Downtown Rochester (MN) Eats

Happy Friday!  I thought I would round out this week with some restaurant reviews. Last week, I joined my mom in Rochester, MN because my dad was having surgery at Mayo Clinic.  While it was nerve racking, my dad’s surgery went well for the most part and we’re hoping that it will be the answer to his miserable past year health wise.  While we were busy, we obviously didn’t have a kitchen to cook in and still needed to eat! We had a lot of time to sample the downtown cuisine of Rochester, MN—and we were pretty much in love with it!  Here are a few restaurants that we ate at and are in walking distance of Mayo Clinic/in the downtown Rochester area.

Pannekoeken Restaurants on Urbanspoon
We were referred here by a hospital gift shop employee and I am SO GLAD she told us about this place! If you need to eat breakfast in Rochester (especially close to Mayo Clinic) eat at Pannekoeken!! Hands down one of the best breakfasts I have ever had.  My mom and I ended up eating there for breakfast three days in a row.

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The first day we ate there, my mom and I were both a little apprehensive about the next coming days for my dad and decided we needed a mimosa to calm our nerves.  We were pleasantly surprised when they came in a pitcher and cute mason jar goblets! They were delicious.

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But my friends, this right here is the reason we kept coming back….the Dutch Skillet!!!  This place may be known for their Swedish pancakes, but I don’t know how you could beat this skillet. My mom and I split this dish each time we went there and it was amazing.  Breakfast potatoes with eggs, ham, green pepper, red onion, and topped with Dutch gouda   and hollandaise sauce.  There was also mettwurst on the skillet, but we were weenies and decided not to try it with that.  But apparently, people love it. STILL, this skillet was AMAAAAAAZING.2013-08-01 10.06.10

Seriously, there is a reason we splurged and split one of these and kept coming back for more that weekend. The potatoes were the PERFECT crispiness and the flavors of the onions and peppers really added to the skillet.  And of course—who can go wrong with gouda and hollandaise sauce?

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Pannekoeken also has a wide variety of muffins and we tried out a few during our breakfasts there.  The muffins are served warm, which is a huge plus!  Over our three days of eating breakfast there, we tried the chocolate chunk, the espresso (not pictured), and the oreo muffin.

The chocolate chunk was AMAZING…more like eating chocolate cake! :)

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The oreo muffin was not my favorite though.  Although there were a few oreo crumbles on top, it was basically like a vanilla cake—kinda boring and not a whole lot of flavor.

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The price was great for how much food you were served.  The muffins were around $2 and the skillet was around $8-9.  Affordable and delicious!!


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Newts on Urbanspoon

Newt’s was recommended to us by several locals for their outstanding burgers, so it was definitely on our list of restaurants to try!  Looking at the menu, I could see why so many people like it—there is a burger for everyone!  They even had a peanut butter burger, which I was too much of a wuss to try.

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We split the potato popper appetizer because they looked interesting.  They were mashed potatoes with cheese,bacon, and chives—all fried (so bad, I know).  They were delicious (picture does not them justice, terrible lighting).

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We also split the “Smoky Ranch” burger and opted for a side salad instead of fries.  The burger had swiss cheese, bacon, and an amazing ranch sauce on the side.  I would definitely order it again!

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Newts was also reasonably priced at about $8-10 per burger!  I can see why they are recommended, the meal here was fabulous!

Pescara on Urbanspoon

My mom had also heard great things about Pescara, a seafood restaurant known for their fresh fish and always changing menu.  It is a very upscale restaurant, so it was very nice of my mom to treat us!

Our waiter told us that all of the fish are delivered to them within 24 hours of being caught and never frozen. Their menu is always changing, as are the market prices of the fish.  They had several amazing looking entrees!  We ended up ordering a couple of small plate appetizers and desserts.

First off, I know this is a small thing, but the bread was AMAZING.  It had a lot of rosemary seasoning which made it have a unique taste!

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Our small plate appetizers were the Pescara Platter for 2 and the Chef’s Potatoes.

The Pescara Platter was delicious: two jumbo shrimp, two crab cakes, two scallops, and we substituted calamari for mussels.  I don’t even like calamari, but this stuff was great!  The crab cakes and shrimp were very flavorful and done perfectly.  I didn’t try the scallops because their texture weirds me out, but my mom really liked them.

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The Chef’s Potatoes were stuffed with cheese, onion, corn relish, and lobster…they were just amazing and I’ll leave it at that. :)

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While we were pleasantly full after that, our waiter (who must of secretly knew the way to our hearts) told us that their flourless chocolate cake had been voted best dessert in Rochester in 2012.

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Obviously, we were obligated to try. I couldn’t find this award anywhere when I googled afterward, but I’m still glad we ordered it!

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It was so rich and decadent, I was seriously savoring every bite.

While the food at Pescara was incredible, it was a little pricy.  Our bill was $70 for those two appetizers and dessert and we had water to drink.  I wouldn’t eat there all of the time, but if I had something to celebrate/wanted to splurge I would recommend it. :)

Side note- Kahler Grand Hotel

While my dad was in the hospital at Mayo, my mom and I stayed at the Kahler Grand Hotel—which is conveniently located right across the street from the clinics and hospitals. We’ve stayed there before for my dad’s appointments and although it is pricier than other area hotels, you can’t beat the convenience of being right there at the clinic and it was helpful for us to be close with my dad’s lack of mobility. I would definitely recommend staying there if you have appointments at Mayo!


As always, we paid for these meals on our own (AKA my mom paid for them) and all opinions are my own. I am not compensated in any way for this post!

9 thoughts on “Downtown Rochester (MN) Eats

  1. Beth G.

    Girl, you gotta try peanut butter on a burger (especially with bacon…terrible, I know). It’s prettttty amazing!
    Hope your dad feels better soon and the rest of you are doing well!

  2. Beth G.

    Girl, you gotta try peanut butter on a burger (especially with bacon…terrible I know). It’s prettttty amazing! There is a place in Lincoln, NE that has them, conveniently! Just saying 😉

    Hope your dad feels better soon, and that the rest of you are doing well!


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