Where to Dine on Lake Calhoun, Minneapolis: Best of the Western Shore

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The reader will learn about several restaurants worth visiting on the northwestern shore of Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

When my husband and I first moved to Minneapolis, we did not have a clue where to order take out or have a nice dinner out, as a couple or with a group. Fortunately, we had friends living in the area to introduce us to the many wonderful restaurants on the northwest shore of Lake Calhoun. If you are looking to avoid the congested streets and parking wasteland in the heart of Uptown, try the other side of the lake!

All the restaurants in this article can be found in or near the area where Lake Street meets Excelsior Boulevard in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Tryg’s

$15-$20 per person for dinner

Tryg’s has the atmosphere of a downtown restaurant without the parking problem or the inflated prices. A roaring fire in the foyer of the restaurant greets you and the dining room and bar have high ceilings and tall booths that create a private dining or drinking experience. There is outdoor seating in the summer, complete with fire pit for chilly evenings. The fare is modern American and is quite delicious. Recent dishes enjoyed here include scallops with sweet potato gnocchi, top sirloin with au gratin potatoes, and flank steak in diablo sauce. The experience with the waitstaff has always been positive—servers are attentive, friendly, and strive to make your dining experience enjoyable. Another asset of Tryg’s is the coziness and sophistication of its bar scene, which includes an excellent happy hour and great bar food, which is taken directly from the dinner menu. If you are looking for a high-class experience outside of downtown, Tryg’s is definitely worth a visit.

Wakame

$15-$20 per person for dinner

Wakame is a beautiful new Japanese bistro located in the Whole Foods plaza across the street from Tryg’s. Like Tryg’s, Wakame has the atmosphere of a downtown eatery, ample parking, and a moderately priced menu. Wakame offers booth, table, and sushi bar seating, as well as a fully stocked bar area, and an outdoor patio for the warmer months. It also offers a generous and affordable happy hour menu. The cuisine at Wakame is extensive, ranging from sushi and tempura to curry dishes and meat entrees. The sushi is fresh and expertly prepared (try the Crazy Monkey Roll—you will be in for a treat!). The curry dishes are generous and are easily shared between a couple. An order of crab cheese wontons will not leave you disappointed. The waitstaff is friendly and very attentive—water glasses are constantly filled and food is brought out promptly. The presentation of the food, especially the sushi and sashimi, is beautiful. If you are looking to satisfy a craving for Asian cuisine, try Wakame!

Burger Jones

$10-$15 per person for dinner

Take-Out Available, Online Ordering Available

Burger Jones, part of the Parasole family of restaurants, is the new burger joint on the western shore of Lake Calhoun. The atmosphere is hip, young, and fun. The dining room consists mainly of tables, with a row of booths separating the bar from the dining area. There is a patio for dining outside in the warmer months. The kitchen is somewhat exposed, much like a diner’s, where you can see your order come up from the kitchen. Burger Jones offers a wide selection of burgers, “sortaburgers”, and “dogburgers”, as well as a large selection of fries and dipping sauces. The Parmesan waffle fries are quite delicious, as are the sweet potato fries dipped into beef gravy or chipotle aioli. The burgers are large, and the specialty burgers offer some uniquely yummy experiences (White Trash Burger, anyone?). Some of the best menu items on the Burger Jones menu are the shakes, both the alcoholic and non-alcoholic varieties. There is a nightly shake special in addition to the menu stand-bys, like the Salted Caramel shake, a delicious ending to a fun and affordable meal.

Punch Pizza

$10-$15 per person for dinner

Punch is a chain in the Minneapolis area, but the one in Calhoun Village Shopping Plaza is a great addition to the unique eateries on this list. Punch is a great lunch or quick dinner eatery; its 800-degree oven cooks your Neapolitan-style pizza in less than two minutes! There is a wide variety of artisan personal pizzas on the Punch menu, and the Bufalina white pizza (buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto, and arugula) is an extraordinary example of the range of pizza delights served up at Punch. The dining room is a bit small for the volume of customers Punch gets at lunch, but the fast-moving nature of the cooking process frees up tables almost as quickly as the pizzas are baked. There is a large patio in the front of the restaurant for al fresco dining in the warmer months. If you’re looking for a quick yet taste bud tantalizing meal, Punch is the place.

Yum! Kitchen & Bakery

$10-$15 per person for dinner

Take-Out Available, Online Ordering Available

The name says it all. Yum!, located a quarter mile down Lake Street from the aforementioned restaurants, is a relaxed, order-at-the-counter bakery that offers a large range of lunch and dinner items as well as yummy baked goods. The tomato soup, served with a grilled cheese sandwich, is absolutely delicious. Sandwiches are the specialty at Yum!, which tend to fall in the eight to ten dollar range, and are creative and not skimpy on the meat, cheese, and veggies. There is outdoor seating for the summer and a small parking lot on the side of the building. This is a favorite spot for young families due to its wide variety of menu items and moderately-priced menu. If you’re in the mood for a hearty sandwich and hot bowl of soup, Yum! It's worth a visit.

It may not be as busy or as trendy as the heart of Uptown, but the western shore of Lake Calhoun offers several unique and trendy restaurants to the discriminating diner who wants good food and good atmosphere. Buon appetito!

952-922-4000

612-929-0006

612-746-0800

612-886-2484

612-920-7777

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Amanda Lanser

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