Whether you live in the suburbs, or find yourself outside your regular stomping grounds in search of restaurant options, there's value in knowing more about all the great eats beyond Minneapolis and St. Paul's most covered neighborhoods. In our Suburban Bites series, we'll explore the best places to eat and drink in the greater metro area.
Edina gets a lot of flak. Some of it deserved (remember that no happy hours thing?) and some of it very undue. Though its boutique corners, low-profile wine bars, and charming European gastropubs are just minutes southwest of some of the most populous, young, up-and-coming neighborhoods of Minneapolis, many don't consider Edina when dreaming up their next dinner destination. This week, we hope to change that. Here's a few of our favorite things to eat, cakes and otherwise, in the natural habitat of the so-called cake-eater.
Is it any surprise that Edina has a lovely French bakery? No. But Patisserie Margo is anything but snooty or trendy. Its humble strip mall location wedged in with Great Clips and a dry cleaners belies the quality of treats you'll find inside. Though their mint and lavender pastel macaron leave something to be desired, the cakes, especially the genoise in the classic vanilla and raspberry Charlotte Russe, are airy-light perfection. The selection of super rich savory scones changes daily and the puffy, flaky almond croissants possess a certain je ne sais quoi.
Ann Kim's New York-style by-the-slice concept was our favorite pizza of the year and, mostly thanks to its addictive Korean Cowboy meatball sub, quickly became part of our weekly lunch routine. The chewy, flavorful crust is key to this pizza's success, but something about Kim's care and light-handedness with the toppings -- perfect amounts of fresh herbs, dollops of fresh ricotta cheese, party-size crisped up pepperoni, quartered artichoke hearts brushed with the gleaming layer of olive oil -- means Hello's pizza never leaves you feeling greasy or gross, just full and happy. It's your moral imperative to order the Smoky Greens salad along with your slices, a mix of greens, seeds, cheese, and applewood-smoked onions that is so savory and delicious you'll swear it's chock full of bacon. Finish off your feast with housemade soft serve ice cream, drizzled in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt for the grownups or dreamy caramel sauce for the kiddos. You'll never want to say good-bye to Hello.
When city-dwellers are craving Vietnamese, they're quick to head to one of the many options along Eat Street or Uni-Dale. But that means they're missing out on one of Edina's best little bistros: Rice Paper. This well-loved spot has been making upscale Vietnamese for a few years now, and is known for dishes like their sour tamarind tofu with flaked coconut; clay pot-cooked chicken with mushrooms, ginger, and sesame; spicy Cantonese noodle dishes; and top-notch dumplings. Vegans, diners with food allergies, and other restricted eaters will find tons of great options on the special dairy-free and gluten-free menus.
With its roaring fireplace, European country-fare, and bevy of Belgian beers on tap, Pig & Fiddle radiates coziness and comfort. Come for dinner when executive chef Stephanie Kochlin whips up all kinds of shareable treats like potted meats, smoked trout gratin, and maybe the best moules frites outside of Meritage. Heartier appetites can enjoy larger plates like grilled lamb chops with lemon-tarragon butter and fava bean puree; duck confit with bright pink rhubarb sauce; or haddock dipped in brown ale batter and fried until golden, served with the most sophisticated tartar sauce you've ever had.
Convention is classic all the way, from the no-frills, burger-heavy menu, to the vinyl-topped barstools at the diner counter, and the syrupy chocolate malts they serve from frosty metal mixing cups. They've been operating in the same location with only minor changes to their staff, pricing, and menu since 1934. The practice shows. You always get consistently well-seasoned hand-cut skin-on fries, a hamburger cooked to true medium-well, and grilled onions that are deeply caramelized on a decades-old flat top. If you thought Snuffy's or Annie's Parlour were the only places to get the throwback burger experience, you haven't tried Convention.
If Convention is a little too...conventional for you, you might prefer the inventive, ingredient-loaded burgers at Red Cow. There's the extravagant Royale burger, dressed to the nines with a slab of pork belly, slices of gooey brie, and spicy-sweet tomato jam; a bison burger with goat cheese and figs; and a falafel-like veggie burger made with crispy curried chickpeas, a spoonful of ripe avocado salsa, and shreds of red cabbage. All burgers aside, Red Cow is also an ideal place to swing in for a beer (choose from a hefty list, with an emphasis on local brews from Bad Weather, Badger Hill, and Third Street) and a basket of delicate, stringy cheese curds whether you're sharing them or not.
Tucked in a little shopping center near a Domino's, Biryani serves well-executed Indian standards like aloo gobi, palak paneer, and all manner of Tandoori dishes. The dinners for two are a great deal and unlike other restaurants that charge separately for naan, most meals here come with your choice of bread.You'll need it for sopping up the fragrant coconut broth in the fish malai and creamy chicken methi.