Waterfront Dining – Dinner With a View
After surviving yet another Minnesota winter, it’s time to enjoy everything that a Minnesota summer has to offer. Fishing, boating, swimming, paddle boarding: they don’t call us the Land of 10,000 Lakes for nothing. We here at Lavender put together a collection of some of our favorite water-side spots to enjoy a bite to eat in between all the rest of your summer fun.
Wayzata Overlooking Lake Minnetonka
6Smith offers an unbeatable view of Lake Minnetonka—day and night. In the daytime hours the patio offers a fun, bustling environment. At night, traffic usually slows down, transforming the patio into the perfect backdrop for a romantic date.
There is plenty to enjoy off the menu at 6Smith. Treat yourself to a refreshing patio pounder like the Blueberry Yum Yum or Caribbean Witch Doctor. 6Smith has plenty of summery offerings that will fill you up without dragging you down: share the Tuna Poke with your table and enjoy the Heirloom Tomato Salad or a Lobster Roll for lunch. The spot’s best known for its tender, juicy steaks—all of which are 100% USDA Prime Certified Beef. If you have something to celebrate, order the Mocha Mud Pie to round out your meal. Served table-side with chocolate and caramel sauce, this decadent dessert can serve four to seven people and makes a great TikTok or Reel.
294 Grove Ln. E.
Wayzata MN 55391
CoV is a bright, airy restaurant with a sweeping lake view and a flavor-packed menu, making it the perfect spot for a sunny lunch or weekend brunch. The Wayzata Music Series is back at CoV this year and runs through September, so check out their website for the lineup and enjoy your meal with a side of music!
The CoV’s cocktail menu is tailored to the season—we recommend starting with the white wine sangria or a Pink Lady (grapefruit vodka with rosemary and prosecco). The seafood menu is robust and perfect for summer snacking, ranging from crab legs and oysters to all your favorite specialty sushi rolls: including the Wayzata, which is a creative blend of lobster, tuna and shrimp, with a healthy dose of spicy mayo.
700 Lake St E.
Wayzata, MN 55391
Gianni’s Steakhouse & Seafood
Gianni’s Steakhouse & Seafood recently completed two construction projects: a gorgeous new patio out front and a private dining space next door called One Door West. Although not on the lake itself, you can dock your boat across the street and walk over for dinner. They also offer dockside to-go if you’re hungry but don’t want to leave the lake.
Gianni’s has plenty of perfect summery cocktails, but even on the hottest summer days the Gianni’s Old Fashioned is a best-seller. They also host wine tastings throughout the year—they just had a rosé tasting at the end of June—so keep your eye on their social media for the next event. Personally, we can never resist their unbelievably tender steaks and the rich, succulent lobster mac.
635 Lake St. E.
Wayzata, MN 55391
Mpls., St. Paul, Hastings Overlooking the Mississippi River
Red River Kitchen at City House
Red River Kitchen at City House is an aesthetic treat. Located right on the Minnesota River in a retired grain elevator, this restaurant is decorated in a minimalist, urban-decay style that accentuates the natural beauty of the river.
There are plenty of fun drink options, from kiddie cocktails and lemonade, to sangria, seltzers and a tasty cucumber and basil gin and tonic. We recommend trying the St. Paul Nachos—their base of crunchy, house-made chips is perfectly complemented by the generous helping of chicken or pork, queso blanco, pico de gallo and cilantro. That said, every choice is a good choice at Red River Kitchen. The plant-based burger is hearty, the Cubano is flavorful, and the tacos are—well they’re tacos.
258 Mill St.
St Paul, MN 55102
Lock & Dam Eatery
Lock & Dam Eatery is an award-winning restaurant in Hastings with a great view of the Mississippi River, and live music every Sunday from 3 – 6 pm. It’s worth a day trip just for the restaurant, but planning your visit around the car show, which occurs on the third Sunday of every month, is a fun way to make a day out of it.
One of our favorite drinks at Lock & Dam Eatery is the Watermelon Jalapeno Margarita, which uses a fresh watermelon puree as a base. The Gringo’s Nachos won a local award last year: unsurprising, considering the tasty combination of Cajun chicken, mango pico, and queso. We also cannot recommend Grandma’s Chocolate Cake strongly enough. This Ghirardelli chocolate masterpiece is a well-beloved birthday treat.
101 2nd St. E.
Hastings, MN 55033
Wilde Café & Spirits
Wilde Café & Spirits has been a Minneapolis staple for several years, and with its lovely, shaded views of the Mississippi River, the Stone Arch Bridge and the city skyline, along with the fantastic people-watching opportunities from their patio in St. Anthony Main, it’s easy to see why. Owners Kim Anderson and Daniel Dominik bought the restaurant in April 2018 from Tom DeGree and Dean Schlaak, and have since put their own unique stamp on it while at the same time keeping much of the former feel of its namesake Oscar Wilde-like Victorian decadence.
Wilde Café offers an array of mouthwatering flatbreads, refreshing salads, burgers and sandwiches to choose from, along with their signature crab cakes. However, Oscar’s Gelato Micro Creamery is sure to be a summer favorite as you relax in the covered patio, sipping one of their signature “Golden Girls” cocktails and watching passersby on a delightful and always too-short Minnesota summer evening. All of the gelatos are made in-house, one batch at a time, and reflect a delicious variety of seasonal flavors.
65 SE Main St.
Minneapolis, MN 55414
Stillwater Overlooking St. Croix River
Hotel Crosby – Matchstick Grill
Matchstick Grill at Hotel Crosby has one of the largest spirits collections in Midwest—and they are rapidly approaching a similarly impressive wine collection. Matchstick Grill hosts regular Tuesday night spirit tastings and specialty wine nights in tandem with local vineyard 7 Vines. These events are regularly announced on social media, so make sure you follow them to stay in the loop.
The Matchstick Grill menu prioritizes locally sourced food. The brussels sprouts are a perfect appetizer for sharing, and the short rib is as delicious as it is large. We recommend ordering a couple desserts and sharing them around your table. The crusted plantains served with coconut ice cream and pecan pie with a side of maple bourbon whipped cream are irresistible.
232 Main St. N.
Stillwater, MN 55082
Papa’s Rooftop is the one of three restaurants at the historic Water Street Inn. This rooftop venue offers an unbeatable view of the St. Croix River and its garden is both beautiful and functional—many of the herbs and vegetables are used in Papa’s Rooftop signature dishes.
Enjoy a St. Croix Spritz or a Tuscan Pear as you peruse the menu. Both are popular limoncello-based cocktails and make perfect summer sippers. We recommend sharing the Goat Cheese Dip, which is a baked goat cheese topped with fresh tomato and basil. Papa’s Rooftop is beloved for their delectable selection of hand-tossed pizzas. Our personal favorites are the Margherita and the Pesto Chicken.
101 Water St. S. Rooftop,
Stillwater, MN 55082
The Freight House has a broad appeal. Not only is it a nationally recognized historic building, it also has an 8,000 square foot patio just off the St. Croix River, and hosts a DJ every Friday and Saturday from 10pm – 2 am.
Freight House offers an extensive array of summery drinks, from beer to bubbly wine to mules, margaritas and several specialty drinks that are served in a pineapple. Recently, Freight House added a smoker to their kitchen, which means house-smoked chicken wings, house-smoked pastrami on the Manhattan Pastrami Sandwich, and house-smoked chicken and pork carnitas in the Freight House tacos. You can even order some house-smoked pig ears for your furry friends!
305 Water St. S.
Stillwater, MN 55082