Best Restaurants

Best Restaurants 2012

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



Heidi’s 2.0 is always pushing the envelope—in the bar, in the kitchen, on the blog. Chef Stewart Woodman and his pastry chef/wife Heidi have managed to open a fine-dining restaurant in a time when everyone said fine dining was dead. It’s easy, actually: just continue to passionately execute to the highest of your abilities (even on a simple egg sandwich during brunch), create a space that is uniquely your point of view, and deliver an experience that people remember as a “dining moment.”
2903 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls., 612-354-3512,

0312-heidis3_640s.jpg 0312-heidis4_640s.jpg


When you sit down for a meal at Lucia’s, it’s like coming home. It’s warm, inviting, and comfortable. You look at the menu and realize you’re hungry for so many things, how will you ever choose? Local farms, seasonal ingredients, modern yet simple preparations that stay elegantly accessible—this is real food that makes you wonder why it’s been so long since you’ve been back.
1432 W. 31st St., Mpls., 612-825-1572,



What can be said of Tilia that hasn’t already been said? Chef Steven Brown’s stab at a neighborhood eatery has turned out to be what every hungry citizen wanted: a simple space with stylish details, casual service with efficient manner, and a whole host of food that surprises with flavor but plays down self-importance. Take the simply satisfying shrimp with peas, the gorgeous Reuben, the sorta jerk-style roasted chicken thighs: These dishes aren’t created to be admired, they are cooked to be enjoyed.
2726 W. 43rd St., Mpls., 612-354-2806,

0312-Tilia1_640s-(1).jpg 0312-Tilia_640s.jpg

6 Nearby Notables

Uptown has brought the party topside. Rooftop patios are all the rage, but the nicest for now is Cafeteria’s.
3001 Hennepin Ave., Mpls.

The sake brew-pub’s best-kept secret is its high-quality ramen and low-priced happy- hour snacks.
2940 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls.

Muddy Waters Bar
From coffee shop by morning to buzzing pub by night, the food here is way above average tavern fare.
2933 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls.

Fuji Ya
There’s a festive vibe at happy hour in one of the oldest yet sassiest sushi joints in town.
600 W. Lake St., Mpls.

It’s bohemian in that Uptown way, meaning no one looks sideways at you for eating fries as your main meal.
1600 W. Lake St., Mpls.

Ingredients are rarely given as much reverence as they are in this tiny family-run Thai charmer.
2812 W. 43 St., Mpls.

The sandwiches, the high-quality meat, the sandwiches, and the sandwiches are top reasons to stop.
4307 Upton Ave. S., Mpls.

Turtle Bread/Tosca Trattoria
Sink into fresh pasta and seasonal dishes at Tosca, or pick up soups, breads, cheese, and all manner of goods at the bakery next door.
3415 W. 44th St., Mpls.

Return to Index