The Hottest Restaurants in

Restaurants in NE Minneapolis

MAYA CUISINE

Mexican • $ • 1840 Central Av. NE., Mpls. • 612-789-0775 •

This is no watered-down Tex-Mex. The flavors are clear, powerful and clean. The limited menu is anchored by lots of carbs — in the forms of tacos, tamales, burritos, tortas and quesadillas — finished with vibrantly prepared treatments of pork, beef and chicken. The cafeteria-like ordering process isn’t as smooth as it could be, but a little patience upfront yields a significant payoff, whether it’s a tamale laced with chicken simmered in a fiery salsa verde, a two-fisted grilled sandwich stuffed with pineapple-marinated pork or the deeply flavorful beef tongue tacos. Sure, you’ll walk away with the scent of the grill permeating every molecule of your being. But the quirky setting could have been pulled off a telenovela soundstage, and what’s not to love about the spectacular man cave-inspired party room? Other pluses include the late-night weekend schedule and the super-nice people. Rick Nelson

JL BEERS

American • $ • 24 University Av. NE., Mpls. • 612-208-0400 • www.jlbeers.com

Unless you’re an unkempt bachelor shame-eating an entire frozen pizza in your underwear, the paper towel-as-napkin move has little charm. But if you can forgive JL Beers for lining its long black bar with paper towel dispensers (a bit too casual, no?), the Fargo-based mini chain is a serviceable beer-and-burger joint with 40 taps. The narrow bar and restaurant’s crank-’em-out ticket times and affordable $6 burgers (fries are extra) make it a quick and convenient grub spot for students living in the nearby Marcy-Holmes ’hood. Michael Rietmulder

IDEAL DINER

American diner • $ • 1314 Central Av. NE., Mpls. • 612-789-7630 • www.idealdiner.com

Taking a seat at one of the Ideal Diner’s 14 stools is an instant reminder of the hardworking, tough-talking side of Minneapolis that seems to be evaporating before our very eyes. The food is similarly timeless, reminding the post-McDonald’s generation that fast food used to be defined by short-order patty melts, BLTs and pork tenderloin sandwiches. The ideal Ideal meal of choice is breakfast. The pancakes — thin, tender and golden — are terrific, and the ultra-eggy French toast is finished with a dash of cinnamon. The bacon is smoky and chewy, hash browns are taken to a pleasant crispiness, there’s an omelet for every appetite and the hearty corned beef hash will jump-start the weariest of mornings. R.N.

ANCHOR FISH & CHIPS:A generous slab of wild Alaskan cod, dipped in a delicate water-based batter and fried. Fabulous thick-cut, Minnesota-raised fried potatoes. A low-key late-nighter where folks can enjoy a cold beer, well-prepared bar fare and genuine hospitality, all at blue-collar prices. 2 13th Av. NE., Mpls. 612-676-1300.)

THE BULLDOG N.E.: American. Grade-A ingredients, strong technique and creative thinking meet traditional neighborhood pub genre. The next-generation bar food exudes obvious smarts and attention to detail. Oh, yeah — it tastes good, too. (401 E. Hennepin Av., Mpls., 612-378-2855.)

BRASA: American/Caribbean. Local, sustainable and often gluten-free. Meat lovers have nothing to complain about, and vegetarians are kept happy with a long list of side dishes — cheese grits, jalapeño creamed spinach and fried plantains are always a sure bet. (600 E. Hennepin Av., Mpls. 612-379-3030.)

CHINDIAN CAFE: Asian. The name reflects the co-owners’ collective heritages: Nina Wong was born in Vietnam to Chinese parents, and spouse Thomas Gnanapragasam is third-generation Malaysian with Indian roots. A blending of their cooking heritages makes for deliciously appealing food. (1500 E. Hennepin Av., Mpls., 612-676-1818.)

CRESCENT MOON BAKERY: Afghani-American counter-service gem. Sandwiches are beautiful brown pies filled with cheeses, spinach, lamb and other savory ingredients. Pizzas are made with robust, chewy crusts, a well-seasoned red sauce and a variety of fresh toppings. (2339 Central Av. NE., Mpls., 612-782-0169.)

DUSTY’S BAR: American. A Northeast workingman’s bar that’s haunted by regulars, Dusty’s is known for its dagos — sandwiches that combine Italian sausage patties with cheese and a hamburger-like presentation on a bun. (1319 NE. Marshall St., Mpls., 612-378-9831.) (James Norton)

kafta, lamb kabobs and other favorites. (641 University Av. NE., Mpls. 612-379-4069.)

GINGER HOP: Asian. This spot fashions a menu of familiar-sounding Asian dishes without making them sound dull, liberally mixing across borders and hemispheres. There are also dishes with beer undertones. (201 E. Hennepin Av., Mpls., 612-746-0304.)

INDEED BREWING: Indeed’s jewel of a taproom looks more like a real bar than any of the other new Minneapolis taprooms. The brewery’s hop-heavy flagship beers are on tap, and food trucks like NateDogs and Anchor Fish & Chips are outside. Open Thu.-Sat. (711 15th Av. NE., Mpls. 612-843-5090.)

KARTA THAI: All the familiar Thai items, including homemade curries, soups (thom yum), salads and spring rolls. 2411 Central Av. NE., Mpls. 612-788-4000.

KRAMARCZUK’S: This institution brings accessible Eastern European deli food to the masses. Its in-house restaurant offers a simple but pleasing menu of Ukrainian favorites. (215 E. Hennepin Av. S., 612-379-3018.) (J.N.)

LOWRY CAFE: American. An all-American classic comes to restaurant-starved north Minneapolis. Comfort-minded staples of short-order cooking are nicely done here. (2207 Lowry Av. N., Mpls., 612-677-2233.)

MARINA GRILL & DELI: Middle Eastern. Mediterranean basics include gyros and falafel sandwiches, kofta, kebabs and grilled and rotisserie chicken. (2424 University Av. NE., 612-788-0461.)

MAYSLACK’S: American. Mayslack’s legendary 1-pound garlic-drenched roast beef sandwiches are as good as ever. Other options include hoagies, sandwiches, broasted chicken and pork chops. (1428 NE.4th St., Mpls., 612-789-9862.)

RUSTY TACO: The sequel to the popular St. Paul specialty spot serves up margaritas, beer and specialty tequila with its tacos. (522 E. Hennepin Av., Mpls. 612-278-5630.)

UNCLE FRANKY’S: American. Hot dog freaks know Franky’s for its quality toppings, which hit its many varieties of dogs in balanced proportions. (728 NE. Broadway, Mpls., 612-455-2181.) (J.N.)

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CHIMBORAZO: South American. Ecuadoran fare pops with flavor and authenticity — from the llapingachos (cheese-stuffed potato patties) to the camarones encocado (a brightly sauced shrimp dish). (2851 Central Av. NE., Mpls., 612-788-1328.) (J.N.)

ELI’S EAST: American. When your cravings are vague yet overarching, it’s Eli’s to the rescue. Eli’s cooking is bistro-meets-bar-meets-your-mom’s — not too elevated to lose its comfort factor, nor too lowbrow to be forgettable. (815 E. Hennepin Av., Mpls. 612-331-0031.)

GARDENS OF SALONICA: Greek. Soups, salads, fish and lamb, plus a big variety of boughatsas, filo pastries with sweet or savory fillings, all in a very stylish setting. (19 NE. 5th St., 612-378-0611.)

GORKHA PALACE: Indian. A short survey of Nepali, Tibetan and Indian fare including fantastic handmade dumplings and blistered, buttery naan. Fragrant biryanis and chicken and lamb items prepared in the tandoor oven. (23 NE. 4th St., Mpls., 612-886-3451.)

HAZEL’S NORTHEAST: American. Brothers Adam and Andrew Sieve serve the foods they grew up eating. Nothing fancy, but wholly satisfying and made from scratch. (2859 NE. Johnson St., Mpls. 612-788-4778.)

KEEGAN’S IRISH PUB: Corned beef, shepherd’s pie and poached salmon, as well as some less Gaelic specialties such as lobster-stuffed chicken. (16 University Av. NE., Mpls., 612-252-0880.)

MASU SUSHI & ROBATA: Japanese. Game-changing restaurant offers grilled robata selections from vegetables to seafood items to pork and beef, plus some of the most artful nigiri, sashimi and makizushi in the Twin Cities. (330 E. Hennepin Av. 612-332-6278.)

Source: www.vita.mn
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