Review: Lake Minnetonka Restaurant Dishes for Foodies

Eight dishes to delight your inner foodie.
Sakana's Godzilla Roll may testthe palate of even the most seasoned sushi eater.

Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain once said, “To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demi-glace or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living.” We’re sure the foodies of the world couldn’t agree more. While we surely appreciate the classics—think juicy cheeseburgers and slices of salty pepperoni pizza—there are an abundance of nosh worthy dishes in the lake area for all those adventurous eaters out there. From lamb meatballs to truffle shrimp casserole, we’re paying homage to the local eateries serving up interesting, yet delicious dishes that will bring a smile to any foodie’s face.

Hazellewood Grill and Tap Room
Now this may not be the juicy hamburger you’ve been craving, but if you give Hazellewood’s quinoa burger a try, we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Quinoa—a grain-like crop known for its high nutritional value—gives this burger a hearty texture. Mixed with cottage cheese, cheddar, cumin, and zucchini the golden quinoa patty makes this dish a vegetarian’s dream. The patty is then pan fried and finished with basil mayonnaise and a freshly-baked bun. Served with lettuce, sliced tomato, shaved Bermuda onions and homemade pickles, this burger has a definite wow factor. $11. 5635 Manitou Road, Tonka Bay; 952.401.0066.

Blue Point Restaurant and Bar
As Wayzata’s resident seafood restaurant, you know you’ll find a plethora of seafood classics from oysters on the half shell to homemade crab cakes at Blue Point. But if you love trying dishes from around the globe, don’t skip the Brazilian moqueca. This 300-year-old Brazilian staple is traditionally based on a saltwater fish stew with coconut milk, tomatoes, a variety of spices and palm oil. Blue Point’s rendition incorporates shrimp, cod and mahi mahi with the fresh flavors of turmeric and cilantro in a homemade shellfish stock. It’s pretty much a seafood lover’s dream! $29. 739 E Lake St., Wayzata; 952.475.3636.

Jake O’Connors
This Excelsior-based Irish pub may be known for its cozy atmosphere and traditional Irish dishes like fish and chips, but foodies will appreciate some of the more unique flavors and combinations the menu at Jake O’Connors has to offer. The lamb meatball linguine will surprise and delight your taste buds with its combination of rich and fresh flavors. This delectable dish features three house-made lamb and herb meatballs at its center. You’ll find them served on a mix of roasted tomatoes, flavorful red onion, spicy fresh arugula and crisp bacon that’s been sautéed together in a savory cream sauce, and then tossed with perfectly cooked linguine. $17.75. 200 Water Street, Excelsior; 952.908.9650.

Originally from South Korea, Sakana’s chef Johnny Kwon spent time training as a sushi chef in New York City and Minneapolis before Sakana opened in 2009. Now he’s crafting beautiful, creative nori rolls, nigiri and sashimi in the heart of downtown Wayzata. We know raw fish can be a deterrent for less adventurous eaters, but if you give it a try, you might just be pleasantly surprised. The Godzilla roll could be called the king of all sushi at Sakana. For starters, this amazing roll is packed with tuna, salmon and yellowtail. Next, Kwon adds some avocado and tobiko (flying fish eggs), and tops the roll with whole eel. Sushi lovers be warned—this roll is not for the faint of heart! $19.95. 683 E. Lake St.; 952.476.7000.

Birch’s Restaurant and Bar
This contemporary supper club is located across from what used to be The Buckhorn, Long Lake’s beloved roadhouse. Featuring a menu that includes seasonal specialties and traditional classics alike, there are a number of fun and interesting dishes you’ll be dying to try. The truffle shrimp casserole is a must with its rich, comforting flavors. Not your typical Minnesota casserole, this dish incorporates trenne pasta, sautéed shrimp, sherried mushrooms and sweet peas for a pop of color. Mixed together in a truffle cream sauce and topped with a garlic crumb crust, this is the king of all casseroles. And if you can make it in on a Tuesday, you can take advantage of half-price bottle of wine night, too. $17. 1935 W. Wayzata Blvd., Long Lake; 952.473.7373.

Joey Nova’s Pizzeria and Grilled Subs
This East Coast-style pizzeria is definitely a lake area favorite, serving up mouth-watering pizzas, grilled subs and pasta. Preparing everything from scratch, the Joey Nova’s culinary team even uses only the finest authentic oil imported from family owned olive groves in Greece. But, we’re here to talk pizza. For a variation on the classic pepperoni pizza, we love the Joey Bleu. This pie features salty pepperoni, of course. But it’s the broccoli that makes this pizza so deliciously different. Paired with red onion, gorgonzola bleu cheese and garlic olive oil, you’re sure to want more than one slice. You can also order all of Joey Nova’s pizzas partially baked, so you can take it home and bake it up like it’s your own masterpiece (don’t worry, we won’t tell!). $13.95–$24.50. 5655 Manitou Road, Tonka Bay; 952.405.2700.


Lola’s Lakehouse
Even though it’s the dead of winter and snow blankets the ground, we still love the nautical feel of this summertime hotspot during the colder months. Overlooking Lake Waconia, you can spend your evening dreaming out the warmer days to come over a delicious meal—particularly, the absinthe-glazed salmon. You may not think of absinthe as a cooking ingredient, but the anise flavored spirit, which is derived from botanicals, gives this salmon dish a lovely, and surprising flavor. The fish is grilled to perfection and then served over roasted fingerling potatoes and braised fennel. It’s then served with a sweet and sour tomato agrodolce—a traditional sweet and sour sauce that hails from Italian cuisine—and garlic saffron emulsion. $22.25. 318 E. Lake St.; Waconia; 952.442.4954.