Best Restaurants

Best Restaurants 2012

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



This year, Chef Sameh Wadi gave his edgy Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern restaurant a little love. He did away with the white tablecloths, installed comfy booth seating, splashed the bar with vibrant color, and followed suit on the menu. The amped-up dishes continue to rock the genre with flavor and creativity.
123 N. 3rd St., Mpls., 612-746-5533,

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112 Eatery

Yes, it’s still hot. It may be a bit easier to get a reservation, but 112’s simple modern food is still packing them in. It doesn’t hurt that chef Isaac Becker won the James Beard Award last year.
112 N. 3rd St., Mpls., 612-343-7696,



Never mind that you’ll have to jockey with badge-wielding Target employees for one of the best lunch deals in town (three courses for $10), Masa is still one of the friendliest rooms on the Mall. Like a big box of light, coupled with fresh guacamole and vibrant Mexican flavors, it’s one of the best places to combat the staycation blues.
1070 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-338-6272,

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Attitude reigns supreme here, as far as service goes, but that doesn’t mean execution isn’t heeded with the utmost professionalism. Likewise, the steak is star for sure, but that doesn’t mean you should pass up the scallop Benedict, the short rib chili, or lunchtime’s prime burger deluxe, all of which have kept the more than 20-year-old joint rooted in the minds of the next generation.
825 Marquette Ave. S., Mpls., 612-339-9900,


Say what you want about French food—it’s poised for a comeback and there’s no place in Minneapolis that is as ready to be your tour guide. This kitchen cooks with confident ease, putting out great plates with Gallic influence, from pot-au-feu with shaved smoked duck to buttery, slippery garlic-decked escargots.
1100 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-630-1189,

3 Nearby Notables

The Dakota
Kristin Tyborski are still new to the kitchen, but they’re showing signs of good things ahead. The jazz is as hot as ever.
1010 Nicollet Mall, Mpls.

The tequila den is a hot happy-hour spot, and lunches on the patio are a rite of spring.
925 Nicollet Mall, Mpls.

Butcher & The Boar
Too new to review, Jack Riebel’s meat and bourbon-centric American craft cook shop is worth a peek. It’s a good bet that the beer garden will be packed this spring.
1121 Hennepin Ave., Mpls.

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