Anyone who thinks the Midwest doesn’t have authentic Chinese food is in serious need of a pilgrimage to Tea House. Luckily, this genre-defining restaurant is eager to educate. Located near the University of Minnesota, it primarily serves the exacting standards of an international student population seeking a taste of home—and China’s a massive country, so that’s actually quite difficult to deliver. Tea House rises to the challenge with a menu that pays homage to home-style cuisines as diverse as the far-reaching cities it encompasses. There are those tear-inducing Szechuan sensations, hand-pulled noodles drenched in red-hot chili oil and peppercorns, Yangtze riverside variations on walleye, Xinjiang lamb seasoned with Middle Eastern spices, and red bean Cantonese desserts. It’s both a wonderful restaurant to visit if you’re lucky enough to have friends who enjoy pigging out together, and a surprisingly underrated date spot.
Readers’ Choice: Rainbow Chinese