Nearby points of interest
Nearby points of interest
About Cafe Ena
Chef/Owner Hector Ruiz welcomes you to Café Ena: A cozy intimate restaurant located in the Tangletown neighborhood in south Minneapolis. Chef Ruiz pares his classic French technique and South American palate to present an exciting menu of Latin-Fusion cuisine. Begin your meal with a south american style ceviche; shrimp, fish, scallops and shrimp in a aji sauce. The many entrées include, scallops, sea bass, pork tenderloin, Argentinean style steaks finished in a savory chimichurri. The wine list focuses on a wide range of varietals from Central and South America. If wine is not your thing, perhaps you would enjoy one of the many local and global beers.
Minneapolis, MN 55419
Latin American, Fusion / Eclectic
Hours of Operation:
Lunch: Daily: 11:00am - 4:00pm
Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 4:00pm - 9:00pm; Friday & Saturday: 4:00pm - 10:00pm
Happy Hour: 3:00 - 5:00 Sunday - Friday
1/2 Price selected bottles of wine: Sunday & Monday All Day
$30 and under
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Beer, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Happy Hour, Outdoor dining, Weekend Brunch, Wine
Cafe Ena Ratings and Reviews
We enjoyed a nice birthday dinner (that was noted on our reservation but not recognized by our serve staff). The food seemed not as spectacular as in the past and service was not as polished. The specials, in particular, were rather bland. Our reservation was at 8:00 and we felt that staff was rushing us from the time we sat down. Kind of a so-so night.
Overall good service and great food. I had asked for a booth im a quiet corner which was not honored. We ended up being seated at a table which was in between 2 other tables and when people sat at the other tables you couldn’t have a conversation because you were muted by their conversation. The our table was woobly. The waiter tried to fix it but it was still woobly. 2 of us on our 25th wedding anniversary. Paid $100.
This was our third time at Ena. Obviously we had good experiences previously. Not sure what happened this time, but everything went down hill. It might be that the watchful eye of Hector the owner is now spread too thin between 4 restaurants, but whatever the reason, we won't be going back for quite awhile. I will note right away that the service was still good, though one could argue a bit too efficient.
First, be aware there are now just a few bottles of wine under $50. We can't be the only customers not wanting to spend that and easily more.
The food overall was simply underwhelming. We started with the Ceviche. It was fine but nothing special. Half the chips were broken into little pieces and should have been in the garbage rather than on our plate.
I had the spinach salad which amounted to nothing more than a bunch of spinach tossed with a bit of flavorless dressing and a few sprinkles of goat cheese. If there were shaved apples and fennel in there I could not find them. 10 bucks.
My wife had the tomato salad which was a pretty presentation (very small) but the tamarind balsamic glaze was just tasteless. Maybe if there was more? Again, 10 bucks.
For dinner I had the Sea Bass. If it was sea bass, it was a different species of sea bass than I am used to. It was supposedly crusted with pistachios. Well if they so I guess. It was laid on top of some tasteless potatoes and brocollini. Where was the truffle pea sauce and mango salsa? Maybe they ran out?
Lastly my wife had the Grouper special which was the highlight of the meal I guess you could say. It was served on top of some grits which actually did have some flavor.
So, maybe it was an off night, but our experience would indicate the food is missing the love it had when the place first opened. I can only assume the wine list change relates to needing a higher profit margin.
I love this place ! Great service and ambiance. There is a good selection of fish entrees the presentation is beautiful
My only complaint is the veggies were so under cooked.
I love crisp Brussels sprouts and zucchini but these were barely warm
Maybe better next time
This was my first dinner at Cafe Ena in many years and I can't believe it took me so long to get back there. My wife and I booked a table a few hours in advance and we are very glad we did. The decor at Ena is nothing special - just a casual neighborhood restaurant - but our service was exceptional (thanks to Raphael!) and our dinner (with one small issue) was perfect. If you go, start by pairing their guacamole and a glass of wine (Tempranillo or Chardonnay depending on whether you like red or white), which seems to be the thing to do. It's a great start to an Ena meal! We shared an excellent Palmito salad and I ordered the Conchas (sea scallops with curry and coconut risotto) and my wife ordered the Lubina (sea bass with potatoes and mango salsa). Both were unique and very tasty. Note that these dishes are a bit on the rich side - especially the risotto - so don't overeat before the entrees arrive. My wife's sea bass was a bit undercooked, but they immediately resolved the situation with a new plate with no questions asked. Bottom line: Cafe Ena is a must visit, so if you are thinking about going - do it!
First time at this restaurant. Great little place in a quiet neighborhood. The dining room is cozy, so, we were glad we got there early. Entrees are fresh, inventive and very tasty. Only beer and wine, but that was ok with us. Our Wine choices to go with dinner were excellent. Will be back.
There are reasons why this place has quite a few low star ratings and having experienced it myself, I whole heartedly agree.
We had a 7:15 reservation and ended up waiting over an hour to be seated. We were constantly told another 15 minutes. They had to kick people out in order to make room for us. The worst part was, we should of had a table right away but they gave it away to someone with a 7:30 dinner time that had arrived TWO MINUTES earlier. They couldn't come up with an explanation why they did it either.
For the most part, the food was okay. My mother ordered Chilean sea bass, which is a favorite in our household. For those who don't know, Chilean sea bass is extremely hard to come by in MN and we have to go to one of three wholesellers in the entire state to buy the fish for close to $35 per pound. Which left us a bit intriguied when we saw the plate was less than $30. As soon as it arrived, we all knew right away that it wasn't sea bass. We've cooked enough bass and seen enough of Gordon Ramsays shows to know that it was halibut, but just garnashed the same way the sea bass dish was made there. It was hard, not soft, no smell of fish fat and the highly regarded bass skin was no where to be found.
We asked our server to come over to check on it. He returns 20 MINUTES later and told us they were out of bass. Its fine to say that your out of a dish, but please dont lie to our face and serve us fake chilean sea bass. The fish is a chefs DREAM to cook. We asked to speak with the manager and waited closer to 30 minutes until we got up and bothered other wait staff. Our regular server finally admits he is the manager and starts trying to deny a bunch of bad service allegations and when we were waiting, actively avoided our table. We told them we wouldnt pay for the bad service and food. He didnt even try to fight us and we left. I really hope its illegal to sell fake food. This needs to be taken care of as their attitude seems that they've done this before.
I read somewhere that service was slow. Not on Friday night! We were in and out in less than an hour. The preparation, quality, and portion size all above our expectations. Best of all they seem to make things happen at a glide pace. No fuss, no muss. Only one complaint: servers need to stop asking “how are your first few bites?” I don’t even know what that means.
Our reservation was for 7pm, but we got there earlier at 6:30pm . So glad we did. The food was very good. The noise level was terrible. We were with another couple and we could barely hear each other. People were do close to each other. I would not go back for that reason if the reservation was any later than 6:30 on a Saturday night. I’d make it about 5, and who wants to eat that early when you are with friends. However, the food was very good!!
We had dinner at Café Ena to celebrate our wedding anniversary. I mentioned that in the notes when I booked our reservation through Open Table. We were seated on time but when I asked for a booth was told the booths were saved for future reservations. Ok. I think our server may have been a manager as he was not dressed as the servers were. Overall, the portions seemed smaller and the prices higher. They did away with the bread basket, which we love. My husband's steak was overdone, the plating looked sloppy, there were only three small scallops with my entree (and they were delicious). The biggest disappointment was as the restaurant became more packed, we saw our server less. My husband's dessert, the churros, were awful. They were not cooked through, there was no ice cream on the plate, and one of the churros had curled up and had a potato wedge stuck in it. It looked like a plate of dog poo as there was a dark something or other sprinkled on top (cinnamon?). Once our desserts were served, we o key saw our server one more time. We love Café Ena; it's our go-to whenever we get a night out, which is rare. It just was not a great night this time.
No wonder embedded neighborhood restaurants have become so popular. Cafe Ena is a great find. Servers have always been kind and attentive and apparently I have returned enough times to be recognized on occasion. The food has never disappointed. It is definitely on my top ten list and then some.
The food at Cafe Ena was great, interesting flavors and fresh ingredients. The menu is heavy on fish and seafood selections. Although they do not have a children's menu, they do have 2 choices, cheese quesadilla or chicken strips, so our young son was happy. The only thing I didn't like was the noise level. Like most restaurants these days, it was quite loud. I would go back again.
The restaurant is nice, and the service was okay, but the food was dissapointing. Not hot, even though we were the only table (4 of us) at 11:45am for lunch. My fault for not noticing the Tinga sandwich is tinga on bread! No tostada. Menu says comes with beans, it didnt, very little chicken or avocado. Mostly bread. My frI end order a diet coke, he brought the rest of the drinks, left, came back to take our order, I had to ask him to bring the diet coke. We were the only customers in the restaurant!
This was my third visit to Cafe Ena. The other two had been for lunch, and I was eager to order the salmon dish that I had enjoyed for lunch on my last visit, so that my husband could also taste it. It turns out that the dinner menu is different; and although the salmon I had planned to order was not on the menu, the chef offered to prepare a side dish with the Yuca I loved from the lunch preparation, and I added this to the salmon entree that was on the dinner menu (also fabulous).
My husband also thoroughly enjoyed his SeaBass and the Guacomole we enjoyed pre-dinner was the best anywhere.
I HIGHLY recommend this restaurant and its wonderful servers and chef.
Such a fun place for lunch or a special dinner. We've driven up from Rochester several times now to meet friends/family, and it's always worth the trip. Very attentive server & every dish was perfection. Try a glass of their fresh sangria with your meal! We highly recommend leaving room for dessert (or bring one home) and a fabulous cup of coffee to finish the meal.
Café Ena was the perfect place for our gathering of 8. The guacamole "tower" was the best I've ever tasted, and the chips were fresh and crispy. The sea bass dish was delicious, and the lemon-lime pie dessert was faaabulous. Our waitress was terrific. Thank you for making our evening extra special!
Empanadas were delicious. We really enjoyed the food. A smaller potion size for a rich dish--the food was the highlight of the night. Unfortunately, the restaurant had a strange smell upon entering and the waiter noticeably kept pressing us to order more things several times--drinks, apps, salad, dessert--even though we split an appetizer among three people and each got our own entree (with a second entree to go). When we asked for the check after our plates were cleared, it took us two requests within a generous 15-20 minutes. Was glad to try the unique fusion once but probably won't be returning.
Met up with a friend I hadn't seen in a longtime so I love that Cafe Ena doesn't have distracting music but allows for conversation -- especially in the booths. It's one of my favorite places in the Twin Cities. And the food is absolutely top notch -- fresh, local, authentic.
My friend and I had Sunday brunch here before going to an afternoon event. It's one of our favorite places. We were the first ones there at 11. We started with drinks - juice and a beer. I had the Mango French Toast (my favorite) and my friend had a chicken/rice dish. Both were incredible. There was no room for dessert. The restaurant has a nice ambiance and the servers were friendly and helpful.
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