TRAVEL THE WORLD IN THE TWIN CITIES
Give your taste buds a vacation at one of our many ethnic restaurants throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul
Ramen Kazama. Image by TJ Turner/Minnesota Monthly
By Aubrey Schield
Throw your preconceived notions of Minnesota cuisine being a bland collection of hot dishes and pasta salads out the window. One of my favorite things about living in the Twin Cities is the strong presence of food from different cultures. From German bratwurst in Minneapolis’ Eat Street dining district to Afghan comfort food along the Central Avenue business district in Northeast, our ethnic dining horizon is as vast as the globe.
Read on to discover my favorite spots for cuisine from different spots around the world: Tortilla-wrapped deliciousness from Mexico, slurp-worthy pho from Vietnam, hearty meat-and-potato plates from Germany, spicy jerk chicken from Jamaica and many, many more. Listed here is just a taste (pun most definitely intended!) of the global flavors offered throughout the Twin Cities. If you don’t see your favorite, feel free to tweet us @visittwincities and we’ll add your spot to the list!
Addis Ababa: Huge portions of delicious food at a price point that will make your wallet happy. Locals rave about the cocktail program, which complements authentic, east African cuisine. Find them on Facebook.
Dillas: Gather around a colorful platter of vegetables, chicken, beef and sauces and tear off a piece of freshly made injera. Visit on Thursdays and Sundays between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. for their $10 buffet. dillasethiopianrestaurant.com
Black Forest Inn: Prost! Bratwurst, spaetzel, schnitzel, German pastries and more at this long-time European favorite along Minneapolis’ Eat Street. blackforestinnmpls.com
Gasthof zur Gemütlichkeit: Check out this Northeast Minneapolis gem for an evening of authentic German food, libations and fun. gasthofzg.com
Greek & Mediterranean
Gardens of Salonica: Only the finest, locally sourced ingredients make it onto the plate at this modern Greek restaurant and cafe in Northeast Minneapolis. gardensofsalonica.com
It’s Greek to Me: This Lyn-Lake favorite may have changed hands earlier this year, but the menu has remained just as impressive as ever, introducing Twin Citians to some of the best Mediterranean food they’ve ever had. itsgreektomemn.com
The Naughty Greek: The owner is from Athens, so you can rest assured they do right by the traditional Greek gyro, using 100% fresh pork (no lamb or beef), because that’s just how they do it back home. thenaughtygreek.com
Jamaican & Caribbean
Harry Singh’s: Owner Harry Singh moved from his native Trinidad to Minnesota around 20 years ago, bringing his famous “Trini” homestyle cooking with him. harrysinghs.com
Marla’s Caribbean Cuisine: Marla’s—where the jerk is hot and the service is friendly. They were even featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives earlier this year. marlascuisine.com
Pimento Jamaican Kitchen: The authentic menu at both their Burnsville and Eat Street locations includes Jamaican favorites like Kingston Style Jerk Chicken, Sweet Fried Plantains, Coco Bread, Curry goat and more, kicked up with a range of housemade sauces. pimentokitchen.com
PinKU: Japanese street food good enough to be featured on ABC’s Shark Tank. pinkujapanese.com.
Ramen Kazama: Order the Gyoza or Kimchi as an appetizer followed by Shoyu (“Old School”) ramen. Or, kick up the spice factor with Karamiso “Magma”. ramenkazama.com
Tori Ramen: All natural ingredients and from-scratch cooking in humble digs in St. Paul’s Summit-University neighborhood. toriramen.com
Zen Box Izakaya: The menu covers the spectrum of Japanese cuisine, but locals are particularly fond of their ramen. They also boast a strong cocktail program to accompany your meal. zenbox.com
Andale Taqueria y Mercado: A Mexican restaurant and market in one, Andale is one of those best kept secrets that doesn’t always get the credit it deserves. Located in the quaint suburb of Richfield, they boast a selection of food you’d find on the streets of Mexico. andaletaqueriaymercado.com
El Taco Riendo: A bright spot for Mexican cuisine in Northeast Minneapolis’ Central Avenue business district. Dine in or take it to-go to a nearby brewery like Fair State Brewing Cooperative. eltaco-riendo.com
Los Ocampo: Visit their locations in St. Paul and West St. Paul for authentic Mexican and ingredients you’d be hard-pressed to find on menus anywhere else. Huitlacoche, anyone? losocampo.com
Maya Cuisine: This is another Nordeast favorite, also located in the Central Avenue business district. Visit on Sundays for an epic buffet. mayacuisineusa.com
Taqueria la Hacienda: Twin Citians dream about the tacos al pastor served at their three Twin Cities locations and food truck. taqueriaslahacienda.com
Crescent Moon: Legend has it that the owner of this Afghan restaurant in Northeast owns the sole rights to football-shaped pizza, and has declined offers from big pizza chains to buy them. Ever wondered why Pizza Hut doesn’t come out with a football pizza around Super Bowl season? The reason is right here in Minneapolis, and it has amazing Middle Eastern cuisine to boot. crescentmoonfoods.net
Emily’s Lebanese Deli: Churning out authentic baked goods and entrees for more than 40 years, Emily’s is a local favorite when it comes to food from the Middle East. emilyslebanesedeli.com
Filfillah: This spot really covers the shores of the Mediterranean to Turkey and the Middle East, featuring gyros, falafel, homemade Turkish bread and much more. Visit their website to find their food truck coasting around town. filfillah.net
Holy Land: Another Central Avenue business district favorite, Holy Land does hummus like none other, even packaging it for local grocers in the area. holylandbrand.com
Karta Thai: You’ll feel like you’re part of the family when you step inside this quaint Thai eatery. Try their Pad Thai for an extra tomato-y kick on the traditional favorite. kartathai.com
Ruam Mit Thai: Five stars for tasty food and a friendly environment at this Thai restaurant in downtown St. Paul. ruammitthai.com
Sen Yai Sen Lek Thai: Sample a bowl of noodles, slurp a steaming dish of spicy sour soup, or try the issaan sticky rice dishes at this Northeast Minneapolis favorite. senyai-senlek.com
Jasmine 26: Family-owned restaurant featuring delicious Vietnamese food alongside a smattering of Thai selections. jasmine26mpls.com
Lotus: Twin Citians can’t get enough of the pho at Lotus, located in the beautiful Loring Park neighborhood of Minneapolis. thelotusrestaurant.com
Ngon Bistro: Andrew Zimmern himself recommends this Vietnamese eatery—do you need anymore reason to check it out? ngonbistro.com
Pho 79: We love our pho here in the Twin Cities, and no one does it better than this place. Dine at their Eat Street location or take it to-go. pho79mpls.com
Quang: Noodle soups, banh mi, pho and more find their way to enticing plates at Quang Restaurant, another Eat Street favorite. quang-restaurant.com
Midtown Global Market
Head to the Midtown Exchange building on Lake Street in Minneapolis to sample flavors from all around the world in one convenient location!