See more of the story

Breakfast sandwich at Wrecktangle Pizza

The bungle is an egg, bacon and cheese breakfast sandwich ($10) that you have to wait until lunchtime to order at Silver's Market & Deli, which is also Wrecktangle Pizza. If that makes your head hurt, it's also a dish that could very likely cure that ill.

When the Wrecktangle owners set their sights on their third location — the first not in a food hall — they knew it was the opportunity to create sandwich greatness. It was also a chance to have some fun bending a few rules.

Chef/owner Jeff Rogers and crew wanted a utility roll for sandwiches that was chewy and hearty, but also soft and handy — like a bagel without a hole. Thus, the bungle was born. That kind of magical thinking also demanded a breakfast sandwich that had a luscious egg with a yolk that wouldn't burst and spill out. Then there had to be richness, major bacon and a little sweet heat. The result is a beautifully done omelet folded into the sandwich, plus cream cheese for opulence, American cheese for the goo factor, thick bacon and honey spiked with Cry Baby Craig's. The only problem is that the sandwich isn't available until 11 a.m., when the restaurant opens as Silver's Market & Deli (enter on the Lake Street side). Best not to think too hard about all this. Just sleep in and go for a hall-of-fame midday breakfast sandwich. (Joy Summers)

703 W. Lake St., Mpls., 612-444-4420, wrecktanglepizza.com

Spicy Moroccan fried chicken and pearl waffles from Fhima’s Minneapolis.
Spicy Moroccan fried chicken and pearl waffles from Fhima’s Minneapolis.

Sharyn Jackson, Star Tribune

Spicy Moroccan fried chicken and pearl waffles at Fhima's Minneapolis

When I found out that a few downtown lunch heavy-hitters had finally reopened, I was elated. With a few more midday dining choices, the one day a week I head into the office was about to get a lot more interesting.

I chose Fhima's for my first outing, happy to revisit the always-stunning Art Deco masterpiece that is the former Forum Cafeteria. Chef/owner David Fhima is having as much fun as ever with the lunch menu. The classic grilled cheese ($15), which comes oozing out of brioche that's been slathered with comforting shakshuka sauce? Get it. The lobster bisque ($11/$19), rich and thick, that just happens to be the perfect dipper for fries? Do it. And a Moroccan-spiced chicken sandwich ($18) that replaces a bun with two Liege-style waffles, the kind that have the little pearls of sugar baked in? Revelatory.

Fhima doesn't bother to load up the sandwich with garnishes, mayos and hot sauces that would compete for attention. He knows that the simply sweet crunch in the ultrasoft waffle, which he said he tested dozens of times until he landed on the right proportions, is all the chicken needs to shine.

Dining out like this on a Tuesday at noon might not be for everyone; we easily dropped $100 with everything rolled in. But downtown lunch has always been about the business meeting. If you're lucky enough to be invited to one here, you'll be talking about more than business. (Sharyn Jackson)

40 S. 7th St., Mpls., 612-353-4792, fhimasmpls.com

Grilled octopus from Nightingale.
Grilled octopus from Nightingale.

Nicole Hvidsten, Star Tribune

Grilled octopus from Nightingale

It's a great sign when at the end of a meal you're struggling to decide which dish is the best because they were all good. That was the case recently at Nightingale, where we made a meal of small plates. But it's never a bad thing to have options.

Option 1: The nonalcoholic Plan B — ginger beer, lemongrass, ginger, lime and soda ($5) — was bitingly refreshing after a long day. I had two. Option 2: mushroom bruschetta ($10), a medley of well-seasoned mushrooms piled high on a thick slab of toast and topped with two sunny quail eggs. It was a mushroom lover's delight.

Option 3, the grilled octopus ($15), ultimately won the night. It was visually stunning, and stunningly delicious. The octopus was grilled to slightly charred perfection and served atop pickled shishito peppers, pineapple and a thick swipe of black garlic. Each element was delicious on its own, but even better when eaten together. Load up a bite of octopus, pepper and pineapple, run your fork through the garlic and enjoy the textures and spicy-sweet flavors. Such a memorable dish.

The restaurant, from chef Carrie McCabe-Johnston and Jasha Johnston, is a Whittier neighborhood gem with good looks, too. It's also one of the few neighborhood restaurants open daily with a kitchen that serves until midnight. (Nicole Hvidsten)

2551 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls., 612-354-7060, nightingalempls.com

Foxy Falafel’s signature dish and dilly fresh cheese curds are still a hit ten years later.
Foxy Falafel’s signature dish and dilly fresh cheese curds are still a hit ten years later.

Joy Summers

Falafel and cheese curds at Foxy Falafel

"It's been 10 years," said owner Erica Strait, grinning from behind the register at her Foxy Falafel cafe. It was almost that long ago when we first met; she was still serving her cravable signature dish at local farmers markets. Rising demand led to a food truck and eventually this darling Midway restaurant.

In the past decade, an entire neighborhood has sprung up around Raymond Avenue with several new condos and apartment buildings. The area is a lively mix of artists, students, young families and more. All are lucky to have Foxy Falafel in their midst.

The cafe and its menu are guaranteed crowd-pleasers. The falafel — filled with herby flavor and fluffy ground chickpeas — are naturally gluten-free and vegan. Other dishes cater to discerning tastes, budget-watchers, health-minded folks and even little kids. When I dropped in with my daughter, she delighted at the spiced French fries ($7), abundant falafel platter ($12) and the outrageously good cheese curds ($8). Who knew that all Ellsworth curds really wanted in life was a light dill-spiked, rice-flour dusting before being fried, with a side of sweet local honey? (Joy Summers)

Foxy Falafel, 791 Raymond Av., St. Paul, 651-888-2255, foxyfalafel.com

The mojo chicken at Toma Mojo Grill is best enjoyed on a patio with a glass of sangria.
The mojo chicken at Toma Mojo Grill is best enjoyed on a patio with a glass of sangria.

Sharyn Jackson, Star Tribune

Mojo chicken at Toma Mojo Grill

Just back from a trip to Portugal, I've been seeking Iberian flavors in the Twin Cities. Straight from the airport, I headed to Estelle in St. Paul for cod fritters and a single pastel de nata, the warm Portuguese custard tart that was a daily indulgence on my trip.

Next up was Toma Mojo Grill, the Portuguese- and Spanish-style rotisserie in a strip mall near Ridgedale Center. This place has become one of my family's favorites since it opened a year ago, launched by two Tilia veterans with an eye on the western suburbs.

Meal plates ($9.59-$19.39) come with hearty portions of a protein (chicken pieces, pulled chicken, pulled pork, Red Table chorizo or vegan sausage) and a couple of sauces and sides. When I need to feed the whole family, I opt for the whole chicken platter ($37.89).

The chicken is plump and juicy, the skin taut and nicely browned. Choosing two baskets of sides from a long list can change up the flavor profile of the meal entirely, though I almost always get the crunchy fried Brussels sprouts, lightly sweet from a citrus dressing; and the shatteringly crispy seasoned fries. For sauces: the herbaceous green mojo and the perky citrus piri-piri are my go-tos.

While extremely takeout-friendly, my suggestion is to dine in (or out on the patio). That way you can get a refreshingly fruity glass of melon sangria ($10) to go with it. (Sharyn Jackson)

12977 Ridgedale Drive, Minnetonka, 952-405-9179, tomamojogrill.com