12 Best Restaurants in St. Cloud, Minnesota

Last Updated on February 11, 2024 by Emily Johnson


St. Cloud, Minnesota is home to a vibrant and diverse food scene with restaurants offering a wide variety of cuisines and dining experiences. From cozy cafes to upscale steakhouses, family-owned eateries to chef-driven hotspots, there is something for every palate and budget.

In this article, we have rounded up the 12 best restaurants that St. Cloud has to offer. From Italian to Mexican, barbecue to brunch, these establishments have exceptional food, hospitable service, and charming ambiances. Most importantly, they use high-quality ingredients and have talented culinary teams passionate about their craft.

So whether you’re a local looking to try somewhere new or a visitor exploring the city’s top tables, our list has got you covered. Let’s explore the 12 best restaurants that make dining in St. Cloud such a delightful experience.

1.Best Italian – Pantown Pizza


Tucked in a strip mall along Division Street, Pantown Pizza has been serving authentic wood-fired Neapolitan pies since 1995. They use only the finest ingredients like San Marzano tomatoes, homemade mozzarella, and 00 Caputo flour imported from Italy.

Their beautifully charred pies, cooked in an imported Italian pizza oven, have a tender yet chewy crust with just the right amount of char. Beyond pizza, they also offer a range of Italian classics like house-made meatballs, chicken piccata, and seafood scampi. With exposed brick walls, checkerboard floors, and Frank Sinatra playing through the speakers, the place oozes old-world charm.

Pantown is a low-key neighborhood joint, so don’t expect any fancy frills here. Just exceptional food made with quality ingredients by people passionate about pizza. This family-owned and family-run restaurant is easily one of the best places for Italian fare in St. Cloud.

2.Best Mexican – La Casita


For authentic Mexican flavors, head to this colorful little joint that has been wowing St. Cloud diners for over 20 years. Helmed by Chef Miguel, originally from Puebla Mexico, La Casita serves up regional Mexican specialties and specialty dishes you won’t easily find elsewhere in town.

The menu is extensive with tacos, tamales, enchiladas in different sauces, and dishes like chiles rellenos, steak fajitas, pollo con mole, and camarones al tequila. Portion sizes are generous while prices are wallet-friendly. Standouts include the table-side guacamole, tender braised short rib barbacoa, and their legendary margaritas frothy with fresh lime juice and quality tequila.

Beyond wonderful food and drinks, La Casita wins you over with its festive vibes, colorful folk art decor, and warm hospitality. Whether a chilled-out weeknight dinner or a celebratory group feast, it’s the perfect place to enjoy authentic flavors from South of the border.

3.Best Steaks – Anton’s Restaurant


Carnivores, rejoice! When it comes to the best steaks in town, Anton’s is a cut above the rest. This upscale chophouse has been a local institution since 1978, helmed by third generation owner Anton Schultz. Only the finest cuts of USDA Prime beef make it onto the menu along with fresh seafood options.

Sourcing from small local farms and artisanal producers ensures exceptional quality and flavor. Long-time regulars swear by their Bacon-Wrapped Filet Mignon and Cowboy Ribeye sharing juicy flavors you’ll dream of after you’ve left.

Beyond delicious steaks grilled to your liking, Anton’s also shines with their table-side preparations like Steak Diane, Cherries Flambé for dessert, or Caesar Salad tossed right at your table. White linen tables, crimson leather booths, cherry-wood accents and romantic lighting set an elegant ambiance befitting fine dining. With exceptional service steeped in old-world charm, Anton’s is truly an icon of fine dining in St. Cloud.

4.Best Sushi – Fat Sushi


For playfully plated sushi creations with a side of hip atmosphere, Fat Sushi is our top pick. This ultra-popular sushi joint gives traditional Japanese fare a modern twist for utterly crave-worthy creations. You can expect an extensive list of specialty rolls, from traditional to experimental fusion flavors.

The Fat Hot Mess Roll is piled high with spicy tuna, cucumber, avocado, eel sauce, spicy mayo then baked and topped with more mayo and eel sauce. The Crunchy Lucy roll features shrimp tempura and avocado inside, topped with spicy tuna, masago and crunchy flakes. You can even customize your own specialty roll if you’re feeling creative. Beyond rolls, they have ramen bowls, poke bowls and small plates to nosh on like chicken yakitori or hibachi steak bites.

Fat Sushi strikes a fun, energetic vibe with funky anime murals, neon lighting, and upbeat music. Grab a drink from their full bar, peruse the creative rolls, and come with an appetite because the portions are generous. For contemporary sushi served in a lively setting, Fat Sushi is a stellar choice.

5.Best Indian – Passage to India


For nearly 25 years, Passage to India has been the go-to destination for crave-worthy Indian food prepared from family recipes spanning generations. Helmed by Ashok Walia who hails from New Delhi, this upscale Indian eatery offers a fine dining experience yet with welcoming warmth that feels like home.

You can expect extensive choices of authentic Indian specialties like rich curries, grill tandoori items, fresh naan and lassis. For newbies, helpful staff guide you through the menu suggest perfect pairings. Start perhaps with vegetable pakoras then try avarieties of chicken, lamb, seafood or vegetarian curry preparations, each with distinct warming spices and complex flavors.

Standouts include the fragrant biryani studded with lamb, the creamy decadent Chicken Makhani and their traditional Tandoori dishes with smoky charred edges. Portion sizes generous while prices stay modest. With delicate ceiling drapings, ornate lanterns and little treasures from India all around, Passage to India offers a transporting, elegant ambiance for fine Indian dining.

6.Best Brunch – Jules’ Bistro

When it comes to leisurely weekend brunches, Jules’ Bistro is a long-time local favorite. This contemporary downtown bistro crafts a scrumptious brunch menu starring local ingredients sourced from neighboring food artisans, farms and markets.

Expect dishes like wild rice hash with Minnesota-grown vegetables, chicken apple sausage and fried eggs. Another star is their croque madame stuffed with Black Forest ham and Swiss, baked then topped with béchamel and a fried egg any way you like. For lighter appetites, try Jule’s Benedict on house-baked challah or avocado smash toast. Those with a sweet tooth will delight over their brioche French toast with vanilla mascarpone and fresh berries. And of course, there’s freshly squeezed juices, hot coffee, mimosas or bloody mary’s depending what you fancy.

Beyond wonderful food, Jules’ makes brunch a truly memorable experience with their charming historic atmosphere complete with cobalt blue booths, black and white checkered floors and pops of playful color and artwork everywhere. It all exudes Parisian bistro charm. On warmer days, nab a patio table to soak up downtown views and lovely Minnesota mornings. Whether hosting friends from out of town or treating yourself to something special, Jules’ Bistro is a must-try brunch destination in St. Cloud.

7.Best Barbecue – Smoke Stax BBQ


This laidback barbecue outpost smokes up smoky, mouthwatering Southern barbecue done right. The flavorful meats are smoked for up to 14 hours over local oak and maple woods, lending unparalleled depth and intensity of flavor. From melt-in-your mouth brisket to smoky sweet ribs, you’ll find all your barbecue cravings satisfied here.

Beyond the expected meats, Smoke Stax also plates up more unique options like beer-braised beef pastrami with burnt ends and house made sausages with a nice snap. Southern staples like fluffy cornbread, mac and cheese or collard greens round out a meal. An extensive list of local and regional craft brews as well as a lineup of specialty bourbons and whiskies make ideal pairings.

The joint itself channels a cool, nostalgic vibe with its red-brick walls, neon accents, blues music humming and mismatched chairs and tables. Service stays friendly while the food remains satisfying and uncomplicated. For authentic southern barbecue with genuine smokehouse flair, Smoke Stax is a stellar destination in St. Cloud.

8.Best Coffee Shop – Northern Grounds


In St. Cloud’s cozy Cathedral Historic neighborhood, you’ll find Northern Grounds serving up some of the finest artisan coffee in town. The cute indie cafe roasts quality fair-trade beans on-site to craft creamy lattes, intense cold brews and smooth flat whites. Beyond expertly brewed coffees, you can nibble on fresh pastries, avocado toast, acai bowls and artful breakfast sandwiches or bowls.

This is an ideal spot to get quality caffeine, get some work done, meet up with friends or just unwind with coffee and a good book. The atmosphere invites lingering with charming vintage touches, comfy couches, free wifi and inspiring wall quotes. When weather allows, snag a patio table for excellent people watching. No matter the season, Northern Grounds delivers excellent coffee, food and atmospherics for a quintessential comfy coffeehouse experience.

9.Best Seafood – Fisher’s Club


For the freshest seafood in town, head to this polished yet unpretentious eatery focused on doing seafood right. Owner Michael Fisher has decades of experience ensuring only sustainable wild-caught seafood lands on your plate. From Alaskan halibut to Atlantic scallops or wild Mexican prawns, you’ll find an extensive seafood selection prepared simply to allow their glorious natural flavors shine.

Beyond gratifying seafood plates, Fisher’s Club also offers premium steaks and chops if you’re craving turf instead of surf. You can expect refined preparations without too many overpowering sauces or complicated sides interfering. Sides stay classic and well-executed like hash-browned potatoes, wilted spinach, or buttery asparagus. With white tablecloths, maritime artworks and captain’s chairs, the elegant nautical interior suits the pristine seafood.

For refined seafood and carnivorous plates in an upscale yet relaxed bistro setting, Fisher’s Club is a sophisticated spot for date nights or special occasions.

10.Best Family Restaurant – Fuji Steakhouse


When dining with kids in tow, finding somewhere fun yet satisfying can be tricky. That’s where Fuji Steakhouse shines, delighting families with an entertaining hibachi dining experience alongside wholesome Japanese fare. Kids love the excitement of watching expert chefs theatrically prepare meals with flying spatulas right at the table.

Beyond the entertainment factor, flavors also shine with sizzling hibachi options like steak, chicken or shrimp as well as Japanese classics like teriyaki, udon noodles and tempura. Their kid’s menu keeps young appetites happy with favorites like chicken fingers, buttered noodles or mini corn dogs.

The vibrant atmosphere stays family-friendly with colorful murals, traditional lanterns and an inviting lounge area for waiting. Servers remain accommodating to children while keeping meals reasonably priced. For family dining that’s equal parts fun and delicious, Fuji Steakhouse hits the mark.

11.Best Local Ingredients – D.B. Searle’s


For imaginative New American fare sourcing from the best local food artisans, D.B. Searle’s is a standout. Talented Executive Chef Darin Jarvis incorporates regional veggies, wild game, artisan cheeses, craft beer and more into his seasonally inspired dishes. From wild boar T-bone in a blueberry demi glaze to ricotta gnocchi with local mushrooms, the results are exceptional.

Beyond sourcing excellent ingredients, the kitchen utilizes time-honored techniques like brining, dry aging, slow roasting and more to build layers of flavor. You can expect refined yet approachable preparations with global inspiration. Creative share plates encourage sampling different dishes from their rotating menu.

The classy historic atmosphere filled with intimate nooks, exposed brick and candlelight makes a wonderful backdrop, be it a special date night or celebrating with friends. For locally-sourced creative New American fare served in an elegant yet lively setting, DB Searle’s is a standout.

12.Best Hole-in-the-Wall Gem – Falafel King


Falafel fanatics agree, this humble little storefront dishes St. Cloud’s best falafel, period. The husband-wife owners hail from Jordan, cooking up authentic crispy-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside falafel as well as shawarma, kebabs, hummus and more.

While the fluorescent-lit dining room stays simple, flavors surely satisfy. Their chicken shawarma sings with a medley of spices while their falafel pouches cradle cool tzatziki and vibrant purple cabbage. Beyond the meatless falafel and fried kibbeh, meat-eaters should try kebabs or shawarma plates served with pillowy pita still hot from the oven. And you surely can’t leave without getting baklava whose crisp layered phyllo dough hides sweet sticky nuts within.

For authentic Middle Eastern street food in a no-frills setting focused solely on big flavors, Falafel King is a local legend, drawing consistent crowds. Don’t let humble surroundings deter you – one bite of their falafel or shawarma reveals a hole-in-the-wall gem beloved by St. Cloud.

Conclusion


With charming eateries spanning casual cafes to fine dining establishments, family-owned gems to chef-driven hot spots, the St. Cloud dining scene offers tempting fare for every appetite and occasion. Italian, Mexican, Japanese, barbecue and more – our list reveals 12 of the top restaurants that demonstrate St. Cloud’s diverse and delectable food landscape.

Beyond wonderful food, these establishments create welcoming dining rooms with attentive hospitality. Sourcing quality ingredients and culinary talent, they craft crave-worthy dishes spanning comforting classics and cutting-edge cuisine. From quick weekday bites to special night out splurges, these 12 restaurants showcase the vibrant and satisfying dining experiences St. Cloud offers.

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