Saint Paul, Minnesota, is an underrated city. It’s so often combined with its neighbor Minneapolis that it’s referred to as the Twin Cities or Minneapolis/St. Paul, as if the capital city doesn’t deserve its marquee. This Midwesterner says St. Paul should be on your idea list for upcoming trips.
Known as Minnesota’s culture capital, you may be surprised to learn that St. Paul is home to over 100 spoken languages. Because of its vastly diverse population, the food represents that diversity beautifully. Whether you’re looking for the familiar, like a pepper jack cheeseburger or savory slow-roasted jerk pork, you’ll find it here. Don’t forget to try and find some classic Minnesota hotdish.
After all, can you say you’ve been to Minnesota if you don’t try hotdish? No. Moreover, the fantastic eateries need to be top of mind. There is plenty to eat on this side of the river, so come hungry. Minneapolis-based restaurant people often overlook St. Paul. But as one of Minnesota’s oldest cities, St. Paul is a classic, well-rounded city with many great restaurants. And you can’t forget about their iconic bar scene, either.
Take the Minneapolis Riverwalk, for example. You also have a Mississippi riverfront in downtown St.. Paul. It is a great way to try a few local dining spots and enjoy yourselves. After all, dining is one of the best things to do in St. Paul, given its diverse neighborhoods and old-world charm.
With these things in mind, we have finalized our list of the best restaurants St. Paul has to offer. International cuisine abounds here, so feel free to expand your horizons in the city beside the mighty Mississippi. Care to eat around the city with us?
Show Table of Contents
- Best Restaurants in St. Paul, MN
- 1. Best for Fine Dining Downtown St. Paul: Meritage
- 2. Best Historic Dining: St. Paul Hotel
- 3. Best Restaurant in Lowertown: Saint Dinette
- 4. Best Brunch Restaurant: The Buttered Tin
- 5. Best Pizza Restaurant: Big River Pizza
- 6. Best Restaurant on Grand Avenue: The Lexington
- 7. Best on Selby Avenue: W.A. Frost & Co.
- 8. Best Restaurant on 7th Street: Cosetta
- 9. Red Cow
- 10. Sakura Restaurant
- 11. The Gnome Craft Pub
- 12. Revival
- 13. Mancini’s Char House
- 14. Waldmann Brewery
- 15. Pajarito
- 16. Parlour
- 17. Joan’s in the Park
- 18. Bullvino’s Churrascaria
- 19. Caffe Biaggio
- 20. The Naughty Greek
- What are the most popular restaurants in St. Paul?
- What are some great options for outdoor dining in St. Paul?
- What are the best restaurants for a special occasion?
- Where can I find the best seafood in St. Paul?
|Best Fine Dining Downtown St. Paul||Meritage|
|Best Historic Dining||St. Paul Hotel|
|Best Restaurant in Lowertown||Saint Dinette|
|Best Brunch Restaurant||The Buttered Tin|
|Best Pizza Restaurant||Big River Pizza|
|Best Restaurant on Grand Avenue||The Lexington|
|Best Restaurant on Selby Avenue||W.A. Frost and Company|
|Best Restaurant on 7th Street||Cosetta|
Best Restaurants in St. Paul, MN
1. Best for Fine Dining Downtown St. Paul: Meritage
Address: 410 St Peter St, St Paul, MN 55102
French classics with a modern twist. Meritage is an upscale restaurant in the heart of St. Paul that creates the best French food in town. Their adorable outdoor seating near Rice Park makes for the perfect first (or fiftieth) date. Not to mention their menus change with the seasons, so you’ll always have something new to try along with their extensive wine list.
Craving something more comforting, their french fries are perfect. Crispy, lightly salted, and ready for dipping. We opted to split a burger and fries. It was absolute perfection.
The atmosphere is also something we need to point out. When you enter Meritage, you feel like you are walking into a brasserie on the Rue di Rivoli in Paris. This St. Paul staple is sure to please.
See Related: Best Parks in St. Paul, Minnesota
2. Best Historic Dining: St. Paul Hotel
Address: 350 N Market St, St Paul, MN 55102
Opened in 1910, the opulent Saint Paul Hotel is a gorgeous gem fitting for a historic city. The hotel has a few different dining options, though if you’re in the mood for classic American cuisine, St. Paul Grill is our favorite option. The St. Paul Grill features a wood-lined bar with pub fare and a more extensive dinner menu leaving something comforting for everyone.
We recommend pulling up a chair at the bar to chat with the bartenders while enjoying a Brandy Alexander from their cocktail menu. We also highly recommend the rotisserie chicken or bourbon pork chop.
The Saint Paul Hotel also houses the M. Street Cafe which is a terrific lunch spot if you want quick bite in a more relaxed environment. If you’re looking for a cozy place to stay this is 100% the place to go. The rooms are reasonable, exquisite, and oh-so-comfy.
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3. Best Restaurant in Lowertown: Saint Dinette
Address: 261 5th St E, St Paul, MN 55101
Calling all cheese lovers! We’re not here to bicker with any Wisconsinites looking to defend their turf as the cheese state, but you must check out this place. Saint Dinette may be known for its extensive menu of unique traditional American dishes, but it has a lovely cheese selection.
It’s a perfect spot after a morning at the Saint Paul Farmers Market. Located right next door, the staff will even take your St. Paul Farmers Market haul and keep it cool in their walk-in cooler while you dine.
Plus, their brunch signature cocktails are divine. Who can say no to a Midwestern Bloody Mary? If you want to try even more classic cocktails, check out a historic cocktails walking tour in the city.
As for their food offerings, the dinette has unique options like lamb brochette as well as childhood standbys like bologna sandwiches. This spot is a local favorite for good reason — especially for groups with vastly different palates.
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4. Best Brunch Restaurant: The Buttered Tin
Address: 237 7th St E, St Paul, MN 55101
The Buttered Tin is a popular breakfast and brunch spot in Lowertown St. Paul as well as Minneapolis. This restaurant is known for its creative and delicious menu items, such as blueberry ricotta pancakes, banana foster french toast, and smothered breakfast burritos.
Buttered Tin also has a large selection of coffee drinks and teas, as well as a variety of pastries and desserts. You could even leave with a haul of their housemade granola to keep savoring their breakfast even from the comfort of home.
Not in a breakfast mood? That’s ok! They’ve got plenty of lunch offerings as well. They’ve got you from savory to chicken pot pie to roast sandwiches to muffuletta that’ll transport you down the Mississippi River to New Orleans.
See Related: Best Things to Do Around Lake Minnetonka
5. Best Pizza Restaurant: Big River Pizza
Address: 280 5th St E, St Paul, MN 55101
We can’t round up the best restaurants in St. Paul without mentioning a classic pizza joint. When you must satisfy that taste for ‘za, look no further than Big River Pizza near CHS Field.
This pizza place is also right across the street from the St. Paul Farmers Market if you get snacky after shopping. Big River is known for its great craft beer, pizza by the slice, and affordable family-style pizzas. There’s a reason it’s frequently named one of the best in the city.
If you want something in addition to your pizza or need to satiate another food craving in your group, they’ve got lots of other menu items too. Check out Big River’s spinach artichoke dip, salad options, and yummy desserts.
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6. Best Restaurant on Grand Avenue: The Lexington
Address: 1096 Grand Avenue, St Paul, MN 55105
The Lexington is one of the many old-world St. Paul restaurants offering a European flair. We love restaurants that offer escargot, strong cocktails, and steaks, and Lexington does just that.
Walking into The Lexington is like walking back in time with a modern bent. The deep oak walls bring warmth into the room in every season. The antique pictures with gorgeous gold frames give off the vibe of an old-English pub. Standing by the bar feels like you’re right back in the roaring 20s.
A sophisticated dining room comes with a sophisticated menu. Their New York Strip is to die for, and their lobster and cauliflower cheese is unreal. You truly can’t go wrong with anything from this scrumptious menu.
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7. Best on Selby Avenue: W.A. Frost & Co.
Address: 374 Selby Ave #1825, St Paul, MN 55102
A classic staple, W.A. Frost has by far one of the best patios in the Twin Cities, not to mention it being the best restaurant on the eatery-dense Selby Ave. This hidden gem is a great option for a Saturday lunch and a glass of wine.
W.A. Frost offers marvelous New American-style dishes in the capital city — believe it or not, their upscale chicken wings are a must. This is where you’re taking your special someone or business partner to impress.
Tip from the locals: go to the downstairs dining and bar area in the winter. You enter in the rear of the bar area. You will feel like you are suddenly in old-world Scotland. Books, art, craft cocktails, and cozy chairs abound here. There’s even a fireplace to sip beside.
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8. Best Restaurant on 7th Street: Cosetta
Address: 211 7th St W, St Paul, MN 55102
We’ve tantalized you with otherworldly dishes until now as we arrive in the comfort of Italian cuisine. Cosetta is one of the best Italian restaurants in St. Paul, with the option for a market-style dining experience.
Guests can enjoy homemade gnocchi, excellent pizza, ravioli, and osso bucco. The restaurant also has a wine list featuring over 100 Italian and international wines. Sweet-toothed guests can’t skip over the dessert menu with classics like tiramisu and cannoli.
Cosetta is also a staple for anyone attending a Minnesota Wild hockey game or any event at Xcel Energy Center. They have a casual market-style dining experience and a more formal dining room if you want something more structured before the game.
9. Red Cow
Address: 393 Selby Ave, St Paul, MN 55102
Another staple in the Twin Cities is Red Cow which has both a Minneapolis and a St. Paul location. If you love a traditional midwestern restaurant, Red Cow offers a hearty tavern atmosphere and amazing food.
Its name is an amalgamation between a love of red wine (Red) and tasty beef meals (Cow). Although this is known for its comfort foods, this spot also has a wine list that will blow other burger joints out of the water. There are dozens of options to choose from.
They are beloved for their delectable pub fare, like burgers and cheese curds. But you shouldn’t overlook some of their other classics like a fried chicken sandwich or avocado cheesecake — don’t knock it ’til you try it!
See Related: Best Restaurants in Minneapolis & St. Paul
10. Sakura Restaurant
Address: 350 St Peter St #195, St Paul, MN 55102
There are a few standout restaurants in St. Paul offering Japanese cuisine options, and that’s what you’ll find at Sakura. This place serves up sushi as well as other tasty eats á la Japan, like chicken katsu, a variety of tempura, and teriyaki too.
Owner Miyoko Omori, originally from Saitama, Japan, opened Sakura in 1991. She named it after the Japanese word for cherry blossom since she was born in April, which is cherry blossom season in Japan.
This delightful spot is the perfect excuse to go all-out on a smorgasbord. Have you always wanted to try a sushi boat for a special occasion? Why not try one here with the whole gang–or just yourself because sushi is delicious.
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11. The Gnome Craft Pub
Address: 498 Selby Ave, St Paul, MN 55102
If you like beer and comfort food this place is for you. The Gnome Craft Pub, or The Gnome, has dozens of beers on tap and even more in a bottle. We are always impressed with their beer list which changes daily.
The pub boasts Minnesota staples like blackened tuna, orange roasted pork belly, corn ribs, and more. The menu will surely leave you happy and perhaps tipsy off fantastic craft beers.
Beyond being one of the best restaurants in St. Paul, it’s also one of the most philanthropic.
Folks behind The Gnome founded Purpose Restaurants and Give Hope MN. Give Hope MN is a non-profit that gives back to those in need within their community. They give 3% of their proceeds back to the non-profit.
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Address: 525 Selby Ave, St Paul, MN 55102
With three locations throughout the metropolitan area, Revival is one of the best restaurants in the entire Twin Cities. Headed by James Beard nominee and executive chef Thomas Boemer, these restaurants are known for their award-winning southern fried chicken.
Revival offers some of the best southern cooking in the entire Midwest, offering up a fantastic chicken sandwich, fried chicken that will melt in your mouth, an out-of-this-world burger, and cheese curds.
The food is delicious but you’ll also pair your dinner with Revival’s excellent cocktails and selection of craft beers. It can get busy here so you may consider booking an early dinner reservation to ensure you get a spot.
See Related: Best & Fun Things to Do in Northern Minnesota
13. Mancini’s Char House
Address: 531 7th St W, St Paul, MN 55102
A St. Paul staple, Mancini’s Char House takes you back to the golden age of the Midwestern supper club. Open since 1948, and originally a small tavern, Mancini’s has seen quite a few guests in its day.
They head in from all over the place to get a taste of the delicious food but stick around for the ambiance. Mancini’s is known for their charbroiled steaks though you can’t forget to order a glass of the Lambrusco.
This legendary Italian steakhouse in the Twin Cities will make you feel like you’re in Goodfellas. There is something about having fantastic food in a historic dining room with mirror-lined walls and pictures of famous people. Think of it like Sardi’s in New York City but with significantly better food.
See Related: Best Things to Do in Southern Minnesota
14. Waldmann Brewery
Address: 445 Smith Ave N, St Paul, MN 55102
Honestly, this brewery is in our top 5 favorite places in Minnesota. There aren’t many places in the U.S. where you can find an original structure restored to its full glory. The history of Waldmann Brewery in Saint Paul is fascinating. It was built before Minnesota was a state and is the state’s oldest surviving commercial building.
When Waldmann’s first opened, we sat down with a historian, who lives across the street, who told us the whole story. Back in the mid-1800, Anton Waldmann built a saloon. Over time the building became a home, and eventually, some amazing people revived the place and made it a brewery again.
The beers? Fantastic. The Oktoberfest celebration? Fantastic. The souvenirs? Even better. Come on in, enjoy a fantastic German-style ale, and revel in the history. They are one of the few craft breweries serving good food, such as the cheesy spaetzle, and not just subpar bar food.
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Address: 605 7th St W, St Paul, MN 55102
Modern Mexican cuisine in an industrial space with great cocktails? Sign me up. Pajarito is one of the best Mexican restaurants in Saint Paul. Located just slightly west of the 7th Street action, it’s the perfect place to stop along the way. They also have a location in Edina, MN too!
The drink menu sold us in this place. The Chino Latino with its tart pink guava finish, the Pajarito Margarita comes in sweet with its key lime potency, and the Pineapple Express will have you all aboard.
Don’t worry. The food doesn’t get left behind at the station at Pajarito. Get yourself some grilled octopus, fried shrimp tacos, and potato sopes for dinner. Be sure you get some extra sour cream if you order sopes, that’s my favorite way to eat them.
See Related: Best Mexican Restaurants in Minnesota
Address: 267 7th St W, St Paul, MN 55102
A spin-off from the North Loop restaurant, Parlour has fantastic burgers, a great fried chicken sandwich here, and whiskey manhattans. The wine list is always interesting, and the atmosphere is worth trying. This is another of the best restaurants in St. Paul that also has a location in Minneapolis as well as spots to grab their grub all over the Twin Cities like at the Target Center.
Everyone talks about the burgers and the late-night bar scene at Parlour. We can’t blame them because we can’t resist a boozy milkshake.
But we want to talk more about brunch. French toast piled high with fresh berries or dolloped in Nutella and brûléed banana? Let’s go! Don’t worry savory brunch eaters, they have plenty of nosh for you too, including fully loaded hashbrowns that’ll knock your socks off.
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17. Joan’s in the Park
Address: 631 Snelling Ave S, St Paul, MN 55116
Joan’s in the Park, located the calm Highland Park neighborhood, offers a four-course, prix-fix menu that changes yearly. You’ll get a wide variety of options in their award-winning tasting menu. You may have a hard time choosing from beef carpaccio to chilled lobster or filet mignon!
Menus here change seasonally partly because of what is or is not available throughout the year. Joan’s operates a from-scratch kitchen, meaning everything (even the bread and cheese) is made in-house. So sourcing fresh, seasonally appropriate ingredients is part of the gig.
This petite eatery opened in September 2011. With only 40 seats, you definitely want to have reservations to ensure space for you and your party.
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18. Bullvino’s Churrascaria
Address: 289 5th St E, St Paul, MN 55101
A Brazilian steakhouse often conjures images of servers carrying Brazilian skewers around. the restaurant. These are also known as espetos. And this Brazilian steakhouse has those roasted meats galore as well as a salad bar and imaginative cocktail offerings.
Owned by Brazilian chefs, Bullvino’s Churrascaria is the best Brazilian food you’ll get in St. Paul. Besides steak, you can also get pork loin, sausages, lamb chops, and even grilled pineapple.
Opened in 2021, Bullvino’s is still a young’un compared to other city restaurants. Even so, they’ve gone above and beyond. So saúde to this bourgeoning eatery bringing steakhouse cuisine to the capital city.
See Related: Best Parks in Saint Paul
19. Caffe Biaggio
Address: 2356 University Ave W, St Paul, MN 55114
Caffe Biaggio has the best homemade Italian food in town. If you are looking for classic Italian this is the place to go. The space is made cozy by the smell of fresh garlic cooking in the kitchen. The wine list even boasts some of the best Italian wines around.
As for their food, it’s spectacular. Their seafood pasta option, the lobster ravioli, is heavenly. Let’s be honest, though. Any noodle dishes from a homemade Italian restaurant must be incredible. While you won’t find a chicken fettuccine alfredo here, you can try a potato gnocchi or chicken fettuccine alfredo which is so much better.
And on Mondays, they offer “date night” with a wonderful menu for only $60 per couple. If you need the perfect excuse for a night out on the town, you’ve got one!
See Related: Best Minneapolis Hotels
20. The Naughty Greek
Addresses: 2400 University Avenue W., St Paul, MN 55114 or 181 Snelling Avenue North Saint Paul, MN, 55104
The Naughty Greek is definitely worth checking out if you want a delicious and authentic Greek dining experience. There are two locations in St. Paul as well as one in Minneapolis if you get a hankering in the other Twin City.
They serve up some of the best gyros in town, as well as other traditional Greek fares that will leave you full and satisfied. Plus, the atmosphere is fun, making it a great place to gather with friends for happy hour. The Naughty Greek serves home-grown cuisine from scratch every day, with fresh, locally produced meat, vibrant vegetables, as well as Greek imports.
This is a fantastic affordable place for food or a quick bite in Saint Paul, and it represents years of expertise, talent, and wholehearted Greek hospitality. Plus, it’s easy to access because it is right off the Midway neighborhood’s light rail.
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What are the most popular restaurants in St. Paul?
There are many great places to eat in St. Paul, but these are some of our favorites: Meritage for fine dining, Cosetta for some of the best Italian food, and Saint Dinette in Lowertown. Sakura is terrific for Japanese cuisine, and The Naughty Greek is your go-to for Greek food.
What are some great options for outdoor dining in St. Paul?
Our top picks for dining on a patio in Saint Paul are The Gnome Craft Pub or WA Frost and Company. These great food spots feature expansive patios in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood of Saint Paul.
What are the best restaurants for a special occasion?
We adore Meritage in downtown St. Paul for special occasion dining, though WA Frost and Company as well as Sakura are also fine choices. If you want a more unique experience, go to Bullvino’s Churrascaria for a steakhouse setting.
Where can I find the best seafood in St. Paul?
It will sound like a broken record, but Meritage has incredible seafood offerings. We also recommend the lobster ravioli or seafood pasta at Caffe Biaggio is also amazing.
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Alex is a contributor of ViaTravelers. She has lived in three countries, 4 states, and traveled the world. She enjoys top-tier restaurants, old books, and uncovering historic sites around the globe.