Al's Breakfast413 14th Ave SE Minneapolis, MN 55414 US +1-612-331-9991
DINKYTOWN. Al's greasy-spoon decor has been preserved for many years, along with a classic breakfast menu. Located near the university, the place attracts students and alums who are thrilled to return and find Al's just as they remember it. Deemed by some folks as the best breakfast place in the Twin Cities, Al's is known for blueberry and blackberry buttermilk pancakes as well as for omelets and eggs Benedict. They only take cash, and if you're in the door before 1pm, they'll happily serve you. A small place, so don't be surprised by waits.
Al Vento5001 34th Ave S Minneapolis, MN 55417 US +1-612-724-3009
SOUTH MINNEAPOLIS. Hearty southern Italian cuisine comes to South Minneapolis in this cozy restaurant. Yellow-gold paint and whimsical decorative touches create an intimate, welcoming space. Octopus with saffron potato and citronette makes for an unexpected starter, while updated classics like spaghetti with tomato and veal meatballs and gorgonzola-crusted steak with wild mushroom ragu populate the entrees menu. Arrive early to sip half-price bottles of wine between 4:30pm and 6:00pm.
Babani's Kurdish Restaurant544 St. Peter St St. Paul, MN 55102 US +1-651-602-9964
DOWNTOWN. Babani's prides itself on being "America's first Kurdish restaurant." The storefront eatery offers unique atmosphere and is a great place for somewhat adventurous dining. Named after a Kurdish tribe, Babani offers traditional dishes like onion-tinged niskena soup and kubay sawar, a dumpling made with lean beef and vegetables. No meal can be complete without sampling the homemade Kurdish lemonade that is, if the imported Omani lemons have made it in!
Baker's Ribs8019 Glen Ln Eden Prairie, MN 55344 US +1-952-942-5337
EDEN PRAIRIE. Just how authentic is Baker's? Try this on for size: It's the only one of nine locations not in the Lone Star State. Folksy and casual, they've built their rep on stick-to-your-ribs, hickory-smoked meats. In fact, their dishes have been called "tall food" thanks to their hefty sandwiches (chicken is the most popular). Of course, there's a wide selection of barbecue options too pulled pork, beef brisket, and ribs, for example. You can order a sandwich, a plate, or take something home by the pound.
BANK88 S 6th St Westin Minneapolis Minneapolis, MN 55402 US +1-612-656-3255
DOWNTOWN. One of Minneapolis's most evocative dining rooms, BANK occupies the former space of the Farmers and Mechanics Bank. Its thoughtful design is a true feast for the senses a sleek bar in the center, soaring ceilings and windows, a vault-turned-wine cellar, and beautiful early 20th century millwork. Representative mains include seared walleye with butter-poached lobster, 8-oz. beef fillet with mashed red potatoes and garlic-scented spinach, and short-rib lollipop with sweet potato hash.
Be'wiched Sandwiches & Deli800 Washington Ave N Minneapolis, MN 55401 US +1-612-767-4330
WAREHOUSE DISTRICT. Just because you need a quick bite for lunch doesn't mean you can't treat yourself. Be'wiched touts itself as one of the few chef-driven delis in the Midwest, and it certainly lives up to the billing. Classics like pastrami on rye or roast beef on ciabatta are crafted with artisan-like dedication and filled with exquisite flavors. A bevy of salads and soups round out the menu.
Beirut Restaurant1385 S Robert St St. Paul, MN 55118 US +1-651-457-4886
WEST ST. PAUL. This appealing Middle Eastern restaurant enjoys a fine reputation with the downtown lunch crowd, and it's not uncommon to see more than one table filled with business people. Beirut serves traditional Lebanese dishes like baba ghanouj, beef and lamb kebabs, hummus, and falafel. If you can't come at lunch for one of their awesome pitas, make an effort to show up for dinner on Friday or Saturday night when patrons are treated to belly dancing or on select Saturdays when there is live Arabic music.
Big Bowl3669 Galleria Galleria Edina, MN 55435 US +1-952-928-7888
EDINA. This fun, neighborhood restaurant offers a gourmet menu with Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, and Chinese dishes. Featured items include spicy Kung Pao, pad Thai, and lemon chicken all prepared right before your eyes. Homemade ginger ale is also a must.
Birchwood Café3311 E 25th St Minneapolis, MN 55406 US +1-612-722-4474
SEWARD. Smartly decorated Birchwood is a coffee shop and cafe that also moonlights as an art gallery. Food offerings have a strong vegetarian slant and are prepared using fresh, locally grown, organic ingredients. Menu items range from pizzas and sandwiches to tofu curry and a quiche of the day. Birchwood also serves non-vegetarian items, including salmon cakes and turkey burgers. Breakfast and weekend brunch are popular with locals, too.
Bloomington ChopHouse3900 American Blvd W Hilton Minneapolis / Bloomington Bloomington, MN 55437 US +1-952-830-5200
BLOOMINGTON. Perfectly charred and beautifully presented, the Bloomington ChopHouse's succulent steaks and chops more than make up for its location outside of Minneapolis proper. The muted green walls and and red-orange booths combine with lively clientele to produce an invigorating dining experience.