UPDATED NOV 11, 2019
As if choosing a restaurant isn’t hard enough on its own, it's even harder to find one that serves good and good-for-you food. But it is possible and, to prove it, we’ve rounded up the finest places to grab a nutritious meal in MSP. So while we can’t decide where to eat for you, we can make it a hell of a lot easier.
Whether your vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, or simply looking for your next breakfast/lunch/dinner/brunch destination, French Meadow has your back. In addition to serving up killer everything, from omelettes to entrees, this farm-to-table fave also has the bragging right of being the first bread bakery in the country to be certified organic. Bonus: French Meadow has a location at the MSP airport, giving you even more incentive to show up early for your next flight.
If the phrase ‘fast food’ still draws to mind images of drive-thru burgers and fries, let us introduce you to the magic that is Crisp & Green. Step on up to the counter at any of Crisp’s three—and counting—locations and watch as they whip you up a beautiful, nutritious greens or grain bowl that puts any pre-packaged lettuce that dare call itself a salad to shame. Whether you build your own bowl or choose a tried-and-true menu option, Crisp & Green is upping the fast food game, and we are here for it!
The Bachelor Farmer makes it a point to use organic, locally-sourced ingredients to create dishes that celebrate Minnesota’s seasons and heritage. This means that when TBF isn’t harvesting herbs and vegetables fresh from their rooftop garden, they’re partnering with some of the Twin Cities’ finest farms, roasters, bakers, and creameries to bring you an amazing dining experience. But the food here isn’t the only thing that’s fresh. The Bachelor Farmer’s menu changes daily, meaning that every time you stop in, there will be fresh, new options — including at least one vegetarian dish!
Next time you’re in the ’burbs, make Good Earth your go-to spot to grab a meal. Both the Roseville and Edina location have menus chock-full of dishes made from unprocessed produce and other responsibly-sourced ingredients. Still need convincing? You can even check out the farms where your food was grown! And if you’re looking for a super-fresh pick, we recommend checking Good Earth’s monthly specials which spotlight ingredients based on what’s in season.
This cafe gets its name from the Taoist belief that health and nature go hand-in-hand. They put this into practice with organic offerings including house-made broths, sandwiches, and both warm and cold bowls. Speaking of which, next time you’re in the East Isles neighborhood, make sure to stop by Tao to try the house-fave Doozie, which packs rice, beans, greens, hummus, and guac into one tasty bowl. Wash it down with a pick from Tao’s jam-packed drink menu which includes coffee, tea, freshly-squeezed juices, and a variety of boosters for an extra shot of healthy.
It’s pretty much impossible to get bored with Birchwood’s menu. Changing eight times a year to reflect what ingredients are in season, there is always something new to try, whether it be a different take on hash, a new pizza topping, or simply a switch-up of the edible garnish adorning your meal. Can’t decide? You really can’t go wrong with the kale, quinoa, and feta Savory Waffle that comes topped with bacon and a sunny-side up egg. Another thing to love? Whatever diet you practice—from gluten-free to vegan or vegetarian—Birchwood can accommodate.
Nothing says ‘fresh’ quite like cooking with ingredients harvested from a garden literally feet away from your kitchen. But even when this Lowry Hill cafe isn’t using ingredients from its backyard garden, odds are they didn’t travel far — almost half of the produce used is from within 250 miles. We’ll raise a toast to that! (Yet another thing we won’t have to travel far for thanks to Common Roots daily happy hour!)
A newcomer to the Twin Cities slowly-but-steadily-growing vegetarian scene, Fig + Farro proves that comfort food can be healthy and delicious. The menu is filled with global-inspired eats made with locally-sourced and organic ingredients, meaning you can get a taste of the world without sacrificing freshness or leaving the state. Another perk of visiting this Calhoun Square restaurant? Food here is served family-style, which means that if you invite enough people, you maximize the number of menu items you get to try. Bring on the mashed potatoes and the truffle shells and the caramelized Brussels sprouts!
This South Minneapolis restaurant quite literally provides a taste of Minnesota, using ingredients that are almost exclusively sourced from its nearby farm. From the breakfast potatoes to the eggs and even the burgers, everything here tastes fresh and good for you in a way that you just can’t find most places. Actually, it’s pretty tough to describe how anything here really tastes without using the word ‘fresh.’ On a slightly less-healthy note, kids who join the clean plate club get a free scoop of homemade custard. (Please send us any advice on how to pass off as an 11-year-old.)
The name says it all. Founded with the belief that “eating is an agricultural act,” Agra Culture serves up real, whole foods that are organic and responsibly-sourced. With four locations in the TC and a huge menu with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, eating clean just got way easier… and choosing what to eat just got a bit harder. A fair trade-off, in our opinion! So, whether you’re craving Vegan Chorizo Tacos in Highland Park or in the mood for an Agra Harvest Salad after visiting the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Agra Culture’s got your back.
Another big-name Twin Cities restaurant, Colossal Cafe whips up delish dishes from scratch at its two locations in St. Paul. Colossal delivers everything you want in a cafe and more: a cozy place to catch up with friends, a fully-stocked bakery, all-day breakfast, and all of the lunchtime go-tos like soups, salads, and sandwiches. Another massive part of Colossal’s appeal? They make use of in-season ingredients to ensure maximum freshness and flavor in every bite.
Office-dwellers, rejoice! What started as a salad-slingin’ food truck is now taking the Minneapolis skyway by storm. Green + The Grain’s three downtown locations are making lunch break fresher than ever with massive salads ranging from the classics like Caprese and Caesar all the way to your soon-to-be new faves like Chinese Chicken and Moroccan. Oh! And don’t forget dessert — Green and the Grain has got that covered too with its organic fro-yo.
A staple Twin Cities brunch joint, Tongue in Cheek creates its mouth-watering dishes using only sustainable, humanely-raised animal products — or no animal products at all, if that’s your jam! Omnivores can choose from menu items like pork belly and Weekend at Bennies eggs Benedicts, while vegetarians and vegans have plenty of options including the Cucumber Pad Thai Salad, Curried Ramen, and Vegasm, a vegan dish that changes with the seasons. Don’t just take our word for it though — it’s damn near impossible to find a less-than-perfect review for this Payne-Phalen favorite.
If you are a person and you like eating good food that’s good for ya (and if you made it this far in the post, we’re guessing you do!), then you officially meet the criteria necessary to enjoy Peoples Organic. The five metro Peoples Organic cafes have options everyone will enjoy: there’s all day breakfast, farm-to-table entrees, and burgers for both omnivores and herbivores, just to name a few. They’re also known to get creative with their smoothie bowls (check out their Facebook for proof). And just as importantly, the coffee game here is strong, with over 12 roasts to choose from.
If eating g-free is your thing (or if you simply enjoy good food), you’re going to love the Minnehaha-based Sassy Spoon. Founded by a holistic registered dietitian, the gluten-free options here aren’t limited to a few boring entrees added to the end of the menu as an afterthought. Instead, they make up the entire thing starting with the appetizers section—where you can find options like Sesame Turkey Meatballs and Stuffed Dates—all the way through the entrees which include Chicken Shawarma, Flatbread Pizza, and more.
From runners looping through the Chain of Lakes to thrill-seekers taking SUPs for a spin, Lake Bde Maka Ska has always been a destination for the Twin Cities’ fittest residents. So, it just makes sense to provide those same health-conscious individuals with healthy post-workout eats, right? Enter: Brim. In addition to being conveniently located just a crosswalk away from the lake, Brim dishes up locally-sourced, mostly plant-based goodness. Order up one of Brim’s seven curated bowls like the Thai Coconut Purple Potato or create something all your own. Oh, and invite your workout buddies! The beer menu here is loaded with options for toasting to successful sweat session.
After much anticipation (and an equal amount of dreaming about getting our hands on some vegan mac and cheese), Trio Plant-based has opened its doors to eager Twin Cities residents. There’s a lot to love about this place. Not only is the story behind Trio’s trio of owners super inspiring, but the menu here is entirely composed of unbelievable vegan soul food — from the ranch dressing to the grilled cheese. Right now, Trio is only open for weekday dinners and on the weekends, but keep an eye on its website; we learned that Trio will soon be open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Three cheers to that!