By Linda Cameron

Ravioli can be an appetizer, small plate or a main course. Like popular pasta dishes such as pizza and lasagna, it originated in Italy. Most of us are familiar with the square-shaped, scallop-edged pillow pasta topped with marinara and melted cheese. But the versatile ravioli can assume a variety of shapes, textures and flavors, as evidenced at these local dining niches.

Bar La Grassa
800 Washington Ave. N.
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(612) 333-3837

At Bar La Grassa, ravioli is a dining favorite. Bar La Grassa features crabmeat and egg ravioli, which can be ordered as a small or large plate. The egg ravioli, ‘Nduja Egg Raviolo, is what diners often come for. Artisanally prepared, the ravioli is made with fresh egg yolk, Andouille sausage spread, Parmesan cheese and ricotta. The Andouille spread is the ‘Nduja. After a slow bake to seal in seasonings and fillings, the ravioli is finished with browned butter sauce. The crabmeat ravioli is also a diner pleaser. Delicately inlaid between two velvety pasta sheets, the crabmeat is fresh and fragrant, simmering in its own sauce.

(credit: Al Vento Restaurant)

Al Vento
5001 34th Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55417
(612) 345-9302

Many have discovered this hideaway on the south side of Minneapolis. Lovers of southern Italian cuisine will appreciate Al Vento’s sunny Mediterranean menu. The spinach ravioli makes a good starter. This ravioli dish is also substantial enough as an entrée. Dressed with a four-cheese basil pesto sauce, the tender spinach inside the pasta takes on new flavors.

Seven Steakhouse, Sushi, Ultra Lounge & Skybar
700 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 238-7770

On the steakhouse dinner menu are some of the best pasta selections. The two ravioli preparations are outstanding. The lobster ravioli combines real lobster meat and mascarpone cheese into artisan egg pasta. This robust delicacy is topped with a lobster-rich cream sauce. The butternut squash ravioli, made with spinach pasta, blends roasted butternut squash, two soft creamy cheeses, and parmesan in a light sage brown butter sauce.

Related: Best Restaurants With Handmade Pasta In Minnesota

(credit: Loring Pasta Bar)

Loring Pasta Bar
327 14th Ave. S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 378-4849

One of the most frequented pasta bars, this congenial Dinkytown establishment has a beautiful architectural layout. Loring is kind of a big community nightclub café in this community-spirited neighborhood. Locals, visitors and students come for the pasta and the music. The no frills pasta dishes are well made and satisfying. Simple but quality ingredients go into the house made ravioli. You have a choice of goat cheese with chicken and tomato, or Portobello and corn salsa in fresh tomato sauce.

Michelangelo’s Masterpizzas
3002 W. 50th St.
Minneapolis, MN 55410
(612) 920-6945

The pastas at this pasta and pizzeria are undeniably affordable. Pasta entrees are $6.95 and come with a delicious side of garlic toast. Customers tend to favor the deep dish pizza and daily specials, but more should try the ravioli. Made with spinach and portabella, the ravioli is served with a choice of tangy marinara or creamy rich alfredo.

Related: Best Italian Restaurants In The Twin Cities