Saint Paul, Minnesota is a bit of an underrated city. The bright lights and hustle of Minneapolis overshine this classic gem. There is plenty to eat on this side of the river, so come hungry. These are the best restaurants in St. Paul to consider.
St. Paul is often overlooked by Minneapolis-based restaurant people. But this St. Paul is a classic, well-rounded city with a lot of great restaurants. We venture over to the other side of the Mississippi frequently because the restaurant culture is so different.
Like the Minneapolis riverwalk, you also have a Mississippi riverfront in Saint Paul. We generally travel to other locations for little to no cost by utilizing our travel hacking skills. It was great to try a few local spots where we could dine and enjoy ourselves without needing to go.
Dining is one of the best things to do in St. Paul, given the number of diverse neighborhoods and old-world charm. So after eating out way too much over the past few months, we have finalized our list of the best restaurants in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Here are some great tours in Saint Paul involving food:
- Historic Downtown St. Paul Food Tour: Explore historic downtown St. Paul and eat, drink and explore local staples along the way.
- Saint Paul Skyway Food Tour: Want to explore the legendary skyway system in St. Paul? Check out these local favorites on this tour.
- Walking Summit Avenue / Victorian Homes: Walk and learn the history of the old charm of St. Paul. Then, dine at local favorites along historic Summit and Grand Avenue.
The restaurants in St. Paul are cozy, quaint, and pride themselves on serving only the best.
Summary of the Best St. Paul Restaurants
Want the TLDR version? Here are our top picks for food in St. Paul based on neighborhood.
|Best Restaurant in Downtown||Meritage|
|Best Restaurant in Lowertown||Saint Dinette|
|Best Restaurant in Cathedral Hill||W.A. Frost and Company|
|Best Restaurant on 7th Street||Cosetta|
|Best Restaurant Near Summit Avenue||The Lexington|
Best Restaurants in downtown St. Paul, MN
Downtown Saint Paul, Minnesota has a wide variety of fun restaurants for both casual and luxury diners. Whether you are entertaining clients or going out on the town with friends, there is something in St. Paul for everyone.
Best for Fine Dining Downtown: Meritage
French classics with a modern twist. Meritage is in the heart of St. Paul and creates the best French food in town. Their patio is adorable and makes for the perfect first (or fiftieth) date. Their french fries are perfect. Crispy, lightly salted, and ready for dipping. We opted to split a burger and fries, and cheesy spaetzle. It was absolute perfection.
The atmosphere is also something we need to point out. As soon as you enter Meritage you feel like you are walking into a brasserie on the Rue di Rivoli.
The waitstaff is highly intelligent especially when it comes to pointing you to the perfect wine to accompany your meal. This St. Paul staple is sure to please!
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St. Paul Hotel: Historic dining with fun staff
The Saint Paul Hotel has a few different dining options. St. Paul Grill is our favorite option. A wood-lined bar with pub fare and a more extensive dinner menu leaves something for everyone.
We recommend pulling up a chair at the bar to chat with the bartenders while enjoying a Brandy Alexander. Pro tip: if you come from the Saints game with a collectible beer-filled baseball bat, the bartenders may just fill it up for you.
The Saint Paul Hotel also has the M. Street Cafe which is a great lunch spot if you are looking for great food in a more relaxed environment. If you’re looking for a staycation this is 100% the place to go. The rooms are reasonable, exquisite, and oh-so-comfy. We checked in here for a staycation in February 2018 and fell in love.
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Restaurants near Lowertown, St. Paul, MN
Calling all cheese lovers! Saint Dinette offers an extensive menu of unique dinner and brunch eats as well as a lovely cheese selection. We love coming here after a morning at the Saint Paul Farmers Market.
Located right next door, the staff will take your St. Paul Farmers Market haul and keep it cool in their walk-in cooler while you dine.
Could you ask for anything else? While we have yet to visit for dinner, fellow friends and family tell us their dinner menu is to die for. They have unique options like lamb brochette and midwest staples like fried chicken.
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The Buttered Tin
The Buttered Tin is a popular breakfast and brunch spot in Lowertown Saint Paul. The restaurant is known for its creative and delicious menu items, such as the blueberry ricotta pancakes, their breakfast sandwich, and the breakfast burrito.
The Buttered Tin also has a large selection of coffee drinks and teas, as well as a variety of pastries and desserts.
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Big River Pizza
If you are looking for a local fast food option near CHS Field, check out Big River Pizza right across the street from the St. Paul Farmers Market. This pizza joint offers great craft beer, pizza by the slice, and even family-style pizzas.
It’s an affordable option if you are looking for a quick grab-and-go snack for the road.
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Restaurants off Grand Avenue in St. Paul, MN
The Lexington is one of the many old-world St. Paul restaurants that also offer 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, but modernized. The deep oak walls bring warmth into the room in every season. The antique pictures with gorgeous gold frames give off a vibe of an old-English or French 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 salmon oscar is to die for, and their steak diane with mushrooms, cognac, and creme is simply unreal. To top it off, their lobster ravioli or duck meatballs in stroganoff will warm you up on a chilly winter day.
The Lexington was definitely revived when they renovated the restaurant to bring it to its full glory. Stop in and step back in time. You’ll leave full and happy.
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Best Restaurants in Cathedral Hill
Best Patio Dining Experience: W.A. Frost & Co.
A classic staple, W.A. Frost is by far one of the best patios in the Twin Cities. This hidden gem of a patio is a great option for a Saturday lunch and a cocktail or glass of wine. W.A. Frost offers elegant glassware, marvelous dishes, and an expert waitstaff in the capital city of St. Paul, MN.
This is where you’re taking your special someone or business partner to impress. Tip from the locals: in the winter go to the downstairs dining and bar area at W.A. Frost (enter in the rear of the bar area). It is so cozy you will feel like you are in old-world Scotland.
Books, art, craft cocktails, and cozy chairs are everywhere. There’s even a fireplace with two chairs to enjoy your drink. W.A. Frost is a favorite of Alex’s. Historic vibes, cozy seats, and the best Caribbean Coffee around.
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With over 3 locations throughout the metro, Revival is one of the best restaurants in the entire Twin Cities. The Saint Paul location is right in the heart of several other restaurants listed here.
Revival offers some of the best southern cooking you can find in the entire Midwest offering up a fantastic chicken sandwich, fried chicken that will melt in your mouth, and an out-of-this-world burger.
The food is absolutely delicious but you’ll also pair your dinner with excellent cocktails and craft beers. It can get busy here so you may want to consider booking an early dinner reservation to ensure you get a spot.
Red Cow is another staple in the Twin Cities that offers both a Minneapolis and a St. Paul location. If you are looking for a traditional midwestern restaurant, Red Cow offers a hearty meal and amazing food. They are known for their burgers, cheese curds, and french fries. The best part about stopping by this restaurant in Cathedral Hill is that you can get a meal for under $15 during happy hour.
Another favorite of ours, The Commodore sweeps you back in time to wonderful dining in an elegant atmosphere. The drink list is always changing and the white-linen tables are always full of laughter and good food.
We adore the lobster deviled eggs, walleye, and filet mignon. The Commodore also has a sneakily good happy hour, even on Friday nights! Stop by between four and six, or after nine, for a wonderful menu of snacks and well-selected wine.
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The Gnome Craft Pub
If you like beer and comfort food this place is for you. The Gnome Craft Pub has dozens of beers on tap and even more in a bottle. We are always impressed with their beer list (it changes daily).
The Gnome Craft Pub boasts Minnesota staples like poutine (check it out below), seared trout, cheese curds, and more. The menu is sure to leave you happy and full, and perhaps a little tipsy off fantastic craft beers.
Just a moment on this poutine – it is warm and toasty, with just the right about of yummy gravy poured on crispy french fries. The cheese is just the right amount – not excessive – and it compliments the crispy fries with a savory cheesy finish.
Roasted in the oven for just the right amount, this poutine comes out ready to eat with a fork and spoon. Yum. The happy hour is a great reason to stop by – especially on the summer patio. The patio has greenery everywhere and the service is fantastic.
We adore you The Gnome, and if you’ve never been, get over there and try some poutine!
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Best Restaurants along 7th Street in St. Paul, MN
Cosetta is one of the best Saint Paul Italian restaurants that offer a market-style dining experience. Guests can enjoy dishes like homemade gnocchi, excellent pizza, ravioli, and osso bucco. The restaurant also has a wine list that features over 100 different types of wine from Italy and around the world.
Cosetta is a staple for anyone going to a Wild game. They have both a casual market-style dining experience and a more formal dining room if you want something more structured before the game.
They have some of the best pizzas in all of the Twin Cities.
Step back in time at Mancini’s Char House
A St. Paul staple, Mancini’s Char House takes you back to the golden ages of Italian families and great food. We come to Mancini’s for the Lambrusco wine and breaded ravioli for a snack. We stay for the steak dinners. Mancini’s is a legendary Italian steakhouse in the Twin Cities that will make you feel like you’re in the movie Goodfellas.
There is something about having fantastic food in a historic dining room with mirror-lined walls and pictures of famous people. We love the wait staff here the most. They know what they are doing, they know the regulars, and they know how to make sure you have good service whether it’s a special occasion or just a night out on the town.
Waldmann’s: the oldest Minnesota watering hole!
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’s is fascinating. It was built before Minnesota was a state and is the oldest surviving commercial building in Minnesota. 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. We only have 4 glasses, a hat, and a few other things….
Come on in, enjoy a fantastic German-style ale and revel in the history. They are one of the few craft breweries that also serve up their own good food in-house. Like breweries? Visit these top breweries in Minneapolis.
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Modern Mexican cuisine in an industrial space with great cocktails…sign me up. This hip Mexican restaurant is just slightly west of the crazy 7th street action and the perfect place to stop along the way.
The drink menu sold us in this place. The Chino Latino is waiting for a cease and desist, the Snozberries margarita (tastes like Snozberries), and the up-in smoke are phenomenal. And the jokes are good too.
The sauces make you sing. The tacos make you want more. The yucca, the steak, the braised greens…we just can’t stop. Check this place out – you won’t be disappointed. There is a reason why we named Pajarito one of the best Mexican restaurants in Minnesota.
Best Cocktails: Parlour
A spin-off from the North Loop restaurant, Parlour has fantastic burgers, a great chicken sandwich, and whiskey manhattans. The wine list is always interesting, and the atmosphere is worth trying.
Everyone talks about the burgers and the late-night bar scene at Parlour. But we want to talk more about brunch. Loaded waffles with your choices and a hash unmatched. Take a different route and try it out.
Did we mention the boozy malts? No? Ok more for us then. Parlous makes for a great food spot before hitting a Wild game or a concert at Xcel Energy Center.
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Best Restaurants in Highland Park in St. Paul, MN
There are a lot of small borough neighborhoods in St. Paul, MN with unique restaurants. Highland Park is right on the western edge of St. Paul, just a short 10-minute drive from downtown, and has an impressive amount of dining options.
From movie theaters, and Tiffany’s Sports Lounge with beer specials and bar food, to high-class pre-set menus, Highland Park has a lot to offer to locals and tourists alike.
Joan’s in the Park
Joan’s in the Park offers an affordable pre-set tasting menu that leaves an impression that is paired with their great service.
In their award-winning tasting menu, you’ll get four courses that you choose, plated perfectly, and served to you by a friendly waitstaff. And they finish it off with a splendid dessert.
What more could you ask for? A guess a wine pairing to go with it (which they offer). If you are not into pre-set menus you can still order a la carte. But make sure you make a reservation.
This is a small space so it is best to have your seat saved in advance.
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French-inspired food, champagne, and rosé on tap. Sign us up. Bar Brigade is a cozy space with a phenomenal menu. We particularly enjoy the wild boar bourguignon and lobster claw crepe. Yum. Their cheese selection is also perfect for a cheat day.
Bar Brigade also has an excellent happy hour. Finding a cozy bar with excellent food and a $6 cheese plate during happy hour.
If that isn’t enough to convince you to try Bar Brigade, I suppose their lobster popover for brunch might just do it.
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Best Restaurants in Midway of Saint Paul, MN
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 boasts some of the best Italian wines around. And the owners – and staff – are helpful and add the right bit of pizzazz to your meal.
The food? Outstanding. The spinach-basil ricotta in brown butter will have you licking your plate clean. The seasonal risotto always matches the freshest produce.
And on Mondays, they offer “date night” with a wonderful menu for only $60 per couple. Stop by Caffe Biaggio, you will be glad you did!
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Best Local Fast Casual: The Naughty Greek
If you’re looking for a delicious and authentic Greek dining experience, The Naughty Greek is definitely worth checking out. 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, and 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 is that it is located right off the light rail in the Midway neighborhood.
Best Breakfast: Marc Heu Patisserie Paris
Alright, we absolutely love croissants over here at ViaTravelers. Every time, we’re in Paris, we make it a point to try our favorite staples and new croissant spots to constantly find new varieties and approaches to this simple, yet delicious breakfast pastry.
When we came across Marc Heu, we were instantly blown away. This is by far the best croissant spot in Minnesota and may even stand up as one of the best in Paris if they opened a restaurant there. The croissants have the perfect layers, when you cut them open it literally looks like a work of art.
If you want an excellent croissant or pastry in St. Paul, you need to go to Marc Heu. Get there early because the line forms before they are even open! But trust me, it’s totally worth it.
What food is St. Paul, Minnesota known for?
Saint Paul is known for its diverse food scene, which ranges from classic Midwestern cuisine to ethnic foods. Whether you’re in the mood for a classic American burger with cheese curds or something more ethnic, you’re sure to find it in Saint Paul.
The city’s food trucks are particularly popular, and they offer a wide variety of cuisines from all over the world. If you’re looking for a quick bite or good street food, you can’t go wrong with one of the city’s many food trucks.
However, if you’re in the mood for a sit-down meal, there are plenty of restaurants to choose from as well.
If you’re looking for the best Saint Paul restaurants, you’ll find them all on this list. These restaurants offer an amazing dining experience that is worth your time. Be sure to check them out when you’re in the area.
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What are the best Saint Paul restaurants with a patio?
Our top picks for dining on a patio in Saint Paul are The Gnome Craft Pub or WA Frost and Company. Both of these great food spots feature expansive patios in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood of Saint Paul.
What are the best places to eat in downtown St. Paul?
There are many great places to eat in downtown St. Paul, but these are some of our favorites, Meritage for fine dining, Cosetta for some of the best Italian food, and Saint Dinette located in Lowertown.
How many restaurants are in St. Paul, MN?
According to some city historical records, there are at least 1,019 food and restaurant facilities in St. Paul, MN.
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