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Twin Cities Dining

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The Twin Cities are in the midst of a well-deserved period of national attention for the quality of the local dining scene. With an abundance of restaurants in nearly every ethnicity, connoisseurs of every cuisine will find an eatery perfectly tailored to their taste, and more often than not with a bit of a Minnesotan twist.

For years, Minneapolis has been a cultural melting pot, attracting folks from not just other states but other countries as well. The fruits of those new residents are starting to become increasingly evident, as the Twin City's culinary landscape has officially escaped the stereotypes of lutefisk and Swedish meatballs.

Today, the Twin Cities prominently feature cuisine from Somalia, Ethiopia, Poland, Brazil and the Caribbean, to name a very small number. Regardless of which neighborhood you're in, you are nearly guaranteed to find a small, wonderful restaurant with a friendly staff. It's Minnesota-Nice, restaurant style!

Downtown Minneapolis is currently the site of one of the most eclectic dining scenes around. Fogo de Chao, a Brazilian steakhouse, features staff strolling the length of the place with huge swords, skewered with fire-grilled meats and vegetables for your selection. Or try Masa, one of Minneapolis' best Mexican restaurants, located on Nicolle Avenue and featuring a phenomenal and affordable happy hour. Or you can head on over to Brit's Pub, with its wonderful food, full bar and lawn bowling on its roof.

Don't miss the dining scene in Minneapolis' North Loop neighborhood, either. It seems like every month brings another fun and innovative chef opening up a restaurant or bar in this historic neighborhood, but we're not complaining! Start your night with a show at the beautiful Guthrie Theater, and then try to decide which of the many great nearby restaurants to try.

Across from the theater you'll find Spoonriver, Minneapolis cornerstone Brenda Langton's newest restaurant. Featuring locally sourced products, this healthy, nourishing spot is not only delicious but also the place to see and be seen by Minneapolis' hippest. Or, head on over to Black Sheep Pizza. Wood-oven cooked pizza, crisped to perfection and using the best ingredients possible- what could be better?

Or you can head to St. Paul for a change of pace, and try out one of the many great restaurants there. Lenny Russo's Heartland is one such place, and certainly deserving a visit. Helmed by a man who has been nominated for the prestigious James Beard Best Chef in the Midwest for three consecutive years, Heartland is one of the Twin City's most prestigious cooks. The menu is, as the name implies, constantly referencing the restaurant's Minnesotan roots: witness the trout or elk or any of the other homages to classic Midwestern fare.

Also in St. Paul, the Blue Door Pub is quickly becoming a neighborhood (and city-wide) institution. Embracing South Minneapolis' invention of the "Juicy Lucy," The Blue Door has put its own spin on the ingredient-filled hamburger patty, and then added a wonderful bar to boot. One of our favorite meals ever can be found here: start with a Mushroom Swiss Blucy (Swiss cheese hidden inside the organic-beef patty with a generous serving of sautéed mushrooms) along with a locally brewed beer.

As you can see, we're kind of excited about the dining scene in the Twin Cities. And the best part about it is this: with a growing economy and a growing population, it's only going to get better!

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