Best Tasting Menus In The Twin Cities

July 25, 2012 6:00 AM

Photo Credit: Restaurant Alma

With so many wonderful restaurants and chefs in the Twin Cities area, wouldn’t it be great to sample the best of each chef’s menu? By choosing off a tasting menu, you not only get to enjoy the ambiance of these great restaurants, but the chef’s best choices have already been selected for you. Listed below are some of the most popular tasting menus in the area, with most of these restaurants also focusing on local, Midwest ingredients.

See our updated Best Tasting Menus In Minnesota here.

restaurant alma Best Tasting Menus In The Twin Cities

Photo Credit: Restaurant Alma

Restaurant Alma
528 University Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 379-4909

Price: $48 for three-course tasting menu, $38 for four-course vegetarian tasting menu

Located near University Avenue, this restaurant specializes in tasting menus. The entire menu changes every six to eight weeks while continuously focusing on local, sustainable ingredients. Each diner is given a menu of choices from which to choose their desired meal. Such delicious options include the possibility of bison carpaccio, parmesan flan, a crispy bean pancake, braised beef short rib and pan-roasted trout. Don’t look past the dessert menu; tastes of Thai-iced coffee chocolate tart, salted caramel cake and peach crumble pie are all worth a try.

Related: Best Tapas In Minneapolis

porter and frye Best Tasting Menus In The Twin Cities

Photo Credit: Porter and Frye

Porter and Frye
1115 2nd Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 353-3500

Price: $80 per couple for three-course tasting menu

In the heart of downtown Minneapolis lies a wonderful restaurant inside the Ivy Tower. A tasting menu is offered each Thursday night, prepared by the Chef Master, along with a bottle of wine to be shared with your partner. Featuring contemporary American cuisine, expect to see local farms and co-ops highlighted on the menu in each dish. Potential offerings include jicama-mango salad, Swedish meatballs, veal leg cutlets and bone-in pork loin. Can you think of any better date night?

heartland restaurant and farm direct market Best Tasting Menus In The Twin Cities

Photo Credit: Heartland Restaurant and Farm Direct Market

Heartland Restaurant & Farm Direct Market
289 E 5th St
Saint Paul, MN 55101
(651) 699-3536

Price: $45 for three-course Fauna tasting menu; $35 for three-course Flora tasting menu

While Heartland Restaurant is known for its Midwest regional cuisine, it has become a local favorite for its attention to organically grown and sustainably raised local ingredients. Chef Lenny Russo has been nominated as Best Chef: Midwest Category by the James Beard Foundation in both 2010 and 2011, and keeps people coming back for more with his nightly changing menu. There are two three-course tasting menus available daily; a Fauna tasting, which features two meat-based entrees and a dessert, and a Flora tasting that highlights the best in vegetarian dining. Check out the ever-changing daily menu on the website.

sanctuary Best Tasting Menus In The Twin Cities

Photo Credit: Sanctuary

903 Washington Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55415
(612) 339-5058

Price: $35 for five-course tasting menu; $49 for five-course tasting menu and wine pairings

As what has been called one of the most underrated restaurants in Minneapolis, Sanctuary has one of the best selections of fresh, balanced and adventurous entrees in town. Chef Patrick highlights the best in American-Asian fusion using local produce daily. With a five-course tasting menu available Monday through Thursday, you cannot go wrong with the Sanctuary. Hope to see such favorites like shrimp and avocado ceviche, chilled honey-strawberry soup, lemongrass chive risotto or oven-roasted hen. Conclude the parade of plates with options like carrot-walnut cake, apple-cinnamon bread pudding or cheese and candied nuts.

la belle vie Best Tasting Menus In The Twin Cities

Photo Credit: La Belle Vie

La Belle Vie
510 Groveland Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 874-6440

Price: $85 for chef’s tasting menu; $150 for chef’s tasting menu and wine flight; $70 for five-course tasting menu; $118 for five-course tasting menu and wine flight

Winner of the 2009 James Beard Award for Best Chef Midwest, executive chef Tim McKee is know for his unique spin on French Mediterranean cuisine. The restaurant offers two daily tasting menus – the chef’s menu and a five-course tasting menu. While the prices are steeper than most competing tasting menus, Chef Tim’s creations keep customers more than satisfied with their meals. Expect to see a variety of seafoods, lamb, pork, pasta and a beautifully prepared dessert at this tasting. Such dishes like sautéed rabbit loin, fennel crusted soft-shelled crab and grilled beef rib calotte might grace the menu.

Related: The Spiciest Dishes In The Twin Cities

Alicia Stewart, a clinical dietitian at a metro hospital in St Paul, MN, has the unique role of working both as an acute care clinical dietitian, as well as an out-patient counselor. She has worked with hundreds of clients on various health topics, including diabetes, weight management, family health, and other chronic health conditions that can be controlled and improved with the right food choices. Her work can be found at

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