restaurant review: barrio

17 Jan

This weekend we had the pleasure of dining out with our friends, BK and Carin. They wanted to takes us out as a thank you for watching their dog, Carter. We did not argue or complain, we just asked when and where we should show up.

Barrio in Minneapolis was the pick. They had never been there and Brette and I had just been there once for happy hour and had been wanting to go back ever since.

We had a fabulous time thanks to perfect company and the restaurant itself.

Let me break it down.


Carin described it as “moody”. She meant that the atmosphere worked for both a romantic dinner, dinner with friends, or a fun time at the bar. We were seated upstairs which was a bit quieter, but you could still feel the energy from the activity downstairs at the bar. It’s definitely a hip place, but not hip enough where I didn’t fit in.


I liked our server a lot. He scored major points when he asked us if we thought it was too loud and turned down the music that was blaring  from the speaker right above us.  From there, he gave us plenty of time to chat and make our menu picks. He answered all of our questions and offered suggestions when we asked. When we asked about dessert, the tone he used in his response “we just have churros”, was enough to know what he thought about them. I like that. I don’t want to waste my time (or the calories) on a dessert that isn’t that great.


Most of the things on the menu are either small plates or tacos. There are about 4 or 5 larger plates that I’m assuming are more entree sized. The small plates makes it easy to order a number of different things to try which is the route we went. I think we all liked everything we ate. There was not one thing that we didn’t finish. Some of the favorites of the table:

  • Guacamole with homemade corn tortilla chips. I love that their guacamole has radish slices in it. It adds a different crunch.
  • Pork Belly Tacos – both Brette and BK were big fans.
  • The Roasted Beet Salad with goat cheese and peanuts. The peanuts were different from the traditional beet salad. I really loved this salad.Like really.
  • Sugarcane Skewered Tequila Shrimp – very well cooked and super tasty.
  • Crab Empanadas with salsa verde and avocado – I liked these a lot more than I thought I would

Like I said, we liked everything we ate, these are just some of the highlights.

I would be remiss not to mention the drinks. This is a tequila bar for pete’s sake. When in Rome! I opted for the Trinity Margarita and somehow managed to sip it through most of  the meal. I can see where it would be easy to have 3 or 4 of those bad boys. It was limey and delicious. BK tried both the Caesar Chavez (their classic margarita) and the Enter the Dragon (a spicy passion fruit version) and he was happy with both. Brette went with the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly – tequila with a tamarind cinnamon cola. He thought it was very tasty and would order it again. Carin, being with child, ordered the Midnight Sun, a tangy blood orange soda. She felt it was missing some tang that it had promised. However, it was nice to have some different non-alcoholic options.

As I mentioned above, the dessert option was not very enthusiastically described. We opted to go down the street to Zelo for some after dinner drinks and dessert. It was a good choice. Between the four of us, we split the Budino (molten chocolate cake with vanilla gelato), the Carmel Apple Crisp, and a Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake. They were all excellent and we nearly licked the plates. I think the Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake was the winner with the table. It was a perfect ending to a fun night out.

I would absolutely recommend Barrio. It is a fun place for happy hour, dinner, or just a nice tequila when nothing else will do.

Have you been to Barrio? What did you think?


3 Responses to “restaurant review: barrio”

  1. Carin January 17, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

    Love the review, sums up the night perfectly!!

  2. emily (a nutritionist eats) January 18, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

    I love Barrio! We recently tried to go for a happy hour on a Wednesday and it was a 45 minute wait! They are doing something right! I have yet to visit the new Edina location…I’m not sure if it is exactly the same or a little different.

    • jen January 18, 2011 at 9:36 pm #

      I’ve only been to the Minneapolis location. I think SP is bigger. We had reservations and they were definitely necessary!

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