Restaurant Recommendations: Apple Valley

Minnesota Monthly’s food critics share their favorite spots to grab a bite in the southern suburb

Masu Sushi and Noodles
Masu Sushi and Noodles

Photo by jpellgen – flickr

Jason: More than home to the Minnesota Zoo, Apple Valley has a formidable population to feed, with about 50,000 residents. You’ll find Raising Cane’s, Culver’s, and other chains, but locally owned spots are making their mark too.

Masu Sushi & Noodles: This is the Masu I wish I had near my family’s house. Creative sushi, terrific steamed buns, and lots of noodle dishes. Pan-fried noodles in yakisoba, udon noodles in a spicy mushroom kitsune, and a happy hour with $4 beer. 14638 Cedar Ave. S.

Vivo Kitchen: A scratch kitchen using a lot of local ingredients in Apple Valley? Yes! Wild mushroom flatbread, local goat cheese in the greens salad, and hand-rolled gnocchi bolognese are highlights of a quality menu with something for everyone. 15435 Founders Lane

Joy: Apple Valley has a homey, small-town vibe, with enough sophistication to still be metropolitan. It’s also home to several tasty restaurants.

Umami Bowl: This quick-service restaurant mixing Asian fare from Thailand and Vietnam seems primed to take over the Twin Cities. Grab an order of the Drunken Noodles, fat noodles dressed in a deeply flavorful sauce. 15465 Cedar Ave.

El Azteca: I am an unashamed fan of the chimichanga. Fry up a beef-stuffed tortilla and serve it with a heap of orange rice and a scoop of beans. Meals start with an order of chips and salsa that can be upgraded with a little table-side guacamole. This place makes me nostalgic for the Minnesota Tex-Mex restaurants I grew up with. 6670 150th St. W.