Best New Restaurants of 2016

Minnesota Monthly’s food critics, Jason DeRusha and Joy Summers, pick the top five restaurants in the Twin Cities

Upton 43

If you love… Scandinavian Sophistication

Joy: The first thing I noticed inside chef Erick Harcey’s Upton 43 was the aroma of a crackling wood fire with an underlying meaty perfume. It smelled like home.

Jason: But homey for upscale, moneyed Linden Hills, which means sleek Scandinavian design, beautiful diners, and truly skillful cooking. Yes, there are Swedish meatballs and chicken liver, but they’re also roasting pork chops with hay.

Joy: The culinary technique is cutting-edge, but the flavors are purely humble Minnesota.

4312 Upton Ave. S., Mpls., 612-920-3406,

Read the original review here.

upton 43, best restaurants, minneapolis, twin cities, dining out, restaurants, jason and joy, food
Chicken liver with honey vinegar, blueberry, granola, and crackers at Upton 43


Hi-Lo Diner

If you love… Nostalgic Diner Fare

Joy: This meticulously restored diner car is a piece of vibrant history. I love the no-nonsense, helpful servers and the classic dishes, including the extra-crispy hashbrowns.

Jason: This place is more than Instagram catnip—although the beautifully restored 1957 diner trucked in from Pennsylvania is Instagram catnip. Don’t miss the Hi-Tops, which are kind of like a donut topped with sweet or savory toppings, such as fried chicken, shrimp and adobo slaw, or caramel and apples.

Joy: I love going late at night or early on a weekday for hearty meals, strong coffee, and sometimes a stiff drink.

4020 E. Lake St., Mpls., 612-353-6568,

Read the original review here.

Hi Lo Diner, Hi Top
Hi Lo’s Gary Cooper Hi-Top pairs buttermilk fried chicken with maple-bourbon syrup and country gravy

Photo by TJ Turner

St. Genevieve

If you love… Bubble-Friendly French

Jason: It’s high time someone centered a restaurant around bubbles, and chef Steven Brown’s St. Genevieve gives us reason to raise a glass.

Joy: Everything about it is pretty: the room, the food, and the phenomenal wine list.

Jason: The champagnes pair well with the delightful French-inspired food: lamb tartare with Moroccan spices, a lovely selection of tartines, and a delicate trout meunière. Just like Brown’s other restaurant, Tilia, St. Gen really cultivates a feel-good vibe.

5003 Bryant Ave. S., Mpls., 612-353-4843,

Read the original review here.

st. genevieve, best restaurants, minneapolis, twin cities, dining out, restaurants, jason and joy, food
St. Gen’s smoked salmon with uni butter and sorrel

Photo by TJ Turner


If you love… Homey Italian

Jason: In a year where three new Italian restaurants opened and shuttered within months of one another, Tim Niver’s is the last one standing for good reason: Mucci’s is the Italian restaurant we all wanted. The handmade pastas are beautiful, their sauces rich and flavorful. Every time I visited there were surprise hits, from gnocchi and wild mushrooms to porchetta with chili aioli.

Joy: Plus the wine is so affordable, the staff so affable, and I’m officially obsessed with the unique fried-then-baked pizza crusts. This is a family opening their doors, arms, and ovens to diners.

Jason: Mucci’s serves the best tiramisu I’ve had in my life. And the weekend morning donut shop has become a cult favorite. I leave Mucci’s wishing there were more seats and more locations.

786 Randolph Ave., St. Paul, 651-330-2245,

Read the original review here.

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Mucci’s casarecce pasta with artichoke, creme fraiche, preserved lemon, and red-pepper sauce



If you love… Neighborhood New American

Joy: I didn’t expect to love this place so much. It’s a humble neighborhood eatery that serves inspired preparations of familiar fare. I love that the kitchen isn’t limited to a regional wheelhouse while dipping into global techniques and ingredients—it’s new-American cuisine at its best.

Jason: Humble in design and attitude, but not in culinary ambition. They’re doing perfect roasted lamb ribs, fish with kaffir lime broth. This is not what you’d expect from a small neighborhood restaurant in a south Minneapolis strip mall.

Joy: It’s a neighborhood restaurant that inspires me to drive across town.

5607 Chicago Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612-825-6900,

Read the original review here.

xavi, best restaurants, minneapolis, twin cities, dining out, restaurants, jason and joy, food
Xavi’s striped bass with tomato chorizo sauce, sherry-braised octopus, chickpeas, and scallion picada

Photo by TJ Turner

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