Uptown is home to many of Minneapolis’ restaurants and retail shops and at times, decision making can at times be difficult. If you are making a trip to this popular location of the city and you want to get the best for your buck, here are a few of my top picks, in no particular order.

(credit: infiniteateahouse.com)

Infinitea Teahouse

2827 Hennepin Ave. S
Minneapolis, MN 55408
Website | Directory

This tea house offers 200 loose leaf teas, but I recommend its organic honeybush vanilla. If you are in search of something cold, try the mango bubble tea — it’s fantastic: not too sweet and very fresh. Infinitea sells its tea by the ounce for under $10.

(credit: noyougohome.com)

Go Home

1408 W Lake St
Minneapolis, MN 55408
(612) 824-8732
Website | Directory

If you are in need of a conversation starter or just something unique, check out this boutique-style furnishings shop. This tight space is filled with sofas, chairs, lamps and other miscellaneous items such as clocks and magnets. I am a big fan of finding out-of-the-ordinary picture frames and this place caters to my budget of $20 or less. Keep in mind most of what you find here will be appropriately priced above this mark, but you’ll find frames, books, random kitchen supplies and other fun items to be cost effective.

(credit: landmarktheatres.com)

Lagoon Cinema

1320 Lagoon Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55408
Website | Directory

This five-theater cinema is situated at the heart of Uptown and is great for matinees or evening to late-night showings. Expect a variety of independent films combined with something more mainstream. Parking is easy and in the rear of the building. Seating is comfortable and the prices of entry and treats are tailored to those not looking to break the bank.

Tum Rup Thai

1221 W Lake St
Minneapolis, MN 55408

Sometimes I just feel like treating myself to a meal of my favorite, chicken pad Thai. No matter what your favorite Thai dish is, this restaurant has it and is able to create it to your liking. Keep in mind its medium spicy is still hot! Anyhow, this small space is a great reflection of Uptown: welcoming to all lifestyles, bargain shoppers and in need of an alternative to the “norm.” Most meal items are priced under $20.

(credit: namastechai.com)

Namaste Café

2512 Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55405
Website | Directory

If you are a curry fan, I highly recommend this place. The coconut fish with green pepper and tomatoes is amazing and has just the right amount of of spice. The service is a big win and ambiance is quint and humble. Great first date place. Vegan or vegetarian? They have you covered.

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Stella’s Fish Cafe and Prestige Oyster Bar

1400 West Lake Street
Minneapolis, MN 55408

Within the last few years, this area has seen the growth of restaurants offering new and trendy patios. In my opinion, the Stella’s patio is the best. Whether you order from one of the best seafood menus in town or you are there to grab a cocktail, get a seat at the bar or put your name in for a patio table. The service is always great and the warm air coupled with showing off your new sunglasses is priceless. For around $15, I recommend the Salmon Explosion sushi roll.

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Uncommon Grounds Coffeehouse

2809 Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55408

Yes, this “Best Of” features items below $20 and of course coffee is well below that. But I guarantee you you will get several cups of you favorite coffee beverage here as you will enjoy this place to study, read, meet friends or just hang out. The front porch of this converted home is a great place to relax in the sunny weather. Its French press is amazing.

(credit: barbette.com)


1600 W Lake St
Minneapolis, MN 55408
(612) 208-0254

This is another great place to enjoy a patio. This one is a bit more shaded if you stop by after around 3 p.m. If you have been to New York, this style and decor of this place will give you deja vu. The last time I went it was happy hour (which is great) and I ordered the Beef Bourguigno, which I highly recommend. Most items are under $20, but if you are out to splurge, they have items to suit your moments of impulse too. Great date spot.

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Lucia’s Bakery

1432 W 31st St
Minneapolis, MN 55408

This place has it all: a restaurant, bakery and wine bar. My favorite are its pastries, such as the apricot danish in the picture to the right. Its “To Go” shop is open early and you can pick up a variety of meals such as the pastries or other great breakfast and lunch items. Keep in mind the portions for breakfast, lunch and dinner are on the small side, so plan accordingly.

(credit: ilgattominneapolis.com)

Il Gatto

3001 Hennepin Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55408
(651) 293-1655

If you are a fan of happy hour, this place has one of the best in all of Uptown. In the location of the former Figlio, the same owners opened Il Gatto and it appears to be equally as successful, including its cocktail and food specials. Meet up with a friend in the bar area or make it more personal and take a seat in the dining area. The service is a “10” and the food is spectacular. I ordered and would recommend the Mint Fazzoletti pasta. Filling and under budget.

-Justin Reis is a WCCO intern studying broadcast journalism at the University of Minnesota. His passion for finding the “best” in the Twin Cities is inspired by his role as a group fitness instructor and interests ranging from “anything artistic” to “anything social.” Please leave a comment on what you think of his recommendations.