It’s been a big year for Twin Cities dining, and it’s not even autumn. Local restaurateurs continue to up the ante with new eateries, additional outposts and innovative offerings across the metro. From brunch by Ann Kim to an ultra-private Gavin Kaysen venue to Sean Sherman‘s Native American–focused market, here are the top 15 new Twin Cities dining experiences of 2023 that we’re loving so far.
Chef David Fhima has done it again, this time with his magnum opus: a classic brasserie meets subterranean speakeasy meets haute couture event center. The menu maximizes favorites like French onion soup, frog legs Provençal and short ribs bourguignon. The inspired ambiance keeps pace with the inventive fare thanks to thoughtful interior design and original artwork by Stephanie Dillon.
For years, celebrated Hmong chef Yia Vang has honored his heritage with family recipes at pop-ups and a stall at Minneapolis’s Graze food hall. Now, those delectable dishes — think Hilltribe crispy chicken, sticky spare ribs and Hmong sausage — are on offer at a Lake Street locale lovingly known as the Hilltribe Building. The mini feast, which includes a selection of UHK standouts, makes for the perfect family meal.
The latest collab between chef Daniel del Prado and Innerbloom Hospitality, Layline is laidback yet sophisticated American fare done right. Situated just down the street from Lake Minnetonka in quaint Excelsior, the eatery focuses on seafood (like steamed mussels and seared scallops) as well as creative comfort foods (like smoked spaghetti carbonara and a lobster roll with brown butter aioli). For dessert, it’s a tossup between the mango sticky rice and the five spices s’mores.
As if chef/restaurateur Ann Kim hasn’t already given us Twin Cities foodies enough to be thankful for (see Pizzeria Lola, Young Joni, and Sooki & Mimi), the James Beard winner recently started serving brunch at her Northeast Minneapolis pizza place. We don’t mean to brag, but we were among the first to experience hits like the soul-soothing juk, the Jerusalem bagel, and the rise and shine pizza. Bonus: The space looks incredible in the daylight.
A sister spot to famed Minneapolis restaurant Owamni, this Native American market located within Midtown Global Market is the first of its kind in the Twin Cities. It reflects celebrated Oglala Lakota chef Sean Sherman‘s mission to revitalize Indigenous foodways, with both healthy, hyper-local fare and Native-produced goods on offer. The TIME 100 honoree plans to replicate the concept across North America to help highlight the continent’s beautifully diverse Indigenous foods.
Renowned chef Gavin Kaysen has unveiled what is undoubtedly the most exclusive dining experience in town (yes, even more intimate than Demi) at the posh Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis. The hideaway tucked within Mara seats just four to six people for a three-course family-style Mediterranean tasting menu. Festive seasonal add-ons like caviar and black truffle add some flair, as do inventive drink pairings and the roving Champagne cart.
As far as we’re concerned, restaurateur Jami Olson can do no wrong. We’ve loved her culinary concepts since the very beginning, including Popol Vuh (RIP), Vivir and of course Centro. Earlier this year, she brought the fan-favorite taqueria to a 6,000-square-foot space in St. Paul‘s Highland Park while also unveiling the first fully fledged Everywhen Burger Bar. That means guests can savor tacos and Mexican pizza right alongside smash burgers and fried chicken sandwiches. Insider intel: If you’re ordering online, the new Hippo Pockets concept is a must-try.
We’re lucky to have creative chefs like Khâluna‘s Ann Ahmed here in the Twin Cities, and she keeps blessing us with even more inspired offerings. Case in point: Gai Noi, her exclusively walk-in restaurant showcasing stunning Laotian cuisine (think green papaya salad, panang spaghetti and yellow curry) situated alongside Minneapolis’s Loring Park. The name references a staple sticky rice and reflects Ahmed’s hope that the eatery acts as a binding agent for the community.
It’s tough to remember all the way back to February, but the delicious meal we had when the new and improved Butcher & the Boar opened its doors is hard to forget. Award-winning Jester Concepts has brought this institution back to life in a spirited North Loop spot. The menu is meat-heavy (obviously) and features highlights like the crispy veal sweetbreads, the sausage sampler and the smoked beef long rib.
Masa is the name of the game at this Northeast Minneapolis restaurant. Gustavo and Kate Romero had long ago developed a strong fan club for their famed Nixta tortillas, so there was a built-in customer base when the duo opened Oro this spring. From tacos to botanos to platos, the cuisine echoes the owners’ mission to save heirloom Mexican corn and celebrate the power of masa.
The Cooks and Bellecour collab worked so well that the team behind the concept — chef Gavin Kaysen and Cooks of Crocus Hill owners Karl Benson and Marie Dwyer — has expanded the bakery/cooking classes studio/culinary shop to Edina. Bellecour staples like croissants and vanilla crepe cake are accompanied by salads and sandwiches, plus fun classes teach aspiring home cooks how to make sushi, pasta and more.
Noted chef Vincent Francoual is back with a French affair located in Minneapolis’s Mill District at the Canopy by Hilton hotel. Francophiles are sure to flock here for delicious dishes including escargot, steak frites, sweet and savory crepes, and his namesake burger. The best part? The vibe here is decidedly unpretentious — a rarity for fine fare like this.
South Minneapolis’s Nicollet Avenue was in need of a coffee shop/wine bar/cafe/mart. Enter Kruse Markit, a prime place to enjoy a latte, beer or cheese plate and also grab fresh ingredients and pantry staples. Local producers are front and center at both the cafe and market, plus 40% of the mart’s goodies are from woman- and/or BIPOC-owned brands. That’s something we can get behind.
The brains behind St. Paul’s Palace Theatre and Wrecktangle Pizza have decided to join forces on this soon-to-be-beloved neighborhood joint officially opening on August 30. That means concertgoers, St. Paulites and downtown workers have a new go-to spot to enjoy the pizzeria’s renowned pies, unexpected sandwiches and curated cocktails. The bustling bar and picturesque patio are beckoning.
And last but certainly not least, we have Porzana from chef Daniel del Prado and restaurateur Ryan Burnet. The duo (who worked together on the 2009 opening of Bar La Grassa) recently debuted this modern Argentinian steakhouse in the former Bachelor Farmer space in the North Loop. So does the most anticipated Twin Cities restaurant opening of 2023 live up to the hype? After enjoying a mouthwatering meal of seafood, steak and savory surprises like stuffed chipas, glazed carrots and spicy panzanella, we can confirm that it definitely does.