Food & Drink

  • Best Restaurant (Minneapolis)

    The Bachelor Farmer

    Who knew you could get so worked up over something as simple as toast? Of course the toast that has the North Loop neighborhood abuzz goes far beyond the slice of buttered white that comes alongside over-easy eggs. The sourdough bread is made in-house and arrives at your table in a charming silver caddy, fanned out before you like a… More >>
  • Best Restaurant (St. Paul)

    Heartland Restaurant and Farm Direct Market

    The menu is noticeably wordy, but it's the food that is truly a mouthful at Heartland in Lowertown, the downtown St. Paul district that's drawing foodies from all corners who want to experience something truly revelatory. Chef Lenny Russo, a James Beard Award finalist in the prestigious category of Best Chef: Midwest, hasn't slowed down in the slightest since opening… More >>
  • Best New Restaurant


    If you made a Venn diagram with three circles titled accessibility, affordability, and delectability, very few restaurants would fall in the small area where all three intersect. If you've been fortunate enough to score one of the 14 tables at Tilia in the charming neighborhood of Linden Hills, you likely already made the observation that for a restaurant that feels… More >>
  • Best Chef

    Steven Joel Brown of Tilia

    It stands to reason that whoever is at the helm of the best new restaurant would be a contender for the year's best chef, but that's not the only reason this award goes to Steven Joel Brown of Tilia. No, the set of criteria used to measure a great chef is rooted in what that individual brings to an already… More >>
  • Best French Restaurant


    Though a perennial favorite for best French restaurant, Meritage features dishes (such as moules frites, slow-cooked monkfish, escargot braised with oxtail, an amusement of tuna tartare "taco, " and the stunning selection of oysters on the half shell) that could make this restaurant a worthy contender in the Best Seafood category too. Chef Russell Klein honors the techniques and rich… More >>
  • Best Italian Restaurant

    Bar La Grassa

    Between Black Sheep's pizza, Fulton's growlers, and Haute Dish's tater tot hot dish, the Warehouse District has become the neighborhood of the moment for the upwardly mobile, condo-dwelling diner. But no matter how hip and bespectacled the faces are in Bar La Grassa's always-busy waiting area, the cuisine that this nationally recognized restaurant serves up is centered on something that's… More >>
  • Best Indian Restaurant

    Gandhi Mahal

    It's impossible to walk into Gandhi Mahal and get that first heady, intoxicating whiff of garam masala, coriander, and fenugreek and not become instantly ravenous. To quiet your growling stomach, start your meal with the avocado chutney and garlic naan bread — sort of an Indian spin on chips and guac — or the toasty eggplant pakora. Does your dinner… More >>
  • Best Middle-Eastern Restaurant

    Saffron Restaurant and Lounge

    With each passing year, it gets more difficult to imagine a restaurant that could even come close to challenging Saffron, the incumbent in this category. Who else but executive chef Sameh Wadi could make lamb brains not only palatable but pleasurable to eat, with sweet and glossy olive oil-stewed tomatoes? Who takes the oft-maligned white cauliflower and, by pairing it… More >>
  • Best Seafood Restaurant

    Sea Change

    Minnesota may have 10, 000 lakes, but only recently has our fair state gotten recognition as a major player in the world of seafood. Tim McKee's Sea Change, with its commitment to using seafood only from fisheries that are environmentally responsible, has been integral to that shift in perception. Everything from the sustainably farmed oysters at the raw bar to… More >>
  • Best Mexican Restaurant

    Taqueria Los Ocampo

    Unlike the extreme couponer in pursuit of the next haul of mouthwash, the burrito junkie isn't driven by quantity but by quality, and maybe a little bit by good carne asada. Everyone always talks about the tacos at Los Ocampo in the Midtown Global Market (though all the locations are just as good), which are indisputably outstanding, but the burritos… More >>
  • Best Central/South American Restaurant


    This past summer, the rundown pizza joint in the inauspicious strip mall across from IHOP on 37th and Stinson, where St. Anthony, Columbia Heights, and northeast Minneapolis converge, gave way to a shiny new storefront. Catalina Duran and Lucia Vogel turned the space into Catalina's Restaurant, which focuses on Honduran cuisine along with standard Mexican fare. Their horchata is spiced… More >>
  • Best Japanese Restaurant

    Masu Sushi & Robata

    Since first appearing on film in 1954, Godzilla has stomped and roared his way through 28 films. He's a busy dude. Tall, ambitious, appreciative of Japanese culture — he's got a lot in common with Tim McKee. McKee continues to conquer the Minneapolis restaurant scene even as he diversifies. Along with Sushi Avenue and an all-star cast, he opened Masu… More >>
  • Best Chinese Restaurant


    You really have to love the kind of restaurant where the person who seats you is the same person who takes your order, cooks your food, and processes your credit card payment. Evergreen is one of many excellent Chinese restaurants along Eat Street, and even though the ambiance is a bit like a middle school cafeteria, the food has a… More >>
  • Best Thai Restaurant

    Krungthep Thai

    From the easy-on-the-pocketbook, not-so-easy-on-the-eyes Bangkok Thai deli in St. Paul, the owners have spun off Krungthep Thai in Minneapolis — a lovelier place, but with the same tasty soul. Krungthep serves the wonderful, addictive, spicy noodle dishes; slurpable, deep bowls of broth accompanied by piles and jars of welcome condiments; gorgeous plates of succulent whole fish; and the sweet, spicy,… More >>
  • Best Vietnamese Restaurant

    Trieu Chau

    It's not hard to find Vietnamese food in Frogtown; the streets are paved with banh mi and steaming bowls of pho. But there are several reasons why Trieu Chau consistently has a packed house. First, there is its take on pho: addictive and uniquely flavored with a hint of sweetness, the broth clean and perfectly spiced. Sure, the menu at… More >>
  • Best Korean Restaurant

    Mirror of Korea

    A Korean meal contains such simple and lovely elements — the pickled kimchees, the flavors of ginger, garlic, and bean paste, the barbecued meats, the scallion pancakes, the spicy stews. Mirror of Korea has become a local jewel for capturing the essence of a Korean meal. So much beauty is found in its vast and diverse menu, some dishes more… More >>
  • Best Caribbean Restaurant

    Marla's Caribbean Cuisine

    Aside from their glowing remarks about the authenticity of the jerk and their urging you to start your meal with a "double" (a sandwich-like creation that nestles richly curried chickpeas between disks of fried bread), Marla's regulars will tell you, "There's hot, and then there's Marla's hot." They are referring to the preferred level of heat of the restaurant's proprietress,… More >>
  • Best Ethiopian Restaurant


    Fasika may look unremarkable from the outside, but the restaurant is anything but ordinary. The atmosphere captures the vibrancy and colorful palette that makes Ethiopian food so satisfying and unique. Fasika brings all the traditional tastes of Ethiopia to a space that is soulful, warm, and welcoming, painted in rich, jeweled greens and reds, with the mood set by slinky… More >>
  • Best Barbecue

    Big Daddy's

    There's something so simple, so comforting in great barbecue. All it takes is time, patience, and often an unsung cut of meat. Yet great barbecue is truly a hard-to-master bit of culinary artistry. Tender, fall-apart meat, embraced by that telltale pink smoke ring — there's only one place that gets it right time and again, year after year, and that's… More >>
  • Best Soul Food Restaurant

    Soul Food Heaven

    The Twin Cities restaurant scene is sorely deficient in the soul food department. It's been frustrating to see so many great places come and go over the years. The ambitiously named Soul Food Heaven is just a tiny storefront with a couple of booths and the TV playing. It's best known for its "Gangster Burger, " an $18 behemoth covered… More >>
  • Best Greek Restaurant

    Gardens of Salonica

    For more than two decades, Gardens of Salonica has provided Northeast with a glimpse into Greece, even on the coldest winter's day. Owner Anna Christoforides dances through the restaurant each day, crafting fresh and traditional dishes to her heart's delight — and that of the diners as well. Like any great restaurant, it starts with the ingredients, then is built… More >>
  • Best Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurant

    Seward Café

    Unabashed in its embrace of the granola ethos, the Seward Café, nestled in a colorful, vine-covered building on Franklin Avenue, offers abundant vegetarian and vegan menu items lovingly crafted by the collectively owned restaurant's employees/members. During the local growing season, they use produce from their Common Harvest CSA share to make fresh, nutritious breakfasts and lunches that guests can enjoy… More >>
  • Best Steak House

    Lindey's Prime Steak House

    Although many are loath to venture outside of the cities, the short trip to Lindey's will bring great pleasure to those who love thick steaks and cold cocktails. Part of the fun is in the journey to this restaurant, which looks like a 1950s inn, charmingly decorated with red twinkling lights. The vintage vibe continues in the dining room, which… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Café (Minneapolis)

    Hazel's Northeast

    The mourning that accompanied the closing of Pop! on Johnson Street in northeast Minneapolis didn't take long to morph into a full-fledged embrace of its successor, Hazel's Northeast. Brothers Adam and Andrew Sieve named the restaurant in honor of their grandmother, who ran her own restaurant in Alexandria, Minnesota, while the boys were growing up. Hazel's retains the feeling of… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Café (St. Paul)

    Colossal Cafe

    The morning sunshine stretches and yawns across the tawny, cherrywood floors, lazily moving across the room as the daylight hours pass. The young, friendly servers are eager to explain each item on the menu, and they often stop to talk with customers. The new Colossal Café in St. Anthony Park isn't a cramped and tiny, ironically named joint like the… More >>
  • Best Wine Bar

    Lucia's Wine Bar

    Lucia's Wine Bar is easy, unpretentious, and authentic. The tiny space nestled between the storied restaurant and the hopping Lucia's to Go whispers sweet nothings and lovely conversations. With 10 tables indoors and 14 on the patio (weather permitting) and a few more seats at the bar and in the hall, there is only un tout petit peu of space.… More >>
  • Best Service

    The Strip Club Meat & Fish

    The Strip Club Meat & Fish proves that excellent service doesn't have to come with a ram-up-the-rear stiffness. The serving staff is full of good-looking faces quick with a smile and knowing nod of the head. Many of them have been with the team since it opened. Tim Niver, part owner, is ever present, handling everything from greeting guests to… More >>
  • Best Restaurant for Romance


    Do you think the French call a chaste kiss "le Americain smoochez?" Probably not. We'll continue to give them credit for the best kisses, fried potatoes, and takes on toast. French cuisine is also the sexiest. Begin with dishes generously basted in butter and a tray of briny, fresh oysters. Combine that with elegant surroundings, outstanding service, and a killer… More >>
  • Best Takeout

    Szechuan Spice

    There's Chinese takeout, and then there's Chinese takeout. Since its opening in the Lyn-Lake neighborhood in 2010, Szechuan Spice has been receiving rave reviews from critics and patrons. With portions the size of placemats and spice levels that will warm a polar plunge participant, this isn't your typical chicken lo-mein and beef with broccoli Chinese restaurant, though both are on… More >>
  • Best Street Food

    Hola Arepa, Minneapolis

    It's hard to remember the days before the food trucks, before we took our lunches from paper boats, hunched over, ineffective napkins crumpled in our fists. We'd prefer to never return to a life without them. A summer isn't complete without several collective hours spent waiting outside the bright turquoise Hola Arepa truck for quick griddled corn cakes stuffed with… More >>
  • Best Outdoor Dining

    W.A. Frost & Company

    When the sky is blue and the warm breezes of summer are flowing, pretty much anywhere you can sit outside, sip a cold beer, and get a burger has some positive points. But time spent outdoors at W.A. Frost elevates a simple outdoor meal into a sublime experience. Its patio is vast and stunningly beautiful, with vines creeping up the… More >>
  • Best Breakfast

    Sun Street Breads

    Whether you favor sweets for your morning meal or lean more toward the savory end of the spectrum, the X factor of any good breakfast is the bread. Many an otherwise decent breakfast sandwich has been ruined by a dry biscuit, and everyone knows that maple syrup and cinnamon-flecked custard, no matter how rich and eggy, can't save French toast… More >>
  • Best Sunday Brunch

    Haute Dish

    Do you only consider it brunch if it includes multiple trips to a buffet line, mealy home fries in a warming tray, and a chocolate fondue fountain? Then you may have to broaden your definition and prepare to experience blended-meal bliss at Haute Dish. The consistently creative eatery has a penchant for combining sweet and savory components to transform familiar… More >>
  • Best Late-Night Dining

    Taqueria La Hacienda

    The Twin Cities notoriously lacks a late-night dining scene, with the few places boasting later hours still closing by 1 a.m. Yeah, there's White Castle for the drunkies and kooks, or Mickey's Diner if you want to drink a cup of coffee and philosophize like Tom Waits. But here's a little secret: The Taqueria La Hacienda Plaza location is open… More >>
  • Best Delicatessen

    Surdyk's Liquor & Cheese Shop

    Since setting up shop shortly after Prohibition, the Surdyk family has demonstrated a commitment to customer service and product research and selection. At any given time, you can visit the deli and work with a knowledgeable consultant to create a custom platter with cheese originating from over a dozen countries and the freshest meat from regional suppliers — sure to… More >>
  • Best Restaurant for a First Date

    Aster Cafe

    First dates are all about setting the tone of a relationship. It's hard to beat the Aster Cafe for sending a strong LTR signal. The Aster is couched on prime St. Anthony Main real estate — possibly the most romantic place in the city. The locale enjoys the best of all four seasons — the trees outside drop snow-like seeds… More >>
  • Best Kid-Friendly Restaurant


    Every parent understands the cold-sweat terror that comes from trying to eat out with young, hungry children. The panic rises as their restlessness grows: Will the food come before their full-on freak-out? Will you be the object of scorn from other diners? Worse, can the kids order anything that isn't scraped from the bottom of the nutritional slop barrel? That's… More >>
  • Best Restaurant for Dinner With Your Parents

    Pat's Tap

    Your folks are visiting, and you want to treat them (and yourself) to something a little more...palatable than the fare at the T.G.I. Friday's by their hotel, but nothing too adventurous. Why not challenge them to a game of Skee-Ball and dinner at the new Nicollet Avenue gastropub Pat's Tap? The pub was inspired by co-owner Kim Bartmann's own dear… More >>
  • Best Restaurant When Someone Else Is Paying


    The food at Piccolo is nearly flawless. There is no question that Doug Flicker and his staff create glorious dishes of the kind that make other chefs swoon (just ask Anthony Bourdain). Every plate is a playful mix of new flavors and unexpected textures, but always with one element that reaches into the diner's memory and extracts some warmly remembered… More >>
  • Best Restaurant Worth the Drive

    Lake Avenue Café

    Gray slate rock juts out of brilliant green grass overlooking majestic Lake Superior. Down by the water, just off the finish line for Grandma's Marathon, is an area mostly filled with mediocre restaurants. Although the Lake Avenue Café has been there for years, the young crew running the place is a relatively recent addition. The food is beyond better than… More >>
  • Best Restaurant Trend

    Craft cocktails

    The magical sound of fat cubes of ice clinking in a glass; that welcome, creeping warmth of a perfectly mixed drink — suddenly it seems no meal is complete without an expertly made cocktail. What began as a wacky trend of booze in milkshakes at the Town Talk, or the outrageously decadent designs of Johnny Michaels at La Belle Vie,… More >>
  • Best Farm-to-Table Restaurant

    Birchwood Cafe

    These days, it's great that a chef knows where the food comes from, but better yet if he's got some real earth under his fingernails. Chef Marshall Paulsen isn't afraid to get his hands dirty. He and Birchwood Cafe owner Tracy Singleton are wholly committed to local, sustainable agriculture. Singleton works with area farms on many levels. Birchwood Cafe is… More >>
  • Best Diner

    Mickey's Diner

    With most diners, you eat at them because you're in the mood for comfort food, or because it's close by and you're hungry, or because you're hungover and need some greasy stomach-filler, or because it's 2 a.m. and your options are limited. Twin Citians might eat at Mickey's Dining Car for all those reasons, but mostly they eat there for… More >>
  • Best Cheap Eats

    Yarusso-Bros. Italian Restaurant

    Yarusso-Bros., on St. Paul's East Side, has been a neighborhood favorite since 1933. When people want an old-school Italian joint, this is the place: family-owned and -operated, with pictures of regular customers and neighbors lining the walls, and serious grandma-style cooking going down. The Godfather trilogy is on constant rotation in the bar, and the plates of pasta with their… More >>
  • Best Farmers' Market

    Minneapolis Farmers Market

    Some farmers' markets are fancier. Some have tighter restrictions on non-local produce. Some have more upscale food trucks. But none can compete with the Minneapolis Farmers Market on Lyndale Avenue when it comes to selection. For starters, the Lyndale Market is open seven days a week May through October, which means you don't need to anticipate the whole week's fresh… More >>
  • Best Coffee Shop


    It's newer, it's bigger and, if it's possible, it's even better than its former home on Hamline. The Kopplin's space on Marshall Avenue is bright and full of room for spreading out work and laptops. There is now also a retail space where fans can buy chocolate and coffee paraphernalia. Andrew Kopplin takes his coffee very seriously. He doesn't even… More >>
  • Best Pizza

    Pizzeria Lola

    Recently featured on the TV show Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, Pizzeria Lola is the hottest pizza joint in town. The best seats are at the bar, which offer a view into the fiery mouth of the restaurant's iconic, copper-clad oven. The space looks worthy of inclusion in a contemporary architecture magazine, with its wood-lined walls, tomato-can track lighting, and vintage… More >>
  • Best Burger

    Vincent — a Restaurant

    How popular is the Vincent Burger, the classy downtown restaurant's version of the Jucy Lucy? Well, during the baseball season you can chow down on one at Target Field, amid all the other ballpark delicacies. All burgers start with the meat, and chef and owner Vincent Francoual uses a mix of traditional (though freshly prepared) ground beef and braised short… More >>
  • Best Hot Dog

    The Depot Tavern

    Attached to the hip and historic First Avenue & 7th St. Entry, the Depot Tavern is an ideal place to get a pre-game beer and an even better place to get an anytime dog. There's the Stadium Brat, with sauerkraut and whole grain mustard, and the awesomely messy Chili Dog, with cheddar and scallions, but it's the Depot's Diamond Dog… More >>
  • Best Sandwich

    Lobster Roll at the Smack Shack

    The depth and breadth of what a sandwich can contribute to a day cannot be overstated. A great sandwich is a sum of lovingly compiled ingredients that leaves a diner with a Gene Kelly spring in his step. Imagine, then, what the lobster roll from the Smack Shack — somewhere in the stratosphere above "great" — can do for you.… More >>
  • Best Fries

    The Amsterdam Bar and Hall

    The first thing you need to do when eating the Twin Cities' best fries is to stop worrying about your breath. Yes, these French fries come topped with raw onions, and no, you shouldn't just eat around them. Potatoes and onions are one of those perfect flavor combinations, and it's not to be shied away from. If you're already part… More >>
  • Best Taco

    Chorizo taco from Las Teresitas

    There's nothing fancy about Las Teresitas, a cheap dive neighbored by a laundromat and gas station in south Minneapolis. The restaurant offers a range of delights (the enchiladas are amazing), but nothing beats chorizo, onion, and cilantro tucked into a four-inch tortilla. Chorizo, Mexican sausage, is modestly spicy and somewhat oily, but it's authentic Mexican fare that's hard to find… More >>
  • Best Burrito

    Vellee Deli food truck

    This sleek black beauty hit the streets last summer, and the lines quickly followed. Vellee Deli trolls both Minneapolis and St. Paul streets, summoning the hungry with the mingling scents of Asian and Mexican cuisines. The Korean burrito combines both cuisines with its luscious braised beef short ribs and zesty kimchi commingled with gently seasoned white rice, fresh romaine lettuce,… More >>
  • Best Tapas

    Solera - CLOSED

    Many of our best meals are spent with friends, drinking beer and wine while picking over small plates of great food. These are evenings with shouting, wild gesticulating, belly laughs, and fuzzy memories. This is not the time for staid dinner service. The best way to facilitate such a dinner is to hit the town for tapas. And no course… More >>
  • Best Sushi


    Origami in downtown Minneapolis has been the leader in sushi excellence for two decades with its consistently fresh and extensive fish selections, expertly prepared rice, and high quality nori. Owner-chef "Ichi" (Kiminobu Ichikawa) has been keeping a watchful eye over the quality of ingredients since he opened the restaurant in 1991. He uses Tamaki Gold rice, with a sweet aroma… More >>
  • Best Dim Sum

    Yangtze Restaurant

    Trying to keep track of the best dim sum in town can sometimes feel like keeping up with a foodie soap opera — the best chefs are highly trained to craft the tiny dumplings, complex soups, and exotic delicacies, and therefore prone to being poached by competing restaurants. The hottest dim sum in town can go abruptly cold with the… More >>
  • Best Desserts

    Victory 44

    It's hard to argue with a restaurant that offers the Rocky Road Bomb, in which a hard shell of chocolate reveals a core of liquid chocolate goodness beneath, and other sweet delights. Owner and chef Erick Harcey has proven that the North Side can embrace a classy eatery that packs plenty of flavor and innovation into each dish. That comes… More >>
  • Best Ice Cream Parlor

    Izzy's Ice Cream Cafe

    Izzy's Ice Cream Cafe is one of St. Paul's treasures. The retail store offers more than 30 flavors a day, all updated by the minute on its website. Izzy's does traditional flavors exceptionally well: The vanilla ice cream is made with Neilsen Massey's pure bourbon vanilla extract, the chocolate is dark and rich, and the mint chocolate chip boasts both… More >>
  • Best Bakery

    Salty Tart

    We like our bakers like we like our pastries: balanced, with just a bit of salt. Never was a bakery so aptly named as the Salty Tart. Owner Michelle Gayer is a rock star with flour. She's also a bad-ass chef with some major chops. After working for years under culinary superstar Charlie Trotter, another stint with baking impresario Nancy… More >>
  • Best Doughnuts

    A Baker's Wife's Pastry Shop

    The doughnut is experiencing something of a renaissance — suddenly young people have gotten very interested in dressing up this humble pastry and taking her out clubbing. Experimental recipes can be found flying out of the fryers at places like the Doughnut Collective and from the guerrilla doughnut operatives at Dirty Donuts. While experimentation is always a good thing, A… More >>
  • Best Chocolate

    Chocolat Céleste

    What elevates a simple candy maker into the loftier role of an artisanal chocolatier? At Chocolat Céleste, part of the answer is in the creation of perfect chocolate crystals that carry the snappy-bite characteristic of fine chocolate. It also comes from using expertly sourced ingredients: local butter and cream, and cacao from the world's finest purveyors. But what makes Chocolat… More >>
  • Best Wings

    Spring Street Tavern

    Spring Street Tavern in Northeast could definitely be described as a dive, but just as Rihanna sings about finding love in a hopeless place, we sing the praises of Spring Street wings — a guilty pleasure that always tastes best when enjoyed in an atmosphere that's decidedly downscale. Spring Street's crispy-skinned buffalo wings are moist, meaty, and slathered in a… More >>
  • Best Fried Chicken

    Pizza Ranch

    It seems illogical that a place called Pizza Ranch would have subpar pizza but awesome fried chicken. And yet, there you have it: Pizza Ranch has hands-down the juiciest, crispiest stuff around. The Midwest "fast casual" chain, which is the largest pizza franchise in Iowa, Minnesota, and North Dakota, is known for its buffet, where you can find the restaurant's… More >>
  • Best Buffet

    Cleveland Wok

    You can judge the quality of a good Chinese buffet by the aroma of the belches you emit hours after eating. And yes, those belches do taste good coming back up, for they were born of mushrooms draped in creamy oyster sauce, garlicky green beans, orange chicken, chicken legs, egg rolls, and cream cheese wontons, all crisply fried. Located in… More >>
  • Best Falafel

    Foxy Falafel

    South Dakota farm gal Erica Strait left the state to study at New York City's Institute for Integrative Nutrition and its Natural Gourmet Institute, guided by her interest in food and nutrition. It was in the big city that she not only trained in holistic health and whole-foods cooking but developed a love for falafel while working under Israeli chef… More >>
  • Best Meatloaf

    The Sample Room

    Meatloaf is one of those childhood foods that warrants a second taste with an adult palate — when it is prepared well, that is. The Sample Room, a bar and restaurant operating under the same name as the saloon opened originally in the location's Thies Hotel in 1893, has incorporated your grandma's favorite dish into its diverse rotation of charcuterie,… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar (St. Paul)

    Skinner's Pub & Eatery

    Some neighborhoods feature bars you drive for miles to get to because they're a citywide attraction. But the classic neighborhood bar, one that passersby overlook because it seems too "divey" — or not divey enough — is its own entity, less concerned with pulling in people from across town than with making people from a few blocks away feel at… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar (Minneapolis)

    Buster's on 28th

    A number of great watering holes are tucked away in tiny pockets of the Twin Cities, but the Powderhorn/Nokomis area has a gem in Buster's on 28th. The atmosphere is homey but lively, and the gastropub boasts one of the most robust craft beer selections in Minneapolis. If you need the perfect alcoholic accompaniment for its awesome braised beef or… More >>
  • Best Gay Bar

    Lush Food Bar

    Lush in northeast Minneapolis looks like a sleek urban garage you might find in South Beach or New York. It's a place where the drinks flow strong and the music pumps loud, even on weekend mornings after you just woke up with a mean hangover. The champagne brunch on Sunday is a definite highlight, with $10 bottomless mimosas from 10… More >>
  • Best Irish Pub

    O'Donovan's Irish Pub

    In a downtown teeming with well-established Hibernian drinking outposts, O'Donovan's has an advantage in one particular — proximity. Being across the street from both First Avenue and the Target Center/Field nexus makes it one of the biggest no-brainer spots of entertainment real estate in Minneapolis, the sort of location that could house any half-ass bar as long as drink specials… More >>
  • Best Happy Hour

    Amazing Thailand Restaurant

    When looking for a great happy hour, cheapness is obviously a primary factor. But it helps if the cheap drinks and food are also actually good. Seven days a week, from 4 to 6 p.m., Amazing Thailand serves a great selection of beers and amazing appetizers on the cheap. The beer, which goes for $3 to $4, includes delicious local… More >>
  • Best Cocktails

    Marvel Bar

    A good cocktail should be an experience. At Marvel Bar, it starts with an unmarked side entrance around the corner from its sister business, the Bachelor Farmer, followed by a basement hallway, and, finally, a purple door. Should you choose to walk through that door, you'll discover a dimly lit, windowless bar alive with colorful walls and flowing with booze.… More >>
  • Best Contemporary Cocktail

    The Olivetto, Marvel Bar

    In the world of cocktails there is always a new take on an old drink. Whether it's playing around with the structure of a classic family of cocktail like the sour by using a homemade sweet syrup instead of sugar, or carbonating a Manhattan, or floating a lime-salt foam over a margarita instead of rimming the glass, these ideas make… More >>
  • Best Margarita

    Cobra Verde at La Belle Vie

    The margarita is a true classic. The earliest known published recipe is in Esquire magazine in 1953. The recipe called for tequila, orange liqueur, and fresh lime. Over the years, the drink evolved in various ways, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Many bartenders have experimented with tequila infusions, alternative natural sweeteners, and various liqueurs. La Belle Vie's… More >>
  • Best Martini

    La Belle Vie

    In a bar known for its creative cocktails, one might think it ill-advised to order a drink as simple as a martini. Nothing could be further from the truth. The bartenders at La Belle Vie, headed by Johnny Michaels, treat the classic cocktails like old friends and are happy to make them however you like. The attention to detail at… More >>
  • Best Bloody Mary

    King and I Thai - CLOSED

    The King and I Thai's Bloody "Hot" Mary is not for beginners. True to its name, it's one of the only bloodies in the Twin Cities that requires no extra hot sauce. In fact, that would only ruin the masterpiece, like putting ketchup on a fine steak. But the King and I's bloody is more than just heat. The brilliance… More >>
  • Best Cocktail for Putting Hair on Your Chest

    Cobra Kai at the Strip Club Meat & Fish

    So you think this contemporary cocktail trend is strictly for metrosexuals — that real men should drink whiskey and martinis? We dare you to get over to the Strip Club Meat & Fish and throw down a Cobra Kai. True, it arrives in a compact, slender glass, not nearly as big as you'd expect, frothy with egg whites on the… More >>
  • Best Bartender

    Jesse Held at Eat Street Social

    The expectation of what makes a great bartender has changed over time. Once it was a man who poured whiskey and kept secrets. Tom Cruise gave rise to the expectation of bottle twirling and giving the ladies a little something extra. These days a bar man is becoming known for his ability to heighten any dining experience through an artful… More >>
  • Best Wine List


    Reading Meritage's wine list is like taking a wine mini-course. It's got colored maps and history and appellations and definitions. Plus, it has really, really good wines. Wine director Nicolas Giraud is charged with finding wines designed in the Old World style that work with James Beard Award-nominated chef Russell Klein's food. Within that range, Giraud has crafted a world… More >>
  • Best Beer List

    Muddy Waters Bar & Eatery

    The original Muddy Waters Bar & Eatery in the Wedge neighborhood was known for its coffee. But things changed when it found new digs further south on Lyndale. The coffee is still excellent, and especially welcome in the mornings and afternoons, but the new location really comes alive in the evening, thanks in good part to the bar's excellent beer… More >>
  • Best Local Beer

    Surly Brewing Co.

    With the emergence of so many new microbreweries, the Twin Cities beer scene has become so rich it's hard to pick just one. But even with all the newcomers, Surly is still the best beer in town. Last year Surly also became a political force at the state Capitol. With the help of a few brew-friendly politicians, Surly helped change… More >>
  • Best Brewpub

    Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery

    Everything about the Town Hall Brewery works. The casual atmosphere makes it a great place to have a meal or a meeting, or just hang out for a pint. It's lively but not loud; you can enjoy the buzz (pun intended) and still carry on a conversation. And the patio is great in the summer. The menu offers a wide… More >>
  • Best Pub Crawl

    MN Craft Beer Week's Bicycle Pub Crawl

    Pub crawls can be a dicey venture. If not enough people show up, then it feels like any other weekend night. Conversely, if the party is too big, it's no fun to fight for your beer and access to the restroom. Costumed pub crawls are great when folks are in character, but that can get overwhelming when the characters are… More >>
  • Best Dive Bar

    Country Bar and Grill

    Sometimes one wants to drink with the dead. Bellied up to the bar inside this Lyn-Lake institution, you'll find yourself surrounded by animal hides and ghosts of drunkards past. The thick smell of hot grease permeates the bar, now that the smoking ban passed from news into normal. Order cheese curds and a brew, but don't come expecting to see… More >>
  • Best Bouncer

    Big John at Palmer's Bar

    Palmer's is a bona fide dive bar. The colorful clientele ain't there for the ambiance, they are there to drink. That can naturally lead to a fair share of..."unreasonable" people, as owner Keith Berg puts it. Luckily, Berg has a secret weapon: Big John. Big John has been working the door at Palmer's for over 10 years, five nights a… More >>

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