When it comes to Italian restaurants, Minneapolis boasts some of the most authentic cooking, with house-baked bread and modern takes on classic dishes. Here are some of our favorite spots:
Everything here is made from scratch each day, including the restaurant’s secret-recipe red sauce. Bread is baked in house, cheese and meats are hand-sliced, and the meatballs come forth freshly formed by hand.
Since 1982, the Broder family has imported specialty ingredients from regional Italy to craft a menu of pizzas, sandwiches, and pastas, served in a classic cafe setting with wood wainscoting and tabletops. Diners can also stock their own cupboards at the on-site market with hand-picked ingredients and jars of housemade sauce.
Golden yellow walls and wine red textiles create romantic environs for a menu of modern Italian cuisine. Classic spaghetti and meatballs share menu space with gnocchi with poached lobster, cream, and chili oil, while the dessert menu includes molten chocolate cake topped with housemade gelato.
An eclectic mix of art hangs on Michelangelo’s Masterpizzas burnt orange walls, in homage to its namesake, perhaps. But the artistry here is focused on the pizzas. Shrimp and bacon crown a pizza smothered in housemade pesto, while the bacon cheeseburger taste so much like the real thing, you’ll reach for the ketchup.
Cannoli and tiramisu get all the love, but if you walk into an Italian bakery and skip the cookies, you’re missing out. The sheer variety might be intimidating, so here are a few must-try classic Italian cookies.
Studded with pine nuts, these cookies are made with almond paste, making them—technically speaking—macarons (amaretti, in Italian). These chewy treats are traditionally crafted on All Saints Day in southern Italy.
Actually small slices of layer cake, though these sweets have a cult following, they’re difficult to find outside New York and New Jersey. Bakers dye super-moist almond cake in the colors of the Italian flag, layer it with jam, and top it with chocolate.
Though biscotti means any type of cookie or cracker, in the US, the word describes a specific type of cookie—long and crunchy and well-paired with a cup of cappuccino. Their unique texture comes from a double-baking process and the lack of butter and oil; they’re made with just flour, sugar, eggs, salt, and—yes—almonds.
One of the few Italian cookies that are not made with almonds, their name literally means “light as an angel.” Because of its lemon-butter base and citrusy icing, they are also known as lemon knots.
Though they come in many forms, the most ubiquitous are the swirl-shaped ones with bright maraschino cherry at the center. The way they’re different from other butter cookies is that they’re often made with almond paste instead of flavoring.
This is not your typical Indian restaurant, Minneapolis—the kitchen here puts a handheld spin on traditional dishes. Each entree from Hot Indian Foods is crowned with the restaurants special slaw: a crisp blend of mangoes, apples, carrots, and cabbage, awash in coconut milk. Wraps and bowls are filled with reconfigured Indian dishes, such as a shredded chicken tikka. With three city locations and a food truck, you’re likely not far from a pork vindaloo wrap.
To craft its cuisine, the kitchen at Gorkha Palace grinds its own spices, which it sources, along with 90% of its other ingredients, from local farms and organic vendors for as sustainable menu as possible. On that menu, Indian dishes such as palak paneer and chicken tikka masala join entrees from Nepal and Tibet.
Nestled among the downtown Minneapolis restaurants is this standout Indian eatery. Not content to simply feature the usual tikkas and curries, the chefs refresh the menu every four to six months, selecting dishes to showcase regional Indian cuisine.
A staple of Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines, it’s like regular butter but different. That’s because it’s made from butter that’s slowly heated until the water evaporates and the milk solids are browned in the remaining butterfat. Curious? Read on for more.
The browning of the milk solids gives ghee a toastier, nuttier flavor than butter; it’s also not as creamy.
Ghee is shelf stable because the milk solids have been removed—so there’s no need to keep it refrigerated. Its smoke point is higher than butter, making it more versatile for cooking. It’s also safe for those who avoid dairy or lactose, since the milk solids are removed.
Ghee is an ingredient in many Indian recipes. Its high smoke point also makes it good for sauteing vegetables, searing meat, and baking treats. It’s also great spread on toast and other baked goods.
Ghee is easy enough to find in the ethnic aisle of a regular grocery store, but if you want to make it yourself, it’s really not that hard:
With so many Mexican restaurants, Minneapolis natives don’t have to travel south to get a great taco. Read on for some of the best.
For a playful spin on Mexican cuisine, check out Bar Luchador’s decidedly contemporary menu. Taco variations include al pastor topped with pineapple salsa and fried chicken tacos topped with kale and orange salad. And for the cocktails, the bar crafts its own syrups and squeezes its own juices under the watchful eye of an enormous mural of a masked luchador wrestler.
Home of the footlong burrito, this restaurant does nothing small. Traditional Mexican dishes, such as barbacoa tacos and chicken tinga chimichangas are served in a relaxed family atmosphere.
For its street-style Mexican food, the eatery butchers and prepares its own meats in house. Aside from the usual tacos and burritos, house specialties include seafood soup infused with chipotle and molcajete made with four kinds of meat and cactus leaves. The on-site market supplies customers with meat and produce, as well as housemade pastries, including decadent tres leches cakes.
One of the town’s best Mexican restaurants, Minneapolis favorite Little Tijuana’s has been chugging along since 1964, serving delicious dishes until way past midnight. Here are 8 reasons to check out this classic eatery.