If you’re planning a trip to Rochester, and you haven’t started searching for the best restaurants to eat at while you’re in town, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered.
There are so many small and large restaurants in Rochester of all backgrounds, aesthetics, and types that it would be nearly impossible to visit every great restaurant the city has to offer, even if you stayed for quite a while.
Because of that, we have compiled this very handy list of the best restaurants in Rochester, ranging from casual comfort to upscale, fine dining. We hope this will simplify the process and give you the opportunity to find your new favorite place to eat in Rochester, Minnesota.
Best Restaurants in Rochester, Minnesota
Address: 4 3rd St SW, Rochester, MN 55902
ThaiPop is a breath of fresh air (and fresh ingredients) where you instantly feel relaxed and welcomed when you walk through the door. One of the first things you’ll notice is the menagerie of healthy houseplants throughout. The tropical plants and warm wooden and wicker accents are what take this space from feeling too modern and industrial to a friendly, chic, and genuinely interesting place to eat.
And don’t worry, the food is just as incredible as the aesthetic. If you aren’t sure what to order, go with the Khao Soi with brisket added. This soup is made from creamy coconut milk, cilantro, onions, cabbage, crispy noodles, beef brisket, and a few other spices.
The portion sizes at ThaiPop are generous, too, so chances are that you’ll have mouthwatering leftovers the next day- if you can wait that long.
If you’re looking for something more American-style, try the ribs with Brussel sprouts. No matter what you order, though, you’re sure to find it worth another visit because it’s all excellent food.
2. The Thirsty Belgian
Address: 2650 Broadway Ave S #600, Rochester, MN 55904
This buzzing bar is a nice hybrid of American and Belgian pub styles with a great atmosphere. The building is casual but inviting and cozily cluttered with all kinds of memorabilia, drinks, accessories, glasses, and stickers.
Let’s start with the beer, since this is more of a bar than a restaurant. The Thirsty Belgian has some of the best beer selections in the entire Rochester area. It’s safe to say that their drink list has well over one hundred choices. They have permanent and seasonal Belgian brews on tap that you should really try.
Their beer varieties include: draft; bottled blonde, wit, and wheat; bottled and canned pale, amber, and brown; crisp, clean, and golden; dark; sour; sweet and fruity; non-alcoholic and more. Plus, they have an extensive selection of house cocktails, classic cocktails, drinkable desserts (try the Snickers-Tini!), white and red and bubbly wine, ciders, liquor, Irish cream, boozy coffee, tequila, whiskey, gin, and martinis.
For food, you should really try their Pear & Gouda Toastie. This is one of the best places to get mustard sauce for dipping pretzels, too (yes, the soft pretzels are darn good). It’s rare to find a place that makes mustard sauce correctly, so you’re in for a treat here. No doubt, this Rochester restaurant has the best bar service in the area.
Address: 30 3rd St SE, Rochester, MN 55904
Terza is a stunning downtown Rochester restaurant with a grande-modern aesthetic and fabulous views of the city. If you’re visiting in the warmer months, make sure you grab a spot on the rooftop patio for your meal and sit by the fire.
The food is traditional Italian meets Italian-American pizza and pasta, all of which are tastefully paired with wines from all over the world. Terza has the best salads in the city, and you should definitely get the poached pear salad with figs and blue cheese.
The buttermilk dressing is the star of the show; it is perfectly mixed to complement the salad. The fried cheese balls are surprisingly good, too. If you’re looking for something a bit heavier, go with the chicken piccata or filet mignon, these are best sellers for the restaurant, and it’s no surprise why, because they are nearly perfect.
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4. Bleu Duck Kitchen
Address: 14 4th St SW, Rochester, MN 55902
Bleu Duck Kitchen is an upscale experience that feels like both a casual and fine-dining experience. It’s located in an historic downtown building with beautiful exposed brick walls, intimate small table seating, and small plank wooden floors.
The meal comes out in courses and with outstanding service. It really is a great experience. The oysters are so good and definitely a highlight of the experience. Braised chicken thighs are not quite as popular, but they are so delicious and an underrated choice.
This is a popular brunch spot, too, so check out their menu because it’s totally full of amazing foods, including several gluten-free and vegetarian options. They frequently have live music playing for most hours of the day.
5. Prescott’s Grill
Address: Prescott’s Grill, 1201 Broadway Ave S #80, Rochester, MN 55904
Don’t let the exterior of Prescott’s Grill fool you; this is an elegant, refined, and sweetly simple restaurant with so much to offer. The food is served by friendly staff and many dishes are made with fresh farm-to-table ingredients sourced from local farms.
If you’re looking for a perfectly seared steak place, you’ve found it. Order the steak with stuffed mushrooms and broccoli for the best combination. If you’re here on date night, one of you should order the steak while the other orders fettuccine with sherry cream sauce.
That way, you enjoy the two best items on the menu at once. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the portion sizes, price, and quality, plus the atmosphere really makes it worth the trip.
When you dine here, save plenty of room for dessert, as they likely have the very best dessert menu in all of Rochester, MN. On your way out, take home an oven-hot loaf of bread or two because while you won’t have the space for them during your visit, you’ll absolutely thank yourself later.
6. Olde Brick House
Address: 19 1st Ave SW, Rochester, MN 55902
Olde Brick House is a traditional Irish-American pub that serves classic comfort foods and a variety of cold brews. The entrance is easy to find with its grand heavy wood and glass doors. As you enter, you’ll see the striking, elegant lighting that hangs from extra-tall ceilings, old-fashioned wooden liquor cabinets, checkered tile floors, and cozy seating locations.
This is one of my favorite spots because of its great vibe. If you have the pleasure of visiting during the summer, eat al fresco in their patio area. The outdoor space is comfortable, beautiful, and in the perfect location.
Their best-selling lunch foods are the shepherd’s pie, meatloaf, scotch eggs, and the classic Reuben sandwich. Surprisingly enough, they also have fresh seafood chowder that has the perfect flavor. If you’re in the mood for American comfort food, go with the burger and fries; it’s a delicious, quick bite that you won’t soon forget.
7. The Redwood Room
Address: 300 1st Ave NW, Rochester, MN 55901
The Redwood Room is a great Italian place located in a basement, with a grand bar, great food and service, and an extensive drink menu suited to please even the choosiest drink aficionado. This is likely the best place in the whole city to have an intimate and romantic date night.
Most nights, this place has old-fashioned live music on its small and perfectly intimate stage. While you enjoy listening to the musicians, try the gourmet pizza, pork tenderloin or chipotle chicken Alfredo. The Alfredo has sautéed chicken breasts that are coated in chipotle cream sauce and a delicious cavatappi pasta, then topped with lime juice, smoked Gouda cheese, and freshly chopped cilantro.
When dessert rolls around, opt for the Vanilla Creme Brulee, the Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie, or the Bourbon Pecan Pie. Even better – you and your partner should each order one, and then share the dessert dishes together.
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8. Nupa North
Address: 1035 Civic Center Dr. NW, Rochester, MN 55901
Nupa North is a little Greek restaurant that is family-friendly and serves up delicious kebabs, gyros, salads, pita sandwiches, and hummus. It’s a great place to get your fix of fresh Mediterranean cuisine in a hurry.
If you aren’t sure which menu item to order, go for one of the gyros. For true Greek food fans, order the calamari as an entree and then the lemon avgolemono soup; it’s tangy but not sour and has the perfect level of savory. Salad lovers have to try their tzatziki sauce; it is the perfect addition to every type of green.
To complete the scrumptious, Greek dining experience, Nupa North serves several types of bottled wine as well.
9. Twigs Tavern and Grille
Address: 401 6th St SW, Rochester, MN 55902
Twigs Tavern and Grill is part of the Centerstone Plaza Hotel, making it a comfortable place with great patios, a good location, and inclusive items, plus a gluten-free and vegetarian options-style menu to accommodate diners.
Nearly every single item on the “main” menu has a safe alternative on the adjacent gluten-free menu, so celiacs can enjoy it all with their friends. Speaking of friends, Twigs Tavern and Grille is probably the best restaurant for groups.
The most popular items on the menu are the butternut squash ravioli or northern walleye fish. The restaurant makes its own tartar sauce, which is perfectly curated with a flawless taste and texture. This restaurant encourages sharing among friends, family, and dates by providing extra small plates for the table to sample one another’s foods.
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10. Victoria’s Ristorante and Wine Bar
Address: 7 1st Ave SW, Rochester, MN 55902
Victoria’s Ristorante and Wine Bar, referred to as Victoria’s Restaurant by the locals, is another Italian restaurant located in The Kahler Grand Hotel. Despite the hotel’s grand name, the restaurant is relatively low-key and informal.
There is plenty of great spaces to sit and eat both indoors and outdoors, so this spot is an ideal eatery all year round. Portions at Victoria’s Ristorante are massive, and the food is so darn good that you won’t need a to-go box. The fettuccine Alfredo is the best-selling item on the menu, followed by crab cakes, portobello mushrooms, and gluten-free bread rolls.
Address: 150 Broadway Ave S, Rochester, MN 55904
Pescara is an airy fine-dining restaurant with a massive dining room, elegant, fresh seafood dishes, one of the best steaks in the area, plus chops. The mood inside is quite dark and moody in a romantic way, with elegant wine glasses, simple decorations, and bold colors. People rave about the good food, especially the lobster bisque.
Pescara is one of the best, if not the best, breakfast joints in the area. It serves smoked Gouda hash browns, omelets, and wild mushrooms. If you enjoy seafood, look closely at the seafood menu. It contains several types of ocean and river rainbow (such as rainbow trout). Snappers and swordfish are also on the menu and worth a taste. The halibut is amazing, too.
Before you leave, order the caramel croissant bread pudding. You’ll be craving it again and again because it is not something you’ll forget anytime soon.
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12. The Half Barrel
Address: 304 1st Ave SW, Rochester, MN 55902
The Half Barrel is a casual restaurant and bar that serves great American cuisine in downtown Rochester. The restaurant has a lot of clean, white subway tiles, wooden bar stools, and an overall industrial feeling that is pleasantly complemented by its amber mood lighting.
Whiskey lovers rejoice because The Half Barrel has hundreds of whiskey options for you to choose from, plus several other good drinks that are alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Get the spinach artichoke dip as the entree, the Manhattan for your main meal, and then one of their famous pecan pies for dessert.
13. The Tap House
Address: 10 3rd St SW, Rochester, MN 55902
The Tap House is an eclectic bar and grill that serves incredible plates, tap beers, wines, hard liquors, and all kinds of other fantastic drinks that you’re likely to enjoy. They have some of the best burgers in town and a variety of midwestern comfort foods like cheese curds, wings (buffalo, Korean, mango barbecue, and parmesan garlic), plus Americanized tacos and burritos.
If you have the pleasure of visiting during the summer, request a spot on the patio. You’ll get to experience sweet, little twinkling lights in the evening, exposed historic brick walls, and small wire tables that curate a warm and cozy setting that is engaging and helpful in facilitating a successful date night.
If you want to try something unique, look at the drink menu and then check the cider section; it has a ton of options, all of which are winners. The Loon Juice Sangria White Cider is especially appetizing and so crisply refreshing.
This great restaurant has something for everyone, including the best burger in the neighborhood. On weekends, The Tap House hosts trivia night for all to come together and enjoy.
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14. Chester’s Kitchen and Bar
Address: 111 Broadway Ave S #108, Rochester, MN 55904
Chester’s is a fun and modern restaurant in Rochester that is stylish, upscale, and refined in aesthetic. There are stone accents, wooden floors, warm, cozy light fixtures, galvanized steel siding, and comfortable chairs throughout the restaurant, which really elevates the dining experience. Chester’s is consistently rated as one of the best restaurants in Rochester, MN.
Chester’s Kitchen and Bar is conveniently within the Shops at University Square, and it serves all kinds of amazing dishes. The rotisserie chicken, parmesan encrusted walleye, lobster mac and cheese, and brie-fried cheese curds are their best sellers. But, I believe something is to be said for the minute chicken with angel hair pasta, capers, and perfectly cooked mushrooms.
If the drink menu is too complex to just pick one item because they all sound so good, try a blackberry margarita. It’s unique and has the perfect blend of fresh ingredients.
15. Canadian Honker Restaurant
Address: 1203 2nd St SW, Rochester, MN 55902
Canadian Honker Restaurant has the best burgers on 2nd street, for sure. While this spot is mostly known as a breakfast and lunch eatery, it has its fair share of rock-solid dinner options, too. So no matter the time of day, something delicious awaits you here.
When you walk into Canadian Honker Restaurant for the first time, you’ll see that it’s adorned with beautiful artwork, especially the colorful, stained glass piece by the bar that depicts a scene of Canadian Geese landing in a blue pond.
Like the many other great restaurants in Rochester, this one comes with great outdoor seating, great service, and great food, especially its breakfast. Canadian Honker is often mentioned as one of the best restaurants in Rochester.
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16. Fat Willy’s
Address: 4325 Maine Ave SE, Rochester, MN 55904
Fat Willy’s is a fun, garage-themed restaurant and bar that serves some of the best burgers, pizza, shrimp boils, and casual breakfast foods.
The white industrial walls are absolutely loaded with street signs, maps, and car-related memorabilia, including a few vintage and antique pieces. There are several distinct pops of yellow throughout, on the garage-themed chairs, booth backs, the big yellow car, and several speed limit signs. You won’t run out of anything interesting to look over while you eat, that’s for sure.
If you come during the warmer part of the year, you may sit outside on the patio to watch the neighboring pond and its waterfall, which encourages ducks and geese to congregate, giving you an excellent view of the birds.
When it comes to food, it’s all good here at this snappy stop. The Beer Cheese Soup, brisket tacos, and homemade baked beans shine the brightest. True to its aesthetic, Fat Willy’s has a great craft beer and on-tap selection for you to choose from to accompany your (already delicious) meal.
17. Pho Chau
Address: 1014 N Broadway Ave, Rochester, MN 55906
This little restaurant is colorful, vibrant and lively, and serves some really great no-frills foods on Broadway. While the focus is on pho and Vietnamese foods, there is a good portion of Thai food on the menu as well.
The Pho Chau restaurant is not large, but it is exceptionally clean, well-maintained, and designed. By far, the best-selling food here is pad Thai. The chicken curry noodle soup, pho, spring rolls, crab rangoon, and bánh xèo Vietnamese crepes are delicious, too. This place conveniently offers dine-in, takeout, and delivery, so it’s always ready for whatever you may want or need.
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18. Hot Chip Burger Bar
Address: 1190 16th St SW #600, Rochester, MN 55902
Hot Chip Burger Bar is loved by all, tourists and locals alike. This sweet little spot has a funky 90s hipster vibe that’s playful, tropical, and very colorful in the best way possible.
Everything about this place is so vibrant and enticing. Live plants and pops of distinct, beautiful colors from the rainbow decorate the walls and ceiling. If you wander outside, you’ll see a large pond from the dining patio.
Of course, burgers are their best sellers, but did you know that Hot Chip Burger Bar also offers an extensive vegan menu that is equally delicious? Always order a side of cheese curds to go with your burger too. The complementary popcorn and crisp dill pickles are delicious additions to the meal, too.