Minneapolis and St. Paul typically get all the attention when it comes to who serves up the best dishes and boasting about the best restaurants in town. But don’t brush off the suburbs too quickly – there are so many delicious, often unknown gems scattered throughout the metro. Plus, with all the construction chaos around town, staying in the ‘burbs can save you that extra traffic headache and frustrating search for parking.
There are so many glorious parking spaces in the suburbs.
And, to find the best restaurants in the suburbs, look no further than the locals who live and eat there. Each year, Tiger Oak Media, the publisher of local magazines for communities around the metro such as Woodbury Magazine and Plymouth Magazine, creates a ‘Best Of’ issue that encompasses the ‘Best Businesses’, ‘Best Organizations’, ‘Best Bars’, and of course, the ‘Best Restaurants’.
Locals vote on their favorites by choosing from the previous year’s top finalists – or they can choose to write in a new suggestion of their own. This year’s winners didn’t disappoint.
The 2018 winners for ‘Best Restaurant’:
The Tavern Grill in Woodbury
Just reading some of the reviews, it’s easy to see that locals love this joint. A comfortable and relaxed place, The Tavern Grill offers a wide menu serving appetizers, pastas, sandwiches, flatbread pizzas, seafood, and steaks. They also offer a build-your-own option for burgers, salads, and pizza so you’ll be able to order exactly what you’re craving – no need to limit yourself to the prescribed menu.
Pittsburgh Blue Steakhouse in Maple Grove
In an atmosphere infinitely welcoming, with deep booths and dim lights, you’ll feel at home the moment you step inside. But this place is really all about the meat – and they want you to have the very best of it. Serving up prime cuts of aged, corn-fed beef (try one of Pittsburgh Blue’s signature steaks like their Herb Crusted Prime Rib), with a a side of their loaded mash potatoes reminds of the classic steakhouses of old. Their signature seafood dishes are always on point as well.
Red Cow in Edina
Red Cow’s mission is simple: Make a really good burger. The menu has a wide selection of gourmet burgers with elevated flavor combinations. Their signature is the 60/40, made with 60% certified Angus beef and 40% ground bacon patty, topped with Wisconsin-aged cheddar, beer mustard, and candied bacon. Red Cow’s other award-winner is the Barcelona Burger, topped with manchego, prosciutto, piquillo pepper & smoked pepper aioli. Be sure to pair your delicious burger with a glass of wine or one of their specialty cocktails.
The Sunshine Factory Bar & Grill in Plymouth
One of the favorite neighborhood haunts of Plymouth, The Sunshine Factory, or as locals call it, The Factory, has a huge menu so everyone can find something they love. They offer flatbreads, street tacos, burgers – including a version of the ‘Juicy Lucy’ – sandwiches, BBQ, prime rib, pasta, healthy options, gluten-free, and more. And with great happy hour specials, this is the perfect hangout spot to simply grab a drink and share an appetizer with friends. See? Everyone.
CōV in Wayzata
“It’s where Minnesota Nice meets East Coast Spice.” Right in downtown Wayzata along the shore of Lake Minnetonka, CōV feels like you’ve traveled straight to the Hamptons. They offer a tasty weekend brunch, sushi bar, and fresh and seasonal food for lunch and dinner including seafood, burgers, sandwiches, and main entrees. If you just want to come for the gorgeous views and bright atmosphere, they have great happy hour specials on drinks and food.
Acqua in White Bear Lake
Situated on the bank of White Bear Lake, Acqua provides beautiful views looking out over the water from their two scenic decks and lakeside patio. Since patio season is rapidly coming to an end, you can head indoors and settle in one of their three cozy and warm dining areas. Acqua serves up their unique take on classic Italian with dishes like Ragu alla Bolognese and Braised Pork Shank – but they also prepare an elegant 3-course tasting menu to offer a truly elevated dining experience.
Crooked Pint Ale House in Chaska
With a classic pub feel and decor, this casual and welcoming restaurant is a favorite gathering spot for a good meal and a beer. Crooked Pint has a huge menu serving up your quintessential pub food including their favorites like the Pub Pot Pies, Jumbo Tator Tots, Pub Tacos, and their famed Lucy which was voted “The Best Lucy in Minnesota” by USA Today Reader’s Choice. As the competition is pretty steep in the Twin Cities, wou’ll have to go and see for yourself if their Lucy lives up to the hype.
Mill Valley Kitchen in St. Louis Park
Mill Valley Kitchen features fresh, local, and sustainably-sourced ingredients to create Northern California-inspired dishes. The food is light and satisfying, where you’ll walk away without feeling like you need to unbuckle your belt. Their dinner menu features plates like Tuna Poke, Miso Glazed Seabass, Vegetable Curry, and Grass-Fed Beef Tenderloin.
Other notable eateries in the ‘burbs
Although these restaurants didn’t take home ‘Best Of’ for this year, you will definitely want to try out these delicious, award-winning eateries.
Bellecour in Wayzata
From the minds behind Spoon and Stable, Chef Gavin Kaysen continues to create award-winning French cuisine at Bellecour.
Travail Kitchen and Amusements in Robbinsdale
Travail serves a one-of-a-kind dining experience with an ever-evolving seasonal tasting menu of 20+ courses by James Beard Award semi-finalists: James Winberg, Bob Gerken, and Mike Brown.
The Mad Hatter Restaurant & Tea House in Anoka
Their website calls it “Minnesota’s most curious tea house.” I don’t doubt it for a moment. Come for a memorable meal indulging in their delicious brunch and tea service.
MT Noodles in Brooklyn Park
Voted as the Best Twin Cities Vietnamese Restaurant in 2017, this unassuming restaurant is located in the strip mall of Broadway Square where they serve up phenomenal authentic Vietnamese dishes.
Vivo Kitchen in Apple Valley
Serving up a wide-selection, Vivo creates inventive American-style meals all made from seasonal, fresh, and locally-sourced ingredients.
Read next: St. Paul’s 50 Best Restaurants (The Ultimate List)