Gasthof Zur Gemutlichkeit (Germany)
2300 University Ave NE, Minneapolis • 612-781-3860
It may be hard to pronounce, but it’s easy to enjoy as long as you’re ready to go big. From the gravy-laden entrees and meter-long sausages to the wrist-weakening steins of kolsch and communal cries of “Zigge, zagge, Zigge, zagge, hoi, hoi, hoi!” you have to come willing to participate and be entertained. Request a “sneef” from a server in the upstairs dining room, then head downstairs for dancing and more drinks at Mario’s Keller bar, where you can polka to a live band until midnight.
Black Forest Inn (Germany)
1 E 26th St, Minneapolis• 612-872-0812
Black Forest Inn on Eat Street has been in business since 1965, which means they’ve had nearly half a century to perfect their food and drink offerings. This German eatery, with its regal and easily-distinguished exterior, hosts several popular fests throughout the year, including celebrations for National Apple Strudel Day, Fasching (Germany’s equivalent of Mardi Gras), and a whole week dedicated to asparagus. During warmer months, their twinkle-lit tucked-away patio makes for some of the best al fresco dining at any restaurant in Minneapolis.
Amsterdam Bar and Hall (Holland)
6 W 6th St, St Paul • 612-285-3112
Though it’s mainly billed as a gin bar, Amsterdam Bar and Hall’s selection of premium imports on tap is equally impressive. Sample everything from familiar Dutch beers like Tilburg Brown, to hard-to-find Belgians like La Chouffe McChouffe. Rest assured that anything you order here will satisfy, especially if it’s to wash down an order of Amsterdam’s fabulous Belgian-style frites or their special sausage broodjie, made in-house.
1600 W Lake St, Minneapolis • 612-82-5710
Produce and protein from local purveyors get a modern treatment rooted in classic French technique at this low-key brasserie near Lake Calhoun. Order any of the seafood dishes, the ethereal truffle-whipped brie with crusty baguette, or rosy grilled lamb chops. Champagne, French wines, and creative cocktails are all available, but in particular, the food on the late night menu calls for something on tap. Similar to that in the kitchen, the focus of the craft beer selection is local and homegrown.
410 St Peter St, St Paul • 651-222-5670
This upscale French restaurant is owned and operated by award-winning chef Russell Klein. During his time at Meritage, he has revived Absinthe drinking, set the standard for Matzo ball soup, and introduced St. Paul to truly lacy and luxurious crepes. He’s also cultivated one of the coolest oyster bars in town. Post up for a casual meal of moules frites and a milk stout from Left Hand Brewing, or a Domaine Du Page—a French-style craft ale from Two Brothers Brewing in Illinois.
Pig & Fiddle (Belgian)
3812 W 50th St, Minneapolis • 952-955-8385
Potted meats, pickled eggs, and comforting peasant-style dishes are all on the menu at Pig & Fiddle, a warm old-world restaurant near the corner of 50th & France. In addition to the readily-stoked fireplace, the real heart of the operation is the well-stocked bar, featuring 36 rotating taps that are heavy on the Belgians.
Blue Nile (Ethiopia)
2027 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis • 612-338-3000
This expansive restaurant and lounge has a lot going on. It’s a popular venue for live music, particularly local hip hop acts. Many of the shareable, spicy dishes are vegan and vegetarian-friendly, and the beer list, categorized by style, is as long as it is unique. Everything from Brasserie Caracole Saxo Golden Ale to North Coast Imperial Russian Stout to Bell’s Batch 8000 works with this earthy, complex cuisine.
Red Sea (Ethiopia/International)
320 Cedar Ave, Minneapolis • 612-333-1644
East African flavors meet American tastes at this West Bank bar and lounge where they serve breakfast all day and under-the-radar rock, hip-hop, and reggae bands play all night. Plan to go between 4 and 9 PM for one of the cheapest happy hours in town.