Global Cuisine in Our Own Backyard

By Alex Lodner

Did you know you can chow your way around the globe without leaving the neighborhood? There is a wide array of eateries boasting cuisine from around the world. Here’s a rundown of some restaurants in Bugleland:

Nico’s Tacos

In late 2018, this newcomer to St. Anthony Park took the place of the popular Muffuletta, a neighborhood institution. The generous patio remains, but is now filled with agua frescas and tacos instead of mimosas and beer-cheese soup. The team behind Nico’s Tacos & Tequila in Uptown is now slinging arguably some of the Twin Cities’ best margaritas at 2260 Como Ave.

La Tapatia

Opened in 2017 after finding success as a food truck, this family-­run gem is tucked into a tiny strip mall at 1237 W. Larpenteur Ave. in Roseville, serving the same Guadalajaran specialties that folks yearned for and sought out on the streets of St. Paul. You can still get your cravings satisfied via the food truck, or you can enjoy your nachos at the modest outdoor space in front of the restaurant.

Karta Thai

The third incarnation of the Karata Thai restaurants, the space at 2295 Como Ave. in St. Anthony Park, is tiny and meant to function mostly as a take-out spot. But the menu is vast and covers all the Thai classics from fresh spring rolls to pra-rham, a dish of steamed veggies topped with golden peanut and coconut milk curry sauce.

Café 99

Serving a variety of mostly Chinese dishes, Café 99 is located at 1552 Como Ave just east of Snelling Avenue. It is a classic neighborhood spot, sunny in the summer time and cozy in colder months, when nothing beats a steaming plate of Moo Goo Gai Pan. Feeling adventurous? Try one of the “Authentic Recommendations” like the Chrysanthemum sole or tofu with salted duck egg yolk..

Mim’s Café

A University of Minnesota-St. Paul campus favorite, Mim’s Café is ever-evolving, but remains true to its Middle Eastern roots with generous platters of shish kabob, shawarma or falafel with sides like rice and salad. Pro tips: Always order an extra side of house-made fries and a regular container of hummus to take home. You’ll thank me later. The café is located at 1435 N. Cleveland Ave.

The Naughty Greek

This sun-filled location on University Avenue near Raymond Avenue serves only the freshest ingredients (they say the only thing in their freezer is ice cream) and humanely raised meats as a part of the Athenian Greek menu from the Greece born and raised chef/owner Angelo Giovanis. Bonus points for table-side delivery to Dual Citizen Brewing Co. around the corner. The Naughty Fries and a flight are a perfect pairing.

Classics

Mirror of Korea

There is nothing better than a table full of banchan (a collection of small plates of Korean side dishes) and crackling hot Dol Sot Bi Bim Bob—steamed rice topped with veggies, beef and a fried egg. That seared rice layer on the bottom of the hot stone dish is what winter dreams are made of. The restaurant is located at 761 N. Snelling Ave.

Fasika

Ethiopian food is all about enticing the senses: fragrant spices, colorful dollops of vegetables, legumes and meats all served on spongy injera bread that you roll with your fingers. It’s a return to basics in the most delicious way. Fasika is at 510 N. Snelling Ave.

Caffe Biaggio

This classic eatery has been serving homestyle Italian fare for 17 years on University Avenue, and is named after the owner’s great grandfather. The pasta dishes are all lovely, but Mama’s Antipasto Salad is a must-get.

Foxy Falafel

Another food truck-turned-bricks-and-mortar darling, Foxy Falafel serves a delightful choose-your-own-adventure style menu that includes vegan, veg and gluten-free options. The Beet Falafel Platter is a personal favorite and, yes, you should order all the sauces. You will find Foxy Falafel at 791 Raymond Ave.

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