Here in the Midwest, comfort food is our specialty, and in Minneapolis you’ll find comfort in the form of flavors from dozens of different ethnicities and cultures. Forget the stereotypes—boring doesn’t have a place at the table. Our favorite meals are delicious, home-grown, and sometimes just a little outrageous. Here, we help you discover the top foods that Minneapolis is known for. All you need to do is show up to try them!
Minneapolis is home to the battle of the Juicy Lucys (or Jucy Lucys!). The rivalry between Matt’s Bar the 5-8 Club for the best cheese-stuffed burger in town has been raging for decades, and is still in full swing. Locals each have their favorites, but we’ll let you be the judge. Beyond the two big boys, some other well-loved spots for a quality Lucy are The Nook and Blue Door Pub. If you're feeling adventurous, try The Jiffy at Blue Door—a Juicy Lucy with peanut butter and bacon. Don’t knock it until you try it!
Tater Tot Hotdish
Tater tot what?! You may know it as a casserole, but in Minnesota we call it a hotdish, often accompanied by crisp, crunchy tater tots. To experience this comfort food at its finest, try The Mason Jar, Crooked Pint Ale House, and Stray Dog.
Lefse, pickled herring, gravlax, Swedish meatballs—our Scandinavian roots have certainly made their mark in the Minneapolis food scene. For authentic breads, sausages and cheeses, and Scandinavian gifts, head to Ingebretsen’s. FIKA, the Nordic-inspired café at the American Swedish Institute, is a great spot for lunch or an afternoon pick me up. Try Tullibee, located in the Hewing Hotel, for a delicious Nordic-inspired dinner.
Fun fact: Wild rice is the state grain of Minnesota. From soups to pancakes, there’s nothing better than locally harvested wild rice to give you a hearty, flavorful meal. Try the chicken and wild rice hash from Zumbro in Linden Hills, the vegan wild rice burger from Common Roots Café, the wild rice pancakes from The Mill Northeast, or the Native-harvested wild rice porridge from Hell’s Kitchen, simmered with heavy cream, roasted hazelnuts, dried fruit, and maple syrup. For more indigenous ingredients, check out the lauded Owamni restaurant by the Sioux Chef, specializing in decolonized ingredients.
Walleye is the most sought-after fish in Minnesota, and for good reason. Found in our lakes and rivers, walleye is the perfect complement to many of our traditional dishes. Check out FireLake Grill House for their corn-crusted walleye, dig into crispy walleye tacos at Stella's, or sample the fish in a variety of ways at the Minnesota State Fair each summer.
No, not the kind with cocktails and a tap list. Though we have plenty of those too… We’re talking about good old-fashioned dessert bars. From brownies to lemon bars to those triple layer delights, "bars" are a staple dessert here in Minnesota. For a bar plate sampler, head to Young Joni and order the Church Basement Cookie & Bar Plate. It even comes with a little glass of milk. A Baker's Wife is a reliable spot for lemon bars, gooey butter bars, pecan bars, and magic bars (chocolate chips, nuts, and coconut atop a graham cracker crust).
What could make plain old cheese even better? Tossing it in the deep fryer. Often found as an appetizer or side dish, cheese curds are an important essential in Minnesota. Nothing pairs better with a beer than the crisp of a curd. Try Red Cow to pair cheese curds with berry ketchup, head to Bull's Horn to dunk them in Thousand Island, or chow down on Flamin' Hot cheese curds cloaked in habanero cheddar beer batter at Blue Door Pub.
Home to a large Hmong and Vietnamese community, Minneapolis is a hot spot for pho, a popular Vietnamese noodle soup filled with rice noodles, vegetables, spices and meats. Try Pho 79, Pho Tau Bay, or Quang Restaurant for some authentic, delicious pho.