Best Restaurants in Rochester, MN!

Restaurants Blog Hop

I’ve partnered together with some fabulous members of Social Fabric to bring you our favorite places to eat across the U.S., Canada, and even the U.K.  This post will cover only my area- Rochester, Minnesota.  But look for another post soon with the complete list of recommended restaurants covering all areas.

I’ve lived in the Rochester area for 13 years and my family has developed a list of our favorite places to eat out.  It should be apparent, but obviously this list is unique to my family.  Everyone has different preferences, taste buds, and tendencies.  Since we are a family of five with small children, most of my choices are family friendly.  I have not visited all the restaurants in Rochester, but based upon my experience these establishments standout from the rest.

I’ve ranked the restaurants in order of preference.  I won’t keep you guessing as to our family favorite, but instead will start with #1:)

****************BEST RESTAURANTS IN ROCHESTER, MINNESOTA ***************

 

1. Whistle Binkies– Since it opened, this restaurant has been my family’s favorite.  Whistle Binkies is a local Rochester creation and certainly not one to be missed.  This restaurant is really a southeast Minnesota’s version of a Scottish pub.  The beer list is long and the food is great, but what makes my husband come back on a weekly basis is the Noi’s Egg Roll Salad and $2 Bloody Mary’s on Saturdays.

whistle binkies rochester minnesota

The atmosphere is entirely child friendly and during the winter months has an especially comfy feeling with an inviting warm gas fireplace.  Currently there is a North and South location, but my family prefers the North pub.  There is no question the free popcorn is the best in town.  Good luck trying to only eat a handful!

2. Twigs– This restaurant is known for their hot rock grilling, but that is not my favorite aspect of this local destination.  You have to order the Parmesan Crisps.  I don’t know how they do it, but they are slightly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.  Dipped in marinara or ranch sauce they are divine.  I’ve never had anything like them.  I’ve also had a variety of the small plates and they are also fabulous. This could be the only place I’ve ever ordered rutabaga! It’s marvelous! While you can bring children this place it is definitely best for date night.

3. Dunn Bros Coffee– Back when we only had one kid, my husband and I would visit Dunn Bros. on an almost weekly basis.  The breakfast and coffee is fabulous.  The atmosphere is inviting and represents a typical upscale coffee house experience.  The only negative is that it is so popular finding a table on a Saturday morning can be a bit of a struggle.  And while this location is technically child friendly, three high energy little boys are a bit too much for the laid back atmosphere.  Instead this coffee house has become our morning date location.

4. Baker’s Square–  This restaurant certainly isn’t high class, but it is definitely one my family’s favs.  Baker’s Square reminds me of the type of restaurants I visited as a child.  I always order breakfast.  It doesn’t matter what time of day it is, I always want breakfast food:) All three of my boys gobble up the funny face breakfast in this kid friendly environment.  Baker’s Square never fails delivery comfy foods to the masses.  Plus on Wednesday each entree purchased receives a free slice of pie.  How awesome is that?!

bakers square

5. John Hardy’s Bar-B-Q– I have to add this barbecue restaurant to my list purely for my husband.  He loves John Hardy’s.  I can’t deny the barbecue is definitely tasty.  However if you like to visit a restaurant for the experience, you might be left wanting more from this hole-in-the-wall.  It’s grungy, it’s greasy, it’s definitely a guy’s place.   That being said, please order my food to go and I won’t complain:) 

6. Indian Garden– To say I love Indian food would be an understatement.  My favorite place to enjoy the pleasant mix of curry and cardamon is in Milwaukee, but since that is not convenient, my Rochester go-to place is the Indian Garden.  Yes, of course you can order off the menu.  But I find when eating Indian food the buffet is the best.  What a great way to sample new foods without any risk of an entire meal.

7. China Star– The best Chinese take-out in town.  My husband and boys could eat the Won Ton Soup and Beef Lo Mein multiple times a week if I let them.  My personal favorite is a Black Pepper Chicken which technically isn’t on the menu, but they are kind enough to make for me when requested.

china star

8. The Redwood Room–  I’ve only eaten at this popular intimate restaurant on a couple of occasions, but The Redwood Room is a unique Rochester experience.  With cozy seating, dimly lit atmosphere, and live music this restaurant is definitely not kid friendly.  This is a great date night destination, but you’ll want to arrive early as it is very popular.

Make sure to visit back soon for an amazing list of the best places to eat across the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.!

Comments

  1. So excited about this list! We just moved to Rochester 5 weeks ago. So far, we’ve only tried 1 place on your list. (We’ve eaten at Nupa, Newt’s, Chester’s, Flapdoodles, Broadway Pizza, and a few chain restaurants) thanks so much!

    • The Mama says:

      Wow! Welcome to Rochester!:) It sounds like you are off to a great start. It was so hard to narrow down the list. I like Nupa’s too, but it’s always so busy! I also liked Chester’s, Flapdoodles, and Broadway Pizza, but I think I’ve only visited them once. My boys loved the trains at Broadway Pizza:)

  2. Marti Parks says:

    I wish I could visit Bakers Square, it sounds like it would be right up my alley. I’m one of those people that think breakfast is good anytime of the day.

  3. Diane Sallans says:

    It’s always great to find out where to eat from locals – I’d definitely go for Whistle Binkies!

  4. I have never been to Minnesota, but I do remember the wonderful pies at Bakers Square when growing up in Ohio. The French Silk couldn’t be beat!

  5. Sacha Schroeder says:

    YUM! Twigs would be my first pick if I lived close!

  6. Nicole Sender says:

    I wish Baker’s Square was near my home! Free pie Wednesday sounds great!

  7. Sandy VanHoey says:

    Those egg rolls caught my attention, they look so good. China Star…Yummm! Love Chinese food!

  8. Lisa Brown says:

    I wish I had a Baker’s Square where I live. I have eaten there in the past, it is great.

  9. Kimberly Schotz says:

    We used to have a Bakers Square in our town. I miss it. They had the best pies.

  10. Holly Thomas says:

    Bakers square sounds like a winner!

  11. Janet W. says:

    What a great guide if I was ever to visit the area! Baker’s Square sounds like my kind of place!

  12. Baker’s Square is a type of eatery that is right up my alley 🙂

  13. never been to Minnesota, but if I do, I know where to go eat know:)

  14. Marti Parks says:

    Baker;s Square sounds just right for me, but that picture made me hungry.

  15. I haven’t been to Baker’s Square in ages.

  16. Tammy S says:

    This list is making me hungry. The egg rolls at Whistle Binkies look great. I love fresh egg rolls.

  17. Thank you for this review. Wouldn’t it be awesome for every blogger to list top restaurants in their area We would all know where to go eat! Thanks. Vicki.

  18. Natalie F says:

    I have been to all of them except Twigs. We will have to check it out and I will try the Parmesan Crisps. Thanks!

  19. I’ve never heard of any of them before, I will be checking out a few if in the area.

  20. Kate F. says:

    I’ve never been to Rochester, but it sounds like there are plenty of great places to eat!

  21. Shelley Woodard says:

    Some of this looks great! I filed these away in case I ever find my of in Rochester. You never know.

  22. i went to school in Winona… Next time we’re back in the area we’ll have to check out a couple of those places!! I know Bakers Square has amazing pie! 🙂

  23. I’ve never been to Rochester, but this list will be very helpful if I ever do visit there.

  24. Jacqui Odell says:

    I never been there before but I would love to try Bakers Square.

  25. Now I’m hungry! Sounds like you’ve got some great dining options.

  26. s riches says:

    If I am ever in Rochester i will be sure and go to Whistle Binkies.

  27. Buddy Garrett says:

    The Redwood Room sounds like a great restaurant to go to if you want a romantic evening out.

  28. Look at all these good restaurants in Rochester! the photo of egg rolls looks amazing!

  29. I’m making a list of these restaurants they will be my go if I am ever iin ROCHESTER, MN. Especially Baker’s Square gotta try those ribs!

  30. Maria Iemma says:

    We do not have any of those restaurants in upstate NY but I wish we had. Specially the Whisle Binkies – that egg roll salad looks to die for and I like to try different kinds of beer so that place would become one of my favorites too.

  31. shaunie says:

    I like the selection of restaurants in your post. I think i would like Bakers Square seems laid back with good food (burgers )

  32. Christy Anderson says:

    Wish I lived there…Looks like there are some good restaurants!

  33. mrsshukra says:

    Never been to Rochester but these restaurants make me want to visit!

  34. crystal smith says:

    I live in Wisconsin although not too far from Rochester. This article totally makes me want to talk the boyfriend into a road trip to Twigs for date night one night- the Parmesan crisps totally have me sold haha

  35. Holly Kennedy says:

    Whistle Binkies sounds good!

  36. I used to love Baker’s Square but all of them closed in our area in California…miss those pies!

  37. sheila ressel says:

    What a nice assortment of restaurants. There’s something for everyone there. I wish we had a Baker’s square here where I live. I’ve heard they’re really good.

  38. Sarah L says:

    Baker’s Square reminds me of our Village Inn which also offers free pie Wednesdays. Looks like some yummy food where you live.

  39. judy gardner says:

    baker’s square sounds great – i love free pie!

  40. I love Baker’s Square French Silk Pie, really any of their pies are delicious.

  41. Christian Alejandro says:

    That looks delicious! I’ve never been but kinda wish I had.

  42. Hi, found your site through another – we’ve lived in Rochester for 22 years… you have a few of my favorites and would also like to add City Cafe and The Loop! My husband loves John Hardy’s and I go with him a few times a year!! We need more restaurants on the northwest side of town!! (Near Target)

    • The Mama says:

      Hi Deb! I can’t believe there is another Rochester blogger!:) There are a few of us out here:) I agree City Cafe is great, but I’ve never even heard of The Loop!? What kind of place is it? And where? I agree we need more near Target and more variety too! I really dislike it when we get two or more of the same place:)

  43. Jessica Cox says:

    I like that your favorite restaurants are a little off the beaten path or not familiar too us the Some of my favorite places to eat are local eateries that are family owned and operated

  44. heather says:

    i love places to eat like this and word of mouth is the best way to find the good places.

  45. Mya Murphy says:

    Baker’s Square sounds absolutely awesome. I wish I could afford to check out more of the local Knoxville, TN restaurants like you are doing.

  46. All sound like wonderful eateries. Twigs would be right up my alley foodwise.

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