In my humble opinion, Minnesota is the best place in the world. Midwestern charm is rampant, everyone is nice and passive aggressive at all times, and temperatures are freezing for eight months out of the year. If the food can’t convince you that going this far north is worth it, then there’s probably no helping you, but, if the food can, then this is what you need to eat in order to have an accurate taste of Minnesota.
Snuffy’s serves classic diner food for cheap, and it is definitely a Minnesota must. The Snuffy Burger is a classic, but you can’t leave unless you’ve had onion rings and a malt. It’s a rule.
Yum! is nothing short of sensational. They change their menu often, so you’ll never get sick of what they have to offer (not that that could ever happen). Literally everything from Yum! is amazing, but I have dreams about this cake, especially. Plus, it has a cute name, which is always fun.
The food is excellent, and the atmosphere is super fun and eclectic. Loring used to be an old drug store, and most of the store’s old decor is still intact. They also have live music (shout-out to salsa night) and awesome deals on food for students.
With minimalist wood and steel decor, the interior of Agra Culture is just as beautiful as its food, which happens to be super pretty and super healthy. They have fresh-pressed juices and tons of nutrient-rich salads and bowls. They also have a new location in the Mia, so it’s the perfect excuse to have a day of good art and great food.
I could probably eat every meal at Punch (yes, even breakfast). All of their pizzas are flash-cooked in an 800°F oven to get that famous leopard crust, and to get anything better, you would actually have to go to Italy.
This is actually the most basic place to brunch in the state of Minnesota, but it’s famous for a reason. The waffles are delicious and super gram-worthy.
The Black Forest Inn is an authentic German restaurant with some serious character. The menu is organized into categories of “Very German” and “Schnitzels”, which I think is really cute. You have to try their spaetzel or the better German version of mac and cheese (yeah, I said it).
Tony’s Diner is located on the University of Minnesota campus, right in the heart of Dinkytown, and it’s pretty much hoppin’ all of the time (especially on a game day). Your soul will thank me for trying these pancakes.
For those that haven’t had the pleasure of being acquainted with a Jucy Lucy, it is the genius creation of a burger with cheese INSIDE of it. Also, Obama went here once, so it’s basically legendary.
Pizzeria Lola is charming and quirky. None of the plates match, it has a photo booth for customers to use while they wait for their table, and the pizza is amazing. If you get The Boise, think of me.
Stella’s Fish Café has super fresh fish and a gorgeous view of Uptown on the roof. If you’re like me and you’re still trying to train your taste buds to appreciate fish, this is definitely a good place to start.
I’m really okay with the gourmet donut shop trend, and Glam Doll is a must. Seriously, get in my belly.
Annie’s Parlour is conveniently located on the Minnesota Campus and also has a great patio with a rockin’ view of Dinkytown. Enjoying a malt and fries with a view is always a good decision.
Cossetta’s is a multifaceted Italian restaurant/grocery store with a ton of authentic Italian charm. The Cossetta family recently celebrated 100 years of filling Minnesotan bellies with delightful Italian deliciousness, so it’s been around for a while. It’s kind of like Minnesota’s version of the Godfather (just minus the organized crime part). Michael Cossetta, Michael Corleone…you feel me?
Patisserie is excellent. They have the cutest box lunches ever, which are perfect for a picnic near the lake.
#SpoonTip: They say you can only choose three vegetables on your sandwich, but you can actually have them all.
Sebastian Joe’s is a Minneapolis favorite and has been serving up excellent ice cream and coffee since 1984. It’s the perfect post-roller blading around Lake Calhoun destination, or if you’re like me and you don’t mesh well with wheels, it’s a great excuse to go on a night walk.
The Purple Onion, affectionately referred to as Ponion, is a cute and delicious café on the University of Minnesota campus. Their honey rose latte is something I think about it often, and I haven’t had one in over a year. I’m unsure if that’s weird or a really good sign, but I’ll choose to go with the latter.
Whoever came up with the idea of putting potato on pizza was such a genius. Pizza Lucé boasts “The best pizza in Minnesota” and for good reason, too. Plus, you can get gluten free and vegan options, so everyone can have a taste of the best.
If you consider chocolate to be an integral part of your food pyramid, this cake is a must. What it lacks in nutritional value, it makes up for in straight up chocolate. It’s seriously difficult to choose one dessert from Café Latté, so you’ll just have to go back at least seven times to get an accurate sampling of all the bomb desserts they have.
According to Rusty Taco, tacos are the most important meal of the day. I don’t really consider myself a taco person, but I would definitely get behind a daily dose of Rusty Tacos because these are the real deal. These tacos are seriously incredible and seriously cheap ($2 each).
Betty Danger’s is the “country club for the 99%” and has its own ferris wheel. Yeah. Apparently, Betty vowed to start her own country club after an unfortunate judging experience by some country club girls at the age of five. Betty also had a vision that everyone at her country club would constantly be drinking margaritas and constantly be merry, so try the gorgeously Pink Prickly Pear Margarita.
Salut Bar Americain serves classic French cuisine, logically, from the center of America. Their chocolate mousse is all you need to complete a romantic St. Paul evening. If you’re feeling adventurous or especially français, you can also get escargot and frog legs for hors d’oeuvres.
Chino Latino is “street food from the hot zones.” Basically, this is your destination to get Caribbean, Latin, and Asian influenced food all in one place. The El Orgazmo, or the virgin equivalent, is served in a full pineapple. Portions are huge, so make sure to bring a bunch of friends with you for a proper Chino Latino feast.
Quang serves authentic Vietnamese cuisine, and their noodle soups and pho cannot be beat. The Hu Tieu Mem is particularly picturesque (and equally delicious) with shrimp, pork, and rice noodles. Quang is the perfect way to escape the freezing Minnesota winters.
Mickey’s Diner is famous, and for good reason. (I’m also partial because we share a name, but whatever.) Mickey’s is literally a railroad car turned diner and was one of the first diners to become a registered historic place. Plus, it’s open 24/7, 365 days a year, and scenes from the Mighty Ducks were filmed there, so it’s kind of a huge deal.
Spyhouse Coffee has four gorgeous and unique locations in the Twin Cities area. Owner Christian Johnson strives to ensure an educational coffee experience for the customer, and I think that’s awesome. According to Spyhouse, coffee is meant to be exciting, so make sure you check out their Instagram for some major coffee inspo.
The Uptown Diner is open 24/7, Sunday through Thursday, and they serve breakfast all day, so definitely make sure to take advantage of this rare opportunity.
Café Lurcat serves “sophisticated American comfort food,” and these fries are definitely that. If you visit Café Lurcat in the summer, make sure to sit outside in their secluded alley patio, it honestly looks like you’re in Italy.
Tin Fish is a Minnesota summer classic. It’s only open April through October, which isn’t technically summer, but there’s a decent chance there probably won’t be any snow on the ground. The fish is superb, decently cheap, and there’s a priceless view of Lake Calhoun. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Red Cow has three locations in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, and each menu is a little different, but one thing they all have in common is some seriously humongous and delicious burgers. The Cowboy burger is a fan favorite, but honestly everything on the menu is going to be amazing.
The Jam Bun is a Minnesota ice cream/donut match made in heaven, and it’s made with local Glam Doll donuts. If you’re craving ice cream on a beautiful day, like the rest of the human race, be prepared to wait for at least an hour in line – Milkjam is a teeny bit famous.
Lake & Irving is located in the heart of Uptown on Lake Street and has a gorgeous midwestern atmosphere. The people are nice, the playlist is excellent, and the chicken and waffles are amazing.
Urban Eatery is an Uptown classic, and it’s located right underneath the Calhoun Beach Club on Lake Calhoun. The food is amazing, but the atmosphere is even better. The walls are decorated with great food quotes, and as a person that suffers from substantial hanger, I appreciate what the quotes pay tribute to.
These cupcakes are flame and they’re super famous, too. The owner, Kevin, was featured on two episodes of Cupcake Wars on The Food Network, and apparently, the second time was the charm because he won. You can actually also order their cupcakes online, which is super convenient.
Any restaurant whose name has “cakery” in it, is one I can get behind. The Copper Hen is a restaurant focused on farm-to-table cooking, and they are firm believers in cooking from scratch. The rustic charm of both the food and the atmosphere is seriously intoxicating and their Instagram proves it.
Vodka and pierogies are staples at Hammer and Sickle, and although I think we’re all too aware of what vodka is, the more unfamiliar Pierogi is a popular Eastern European dumpling with a wide variety of sweet or savory fillings. The Comrade is my personal favorite and includes potato, cheese, caramelized onion and bacon.
If you can get a reservation, that is. Spoon and Stable is always busy, and it’s probably one of the most notoriously delicious (and famous) restaurants on this list. It’s located in the North Loop neighborhood in what used to be a horse stable, hence the name.
Barbette is a cute little restaurant in Uptown that serves a French-inspired cuisine and breakfast/brunch from 8 am to 5 pm. Yes, you heard that correctly. You can basically have brunch for dinner. Really, nothing is more classic French than a Croque Monsieur, so make sure you try Barbette’s version.
Cheese curds are an integral part of the Minnesota culture, so if you’re trying to fit in with the locals, you should order these. We, Minnesotans, notoriously cannot handle spice, but these curds are incredible. This glorious deep fried cheese comes with none other than blueberry ketchup – is anyone else salivating?
If you’re going to commit to a food tour of the Twin Cities, you’re basically required by law to have some walleye. Chances are, it was caught in one of the nearby 10,000 lakes, and it’ll be super fresh (not to mention delicious).
La Grolla (pronounced la groya) is a cute little Italian restaurant in St. Paul. I would highly recommend heading over here in the winter months because there is nothing more comforting than a plate of fresh pasta with snow gently swirling outside. The Rigatoni tastes incredible in all seasons, however, so whatever excuse gets you to La Grolla is fine.
The News Room is located right on Nicolet Mall near Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, and if you don’t go for the food, at least go for the awesome newspaper paraphernalia and the bar that’s shaped like a pirate ship. There is even a mermaid on the front reading a newspaper, so that’s pretty cool.
Borough is a relatively new restaurant in the North Loop area of Minneapolis, but it’s a huge deal. In 2013, it was named one of the top 50 restaurants in America by Bon Appetit. Every year, Borough hosts a Block Party, featuring live music and delicious food, which is where this amazing corn on the cob came from.
Heyday is a trendy and delicious restaurant located in Minneapolis, and if you’re looking for a unique food experience, Heyday is it. The menu features items like bison tartare and chicken liver tart. If you’re ballsy enough to try the latter, my congratulations to you; I’m sure its delicious.
There’s nothing I love more than a restaurant pun. Though Hotdish is not the official state food of Minnesota, it’s a painfully Minnesotan classic. This one is one million times more gourmet and “better than your moms”.
My Burger is a proud Minnesota company with locations throughout the Twin Cities. They boast “flippin’ good burgers” and “burgers good enough to bring a man-tear to your eye.” I’m not sure really what they mean by that, but they aren’t kidding around—these burgers are bomb. Think Five Guys, but with milkshakes, so it’s even better.
The food at Corner Table is a thing of beauty, and it tastes beautiful too (if that’s possible). The lamb is incredible, but everything on the menu will more than likely blow you away.
Pazzaluna is located in St. Paul and super close to the Ordway theater and Rice Park, so it’s almost its own Minnesota landmark. They serve amazing Italian food, like this gnocchi, and the atmosphere is beautiful and energetic, with high ceilings and gorgeous art.
Any food tour of Minnesota would not be complete without stopping at the legendary Minnesota State fair, which begins this year on August 25th. The Minnesota State Fair is super famous for its food, and Sweet Martha’s cookies are extremely popular. Since they’re located right next to the unlimited milk booth, you could literally eat cookies all day.
Believe it or not, this list hardly scratches the surface of all the amazing food Minnesota has to offer. Consider this your starter pack, or your 101 course in Minnesotan cuisine. If you want to dig deeper or become an expert on all things delicious in Minnesota, you’ll just have to visit to discover it for yourself.