There aren’t many pleasures sweeter than heading out for a lovely meal and drink with those you love. But even sweeter than that is dining out for a worthy cause. An annual fundraising event, Dining Out For Life raises money to support HIV/AIDS service groups and organizations. This year, the event will take place on Thursday, April 26, with all participating restaurants donating 20 to 100 percent of that day’s profits to The Aliveness Project. Want to help out? Just visit one of these amazing establishments on April 26 and make a difference! For a full list of participating restaurants, go to www.diningoutforlife.com/
Hola Arepa- 35%
If you’ve never had an arepa, you’re in luck. There’s no better place to explore the culinary magic of these flavor-packed Venezuelan parcels of plenty in the Twin Cities than Hola Arepa. The handmade dough and fillings are prepared fresh daily and will literally take you on a tasty tour of Latin America in just a few bites. Add an order of yuca fries and arepitas (fried arepa balls filled with jalapenos and goat cheese) and I guarantee you’ll become a regular.
3501 Nicollet Ave.
LUSH Food Bar- 100%
Ever a great spot to grab a drink and unwind with friends in Northeast, LUSH Food Bar offers traditional, comfy bar eats and, of course, cocktails for days. Grab a burger or a fried chicken sandwich with an order of cheese curds and deep fried pickles and you’re golden. Stop by for a quick Happy Hour or extend that Happy Hour right into a full-on night out on the town.
990 Central Ave. NE
Borough consistently earns top marks as one of the best restaurants in the Twin Cities. And for good reason. Whether lunch, brunch, dinner or happy hour, Borough delivers delicious across a range of flavors. The lamb meatballs kissed with harissa and truffle-dusted beef tartare are particular standouts. And if you’re craving one of the best burgers on the planet, pop downstairs to Parlour Bar. This beloved two-pattied, cheese-smothered burger in the basement will quite literally change your life.
730 N Washington Ave.
Pizza Luce- 35%
If pizza were music, Pizza Luce would be punk rock…in your mouth. Innovative, expressive and totally tasty, Pizza Luce’s menu puts most to shame with its mouth-watering menu of original eats. And don’t forget an order of wings or, if you’re in a sammy mood, the Muffuletta tops my list of all-time favorites.
Located in Minneapolis, Duluth, Hopkins, Richfield, Roseville, and St. Paul
ChinDian Cafe- 35%
Some nights you feel like Chinese food, other nights Indian. You may not realize it yet, but from now on you’re about to crave both. At the same time. Enter ChinDian Cafe. My outlook on takeout life was changed after my first few bites of Madras Chicken and veggie samosas. Is it Chinese food? Is it Indian? It’s both. And the only thing you’ll care about is how to get more into your mouth. Head Northeast for a truly unique experience.
1500 E Hennepin Ave.
Jakeeno’s Pizza & Pasta- 35%
There’s a special place in my heart for neighborhood pizza joints. Where else can you get a simple yet satisfying slice or five and chew the fat with a few friends after a long day at the office? Jakeeno’s Pizza & Pasta is a classic Powderhorn pizza parlour with everything deliciously old school you’d expect. If the weather’s nice, order up some wings on the patio and relax. Get a large cheeseburger pie with an order of wings, maybe a salad and an order of artichoke dip and your night is pretty well-made.
3555 Chicago Ave.
Fresh, vibrant, yet rustic and comforting, Monello’s charm is in its simple abundance. The menu reflects a region of Italy you’ll long one day to visit. The coastal cuisine of Campania is full of succulent seafood and delicate handmade pastas brimming with technicolor flavors.
1115 2nd Ave. S
L’Etoile Du Nord Cafe- 100%
There’s a little bit of Belgium smack dab in the heart of the St. Croix river valley worthy of a road trip. L’Etoile Du Nord is a scratch-made, “Belgian-powered” cafe in picturesque Bayport. In addition to a great cup of home-roasted coffee, the waffles and hearth-fired pizzas will feed your soul as much as your stomach. Bonus for beer lovers, their handpicked Belgian ales pair perfectly with the hearty fare on offer.
320 5th Ave.
Foxy Falafel- 25-30%
Falafel is one of those foods I could surely eat every day. Those crispy little balls of spicy chickpea wonder are deeply satisfying. Add some creamy homemade hummus, pita and fresh veggies, and you’ve got one of the best meals around. Extra hungry? Don’t miss the chicken shawarma and beef kofta, both made with local organic and grass-fed meats.
791 Raymond Ave.
Head no further than Maplewood to explore the diverse cuisines of China, Japan, Vietnam, and Thailand. Bambu’s menu is as vast as the cultures its food represents. Spicy pho, Japanese-inspired rolls and stir-fries abound. American favorites aren’t too far behind with traditional Chinese American classics like egg foo young and chow mein.
1715 Beam Ave.
For more information on The Aliveness Project’s Dining Out For Life event, visit www.diningoutforlifemn.org.