Ok, you have friends and family in from out of town, and they want recommendations on where to grab dinner. The Twin Cities area is killing it with amazing dinning options now, here are some of my recommendations for impressing your guests – from the uber urbane to those looking for a comfortable spot to catch up.

Where to send your guests to dinner

where to send your out of town guests for dinner
Duck a la Presse at Meritage – where to send your guests to dinner


My favorite fine-dining restaurant in the Cities – and in a lovely part of St Paul. Get ready for superb service and excellent French-inspired fare. Their seafood is flown in fresh daily (its the only place I order fresh oysters in town). Their wild-caught Pacific shrimp is simple and flavorful enough to impress even friends from the coasts. A perfect wine menu and excellent drinks program are paired with staff that will make you feel totally welcome. They take reservations and will make you feel like a prince, but for something more casual I recommend sitting at the bar.


where to send your out of town guests for dinner
Mint Mojito at Spoon and Stable – where to send your guests to dinner

Spoon and Stable

The hot young thing in town is still Spoon and Stable, whose chef just received the Best Chef: Midwest accolade from the James Beard Foundation. It’s the kind of place where they spank the mint instead of muddling it because that’s better for releasing the oils in your mojito, they make their own bread with wild fermentation, and everything from the hospitality to the desserts are exceptional. Getting a reservation is tough but possible.

Bar Brigade

A European bistro dropped into a cozy St Paul neighborhood. Good wine, excellent small plates, and great service with this chef-driven restaurant.

where to send your out of town guests for dinner
The back bar at Young Joni is great for drinks or engagement photos!

Young Joni

Everything that chef Ann Kim creates at her restaurants is pretty great. With Young Joni, a high-end pizza place brings in a more Korean approach to sides and starters for something really cosmopolitan and delicious!


Constantine is the name of the bar at the Hotel Ivy. You can sit at the formal restaurant (Monello) for upscale Italian, but only Constantine has the most amazing burger you will have for $5. Its cheesy and flavorful and so very craveable. Excellent place to end an evening, or start a fun night downtown, pair with great drinks for an excellent casual dinner.

where to send your out of town guests for dinnerSt Genevieve

This hits a lot of marks for nice dinner spots with out-of-towners – they take reservations, have excellent wine list, in a cute neighborhood, and the food is modern French meets American food with a slightly small plate vibe. Excellent service and a lively (but somewhat raucous) atmosphere round it out!


The chef is Beard award winning, and the restaurant features a great value in tasting menus with an excellent wine list. Located close enough to campus that visiting professors are often there, it’s also attached to its own boutique hotel (Hotel Alma) and coffee shop (Cafe Alma), which has excellent pastries and coffee.


Revival makes fried chicken. It is amazing, the line is always long, and they are walk in only. So, if you are feeling like getting the finest fried chicken and fixings, put your name on the list, walk across the street for a beer, and they will give you a call when there is an open table. Alternatively: truck on over to the larger St. Paul location and try your luck there.

Hai Hai

Of all the new school Southeast Asian places in Minneapolis, Hai Hai needs to be on the top of your list. A fun, almost Polynesian vibe and super bold flavors give nowhere for conservative taste buds to hide, and that is the best part. Many vegan friendly options and so so tasty.


I love gatherings - backyard picnics, formal weddings, tiny food stalls, and most things in between. I specialize in weddings and editorial portraits and I'd love to work with you on your next event!

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