As someone who loves the idea of small plates, tapas are right up my alley.
Even at places that aren’t about the teasers, I’ve been known to order enough appetizers to forget about an entree.
So when a few restaurants around the Twin Cities began specializing in the tapas – those Spanish snacks meant to elevate the world of appetizers – I took notice!
Whether you’re in the mood for snacking, noshing, or ordering enough small plates to feed an army, I’ve compiled my local’s list of the best tapas spots around the Twin Cities.
Map of the Best Places for Tapas in the Twin Cities
The Best Tapas in Minneapolis
For the quintessential Twin Cities Spanish experience, head to neighborhood bar and tapas hot-spot Rincon 38. Their tapas menu blows away the field in both depth and unique flavors.
Sunday-Thursday, they offer a three tapa, three wines “trio menu” that’s perfect for a weeknight date.
- Address: 3801 Grand Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55409
- Website: Rincon 38
Second in line for best tapas places is relative newcomer Bar Brava Natural Wine Bar. Although the selection of more than 100 natural wines takes center stage at Bar Brava, the local, seasonal tapas menu wins our vote for best in show.
Regardless of what’s on the rotating menu, expect well-crafted small plates with big flavors.
- Address: 1914 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55411
- Website: Bar Brava
The Sample Room
While not exclusively a Spanish tapas menu, The Sample Room doesn’t skimp on small plates.
As the name suggests, appetizers, charcuterie, and sample plates are everything at this well-loved neighborhood spot. The cocktail menu, liquor flights, and wine flights are what keep us coming back.
- Address: 2124 Marshall St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418
- Website: The Sample Room
One of the earlier faces to arrive in the North Loop, Borough opened its doors in 2013 to a warm welcome. In fall 2019, the restaurant underwent a major transformation to focus on small plates and a fresh seasonal menu. You’ll find Minnesota farmers and growers highlighted throughout this meat-forward menu.
- Address: 730 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401
- Website: Borough
It wasn’t long ago that Hola Arepa made an appearance on our list of 20 Best Patios in Minneapolis. Arepas aren’t strictly Spanish, but we’re so infatuated with these fresh cornmeal griddle cakes, it makes the list of our favorites anyway.
Our favorite Hola Arepa plan is to pick out several to share (chimichurri chicken and black bean sweet potato are two personal favorites) and then grab a few items off their small plates menu. Finally, round it off with one of their award-winning cocktails or a glass of sangria for a perfect Latin-inspired dinner date.
- Address: 3501 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408
- Website: Hola Arepa
Fans of Twin Cities restaurant power couple Isaac Becker and Nancy St. Pierre publicly cheered when this North Loop addition showed up just before the pandemic. It was the perfect addition to their lineup of Bar La Grassa, 112 Eatery, and the now-shuttered Burch Steak.
Snack Bar focuses on a cozy atmosphere, shareable small plates, and an innovative pizza menu. The garlic fried octopus shows up again and again as a favorite in reviews—even if you’re a less adventurous eater.
- Address: 800 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401
- Website: Snack Bar Minneapolis
Sonora Grill & Sonora Mexican Kitchen & Bar
What makes the best tapas? Bold flavors, the perfect portions, and enough variety to satisfy a bar-friendly appetite. Sonora Grill on Lake Street and sister restaurant Sonora Mexican Kitchen and Bar near Loring Park check all the boxes for Mexican apps.
Don’t miss the empanadas, elote, and the rotating ceviche selection. All things yum.
- Address 1: 3300 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55406
- Address 2: 1414 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403
- Website: Sonora Mexican Kitchen & Bar
With more $5 taco selections than we can count and made-to-order guac, Barrio has been a go-to spot for tequila and tapas since 2008. We’ve always loved the smoky, edgy flavors here.
Not the best place for a business lunch or an intimate conversation, but the small plates always impress.
- Address: 5 Twin Cities locations including – Downtown Minneapolis, Edina, St. Paul, Target Field, and Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport Terminal 2
- Website: Bario
The Best Tapas in St. Paul
When you’re finished with the list of Minneapolis small plates above, check out these two top-notch tapas in St. Paul.
Estelle blew us away on our recent review, and we can safely say it’s the gold standard for Portuguese and Spanish flavors in St. Paul. Don’t miss their handcrafted Pinxtos menu, served served only at the bar like only the best tapas should be. Special shout out to the bacon-wrapped dates, and save room for a dessert (or two)!
- Address: 1806 St Clair Ave, St Paul, MN 55105
- Website: Estelle
Dark Horse Bar & Eatery
Dark Horse, you had me at crab cakes and salsa trio. Adding the hummus plate is just showing off.
A favorite casual spot before a St. Paul Saints game at CHS Field. Flatbreads, wings, and a la carte meats round out the options for a pre-baseball dinner or happy hour. Just allow a little extra time for parking and a patio spot.
- Address: 250 E 7th St, St Paul, MN 55101
- Website: Dark Horse Bar and Eatery