Cocina del Barrio adds Latin flair to the dining scene at 50th & France. Within a year of the loss of the old southwestern mainstay, Tejas, the new Edina Barrio filled a void as the new, “kitchen of the neighborhood.” The Edina restaurant is one of three Barrio establishments in the Twin Cities.
Cocina del Barrio features Latin American and Mexican cuisine with a dark, sultry, warm ambiance. Enriched by wrought iron crystal chandeliers and a huge spiral glitter of charging bulls, the decor has the feel of a Zorro movie set but is much more welcoming. The Latin-Spanish motif carries over to the smallest detail, right down to the red metallic bull match boxes, which make a great firery souvenir.
The bar has a sophisticated atmosphere and an older than average crowd. During its two-year tenure, Cocina del Barrio has benefited from Edina’s liquor law change to give a green light to happy hour. Bar drinks and specials are a big draw, especially the on the rocks margaritas. Frozen or shaved ice versions of margaritas are not available.
For food, Cocina del Barrio offers lunch, dinner and a weekend brunch. Lunch specials include $10 plates, which is a great deal for 50th & France. The menu consists of a broad range of salads, soups, seafood, tacos, tamales, enchiladas, and other small plates, as well as entrees. All dishes have a Latin flair that leans toward innovative combinations of fresh, seasonal ingredients with a spicy zing.
Gourmet Latin American Food
The menu changes frequently so there usually are new items to try. Still, the star here is the made to order guacamole accompanied by corn tortilla chips and zesty salsa. Chunks of fresh avocado and just the right amount of seasoning enliven the earthy green spread. Be sure to order the guacamole and chips. A dish everyone at the table shares naturally promotes a casual vibe and good conversation. The wide selection of small plates makes it possible to try several different dishes.
As a small plate, the queso fundido with roasted pablano peppers and wild mushrooms comes sizzling hot in a ceramic terrine. A separate covered wicker basket of warm soft white flour tortillas completes the dish. It is fun to build your own queso fundido tableside.
Another favorite small plate is the Creekstone Farm natural beef tenderloin anticuchos. The expertly seared beef comes on a hearts of palm salad. The contrast of hot and cold with meaty and light makes a bold, flavorful combination.
Salads often feature in season ingredients, which heightens flavor. The organic roasted beet salad was dotted with a light wave of dressing and unusual opposing flavors of spicy roasted peanuts. Still, the unique salads are good light accompaniments to the more dominant heartier fare.
Service at Cocina del Barrio varies from highly engaged conversational to more distant but runs with a common thread of strong efficiency. On one recent visit, our server boasted about eating 200 Barrio tacos and enjoying each even more than the last. His witty commentary and willingness to share insightful information about the menu and his experiences made for a very memorable diner. Oh, the difference a truly great waiter can make!
Edina Patio Dining Fun
During agreeable weather, Cocina del Barrio’s star feature is the small outdoor patio facing bustling France Avenue. Latin-Mexican cuisine tastes even better on a hot day at an outside table. Settle in shady spot with fresh-made guacamole, crisp chips and a cool icy drink. Does life get any better?
Cocina del Barrio, 5036 France Avenue South, Edina, MN 55424, (952) 920-1860. Plenty of free parking nearby.