Best Restaurants

Best New Restaurants 2011

A bevy of chef changes, openings, closings, and flashy new ideas made this another wild year in our local food scene.

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Tilia

After so many stoves with so many names, after so many accolades but so many new gigs, Steven Brown decided to open his own joint, built with his own hands.

What he succeeded in creating is the essential restaurant that we never knew we needed but now can’t imagine having lived without. In this tiny 40-seat Linden Hills space, Brown and his band of cooks put out food that is beguilingly simple, such as shrimp with spring peas or chicken thighs. But what you get is a crafted wink, a nod, and a smirk that plays the shrimp dish with a spicy scampi sauce and kicks the chicken “sorta jerk style.”

It’s finally abundantly clear that Brown is not worried about impressing the bosses or the press; he’s just hanging with his neighbors, having fun, making great food, and taking us along for the ride. 2726 W. 43rd St., Mpls., 612-354-2806, tiliampls.com

Read our full review from the June issue.

Eater’s Guide

First Come First Served.

Tilia’s no-reservations rule has been the bane of foodies, but the neighborhood vibe makes waiting for a table half the fun, plus you can plow through one of the more exciting beer lists in town.

In Between.

The best time to go is during the “In Between,” after lunch but before dinner. Sure, the menu offered is smaller, but there are usually quick seats available and you can snack your way through a lot of cool tastes for little cash.

Hot Times.

Yes, the small space can get hot with an open kitchen and the funky old AC situation. Plan to shed layers or go when it chills, like now.


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