Best Minneapolis Restaurants for Couples and Families

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spoon sculpture in Minneapolis
It makes sense that a city that has a spoon as one of its iconic images has great food and drink. From the free Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Photo credit: Judy Antell

The writer was hosted.

With chic museums, beautiful parks and a thriving music scene, Minneapolis is a must-see if you’re traveling through the Midwest. This Minnesota town is a hub for shopping, sports, culture and family-friendly activities offered all-year-round (yes, even in the winter). A day of sightseeing here will leave any traveler with a healthy appetite. 

Rest your weary feet at Longfellow Grill and enjoy some hearty comfort food. Or feast on Vietnamese street food at Hai Hai. For a classy night out, sip on a negroni at Young Joni. No matter your mood, Minneapolis has it all!

My daughter went to college near the Twin Cities and now that she’s graduated and moved on, my husband and I have been missing this wonderful place and the burgeoning food and drink scene. So when I was offered a chance to spend a few days in Minneapolis, I jumped at the chance. Here’s a list of my favorite Minneapolis restaurants and bars for couples and families.

Best Minneapolis Restaurants for Families

Vegan Sloppy Joe at Hen House, one of the best Minneapolis restaurants
The vegan Sloppy Joe at Hen House. Photo credit: Judy Antell

Hen House Eatery

114 South 8th St. 

This breakfast and lunch place has an extensive vegan menu and a children’s menu with the usual kid’s faves. What sets it apart is the emphasis on local, organic ingredients. The menu runs the gamut from eggs to chicken and waffles to Mexican specialties like carnitas. There is also a separate vegan menu which excited us. We shared the Vegan Herbie with vegan eggs, Impossible sausage, vegan cheese, pesto, arugula, avocado and caramelized onions. Everything was wonderful.

For those looking for lunch, get a cheeseburger, crispy Buffalo chicken sandwich or mac and cheese with BBQ pork.

And we got a huge chocolate peanut butter brownie (not vegan) to go. Baked goods are made in house and worth every calorie.


708 S 3rd St.

During our visit, we stayed at The Canopy by Hilton Minneapolis Mill District. The hotel’s in-house restaurant, Umbra, is open to anyone and has a wonderful breakfast buffet. The continental buffet includes plenty of fresh fruit, yogurt, cereal, bread, muffins and bagels, plus juice, milk and coffee. The full buffet, for $18 ($12 for kids 5-12 and free under 5) has at least three hot dishes. We had a frittata loaded with vegetables; there was also breakfast meat and another egg dish, plus potatoes.

If you want an early dinner with the kids, flatbreads are half price at happy hour, weekdays from 4-6pm.

Lounge in the Canopy by Hilton
The lounge in the historic Canopy by Hilton, with Umbra to the left. Photo credit: Judy Antell

Longfellow Grill

2990 W River Pkwy

This comfort food restaurant serves breakfast all day, plus more substantial food for lunch and dinner. There are salads, tacos, bowls, sandwiches and burgers. On the breakfast menu, you can add vegan or meat sausage to the egg dishes. This a a great place for brunch.

The kids’ menu – all under $9 – includes fruit and goldfish. It has mac and cheese, burgers and grilled chicken.

This may not be fine dining, but it is one of the best restaurants since everyone will be happy. Longfellow is across the street from the river, with hiking and biking trails right there.

Best Places for Couples to Drink in Minneapolis

salad at a Minneapolis restaurant
Entree sized salad. Photo credit: Judy Antell

Surly Brewery

520 Malcolm Ave SE

This Minneapolis brewery has extensive indoor and outdoor space. During the day, Surly is family friendly and has tacos and bar food in the beer hall. There is a sit down pizza restaurant upstairs. At night, with fewer kids, you can enjoy 35 beers on tap. The signature Furious is a must for first timers and returning out-of-towners.

Surly outdoor seating in Minneapolis
Outdoors at Surly, just a short walk from O’Shaugnessy. Photo credit: Judy Antell

O’Shaughnessy Distillery

600 Malcolm Ave SE

Right next door to Surly, O’Shaughnessy Distillery specializes in American Whiskey in an Irish style. There is a gorgeous cocktail bar upstairs, filled with comfortable couches and an outdoor area. We had two of the signature cocktails, a Manhattan and an Old Fashioned. Downstairs, you can also get small plates and desserts.

Note: You can also grab food and creative cocktails at the Market at Malcolm Yards, across the street from Surly and O’Shaughnessy. The Market has a tap wall with self serve beer and kombucha; you pay by the ounce.

Two cocktails at O'Shaughnessy Distillery, a great place to drink in Minneapolis
Signature cocktails at O’Shaughnessy Distillery. Photo credit: Judy Antell

Back Bar at Young Joni

165 13th Ave. NE

The James Beard award winning Young Joni is so popular that two months in advance, the only reservation I could get was at 8:15 on a Monday. But the Back Bar, a speakeasy through an alley, serves the same carefully crafted cocktails (along with the amazing Young Joni pizza). There is a cocktail called ‘Taxi,’ made of brandy, china-china, walnut, banana, arrabbiatta, cbd. Anothr cocktail, ‘The X-Files’ is made from gin, mulled pear liqueur, pine nut orgeat, lemon. 

It was too dim to photograph our drinks, but trust me. You want to go to northeast Minneapolis and drink (and eat) here.

Spoon & Stable

211 N 1st St, Minneapolis

Another James Beard award winner, Spoon & Stable in the north loop has small plates and a lively bar scene. The black truffle aranchini pairs well with the craft cocktails and long list of wines by the glass. There are also a number of interesting ‘spirit free’ cocktails for those who don’t imbibe.

Lakes & Legends Brewery

1368 Lasalle Ave

The farm to glass brewery allows dogs inside the taproom. There is also ample outdoor seating. The beer is exceedingly fresh and the there are currently 11 beers on tap, incuding two IPAs.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Don’t feel like going out? Have DoorDash bring food to your hotel or vacation rental.

More Minneapolis Restaurants to Try (and St. Paul too!)

Plate of brussel sprouts
Brussels sprouts at Hai Hai. Photo credit: Judy Antell

Hai Hai

2121 University Ave NE

This Vietnamese street food restaurant, a James Beard finalist, is where we had my daughter’s college graduation dinner. It’s best to share a bunch of small plates and appetizers to try as much as possible. The menu includes Balinese and Thai influences.

The kids’ menu includes a rice bowl with protein choice (mock duck!) and coconut chicken.

Hola Arepa

3501 Nicollet Ave

Hola Arepa, in South Minneapolis, has Latin street food with Venezuelan arepas. The restaurant is owned by the Hai Hai team. The signature corn meal cake arepas come filled with fried chicken, black beans & sweet potato and eight other options. Almost everything here is gluten-free. And the leap from Asian food to arepas makes sense since dumplings are just another dough-filled appetizer.

World Street Kitchen

2743 Lyndale Ave S.

This uptown restaurant also has a food truck you can find in downtown Minneapolis. There are tacos, hummus bowls, Moroccan fried chicken sandwiches and the best Brussels sprouts I’ve ever had. The kids’ menu includes Korean “BBQ” short rib & rice and crispy marinated tofu & rice.

Pizzeria Lola

5557 Xerxes Ave S

This was the first restaurant owned by Ann Kim of Young Joni. It specializes in wood fired pizza. Desserts include homemade soft serve and homemade chocolate chip cookies.

Prohibition Bar entrance at the W Minneapolis
The Prohibition Bar at the W Minneapolis – The Foshay. Photo credit: Judy Antell

Prohibition Bar at the W Hotel

Living Room, 821 S Marquette Ave

This bar, on the 27th floor of the W Hotel in the landmark Foshay Tower had yet to reopen when I visited. But I got to take a peek at the bar, which offers panoramic 360 degree views of the Twin Cities, gorgeous original woodwork and craft cocktails, including a Foshay favorite called ‘The Epiphany,’ made of Grey Goos La Poire, St. Germain, sparkling wine and an orchid garnish. 

Owamni by The Sioux Chef

420 1st St. South

I have no idea if this indigenous restaurant is good, because it had just opened when I visited and was fully booked the whole time I was in town. But it has great buzz and I’m excited to try it on another trip. Owamni, run by a James Beard award winner, features Native American heirloom and local produce. Everything on the menu is void of dairy, wheat flour, cane sugar, beef, chicken and pork but has game and lots of vegetables. 

Owamni also opened Indigenous Food Lab, a professinal Indigenous kitchen, to help local Native American communities. 

J. Selby’s

169 N. Victoria St.

This plant based St. Paul favorite reimagines American classics. The spicy BBQ Sandwich, Dirty Secret vegan cheeseburger and cauliflower wings are musts. The kids’ menu, with vegan takes on fast food, could set the stage for a lifetime of healthy eating. The turkey ‘deli’  sandwich is a winner.

Vegan cheeseburger at J. Selby's in St. Paul Minnesota
A vegan cheeseburger at J. Selby’s. Photo credit: Judy Antell


1668 Grand Avenue

The Mediterranean restaurant Shish has falafel, kebobs and baklava. There are plenty of vegan and gluten free options. All for $6.95, the kids’ menu has cheeseburgers and authentic Mediterranean food for adventurous young eaters: gyros and chicken shawarma. 

How to Work Up an Appetite in Minneapolis

Minneapolis and St. Paul boast great biking on greenways, protected bike lanes and bike boulevards. There is a robust bike share program, with e-bikes for those who need pedal assist.

We tried to bike as much as possible to burn off all those calories seeking out the best restaurants in the Twin Cities. We had to go uptown, to south Minneapolis, northeast Minneapolis  – even to St. Paul. That was 28 miles one day, all on heavy 3 speed bikes. But the flat terrain helps.

Public transit fares in Minneapolis range from $2 to $3.25, but if you’re only traveling within downtown zones, each bus or metro ride is $.50. Rides are free along Nicollet Mall. If you’re staying for a while, you can also get a 7-day pass for $24, valid on all buses and metro lines except for the Northstar Commuter trains. 

What to Do in Minneapolis (When You’re Not Eating)

We interspersed our meals at the best Minneapolis restaurants with museums, learning about an early pandemic at the Hennepin History Museum, plants as medicine in the science oriented Bakken Museum and art from the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union at The Museum of Russian Art.

Luckily for us, there are more museums to explore and more restaurants to try.

Find More Places to Stay Near Minneapolis, Minnesota

During our trip, we stayed at The Canopy by Hilton Minneapolis Mill District. The dog- and kid-friendly hotel is two blocks from the Mill City Farmers Market, hosted on Saturdays all-year round. Come for the locally-grown produce, and stay for free yoga in the summer months. 

There are lots of other hotel options near Minneapolis, including vacation rentals. Use this interactive map to help you find a place to stay in the area.


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