Best Restaurants

Best Restaurants 2012

Our annual critics' picks of the top eateries in the Twin Cities

Mpls.St.Paul Magazine EAT + DRINK Editor:

Photography By:

Our team of critics and expert eaters spent the past year revisiting the venerable standards, sampling the latest hot spots, snacking on the newest dishes, and otherwise digging through the eating scene to find the best of everything. This year our annual dispatch delivers 36 best restaurants plus dozens of nearby notables organized by neighborhood to help you navigate our ever-changing eating landscape. Here’s to never again having to ask, "Where should we eat?"

North Loop

The North Loop's Bachelor Farmer, Haute Dish, Be'Wiched, and Bar La Grasa excited our eaters in the past year.

Mill District

Sea Change and Sponriver topped our list of the best dining in the Mill District.

Warehouse District

The Warehouse District impressed with good eats from Saffron and 112 Eatery.

Nicollet Mall

Masa, Manny's, and Vincent: A Restaurant continued their great runs in Nicollet Mall, while Butcher & The Boar is next to shine.

Loring Park

La Belle Vie remained a stalwart in fine dining, but the Walker's new fixture Gather raised more than a few eyebrows after replacing Wolfgang Puck.

Mac-Groveland/Grand Avenue/Swede Hollow

Blue Door Pub made our mouths water in Mac-Groveland, Brasa delighted in both Twin Cities, and The Strip Club was the chic steakhouse we always wanted.

Downtown St. Paul

Meritage unleashed a boisterous oyster-loving St. Paul, while Heartland and Black Sheep did their part in evolving the other downtown dining landscape.


The revamped Heidi's blew us away by pushing the envelope and we couldn't try to hide our crush on Steven Brown's Linden Hills spot Tilia even if we tried.

Linden Hills

The revamped Heidi's blew us away by pushing the envelope and we couldn't try to hide our crush on Steven Brown's Linden Hills spot Tilia even if we tried.


It was the entire Broders' Cucina that made us coming back for dinner and deli, while Piccolo's constant innovation made it a must-visit.


The Kingfield neighborhood went all out this year, providing diners with hit after hit, including new skee-ball pub Pat's Tap.


Grand Szechuan's new Bloomington location was firing its hot and spicy guns.


Travail and Victory 44 garnered tons of attention for the North side.


It's fun to see modern, edgy Tokyo design in a Japanese joint, and Masu lets the vibe carry through to the food.

Video Tour: Best Restaurants 2012

Take the video tour of six outstanding Twin Cities restaurants.

Best Restaurants 2012: Tastemakers

Four bright lights really stood out this year in the local dining scene. See who made thiss short, exclusive list of movers and shakers.

Best Restaurants 2012: Readers Poll

We asked, you answered! See who you thought was the best in every category–from kid-friendly places to happy hour scenes, best chef to best beer.