The Midtown Global Market on East Lake Street in Minneapolis has been with us since 2005. It's a towering community fixture, but somewhat understated from the street. Next time you're good and hungry, head in and let the magic happen. Dozens of enticing smells are waiting to compete for simultaneous attention.
An informal poll of the best eats in the MGM made one thing clear: people are vehement about their preferences. At the risk of inciting a riot, presenting the top 10 spots at the MGM, ranked.
10. Holy Land
Holy Land provides us with one of our major food groups – hummus – in most local grocery stores. But you’ll have to travel for one of their gyros, fat with fragrant grilled meats, or any number of other Middle Eastern classics. Don’t bypass the deli, which claims the best prices on imported olives than anywhere else in town.
9. Salty Tart
Michelle Gayer is a James Beard award-winning pastry chef who concocts divine macarons, cupcakes, and baguettes. Although she’s finally expanding to a big commissary kitchen in South Minneapolis, she’s not leaving her original home at MGM behind. Her kiosk is moving to the atrium of the building, making it impossible to bypass on your way to the car without a sweet ending. Like a whole cake.
8. Taco Cat
Perhaps the scrappiest taqueria we know of, Taco Cat maintains a punk-rock vibe. They offer bold combinations (grilled black angus, cheese, picked radish, onions, cilantro, mint chimichurri, and housemade salsa), lots for vegetarians and vegans to choose from, and burritos so big it’s best to tackle with knife and fork. Also, do not forget that they still offer bike delivery, which is how they got their start.
7. Los Ocampo
There may be better tacos in town (and far worse) but Los Ocampo has brightened and streamlined authenticity and affordability. If you’re really doing it pro, go for the huaraches – football-shaped slabs of light and golden masa smothered in meaty stews and/or fillings of your choice, and topped with avocado, cheese, and salsa. It’s a gut bomb we love to detonate.
Safari Express does a lot more than just bring Somali cooking to the masses. Their Chipotle-style setup deconstructs keke noodles, chicken suqaar, and goat meat in a have-it-your-way setup. But Safari is also one of the few (also see the East Bank's Jambo) places you can sink your teeth into a camel slider, a surprise hit when they landed on the Twin Cities dining scene last year.
5. La Loma
La Loma is helping the Twin Cities fall for tamales. Arguably, a tamale can do anything a taco can do, except it's richer, silkier, and more satisfying. Travel the streets of Mexico, and tamale vendors outnumber taco stands because they can be made ahead of time. At La Loma, they serve them in the more ubiquitous corn husks, as well as the more difficult-to-find Oaxaca style (wrapped in banana leaf). The full menu of other Mexican fare like green enchiladas and chiles rellenos is also underrated, and great.
When OG Manny Gonzalez opened his torta stand in the MGM, few us had even heard of these Mexican sandwiches. Served on a crusty white roll, they're dripping with cheese, tomato, lettuce, onion, avocado, jalapeño peppers, refried beans, chipotle pepper, and mayo. Try the "Manny's Special" which mashes up steak, ham, and cheese. Yes, it's one sandwich.
3. Hot Indian
Hot Indian’s brash style of Indian street food has a fierce following, and their food truck is a reliable fave in summer months. Most know them for the Induritto, a burrito wrapped in house made roti bread. Don't miss their butter chicken samosas, served with addictive green sauce (also available in vegetarian).
Moroccan Flavors is the only Moroccan restaurant in Minneapolis, and it’s otherworldly delicious. Vegetarians will find much to love here, with a full bar of veggies, salads, and olives, each treated to a citrusy marinade or an herbaceous soak. Or, go for a street-stye chicken sandwich on baguette, smothered in aioli with a side of frites. Perfect for wandering the market, just like it’s done abroad.
1. Rabbit Hole
Thomas Kim’s “Koreatown” flavors boldly go where few other local restaurants go. And, they do all of this palate-challenging in a unique, stylish space, unlike any other. Be in the know that they've recently added some menu items that aim to truly wow the dedicated foodie, like a recent miso pot de creme. Or, just go with old standards like the poutine, bombarded with kimchee, caramelized onion, Parmesan, pork curry gravy, and a soft egg. Wowza.