Renee and Steve

Review Restaurants in the Twin Cities Area

Renee's Side

Steve's Side

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Conga Latin Bistro

501 E. Hennepin Ave

Minneapolis


     •     Empanadas (shared) $4.95

     •     Croquetas (shared) $5.95

     •     Camarones Victoria $13.95

     •     Tres Leches $4.95


We again had dinner with our friends Kathleen and Steve, you will notice their reviews below. This makes it any dinner more pleasant and it was fun to see them both.


I had been excited to go to Conga, it has a great sign and we drive by it all the time on our way here and there and it sounded like a fun place. We are not the dancing type (as you may have guessed by now) so we can't review how that part of conga is, but it looked like fun.


The atmosphere was fun, as you come in there are to giant conga drums and they have some fun art on the wall.


The food was not great for me, I think I may have ordered the wrong entree. The appetizers and dessert were both very good, but my entree was not that great, the sauce overpowered the shrimp and it didn't have a lot of taste to it so the entire dish was flat.


However the company great, and I think others enjoyed their meal much more than I did.


     •     Flank Steak with Mushrooms, Spinach and Garlic $18.95

     •     Peach Cobbler $6.50

Sometimes I regret reading restaurant reviews before going out to dinner. Most of the time, I like to know what I’m in for, but Conga was one of the times I would have been more objective not having read the reviews. Both reviews I read found Conga fair by our standards with few really good entrees. So what do I do? I order the Churasco Argentina steak that both reviewers found tasty. The only remaining question is: Was the steak still good? The answer is a resounding yes, the steak is the same, and the yucca on the side is a perfect accompaniment. For those who like fries, most would like Conga’s yucca.


To round out the review, I loved the empanadas, the quality of which is hard to find in the Twin Cities. The croquetas were merely good.


The tres leches cake was delicious. The only other time I’ve had tres leches cake was at Pop!, which I didn’t like, so I wondered if it was the cake or their version of the cake. My wonderment has ceased. Now I will start searching for a better tres leches cake. This could take a while...

Yes

Casual/dressy

Street

No

No

Latin

Good

$10-$15

June 19, 2004

$50.00

No


     •     House Salad (shared) $5.95

     •     Camarones Ajillo $13.95


Conga is a place that from now on should be known for more than just it's salsa dancing; it should also be known for it's FOOD, as well as for the two giant, and I mean giant, conga drums that you need to walk between to get to the dining area. Journeying to Conga for our second chance at reviewing a restaurant with Renee and Steve was well worth the trip, of course the company was stellar, but so was the food.


As the red wine drinker of the group, I found my glass of Sangre de Toro, well priced and well-rounded enough to sip while eating appetizers and also my entree. Steve and I are still talking about the empanadas and the croquetas, each plate had three or four tasty filled treats that could be savored by one or split up between the table. A lover of all things seafood, I gobbled up the fish and practically drank the dipping sauce out of the cup.


Steve and I split a house salad, known as Ensala Verde and I was pleasantly surprised, I usually want very little to do with house salads unless they have a unique dressing unlike any found elsewhere (hard to do in MN) but the dressing on this salad ranked right up there with the only house salad dressing in the area that I consider to be worthy of a house label, the dressing from a Lord Fletcher's house salad. My mother actually made me, as a teenager, drive to the restaurant and pick up a special batch when we had company coming into town or special occasions to celebrate. No one knows the recipe and I'm sure in the years ahead I will find myself longing to taste not only the Fletcher's salad of yore (it's such a long drive to Mound), but also the house salad at Conga. Luckily Northeast Minneapolis is so much more accessible.


For an entree I had the Camarones Ajillo, otherwise know as shrimp in garlic sauce. A word of caution, I love garlic like some people like chocolate and this dish didn't leave me wanting. There were a fair amount of shrimp included in the dish and I found myself sopping up the sauce at the end of the meal. It was delicious.


Ever the optimist and positive reviewer, I realize I have made this sound like the best restaurant in the Twin Cities. While it isn't that, and there are more noteworthy restaurants to be found in our seven county metro area, I will say that it is a place to go if you're in the mood for some Latin food before heading out to a movie or dancing in Northeast (or anywhere else near by), not to mention dancing right there at Conga. The food is certainly worth the moderate price and the portion sizes are just the way I like them; you don't need to take a nap afterwards or loosen the belt buckles.


Many thanks to Renee and Steve for allowing us to tag along, again.

Kathleen's Side

Steve's Side


     •     Grilled Halibut $12.95


I have driven past Conga for many years before considering stopping in for a meal. I knew Conga was known for its bar and dance club but never knew they had a separate formal dining area. The room is separated enough from the bar that you can enjoy a quiet dinner but I must admit, the night we visited, neither the dining room nor bar were very busy.


We started of dinner by ordering the empanadas and croquetas platters. While both were tasty, I liked the croquetas more for their crispy exterior and soft center. Kathleen and I shared the house salad. There is usually nothing special about house salads but this one had a special kick to it - maybe the feta cheese or tarragon dressing. I guess we will have to go back to try this one again!


For the entrée, I ordered the grilled halibut with mashed potatoes in garlic sauce. It seems that I order my share of halibut when there are few things on the menu that I think I will like. The halibut was nicely prepared as were the mashed potatoes. Given the price - less than $13 - this is the best halibut bargain I have seen in the Twin Cities.

We shared the Tres Leches dessert at the table. All I can say is it was good but I prefer anything chocolate.

Overall, my experience at Conga was very pleasant. The dining room was nice, the wait staff was very attentive and always came just when needed. Being a resident of NE, I would definitely go back to Conga in the future. While it is a good restaurant and offers a great value, it is not one I would drive across town to experience.