If you’re planning a trip to Rochester and you haven’t started searching for the best restaurants to eat at while you’re in town, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered.
There are so many small and large restaurants in Rochester of all backgrounds, aesthetics, and types that it would be nearly impossible to visit every great restaurant the city has to offer, even if you stayed for quite a while.
Because of that, we have compiled this convenient list of the best restaurants in Rochester, ranging from casual comfort to upscale, fine dining. We aspire to simplify the process and allow you to find your new favorite restaurant in Rochester, Minnesota.
Show Table of Contents
- Best Restaurants in Rochester, Minnesota
- 1. ThaiPop
- 2. The Thirsty Belgian
- 3. Terza
- 4. Bleu Duck Kitchen
- 5. Prescott’s Grill
- 6. Olde Brick House
- 7. The Redwood Room
- 8. Nupa North
- 9. Twigs Tavern and Grille
- 10. Victoria’s Ristorante and Wine Bar
- 11. Pescara
- 12. The Half Barrel
- 13. The Tap House
- 14. Chester’s Kitchen and Bar
- 15. Canadian Honker Restaurant
- 16. Fat Willy’s
- 17. Pho Chau
- 18. Hot Chip Burger Bar
- 19. Nellie’s on 3rd
- 20. Whistle Binkies On The Lake
Best Restaurants in Rochester, Minnesota
Address: 4 3rd St SW, Rochester, MN 55902
ThaiPop is a breath of fresh air (and fresh ingredients) where you instantly feel relaxed and welcomed when you walk through the door. One of the first things you’ll notice is the menagerie of healthy houseplants – I love when I find restaurants with a lot of green space! The tropical plants and warm wooden and wicker accents take this space from feeling too modern and industrial to a friendly, chic, and genuinely exciting place to eat.
And don’t worry; the food is just as incredible as the aesthetic. If you aren’t sure what to order, go with the Khao Soi with brisket added. This soup is made from creamy coconut milk, cilantro, onions, cabbage, crispy noodles, beef brisket, and other spices.
The portion sizes at ThaiPop are generous, too, so chances are that you’ll have mouthwatering leftovers the next day- if you can wait that long.
If you’re looking for something more American-style, try the ribs with brussel sprouts. No matter what you order, you can expect to find it worth another visit because it’s all excellent food.
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2. The Thirsty Belgian
Address: 2650 Broadway Ave S #600, Rochester, MN 55904
This buzzing bar is a nice hybrid of American and Belgian pub styles with a great atmosphere. The building is casual but inviting and cozily cluttered with various memorabilia, drinks, accessories, glasses, and stickers.
Let’s start with the beer since this is more of a bar than a restaurant. The Thirsty Belgian has some of the best beer selections in Rochester. It’s safe to say that their drink list has well over one hundred choices. They have permanent and seasonal Belgian brews on tap that you should try.
Their beer varieties include draft; bottled blonde, wit, and wheat; bottled and canned pale, amber, and brown; crisp, clean, and golden; dark; sour; sweet and fruity; non-alcoholic and more.
Plus, they have an extensive selection of house cocktails, classic cocktails, drinkable desserts (try the Snickers-Tini!), white and red, bubbly wine, ciders, liquor, Irish cream, boozy coffee, tequila, whiskey, gin, and martinis.
For food, you should try their Pear & Gouda Toastie. This is one of the best places to get mustard sauce for dipping pretzels, too (yes, the soft pretzels are darn good). Finding a place that makes mustard sauce correctly is rare, so you’re in for a treat here.
This Rochester restaurant undoubtedly has the best bar service within the vicinity, and a lot of people use it as a jumping off point for a night out. Start off here with a beer and some appetizers, and then head to one of many nearby restaurants for cocktails and dinner. Talk about a great night out!
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Address: 30 3rd St SE, Rochester, MN 55904
Terza is a stunning downtown Rochester restaurant with grande-modern aesthetic and fabulous city views. If you’re visiting in the warmer months, grab a spot on the rooftop patio for your meal and sit by the fire.
The food is traditional Italian meets Italian-American pizza and pasta, all tastefully paired with wines from all over the world. Terza has the best salads in the city, and you should definitely get the poached pear salad with figs and blue cheese.
The buttermilk dressing is the show’s star, perfectly mixed to complement the salad. The fried cheese balls are surprisingly good, too. If you’re looking for something a bit heavier, go with the chicken piccata or filet mignon, these are best sellers for the restaurant, and it’s no surprise why because they are nearly perfect.
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4. Bleu Duck Kitchen
Address: 14 4th St SW, Rochester, MN 55902
Bleu Duck Kitchen is an upscale experience that feels like both a casual and fine-dining experience. It’s in a historic downtown building with beautiful exposed brick walls, intimate small table seating, and small plank wooden floors.
The meal comes out in courses and with outstanding service. It’s a great experience. The oysters are so good and a highlight of the experience. Braised chicken thighs are not quite as popular, but they are delicious and an underrated choice.
This is a popular brunch spot, too, so check out their menu because it’s full of unique foods, including several gluten-free and vegetarian options. They frequently have live music playing for most hours of the day.
5. Prescott’s Grill
Address: Prescott’s Grill, 1201 Broadway Ave S #80, Rochester, MN 55904
Don’t let the exterior of Prescott’s Grill fool you; this is an elegant, refined, and sweetly simple restaurant with so much to offer. The good food is served by friendly staff, and many dishes are made with fresh farm-to-table ingredients sourced from local farms.
If you’re looking for a perfectly seared steak place, you’ve found it. Order the steak with stuffed mushrooms and broccoli for the best combination. If you’re here on date night, you should order the steak while the other orders fettuccine with sherry cream sauce.
That way, you enjoy the two best items on the menu at once. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the portion sizes, price, and quality, plus the atmosphere makes it worth the trip.
When you dine here, save plenty of room for dessert, as they likely have the best dessert menu in all of Rochester. On your way out, take home an oven-hot loaf of bread or two because while you won’t have the space for them during your visit, you’ll thank yourself later.
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6. Olde Brick House
Address: 19 1st Ave SW, Rochester, MN 55902
Olde Brick House is a traditional Irish-American pub that serves classic comfort foods and a variety of cold brews. Its grand heavy wood and glass doors make the entrance easy to find. As you enter, you’ll see the striking, elegant lighting that hangs from extra-tall ceilings, old-fashioned wooden liquor cabinets, checkered tile floors, and cozy seating locations.
This is one of my favorite spots because of its great vibe. If you enjoy visiting during the summer, eat al fresco in their patio area. The outdoor space is comfortable, beautiful, and in the perfect location.
Their best-selling lunch foods are the shepherd’s pie, meatloaf, scotch eggs, and the classic Reuben sandwich. Surprisingly enough, they also have fresh seafood chowder with the perfect flavor. If you’re in the mood for American comfort food, go with the burger and fries; it’s a delicious, quick bite you won’t forget.
7. The Redwood Room
Address: 300 1st Ave NW, Rochester, MN 55901
The Redwood Room is a great Italian place in a basement, with a great bar, good food and top-tier service, and an extensive drink menu suited to please even the choosiest drink aficionado. This is likely the best place in the whole city to have an intimate and romantic date night.
Most nights, this place has old-fashioned live music on its small and perfectly intimate stage. While you enjoy listening to the musicians, try the gourmet pizza, pork tenderloin, or chipotle chicken Alfredo. The Alfredo has sautéed chicken breasts coated in chipotle cream sauce and a delicious cavatappi pasta, then topped with lime juice, smoked Gouda cheese, and freshly chopped cilantro.
Opt for the Vanilla Creme Brulee, the Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie, or the Bourbon Pecan Pie when dessert rolls around. Even better – you and your partner should each order one and then share the dessert dishes.
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8. Nupa North
Address: 1035 Civic Center Dr. NW, Rochester, MN 55901
Nupa North is a family-friendly little Greek restaurant serving delicious kebabs, gyros, salads, pita sandwiches, and hummus. It’s a great place to get your fix of fresh Mediterranean cuisine in a hurry.
If you aren’t sure which menu item to order, go for one of the gyros. For true Greek food fans, contain the calamari as an entree and then the lemon avgolemono soup; it’s tangy but not sour and has the perfect level of savor.
Salad lovers must try their tzatziki sauce which is the ideal addition to every type of green. To complete the delicious Greek dining experience, Nupa North also serves several types of bottled wine.
9. Twigs Tavern and Grille
Address: 401 6th St SW, Rochester, MN 55902
Twigs Tavern and Grill is part of the Centerstone Plaza Hotel. It’s a comfortable place with great patios, a good location, inclusive items, and a gluten-free and vegetarian options-style menu to accommodate diners.
Nearly every item on the “main” menu has a safe alternative on the adjacent gluten-free menu so that celiacs can enjoy it with their friends. Speaking of friends, Twigs Tavern and Grille is probably the best restaurant for groups.
The most popular items on the menu are the butternut squash ravioli or northern walleye fish. The restaurant makes its tartar sauce perfectly curated with an excellent taste and texture. This restaurant encourages sharing among friends, family, and dates by providing extra small plates for the table to sample one another’s foods.
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10. Victoria’s Ristorante and Wine Bar
Address: 7 1st Ave SW, Rochester, MN 55902
Victoria’s Ristorante and Wine Bar, referred to as Victoria’s Restaurant by the locals, is another Italian restaurant in The Kahler Grand Hotel. Despite the hotel’s great name, the restaurant is relatively low-key and informal.
Plenty of great spaces to sit and eat indoors and outdoors, so this spot is an excellent eatery year-round. Portions at Victoria’s Ristorante are massive, and the food is so darn good that you won’t need a to-go box. The fettuccine Alfredo is the best-selling item on the menu, followed by crab cakes, portobello mushrooms, and gluten-free bread rolls.
Address: 150 Broadway Ave S, Rochester, MN 55904
Pescara is an airy fine-dining restaurant with a massive dining room, elegant, fresh seafood dishes, and one of the area’s best steaks and chops. The mood inside is quite dark and moody in a romantic way, with elegant wine glasses, simple decorations, and bold colors. People rave about the excellent food, especially the lobster bisque.
Pescara is one of the area’s best, if not the best, breakfast joints. It serves smoked Gouda hash browns, omelets, and wild mushrooms. If you enjoy seafood, look closely at the seafood menu. It contains several types of ocean and river rainbow (such as rainbow trout). Snappers and swordfish are also on the menu and worth a taste. The halibut is impressive, too.
Before you leave, order the caramel croissant bread pudding. You’ll be craving it repeatedly because it is not something you’ll forget anytime soon.
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12. The Half Barrel
Address: 304 1st Ave SW, Rochester, MN 55902
The Half Barrel is a casual restaurant and bar that serves excellent American cuisine in downtown Rochester. The restaurant has a lot of clean, white subway tiles, wooden bar stools, and an overall industrial feeling that is pleasantly complemented by its amber mood lighting.
Whiskey lovers rejoice because The Half Barrel has hundreds of whiskey options for you to choose from, plus several other good drinks that are alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Get the spinach artichoke dip as the entree, the Manhattan for your main meal, and then one of their famous pecan pies for dessert.
Burgers, salads, pasta, and juicy steak are popular in the brewery. Customers looking for a fast bite to eat while enjoying a few drinks at the full bar can find calamari, bourbon wings, and pork nachos among the bar’s starters. The Half Barrel’s delicious appetizers, lunch entrees, and beautiful drinks are on the bar’s full menu.
13. The Tap House
Address: 10 3rd St SW, Rochester, MN 55902
The Tap House is an eclectic bar and grill that serves incredible plates, tap beers, wines, hard liquors, and all kinds of other fantastic drinks that you’re likely to enjoy. They have some of the best burgers in town and a variety of midwestern comfort foods like cheese curds, wings (buffalo, Korean, mango barbecue, and parmesan garlic), plus Americanized tacos and burritos.
If you enjoy visiting during the summer, request a spot on the patio. You’ll get to experience sweet, little twinkling lights in the evening, exposed historic brick walls, and small wire tables that curate a warm and cozy setting that is engaging and helpful in facilitating a successful date night.
If you want to try something unique, look at the drink menu and then check the cider section; it has many options, all of which are winners. The Loon Juice Sangria White Cider is incredibly appetizing and so crisply refreshing.
This excellent restaurant has something for everyone, including the best burger in the neighborhood. On weekends, The Tap House hosts trivia night for all to come together and enjoy.
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14. Chester’s Kitchen and Bar
Address: 111 Broadway Ave S #108, Rochester, MN 55904
Chester’s is a fun and modern restaurant in Rochester that is stylish, upscale, and refined in aesthetic. The restaurant has stone accents, wooden floors, warm, cozy light fixtures, galvanized steel siding, and comfortable chairs, elevating the dining experience. Chester’s is consistently rated as one of the best restaurants in Rochester, MN.
Chester’s Kitchen and Bar is conveniently within the Shops at University Square, serving all kinds of unique dishes. Their best-sellers are rotisserie chicken, parmesan encrusted walleye, lobster mac and cheese, and brie-fried cheese curds. But, I believe something is to be said for the minute chicken with angel hair pasta, capers, and perfectly cooked mushrooms.
Try a blackberry margarita if the drink menu is too complex to pick one item because they all sound so good. It’s unique and has the perfect blend of fresh ingredients.
15. Canadian Honker Restaurant
Address: 1203 2nd St SW, Rochester, MN 55902
Canadian Honker Restaurant has the best burgers on 2nd Street, for sure. While this spot is mainly known as a breakfast and lunch eatery, it has its fair share of rock-solid dinner options. So no matter the time of day, something delicious awaits you here.
When you walk into Canadian Honker Restaurant for the first time, you’ll see that it’s adorned with beautiful artwork, especially the colorful, stained glass piece by the bar that depicts a scene of Canadian Geese landing in a blue pond.
Like the many other great restaurants in Rochester, this one has excellent outdoor seating, service, and food, especially its breakfast. Canadian Honker is often mentioned as one of the best restaurants in Rochester.
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16. Fat Willy’s
Address: 4325 Maine Ave SE, Rochester, MN 55904
Fat Willy’s is a fun, garage-themed restaurant and bar that serves some of the best burgers, pizza, shrimp boils, and casual breakfast foods.
The white industrial walls contain street signs, maps, and car-related memorabilia, including vintage and antique pieces. There are several distinct pops of yellow throughout, on the garage-themed chairs, booth backs, the big yellow car, and several speed limit signs. You won’t run out of anything interesting to look over while you eat, that’s for sure.
If you come during the warmer part of the year, you may sit outside on the patio to watch the neighboring pond and its waterfall, encouraging ducks and geese to assemble and giving you an excellent view of the birds.
Regarding food, it’s all good here at this short stop. The Beer Cheese Soup, brisket tacos, and homemade baked beans shine the brightest. True to its aesthetic, Fat Willy’s has a great craft beer and on-tap selection for you to choose from to accompany your (already delicious) meal.
17. Pho Chau
Address: 1014 N Broadway Ave, Rochester, MN 55906
This little restaurant is colorful, energetic, and lively and serves excellent no-frills foods on Broadway. While the focus is on pho and Vietnamese foods, a good portion of Thai food is also on the menu.
The Pho Chau restaurant is not large but spotless, well-maintained, and designed. By far, the best-selling food here is pad Thai. The chicken curry noodle soup, pho, spring rolls, crab rangoon, and bánh xèo Vietnamese crepes are delicious, too. This place conveniently offers dine-in, takeout, and delivery, so it’s always ready for whatever you want or need.
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18. Hot Chip Burger Bar
Address: 1190 16th St SW #600, Rochester, MN 55902
All guests and locals in the greater Rochester area love Hot Chip Burger Bar. This sweet little spot has a funky 90s hipster vibe that’s playful, tropical, and colorful in the best way possible.
Everything about this place is so lively and enticing. Live plants and pops of distinct, beautiful colors from the rainbow decorate the walls and ceiling. If you wander outside, you’ll see a large pond from the dining patio.
Of course, burgers are their best sellers, but did you know that Hot Chip Burger Bar also offers an extensive vegan menu that is equally delicious? Always order a side of cheese curds to go with your burger too. The complementary popcorn and crisp dill pickles are also tasty additions to the meal.
19. Nellie’s on 3rd
Address: 4 3rd St SW, Rochester, MN 55902, United States
The food served is familiar, housed in the former Grand Rounds Brewing Company Building. It’s a timeless space that has stood for over 150 years, with neighbors, welcoming locals, and people across the globe. Nellie’s on Third is the product of years of experience working in restaurants, eating out, growing up in small peaceful towns, and wanting you to feel at ease.
It was a wonderful place that served delicious food, such as pizza with a sauce made fresh daily by Nellie’s on Third, and fantastic beers, domestic beers, cocktails, and wine.
Their menu includes a wide range of sandwiches, three salads, pizza, standard appetizers, 14 beers on tap, and other alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. When a customer is unsure which drinks to purchase, the staff is happy to help and recommend some.
This bar is a great spot where customers can watch their favorite sports team, relax and unwind in the Aviary, hang out in the Arcade, or book a private event in the Aquarium with their buddies who like playing skeeball and the Minnesota favorite pull-tabs.
20. Whistle Binkies On The Lake
Address: 247 Woodlake Dr, Rochester, MN 55904, United States
Whistle Binkies on The Lake is a beautiful beer spot for new, assorted alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. The pub’s name, “Whistle Binkies,” is a Scottish word for a traveling musician who performs at weddings or events for a small fee.
Whistle Binkies on The Lake offer delicious fresh drinks, pub-style food, and entertainment, such as a wide variety of great beers, wine, and cocktails. Anchor pale ale, Alaskan amber, angry orchard, ballast point grapefruit sculpin, bad weather wind vane, and other beers were served.
With a beer in one hand, the Whistle Binkies on The Lake provides a relaxing and enjoyable environment for bonding and talking with family and friends.
They also have a vast menu of mouthwatering appetizers, soups and salads, pasta, sandwiches, wraps, entrées, and barbecue food to pair with Whistle Binkies on The Lake’s new and refreshing drinks.
This fantastic pub has two locations: the North and South Pub. Each site offers a different menu for lunch and dinner, including soup, melts, and snacks, depending on the pub location a customer chooses to visit and drink. It’s a great place to unwind after exploring Rochester’s sights and attractions.
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a seasoned traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers find their next adventure, whether it’s exploring new places or revisiting old favorites.
He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wonderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). He loves listening to people’s stories from around the world as well as sharing his own experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.