For a small town, Duluth is sure full of a lot of flavor. Yep, Duluth is most definitely in the running for an up-and-coming foodie destination, while still remaining true to its humble, blue-collar roots.

Most people underestimate the cuisine and culture in Duluth because the vibe is overwhelming casual and unpretentious. It’s not about the décor and how you’re dressed around town. It’s about quality food and company, plain and simple.

The best restaurants in Duluth, MN

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Duluth restaurants with outdoor patio

The Boat House

The Boat House is located in the Fitgers building right along the water and decorated with nautical décor. The concept of the restaurant is to watch the bigger boats come in and out of Duluth on Lake Superior.

If you’re looking for fresh seafood, you’ll find everything from Superior Lake Trout to salmon and shrimp salad. They also have a delicious crab and artichoke dish. Also paired with their list of craft cocktails and great deserts, it’s definitely a great place for a date night while practicing social distancing outside overlooking the water!  

They are open for brunch and dinner for outdoor dining. I recommend reserving ahead here.

Canal Park Brewing

canal park brewing co

Judging by the name, you may not expect this place to even have food. Canal Park Brewing is a great place to grab a drink and food in Duluth while overlooking the water in Canal Park.

The menu sources many of the items locally, and yes obviously the beer. I recommend trying the smoked salmon sandwich or the Sriracha honey wings. Oh, and don’t forget to try the sweet potato fries! You can view the full menu here.

They are currently open for outdoor dining on their lakeside patio, and it is recommended that you reserve ahead of time.

The Duluth Grill

A flat lay of 4 dishes from the Duluth Grill, in Duluth, Minnesota. Breakfast is served all day and is one of the most iconic restaurants in Duluth. Eating at the Duluth Grill is kind of like a right of passage for tourists in Duluth. A diner located right off of the highway and next to a gas station, you wouldn’t expect this place to be farm to table. It’s no wonder this place was featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.

They serve breakfast all day long, and also feature a whole host of gluten free and vegan options. I recommend trying the congee bowl, huevos rancheros skillet, or zuchini noodles.

They are currently offering pick-up as well as indoor and outdoor dining at limited capacity, but make sure to call ahead. Check out the full menu here.

Lake Avenue Café

Lake Avenue café will forever and always be one of my favorite restaurants in Duluth, MN. Even as Duluth has changed over the years, this place has remained true to its family-owned roots. Not to mention, the people that work here are seriously culinary and mixology geniuses. The menu changes seasonally, so you’ll always find a fresh, unique take on comfort dishes . You can view the menu here.

As of June 24, Lake Ave is open for indoor and outdoor seating at 50% capacity. They are no longer doing delivery, according to their Facebook page.

Indoor dining restaurants in Duluth

Va Bene

Va Bene is another one of those places in Duluth that still has a mom-and-pop feel. With homemade pizza, pastas, and dolce, this place is like a little slice of authentic Italy in Duluth. While many come for the delicious pasta and gelato, the prime view overlooking Lake Superior is a major selling point as well.

Currently they are offering indoor dining at limited capacity, but make sure to reserve ahead of time.  You can view the full dinner menu here.

Hanabi sushi

I’ve been coming here for over 5 years, and still to this day think they have probably the best sushi in Duluth (my mom agrees). The staff is always very attentive and informed, and the sushi is always fresh. It’s a great place for a birthday dinner or a special date night. I recommend trying the mango white tuna or the love boat sushi platter. 

They are currently doing take-out and delivery via Food Dudes. You can also dine inside (with social distancing protocol of course) by contacting them on Facebook here.

Burrito Union

Burrito Union is one of the only Mexican restaurants in Duluth, with fist-size burritos, breakfast tacos, and mouth-watering wings. I recommend going for a hike around Chester Creek and rewarding yourself with some carnitas tacos or burrito to finish. You can view the full menu here.

Currently they are offering pick-up and delivery via doordash. They are also building an outdoor patio, which is set to be open sometime this summer. Keep up-to-date on their Facebook page.

Duluth restaurants for pick-up and takeout

Northern Waters

There’s a reason why the line for Northern Waters goes out the door almost everyday at about noon. It’s not because the deli is anything fancy or spacious. It’s because people are willing to wait for that mouth-watering smoked salmon, juicy pastrami, and locally-sourced turkey breast is considered “cult-worthy”.

Get a sandwich to go and have a picnic in Canal Park. I recommend trying anything with pastrami or smoked salmon, especially the NWS salad! Click here to see the full menu.

New Scenic Café

What’s a scenic drive up the North Shore without stopping at New Scenic Café? Right off of Highway 61, this place is an ideal stop on the way to or from Gooseberry Falls, Two Harbors, or Split Rock Lighthouse.

Believe me when I say the food here makes this place stand out as one of the best places to eat in the North Shore region. You can go wrong with anything off their seasonal menu. 

Currently the New Scenic Cafe is offering delivery and pick-up, and working hard to reopen indoors this summer.


Zeitgeist happens to be one of the most unique restaurants in Duluth, MN, because you can make an entire day out of it. As one of the only upscale brunch options in Duluth, Zeitgeist defines itself as “comfort food with a contemporary twist.”

In normal times you could end the day and see a movie at the “zinema” right next to Zeitgeist. However, the restaurant and movie theatre are still closed.

You can order online for curbside pick up still and have a movie night at home. Check out the full menu here. 

Pizza Luce

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re a Minnesota Native, Pizza Luce is nothing new. However, it’s one of those places to eat in Duluth you can’t go wrong. They hit it out of the park with pizza, sandwiches, and appetizers, even for vegans and gluten free eaters. You’ll often find live music or other community events going on here that give you a true taste of Duluth.

You can’t go wrong with any of the pizzas, but my favorite is pizza Athena. You can click here to see the menu.

They are currently only offering delivery and curbside pickup.

Sarah’s Table

Sarah’s table is one of the best Duluth restaurants to give you a taste of the North Shore’s farm-to-table movement. This casual eatery brings in a lot of health-conscious foodies, and a few (a lot) of Duluth’s hipsters too.

The menu offers a variety of organic, locally and sustainably sourced menu items. My favorite items are the pumpkin pancakes and the hippie farm breakfast. See the full menu here.

Sarah’s Table is currently offering indoor dining at limited capacity, or the option for pick-up.

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