15 Best Restaurants in Downtown Minneapolis, MN

This article is written by local contributor Nicole Miller & edited by the Travel Lens team.

Best Restaurants in Downtown Minneapolis, MN
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I live in the heart of Downtown Minneapolis, a vibrant business and cultural district in Hennepin County.

It's an amazing place to experience the local scene, with its rich history and industrial districts that tell the story of how Minneapolis came to be.

One of the best things about living here is the incredible variety of restaurants that showcase our city's passion for food, both from the US and around the world.

Here are 15 of the best restaurants in Downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, that I've had the pleasure of dining at.


Appetizer at Zelo
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I recently visited Zelo at Nicollet Mall in the historic downtown district and indulged in their authentic Italian cuisine.

As I entered the restaurant, I was treated to a warm and cozy atmosphere with ambient lighting, wooden floors, and leather couches.

The laid-back setting perfectly accompanied Zelo’s handcrafted meals and authentic wine collection.

In 1999, Rick Webb opened Zelo, which has grown into a popular downtown restaurant known for its seared ahi tuna, linguini primavera, and wild mushroom flatbread, among others.

I'm so happy they reopened after the pandemic, as I'm obsessed with their lasagna.

Pasta at Zelo
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It is amazing. The dining hall is pretty spacious, and they have a small lunch counter during the day.

The service is great for sure! It's a pretty solid option for downtown Minneapolis.

During my visit, I ordered the calamari fritti, which was a 5/5 from start to finish.

I also tried the burrata and prosciutto di parma, which was good but not as impressive as the calamari.

For my main course, I had the pesto crusted sea bass, which I enjoyed every bite of. For dessert, I couldn't resist the tiramisu, which was delightful.

The wine selection was decent, with something for everyone.

The restrooms, which can be overlooked at times, were clean, and that's a plus.

Strawberry shortcake at Zelo
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Smith & Porter Restaurant + Bar

Glass of wine in Smith & Porter Restaurant + Bar
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Roaming the streets of Downtown Minneapolis can be tiring and sometimes even lead to a grumbling stomach.

So if you ever need a quick bite before resuming your tour, you might want to check out the menu at Smith & Porter Restaurant + Bar on 2nd St.

I recently treated myself to a wide selection of classic and inventive American dishes prepared using only the finest ingredients.

While I was there, I ordered Chef Brown’s signature dishes like brick-roasted lemon herb chicken, plum-glazed eggplant, tandoori cauliflower steak, and much more.

The sausage in the eggs Benedict was particularly great, and I enjoyed the Bauhaus Stargrazer on tap.

My companions said the Bloody's were tasty with a decent kick, and our server Anthony was a kick-ass server.

Smith & Porter Restaurant + Bar also offers a variety of cocktails, martinis, rosé, and wines that complement their delectable desserts and snacks.

The cocktails are creative, and the atmosphere is perfect for a relaxing meal.

The chill jazz music and clean, soft decor make it a place I'd take anyone, even my mom.

The restaurant is located in the new Abiitan Mill City building behind the Renaissance Depot Hotel.

There is a pay lot in front of the restaurant that you can park in or street parking as well.

The restrooms are in the lobby of the senior center in the same building, but it's not a big deal.

Rusty Taco

You can find a taco shop almost everywhere you turn when exploring the streets of Downtown Minneapolis.

If you’re looking for the best one, you’ll find it on E Hennepin Ave.

Rusty Taco has been in the business since 2010, serving only authentic flavor to its patrons and a great dining experience.

Of course, it wouldn’t be possible to call it a Mexican restaurant without live music and bright colorways adorning the walls.

I've been a fan of Rusty Taco for quite some time now.

They have nearly every taco combination, including picadillo, Baja shrimp, roasted pork, beef fajita, BBQ brisket, and more.

On my last visit, I ordered their Baja shrimp, black bean tacos, chicken fajita taco, and fried chicken taco.

My favorites were the Baja shrimp and the black bean taco.

They were served "street taco" style, but that did not stop them from being generous with the number of ingredients they put in these excellent little tacos.

I also tried their churros, which were the best I've ever had – filled with caramel and coated with cinnamon sugar with a pinch of salt.

The ambiance at Rusty Taco is always great, with a fantastic, friendly atmosphere and staff.

At night, this Mexican restaurant also makes the perfect place to hang out and share a couple of beers and margaritas with your friends as you chat the hours away.


Seafood dish at Murray’s
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If there’s one restaurant in Downtown Minneapolis that I can't miss, it’s Murray’s along South 6th St.

Since 1946, Murray’s has served the people of Minneapolis with the iconic Silver Butter Knife Steak.

The retro neon sign outside the restaurant is enough to entice me to enter its doors, and once I do, I enjoy the aroma of pan-seared meat.

I love to kick off my dining experience by ordering a plate of arancini, stuffed mushrooms, Maryland crab cakes, and hickory smoked shrimp.

If I’m planning to stay a while, I might pick from their wine and cocktail selection with famous concoctions like Redwood Sazerac, Maui Waui, and Moscow Mule, among others.

I recently attended a private dinner at Murray's, and everything was A1.

Steak at Murray’s
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The service, food, drinks, and conversation were all top-notch.

They even stayed open later for our party to finish up. The strip steak was juicy and cooked perfectly.

I added some sides of mushrooms, asparagus, and potatoes, but just by itself, the steak was great.

We also had a few appetizers: Arancini (great) and crab cakes. To finish, we had a chocolate cake that was topped with toffee pieces.

It was very decadent and a perfect finish to a great meal.

As for drinks, I opted for an old fashioned to start.

You can't go wrong with this classic cocktail at Murray's.

Manny’s Steakhouse

Steak at Manny’s Steakhouse
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There are a lot of great restaurants in Downtown Minneapolis, some even globally recognized for serving premium-quality meals.

One place I highly recommend visiting is Manny’s Steakhouse on S Marquette Ave.

Manny’s Steakhouse is a local landmark destination thanks to its heritage beef: USDA-certified and 100% genetically verified black Angus beef.

I recently celebrated my birthday there with my friend, and it was our first time visiting.

From the moment we walked in, we felt like VIPs, and the experience never stopped being amazing.

Besides beef-inspired meals, I also suggest trying other dishes like shrimp scampi, lamb and veal chops, and thick-cut salmon.

Our server, Sam, was phenomenal and made our dining experience even more enjoyable.

As someone who appreciates a great bar, I can confidently say that Manny’s prides itself on having a fantastic one.

You can order your favorite drinks and hang out with your friends in a classy atmosphere.

The service at Manny's is top-notch. The valet employees are fast and polite, and the waiting staff are dressed very professionally.

They treat each table as though they matter and are highly educated about the menu.

I was impressed by how busy the restaurant was on a Sunday evening, but the staff still managed to provide excellent service.

Keys Cafe Minneapolis

Enjoying the clear skies and cool air while sipping freshly brewed coffee accompanied by baked goods at Keys Cafe Minneapolis on 9th St is one of my favorite ways to start the day.

This family-owned restaurant has a cozy atmosphere and a great selection of baked goods, desserts, and breakfast food that keeps me coming back.

Every day, Keys Cafe offers pastries prepared by full-time bakers from scratch, making every bite worth savoring.

I love choosing from their wide selection of flavored round cakes, sheet cakes, fruit pies, cupcakes, cookies, sticky buns, and much more.

Not only do they have amazing baked goods, but their sandwiches, wraps, burgers, chili, and combinations always satisfy my cravings.

I recently had their cheeseburger with shoestring potatoes, grilled bun, pickles, onions, and lettuce.

The burger was good and almost too big for lunch, but I enjoyed every bite.

The service at Keys Cafe is usually attentive, and the restaurant is conveniently located in the Foshay Tower.

The food is always good, with large portion sizes appropriately priced.

Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse

Cheesecake at Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse
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Downtown Minneapolis celebrates cuisines curated from all over the world.

One of my favorite places to dine is at Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse on Hennepin Ave.

Fogo de Chao brings the churrasco grilling tradition from Serra Gaucha to Downtown Minneapolis, offering a different take on classic steak grilling.

I love sampling the Churrasco experience by ordering best-sellers like the bone-in beef ancho, picanha, costela, and alcatra.

Fogo de Chao also has a market table and feijoada bar, where I enjoy grabbing a plate of fresh seasonal salads, smoked salmon, cured meats, and a bowl of seasonal soup.

For dessert, I can't possibly miss their signature Papaya Cream, fresh papaya blended with vanilla ice cream topped with canella pastry crisp.

It's a perfect place to celebrate special occasions, and the customer service is always excellent.

The ambiance is very nice, and the staff, especially their cook, Milton, is very kind and accommodating.

I've had wonderful experiences at Fogo de Chao.

The staff is extremely attentive and makes me feel so comfortable while I enjoy the journey of eating all the meats!

I also appreciate the top-notch food quality and presentation.

Everything is fresh, and they serve these yummy cheese buns at the beginning of the meal.

I usually try to avoid bread at the start of a meal, but these are simply too good to pass up.

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse

Steak at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
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Steakhouses are everywhere in Downtown Minneapolis.

If you’re on a mission to try eating at each one, add Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse to your list.

Located along 2nd Ave, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse offers its customers a sophisticated yet welcoming atmosphere, which only makes me want to stay longer inside the restaurant.

I love grabbing a steak knife and fork, and enjoying the juicy USDA prime beef served with my favorite drink.

Besides their signature sizzling steak, they also prepare other dishes like fresh seafood, sides made from scratch, and desserts.

I always make the most of my dining experience by ordering the filet, ribeye, or even the New York strip and T-bone.

Seafood at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
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I remember receiving a $100 Ruth Chris gift card and decided to try it out.

I made a reservation a day ahead because it seemed a bit busy when booking online.

I booked a reservation for 7:45pm, got there at 7:37pm, and was seated only about 4-5 minutes after check-in.

My partner and I ordered the petite filet 8oz, as the other sizing portions seemed huge; the filet only comes with the filet (no rice or mash or anything so a side has to be ordered if you don't want to eat only your meat/main dish).

The staff are very professional, and I was always happy with my waiter's service.

Dessert at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
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Brit’s Pub and Eating Establishment

Brit’s Pub and Eating Establishment is a restaurant in Nicollet Mall.

It's a little corner that pays homage to the UK and its influence on other parts of the world.

The wood-clad setting and relaxing vibe made it a perfect spot for dining and playing in downtown.

We started with a basket of King’s Wings, which were sadly taken off the menu after the pandemic, but I'm glad they brought them back.

They were just as delicious as I remembered.

We also tried the Royal Sampler before moving on to favorites like the London Broil, Shepherd’s Pie, and The Brit Dip. The Chicken Pot Pie was a standout dish, with its classic English pub vibes.

After our meal, we went to the rooftop and had a friendly game of lawn bowling with each other.

It was a great time, especially since they were showing the exit derby on their big screen.

It's an easy happy hour spot if you work downtown, although it gets really busy, especially during the summer.

Their patio on the top is always packed and gets booked a lot, so it's best to walk in only.

Hell’s Kitchen

Meal at Hell’s Kitchen
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Stepping into Hell's Kitchen on 9th St in downtown Minneapolis is like entering a gastronomic utopia, a far cry from the harrowing concept its name might suggest.

Don't let the fiery moniker fool you; there's no volcanic tempered chef in this kitchen.

Instead, a whirlwind of divine American dishes is whipped up in an atmosphere both quirky and vivacious.

Tucked underground, this restaurant's ambiance is an irresistible blend of eccentric décor and boisterous cheer.

Sharing dishes like the irresistibly hearty toasted sausage bread, devilishly delightful deviled eggs, and the sinful crunch of nachos, presents an immersive, communal dining experience that's only accentuated by the exploding flavors.

Dessert at Hell’s Kitchen
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The all-day breakfast specialties are my usual haunt post-appetizer indulgence.

Whether it's the robust Bison Benedict, the packed breakfast burrito, or the authentic walleye hash and eggs, the portions are generous to a fault and flavor, a guaranteed thrill ride for the taste buds.

Yet, the star of Hell’s Kitchen goes beyond the cuisine.

Regular live performances from local talents underscore the dining experience, the melodious strains making the food taste even better.

There's a certain enchantment in savoring delectable food while being serenaded by an upcoming virtuoso.

The Capital Grille

Salad at The Capital Grille
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One of my favorite restaurants in downtown Minneapolis is the Capital Grille.

This restaurant prepares its soups, salads, main courses, and desserts using only the finest ingredients possible.

Whenever I have a hard time choosing my meal, I ask for the chef’s suggestions to get me started.

For example, I've tried the sliced filet mignon with cipollini onions, wild mushrooms, and fig essence.

Another time, I enjoyed a serving of the porcini-rubbed bone-in ribeye with 15-year-old balsamic vinegar.

The Capital Grille also offers cheesecake, a classic creme brulee, or coconut cream pie for dessert.

On my last visit, I was looking for a place to get a good steak and noticed they have sea bass on the menu. So, The Capital Grille it was.

Drinks at The Capital Grille
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The service was exceptional. Andre was our waiter, and he was very professional, proper, and personable.

He made sure everything was to our liking and had great recommendations from cocktails to dessert.

The restaurant is posh, with lots of dark wood and heavy linen table covering. They have a beautiful full bar.

I felt under-dressed wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, and my husband in jeans and a flannel, but other people were wearing similar attire.

I suppose you can be casual or dressy.

We started with a light and delicious Stoli Doli, which was pineapple-infused vodka and their signature cocktail. For starters, we shared the house salad.

I appreciated that they split it into two smaller plates. We also had a beautiful basket of bread and a nice slab of butter.

The rolls were delightful and added to our overall experience.

Afro Deli and Grill

I recently tasted the most fabulous African creations at Afro Deli and Grill on Riverside Ave.

The fusion restaurant takes inspiration from African, Mediterranean, and American dishes, combining them into one menu.

It's also family-friendly, so I was able to take my kids, who found something they liked.

I had the afro steak dinner, while my husband got the chicken chapati wrap with fries.

The food was fresh and full of flavor, with tender steak and well-seasoned dishes.

The fries and the creole dipping sauce were absolutely yummy!

I've also tried the Somali steak sandwich before, and it's hard to go wrong with anything on their menu.

The service is fast and always kind, making it a classic spot in the area.

Don't forget to grab a serving of baklava, tiramisu, tres leches, and much more for dessert.

I can see why Afro Deli and Grill is considered one of the best restaurants on campus.

The unique combination of foods from different cultures and healthy portions make it a must-visit for anyone in the area.

Dave’s Downtown

Chicken salad at Dave’s Downtown
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Picking a restaurant to have lunch in Downtown Minneapolis can be time-consuming, especially with the hundreds of choices you’re presented with.

So why not make it easier by going to Dave’s Downtown instead?

Located along 2nd Ave, Dave’s Downtown offers a wide variety of classic lunch meals that anyone can enjoy.

The restaurant has become a downtown staple since the mid-2000s and continues to serve customers freshly made dishes you won’t find anywhere else.

I really like Dave's. It has become my go-to spot for lunch since I returned to working downtown.

I'd never heard of it before, but it had been years since I worked in the area.

They have an app you can use to order ahead, so it's easy to get in and out with your meal.

Tomato soup at Dave’s Downtown
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You also earn points with each order that get you discounts as they add up.

Get yourself a serving of American classics, chicken noodle soup, breakfast platters, or even lunch favorites like wraps, grilled chicken, and much more.

You might also want to try the famous mushroom swiss burger or the chicken tender wrap.

I've had the grilled cheese sandwich with beef chili; the patty melt; the bacon bourbon burger; and more.

My orders have been correct every time. The staff are also friendly when I've come in to either order directly there or to pick up the order ahead.

I haven't tried their breakfasts yet, though they seem tempting.

I'm not big on breakfast when it's not the weekend, but I might give it a try one of these days.

My Burger

A burger at My Burger
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It’s no secret that burgers are an American favorite, but there’s something about how it’s made that makes all the difference no matter where you’re from.

So if you ever find yourself craving a juicy burger in Downtown Minneapolis, you might want to check out My Burger along S Marquette Ave.

The burger joint first welcomed customers in 2004, serving a slew of homemade burgers the way they’re supposed to be.

I bring my family here every week for a meal, and we absolutely love it.

The prices are decent, with a burger and fries costing a little under $10.

The burgers are very good and consistently so. The fries are great as well, especially with the Cajun seasoning option.

If you’re planning to stick around Minneapolis for a while, My Burger has a burger of the month on its menu, giving you a different creation every time you visit.

Fries at My Burger
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Other than that, there are also classic favorites like bacon cheese, avocado BLT, veggie burgers, and more.

I remember a friend of mine bragging about the impossible burger he had here years ago, and I finally got to try it myself recently.

It was definitely worth the wait.

While taking a big bite out of your burger, you might also want to order from the restaurant’s milkshakes and malts menu.

I've had a few of their milkshakes, and they're always a perfect complement to the meal.

The service here is always top-notch, and it's one of the reasons I keep coming back.


Steak at Dakota
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In the heart of downtown Minneapolis, the culinary and cultural confluence that is Dakota emerges as an irresistible destination.

The moment you step inside this sophisticated jazz club and restaurant, you're enveloped by an ambiance that is as comforting as it is charismatic.

There's an intimate cadence resonating from the live music that becomes the perfect backdrop for a rich dining experience.

Commencing this delightful culinary journey, the deviled eggs set a remarkable precedent, seamlessly blending nostalgia with a gourmet touch.

The subsequent courses effortlessly retain this exceptional standard.

The blackened trout and roasted duck breast showcase an impeccable mastery of technique and flavor balance, while the American wagyu serves as a sublime exercise in decadence.

If a more relaxed indulgence is what you seek, the fried chicken sandwich is an unequivocal triumph.

Yet, no meal at Dakota is complete without venturing into their delicious denouement, the dessert menu.

From the decadently chocolaty Mississippi mud pie to the nuanced Dakota cheesecake, each offering is a masterstroke.

For the adventurous, the fig bar and caramelized banana crepes serve as an exploration into creative, yet comforting, dessert territory.

The experience at Dakota extends beyond the plate, with a convivial atmosphere ideal for luxuriating with friends post-meal.

It's a sanctuary where food, music, and companionship harmoniously intertwine, ensuring each visit is not just a meal, but a memorable occasion.

Final Thoughts

Living in Downtown Minneapolis, I can't help but appreciate the vibrant atmosphere and fantastic restaurants that offer local favorites.

If you ever find yourself in my neighborhood and have difficulty choosing which restaurant to dine in, I highly recommend sticking to this list of the best restaurants in Downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Trust me, you'll enjoy a great dining experience during your visit!

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