Hidden H20 Haunts

Acqua Forest Lake

Everybody loves to eat by the water, but that usually means that lakeside dining goes hand in hand with crowds (yeah, we're looking at you, Tin Fish). But there are other options around the metro. At these less conspicuous waterside gems, you'll find food as good as the views—and nothing but tan lines in site

WEST: The Caribbean Marina

Tucked away in Tonka Bay on busy Lake Minnetonka is this marina with a bar and grill right on the water. The music is sometimes live, the service can be slow, but the burgers are fresh, big, and among the best on the lake. (Pro tip: Since there's no inside, know you're out of luck if it rains.) 135 Lakeview Ave., Excelsior, 952-474-3550

NORTH: Acqua Forest Lake

Opened this last year on the northern end of Forest Lake, Acqua has all the menu charm of its White Bear Lake sibling but with a more secluded setting. 8241 North Shore Tr. N., Forest Lake, 651-464-6130, acqua-restaurants.com


Tool on down the River Road until you come to Winona, then make sure to cool your jets at the Boat House right on the Mississippi levee. Sip on craft beers while you decide between poutine, local duck confit salad, a house Juicy Lucy, or an elk melt sandwich with caramelized onions and bleu cheese. 2 Johnson St., Winona, 507-474-6550, boathousewinona.com

SOUTHWEST: Captain Jack's

On Prior Lake it is your basic burger, pizza, and sandwich setup, but the deck is multilevel, it manages some actual beaech seating, and it often floats a big screen out in the bay for deck-side movies. 3950 Green Heights Tr. SW, Prior Lake, 952-440-2582, captainjacksonpl.com

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