The Best Eats of White Bear Lake, MN
Nowadays, raving over your hometown is a bit taboo. Most people try to get out of town right after they graduate, and for the most part, we did. However, several years ago we found ourselves back where it all began and have embraced our town and made it our home.
White Bear Lake is a suburb of both Minneapolis and St. Paul and is a busy, yet quaint, lake town. We are a mere 20 minutes from either city, and while that is desirable for many of the residents, our family loves to stay put and enjoy our town and all that it has to offer. White Bear is home to some great places to kick back and grab a delicious meal. Here are my votes for the best eats of White Bear Lake, MN.
The Best Restaurants in White Bear Lake, MN
If you are looking for fine dining and gourmet eats, look no further than Acqua. The restaurant is located close to downtown White Bear Lake, sits smack dab on the lake, and boasts a beautiful patio for the warmer months. The interior has a romantic feeling with crisp linens, wine cork menus and candlelit tables.
The wait staff is extremely knowledgeable and always has the best suggestions. Some of our favorites that remain a staple on the menu are the bruschetta (best version is in the winter months) and calamari on the appetizer menu; caprese and mela parmigiano on the salad menu; the ragu bolognese and ossobuco on the entree menu; and for dessert you need to try the butterscotch budino, which is to die for.
The Meet Market
The Meet Market is the little brother to Acqua and right around the corner. It is open for lunch and dinner and has some serious goodness on the menu. They have sandwiches, chicken wings, soups, and burgers. Additionally, they have weekly specials that are usually on the indulgent side but never disappoint. The restaurant serves wine and beer and provides small eating spaces, both indoor and out. On any given day you will find the line out the door.
We enjoy the Cuban sandwich and french fries with bacon ketchup. Yep, they have bacon ketchup! It’s heavenly. Other favorite menu items include fried cheese curds, the gyro and the Meet Market deluxe burger. If you check-in on Facebook, they will give you a free homemade chocolate chip cookie.
EAT! @Banning and 5th
Eat! has some ridiculously delicious lunch options. Their soups are homemade and the sandwiches are made to order right in front of you. They also have many salad options if you want something lighter. They boast homemade salad dressings, fresh baked bread and fresh roasted meats and stocks. When you are finished, don’t forget to walk next door to their kitchen store where you will find all the kitchen gadgets you never knew you needed.
If you are craving some really tasty homemade Italian food, Donatelli’s is the place to go. They are open for lunch and dinner and their menu is very expansive. Donatelli’s has been a staple in White Bear since the 1970s and holds a special place in residents’ hearts. Beyond serving delicious food, they are constantly giving back to the community. Their generosity is endless and their dishes are divine, a perfect combination for a community eatery.
You can’t go wrong with any of their menu items, but some favorites are their spaghetti with meatballs, Italian fries, pizza and calzones. If you are in a hurry, you can check out their refrigerated section for take home meals.
Don’t forget to grab a scoop of ice cream on your way out; they have a variety of flavors and feature fresh-made gelato for the more sophisticated palates. A quick fun fact, Donatelli’s was featured on Diners, Drive ins and Dives several years ago!
Cup and Cone
Cup and Cone is a White Bear Lake icon serving up the best soft serve ice cream around. While it’s not a traditional restaurant, it warrants a mention, especially considering the lines can be 30-40 people deep on any given day. Not only do they have a variety of flavors and toppings, they are extremely affordable for any family.
If you are craving something other than ice cream, they also offer fresh-made subs for lunch and dinner. Cup and Cone is just a small building on the side of the road, but if you ask anyone in town where to get the best ice cream they will tell you Cup and Cone.
The Best Pizza in White Bear Lake
If you are looking for a really great wood-fired or coal-fired pizza, Olive’s or Pezzo is the place to go. They feature unique varieties of pizza with fresh tomato sauce, white sauce or olive oil. The reason I clump these two together is that I really can’t decide which one I like best. They both offer some unique combinations and super fresh toppings.
At Pezzo, the kids are greeted with fresh dough to play with while you wait. The bar offers a huge selection of beer, wine and spirits, and the appetizers are all to die for. If you choose to get a salad, be very aware that one salad can feed an entire family. Some favorite pizzas are the meatball, the Wrigley and my personal favorite has cream sauce, caramelized onions and fennel sausage. Pezzo also serves some really amazing Chicago deep dish pizza and coal-fired sandwiches.
Olive’s Fresh Pizza Bar
Olive’s menu is a bit smaller, but don’t worry, the pizza makes up for it in flavor. You can create your own or choose from one of their specialty pizzas. Some of our favorites are the Farmer’s Market, Margherita and the Cecilia. Can’t choose just one? Don’t worry, they will divide the pizza in half and put one type on each side so everyone is happy.
White Bear Lake is a gem of a city; beyond eating, you will find plenty to see and do. You can walk along the lake, browse the unique shops downtown, hit some balls at the golf course, paddle board, kayak, or bike the trails. The possibilities are endless in our beautiful city. Just be sure to hit up a few of these great White Bear Lake restaurants while visiting.
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Michelle and her family reside in a small town outside of St. Paul. They love the quiet their little city affords them, but enjoy being just minutes…