Best Restaurants

Best Restaurants 2012

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


Patisserie 46

If you don’t know anything about fine European pastries, you have a hole in your sweet tooth that can be filled by John Kraus and his team. From flaky sablée to rich and sticky caneles, your education will be complete. Then you’ll feel free to sidle up to the open-face tartine sandwiches or grab a gorgeous hunk of traditional miche bread or perhaps beer bread that evokes nothing of those bad mixes from college days.
4552 Grand Ave. S., Mpls., 612-354-3257,

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Grand Café

Would that more neighborhood eateries pay as much attention to brunch as Grand Café does. It’s the extra reach of the dishes, like a good morning stretch, that puts local pork confit on huevos rancheros, truffle cream with gruyere in eggs en cocotte, and a perfectly fried egg on top of the grass-fed brunch burger.
3804 Grand Ave. S., Mpls., 612-822-8260,

Pat’s Tap

To take a dive bar and make it into a better dive bar seems like a worthy notion these days. But here’s the thing: When you’re Kim Bartmann—and you install a big list of great beer and a menu that has such things as buffalo chicken terrine, lamb meatballs, and pork belly skewers—you’re only achieving “dive” if you mean crazy-tasty skee-ball house of fun.
3510 Nicollet Ave. S., Mpls., 612-822-8216,

Sun Street

When Solveig Tofte’s little bakery that could started to get a lunch reputation, she knew she had something. With the hire of chef Annette Colon, a Lucia’s alum, the bright and airy café that puts up dense and lovely loaves by morning is now throwing down with delicious and homey plates at night. Don’t miss the signature Red Hen salt-roasted chicken with bread pudding.
4600 Nicollet Ave. S., Mpls., 612-354-3414,

In Season

In a space that no one thought could be a restaurant in the first place, Don Saunders is happily slaving away in a postage stamp–size kitchen, from which creative seasonal dishes, such as pumpkin lasagna and elk goulash, seem to fly. Sophisticated without the stuffiness, comfortable but stylish, this small-seater has earned loyal, loyal fans.
5416 Penn Ave. S., Mpls., 612-926-0105,

Pizzeria Lola

What a shocker that one of the best newcomers to charm our local taste buds would be a pizza joint. Lola brought something new to the game—call it whimsy, call it sincerity, call it an eye for fun. However you drill down on the magic of that place and those pizzas—the Lady ZaZa with Korean sausage and kimchi or the pot roast pizza appearing as a special when it’s cold—the bottom line is that oven maven Ann Kim has opened our eyes to new pizza possibilities.
5557 Xerxes Ave. S., Mpls., 612-424-8338,

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