Behind the List: Picking Our Top 75 Restaurants

It took some work to get here, but our list was a labor of love
The March/April 2024 cover of Minnesota Monthly
The March/April cover of Minnesota Monthly

Designed by Ted Rossiter

What makes a restaurant qualify for a “Top 75” best-of list? Minnesota Monthly launched a Top 75 Restaurants project online at at the beginning of the year.

The editorial team spent a lot of time thinking about the finalists as we created our most ambitious list-based project in my time as a critic for the magazine. We wanted a comprehensive group that readers could bookmark for a fun weeknight out as well as that special celebration. We wanted the taco joints and pizza places, as well as the four-star fine-dining spots. We wanted to celebrate the innovators and the classics, as well as the places that are really excelling right now. The newest restaurants on the list are Kim’s in Uptown, from Ann Kim, and Porzana in the North Loop, from Daniel del Prado. The oldest is Jax Cafe, where the Kozlak family just celebrated its 90th anniversary.

Making a Top 75 Restaurants list wasn’t easy. In fact, we started making a master list in April of 2023, and we finalized it in early December. Some places closed during that year, new spots opened, and some restaurants came into their own while others slipped in consistency. 

Debates: Do you put 6 Smith and Baldamar on the list? They have the same owner and almost identical menus, so we decided no. 6 Smith got the nod, for the Lake Minnetonka location and for being first. Chef Kim’s Young Joni made the list, but Pizzeria Lola didn’t. Martina, Colita, and Porzana all are in, but not Josefina, nor Blondette. Let’s be honest: It’d be boring to have a list of the great restaurants from the same six big names. 

I personally love Mexican food and Mexican chefs, and you can see that in the list: El Sazon, Nico’s, Taqueria y Birrieria, Las Cuatro Milpas, Andale, Oro by Nixta, and more. We wanted to make sure some of the underrated gems were on the list, like Joan’s in the Park and Brunson’s Pub. And we made sure we had east metro and west side representation, too. I wish we could have included more greater Minnesota restaurants, such as New London Cafe in Duluth, Val’s in St. Cloud, King’s Place in Miesville, and some Rochester spots. 

And we admit there are some Twin Cities misses: 112 Eatery should probably be on this list, as should Tullibee at the Hewing. There’s a pho place and a ramen spot, but we’d still say those restaurants are underrepresented. Should more counter-service spots be in the mix, like OG Zaza in Roseville? Tongue In Cheek is another one in retrospect we missed. Early in 2024, there are already new spots opening that are top-notch, so which of the Top 75 come off the list?

Someone asked if I really have eaten at all these restaurants, and the answer is yes! Absolutely! And that’s the real test. Looking at this list from top to bottom, I’m proud of what we came up with. It’s a diverse list in price point, in type of food, in geography, and in style of service. Happy eating—we’re already working on the update for next year.

Jax Cafe
Jax Cafe

Photo by Terry Brennan

Best Steak

✻ The Lexington

✻ Jax Cafe

✻ Manny’s

✻ Porzana

✻ P.S. Steak


Photo by Kevin Kramer

All Saints
All Saints


Best Small Plates

✻ All Saints

✻ Gus Gus

✻ Hai Hai

✻ Kim’s



Photo by Kevin Kramer

Best Cocktails

✻ Chip’s Clubhouse

✻ Estelle

✻ Lolo American

✻ Nico’s Tacos

✻ Travail

Marty’s Deli

Jimmy Eagle

Best Sandwiches

✻ Abang Yoli

✻ Brunson’s Pub

✻ Clancey’s

✻ Mario’s

✻ Marty’s Deli

Abang Yoli
Abang Yoli

Photo by Kevin Kramer

Red Cow
Red Cow

Photo by Danielle Gernes


Kevin Kramer

Best Burgers

✻ The Nook

✻ Parlour

✻ Petite Leon

✻ Red Cow

✻ Saint Dinette


Photo by Kevin Kramer

Best Ambiance

✻ Churchill St.

✻ Gai Noi

✻ Mara

✻ Mr. Paul’s Supper Club

✻ Owamni


Photo by Kevin Kramer



Best Wine Selection

✻ Alma

✻ Joan’s in the Park

✻ Meritage

✻ Myriel

✻ Spoon & Stable


Photo by Kevin Kramer

Best Pasta

✻ Bar La Grassa

✻ Bungalow Club

✻ Hyacinth

✻ Martina

✻ Mucci’s


Photo by Terry Brennan

Black Sheep Pizza
Black Sheep Pizza


Best Pizza

✻ Black Sheep Pizza

✻ Boludo

✻ Punch Pizza

✻ Red Wagon Pizza

✻ Young Joni

Red Wagon Pizza
Red Wagon Pizza

Photo by Eliesa Johnson

Nico's Tacos
Nico’s Tacos


Best Mexican

✻ Andale Taqueria y Mercado

✻ Nico’s Tacos

✻ Oro by Nixta

✻ Sonora Grill

✻ Taqueria y Birrieria Las Cuatro Milpas

Oro by Nixta
Oro by Nixta

Photo by Kevin Kramer


The List: Top 75 Restaurants of Minnesota

Find the categorized list with descriptions of each restaurant here.



294 Grove Lane E., Wayzata 


Abang Yoli 

501 30th Ave. SE, Minneapolis

3749 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis  


All Saints 

222 Hennepin Ave. E., Minneapolis  



528 University Ave. SE, Minneapolis 


Andale Taqueria & Mercado 

7700 Nicollet Ave., Richfield 


Bar La Grassa  

800 Washington Ave. N., Minneapolis  


Billy Sushi 

116 First Ave. N., Minneapolis  


Black Sheep Pizza  

2550 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis

600 Washington Ave. N., Minneapolis 



1519 Como Ave. SE, Minneapolis

2935 Girard Ave. S., Minneapolis 



600 Hennepin Ave. E., Minneapolis

777 Grand Ave., St. Paul

812 46th St. W., Minneapolis 


Brunson’s Pub 

956 Payne Ave., St. Paul 


The Bungalow Club 

4300 Lake St. E., Minneapolis 


Butcher & The Boar 

901 Third St. N., Suite 195, Minneapolis 


Butcher’s Tale 

1121 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis 


Cafe Latte 

850 Grand Ave., St. Paul  



1414 Quincy St. NE, Minneapolis

750 Cleveland Ave. S., St. Paul

2412 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis 


Chip’s Clubhouse 

272 Snelling Ave. S., St. Paul 


Churchill St. 

4606 Churchill St., Shoreview 


Clancey’s Meats 

3804 Grand Ave. S., Minneapolis 



5400 Penn Ave. S., Minneapolis 



212 Second St. N., Suite 100, Minneapolis 


El Sazon 

1815 Diffley Road, Eagan 



1806 St. Clair Ave., St. Paul 



40 Seventh St. S., Minneapolis  


Gai Noi 

1610 Harmon Place, Minneapolis 


The Grocer’s Table 

326 Broadway Ave. S., Wayzata 


Gus Gus 

128 Cleveland Ave. N., St. Paul 


Hai Hai 

2121 University Ave. NE, Minneapolis 


Handsome Hog 

173 Western Ave. N., St. Paul 


Hola Arepa  

3501 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis 


Hyacinth Restaurant   

790 Grand Ave., St. Paul 


Jax Cafe 

1928 University Ave. NE, Minneapolis 


Joan’s in the Park 

631 Snelling Ave. S., St. Paul 


Kaiseki Furukawa 

33 First Ave. N., Minneapolis 



4000 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis 



432 31st St. W., Minneapolis 


The Lexington

1096 Grand Ave., St. Paul 


Lolito Cantina 

241 Main St. S., Stillwater 


Lolo American 

233 Main St. S., Stillwater

175 Second St. S., Hudson, Wisconsin


Manny’s Steakhouse 

825 Marquette Ave., Minneapolis 



245 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis 



232 Cleveland Ave. N., St. Paul 



4312 Upton Ave. S., Minneapolis 


Marty’s Deli 

400 Lowry Ave. NE, Minneapolis 



410 St. Peter St., St. Paul 


The Monte Carlo 

219 Third Ave. N., Minneapolis 


Mr. Paul’s Supper Club  

3917 Market St., Edina 



786 Randolph Ave., St. Paul 



470 Cleveland Ave. S., St. Paul 


Nico’s Tacos 

2516 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis

2260 Como Ave., St. Paul 


The Nook  

492 Hamline Ave. S., St. Paul 


Oro by Nixta 

1222 Second St. NE, Minneapolis 



420 First St. S., Minneapolis 



730 Washington Ave. N., Minneapolis

267 Seventh St. W., St. Paul

Other locations 


Petite León  

3800 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis 



200 First St. N., Minneapolis 


P.S. Steak 

510 Groveland Ave., Minneapolis 


Punch Pizza 

Highland Park, Eden Prairie, Lake Street, Northeast Minneapolis, Wayzata, Grand Avenue, Woodbury, Vadnais Heights, Eagan, Roseville, and Apple Valley 



2719 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis 


Red Cow 

Minneapolis, St. Paul, North Loop, Uptown, and Rochester 


Red Wagon Pizza 

5416 Penn Ave. S., Minneapolis 



4537 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis

8028 Minnetonka Blvd., St. Louis Park

525 Selby Ave., St. Paul 


Saint Dinette  

261 Fifth St. E., St. Paul 



33 First Ave. N., Minneapolis 


Sonora Grill 

3300 Lake St. E., Minneapolis

1414 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis 


Spoon and Stable  

211 First St. N., Minneapolis 



24 University Ave. NE, Suite 100, Minneapolis 


Surly Beer Hall  

520 Malcolm Ave. SE, Minneapolis 


Taqueria y Birrieria Las Cuatro Milpas 

1526 Lake St. E., Minneapolis  



2726 43rd St. W., Minneapolis 



4134 Hubbard Ave. N., Robbinsdale 


Union Hmong Kitchen 

520 Fourth St. N., Minneapolis 


World Street Kitchen  

2743 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis 


Young Joni  

165 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis 


Zen Box Izakaya 

602 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis