vehicle with which to amplify their cellars, while others use the term to signify that we hope for a future in which we drink more Bordeaux. Or, actually, any Bordeaux. For those of us… More >>
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