Victor’s 1959 Cafe
This Cuban diner is known for its mango pancakes, Cuban bread and pretty much every other offering on its menu. When the weather is warmer, dine in the portion of the parking lot that transforms into an outdoor patio. Options for vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free eaters abound. Victor’s is a great launchpad for a stroll through this section of South Minneapolis or a weekend bike ride.
BTW: Bring a marker. Practically every surface of the restaurant is covered in scribbles from guests, and you’ll want to add your name.
Victor’s 1959 Cafe, 3756 Grand Ave. S, Minneapolis, Minn. 55409
Bogart’s Doughnut Co.
Bogart’s in Uptown is not far from the Chain of Lakes, so in addition to the sweets, the location is an ideal way to start a day of exploration. It has one special doughnut most days, but its daily lineup is full of standouts like brioche doughnuts filled with Nutella and a classic glaze. When the weather’s warm, there’s a bucket of chalk outside ready for creative customers.
BTW: Bogart’s is dog-friendly. Arrive early enough and they’ll get a treat from the staff, who tend to remember canine regulars by name.
Bogart’s Doughnut Co., 904 W. 36th St., Minneapolis, Minn. 55408
Midtown Global Market
Eateries often describe themselves as having something for everybody, but this market actually delivers. The variety of cuisines — Middle Eastern falafel, Latin favorites (tacos), Somali and pan-African dishes like camel burgers (!), alongside beer, coffee, desserts and more — is so broad, you’d be hard-pressed to not find one thing you like. If that includes hummus, order an entree at Holy Land, which comes with the creamy dip on the side; you’ll get more than enough to bring home and eat for days and you can add as much pita as you like.
BTW: Parking can be tough here, so consider getting dropped off.
Midtown Global Market, 920 E. Lake St., Minneapolis, Minn. 55407
Every city has its signature pizza place. Many would argue that Minneapolis’s is Pizza Luce. With locations across the Twin Cities and suburbs, Luce is beloved by almost everyone in town. The often-limiting dish here is as inclusive as possible, with vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options — and some of the vegan pies are so good that carnivores are known to order them with a meat on top.
BTW: Can’t commit? Any pizza can be split in half to provide two choices.
Pizza Luce, 3200 Lyndale Ave. S, Minneapolis, Minn. 55408
Sea Salt Eatery
While everyone crowds the more notable restaurants across the city, this seafood spot is where to have a casual dinner like a local during the warmer months. It’s such an institution that the seasonal restaurant opening is treated as a signal that spring has sprung in Minneapolis; it opens in April and closes in late fall. Make sure you pick the right line when you’re ready to order: They’re separate for food, drinks and ice cream. Then head outside to the patio.
BTW: Hit up the drink line first and sip on a glass of white wine or a chilled beer while you wait in the food line. Don’t forget your I.D.; the place is a stickler about carding.
Sea Salt Eatery, 4825 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis, Minn. 55417
Giving unique takes on Oaxacan food in a stucco oasis, Colita has been a smash since opening in late 2018. Its bar is a plant-filled respite that serves drinks conceived by Marco Zappia, a rising star in the beverage industry — come ready to drink. The deconstructed elote is a must-try, as are all the desserts. The tortillas are hand-ground in-house each day with Oaxacan corn and are cooked to order.
BTW: During busy times, the bartenders are known to hand out samples of drinks to patrons waiting to snag a seat, which is what you’ll probably have to do without a reservation.
Colita, 5400 Penn Ave. S, Minneapolis, Minn. 55419
The molten-cheddar-cheese-stuffed Jucy Lucy burger is a Minneapolis icon, and although some still debate its exact origins, many would bet their lives that it originated at Matt’s Bar in 1954. The bar is a dive classic, with wood paneling and leather bar stools that fill up on game days. Do yourself a favor and order the Jucy Lucy with onions and pickles with fries and you won’t be disappointed. Versions of this burger can be found across the globe, but no place does it like this Minneapolis icon.
BTW: This place is an old-school, cash-only spot. There is an ATM, but it comes with a larger-than-usual fee.
Matt’s Bar, 3500 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis, Minn. 55407
The thing about Pat’s Tap is that it’s great at any hour, in an ideal location and serves “elevated bar food” in the best way possible. The place is kid-friendly until about 9 p.m. and dog-friendly on the patio at all hours. Known as a Packers bar, during football season it’ll probably be filled with a sea of fans decked out in green. While there are all kinds of goodies on the menu, the spicy ketchup that accompanies the cheese curds takes them to the next level.
BTW: Bring quarters; there’s Skee-Ball in the back. The machines are so old that one always seems to be working for free, so hang around long enough, and a local will clue you in to which one.
Pat’s Tap, 3510 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis, Minn. 55408