Solera Cocina de Espana is a popular tapas restaurant in the theater district of downtown Minneapolis. It’s a trendy spot that’s great for date night. Their rooftop offers a nice view of downtown. It was a beautiful evening and we knew we wanted to be outside. We opted for the ground-level patio this time, as the rooftop has a limited menu.
In true Spanish fashion, we opted for the Sangria – the Blanco and Tinto Tradicional. Both were a good choice. The blanco was light and refreshing; perfect after a steamy summer day.
Solera serves Tapas, or “small plates”, which are a dining tradition in Spanish culture. If I could eat like this for every meal, I would! I am the most indecisive person EVER when eating out – I always want to try multiple things on the menu, but obviously my eyes are bigger than my stomach. So the format of Solera’s menu is perfect for me. It is broken down by categories such as small starters, vegetables, fish and shellfish, and meats. They also feature several paella dishes, which are meant to share with a group. We’ll have to come back another time to try it out.
Course 1 – Charred beets with sheep’s milk cheese, paprika vinaigrette, and pea shoots
I somehow talked Mike into ordering this one. He is NOT a fan of beets, but these disappeared in about 30 seconds. The beets were nice and earthy, and the tangy sheep’s milk cheese was so tasty that we mopped up every drop!
Course 2 – Prawns PilPil and Pescado en Escabeche
Next up was the seafood course. The Prawns PilPil were peel-and-eat, leaving us with messy fingers. Luckily we were provided warm towels to clean up after ourselves.These shrimp had HUGE garlic flavor and a little red chile kick.
The Pescado en Escabeche feature was Mackerel. Crispy skin on the outside, served with marinated artichokes, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, and spring onions. I could have eaten a bowl of the artichokes alone.
Course 3 – Albondigas
We were so excited to dive into these…lamb meatballs in a red wine tomato sauce. This was by far our favorite plate of the night, and we even considered ordering a second helping. We may need to try and replicate this recipe at home! The meatballs were moist and flavorful and I couldn’t get enough of the smoky tomato sauce.
Dessert course – Chocolate cake
We’re generally not dessert people…more like dessert drink people! But this time around we decided to indulge in the flourless chocolate cake. Complemented by white chocolate, mint bark, and crushed pecans, this was not overly sweet. A very well-balanced dessert that satisfied our sugar craving.
The Bottom Line
There was not a thing on the table we didn’t love, and we will definitely visit Solera again (hopefully to try out the Paella!). Our server was knowledgeable and friendly. That said, it is a little painful on the wallet, as it’s easy to order “just one more” small dish, and the $$$ adds up quickly. I would save our return visit for a special occasion.