Food plate from Cedar + Stone

Where to eat at the Mall of America

Step away from the food court (for the most part) to find some quality restaurants scattered around our suburban shopping shrine.

Cedar + Stone, Urban Table

2141 Lindau Lane, Bloomington
Cedar + Stone asparagus salad Leila Navidi

A soothing, sunshine-filled retreat from the megamall’s crowds, this well-managed restaurant is exactly what a diner would expect to find at a well managed hotel (in this case, the sparkling JW Marriott). There aren’t a lot of surprises on the something-for-everyone breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, but the kitchen — led by chef Everton Clarke — takes care to source quality ingredients, then treats them with respect. The hotel’s lobby lounge crafts cocktails using locally made spirits and serves a pleasant roster of shareable small plates.

(612) 615-0124

FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar

2100 Killebrew Dr., Bloomington
FireLake chicken Courtney Perry

The mall’s other major hotel, the stylish Radisson Blu, also sports a get-away-from-it-all restaurant. The contemporary Scandinavian setting (if Martha Stewart owned a gigantic Swedish farmhouse, it might look like this) is one draw. Another is the way the kitchen makes full use of its hickory-burning rotisserie and mesquite-fueled grill, burnishing smoke and intense heat into a long list of meats, poultry and fish. Regional producers are emphasized, and the Taste of Minnesota vibe continues through such dishes as a walleye burger, wild rice pancakes finished with chokecherry syrup and locally sourced cheeses and charcuterie.

(952) 851-4040

Masu Sushi & Robata

344 South Avenue, Bloomington
Masu bowl of ramen Bre McGee

Fresh seafood, in landlocked Minnesota, could be an oxymoron. But thanks to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport’s status as a busy Delta Air Lines hub, it’s not. Those worldwide connections inform the inventory at this smartly run spot, which is operated by the region’s largest purveyor of grab-and-go supermarket sushi. There’s a wide range of expertly executed nigiri, sashimi and maki. Similarly impressive is the beef, pork, seafood and vegetable robata, all hot off the busy grill. The kitchen knows its way around ramen (get the pork belly variation) and a dozen or so izakaya options fall into the aim-to-please category. The bar stocks 16 sakes, and features what’s arguably the mall’s best happy hour.

(952) 896-6278

Shake Shack

332 North Garden, Bloomington
Shake Shack sandwiches Jim Gehrz

This quality-driven burger chain chose the mall for its first (and, to date, only) Minnesota outlet, and it’s a cut above the complex’s seemingly bottomless fast-food pool. The nostalgia-invoking burgers are a clear cut above their McDonald’s brethren, and the rest of the menu follows that example, from the lavishly topped hot dogs to the crispy crinkle fries. The fried chicken sandwich is tops in its class, and the shakes, floats and cones are built with diet-wrecking frozen custard. The location is a bonus, adjacent to the mall’s new (and here are four words that rarely go together) great-looking food court.

(952) 466-6056

Twin City Grill

130 North Garden, Bloomington
Twin City Grill sign Bre McGee

When the mall opened in 1992, Chicago-based Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises was there with its Tucci Benucch, a red-sauce Italian joint. A few years later, this straight-up American grill followed, and it’s still going strong, specializing in its brand of Minnesota-accented comfort food. That translates into a wild rice/sweet corn chowder, deep-fried cheese curds with ranch dressing and a walleye fish fry with tartar sauce and fries. Other standards include mac-and-cheese, meatloaf with mashed potatoes and an excellent BLT, all served in clubby, congenial surroundings.

(952) 854-0200