In 2010, Alex Roberts of Restaurant Alma was the chef in the spotlight, and rightly so. Delve into his constantly changing, always imaginative menu with a select-your-own three-course dinner for $48; vegetarians can opt for four courses for $38.

The breathtaking eight-course tasting menu ($85, with a $65 wine pairing) at La Belle Vie pretty much explains the reasoning behind chef Tim McKee's 2009 win, the first Minnesota chef to be so honored.

Isaac Becker won in 2011 for his innovative 112 Eatery, and one of the toughest reservations in town suddenly became even more challenging. Go for the bacon-harissa sandwich, stay for the foie gras meatballs and the sweet-and-sour crab salad. Oh, and the butterscotch budino.