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The Forty-Four Best Bars

Our favorite Twin Cities spots for craft cocktails, brown booze, and wines that warm your night.

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Chef Shack Ranch in Minneapolis, Minnesota | Photo by Eliesa Johnson

Chef Shack Bay City

W 6379 Main St., Bay City, 715-594-3060

The outstate Bay City version of the Chef Shack food trucks is worth the drive. Open seasonally, the restaurant is a charming spot with collected antiques and a refined but on-message menu: Food is locally sourced, prepared with skill and attention, and is humble and dazzling at the same time. Continue Reading

$$ | American |

Chef Shack Ranch in Minneapolis, Minnesota | Photo by Eliesa Johnson

Chef Shack Ranch

3025 Franklin Ave. E., Mpls., 612-354-2575

The Ranch version of the popular Chef Shack food trucks is a cool urban truck stop decked with old West kitsch and sassy eats. The Cowboy Plate with smoked brisket is best sided with a mess of Trucker Fries, but there are also veggie curries, plus a round of creative specials each week. Continue Reading

$$ | American |

Cherokee Tavern

886 Smith Ave. S., West St. Paul, 651-457-2729

Cherokee Tavern has a buffed-up menu of casual fare such as burgers, sandwiches, and Tony's 5-step fries. Continue Reading

$$$ | American |

Chevys Fresh Mex

2251 Killebrew Dr., Bloomington, 952-814-9555

A national chain with a menu featuring fajitas, enchiladas, tamales, made-from-scratch guacamole and salsa, and lots of margaritas. Continue Reading

$$ | Mexican |

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Chiang Mai Thai

Calhoun Sq., Mpls., 612-827-1606

Sneak off the main drag in Uptown and find Chiang Mai tucked in the back of Calhoun Square. Dishes come from all over Thailand; go hot and spicy with ginger curry stir-fry or mellow with crispy fried basil fish. Continue Reading

$$ | Thai |

Chianti Grill

14296 Plymouth Ave., Burnsville, 952-892-7555

Serving both authentic and innovative Italian and American dishes, Chianti Grill is a casual eatery featuring flatbreads, baked pastas, steaks, and seafood. Continue Reading

$$$ | American, Italian |

Chianti Grill

2050 Snelling Ave. N., Roseville, 651-644-2808

Serving both authentic and innovative Italian and American dishes, Chianti Grill is a casual eatery featuring flatbreads, baked pastas, steaks, and seafood. Continue Reading

$$$ | American, Italian |

Chilkoot Café & Cyclery

826 S. 4th St., Stillwater, 651-342-0429

One of the new breeds, a bike shop/cafe, Chilkoot is a great place to cool your gears and snack on freshly made, locally sourced, thoughtful cafe fare. Dig into the farro risotto or a fat sassy pot roast sandwich before heading up the 13 percent grade hill for which the place is named. Continue Reading

$$ | American |

Manchurian stir fry at ChinDian Cafe

ChinDian Café

1500 Hennepin Ave. E., Mpls., 612-676-1818

Nina Wong owns this small Chinese-Indian fusion restaurant. The menu has hints of Malaysian and Vietnamese flavors in wok noodles, hot and sour soups, samosas, and the like. Continue Reading

$ | Chinese, Indian |

Fidel's Capitalist Pig Roast at Chino Latino

Chino Latino

2916 Hennepin Ave. S., Mpls., 612-824-7878

Still hot in Uptown after all these years. The menu is culled from many of the equatorial countries of the world and remains more fun than refined. Cocktails are huge and infamous, and the late-night happy hour is a budget-eater's dream. Continue Reading

$$$ | Global |

Chris & Rob's Chicago's Taste Authority

7429 East River Rd., Fridley, 763-571-0288

It's a hot dog world for Chris and Rob, whose Chicago-style eateries serve Vienna Beef hot dogs on poppy seed buns, Italian beef sandwiches, meatball sandwiches, pizzas, and a few pastas. Continue Reading

$ | American |

Chris & Rob's Chicago's Taste Authority

603 W. 7th St., St. Paul, 651-228-9347

It's a hot dog world for Chris and Rob, whose Chicago-style eateries serve Vienna Beef hot dogs on poppy seed buns, Italian beef sandwiches, meatball sandwiches, pizzas, and a few pastas. Continue Reading

$ | American |

Chris & Rob's Chicago's Taste Authority

3101 E. 42nd St., Mpls., 612-729-5507

It's a hot dog world for Chris and Rob, whose Chicago-style eateries serve Vienna Beef hot dogs on poppy seed buns, Italian beef sandwiches, meatball sandwiches, pizzas, and a few pastas. Continue Reading

$ | American |

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Christos

15600 Hwy. 7, Minnetonka, 952-912-1000

The Greek/Cypriot menu here is traditional, and the standards are all well done. The atmosphere is bright and the welcome always warm. St. Paul closed on Sun. Continue Reading

$$$ | Greek |

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Christos

2632 Nicollet Ave., Mpls., 612-871-2111

The Greek/Cypriot menu here is traditional, and the standards are all well done. The atmosphere is bright and the welcome always warm. St. Paul closed on Sun. Continue Reading

$$$ | Greek |

Gyros at Christos

Christos

Union Depot, 214 E. 4th St., St. Paul, 651-224-6000

The Greek/Cypriot menu here is traditional, and the standards are all well done. The atmosphere is bright and the welcome always warm. St. Paul closed on Su. Continue Reading

$$$ | Greek |

Ciao Bella

3501 Minnesota Dr., Bloomington, 952-841-1000

Perched on the cusp of Edina, it offers a pleasing mix of carefully prepared, winning, reasonably authentic Italian cooking and attentive service. Continue Reading

$$$ | Italian |

Claddagh Irish Pub

7890 N. Main St., Maple Grove, 763-773-7400

A local outpost of a national chain, Claddagh serves Irish pub fare, including fish and chips, Guinness beef stew, shepherd's pie, and corned beef, along with some familiar American favorites. Continue Reading

$$ | American, Irish |

Dinner at Coalition in Excelsior, Minnesota

Coalition

227 Water St., Excelsior, 952-283-1952

The plush interior belies a locally sourced menu of eclectic, rustic-gone-upscale dishes paired with the first craft cocktails in Excelsior. Continue Reading

$$$ | American |

Cocina Latina

3764 Nicollet Ave. S., Mpls., 612-354-2971

It's a Latin American restaurant with a heavy Ecuadorian influence. There are plenty of meat platters brimming with rice and plantains, plus some interesting dishes including goat stew. Try the figs and cheese for dessert. Continue Reading

$$$ | Latin American |

A wedding cake made by Cocoa & Fig

Cocoa & Fig

Gaviidae Common, Mpls., 612-333-1485

One of the brightest, friendliest bakeries in town, it has cake pops and cookies for quick consumption or will plan a whole spread for your function. Continue Reading

$ | Bakery |

A wedding cake made by Cocoa & Fig

Cocoa & Fig

6807 York Ave. S., Edina, 952-926-2764

One of the brightest, friendliest bakeries in town, it has cake pops and cookies for quick consumption or will plan a whole spread for your function. Continue Reading

$ | Bakery |

Coho Café & Bakery

7126 Hwy. 61 W., Tofte, 218-663-8032

This small bakery and café is located in the Bluefin Bay resort and offers up fresh-made breads, salads, pastas, and sandwiches. The pizzas make a good pickup on your way northward. Continue Reading

$$$ | American |

Ice cream and soda at Cold Front in St. Paul

Cold Front

490 Hamline Ave. S., St. Paul, 651-330-7632

The classic soda fountain gets a modern revamp, but the menu is as old school as ever. Try rickeys, phosphates, egg creams, and hot fudge sundaes. Continue Reading

$ | Coffee House, Ice Cream |

Pancakes topped with butter and walnuts at Colossal Cafe

Colossal Café

2315 Como Ave., St. Paul, 651-797-4027

These teensy cafés serve up huge satisfaction. The house specialty flapper, a yeasted pancake filled with whipped cream and other delights, will kill your hunger while staying sweet to your wallet. Continue Reading

$$ | American |