925 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Billed as a Tequila Bar, Barrio is much more than that and possibly the most original Mexican food in the Twin Cities. They have some wonderful larger dishes but it's the small plates and tacos where Barrio shines. Try the Crab Empanadas, the Skirt Steak Taco or the Spiced Shrimp Taco (the best taco I've had this side of the Yucatan).
Bar La Grassa
I mentioned this restaurant in another "Best Of" post I did on Italian food. This is a great place to go and order several small dishes for sharing. The Soft Eggs and Lobster Bruschetta, the Bread and Prosciutto Salad plus any number of pasta dishes (which can all be ordered in small versions) are all worth checking out. A great late-night stop for sitting at the bar and ordering a few small plates!
Another great late-night stop. 112 Eatery is consistently billed as one of the very best places for Twin Cities dining. Anytime someone asks me where to go in downtown Minneapolis when looking for a special dining experience, this is where I send them. The Blue Prawns appetizer, Cauliflower Fritters, Foie Gras Meatballs (trust me!) and the exceptional 112 Burger are standouts and they're all about $10. Don't miss the Tres Leches Cake for dessert....it will change your life!
A true Tapas Bar....the small plates arrive like mini works of art. You're likely to run across ingredients here you've never eaten before. Have faith. You won't be dissapointed. Try the tasting menu for a trip through 8 Tapas and is a great way to sample several amazing dishes.
Located in the historic NE Minneapolis neighborhood along Marshall, the Sample Room is a restaurant that has been reborn recently with a new chef and a new commitment to local food. Homemade and made from scratch are a couple of phrases that make the Sample Room a great place to check out. Comfort foods galore like meatloaf, ribs and cheese plates make for a homey experience.
Chino Latino is the Uptown spot know more for its bar scene and as a trendy hangout. They also specialize in huge, family style portions. However, they also have some of the better small plates I've had. If you can handle a little spice, try the Jamaican Jerk Chicken Skewers. The Empanada's De Janeiro, Tempura Shrimp Lollipops and Korean Beef Lettuce Cups are outstanding. Yes, the "hot zone" menu is a little out there. This is not a Minnesota Supper Club where ketchup is considered spicy! And that's a good thing.
772 Bielenberg Drive
Woodbury, MN 55125
Aperitif in Woodbury brings warmth and comfort to Mediterranean food. Mini meatball sandwich, Garlic Shrimp, Tuna Carpaccio and many other smaller plates make Aperitif a worthy stop.
Known more for huge steaks and chops, Kincaid's has an appetizer and happy hour menu that I love. It's not Tapas but it's still small plate! The Mediterranean Mussels in Cioppino are awesome and the Meatloaf Sliders are off the charts. Plus, it's all half-price during happy hour!
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