In the Nordeast neighborhood on the northeast side of the Mississippi River, you'll find one of Minneapolis' newest restaurants, Hai Hai. It occupies a former strip club called Deuce Deuce.
'Hai' means two in Vietnamese, and much of the menu is made for sharing.
At Hai Hai, owners Christina Nguyen (pictured) and Birk Grudem cook up Vietnamese street food, occasionally utilizing recipes from Nguyen's grandmother.
Hai Hai dishes include Hanoi Sticky Rice (with ground pork, Chinese sausage and pickled onion), Balinese Cauliflower, Sugarcane Shrimp, Water Fern Cakes and many others.
Hai Hai's cocktails have a tropical flare with ingredients such as pisco, lemongrass, Thai basil, pineapple and more. Drinks match the warm and lively vibe of this restaurant where much of the decor comes from Nguyen and Grudem's travels In Vietnam.
Kramarczuk's, in contrast, is a long-time bastion of Nordeast cookery.
Kramarczuk's hearty fare reflects the Eastern European origins of folks who settled the neighborhood. You'll find varenyky (meat, cheese and potato pierogis), holubets (stuffed cabbage rolls), and freshly baked old-world breads, pastries and cakes. The deli features a nearly unlimited variety of house-made sausages.
The fare is accompanied by a wide selection of Eastern European beers.
At Young Joni, James Beard Award-nominated chef/owner Ann Kim serves creative pizza and entrees in a spacious yet cozy atmosphere.
Young Joni's acclaimed pizza variations include Korean BBQ (with beef short ribs), La Parisienne (with prosciutto, gruyere, ricotta, brown butter, caramelized onions and arugula), and the Umami Mama (mushrooms, Teleggio and fontina cheese, truffle oil and nori). They're baked in a giant copper-clad wood burning oven.
The rest of Young Joni's menu offers globally inspired small plates such as the bibim grain salad, Moroccan cauliflower with grilled shishito peppers, grilled blue prawns in a red chili fish sauce, and meatballs with kimchi and oxtail sugo. A whole fish, salt-encrusted and baked, makes a treat for the whole table.
Chimborazo specializes in traditional family fare from Ecuador and the Andean Highlands. Churrasco, for example, comes with grilled chicken rice, beans and sweet plantain.
A Chimborazo cook turns out specialties such as hornado, which is roast pork with llapingachos (traditional cheese-filled sweet potato pancakes), and encocado, a dish with fish or shrimp in coconut sauce.
Chimborazo also serves saltado, a spicy stir fry of beef and vegetables.
Holy Land has been Minneapolis' mecca of Middle Eastern food since 1986 and combines a middle eastern grocery with a deli.
Shopping at Holy Land is like a mini expedition through Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries. Various sections of the store are piled with imported cheese and olives, a vast selection of olive oil, fresh breads and pastries, and a bazaar of fragrant spices.
On Holy Land's deli side, you'll see friendly cooks at work in the grilling area where wood-fired grills blaze and rotisseries revolve. Many dishes come from recipes of family matriarch Mama Fatima.
Costa Blanca Bistro is the fourth of chef and owner Hector Ruiz's Latin-themed restaurants in Minneapolis. Here he brings savory tapas and a fun, stylish-yet-casual ambiance to Nordeast Minneapolis' eclectic dining scene.
If you think "tapas" is just a fancy name for appetizers, think again. Costa Blanca's tapas are mini entrees and works of art. Pulpo is served with charred risotto, pimenton, octopus, fried leeks and saffron aioli.
Piquillo peppers are stuffed with truffle-honey goat cheese. Costa Blanca also features a selection of fine Spanish, Argentinian and domestic wines.
For vegans and vegetarians, no trip to Minneapolis is complete without a stop at The Herbivorous Butcher. It looks like a traditional butcher shop, but the "meat" case features meat-free steaks, filet mignon, brats, bacon and more.
Siblings Aubry and Kale Walch launched The Herbivorous Butcher with the goal of fooling people into saving the planet by foregoing meat. They create cheese and meat from plant-based ingredients.
One of the keys to their success is the realistic texture and flavors that appeal even to dedicated meat lovers. It's primarily a "butcher shop," but you can order hoagies such as the Italian, turkey with dill-havarati, or "steak" to go.
While the Nordeast food map goes on and on, it's time to head to Minneapolis' trendy North Loop neighborhood. Make a stop at Butcher & the Boar, a carnivore's delight also known for its craft beer and extensive bourbon selection.
At this James Beard Award nominee for national Best Restaurant, meat is seared on a wood-fired grill. You'll find handcrafted sausages, grilled-to-perfection aged New York strips, prime rib and double-cut pork chops.
Patrons enjoy Butcher & the Boar's outdoor patio with a full menu as well as its boisterous year-round dog-friendly covered beer garden with sandwiches, sausages, beer, wine and $3 bourbon shots.
Continually ranked one of Minneapolis' top dining destinations, Spoon and Stable garners raves from local and national food critics.
Chef and owner Gavin Kaysen and executive pastry chef Diane Yang are part of the team that makes it happen.
As with this venison entree, Spoon and Stable cuisine melds hearty Minnesota food traditions with the fine French cooking style Kaysen honed working in Europe and New York City.
The menu features gorgeous salads like this one with mushroom and egg. Don't miss Dorothy's Pot Roast, which is certainly not like your mom's version.
Another Spoon and Stable highlight: the elegant bar that serves creative craft cocktails.
Kaysen's latest restaurant, Bellecour, opened in Minneapolis suburb Wayzata, Minn., in 2017.
Beautiful French fare, like Poulet Roti, is served alongside a bar, chef's table, and adjacent bakery.
You'll find 112 Eatery tucked into a small storefront. The restaurant aims to provide great food and drinks for diners of all tastes and pocketbooks.
112 Eatery merges global flavors in dishes such as this casual favorite, the duck pate banh mi sandwich.
112 Eatery serves a beet and blood orange salad. More traditional favorites (such as a brie-topped cheeseburger) and terrific desserts, such as butterscotch budino, are also available.
The Bachelor Farmer celebrates the region's Nordic food roots in a farmhouse atmosphere. The name is a play on the lore of Minnesota's Norwegian bachelor farmers made particularly famous on the Prairie Home Companion radio show.
The Bachelor Farmer's signature pork meatballs arrive with potato puree, lingonberry jam and pickled cucumbers.
Stop in at The Bachelor Farmer Cafe adjacent to the restaurant for toast, sandwiches and salads, and fabulous pastries and coffee. Or make the transition from the farmhouse atmosphere to a chic speakeasy at the award-winning Marvel Bar downstairs.
For an added dose of Scandinavian cuisine and a deeper look at Minnesota's Scandinavian heritage, head to Fika at the American Swedish Institute. Tour the exhibits and the historic Turnblad Mansion here then enjoy lunch or a "fika" which is a Scandinavian concept similar to a coffee break.
Fika serves sophisticated versions of classic Nordic food in a colorful modern atmosphere.
Fika's smorgasar are open-faced sandwiches that might consist of pork and smoked trout sausage, asparagus, fennel, sea bean, citrus crème fraîche and pine nuts on caraway rye bread.
Esker Grove, a 2017 James Beard Award national semifinalist for Best New Restaurant, creates a dining experience that matches its setting inside the Walker Art Center, which is one of the most-visited museums of modern art in the USA. In addition to the art inside, diners enjoy a view of the Sculpture Garden and the downtown Minneapolis skyline outside.
The colorful Esker Grove salad is served with herbs, seaweed and vegetables.
Esker Grove's food is flavorful and appropriately artistic.
Head to Breaking Bread Cafe, just north of downtown, for breakfast, lunch, a sunny atmosphere and friendly service.
Fabulous frittatas come with a mouthwatering side of coconut cornbread. Breaking Bread Cafe is part of the organization Appetite for Change, which supports an array of healthy food programs, youth-led urban agriculture, community cooking workshops and more.
Reggae music sets the mood as you enter Pimento, a fun and mellow bit of Kingston, Jamaica, on Minneapolis' Eat Street. Eat Street is a five-block stretch of Nicollet Avenue just south of downtown with more than 40 wildly diverse restaurants.
Pimento serves slow-roasted pulled pork with crispy slaw, sweet grilled plantains, and a choice of sauces, mild to "Kill Dem Wid It" hot.
A few blocks away, World Street Kitchen got its start as a food truck but has received national acclaim as a top restaurant. James Beard Award nominated chef/owner Sami Wadi focuses on global street cuisine.
Yum Yum Rice bowls are typical World Street Kitchen fare. They may be filled with Korean BBQ short ribs and house-made kimchi, and swathed in a tasty "secret sauce."
Save room for ice cream next door at Wadi's other project, Milk Jam Creamery. Intense and unique combinations of flavor, color and texture make it one of Minneapolis' most popular ice cream emporiums. House favorites include Black, made from super dark chocolate, Cereal Killers (orange coriander milk with candied pebbles), and Popping Bottles (champagne sorbet).
Milk Jam Creamery also makes decadent Jam Buns (ice cream sandwiches made with doughnuts), sundaes, and adult floats containing sparkling wine, beer or Lambic.
For fans of dive bars and burgers, no trip to Minneapolis is complete without exploring Matt's Bar and its rival the 5-8 Club over on Cedar Avenue. They've had a long-running battle over who invented and who serves the best Jucy Lucy.
It looks like a regular burger, but a Jucy Lucy (or Juicy Lucy at the 5-8) consists of two ground beef patties with a generous dollop of American cheese sealed in between. They're grilled until the cheese turns to a tongue-burning lava. The 5-8 even offers peanut butter and jam inside its JLs along with the cheese.
Midtown Global Market, a virtual United Nations of food, resides in what was formerly a giant Sears & Roebuck store. Stroll among the more than 25 restaurants, bars and specialty grocers to take in the colors, smells and activity. Then, take your food to eat at one of the market's center tables.
You'll find Middle Eastern, Indian, Mexican, Scandinavian, Italian and more at Midtown Global Market. For example, Safari Express grills up goat meat, camel burgers and more.
Don't miss a stop at the full-service Korean gastropub, The Rabbit Hole, on the edge of the market.
One of Midtown Global Market's stars is the Salty Tart's bakery. Sample one of the gorgeous cakes, pastries or tarts, and you'll see why owner Michell Gayer has been recognized as one of the best pastry chefs in the country.
The Salty Tart makes a mean cupcake; this one is surly, with Surly beer, that is. Sandwiches are served Monday through Friday, and you can order Salty Tart's cookies and macaroons online.
St. Genevieve brings classic and modern French cuisine and a distinctly Parisian vibe to its charming south Minneapolis neighborhood.
Champagne is ready for tasting by the glass at St. Genevieve.
Two-time James Beard Award nominee, Steven Brown offers a menu of delectable small plates, classic French bistro entrees and scrumptious tartines. For example, the saumone d'été tartine is stacked with beet-cured salmon, deviled eggs, snap peas and fromage blanc.
St. Genevieve beautifully presents a scallop small plate.