As Minnesota isn’t anywhere close to a coast, it is sometimes hard to find quality seafood. There are plenty of places slinging frozen shrimp and sub-par calamari. But when you want something as delicate and delicious as scallops for lunch or dinner, sub-par just won’t cut it. A bad scallop leaves a taste in your mouth that can’t leave fast enough, and is hard to forget. We hit the streets to find the local restaurants that do them right; the places that will never let you down when looking for that sweet taste of the ocean.
Sea Salt Eatery
4825 Minnehaha Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55417
(612) 721-8990
www.seasalteatery.com

While they’re closed all winter long, hungry crowds await every spring when they reopen. Sure, we can only dine here during warm weather months, but it’s one of the best ways to signify and celebrate the end of winter. Located in Minnehaha Park, Sea Salt offers a full experience: the faint roar of Minnehaha Falls in the distance, the smell of seafood in the air, and of course, scallop tacos with a cold beer to wash them down. It’s not just a great place to enjoy seafood, it’s a great way to enjoy warming weather and the beauty of Minnesota.

Rincon 38
3801 Grand Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55409
(612) 824-4052
www.rincon38.com

Being as close to the water as Spain is, it’s no wonder that seafood is well-represented in Spanish cooking. Though we’re far, far away from any ocean or sea here in Minnesota, we’re lucky enough to places like Rincon 38 bringing those flavors to our doorstep. The restaurant specializes in tapas (small plates), so you won’t get too full trying multiple things. Make sure to get the Vieras, a dish comprised of seared sea scallops, citron asparagus, caper butter sauce, spinach, and fennel slaw and let yourself be transported straight to the warmth and sun of the Iberian Peninsula.

Spoon And Stable
211 1st St N
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(612) 224-9850
www.spoonandstable.com

The much-lauded restaurant in Minneapolis’ North Loop seems to do everything just right. The ambiance is understated and elegant, the service is impeccable, and, for the purposes of this article, the scallops are divine. It’s a crudo dish, so the scallops are raw; chilled, tender, with just the right amount of ocean. Paired with green apple, shiso, chilies and scallion vinaigrette, they have an Asian note to them which only enhances their fresh flavor. It’s not your typical scallop dish, and that makes it all the more memorable.

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Joan’s In The Park
631 Snelling Ave S
St Paul, MN 55116
(651) 690-3297
www.joansinthepark.com

This tiny restaurant in St. Paul’s Highand Park neighborhood falls under the radar in a thriving Twin Cities food scene. But it shouldn’t. The food, service, and wine are all incredible. And their New Bedford Day Boat scallops? Even better. Served in coconut carrot puree, with a potato rösti (which is sort of like a hashbrown, but better), and mint pistou, The dish is a little sweet from the coconut, hearty from the potatoe with  burst of brightness from the mint; it’s a melange of flavors that seem to last forever and will certainly satisfy.

112 Eatery
112 3rd St N
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(612) 343-7696
www.112eatery.com

Everything seems to be done to perfection at this Warehouse District restaurant. The sea scallops with oyster mushroom will remind you of the ocean’s salty breeze while offering a meaty deliciousness that we love as Minnesotans. It’s the kind of dish that will help seafood skeptics warm up to the idea of eating the ocean’s fruits. So succulent and soft, with just the right amount of sear, it’s truly a special dish. And if you’re impressed by these, pop over to the sister restaurant, Bar La Grassa in the North Loop, to give their version a try as well.

Related: Best Seafood 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.