Most people don’t expect Midwestern cities like Minneapolis and St. Paul to have great seafood.
Fortunately for us, the Twin Cities has one huge ace up their seafood sleeve. The state of Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes, including Lake Superior – the world’s largest freshwater lake.
The surprising result? Shockingly great seafood (lakefood?) all across Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the rest of the Twin Cities.
In this post, we’re highlighting our choices for the 9 best restaurants to get seafood in the Twin Cities.
- Twin Cities Map of the Best Seafood in Minneapolis & St. Paul
- Most popular seafood in Minneapolis: Smack Shack (Minneapolis)
- Our personal favorite: Sea Salt (Minneapolis)
- Best oysters: Meritage (St. Paul)
- Best fish & chips: Achor Fish and Chips (Minneapolis)
- Coolest seafood in St. Paul: Grand Catch (St. Paul)
- Most beautiful restaurant: Octo Fishbar (St. Paul)
- Best cheap seafood: Cajun Deli (Brooklyn Park)
- Best rooftop location: Stella’s Fish Cafe & Prestige Oyster Bar (Minneapolis)
- BONUS: Best seafood market – Coastal Seafoods (Minneapolis & St. Paul)
Twin Cities Map of the Best Seafood in Minneapolis & St. Paul
Most popular seafood in Minneapolis: Smack Shack (Minneapolis)
Smack Shack started as a quirky food truck blowing the collective minds of land locked Minneapolis. Delicious lobster in Minnesota? All it takes is one bite of their amazing Lobster Rolls, Lobster Mac and Cheese, or whole Lobster Boil to become a believer.
So not surprisingly, it wasn’t long before the small food truck had reached max capacity. Desperate to keep feeding the hungry locals, Smack Shack expanded operations to the kitchen of 1029 bar, of all places. (The only thing more confusing than delicious Lobster in Minnesota might be delicious lobster in a Minnesota dive bar!)
Today, Smack Shack has a dedicated restaurant in Minneapolis’s North Loop Neighborhood. It’s a beautiful location and remains as popular as ever. For good reason!
- Address: 603 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401
- Website: Smack Shack
Our personal favorite: Sea Salt (Minneapolis)
Sea Salt is an awesome seasonal seafood restaurant in Minneapolis that opens every Spring.
We love bringing visitors here. Located in Minnehaha Falls Regional Park, this outdoor restaurant features an absolutely stunning patio that’s nestled among the park’s old-growth trees. From every table, you can hear the rush of the 50 foot tall Minnehaha Falls, which is just a few steps away. No meal here is complete without a quick stroll to the overlook, where you can catch beautiful views of the waterfall.
Thankfully, it’s not just the location that makes Sea Salt so great, either. The fish tacos here are fantastic (calamari is our go-to, pictured above) as are the Po Boys and Fish Sandwiches. Wash it all down with a solid selection of local craft beers, and you’ve got the makings of a heavenly patio experience.
- Address: 4825 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55417
- Website: Sea Salt
Best oysters: Meritage (St. Paul)
There’s probably a reason why Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel (a Minnesota local) were caught dining at Meritage on their recent Superbowl visit. And that’s because if you’re looking for a fancier, sit-down seafood experience, Meritage remains one of your best bets in the Twin Cities.
Seafood at Meritage is mostly about the Oysters, which are served at market price based on the fresh catch. Of course, for those wanting a bigger variety, you can always try any of the Plateaux’s – Meritage’s massive platters with seafood choices ranging from Littleneck Clams to King Crab, depending on how much you’re willing to spend.
- Address: 410 St Peter St, St Paul, MN 55102
- Website: Meritage
Best fish & chips: Achor Fish and Chips (Minneapolis)
Another delicious Twin Cities seafood option that started as a humble food truck. Anchor Fish and Chips now has a cozy restaurant in Minneapolis’s Northeast Neighborhood, where on any given night, you can enter the crowded space to the mouth-watering smell of perfectly fried fish and of course, french fries by the basket-load.
In our minds, the choice at Anchor is simple. If you’re looking for the best Fish & Chips in Minneapolis, you’ve come to the right place.
With a short menu, the hardest choice you’ll have to make is which tap beer to drink!
- Address: 302 13th Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413
- Website: The Anchor Fish & Chips
Coolest seafood in St. Paul: Grand Catch (St. Paul)
In the Twin Cities, Chef Sameh Wadi is now a bonafide celebrity. It started with a feature on Iron Chef America, and he’s since carried that momentum through a number of different projects across the city, including World Street Kitchen, Milk Jam Ice Cream, and Saffron (RIP).
Chef Sameh’s latest experiment is Grand Catch – a “seafood-centric restaurant” with his takes on “Louisiana seafood boils with an Asian-Cajun twist.”
From our (many) visits, Grand Catch lives up to that goal! Of course, there’s the messy and delicious seafood boils, but we’re especially fans of the Fried Fish Sandwich and the impressive collection of fresh shellfish.
- Address: 1672 Grand Ave, St Paul, MN 55105
- Website: Grand Catch
Most beautiful restaurant: Octo Fishbar (St. Paul)
What happens when a James Bear award winning chef decides to try his hand at seafood in St. Paul?
You get Octo Fish bar, a delicious seafood restaurant in the middle of Downtown (Lowertown, to be specific) St. Paul.
Octo Fish Bar is a stunning space housed inside St. Paul’s Market House Collective. The historic building features a beautiful open atrium, where the building’s natural rustic features contrast Octo’s modern murals, neon signs, and stunning decorations.
Menu-wise, you’re looking at tons of fantastic seafood choices, including raw and chilled dishes, seafood entrees, and a small list of sandwiches and soups.
COVID-19 UPDATE: OctoFish Bar closed in July 2020. 😭
- Address: 289 5th St E, St Paul, MN 55101
- Website: Octo
Best cheap seafood: Cajun Deli (Brooklyn Park)
For those wanting a more hole-in-the-wall experience, this unassuming restaurant in Brooklyn Park has all sorts of fried and boiled seafood at prices reflective of the restaurant’s strip shopping center location.
Cajun Deli might be just outside of town, but that hasn’t stopped it from developing a cult like following among Minneapolis residents who swear it’s some of the best seafood around.
- Address: 8038 Brooklyn Blvd, Brooklyn Park, MN 55445
- Website: Cajun Deli
Best rooftop location: Stella’s Fish Cafe & Prestige Oyster Bar (Minneapolis)
If you’re looking for seafood on a rooftop, Stella’s in Uptown is the Minneapolis go-to.
Stella’s rooftop patio gives you equal parts sun, shade, and 360 degree views of the city. With fresh seafood flown in multiple times per week, you can enjoy those Minnesotan summer days with a seasonal menu of oysters, sushi, shashimi, other seafood entrees.
- Address: 1400 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55408
- Website: Stella’s
BONUS: Best seafood market – Coastal Seafoods (Minneapolis & St. Paul)
Okay, this one isn’t a restaurant. But we had to include it anyway.
Buying fresh seafood in a landlocked state like Minnesota isn’t easy. That’s why we were so surprised when we stumbled upon Coastal Seafood’s passionate team of fishmongers, who go to great lengths to source only the freshest, most ethically caught seafood.
With two locations, one in Minneapolis and one in St. Paul, these guys keep a small fish counter stocked with the best stuff. If you need that special catch for tonight’s dinner, they’re definitely your best bets in the cities.
- Address: 2330 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404 OR 74 Snelling Ave S, St Paul, MN 55105
- Website: Coastal Seafoods