The Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul are considered by many to be prime foodie destinations. Restaurants in both of these cities are on the cutting edge of gastronomy – including a commitment to “farm-to-fork” dish creation. For suggestions on where to eat in Minneapolis, see my post here [note to editor: link to one of my Minneapolis restaurant posts]. Here are my top five suggestions for stand-out restaurants in St. Paul.
I don’t know what’s more impressive, Heartland Restaurant’s simple yet gorgeous arts and crafts inspired interior or their innovative cuisine made from locally sourced ingredients (if pressed, I’d have to go with the food). Because they receive deliveries from local farmers daily, the menu is constantly shifting and evolving depending on what’s fresh. You’re sure to find something to compliment that Duroc Pork Chop with Cheddar Mashed Potatoes or Bison Ribeye with Bleu Cheese Butter on their extensive wine list.
Located in Milton Square, Muffuletta is a favorite among St. Paul foodies. Their tantalizing small plates, entrées and desserts are made with locally grown, seasonal products (which means the menu is constantly changing). The prix fixe menu is an excellent value.
The difference between a good dining experience and a great dining experience is in the details…and Meritage has them covered. They’ve thought of everything from top-quality ingredients to impeccable wines, white linen tablecloths and gleaming silverware to traditional French bistro décor. If you’re in St. Paul during the summer months, check out their outdoor crêpe stand, offering traditional favorites and creative concoctions.
La Grolla opened in 2003 and quickly became known for its traditional, upscale Italian cuisine made with the freshest ingredients. In the warmer months, the large patio is the perfect place to dip bread in olive oil, sip on a nice little Pinot Grigio and pretend you’re summering in Italy. Ahhh la dolce vida!
Located across the street from the University of St. Thomas’ St. Paul campus, 128 Café is tucked away in the basement of an apartment building (though well-marked). Don’t let their unassuming digs fool you, the kitchen serves some of the freshest, most downright delicious cuisine in St. Paul (fall-off-the-bone, sauced-to-perfection ribs are their claim to fame). Keep an eye out for their food truck when the weather is warm (following @128cafe on Twitter to find out where it will be).