A beautiful southern Minnesota city, Mankato has a long history, wonderful outdoor activities and many delicious eateries, making it a destination that will be loved by travelers. Whether craving sweet treats or fresh bagels or a juicy burger, visitors will be able to find some great options in Mankato. Here, we take a look at some of the tastiest finds in the area.
Friesen’s Family Bakery and Bistro is a delightful establishment that bakes a delectable array of treats in both sweet and savory varieties, as well as mouthwatering lunches. This bakery makes everything from scratch, using local products, and is sure to please anyone’s sweet tooth or savory craving. The sweet side of Friesen’s offers cookies (such as triple chip), jumbo muffins (try the famous maple bacon), cakes, cupcakes and bars. Savory eats include not only breads but also grilled sandwiches — such as the Riverfront, with honey ham and Swiss cheese on marble rye — and made-from-scratch soups, like the West African peanut stew. Visit this bakery any day of the week.
Established in 2003, El Mazatlan is a vibrant restaurant serving authentic Mexican delicacies. Within a festive interior, complete with brightly colored chairs and walls plus wooden tables, guests — who will feel as though they’ve been transported south of the border — can feast upon everything from appetizers, to entrées featuring different types of meats, to vegetarians dishes and much more. The spicy chipotle dip makes a great starter for the whole table, while the shrimp with Mexican rice and veggie taco salad make tasty main dishes. As for drinks, there are plenty of non-alcoholic and alcoholic choices, including mango margaritas. El Mazatlan is open every day.
Diners visiting the India Palace will be taken on a culinary journey through India, as the restaurant features the various styles and flavors of the country’s dishes. Perfect for those guests with sensitive palates, the restaurant allows you to customize the heat factor of your dishes from mild to super spicy. With something for everyone, the menu has entrées for meat lovers — the shahi korma with house-made cheese, cashews, raisins and a choice of chicken or lamb is one flavorful option — and vegetarians. The sautéed house-made cheese with onions, ginger, and tomatoes all in a creamy curry sauce is a great veggie main dish. Try these recipes and more seven days a week.
Located in Old Town Mankato, Mom & Pop’s is a locally owned and operated ice cream shop. Perfect on a hot summer day, this friendly spot offers a tantalizing array of quality ice creams, all of which are made using the finest ingredients available. Ice cream lovers will most likely find something new every time they visit, since the shop rotates its offerings frequently to showcase seasonal options, non-fat yogurt, caffeinated flavors and more. Frozen sweet treats are not the only deliciousness found at Mom and Pop’s; there are also espresso drinks, fudge, hot chocolate, and much more. Mom & Pop’s is open daily during the summer.
Located in the heart of downtown and open seven days a week, Pagliai’s Pizza has been enticing customers with its delicious pizza since 1969. In addition to pizza, this Mankato staple also offers sandwiches, pasta and salads, and with such a variety, the entire family is sure to be satisfied. The ‘sweet heat’ pizza — topped with pepperoni, pineapple, banana peppers and bacon — and the ‘garden’ — topped with mushrooms, green peppers, black olives, green olives, onions, tomatoes, and oregano — are two crowd-pleasing selections. However, if guests want something truly unique, they can always build their own variety.
Opened in 2007 by Jay C. Pappas, Pappageorge Restaurant and Bar is a wonderful, casual haunt delighting guests with its selection of American eats Monday through Saturday. With a comfortable and fun ambiance, Pappageorge offer’s guests everything from starters to salads to pasta to entrées and so much more, all of which are made with the best ingredients available. The fresh fried cauliflower served with house-made cheese sauce makes a great beginning to any meal, while the eponymous Pappageorge chicken breast with feta and oregano and the garlic and asiago pasta with broccoli and red onion are two delicious main courses. Desserts and beverages, including cocktails, wine, and beer, are also offered.
Priding itself on being a gathering spot for friends and family, Pub 500 is a friendly venue located in the heart of Mankato’s Entertainment District. Open seven days a week, this pub serves a tempting array of specialty drinks, beer, and wine alongside tasty, hearty eats that will sate anyone’s hunger. The fish and chips — the pub’s specialty —, with two beer-battered cod loins, fries, coleslaw, and a French roll, and the black bean burger, served with a choice of side dish, are two must-try options. The great ambiance is enhanced by patio seating during the warmer months, along with live music and other events.
A seasonal operation, open every day from April 1st through November 1st, Rapidan Dam Store is an iconic outfit serving incredible pies and savory eats to everyone who visits. Popular with locals and tourists alike, this place is a true gem. There are approximately 20 pies served on a rotating basis, with several varieties served each day, including scrumptious flavors like peanut butter cream, rhubarb and chocolate caramel pecan. As for savory options, Rapidan’s hamburgers, which are fresh and formed by hand, are often raved about, as is the house-made potato salad. Rapidan is also known for its creamy, old-fashioned milkshakes.
Tandem Bagels is an eco-friendly bagel bakery and coffeehouse located in the heart of Mankato. Intent on leaving the smallest carbon footprint possible, the folks at Tandem Bagels seek the freshest, in-season and organic products available from local sources. Within a comfortable, laid-back atmosphere, guests can sample a variety of kettle-boiled and hearth-baked bagels along with other tantalizing baked goods, including muffins, scones, and coffee cakes. Highlights from the menu include the fresh organic egg and cheese bagel breakfast sandwich and the ‘Tour de France‘ sandwich, with roast beef, crispy shallots, sharp cheddar cheese and Thousand Island horseradish sauce. Tandem Bagels is open every day.
Tokyo Sushi & Hibachi is a favored choice in Mankato when it comes to tasty Japanese cuisine. Open every day for lunch and dinner, this restautant offers guests a great selection of sushi, including the Mankato roll with fried shrimp, cucumber, mayo, and spicy tuna, with crunchy bits on top and served with eel sauce and spicy mayo. It also features hibachi tables, where guests are provided with their own chef who cooks everything in front of them. Highlights from the hibachi dinners include tofu and vegetables, filet mignon, and twin lobster tails. This family-friendly restaurant also offers a children’s menu.