Whether you’re craving Thai food or Mexican cuisine, Minneapolis is home to some of the best restaurants in the country. These eight spots serve up a variety of flavors and will leave you full, satisfied, and ready to explore more of the city.
This neighborhood eatery serves up wood-fired pizzas, global fare and craft cocktails. It’s one of our favorite places to go for a meal with friends or family.
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In their most traditional form Swedish meatballs (kottbullar) are made of ground pork and beef, cream, egg and onion. They’re served with creamy mashed potatoes, thick brown gravy, lingonberry jam and pickled cucumber, and are a quintessentially Swedish staple.
When Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad decided to rebrand the company and create restaurants in its showrooms, he tapped his food manager, Peter Hullberg, to design a menu that would reflect the thrifty reputation of Sweden’s biggest furniture retailer. That meant foods that were popular across different cultures and that could be easily frozen, transported and prepared quickly in the restaurant kitchens.
To do this, Hullberg landed on Swedish meatballs, which were already being sold at cafeterias at Ikea’s stores in Europe and the US. The meatballs, primarily from beef, were efficient for the giant furniture store to freeze and transport.
The recipe was created with the help of a Swedish chef recruited from a high-end restaurant in Stockholm. Today, the Swedish-style meatballs are still a popular choice in Minnesota thanks to their deliciously satisfying taste and the comfort they provide.
Nothing satisfies the appetite on Minnesota’s crisp fall and winter days like a big bowl of warm soup. Whether it’s a chicken wild rice soup or matzo ball soup, Minnesotan restaurants know how to whip up comfort food that’ll warm you from the inside out!
In its most traditional form, wild rice grows naturally in lakes and creeks throughout the state. It can be eaten in pancakes, pilafs or stirred into creamy wild rice soup.
It is a healthy natural food, with more than 12% protein and a low glycemic index that helps control blood sugar levels. It also contains important vitamins and minerals, such as iron, potassium and phosphorus.
For thousands of years, Ojibwe people on and off reservations grew and harvested wild rice as part of their daily life. However, a number of factors–including colonization, land loss, reservations, and dependence on government foods and payments–threatened their wild rice culture.
In response, many Ojibwe bands formed reservation wild-rice committees to oversee harvests and protect the species. Today, individuals and tribes organize ricing camps to teach traditional wild rice harvesting methods. Others are fighting to preserve and restore wild rice habitat, or collaborating in a movement for Native food sovereignty.
Polish sausage is a smoky, delicious treat that is made with a variety of meats. It is a staple of Polish cuisine and has been around for centuries.
Polish Sausage is available at all of the local grocery stores and in specialty shops. You can find varieties of this smoky sausage that are made with beef, chicken and turkey.
These are seasoned with garlic, pimentos, cloves and marjoram and smoked to a delicious flavor. They can be eaten on their own or as a grilled sandwich.
Some varieties of kielbasa are also flavored with juniper. There are several types of juniper berry-flavored sausages that are available in Poland.
Kielbasa is usually steamed and cured before being cooked. It is a popular snack food that is very easy to prepare and can be served cold or heated. It can be sliced and placed on sandwiches or dipped in mustard or horseradish. It can be eaten with mashed potatoes or sauteed mushrooms and onions.
The Jucy Lucy is one of Minnesota’s most iconic showstopper cheeseburgers, named “101 Dishes That Changed America” by Thrillist and a Time Magazine pick as one of “The 17 Most Influential Burgers of All Time.” There are two bars that claim to be the inventors of this cheesy masterpiece, but many other restaurants in the area have created their own versions.
The classic Jucy Lucy involves gooey American cheese well distributed in a not-too-thick patty. It is served on a bun with pickles and is best eaten with a slice of tomato, lettuce and thinly sliced onions.
Unlike most other burgers, the cheesy Jucy Lucy is cooked inside the meat instead of on top, resulting in a melted core of cheese that oozes out when you take a bite. The Jucy Lucy is a great choice for parties, family dinners and celebrations!
A favorite among locals, 5-8 Club first opened as a speakeasy in 1928 and has long been a hot spot for those in search of the original Juicy Lucy. Booth seating rings an active front room, a small dive bar-like area in back and a handful of servers who are well used to steady streams of Juicy Lucy seekers.
Cheese curds, also known as squeaky cheese, are a common delicacy in Wisconsin and across the Midwest. While they’re often a side dish, they can also be used as an appetizer or as a topping for pizzas, pasta or sandwiches.
Cheddar cheese is made by heating a mixture of milk, a culture and vegetable rennet, which allows the curds to form. They are typically orange in color, and can be white or yellow depending on the type of cheese they are made from (and the diet of the cow that produced the milk).
When a curd is heated up to the right temperature, its proteins form a tight network that rebounds when biting into it. This rebound vibration creates the squeak that cheese curds are so beloved for.
In addition to the fresh-off-the-boat variety, there are flavored curds available, which can add a kick of spice to plain cheese. You can find dill, buffalo sauce, Cajun, garlic or a variety of others.
You can even get fried cheese curds, which are a staple at most state fairs in Wisconsin and Minnesota and are commonly found at bars, restaurants and fast-food locations. You’ll find them dipped in berry ketchup, tossed in Thousand Island or cloaked in a habanero cheddar beer batter.
Pho, or Vietnamese soup, is an aromatic and filling dish that’s a must-try on a cold day. Made with a rich broth that’s simmered for several hours with beef bones, spices and vegetables, it’s a perfect blend of savory and refreshing.
In addition to thick rice noodles, pho also includes a variety of meats and vegetables that make it an ideal meal for any time of the year. Thinly sliced beef or poultry is often tossed into the boiling broth right before serving for a juicy and delectable taste.
In the Twin Cities, there are several pho spots worth a try. Some serve simplified versions, while others are known for their seafood-based pho. While many of these dishes can be made with beef or chicken, you’ll also find a few vegetarian and vegan options.
Walleye is a popular game fish that is found throughout North America, particularly in the Great Lakes region. It is related to perch and pike and can grow up to 30 inches in length and weigh over 20 pounds.
Walleyes are nocturnal and have uniquely-shaped eyes that provide them strong vision in low light conditions. These characteristics make them excellent hunters during dusk and night, giving them a distinct advantage over other aquatic species.
They can survive in a variety of water environments, thriving in large lakes and rivers with plenty of water movement. They can also be found in smaller pools, backwaters, and estuaries that are brackish in nature.
To keep your walleye fillets fresh, double bag them with ice to prevent air from getting into them, and then refrigerate them until ready to cook. Drain most of the blood out of your fillets before cooking, which helps to preserve their taste.
The red muscle layer that runs down the fillet is full of blood capillaries and gives your walleye a stronger, more intense taste. The white muscle, however, is less well-supplied with blood and gives your fillet a milder flavor.
A favorite summer side dish or a topping for pizza, sweetcorn is a great source of fiber and vitamin A. It’s also a good source of protein, calcium, phosphorus and potassium.
Minnesota is one of the top sweet corn producers in the country. We grow around 300 acers of corn annually, which is enough to serve the entire city of Minneapolis.
To find a sweet corn ear that’s really fresh, look for ears with brown silks at the top, meaning they’re as ripe and as fully developed as they can be when harvested. Also, the leaves that wrap each ear should still be green and fresh looking.
During harvest, farmers will pull the husks and remove the silk from each ear. The silk is a protective covering that prevents the kernels from drying out. It’s a good idea to use a damp paper towel to collect any extra silk that may have clinging to the ear. The kernels will then be steamed or boiled, roasted or eaten raw.