Feb 182012

Cuisine: American, Greek, Mediterranean,
Restaurant Features: Beer & Wine, Catering, Student Discount 10%
Location: Minneapolis, MN (Dinkytown)
Address: 421 14th Avenue Southeast  Minneapolis, MN 55414 612-623-4900

Hours: Mon-Thurs 11am-9pm * Fri-Sat 11am-10pm * Sun 12-9pm

Links: Kafe 421 Website * Kafe 421 on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: Located in Dinkytown at 14th Ave and 4th Street, Kafe 421 is a Wine Bar/Restaurant that serves Mediterranean-influenced cuisine.  The bar is just inside the entrance, with cute pendant lights hanging above and bottles of wine displayed on shelves.  The design is simple yet classy.  There are a handful of booths in the front, as well as a couple of tables and seating at the bar.

The main dining room is at the very back of the space.  The walls are lined with stained wood and hand-painted canvases.  Simple but cozy.

Menu: Appetizers include Baked Feta & Artichoke Dip, Mango Salsa with Pita Chips, Calamari, Crab Cakes, Dolmathakia, Eggplant Milanese, Spanakopita, and Meatballs.  Soup offerings include Creamy Tomato Basil and Beef Borscht.

Salads at Kafe 421 include Grilled Chicken Salad, Chopped Chicken Salad, Kafe 421 Salad Sampler, Grilled Salmon Salad, Steak Cobb, Greek, and Caesaer.

Kafe 421 also has a selection of Burgers and Sandwiches, which come with choice of Field Greens, Caesar Salad, Cup of Soup or Fresh Cut French Fries.  Burgers include Kafe 421 Burger, Mushroom and Swiss, Gorgonzola and Bacon, Lamb Burger, Gyros, Crab Cake Sandwich, Lechon (pork), Pavo (turkey breast), Fish Tacos, Kafe 421 Turkey Club, Chicken Panini, Chicken Wild Rice Burrito, Eggplant Milanese, Portabella Mushroom, Mediterranean Veggie Wrap and Chicken Salad Wrap.

Pasta dishes offered include Ravioli Bolognese, Shrimp Santorini, Blackened Salmon Fettuccine, Chicken Balsamico, Lemon Risotto, Artichoke and Portabella Penne, and Fettuccine Alfredo.

Dinner Entrees are served after 5 pm and include Lamb, Petite Beef Tenderloin, Souvlaki, Pollo, Gyros Platter, Grilled Atlantic Salmon, Moules Frites, Cardel (scallops and coconut risotto), Bouillabaisse Provençal Fish Stew, and Vegetarian Moussaka .

Kafe 421 also offers desserts such as Tiramisu, Gooey Brownie, Baklava, Key Lime Pie, Chocolate Mousse, Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee, and Cheesecake.
Price guide: Appetizers $8-12  Salads $5-13  Sandwiches $8-11 Pastas $13-17 Entrees $14-20  Desserts $6-7

Happy Hour:

  • Monday – Friday, 3 PM – 6 PM
  • $5 Select Apps and $3 House Wine & Beer

Weekly Specials:

  • Monday After 5 PM- 1/2 Off Bottles of Wine
  • Tuesday – Cheap Dinner for Two  $25 gets you and a friend each a salad, a pasta entree and one dessert to share. View Cheap Dinner Menu.
  • Wednesday After 5 PM- 1/2 Off Bottles of Wine
  • Sunday’s Cheap Dinner For 2 Starting at 5 PM

What we ordered: We started with an order of Calamari, which was very good.  It was a huge portion of perfectly cooked calamari rings with crispy seasoned battering.  It was served with sides of Tzatziki Sauce and Sriracha mayo for dipping.
Calamari at Kafe 421 ~ Minneapolis, MN
I had the Fish Tacos, which came highly recommended by our server.  This came with my choice of side so I opted for the cup of Cream of Mushroom soup, which was wonderful.  It was thick, rich and creamy with the distinct taste of roasted mushrooms.  The Tacos came two to an order, with flour tortillas stuffed with pieces of chili and lime seasoned Mahi Mahi mixed together with Mozzarella, Tomato, Scallion, Avocado, and Cilantro.  I thought the tacos were decent but I prefer my fish tacos to have bigger pieces of fish.  The seasoning on the fish also didn’t hit the mark for me; it was light but just didn’t have the depth of flavor I was hoping for.  This is just my opinion; my companion tried my fish tacos and loved them, thought they were great.

My companion ordered the Lamb Burger and it was fantastic!! The ground lamb meat was seasoned just like a gyro and it was moist and delicious. It was topped with very thin slices of cucumber, red onion and feta cheese and a little bit of tzaziki sauce.  It was served on grilled toasted Vienna bread that was a pleasant crunchy compliment to the tender lamb. I also loved the thinly sliced cucumber, the burger was even better because of it! It was served with choice of side, my companion ended up ordering the fresh cut fries.

Service: We had excellent service at Kafe 421.  We happened to be in the Dinkytown area and stopped for an early dinner before the weekend dinner crowd and had no problem finding a metered parking on the street outside.  We were greeted as soon as we arrived and were quickly seated.  Our server was friendly and gave us some good suggestions from the menu.  The food was timed just right so that our entrees came out after we were finished with our appetizer.
Overall Impression: Kafe 421 is a cozy restaurant and wine bar that has very good service and really good food.  If you like a lamb, you must try the Lamb Burger.
Kafe 421 on Urbanspoon
Kafe 421 Reviews in Minneapolis

Sep 042011

Cuisine: American, Greek, Mediterranean, Pizza,
Restaurant Features: Banquet Room, Bar, Patio, On-Site Parking, Sunday Brunch Buffet, Valet Parking
Location: Eden Prairie, MN
Address: 13000 Technology Drive Eden Prairie, MN 55344   (952)546-6722
Hours: Daily 11am-2pm (Kitchen until 10pm)
Links: Santorini Taverna Website * Google Map
Atmosphere: Santorini Taverna is located in Eden Prairie, near Prairie Center, in a giant stand-alone building.  The main dining room is casual yet sophisticated, with a giant fireplace in the center, giving each side of the room a more intimate feel.  There are tables as well as booths, complete with layered tablecloths.

There is a separate dining room that can be used for banquets or large parties and is used for over-flow on busy nights.  There is a fireplace in this room as well as a door leading to the patio.

The spacious lounge area is near the front entrance, complete with a beautiful bar and several bistro tables and an elevated floor.

The patio is a very popular destination for many months of the year.  Tucked away behind the property, you can access the patio around the right side of the building or from the dining room.  There is a giant outdoor bar in the middle and many tables (with umbrellas!) surrounding it.

The far side of the patio has many more tables for dining.

Menu: Appetizers (Mezedes, Tapas and Antipasti) include Dolmades, Wood Grilled Octopus, Grecian or Buffalo Wings, Shrimp Cocktail, Buffalo Shrimp, Artichoke and Crab Dip, Wood Grilled Lamb Chops, Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes, Seared Ahi Tuna, Santorini Gyros, Flamed Saganaki, Baked Mussels, Pastichio en Phyllo, Goat Cheese Bruschetta, Calamari a la Romano, Spanakopita, Wood Grilled Shrimp & Veggies, Greek Peasant Sampler.

There are also a number of Meditteranean Pita Spreads served with warm pitas including Spicy Feta, Taramosalata, Tirosalata, Tzatziki, Tahini Hummous, Roasted Pepper Hummous, Melitzano, Kalamata and Goat Cheese Tapenade.

Wood Oven Pizzas include Four Cheese Classico, Mediterranean, Iberian, and Pizza Margherita.

Salads include Greek Salata, Peppered Steak, Nicklow’s Deluxe, Horiatiki, Caesar, Spiced Ahi Tuna, Shrimp and Avocado, and Chop Salad.  Soups include Avgolemono and a Soup du Jour.

Sandwiches and Burgers all come with choice of Lemon Oregano Fries or Tavern pasta.  Options include Gyro Pita, Chicken Pita, Veggie Pita, Pita Melt, Mediterranean Chicken Wrap, Walleye Sandwich, Burger, Pepper Jack Burger, Surf and Turf Burger, Prime Rib French Dip, Santorini Club Croissant, and Open Faced Prime Rib Sandwich.

Meat Entrees include Lamb Chops a la Thebes, Filetto de Greco, Athenian Pork Chops, Surf & Turf, Bone-In Ribeye, South American Strip Steak, Prime Rib, New York Strip, and Filet Mignon.

Seafood Entrees include Pan Fried Walleye, Scampi con Pollo, Roasted Norwegian Salmon, Seafood Platter (shrimp, scallops, lobster and salmon), Shrimp Mikrolimano, Moroccan Shrimp, Roasted Scallops, and Lobster Dinner for Two.

Pasta dishes include Taverna Pasta, Seafood Bucatini, Spaghettini  Arrabbiata, Ouzo Linguini, Raviolo Basilio, Lobster Ravioli, Tortellini Baronessa, and Cajun Pasta.

Mediterranean Favorites include Grilled Chicken & Shrimp Kabob, Traditional Pastichio, Grilled Beef Kabob, Lamb & Beef Moussaka, Grilled Swordfish Kabob, Kotopita, Eggplant Moussaka, Gyro Dinner and Lamb Shank.

Desserts include Chocolate Fudge Cake, Key Lime Pie, Cheesecake, and Galaktoboureko.

Price guide: Appetizers $8-12  Salads $7-15  Sandwiches $10-19  Meat Entrees $24-34  Seafood $19-49  Pasta $13-26  Greek Favorites $16-23

Happy Hour:

  • Mon-Fri 4-7pm, Sun-Thurs 9-11pm, Fri-Sat 10pm-2am
  • $2-  Mini Burgers, Cheesy Bread with Marinara, Pita & Spread
  • $3- Rail Drinks, Tap Beers, Santorini Wings, Onion Rings, Szechuan Green Beans, Mini Pizza, Mini Cheesecakes
  • $4- Santorini Sliders, Fish & Chips, Sloppy Joe’s, Pork Potstickers
  • $5- BBQ Shrimp Skewers, Mini Crab Cakes, Goat Cheese Bruschetta, Gyro Appetizer, and Shrimp Gazpacho.

Weekly Specials:

  • Friday- Fresh Alaskan Halibut Char-grilled with fresh herbs and lemon, served with roasted potatoes and vegetables $24
  • Saturday-  Boneless leg of lamb stuffed with spinach, feta and loukaniko sausage Served with roasted potatoes and vegetables $23
  • Sunday- Family Style Platter with Avgolemono soup, Greek salad, gyro & fixings, sliced chicken breast, two lamb chops, Taverna pasta and baklava  For two $45 | For four $75

What we ordered: We started with an order of Artichoke and Crab Dip.  This was a delicious blend of cheeses, with garlic and chunks of artichoke and crab, baked until hot and bubbly then topped with fresh tomatoes.  It was a decent sized order served in a ramekin with several triangles of warm pita bread.  Great stuff!

We also ordered the Baked Mussels, which I thought were excellent.  They were magnificently tender and came swimming in a big, deep bowl of broth made with white whine, saffron, tomatoes, fennel and garlic.

Another appetizer we tried was the Goat Cheese Bruschetta.  We loved this! The goat cheese was blended with cream cheese and then placed on a bed of tomato-basil bruschetta.  The order came with several slices of crustini drizzled with balsamic vinegar for building little bruschetta toasts.

There were many items on the menu that sounds really good to me, but I wanted to try authentic Greek food.  The owner of Santorini himself highly suggested the Moussaka, so that is one of the items we tried.  This dish was sort of a Greek lasagna, with layers of ground beef-lamb, eggplant, and slices of roasted potato topped with tomato sauce and bechamel cheese.

We also shared a New York Strip which was extremely tender, juicy and well seasoned.  The steak came with a serving of roasted zucchini, yellow squash, onion and fingerling potatoes.  The steak was wonderful.

We also tried the Kotopita, which was a chicken breast topped with spinach and feta, then wrapped in flaky phyllo dough.  This was a great dish with a wonderful combo of flavors and textures, from the tender chicken to the creamy feta to the flaky phyllo crust.  It was served with Santorini’s famous Angel Hair pasta tossed with brown butter, garlic and mizithra cheese.  Both were delicious!

Our server presented us with the dessert tray and enticed us to order a couple of desserts, including this Galaktoboureko, a lemon custard wrapped in phyllo dough.  Excellent!

We also tried the Chocolate Fudge Cake, which was very moist, drizzled with chocolate sauce.  Way too much for just one person after all that food!

Service: We had very good service at Santorini Taverna.  We arrived after 7pm on a beautiful Thursday night and opted to wait 15+ minutes for a table on the patio.  It was very busy but our server was attentive and had some good suggestions from the menu.  Our appetizers came out in waves and the entrees came much later.

Overall Impression: Santorini Taverna is a beautiful restaurant and has a great selection of Greek and Mediterranean foods.  I thought the food was great and I especially loved the giant patio and good service.
Santorini Taverna on Urbanspoon

Feb 052009

Cuisine: Greek, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern

Restaurant Features: Counter Service, On-Site Parking
Locations: Coon Rapids, Edina, Lakeville, Roseville (Falcon Heights), Plymouth,  and Woodbury, MN
Addresses & Maps:

Coon Rapids
3179 Northdale Blvd. Coon Rapids, MN 55433
(763) 422-2003
6539 York Ave. S Edina, MN 55435 (612) 866-6363
17701 Cedar Avenue (Cedar Avenue & Dodd Road) Farmington, MN 55024 952) 431-3466

1700 Snelling Ave. Falcon Heights, MN 55108 (651) 645-8800
3355 Plymouth Blvd. Plymouth, MN 55447 (763) 553-2040

10060 City Walk Drive  Woodbury, MN 55129 651-738-9757


Links: Dino’s Website * Dino’s on Facebook
Hours: Daily 10am-10pm

Atmosphere: Dino’s offers counter-service and is about the same size as a typical fast-food restaurant.  The entire restaurant is furnished with your basic hard-top tables set close together, without a booth in sight.  There is a beverage station near the front counter with two large soda dispensers.  A couple of TVs hang from the ceilings and there are also some paintings adorning the walls.


Menu: Side Items include French Fries, Seasoned Fries, Pita Bread, Pita Chips, Hummus, Greek Olives, Pepperoncini Peppers, Falafel, Spanakopita, Onion Petals, Spinach Puffs and Greek Meatballs.

Dino’s offers a Greek Salad ( lettuce, feta, Greek olives, cucumbers, peppers, onion, pepperoncini peppers, and Greek dressing) with choice of meat.

The Sandwiches at Dino’s are served on fresh pita bread and include the Gyro (meat with raw onion, tomato and tzatzini sauce), Jr. Gyro, Spicy Gyro, Chicken Gyro, Jr. Chicken Gyro, Greek Chicken Breast, Greek Philly (sauteed peppers and onions and melted Swiss), Greek Meatball, Falafel (deep-fried patties made of a mixture of ground chick peas and seasonings), Steak Souvlaki, and Chicken Mushroom Swiss.  **Any sandwich can be mega-sized for an additional charge. Any sandwich can be ordered as a Value Meal, which comes with soda and either fries or side salad.

There are also a couple of Wraps including Greek Chicken Caesar, Hummus, and the Gyro Bacon Cheddar Wrap.

Entree Plates offer meat choice with Fries, Greek Salad or Rice, and Grilled Pita.  Meat choices are the  Gyro, Chicken Gyro, Steak or Chicken Souvlaki (kabobs), or Spanakopita (spinach, onions, feta and ricotta cheese wrapped in filo dough and baked).  Combination Plate includes each of the meat choices.

There are also two Family Packs available.  The Family Pack comes with 1 lb gyro meat, sauce, toppings, and 5 pitas.  The Mega Family Pack is the Family Pack with an additional two orders of Fries and 1 large Greek Salad.

Desserts include Baklava, Cookies, or Ice Cream.

Price guide: Side Items $1-2 Sandwiches and Wraps $5-6  Value Meals $8-9 Salads $6-9  Plates $7-9
What I ordered: The Greek Chicken Breast Sandwich with Spicy Feta and side of Seasoned Fries.  Normally this sandwich comes with regular feta cheese, but I LOVE the spicy feta and have them substitute the regular feta for the spicy.  This particular sandwich came with both, which was a little too much.  The chicken breast was marinated and tender, cut into strips.  The sandwich was big and messy, so I opted to eat it most of it with a fork.  The onions were plentiful, sliced thin and the spicy feta had a nice kick to it and was full of flavor.  The Seasoned Fries were delicious!  Dino’s adds their own Greek Seasoning which is pretty salty and garlic-y, but so so SO good!

One of my companions ordered the Spicy Gyro Sandwich.  It is similar to a regular gyro except the spicy comes with the spicy feta instead of tzatziki sauce and also has romaine lettuce.  My companion enjoyed it but prefers the traditional gyro.

Another companion ordered the Souvlaki Plate, with one chicken and one beef kabob, Pita Triangles and Onion Petals.  The meat was very good, but there were just five bites of meat on each skewer.  The Onion Petals were crispy brown and the portion was rather large.


Service: Ordering is done at the Counter and it usually takes less than ten minutes for the order to be ready, at which point they will either call your name or bring the food out to your table, depending on how busy they are.  There are often staff members who will walk around to bus tables or ask you if you’d like a drink refill or anything else.  Definitely a step above most other fast-food type restaurants.
Overall Impression: I really enjoy Dino’s, it is fast and the food is good (especially anything with spicy feta!).  The seasoned fries are AWESOME.  Dino’s is more expensive than other fast-food restaurants but less expensive than most sit-down restaurants.  I wish there was a Dino’s in Hugo or Maplewood!

Dino's: The Greek Place on Urbanspoon

Jul 082008

Cuisine: Greek, Lebanese, Middle Eastern
Restaurant Features: Counter-Service, On-Site Parking

Location: West St Paul
Address: 1264 So. Robert Street, West St Paul MN 55118 (651) 552-9660
Links: Google Map


Atmosphere: The building itself is very small, so besides the kitchen, there is just a very small dining room with a handful of standard fast-food-restaurant-style booths.  The walls are decorated with colorful travel posters.  You order your food at a counter, above which is the pictoral menu of food items.


Menu: Appetizers include Baked Eggplant, Fried Vegetable, Spinach Pie, Hummus Bil-Tahini, 5-Feta Cheese, Falafel and Grape Leaves.

Sandwiches are served in fresh Pita Bread with cucumber sauce, lettuce, tomato and onion.  Specialties include the famous Gyro, Greek Chicken, BBQ Gyro, Chicken Gyro, Falafel Patty, Vegetarian Gyro, Philly Steak, and Philly Chicken.
Entrees include Chicken Gyro, Chicken Kabob, Beef/lamb Gyro, Lamb Kabob, Kufta Kabob, Greek Chicken Plate, and Sauteed Chicken with Vegetables.  There are also a couple fo vegetarian entrees, including the  Stuffed Grape Leaves, Spinach Pie, and Fried or Sauteed Vegetables.
Can’t decide what to order? No fear! There are also several combination dinners including the Ali Baba Feast that lets you try a little bit of everything for $29.99
Ali Baba also has fresh Tabouleh Salad, Greek Salad and Greek Chicken Salad.

Price guide: Appetizers $ 4-6 Sandwiches $5-7 Entrees $8-12
What I ordered: I ordered what I thought was the Chicken Gyro, but I think I received the Ali Baba Chicken.  It was very good, but I had not been expecting chicken that had been marinated in curry spices (good thing I like curry!).  It was a really interesting combination of flavors, especially the curry chicken and the cucumber sauce.  The portion was huge (two meals for me!) and instead of making a giant mess, I ate most of it with a fork.


My companion ordered the Gyro Sandwich, which was loaded with tender slices of beef and lamb that had been marinating in spices.  The meat on this sandwich was delicious! Probably the best Gyro meat I have ever had.  The vegetables were also very fresh and the sauce was decent (although we both agreed we like Dino’s sauce better).


Service: Compete counter-service, from order to pick-up.  After that, you’re pretty much on your own.
Overall Impression: Excellent Gyros, cheap prices.

Ali Baba on Urbanspoon