Eating Out in the Twin Cities and Environs

We moved to Minnesota in 2007 and have been exploring the food scene in the Twin Cities metro area ever since. In the last few years we slowed down a bit with the birth of our kids (we live an hour south of the Cities and dinners out have become rare occasions); but as our kids become more and more adventurous eaters we’ve recently begun to pick up the pace again.

There are many Minnesotans who read this blog (some of my friends among them) who say/think that I am unduly harsh on the restaurant scene here. I don’t think that’s true. If you look at the reviews below the vast majority are positive. As with my whisky reviews, I like to maintain a sense of proportion, however, and am reluctant to use the word “great” unless I feel it’s really merited or to let excitement that a decent iteration of a cuisine is available override my evaluation of the restaurant serving it. This latter is particularly true of my takes on most Asian restaurants here, for which my frame of reference is Los Angeles. The situation is improving for some cuisines (Sichuan, in particular; Thai, maybe) but is still dire in some cases (sushi, Korean, Indian, other Chinese) and underdeveloped in others (Hmong, Vietnamese). Mexican food, however, is surprisingly robust (and I should review more of it).

Where there has been clear improvement since 2007 is in the fine/high end dining realm with lots of interesting restaurants that weren’t around when we first started eating out (Piccolo, Heyday, Brasserie Zentral, Borough etc.). Alas, these are the meals we can only eat once a month and so these reports will appear more slowly. Please keep in mind that with some exceptions these are mostly single meal reviews. Unlike a professional reviewer I cannot afford to go back to restaurants we did not enjoy very much and even the ones we do—with one exception (Piccolo)—we don’t go back to very quickly given the few dinners out we have and the number of restaurants to try. Some local favourites (112 Eatery, Heartland) don’t appear here because we ate there right before I started writing meals up on the blog and they haven’t come back in the rotation yet; others we had such disappointing experiences at pre-blog that we’re unlikely to go back on our own dime (La Belle Vie). Yet others should show up soon.

American

Chinese

Fine/High End Dining

Indian/South Asian

Japanese

Malaysian, Hmong, Other Asian

Mexican and Other Latin American

Somali, North African and Middle Eastern

Thai

Vietnamese

Here be Lutefisk

6 thoughts on “Eating Out in the Twin Cities and Environs

    • I’ve been to Spice Thai recently. And no, I didn’t like it either—it made Thai Curry House seem like On’s Kitchen. I should have a review up soon. Will try to get to Joy’s Pattaya Thailand at some point. Indian restaurants in the US I’m a little more wary of.

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  1. Looking forward to your reviews.

    We live in Savage, like Asian food, and are not happy about the dearth of good choices in our area. When kids were little, we would often make a trek to Quang on Eat Streat; now it is either Joy’s or Grand Sichuan in Bloomington.

    Out of your way in NE metro, and a real “hole in the wall”, but Friends Cafe at Larpenteur/Rice in Roseville serves outstanding Burmese and Thai specialties, very cheaply.

    PS You have not blogged about TC food under a different blog name a few years ago by any chance?

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  2. If you make it to the cities, please consider Flavor at the depot in downtown Savage – their Vietnamese menu has really only 3 entries, but the pho was very credible.

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