Where to Eat in St. Paul Right Now

Food critic Jason DeRusha recommends 18 restaurants in St. Paul for a soldier coming home
Upper left, clockwise: Pajarito, Grand Catch, Saint Dinette
Upper left, clockwise: Pajarito, Grand Catch, Saint Dinette

Photos by TJ Turner (Grand Catch seafood, Pajarito taco) and Danielle Gernes (burger)

I love when people ask me restuarant questions—but I got a tweet the other day that really touched me, from a Minnesota soldier currently serving in Kuwait.

Jim, who knows how this list will change? St. Paul’s food scene is always in flux! But here are my favorites in the 651:

If You’re Feeling Fancy

  • Meritage: Dinner here is always great, but I confess I love sitting on the side with the oyster bar, sipping on anything from Desta Klein’s best-in-Minnesota French wine list.
  • In Bloom: Stunningly beautiful restaurant where everything is cooked over fire. Incredible venison, beautiful vegetables, and an extremely unique wine list. (I loved it.)
  • Saint Dinette: OK, it’s not that fancy (it is still St. Paul), but chef Adam Eaton is one of the most underrated culinary talents in town. Get the burger to share with your wife as an appetizer (it made my list of the best burgers in the Twin Cities), then go for any of the delights on the rest of the menu. (Check out my WCCO story.)

Old School Is the Best School

  • Mancini’s: Pat Mancini and his family have been incredible supporters of the Serving Our Troops effort, where Pat and a bunch of St. Paul restaurateurs fly overseas to serve troops with their families. He was in Kuwait in 2019—I hope you had a steak! Go get a relish tray and a filet and say hi to Pat. (Read our review.)
  • The Lexington: One of my favorite bars in St. Paul, the Lex just added lunch service. Great steak tartare, great steak, fantastic soups—plus, when you get home, the summertime rooftop tiki bar will be hopping. (Read our review.)
  • DeGidio’s: It’s one of the oldest restaurants in St. Paul, with an unforgettable red sauce. Great pastas, terrific service. Get a Hot Dago. (Read our review.)
  • Moscow on the Hill: Sit on the patio and have some Russian vodka and the best dumplings in town.

The Next-Generation Icons

  • Mucci’s Italian: Come for the fried Montanara pizza crusts, stay for the truly soulful and flavorful Italian cooking. I’ve said before the tiramisu made me tear up…this place is a gem. (Read our review.)
  • Estelle: Brand-new! Hard to get into! And worth the effort. Estelle is one of the best restaurants to open in the Twin Cities in the last year. (Read our review.)
  • Pajarito: Modern Mexican flavors on West 7th Street, the brussels sprouts are killer, so are the tacos and the salsas. Do you like tequila and mezcal? Fabulous. (Read our review.)
  • Joan’s In The Park: One of the best restaurants in the Twin Cities, Joan’s brings terrific hospitality and wine to some really beautiful cooking. (Read our review.)
  • Revival: Fried chicken, a great burger, and really nice barbeque. A full-service spot on Selby Avenue along with a counter-service Smoked Meats location in Keg & Case Market.
  • Grand Catch: How do you feel about really spicy seafood boils and one of the top chicken sandwiches in town? Good. Really good. (Read our review.)

Quick Hitters

OK, what did I miss, friends? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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