The 10 Best Restaurants near the MSP Airport (Local’s Guide)

best restaurants near msp airport

You’ve got a flight to catch and you’re hungry.

The world’s tiniest bag of pretzels and 3 bites of peanuts just won’t do. Neither will expensive airport food.

The better choice? Check out any of the awesome local restaurants located around the MSP Airport.

I’ve got your back on this one. For years, I worked right by the airport, which meant daily lunches were an excursion into airport-friendly options.

Here are your 10 best options, all within a few minutes of MSP:

Map of the Best Restaurants near the Minneapolis St. Paul Airport

Best local “Must Eat”: Matt’s Bar

If you haven’t been able to try Minneapolis’s most famous food yet – The Juicy Lucy – now is your chance.

Matt’s Bar is, in my opinion and the opinion of most locals, by far the best Juicy Lucy in the Twin Cities. And lucky for you, it’s located just 12 minutes from the MSP Airport.

One word of advice though – you’ll only want to explore this option if you have plenty of time before that flight. Matt’s is a tiny little hole in the wall and one of the most popular restaurants in town, so lines out the door are very common. (As are long waits for them to squeeze your burger pattie onto the very tiny yet always-packed grilltop.)

  • Distance from MSP: 12 minutes
  • Address: 3500 Cedar Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407
  • Website: Matt’s

Another juicy option from St. Paul: The Nook

Among most locals, the Juicy Lucy debate comes down to The Nook vs. Matt’s. While I prefer Matt’s, The Nook is still fantastic, and if you grab a seat in the divey basement (complete with a bowling alley) then they even have Matt’s beat on atmosphere.

And if you’re coming from St. Paul to the airport, The Nook is a little more convenient, at just 10 minutes east of MSP. (Service is usually a little quicker, too.)

  • Distance from MSP: 9 minutes
  • Address: 492 Hamline Ave S, St Paul, MN 55116
  • Website: The Nook

Best tacos: Andale Taqueira

Andale Taqueira sits just 5 minutes down the road from the MSP Airport, and it boasts some of the best tacos in the Twin Cities.

Plus, it’s Guy Fieri approved, being one of the many Minneapolis restaurants featured on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives.

  • Distance from MSP: 5 minutes
  • Address: 7700 Nicollet Ave, Richfield, MN 55423
  • Website: Andale

The best deli: Cecil’s

Cecil’s is a classic, New York style deli located on the outskirts of St. Paul. They’re famous for their lunch sandwiches, with a bunch of people swearing they have some of the best corned beef sandwiches and Reubens you’ll ever have.

If it’s earlier in the day, they also have some fantastic bagels.

  • Distance from MSP: 7 minutes
  • Address: 651 Cleveland Ave S, St Paul, MN 55116
  • Website: Cecil’s

When the weather is nice: Sea Salt

Another spot known for its legendarily long lines, Sea Salt is definitely one of your slower options, but it’s also one of the most popular restaurants in Minneapolis for a reason.

Sea Salt is open seasonally (in our climate, that means summers) and nestled into Minnehaha Falls Regional Park, one of the best nature parks in Minneapolis.

Not only will you be able to grab some of the best seafood in Minnesota (Hey, we’ve got a lot of lakes here!) but you can also check off the 53-foot-tall Minnehaha waterfall – one of our most popular landmarks – from your bucket list.

  • Distance from MSP: 8 minutes
  • Address: 4825 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55417
  • Website: Sea Salt

For my favorite, upscale Asian food: Khaluna

Again, given its distance from the airport and full sit-down service, this is another option that you’ll want to be careful with. That said, Khaluna is one of the Twin Cities’ hottest new restaurants, and it’s totally blowing us away. (Here’s our full Khaluna review.)

Expect to find elevated, chef-driven takes from Southeast Asia in an beautiful atmosphere. (They also have an awesome wine and drink menu.) If you’ve still got money left on the expense account or you just want to experience one of the best restaurants in the Twin Cities, this is the perfect last stop.

  • Distance from MSP: 14 minutes
  • Address: 4000 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55409
  • Website: Khaluna

For a quick business lunch: Hazelwood Food & Drink

Hazelwood is a local chain that knows what they’re doing, and they do it right. Located right across the street from the Mall of America and the large corporate office parks in the area, Hazelwood caters well to business clientele looking for a nice, casual sit-down lunch.

They offer solid wood fired pizza and all the other classics, but in my opinion they excel at the lighter options, like their healthy bowls or “Skinny” Pizzas, which have a hole in the center (less carbs) that’s filled with salad.

Bonus points for being located within a short walk to the light rail, which can take you directly to the airport.

  • Distance from MSP: 10 minutes
  • Address: 8150 26th Ave S, Bloomington, MN 55425
  • Website: Hazelwood

The nearest local fast-casual: The Tipsy Steer

The Tipsy Steer is only 5 minutes from the MSP airport, and even better, it’s fast-casual service. (You order at the counter and they bring it out to your table.)

They offer “local, sassy, brew food” which is Minnesotan-cowboy speak for delicious brisket tacos, brick oven pizzas, burgers, and sandwiches. For a quicker option that’s still locally owned and somewhat unique, this is a good bet.

  • Distance from MSP: 7 minutes
  • Address: 5000 Hiawatha Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55417
  • Website: The Tipsy Steer

The Yelper’s favorite: George and the Dragon

Admittedly, I personally haven’t made it out to George and the Dragon yet, which is a total travesty considering this is by far one of the highest rated restaurants in the entire Twin Cities. They’re famous for British brewpub food, like their fish and chips, burgers, and more.

And at less than 15 minutes from the airport, it’s doable with some planning.

  • Distance from MSP: 13 minutes
  • Address: 813 W 50th St, Minneapolis, MN 55419
  • Website: George and the Dragon

For endless options: Mall of America

Of course, the legendary Mall of America is just 5 minutes from the airport. Not surprisingly, you can find pretty much any food you could ever want at the Mall, although your options will almost entirely be limited to national chains.

Obviously, as a local food blogger, I’d encourage you to try one of the many of the local (and better) options on this list, but if you’re craving something specific and are prioritizing convenience, I’ll understand.

  • Distance from MSP: 5 minutes
  • Address: 60 E Broadway, Bloomington, MN 55425
  • Website: Mall of America

And if all else fails..

If all else fails, I will admit that the MSP airport actually does a great job highlighting our local food scene. Some of the best authentic, local options inside the airport include:

  • Angel Food Bakery – Popular dessert spot around town
  • Blue Door Pub – Famous for their flavored Juicy Lucys
  • Holy Land – A long-time Middle Eastern restaurant that started in Minneapolis and is also a popular vendor at the Minnesota State Fair
  • Hi Lo – Popular Minneapolis diner, and one of our favorite brunch spots
  • Smack Shack – Long-time favorite for seafood in Minneapolis’s North Loop neighborhood
  • Red Cow – Solid burgers and some of the best cheese curds in the Twin Cities

I will throw out the disclaimer that some of these airport versions don’t get quite as good of reviews as their original locations (I believe some are operated by third-parties and/or subject to the weird logistical challenges of existing inside an airport) so you might not be getting the full experience. That said, it definitely beats yet another order of frozen fast food!

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