Minnesota’s location in the center of the country, far from either ocean coast, certainly doesn’t mean that there is any shortage of the world’s best seafood. Common in French cooking since the dawn of time, mussels have become a fine-dining staple, and quite simply, a delicious, ocean-rich plate that is sure to please your palate. These Minnesota restaurants make sure you’re eating the very finest.

(credit: Meritage Facebook Page)

(credit: Meritage Facebook Page)

Meritage
412 St. Peter St.
St. Paul, MN 55102
(651) 222-5676
www.meritage-stpaul.com

Possibly the finest restaurant for seafood in the state, the fresh shellfish at this brasserie will transport you right to the coast of France. Landlocked? Cold weather? It doesn’t matter that you’re in Minnesota when you sit down for a plate of moules frites. Steamed with pancetta, garlic, tomato and white wine, the rich and fragrant bowl will have you smiling before you even take a bite. This is the one place you could bring someone from the coast and say, “Told you so.”

Ngon Vietnamese Bistro
799 University Ave. W.
St Paul, MN 55104
(651) 222-3301
www.ngonbistro.com

The union of French and Vietnamese makes for memorable flavors in this hip restaurant along the Green Line. The mussels exemplify that fusion perfectly, served up in a curry pho broth that is savory, a little sweet and nice and spicy. It’s a perfect bath for the mussels to swim in. Whether for dinner or just a light snack, this plate will let you know exactly why Ngon has been one of the most popular places on University Avenue.

Cafe Vin
5555 Xerxes Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55410
(612) 922-0100
www.cave-vin.net

It’s hard to find anything that’s not done to perfection at this South Minneapolis restaurant, whether it’s steak, salmon or just a rack of ribs. The richest, plumpest mussels can be found here as well. While the menu changes often, reflecting seasonal ingredients and inspirations, the Prince Edward Island mussels are a typical mainstay. Cooked up in white wine with shallots and garlic, with frites on the side, these are a must-try.

Related: Best Seafood Restaurants In Minnesota

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Barbette
1600 W. Lake St.
Minneapolis, MN 55408
(612) 827-5710
www.barbette.com

The classic preparation, steamed with a white wine with a little lemon and garlic added, make some of the plumpest mussels around really sing. You can order a pound of them, or two if you’re sharing. A more casual experience, Barbette’s colorful and bohemian vibe make it a great place to enjoy a big plate of moules. No need to dress up and watch your posture just to get some of the best French fare in the Twin Cities.

(credit: Steve McPherson)

(credit: Steve McPherson)

W.A. Frost & Company
374 Selby Ave
St Paul, MN 55102
(651) 224-5715
www.wafrost.com

A rich broth, made with cilantro and Fresno chilies, with a little sweet and spice added as well from a curry give these mussels a whole different personality. You’re not getting the classic preparation here, and that’s okay. The heading says they are “To Share” but you won’t want to give up even one of these delectable little mollusks.

Related: Best French Restaurants In Minnesota

Adrian Schramm is a resident Saint Paul writer with a passion for all things local. Through his work with Saint Paul Almanac and Minneapolis Examiner at Examiner.com, as well as in the kitchens of bars and restaurants around town, he has discovered what truly makes the Twin Cities tick.

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