Top 5 places to eat on the Mississippi: A dining guide for river rats

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A table with a view of the Mississippi River aboard the Padelford riverboats, No. 3 on the river rats dining guide.

Believe it or not, Twin Cities, spring is coming! And as it does, an increasing number of our citizens find themselves drawn to the riverfront to watch the progress. They want to see if the geese are back, if the ice is melting, and just how loud the falls are roaring. The only thing that makes springtime river-watching more enjoyable is to do it while eating something delicious and/or drinking an ice cold beer.

The Hot Dish is happy to go with the flow. We bring you the top five places to eat and drink in the Twin Cities while gazing at the mighty Mississippi River.

5. Nicollet Island Inn

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Riverside dining since 1893.

For river watching at it's most elegant, the Hot Dish recommends the Nicollet Island Inn. Located between downtown Minneapolis and Main Street, this historic building has enjoyed this stunning view since 1893. Renowned for both its accommodations and its menu, the Nicollet Island Inn also has a scenic patio and free parking.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu. Fine dining prices.

4. The Aster Cafe

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The Aster Cafe is a great place to watch the river from either an inside table or outdoor patio.

Dine under the trees on the prettiest street in town. Located within strolling distance of the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis, the Aster Café has long been a favorite haunt for river rats. Should you find yourself on the riverbank during a lunchtime break, the Aster offers an extensive coffee bar and homemade sandwiches. Those taking in a romantic moonlight gaze at the river can have a cocktail and catch nightly live music.
Lunch and dinner menu. Full bar. Moderately priced.

3. The Padelford riverboats

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A sunset dinner cruise aboard the Padelford riverboats, St. Paul.

It's hard to get closer to the river while dining than you do aboard the Padelford riverboats in St. Paul. Offering everything from daily sightseeing cruises that serve hot dogs and popcorn to Monday picnic lunch cruises to sunset dinner cruises, it's the way Mark Twain would do it. Sightseeing cruises begin in April, others in June.
Lunch and dinner menu. Full bar aboard. Casual fare to fine dining.

2. Food trucks along Kellogg Avenue, St. Paul

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Food trucks line the riverfront of St. Paul's downtown.

Depending on the day of the week, more than 20 food trucks serve the St. Paul riverfront area, from tacos to burgers, falafel to flan. On those precious early days of spring when 50 degrees feels like 80 to our neglected Minnesota shoulders, why not take a hot tray of goodness to your nearest park bench. Enjoy local fare and congratulate yourself on making it through another winter.
Casual fare. Moderately priced. City Pages food truck map.

1. Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge

The very winning patio of Psycho Suzie's Motor Lounge.

This is the Hot Dish's No. 1 choice for riverfront dining because here you can really connect with your inner Huck Finn and arrive by boat. That's right, with it's new location along the Mississippi River on Marshall Avenue, Psycho Suzi's built a bona fide boat dock to receive the Twin Cities' thirsty pirates. Captains arriving by boat merely tie up and ascend to the outdoor patio. Or arrive from the street and just pretend you have a boat.
Brunch through dinner. Extensive drink menu. Moderately priced.

Location Info

Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge

1900 Marshall St. NE, Minneapolis, MN

Category: Music

Padelford Packet Boat Co, Inc.

205 Doctor Justus Ohage Boulevard, St. Paul, MN

Category: General

Aster Cafe

125 SE Main St., Minneapolis, MN

Category: Music

Nicollet Island Inn Restaurant

95 Merriam St, Minneapolis, MN

Category: Restaurant

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