Best Restaurants in Duluth, MN

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Best Restaurants in Duluth, MN - Canal Park district restaurants

Duluth, located at the western tip of Lake Superior at the Minnesota-Wisconsin border, has a lively dining scene. Surprising, since it’s much smaller than other food-centric Great Lakes cities like Minneapolis. Not only will you find excellent fish, craft beers, and drool-worthy local entrees, many spots have a great view of Lake Superior as a perk! If you’re headed to this fun Midwest town, arrive hungry and keep this list handy to make sure you hit all the best restaurants in Duluth MN.

Read More: Where to stay on a visit to Duluth.

Best Lakeside Restaurants in Duluth

This Lake Superior city is situated to bring you great lake views while you nosh on delicious food! If you’re in town, don’t skip the lakeside fun and food. Here are the best lakeside spots to grab a bite and enjoy the view.

Best Restaurants in Duluth, MN - Canal Park Brewing Company
Canal Park Brewing Company is my favorite spot to grab a beer with a view. Photo credit: Amanda Williams

Canal Park Brewing Company

Very family and dog-friendly, the spot is slammed with locals and tourists alike in the summer months.

  • Play bean bags by the lakewalk
  • Outdoor seating
  • Rotational and staple tap offerings
  • Great menu
  • Awesome location, walkable in Canal Park
  • Some parking is free on-site for customers

Fitger’s Brewhouse Brewery

An oldie but a goodie, the Fitger’s Brewhouse is both a brewery and the lakeside location of an inn and restaurant. A true trifecta, or more appropriately, the hat trick of food, beverage, and fun in Duluth.

  • Fitger’s Inn (try The Boat Club for great food and entertainment)
  • Fitger’s Brewhouse (This menu has over a dozen of my favorite things: elote, poutine, wild rice burgers, and tacos!)
  • Ice cream shop nearby

Pickwick Restaurant and Pub

I haven’t been to this historic spot (near Fitger’s and Va Bene on the east side of the shoreline, headed toward Highway 61 North) but I’ve heard amazing things about the steak here.

  • Use the Fitger’s parking complex for ease
  • Walk around to Leif Erickson Rose Garden to digest that delicious steak

Va Bene

Va Bene is one of the most popular restaurants in Duluth, and yet, somehow, I have not yet managed to get there! Last time I had Italian in Duluth, it was at Olive Garden. So, this is now at the top of my summer bucket list!

  • Lakeviews to die for near the rose garden and north shore
  • Reservations recommended
  • I have yet to go, but based on hundreds of reviews, I have got to get there!

Read More: Fun things to do in Duluth, even in the winter!

Best Canal Park Restaurants Inland

Canal Park is dense with eats, shopping, entertainment, and hotels. Sometimes though, since space is at a premium, you’ll have to walk a block or so from Lake Superior to enjoy some of the flavors of the neighborhood. It’s worth it. Trust me.

Best Restaurants in Duluth, MN - Northern Waters Smokehaus and Lake Ave Restaurant & Bar
The Northern Waters Smokehaus and Lake Ave Restaurant & Bar can be found under the big DeWitt-Seitz building sign in Canal Park. Photo credit: Amanda Williams

Lake Ave Restaurant & Bar

Lake Ave is a trendy spot for new American cuisine and is often busy on weekends. I like to order take-out and then enjoy it at a nearby brewery like Hoops. Parking can be an issue in the Canal Park district, so be prepared to find a public parking lot and walk around all day to save frustration. This spot is near the DeWitt-Seitz Marketplace building and the iconic lift bridge.

  • Creative menu
  • Comfort foods with a twist
  • Lift bridge views
  • Can be busy at peak meal times and weekends

Northern Waters Smokehaus

Trout, walleye, salmon, and other fishy feasting can be arranged within the walls of Northern Waters Smokehaus.

  • Eat in or take out
  • Smoked fish tacos are insane here!
  • Order online if you are leaving Duluth but want the fish fest to continue once home

Grandma’s Saloon & Grill

The namesake restaurant of Duluth’s historical figure, Grandma Rosa Brochi, now simply “Grandma” is the place to go for iconic dining. It’s not anything that uniquely stands out for me, BUT, it’s a piece of history and has consistently delicious food.

  • Canal Park district, inland
  • Finish line of the infamous “Grandma’s Marathon”
  • near the lift bridge and walkable Canal Park area
  • iconic spot so always busy
Best Restaurants in Duluth, MN - Bellisio’s in Canal Park
Bellisio’s in Canal Park is where to find fine Italian cuisine. Photo credit: Amanda Williams

Bellisio’s Italian Restaurant

Ciao bella! If you’re in Canal Park and you must find Italian food, head to Bellisio’s — just about a block from that giant aerial lift bridge.

  • Wine bar
  • Crowded Canal Park district, you may need to park and walk
  • Expected favorites like gourmet pasta dishes but also steaks, seafood, and pork specialties
  • Reservations welcome

Duluth Restaurants on the Hillside

These restaurants are some of the very best restaurants in Duluth and are inland from Lake Superior, located “on the hill” as locals say about the area of town a few miles away from the water.

Tavern on the Hill

Ample parking since you’re away from the Canal Park congestion, featuring a lovely dining setting and also a bit of a sports bar feel.

  • Reservations accepted
  • Tons of beers on tap, locally crafted spirits
  • Locally owned
  • Casual dining (try the cheese curds!)
  • Super great burgers but an extensive menu for a great dining experience

Sara’s Table Chester Creek Cafe

This is a quaint and cute “hippie” vibe brunch spot with a killer Florentine eggs benedict and many omelets. Parking is a bit limited, but not impossible.

  • Seating is limited, reservations recommended
  • Gluten-free options
  • Eclectic fusion menu offering including wild rice dishes, curry, shawarma and muesli
  • Decadent bakery items, cocktails and wines

Best Restaurants in Downtown Duluth

Duluth has a robust downtown and it includes many streets including the bustling and vibrant Superior Street, but covers a large area. You will find an abundance of dining experiences in this section of town.

Pizza Luce

Pronounced Pizza “loo-chay,” this place is off the charts if you have a hankering for a pizza pie. Very contemporary in everything from the menu to the take-out box, Pizza Luce is family and tummy-friendly! Pizza to satisfy your taste buds is done best here on Superior Street.

  • Vegan and gluten-free options
  • Reservations available
  • They have elote pizza for a Mexican twist on your slice
  • There are menu options outside the pizza realm

OMC Smokehouse

You know what you’ll find at 1909 W Superior Street in Duluth? Oink, Moo, Cluck — shortened to OMC and some of the best grub in town. If you like pork rinds, you’ll be in heaven. With outdoor fire pits and local craft beers, OMC also has live music to complete the vibe.

  • Pork rinds are free
  • House sauces are mouthwatering
  • The motif is contemporary barnyard friends and is truly adorable
Best Restaurants in Duluth, MN - Silos
Silos is located inside Pier B Resort which is adjacent to Bayfront Park and just off of I-35. Photo credit: Amanda Williams

More Great Dining Options Around Duluth

Even though the city population is only 80,000 people, Duluth is expansive and there are so many options, I’ve just not been to them all…or it’s been a while and things have likely changed. Duluth’s Lincoln Park Craft District is at the west end of Superior Street near the ore docks and has been revitalized to offer many options for eating and drinking adventures. There are spots all over town, too, including these extras:

  • New Scenic Cafe – further out of town and up the north shore; a fine dining experience and unique menu; more expensive but really cool with lake views from the countryside.
  • Sir Benedict’s Tavern – lakeside near the rose garden with outdoor seating; a place still personally unexplored but raved about!
  • Burger Paradox – newly opened this year; trendy burger spot on Superior Street that is top of my list to explore soon
  • Silos at Pier B – a little expensive, nice menu options at Pier B Resort
  • Vitta Pizza – Neapolitan wood-fired pizza in the heart of Canal Park; no firsthand experience but the setting is fabulous and the pizza looks great!
  • Duluth Grill – Located closer to West Duluth, this organic brunch offering is super delicious and popular with the masses.
Amanda Williams is a journalist in rural Minnesota. Her stories have been published in Matador Travel Network, Midwest Living, Family Handyman, and several other publications. A solo mother of two young boys, she writes about adventures from National Parks to waterparks. She loves sharing tips and insider information for others to use to make their trip just a little bit better. She and her kids scuba dive and live for new experiences and thrills. Road trips are always on the horizon and she’s embraced van life and has driven from the Midwest to Alaska (via Canada) with her kids encompassing 32 days of wild adventures. Amanda is classically trained as a wildlife biologist and has worked as a National Park Ranger, in addition to other exciting jobs like being a wildland firefighter and even playing the part of a living historian, as a cook in a turn-of-the-century logging camp. Because of these outdoorsy experiences, stories relating to outdoor adventure are often a focus of her writing. She hopes to inspire other solo parents to take on Disney, camping, and trips abroad with their families with the confidence to make those memories, even as the lone adult in the mix! Her most recent obsession is photographing adventures from the land, water, AND skies, as a licensed small unmanned aircraft system (drone) pilot. Learn more about her at https://www.wayfaringmandy.com/ or follow her on Instagram, @WayfaringMandy.
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