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Best Restaurants Near the University of Minnesota

Top 15 Restaurants Near the University of Minnesota 2024

Nestled in the heart of the Twin Cities, the University of Minnesota’s campus in Minneapolis not only boasts academic excellence but also a vibrant culinary scene. From cozy cafes to ethnic eateries, the area around the university offers a diverse array of dining options that cater to students, faculty, and locals alike. In this blog, we’ll take you on a gastronomic journey to explore some of the best restaurants near the University of Minnesota.

Table of Contents

15. Kimchi Tofu House

@minneapaula So glad I was finally able to try Kimchi Tofu House here in Minneapolis 🙌🏼 Everything we had was so comforting and delicious, I’m craving the tteokbokki just posting this video 🤤 #minneapolisfood #mplsfoodie #koreanfood #mnfoodie #minneapolisresturants ♬ Euphoria - BTS

Rating – 4.6 ⭐ (482)

Kimchi Tofu House is a popular choice near the University of Minnesota, highly recommended for fans of Korean and vegetarian cuisine. The menu is notable for its excellent bibimbap, flavorful spicy soup, and delectable tofu. Patrons also praise their tasty asida and fine coffee. The friendly staff and exceptional service contribute to the restaurant’s character and appeal. With reasonable pricing and a delightful atmosphere, it’s no surprise that it has a high rating of 4.6 on Google. This unassuming eatery, famous for dishes like tofu soup, bibimbap, and chicken bulgogi, offers a satisfying culinary experience for all who visit.

Popular items:

  1. Kimchi Tofu Soup: A warm, slightly spicy soup filled with soft tofu and fermented kimchi. This signature dish represents the essence of Korean cuisine with its balance of tang, spice, and umami.

  2. Bulgogi: Translated as “fire meat,” bulgogi is a beloved Korean dish. It consists of thinly sliced beef that has been marinated in a mix of soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, sugar, and other ingredients, then grilled to perfection.

  3. Bibimbap: A traditional Korean rice dish served in a hot stone pot. It includes various sautéed and seasoned vegetables, thinly sliced meat (often beef), a raw or fried egg, and gochujang (Korean chili pepper paste). All ingredients are mixed together just before eating.

  4. Banchan: These are small side dishes served with each meal in Korean cuisine. Common banchan items include kimchi, namul (seasoned and sautéed vegetables), jeon (Korean pancakes), and much more. The variety of banchan offered can change daily and seasonally, providing an ever-changing array of flavors and textures.

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14. Test Kitchen

Rating – 4.8 ⭐ (176)

This new restaurant on campus is one of my personal favorites. The burgers, sandwiches, and donuts at The Test Kitchen are unbeatable in my opinion. This standout eatery at the University of Minnesota is known for its succulent cheese steaks, mouthwatering cheeseburgers, and delicious duck dishes. Don’t miss out on their uniquely crunchy cinnamon donuts—a family recipe—or their excellent milkshakes, all likely to have you coming back for more.

Co-founders Chris and Kerry, who bring a world of culinary experience and a knack for creating high-quality meals from any ingredient, have built The Test Kitchen with the aim of serving the Minneapolis community exactly what they want. Their commitment to customer feedback is evidenced by their popular dishes “The Pat” and “Kenny Melt,” named after the customers who suggested them.

Popular items:

  1. The OG – Beef and Cheddar: Tri-tip steak, slow-roasted, thinly sliced, melted Wisconsin cheddar, mayo, ciabatta.

  2. The Crunch Burger: ¼ pound hand-cut burger, melted Wisconsin cheddar, lettuce, tomato, onion, house pickles, mayo.

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13. Kbop Korean Bistro

Kbop Korean Bistro

Rating – 4.4 ⭐ (737)

Kbop Korean Bistro is a must try Korean restaurant located in Dinkytown. This bistro is known for its innovative fusion dishes that tastefully combine the robust flavors of Korean cuisine with modern culinary trends. At Kbop Korean Bistro, dining isn’t just about the food; it’s an immersive experience that takes you on a flavorful journey to the heart of modern Korean cuisine. Whether you’re a local, a U of M student, or a visitor to Dinkytown, Kbop Korean Bistro is an exciting culinary adventure not to be missed.

Popular items:

  1. K-Bop (Korean-style Bibimbap): A customizable hot stone bowl of rice, your choice of protein (e.g., bulgogi beef, spicy pork), assorted fresh vegetables, a fried egg, and spicy gochujang sauce.

  2. Kimchi Fries: Crispy fries generously topped with flavorful kimchi, melted cheese, and a touch of spicy sauce, creating a delightful fusion of Korean and Western flavors.

  3. Bulgogi Sub: A hearty sandwich featuring tender slices of marinated beef, caramelized onions, and melted cheese, served in a warm, toasted bun.

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12. Caspian Bistro & Marketplace

Caspian Bistro and Gourmet Marketplace

Rating – 4.4 ⭐ (705)

For over three decades, this family-owned, eclectic Persian marketplace and art-filled café has maintained a rich culinary heritage marked by flavors of saffron, cardamom, sumac, turmeric, and rose water. With a reputation for excellent service, friendly staff, fair prices, and enchanting decor, the bistro showcases an unwavering dedication to food and service, providing an authentic Persian experience.

Popular items:

  1. Tahdigcrispy bottom of rice + homemade stews— Khoresh Combo: Ghormeh Sabzi + Gheimeh

  2. Mahicheh: halal lamb shank baked in tomato + herb + garlic sauce

  3. Pomegranate Wings: garlic + spices + pomegranate molasses glaze

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11. Mesa Pizza

Mesa Pizza Dinkytown Minneapolis, Minnesota

Rating – 4.4 ⭐ (808)

Mesa Pizza located in Dinkytown is an unconventional pizzeria known for its late-night service and creatively topped slices. With a lively atmosphere marked by colorful, graffiti-filled interiors, Mesa stands out for its adventurous take on pizza toppings, pushing the boundaries with offerings.

Popular items:

  1. Mac & Cheese Pizza: A unique fusion of comfort foods, this pizza features a cheesy macaroni topping on a crisp pizza slice.

  2. Taco Pizza: A delicious slice that captures the essence of a spicy taco, complete with all the traditional toppings.

  3. BBQ Chicken Pizza: A sweet and savory slice featuring smoky barbecue chicken, red onions, and a drizzle of BBQ sauce.

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10. Afro Deli & Grill

Afro Deli owner was named National Small Business Person of the Year

Rating – 4.6 ⭐ (822)

A vibrant culinary junction where African, Mediterranean, and American cuisines meet, Afro Deli & Grill delights diners with its fusion dishes. This nationally recognized restaurant has signature items like the “Afro Steak Dinner,” tender, juicy cuts served with aromatic spices, and the “Chicken Fantastic,” a dish that blends chicken, vegetables, and spices in a delicious harmony.

Popular items:

  1. ChapatiChoice of beef steak, lamb gyro, chicken sautéed or falafel with fresh vegetables and Somali rice, lettuce and ranch (burritos style) with a side of fries or salad. Lamb gyro wrap comes with Tzatziki sauce

  2. Afrosteak Dinner: Shredded beef steak seasoned and marinated with African spices, vegetable oil, fresh lime, cilantro satuéed bell peppers, sweet onion, fresh garlic with homemade red sauce over basmati rice

  3. Gopher Lamb Gyro: Slices of marinated rotisserie lamb gyros meat served with onion, tomato, lettuce, and Tzatziki (Greek cucumber) sauce on pita bread. Comes with a choice of salad or fries.

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9. Shaun Cheng

Shuang Cheng in Dinkytown Minneapolis, MN

Rating – 4.4 ⭐ (1,028)

Known for its authentic Cantonese offerings, Shuang Cheng brings the flavors of Southern China to Minneapolis. Since 1990 Shuang Cheng, which stands for “Twin Cities” in Chinese, has provided unique menu features dishes like the “Peking Duck,” and the “Seafood Hot Pot” to not just the Dinkytown area, but Twin Cities as a whole.

Popular items:

  1. Spicy SquidThe Baked Spicy Squid is meticulously crafted by marinating tender squid in a flavorful concoction of traditional spices, and then it’s baked to perfection, infusing each bite with a tantalizing balance of heat and umami, making it a standout dish in this authentic Cantonese menu.

  2. Walleye: The Walleye dish at Shuang Cheng is meticulously deep-fried until nearly fully cooked, then re-flashed in the fryer for a perfect texture, before being generously smothered in a freshly-prepared, robust hot meat sauce, offering an amazing taste experience that rivals any Chinatown in North America.

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8. Red Sea Ethiopian Restaurant

Red Sea Ethiopian Restaurant in Minneapolis, MN

Rating – 4.5 ⭐ (1,090)

The Red Sea, the first Ethiopian restaurant in Minneapolis, has been a beloved destination for authentic Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine since its establishment in 1990. Serving a diverse array of delicious dishes, including many vegetarian options, it also offers a full bar with daily Happy Hour from 4 to 7 p.m. The restaurant promises more than just scrumptious food—equipped with a state-of-the-art sound system and a spacious dance floor, it often hosts local bands and DJs, making it a vibrant nightlife hub.

Popular items:

  1. Awaze TibsCubed tender beef, onion, jalapeños, tomato, mixed with awaze sauce and our house blend spices.

  2. Super Veggie Combodouble size of Vegetarian. Chef’s selection of vegetarian dishes. Good for two plus people.

  3. Zilzil Tibs: Beef tenderloin, onion, jalapeños mixed bell peppers and Ethiopian herbs sauteed to perfection.

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7. Frank from Philly and Andrea's Pizza

Rating – 4.4 ⭐ (1,156)

Serving up authentic Philadelphia cheesesteaks alongside New York-style pizza, this joint combines East Coast favorites in one menu. This is one of the most loved spots for students at the University of Minnesota campus after a night out at the bars and it often stays busy late into the night on weekends.

Popular items:

  1. CheeseSteak Supremegrilled onion, green pepper, jalapeno, mushroom, choice of meat, choice of cheese

  2. CheeseSteak Hoagielettuce, tomato, mayo, extra virgin olive oil, red vinegar, salt, pepper, choice of meat, choice of cheese

  3. The Tony Pizzapepperoni, sausage, caramelized onion, caramelized tomato, fresh basil, Andrea’s house sauce, infused red chili oil

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6. Al’s Breakfast

 

Rating – 4.6 ⭐ (1,237)

Al’s Breakfast, a unique restaurant nestled in a former alleyway in Minneapolis’ Dinkytown neighborhood near the University of Minnesota, prides itself as the city’s narrowest eatery, measuring just ten feet wide. Despite its small size, Al’s Breakfast has had a big impact on generations of local students and notable figures, who consider this tiny 14-stool diner a significant state icon. Established in 1950 by Al Bergstrom, the establishment originally functioned as a round-the-clock eatery before transitioning to a breakfast-only outlet. It won a James Beard Foundation award in the “America’s Classics Restaurants” category in 2004, and has been featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives three times in 2007, 2010, and 2014. Its distinctive character has also been celebrated in literature, including a clear reference in Laurie Lindeen’s book Petal Pusher.

Popular items:

  1. French Toast: A warm, slightly spicy soup filled with soft tofu and fermented kimchi. This signature dish represents the essence of Korean cuisine with its balance of tang, spice, and umami.

  2. The JoseHash-Browns, with Homemade Salsa, Poached Eggs and Cheddar Cheese. Served with Toast

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5. Tea House Chinese Restaurant

Tea House Chinese Restaurant

 

Rating – 4.3 ⭐ (1,305)

A popular spot for Szechuan cuisine, Tea House serves dishes known for their bold flavors and generous use of garlic and chili peppers. Favorites include the “Kung Pao Chicken,” bursting with heat and a hint of sweetness, and the “Szechuan Dan Dan Noodles,” notable for their spicy and nutty sauce

Popular items:

  1. Kung Pao ChickenKung Pao Chicken was originally a typical family dish in Szechuan, and improved in the Qing Dynasty by Baozhen Ding during his time as ruler of the province. With the robust blend of sweet, sour and spicy, the dices of tender chicken stir fried with crispy peanuts moved beyond a provincial classic to becoming one of the most well-known Chinese dishes around the world.

  2. Szechuan DumplingsSteamed homemade dumplings in our house sweet soy sauce and chili oil, topped with fresh garlic and green onion. (Choice of Chicken or Vegetable)

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4. The Market at Malcolm Yards

 

Rating – 4.5 ⭐ (1,349)

This has an asterisks because it’s actually an innovative food hall, with multiple food vendors under one roof, offering a variety of cuisines as opposed to being a single restaurant, but regardless this is one of the highest rated spots near campus that hosts beloved Twin Cities establishments like Wrecktangle Pizza and Bebezito.

Popular items:

  1. Shredder from Wrecktangle Pizza: Pepperoni, pickled jalapeños, whipped cry baby craig’s, pecorino romano, and red sauce

  2. Classic Beef Empanada from Del Sur Empanades: Traditional beef empanadas are usually a safe bet at any South American restaurant. They’re filled with ground beef, onions, and often include a blend of spices like cumin and paprika.

  3. Seasonal Salads from Advellum Vegetable Eatery: One can never go wrong with a fresh, seasonal salad. Look for salads that utilize local, in-season produce for the freshest taste.

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3. Wally’s Falafel and Hummus

@quest_mn_ We went and checked out Wally’s Falafel and Hummus located in Dinkytown 417 14th Ave Se, absolute knock outta the park. Definitely a spot to go if your looking for good authentic Middle Eastern food! :: :: #minneapolis #minneapolisfoodie #minneapolisphotographer #minneapolisblogger #minneapolisfood #twincities #twincitiescollagecollective #twincitiescollective #twincitieseats #twincitiesbloggers #twincitiesfoodie #twincitiesfood #twincitiesevents #findyourquest ♬ original sound - Quest MN

Rating – 4.4 ⭐ (1,574)

Wally’s offers an authentic Middle Eastern dining experience with dishes like the “Chicken Shawarma Wrap,” packed with flavorful chicken and fresh vegetables, and the “Falafel Plate,” featuring crispy, well-spiced falafels and tangy hummus.

Popular items:

  1. Chicken ShawarmaFries, pickles, and garlic sauce are inside the wrap not on side. Sliced chicken shawarma, sliced pickles, sliced potato, and garlic sauce wrapped together in thin pita.

  2. Spicy Musa Hab Wrap SandwichWally’s special hot spicy chicken thigh, yellow rice, lettuce, tomato, chili sauce, and garlic sauce warped in our homemade burrito.

  3. Saj Chicken Shawarma WrapSliced chicken shawarma meat, sliced pickles, sliced potato, and garlic sauce wrapped together in Wally’s homemade Saj bread and then grilled to perfection.

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2. The Blue Door Pub University

Blue Door Pub University

 

Rating – 4.5 ⭐ (1,618)

Famous for its “Blucys,” unique iterations of the classic Twin Cities Juicy Lucy burger, this pub offers dishes like the “Mount Blucuvious,” a burger stuffed with ghost pepper cheese and topped with spicy pork and “Blucy’s Blucy,” a classic burger stuffed with blue cheese and garlic.

Popular items:

  1. Cease and DesistWhite and yellow American cheeses, sautéed onion, lettuce, ‘Merican sauce, pickle on the side.

  2. Bacon Bluesy: Smoked bacon-cheddar cheese, bacon on the inside, pickle on the side.

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And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for…… I present the #1 restaurant near the University of Minnesota….. But first remember to follow us on Tik Tok and to share this article with a friend that you’d like to visit these restaurants with!

 

1. Alma

Rating – 4.6 ⭐ (1,689)

A cafe, restaurant, and hotel rolled into one, Alma is a destination for fine dining and comforting, well-executed dishes. Alma doesn’t have any particularly popular items because the menu changes often, but it’s always exceptional. The “Alma Tasting Menu,” is a rotating menu that showcases the chef’s culinary prowess.

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Exploring the best restaurants near the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, is a delightful journey filled with flavors from around the world. From Middle Eastern delights to Korean comfort food, wood-fired pizzas to refreshing bubble teas, this area caters to diverse palates and offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a student, a visitor, or a local resident, the culinary landscape around the university is bound to leave you satiated and eager to return for more delightful dining experiences. So, next time you find yourself near the University of Minnesota, don’t hesitate to embark on a gastronomic adventure and discover the delightful culinary treasures it has to offer. Bon appétit!

Picture of AJ Beasley

AJ Beasley

I've lived in the Twin Cities for the last three years and in that time I've been able to visit hundreds of restaurants around Minneapolis and St. Paul.

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