Restaurants with a tapas, or small-plates, menu are a fun way to explore new flavors and foods you might not try otherwise. So grab a group of friends or make it a date night and try some of these small plates at these Minneapolis locations. It’s always fun to go somewhere and get a cup of rabbit stew, a plate of mushroom tart or baked brie cheese. And if you can’t decide what to order and end up with three plates of food, don’t worry. They’re small.

Photo Credit: Pierre’s Bistro

Pierre’s Bistro
2221 W 50th St
Minneapolis, MN 55419
(612) 928-0582

Pierre’s Bistro is a darling little restaurant tucked away nice and snug on West 50th Street. Its small plates are packed with big flavor. Try the savory Mushroom Tart, flavored with sun-dried tomatoes and Swiss cheese, and you won’t even want to share. Another must-try is the Tarte Flambe. This flatbread comes topped with creme fraiche, bacon, onions and Swiss cheese for a combination of salty and stinky tastes that are tamed with the sweet inclusion of creme fraiche. This is a great spot to go for traditional French cuisine. And don’t forget to say hello to Pierre – he loves to hear from his customers.

Photo Credit: Masa

1070 Nicollet Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 338-6272

A great spot for a tapas-style Mexican dinner is Masa, located in downtown Minneapolis on Nicollet Mall. It offers a full menu, margaritas and wine as well as a nice-sized menu of small plates and appetizers for sharing. Why would you go anywhere else? Masa offers a variety of salsas and queso dips, along with salads, quesadillas, tacos and soups for its tapas options. The Queso Fundido con Hongos plate arrives with an array of cheeses like melted Chihuahua and havarti mixed with mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, serrano and flavored with Dos Equis Amber beer. Wrap up your desired mix in a warm tortilla for the ultimate tasting experience. The modern decor and fresh color scheme makes this place a delight for lunch and sets the mood for an evening date for dinner and drinks.

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Photo Credit: Piccolo

4300 Bryant Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55409
(612) 827-8111

Piccolo’s philosophy is “quality over quantity,” and anyone who has eaten there can attest to the quality and care put into every plate of food that comes out of its kitchen doors. Its chefs delicately create robust flavors with unexpected ingredients like pig’s feet, pine needles and duck gizzard. However, one try of the duck gizzard, perfectly seasoned and paired with radishes, watercress and rhubarb, and you’ll quickly sense a smile forming from the wonderful tastes. If a night out for wine and a cheese plate is all you’re after, don’t fret – it’s on the menu.

Photo Credit: El Mason

El Meson 
3450 Lyndale Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55408
(612) 822-8062

This Spanish and Caribbean bistro is located in the CARAG neighborhood, just east of Lake Calhoun. The chefs on duty use fresh produce, ensuring everything on the menu is made daily, which is probably why its customers keep coming back for more. The tapas menu includes yummy bites like gorgonzola and roasted-red-pepper stuffed mushrooms, stuffed chorizo sausages and garlic sautéed shrimp. Go for happy hour Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. or Saturday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and stay for the tapas.

Photo Credit: Solera

900 Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 388-0062

A “best of” list for tapas-style restaurants in Minneapolis wouldn’t be complete without mention of Solera. It’s a downtown staple, located on the corner of 9th and Hennepin. Solera does triple duty by offering a great dining spot that services theater goers, concert junkies and the downtown office crowd – as well as everyone else. Solera boasts that it serves Spanish-style cuisine with Minneapolis charm. You can be the judge as you feast on scallops with picholine olives, chorizo and heirloom beans, pork ribs with a brandy glaze and pimentón rub or charmoula-marinated quail with roasted-vegetable couscous. Is your mouth watering yet?

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Amber Ranzau lives on the edge of Uptown in Minneapolis and is a gal about town. She frequents the local restaurant scene, loves to support new and local businesses, follows the latest and greatest fashion and design trends, and she does all of this while working as an interior designer, spending time with her man, The Specialist, and taking care of her two goldfish Felix and Petunia and their tankmate Huey the Snail. Her work can be found at