It’s been quite a year for restaurants: debates over minimum wage and sick time, harassment scandals taking down some national celebrity chefs, local old favorites closing, new local favorites opening. I’ve put together a list of my favorites—my Best of 2017—in a number of different categories. Share your bests in the comments!
Best New Restaurants:
Bellecour, Wayzata: An incredible bakery, a beautiful brunch, a fabulous bar program with a top-notch wine list—and I haven’t even started talking about the dinner. In its first year, Bellecour has become quite possibly the best restaurant in the entire state.
Grand Cafe, Minneapolis: Ambitious, delicious, Grand Cafe is an achievement. Chef Jamie Malone is an incredible talent, and I can’t wait to see how this place continues to evolve.
Kado No Mise, Minneapolis: Fine-dining service, precision in technique, beautiful sushi in a gorgeous room.
Best Late-Entry New Restaurants:
These spots are so new, it’s hard to know if they’ll be consistent enough to rate as “the best,” but if the service and the food continue at the level they’ve established in December, both should be four-star restaurants:
Martina, Minneapolis: Awesome bar, fantastic fire-kissed food. I’ve already been twice and can’t get enough.
Hai Hai, Minneapolis: Creative, intense flavors unlike anything else in town.
Best New Fun Restaurants:
Tilt Pinball Bar, Minneapolis: Great hot dogs, surprisingly good salads, and pinball games that are largely just a quarter. I love Tilt.
Can Can Wonderland, St. Paul: With cocktails as crazy as the artist-designed mini-golf course inside, Can Can is simply a blast.
Best New (and Old) Bagel Shops:
Best Existing Higher-End Restaurants (my top recommendations for restaurants in the Twin Cities):
Best Existing Casual Restaurants (less expensive, less “formal”):
Young Joni, Minneapolis: Great vibe, awesome pizza, amazing back bar.
Mucci’s, St. Paul: Italian the way you wish you could make it at home.
Zen Box Izakaya, Minneapolis: Best ramen in town—it’s not even close.
Pajarito, St. Paul: I still dream of the charred sweet potato with queso fresco and crema.
Pizza Nea, Minneapolis: Beautiful toppings and even better crust—so good, in fact, I’d eat it alone. Just crust. Not.. well, I’d eat there alone too.
Borough, Minneapolis: Underrated lunch spot, terrific food.
Bar Brigade, St. Paul: The ideal neighborhood restaurant.
Best Coffee Shops:
Best New Donut Shop:
Cardigan Donuts, Minneapolis: Best Old Fashioned and French Cruller I’ve ever had.