Have friends in from out-of-town for your wedding? Have family vising for the weekend? Need a new place to try out with your sweetie?
I’ve got recommendations for you (and for them) so that we can all show off the Twin Cities right. Let’s eat well, get a feel for where we are, and not stress out about it.
I’m starting with my breakfast guide because, when I visit new cities, I need to have a breakfast plan.
My breakfast requirements include atmosphere that gives me a sense of place, food that is a little indulgent, a neighborhood to walk around in, and good coffee.
With that in mind, here are my top suggestions for where to send your out-of-town friends and family to breakfast in the Twin Cities.
Where you should send your guests to breakfast
If your relatives want to feel pampered and have the best croissant this side of the Atlantic, grabbing pastries and coffee at Bellecour is a pretty phenomenal way to start a day. You can sit down for an actual breakfast instead of grabbing a bite in the coffee shop-style bakery, but if the weather is nice, get a coffee and enjoy a short walk by the piers across the street. Especially noteworthy: the crepe cake, and literally anything in the bakery case. (note: this is about a 25-minute drive from downtown Minneapolis) https://bellecourrestaurant.com/
Isles Bun and Coffee (Uptown Minneapolis)
This tiny storefront only makes cinnamon rolls. There might not be a place to sit down, and there will be a line. Order the puppy dog tails (cinnamon twists) and a coffee, get the extra cream cheese frosting, and walk around Uptown. Make sure you get extra napkins, too. http://www.islesbun.com/
Hi-Lo Diner (South Minneapolis)
This is a new restaurant that looks like an old dinner – part hipster boozy milkshakes and part really good hashbrowns, and it’s a very cool place to grab breakfast. There might be a wait and they specialize in fancy things served on top of doughnuts (called “Hi Tops”). I generally just get eggs and hashbrowns, but definitely save room for a banana malt (or order off their bar menu!) http://www.hi-lo-diner.com/
Al’s Breakfast (U of M campus)
Someone had the great idea to roof over a 10-foot alleyway between two buildings in the Dinkytown area of the University of Minnesota. It has 14 stools facing a flat top range, some of the best pancakes (yeasty but chewy), and a no-nonsense approach to everything. Best bet is arriving before students are up, bringing only a few friends, and enough cash (no credit cards here). The first time I ate at Al’s, we sat next to a student and his parents (who had met in college there decades before). The parents remembered they had left a credit at Al’s (many people prepay in an old fashioned coupon book system) and the staff were able to find it and apply the remaining $2.41 to the bill. https://www.alsbreakfastmpls.com/
Hola Arepa (South Minneapolis)
People serious about having fun with their food started Hola Arepa as a food truck years before, and their South Minneapolis restaurant is lively and fun, featuring Venezuelan-style takes on casual dining. Most of their food happens to be gluten-free, and they open for brunch on weekends at 10am. http://holaarepa.com/
The Kenwood (Lake of the Isles)
This lovely restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner Tuesday – Sunday. It’s nestled in a quiet, upscale neighborhood by Lake of the Isles. Breakfast is particularly enjoyable – traditional but well executed. They take reservations and it’s an excellent spot for catching up with friends. Bonus: after breakfast, browse Birchbark Books next door, one of the best bookstores in the state, and then take a walk around Lake of the Isles, a roughly kidney-shaped lake surrounded by paths, mature willows, WPA-era bridges, and some of the most luxurious mansions in Minneapolis. http://www.thekenwoodrestaurant.com/
Chimborazo (Northeast Minneapolis)
The best Ecuadorian food in Minneapolis also has an excellent brunch – flavorful South American favorites blend with American fare (French toast, please!). I’ve never had a bad meal here, and their outdoor patio is excellent. http://chimborazorestaurant.com/
Patisserie 46 (South Minneapolis – sister location of Rose St Patisserie in Linden Hills)
You want to impress your jet setting friends with an authentic French baguette or fruit tarte but you also want a casual “let’s just stop in for coffee and a pastry” vibe. The pastry chef/owner is internationally recognized as a master of French pastry, and has chosen to call Minneapolis home. Notable: all the fancy tarts, almond croissant. Space is tight, so get cozy or arrive early. http://patisserie46.com/ and http://rosestreet.co/