Jeni of JeniEats is sharing some of her favorites restaurants in the Minneapolis- St. Paul, Minnesota area. Thanks Jeni for sharing your passion with all of us!
Love it or hate it, your hometown will always be your hometown.
Jake and I love ours. We grew-up in Minneapolis-St. Paul and have since moved around the Midwest several times, in fact, for his job. The Twin Cities will always be our home base. On the surface, Jake and I don’t have a lot in common. He’s a die-hard Vikings fan and I consider Top Chef to be my Superbowl; He prefers talk radio and I like music. What we’ve always had in common is our passion for food.
Now that we live in St. Louis, we don’t visit the Twin Cities as often as we used to. Many restaurants have come and gone since we moved six years ago. When we’re craving a taste of home, we tend to return to our old favorites. Here’s where you might find us on our next trip back:
When I was a new college grad, I used to work at Broders’ Cucina Italiana. Employees were encouraged to try everything and everything tasted good. We even got a meal credit during each shift and sometimes took home leftover pizza at the end of the night. Still, I never got sick of the food and crave it to this day. When we were dating, I took Jake to Broders’ to share some of my favorite dishes. He got hooked and we love treating our family to meals here.
You can buy pizza by the slice here, but we suggest ordering a whole pie. You’ll want leftovers. Our typical order includes the Eggplant Special Pizza topped with red bell peppers, sweet caramelized onions, goat cheese, herbs, and roasted eggplant, plus some punchy black olive spread (Olivata Nera), and a big green salad. My favorite is the Greek salad loaded with fresh vegetables, feta, and chickpeas and served with a homemade lemon vinaigrette, but the Emilia Salad which includes prociutto, pine nuts, and balsamic vinaigrette is also a favorite.
Before you pay at the counter, choose a dessert. You’ll find Italian cookies and scratch-made pastries like seasonal cheesecake slices, flourless chocolate cake, and fruit tarts. Dine-in, call ahead for carry-out or, if you’re not to far away, request delivery.
Bangkok Thai Deli
Back when we first visited Bangkok Thai Deli, it was located in the back of a small Asian grocery store. Now, you’ll find the restaurant in its own building along the same stretch of University Avenue near the St. Paul Capitol.
Dine in or take-out, it’s your choice. Some foods are best enjoyed on the spot. For example, you’ll want to dig into whole deep-fried tilapia doused in a sweet and spicy tri-flavor sauce while the skin’s still crisp. Our typical order usually includes something new and our favorite chicken pad thai, grilled beef salad, and red or green curry. Another favorite dish is the Chinese eggplant with shrimp and ground pork.
Taqueria Los Ocampos
There are several locations in Minneapolis and St. Paul but we usually go the one in Seeger Square on Arcade because it’s near my in-laws’. Our standard order includes a variety of tacos including al pastor, tongue, cecina beef and spicy ground beef. In Mexican street-style tacos style, they’re served in double tortillas and garnished with cilantro, lime, shaved radish, and onion. Los Ocampos makes these delicious, spicy salsas that are almost creamy. Jake prefers the red and I prefer the green. If you like heat, you’ll want to ask for extra.
Also notable and delicious are homemade corn tortilla dishes like gorditas, huaraches, and sopes. If you order a quesadilla, you’ll see how they press the dough onto the griddle before adding your choice of fillings. Taqueria Los Ocampos is open late, making it the perfect place to go when you need a late night snack. It’s one of the best, affordable feasts and some of our favorite tacos we’ve enjoyed anywhere.
There’s a restaurant in the Twin Cities for every mood and food preference. For the best way to find your new favorite, don’t hesitate to ask a local. Twin Cities residents love to share their favorite spots.