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Restaurants in Minneapolis

“What should we do for dinner tonight?” On this side of the Twin Cities, that question should be easy enough to answer. Minneapolis restaurants are rich with options—from authentic Italian cuisine to inventive Indian dishes. Here are our picks for some of the best restaurants in Minneapolis.

Best Italian Restaurants in Minneapolis

 

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:

 

Sweet Taste of Italy

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.

 

Broders Cucina Italiana

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.

 

Rinata

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.

 

Michelangelo’s Masterpizzas

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.

Try It: Italian Cookies

 

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.

 

Pignoli 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.

 

Italian Rainbow Cookies

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.

 

Biscotti

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.

 

Anginetti

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.

 

Italian Butter Cookies

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.

Best Indian Restaurants in Minneapolis

 

Hot Indian Foods

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.

 

Gorkha Palace

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.

 

Copper Pot Indian Grill

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.

Spotlight on: Ghee

 

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 Flavor

The browning of the milk solids gives ghee a toastier, nuttier flavor than butter; it’s also not as creamy.

 

Ghee vs. Butter

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.

 

How to Use It

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.

 

How to Make It

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:

 

  1. Melt several sticks of good unsalted butter in a small saucepan on low heat.
  2. Once melted, keep it cooking until the butter bubbles and foam forms on top.
  3. As the foam forms, skim it off and discard it. You’ll also see the milk solids settle to the bottom.
  4. Watch for those milk solids to begin to brown—they can go from brown to burnt fairly quickly if you’re not careful.
  5. Once the milk solids are browned, remove pain from heat. To remove remaining solids, strain through cheesecloth.
  6. Store covered at room temperature.
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Best Mexican Restaurants in Minneapolis

 

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.

 

Bar Luchador

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.

 

El Taco Riendo

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.

 

Andale Taqueria y Mercado

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.

Mexican RestaurantsView All

8 Facts About Little Tijuana’s, One of the Best Mexican Restaurants in Minneapolis

 

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.

 

  1. It stays open until 2 a.m., all year round.
  2. The menu boasts 32 taco options.
  3. Margaritas can be salt-rimmed or sweet and fruity.
  4. If you want a burger for some reason, you can choose from 14 different styles.
  5. It’s good for kids, who can draw with crayons on butcher paper at the table and finish their meals with a small sundae.
  6. Whoever runs their Facebook page is a genius—wielding taco and nacho puns, and coining the phrase, “Come help us father a margarita!”
  7. Those TVs show more than just sports—you could catch an episode of Archer or RuPaul’s Drag Race.
  8. They make a CHOCOLATE CHIMICHANGA: a chocolate bar wrapped in tortillas then deep-fried and topped with ice cream and caramel.
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