Babalu

★★★☆☆
  • 800 Washington Ave N

    Minneapolis, MN 55401

    Map & Directions
  • 612-746-3158

3.493 71
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Babalu offers a really fun and sexy environment, fun drinks, excellent paella and seafood, and great service!

4
★★★★☆

Babalu offers a really fun and sexy environment, fun drinks, excellent paella and seafood, and great service!

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This restaurant is really fun and clubby. Their tapas selection is large. Babalu gives those who may never reach Spain to actually try authentic paella.

4
★★★★☆

This restaurant is really fun and clubby. Their tapas selection is large. Babalu gives those who may never reach Spain to actually try authentic paella.

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I was very disappointed by my experience at Babalu. A coworker had made reservations for a group of 14 of us. We waited at the bar and were shushed away because there was a group trying to give a PowerPoint presentation (in a bar!). We weren't rowdy; just having a conversation. It was happy hour and were being shushed like we were in a library. I hung around the bar for 10-15 minutes to close my tab while others sat down. It then took 40 minutes to get a waiter's attention after sitting down to get a menu. By the time I could order 3/4ths of my group had been served. I hadn't finished eating before some of them were ready to leave. The service was horrible. The waiter was no were to be seen or serving dinners and then ducking into the kitchen. If I hadn't waived my arms at him, he would never have served me. This is not at all what I expected from this restaurant.

1
★★☆☆☆

I was very disappointed by my experience at Babalu. A coworker had made reservations for a group of 14 of us. We waited at the bar and were shushed away because there was a group trying to give a PowerPoint presentation (in a bar!). We weren't rowdy; just having a conversation. It was happy hour and were being shushed like we were in a library. I hung around the bar for 10-15 minutes to close my tab while others sat down. It then took 40 minutes to get a waiter's attention after sitting down to get a menu. By the time I could order 3/4ths of my group had been served. I hadn't finished eating before some of them were ready to leave. The service was horrible. The waiter was no were to be seen or serving dinners and then ducking into the kitchen. If I hadn't waived my arms at him, he would never have served me. This is not at all what I expected from this restaurant.

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We were actually on our way to a nearby sandwich shop when we decided to give Babalu a try. We weren't aware that they had a lunch, much less a lunch buffet. As it was nearing 2pm, they were getting ready to tear the buffet down (understandably so!), but the executive chef offered to make some more of the dishes on the buffet that were gone.
The food had to be some of the most flavorful that we've had in Minnesota. The chef came out again to check on us, and even offered to explain some of his dishes that we were enjoying. He apologized again that the food was not out immediately when we arrived and then suggested we order a dessert on him. We walked out with a bill under $25 between the two of us.
What we took from this was that Babalu has some amazing food, prepared by an executive chef who really cares that his customers are happy and enjoying his food. We'll most certainly be back...and looking forward to Dinner next time!

2
★★★★★

We were actually on our way to a nearby sandwich shop when we decided to give Babalu a try. We weren't aware that they had a lunch, much less a lunch buffet. As it was nearing 2pm, they were getting ready to tear the buffet down (understandably so!), but the executive chef offered to make some more of the dishes on the buffet that were gone.
The food had to be some of the most flavorful that we've had in Minnesota. The chef came out again to check on us, and even offered to explain some of his dishes that we were enjoying. He apologized again that the food was not out immediately when we arrived and then suggested we order a dessert on him. We walked out with a bill under $25 between the two of us.
What we took from this was that Babalu has some amazing food, prepared by an executive chef who really cares that his customers are happy and enjoying his food. We'll most certainly be back...and looking forward to Dinner next time!

Pros: Flavorful food, chef interaction, atmosphere

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I was just there recently for the first time. I liked the ambience.
Service was great! However, the food was alright. I would never come back for the food.
Maybe just not my taste. But their dessert was the best! And the drinks were well made.

1
★★★☆☆

I was just there recently for the first time. I liked the ambience.
Service was great! However, the food was alright. I would never come back for the food.
Maybe just not my taste. But their dessert was the best! And the drinks were well made.

Pros: Live music

Cons: Paid too much for alright food.

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Went to Babalu with a date not really knowing what to expect. I'd heard a lot of good things about the ambience, service and food and was looking forward to a romantic night out.

Overall everything went well. The service was attentive and efficient (without being rushed), the waitstaff was knowledgeable and helpful and the ambience was great. The food was adequate, although a bit greasy for my taste.

Left full and pleased. I would definitely go back.

2
★★★★☆

Went to Babalu with a date not really knowing what to expect. I'd heard a lot of good things about the ambience, service and food and was looking forward to a romantic night out.

Overall everything went well. The service was attentive and efficient (without being rushed), the waitstaff was knowledgeable and helpful and the ambience was great. The food was adequate, although a bit greasy for my taste.

Left full and pleased. I would definitely go back.

Pros: good service, ambience

Cons: a little greasy

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Last night I went to Babalu to the "second sip and sample". I have to say that this people made me feel like I did not wanted to leave the place. The first Sip and Sample" event was at R Normans and it was a walk in, eat, drink and leave event. The place was cold, the staff was cold and the food was cold. Outside it was cold as well so... I spent there about an hour and went home! At Babalu I stayed until 9:30, even though the Sip and Sample event went until 7:30. I loved it! and everybody around me did too!!
One of the owners, a woman from Spain told me that this Saturday they have a Puerto Rican band that is great, it will be one of the last times they have Salsa dancing on the weekends, they are too busy with dinner reservations that they need to serve dinner until later! I will be there and so should all of you that want to have a great time and feel like you are in the Caribbean for at least a couple of hours.

2
★★★★★

Last night I went to Babalu to the "second sip and sample". I have to say that this people made me feel like I did not wanted to leave the place. The first Sip and Sample" event was at R Normans and it was a walk in, eat, drink and leave event. The place was cold, the staff was cold and the food was cold. Outside it was cold as well so... I spent there about an hour and went home! At Babalu I stayed until 9:30, even though the Sip and Sample event went until 7:30. I loved it! and everybody around me did too!!
One of the owners, a woman from Spain told me that this Saturday they have a Puerto Rican band that is great, it will be one of the last times they have Salsa dancing on the weekends, they are too busy with dinner reservations that they need to serve dinner until later! I will be there and so should all of you that want to have a great time and feel like you are in the Caribbean for at least a couple of hours.

Pros: ambiance, service, authentic, cozy, fun

Cons: none

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This establishment will be no more within the next couple years. A couple friends and I popped in to a nearly empty Babalu on a Friday night (if that tells you anything...) to meet one of my friends sister and husband who were eating there. We sat down at their table with them - one would think the place would be happy to get a few more patrons ready to spend some money on drinks and possibly some appetizers. After the waiter FINALLY came over to take only two of the three of our drink orders, our table was approached by the manager. After I had just ordered a $9 drink, he said that if we wanted to stay there, we would have to order at least $10 in food. Also, he rudely told us that the restaurant would be filling up and when it did, the friend that pulled an empty chair up to our table from the rows of unoccupied tables was to give her chair up immediately. He mentioned that she "should have asked if she could take a chair from one of the other tables." So she stood up right away and said she'd just stand right away. Obviously we were completely mystified at the unprofessional and unexplainable behavior of this awkward man. When we questioned him as to why we were being treated this way and explained to him that what he was doing was completely disrespectful and unjustified, he offered us with the explanation that people were sneaking through to get past the $10 cover for salsa dancing and he "had to make up the money somewhere." Ahhh, the $10 in food minimum is starting to add up.
The restaurant never did fill up, we never did get around to ordering our rounds of drinks, and we'll NEVER be back.

0
★☆☆☆☆

This establishment will be no more within the next couple years. A couple friends and I popped in to a nearly empty Babalu on a Friday night (if that tells you anything...) to meet one of my friends sister and husband who were eating there. We sat down at their table with them - one would think the place would be happy to get a few more patrons ready to spend some money on drinks and possibly some appetizers. After the waiter FINALLY came over to take only two of the three of our drink orders, our table was approached by the manager. After I had just ordered a $9 drink, he said that if we wanted to stay there, we would have to order at least $10 in food. Also, he rudely told us that the restaurant would be filling up and when it did, the friend that pulled an empty chair up to our table from the rows of unoccupied tables was to give her chair up immediately. He mentioned that she "should have asked if she could take a chair from one of the other tables." So she stood up right away and said she'd just stand right away. Obviously we were completely mystified at the unprofessional and unexplainable behavior of this awkward man. When we questioned him as to why we were being treated this way and explained to him that what he was doing was completely disrespectful and unjustified, he offered us with the explanation that people were sneaking through to get past the $10 cover for salsa dancing and he "had to make up the money somewhere." Ahhh, the $10 in food minimum is starting to add up.
The restaurant never did fill up, we never did get around to ordering our rounds of drinks, and we'll NEVER be back.

Pros: ZERO.

Cons: Management, wait staff, everything.

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Babulu was once in my top five places to impress a date. last night it tasted like one of my top five meals that came from a box. im not sure if they changed the menu or what is going on but i was embarrassed that i once used words like impecable.

1
★★☆☆☆

Babulu was once in my top five places to impress a date. last night it tasted like one of my top five meals that came from a box. im not sure if they changed the menu or what is going on but i was embarrassed that i once used words like impecable.

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HHuba is very close to home. The honeymoon soup with fresh seafood makes me want to cry. Spicy, refreshing and comes in a bowl with a medley of firm fresh things from the sea. If getting marriied was this perfect everyone would be doing it. Salsa dancing night is hot and the place once inside feels great. Fried plaintain just like Havanna,...

2
★★★★☆

HHuba is very close to home. The honeymoon soup with fresh seafood makes me want to cry. Spicy, refreshing and comes in a bowl with a medley of firm fresh things from the sea. If getting marriied was this perfect everyone would be doing it. Salsa dancing night is hot and the place once inside feels great. Fried plaintain just like Havanna,...

Pros: once inside- great space and feel

Cons: sterile neighborhood

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I was in Babalu last saturday with some friends and I was thoroughly impressed. Not only was our server HOT (the flowers in her hair added to the ambiance), but her knowledge about the menu was well appreciated. We ended up ordering her recommendations and she was right on spot. I had the stuffed sole and it was amazing! The fish was stuffed with crab, shrimp, brie cheese and finished with a white wine butter sauce. The selection of tapas and apps were great! Especially the jumbo sea scallops, stuffed plantains with shrimp and the ceviche. Service was awesome, the place was ambiant, and the food was amazing. I highly reccommend this restaurant and will undoubtably be back soon!

2
★★★★★

I was in Babalu last saturday with some friends and I was thoroughly impressed. Not only was our server HOT (the flowers in her hair added to the ambiance), but her knowledge about the menu was well appreciated. We ended up ordering her recommendations and she was right on spot. I had the stuffed sole and it was amazing! The fish was stuffed with crab, shrimp, brie cheese and finished with a white wine butter sauce. The selection of tapas and apps were great! Especially the jumbo sea scallops, stuffed plantains with shrimp and the ceviche. Service was awesome, the place was ambiant, and the food was amazing. I highly reccommend this restaurant and will undoubtably be back soon!

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Enjoyed the tropical atmosphere in frigid Minnesota. Used the lot across the street. Very good cocktails with exotic selections. Interesting menu was out of the ordinary, ask your server for help and they are more than willing to assist you. Enjoy music at certain times during the evening. Nice spot for a date.

2
★★★★☆

Enjoyed the tropical atmosphere in frigid Minnesota. Used the lot across the street. Very good cocktails with exotic selections. Interesting menu was out of the ordinary, ask your server for help and they are more than willing to assist you. Enjoy music at certain times during the evening. Nice spot for a date.

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Do not leave your car to their valet!
I went to babalu three times and each time I was pulling at least 10 people with me....music was very good, not too crowded, average food....probably premium only for the ambiance...however, service is absolutely horrible....even if they accepted that they lost my car keys, they never apologized nor did something....we spent hours to find our keys myself and my wife in the back of their bar and on the street....until we were able to locate the keys on the street right by our car...my 2 cents: do not go there...there far better places in Twincities you can enjoy without any hassle

0
★☆☆☆☆

Do not leave your car to their valet!
I went to babalu three times and each time I was pulling at least 10 people with me....music was very good, not too crowded, average food....probably premium only for the ambiance...however, service is absolutely horrible....even if they accepted that they lost my car keys, they never apologized nor did something....we spent hours to find our keys myself and my wife in the back of their bar and on the street....until we were able to locate the keys on the street right by our car...my 2 cents: do not go there...there far better places in Twincities you can enjoy without any hassle

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Is no longer the original babalu. the live music is not good, the dj plays cheap bad quality loud music, the food is more mexican than caribean and how do they dare call it spanish? come on! they owners have terrible manners and even though the manager that night tried to do his best to make us confortable it didnt work. if you are looking for a club scene go there, if you want to have a nice dinner out with your partner or friends spend your money somewher else..

0
★☆☆☆☆

Is no longer the original babalu. the live music is not good, the dj plays cheap bad quality loud music, the food is more mexican than caribean and how do they dare call it spanish? come on! they owners have terrible manners and even though the manager that night tried to do his best to make us confortable it didnt work. if you are looking for a club scene go there, if you want to have a nice dinner out with your partner or friends spend your money somewher else..

Cons: loud, meet markett, expensive

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I was looking forward to dining at Babalu as I had heard about the great food and live music. At first I enjoyed my meal--the food was good, however there was no live music. Unfortunately around 10PM on this particular Saturday night, a really, really bad DJ started playing VERY, VERY loud, thumping, club-style music right in the restaurant while people were eating. I found this extremely unpleasant and in fact had to cover my ears. This wasn't even Latin/Carribean music, but rather typical American garbage. If they're going to be a club, they should advertise as such. You could feel the thumping in your skin. It was horrible. I would not go to Babalu again unless I was sure they had changed this practice.

While the food was good, it was not worth the high price, especially considering my horrible experience and the lack of live music.

1
★★★☆☆

I was looking forward to dining at Babalu as I had heard about the great food and live music. At first I enjoyed my meal--the food was good, however there was no live music. Unfortunately around 10PM on this particular Saturday night, a really, really bad DJ started playing VERY, VERY loud, thumping, club-style music right in the restaurant while people were eating. I found this extremely unpleasant and in fact had to cover my ears. This wasn't even Latin/Carribean music, but rather typical American garbage. If they're going to be a club, they should advertise as such. You could feel the thumping in your skin. It was horrible. I would not go to Babalu again unless I was sure they had changed this practice.

While the food was good, it was not worth the high price, especially considering my horrible experience and the lack of live music.

Pros: good food

Cons: expensive, loud music, closes early

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This was the perfect Valentine's Day dinner... great service, excellent food (ahi tuna was to die for!), live music added to the atmosphere (not too loud either).... will most definitely be back in the near future!

2
★★★★★

This was the perfect Valentine's Day dinner... great service, excellent food (ahi tuna was to die for!), live music added to the atmosphere (not too loud either).... will most definitely be back in the near future!

Pros: Food, Live Music

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I have dined here a few times and must say that they never dissapoint. I took my mother here when she was in town and she was amazed at how much like good home cooking this was. I feel bad for those who still haven't realized that ketchup is not a spice but this is true authentic Caribbean Cuisine. My girlfriend and I recently dined with friends tonight and the only complaint they had was they ate too much. If you want an authentic meal that is well priced then Babalu is the place to go.Take it from a first generation Cuban from New York who's been to a place or two in the Caribean p.s. Mexican is not Caribbean

2
★★★★★

I have dined here a few times and must say that they never dissapoint. I took my mother here when she was in town and she was amazed at how much like good home cooking this was. I feel bad for those who still haven't realized that ketchup is not a spice but this is true authentic Caribbean Cuisine. My girlfriend and I recently dined with friends tonight and the only complaint they had was they ate too much. If you want an authentic meal that is well priced then Babalu is the place to go.Take it from a first generation Cuban from New York who's been to a place or two in the Caribean p.s. Mexican is not Caribbean

Pros: Ambience, Portion, Prices

Cons: TOO MUCH FOOD

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I was apprehensive about going to Babalu because of the $$$$ rating on this website. What I found were entrees that ranged from $20 - $34 a plate. We really enjoyed the flavor of the tenderloin (although it was surprisingly chewy) and ahi tuna. In my experience I've found few higher priced restaurants that keep up in flavor and portion size with the prices they charge. Babalu did a great job. Our salad with beets and avocados were okay but pretty bland. Our bill for these items and three drinks & coffee came to about $85 before tax & tip. We'll keep Babalu's in mind for upcoming special occasions.

2
★★★★☆

I was apprehensive about going to Babalu because of the $$$$ rating on this website. What I found were entrees that ranged from $20 - $34 a plate. We really enjoyed the flavor of the tenderloin (although it was surprisingly chewy) and ahi tuna. In my experience I've found few higher priced restaurants that keep up in flavor and portion size with the prices they charge. Babalu did a great job. Our salad with beets and avocados were okay but pretty bland. Our bill for these items and three drinks & coffee came to about $85 before tax & tip. We'll keep Babalu's in mind for upcoming special occasions.

Pros: great flavors, nice decor

Cons: loud near stage

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I invited 20 of my closest friends for a big birthday celebration. I was told that Babalu could accommodate the party. The staff split us up into two tables, which was uncomfortable. The food was nothing remarkable for the cost, and the staff was rude and unprofessional. $2500 dollars later, my party was told that we needed to leave because another large party was coming in and they needed the tables. When I booked the reservation, I was never informed of this. My birthday was clearly one I would not forget, but not for happy sentimental reasons. I am sure that neither myself nor any other person in my party will return.

0
★☆☆☆☆

I invited 20 of my closest friends for a big birthday celebration. I was told that Babalu could accommodate the party. The staff split us up into two tables, which was uncomfortable. The food was nothing remarkable for the cost, and the staff was rude and unprofessional. $2500 dollars later, my party was told that we needed to leave because another large party was coming in and they needed the tables. When I booked the reservation, I was never informed of this. My birthday was clearly one I would not forget, but not for happy sentimental reasons. I am sure that neither myself nor any other person in my party will return.

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Been there twice now. Food is awesome. ALMEJAS a la MARINERA (clams), and CAZUELA DE MARISCOS (seafood casserole) fantastic. Live music from all over the world. Ambeince is nice. Our service was good both times. The guy that looks like Chris Kattan from SNL with a shaved head is cool. Prices are up there but worth it. You can park on the street at the meters for free after 6:00

2
★★★★★

Been there twice now. Food is awesome. ALMEJAS a la MARINERA (clams), and CAZUELA DE MARISCOS (seafood casserole) fantastic. Live music from all over the world. Ambeince is nice. Our service was good both times. The guy that looks like Chris Kattan from SNL with a shaved head is cool. Prices are up there but worth it. You can park on the street at the meters for free after 6:00

Pros: Food, Live Music, Atmosphere

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What a terrific suprise! The food was great. Service was quick. Music was a delight.

2
★★★★★

What a terrific suprise! The food was great. Service was quick. Music was a delight.

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My first time here and it was wonderful. The food and service was great, and the music was lively. I when I am in town again I will come back to this restaurant.

2
★★★★☆

My first time here and it was wonderful. The food and service was great, and the music was lively. I when I am in town again I will come back to this restaurant.

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Overall, we had a great experience. Great food, service and ambience. Our waiter was a riot!

However, I do recommend requesting seating away from the kitchen. I was in the path to the kitchen and was continuously bumped by waitstaff and busboys.

We will visit again for sure!
Thanks!

2
★★★★★

Overall, we had a great experience. Great food, service and ambience. Our waiter was a riot!

However, I do recommend requesting seating away from the kitchen. I was in the path to the kitchen and was continuously bumped by waitstaff and busboys.

We will visit again for sure!
Thanks!

Pros: easy parking, delicious food, beautiful space

Cons: cold hostess

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This was wonderful food and the ambience was fantastic. I highly recommend this restaurant. Please try the calamari

2
★★★★★

This was wonderful food and the ambience was fantastic. I highly recommend this restaurant. Please try the calamari

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Babalu is a seductive restaurant with Latin-Carribean atmosphere. From the lounge, sensual Jazzy music carries through the restaurant. Start off your evening with a Cuban Mojito while perusing the menu. The selection includes a wide variety of seafood - my fave is the rum-glazed scallops!!! If you like Key Lime Pie, this is your just dessert! And, being a chocolate fan, I like the Chocolate Leches Cake.

5
★★★★★

Babalu is a seductive restaurant with Latin-Carribean atmosphere. From the lounge, sensual Jazzy music carries through the restaurant. Start off your evening with a Cuban Mojito while perusing the menu. The selection includes a wide variety of seafood - my fave is the rum-glazed scallops!!! If you like Key Lime Pie, this is your just dessert! And, being a chocolate fan, I like the Chocolate Leches Cake.

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Ratings_icons Ratings_icons

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If youre into paying high prices for mediocre food and poor service, then Babalu might just be the place for you. For a mandatory 18% gratuity, the host will even give away your table (without asking) and try to have you eat your dinner on a large ottoman in the middle of the dance floor. There you can feel the band play from 5 feet away and listen to people as they bump into you, all while trying to figure out how a simple drink like the caiprinia can be ruined so badly. But what impressed us the most was how the host magically produced a table for us after we refused to accept our food on the dance floor even after he had repeated told us none will be available for the rest of the night. Such priceless experience should never be repeated even if it was free.

0
★☆☆☆☆

If youre into paying high prices for mediocre food and poor service, then Babalu might just be the place for you. For a mandatory 18% gratuity, the host will even give away your table (without asking) and try to have you eat your dinner on a large ottoman in the middle of the dance floor. There you can feel the band play from 5 feet away and listen to people as they bump into you, all while trying to figure out how a simple drink like the caiprinia can be ruined so badly. But what impressed us the most was how the host magically produced a table for us after we refused to accept our food on the dance floor even after he had repeated told us none will be available for the rest of the night. Such priceless experience should never be repeated even if it was free.

Cons: host, atmosphere, food

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This was our first time to Babalu and we will definitely be back soon. Recommendations: the CHURRASCO ARGENTINO was espectacular :) and the Filletes Matazanes was a generous portion spiced to perfection. For dessert the FLAN DE NARANJA Y COCO was bien rico but the HELADOS TROPICALES was a little bland. The live music, Afro-Cuban Jazz (with Joto), was smooth and sexy.

2
★★★★★

This was our first time to Babalu and we will definitely be back soon. Recommendations: the CHURRASCO ARGENTINO was espectacular :) and the Filletes Matazanes was a generous portion spiced to perfection. For dessert the FLAN DE NARANJA Y COCO was bien rico but the HELADOS TROPICALES was a little bland. The live music, Afro-Cuban Jazz (with Joto), was smooth and sexy.

Pros: live music, atmosphere, location

Cons: a little expensive

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We were told by an extremely arrogant owner to move our coats. He felt we were taking up too much space, and wanted the space for "paying customers". This before we paid our overpriced bill! When we complaind about how rude he was, he told us he doesn't care if we ever came back. Our group was 15 people, and we were "taking up" only three tables in the bar, because we were dancing. I don't think they'll last long

0
★☆☆☆☆

We were told by an extremely arrogant owner to move our coats. He felt we were taking up too much space, and wanted the space for "paying customers". This before we paid our overpriced bill! When we complaind about how rude he was, he told us he doesn't care if we ever came back. Our group was 15 people, and we were "taking up" only three tables in the bar, because we were dancing. I don't think they'll last long

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A very big surprise to find this gem in the Midwest. Food and ambience would rival that of some of the better NYC restaurants. If I were a MN resident, it would be a weekly event and pleasure to dine here.

Try any and all of the appetizers. They are fantastic!

2
★★★★★

A very big surprise to find this gem in the Midwest. Food and ambience would rival that of some of the better NYC restaurants. If I were a MN resident, it would be a weekly event and pleasure to dine here.

Try any and all of the appetizers. They are fantastic!

Pros: Food, Ambience

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After reading some of these reviews, I couldnt help but wonder-when did these people become experts on Latin food?!? If you truly want to try foreign cuisine-go with an open mind! The flavors are different! I was not surprised to taste such authentic delicious Latin flavors when I learned the chef and owners are from some of the finest restaurants in the cities (Oceanaire), and from exotic Latin lands such as Puerto Rico, Cuba, Spain and Mexico. The Huachinango was authentic and mouth-watering, and the key lime pie and tres leches are not to be passed up. The music was throbbing and sexy in true Latin form. If you want to try a restaurant whose only downfall is that it may be a little too cutting edge for Minneapolis go to Babalu!

2
★★★★★

After reading some of these reviews, I couldnt help but wonder-when did these people become experts on Latin food?!? If you truly want to try foreign cuisine-go with an open mind! The flavors are different! I was not surprised to taste such authentic delicious Latin flavors when I learned the chef and owners are from some of the finest restaurants in the cities (Oceanaire), and from exotic Latin lands such as Puerto Rico, Cuba, Spain and Mexico. The Huachinango was authentic and mouth-watering, and the key lime pie and tres leches are not to be passed up. The music was throbbing and sexy in true Latin form. If you want to try a restaurant whose only downfall is that it may be a little too cutting edge for Minneapolis go to Babalu!

Pros: food, drinks, beautiful people

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I've been to Babalu twice now, and I will continue to come back again and again.

The decor is amazing and even though the lights are dim, this just adds to the intimacy.

The drinks, even with the hefty price tag, are amazing; be sure to try the mojito (the best mojito I've ever had hands down).

The food is superb and my only gripe would be that their plantains aren't truly authentic. Skipping dessert is not an option as their tres leches cake is mouth-watering good.

2
★★★★★

I've been to Babalu twice now, and I will continue to come back again and again.

The decor is amazing and even though the lights are dim, this just adds to the intimacy.

The drinks, even with the hefty price tag, are amazing; be sure to try the mojito (the best mojito I've ever had hands down).

The food is superb and my only gripe would be that their plantains aren't truly authentic. Skipping dessert is not an option as their tres leches cake is mouth-watering good.

Pros: mojitos!, delicious food

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The tapas were great. Our waiter was yummy and explained the menu well. His suggestions were right on target.

2
★★★★☆

The tapas were great. Our waiter was yummy and explained the menu well. His suggestions were right on target.

Pros: valet parking, great band

Cons: , a bit loud for dinner

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We were seated promptly when we arrived (we had a reservation) and had drinks and an appetizer within 15 minutes. The lobster medallion appetizer was fabulous. I had the grilled lobster which was a tad underdone. My husband had the hanging beef tenderloin which was good, but portions were small. The dessert was wonderful. Prices were a bit high. Service was wonderful! Not sure if we would go again though. Music was so loud that we could not even carry-on a conversation. This was the biggest minus.

1
★★★☆☆

We were seated promptly when we arrived (we had a reservation) and had drinks and an appetizer within 15 minutes. The lobster medallion appetizer was fabulous. I had the grilled lobster which was a tad underdone. My husband had the hanging beef tenderloin which was good, but portions were small. The dessert was wonderful. Prices were a bit high. Service was wonderful! Not sure if we would go again though. Music was so loud that we could not even carry-on a conversation. This was the biggest minus.

Pros: Good service

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Atmosphere: cushy, womb-like bar/lounge well laid out, classy dining area. Appetizers: calamari, marvelous spicy dipping sauce/scallops glazed with rum, slightly oriental flavor. Salad: roasted beet and avocado, on mixed greens, drizzled with citrusy dressing. Avocados perfectly ripe, not mushy - all the flavors popped! Argentine steak, garlic and herb sauce, medium rare, perfectly done and flavorful. Grouper wrapped in shredded potatoes, lightly fried, with guava habanero sauce. Slight kick, not overwhelming. Jumbo asparagus, very thick and over-cooked for my liking. Great flavor, especially the killer mango habanero sauce! Not much crunch. Desserts: Acapulco style key lime pie, a layered dessert - traditional Mexican cinnamon sugar cookies layered into key lime custard on hibiscus mousse. YUMM - Y!!!! Alfonsos sweet squash, small green squash, cut in half with an oatmeal and brown sugar patty placed in each, with coconut ice cream. Unusual but the flavor combinations were scrumptious!

2
★★★★★

Atmosphere: cushy, womb-like bar/lounge well laid out, classy dining area. Appetizers: calamari, marvelous spicy dipping sauce/scallops glazed with rum, slightly oriental flavor. Salad: roasted beet and avocado, on mixed greens, drizzled with citrusy dressing. Avocados perfectly ripe, not mushy - all the flavors popped! Argentine steak, garlic and herb sauce, medium rare, perfectly done and flavorful. Grouper wrapped in shredded potatoes, lightly fried, with guava habanero sauce. Slight kick, not overwhelming. Jumbo asparagus, very thick and over-cooked for my liking. Great flavor, especially the killer mango habanero sauce! Not much crunch. Desserts: Acapulco style key lime pie, a layered dessert - traditional Mexican cinnamon sugar cookies layered into key lime custard on hibiscus mousse. YUMM - Y!!!! Alfonsos sweet squash, small green squash, cut in half with an oatmeal and brown sugar patty placed in each, with coconut ice cream. Unusual but the flavor combinations were scrumptious!

Pros: excellent food, terrific service, good value

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I was very pleased with every aspect of my experience at Babalu on a recent Saturday night. This is one of the few trendy hotpots that can live up to its billing. They have nailed the little details from the sultry atmosphere to the palms and fans. The menu has range and imagination, the waitstaff is very attentive and the bartenders are friendly. Some have complained that it was too loud. I found the jazz band complemented the food and atmosphere--if you don't want to be entertained and have an upbeat evening, find a different venue. I had shredded chicken wrapped in plantain leaves but am excited to try the paella in the near future.

2
★★★★☆

I was very pleased with every aspect of my experience at Babalu on a recent Saturday night. This is one of the few trendy hotpots that can live up to its billing. They have nailed the little details from the sultry atmosphere to the palms and fans. The menu has range and imagination, the waitstaff is very attentive and the bartenders are friendly. Some have complained that it was too loud. I found the jazz band complemented the food and atmosphere--if you don't want to be entertained and have an upbeat evening, find a different venue. I had shredded chicken wrapped in plantain leaves but am excited to try the paella in the near future.

Pros: atmosphere, food, music

Cons: expensive drinks

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Went to have drinks/dessert--the waiter was informed of what we intended to do. Instead of telling us to move like a mature adult, he told the owner, who said these tables were not for just drinks and dessert (we were never informed), we were moved. I guess I would have understood had he been respectful and if there weren't 10 empty tables and the kitchen closed at 11:00! Noone EVER sat there after. I'm glad I didn't try to talk to the owner-- someone with an inferiority complex. Those of you who need security through image, this place excels in an "I'm better than you attitude" For those of you who want to spend money on a nice place, there are plenty of places more than happy to have your service. To the owner and the waiters- hope you can find something more meaningful to dedicate your lives to--

0
★☆☆☆☆

Went to have drinks/dessert--the waiter was informed of what we intended to do. Instead of telling us to move like a mature adult, he told the owner, who said these tables were not for just drinks and dessert (we were never informed), we were moved. I guess I would have understood had he been respectful and if there weren't 10 empty tables and the kitchen closed at 11:00! Noone EVER sat there after. I'm glad I didn't try to talk to the owner-- someone with an inferiority complex. Those of you who need security through image, this place excels in an "I'm better than you attitude" For those of you who want to spend money on a nice place, there are plenty of places more than happy to have your service. To the owner and the waiters- hope you can find something more meaningful to dedicate your lives to--

Cons: RUDE, PETTY

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I have dined in some of the finest restaurants across the nation and I have never been treated so poorly. The service was awful!!! To quote the owner, 'This is my house, I'll treat you the way I want to'. A response that was prompted by our complaint that although we had made a reservation for 8:30, we were still not seated at 8:55 and then once we were seated, we had to wait an additional 15 minutes before a waitron visited our table to take our intial drink order. Again, I've never been treated so poorly. Needless to say, we did not stay for dinner and will never go to Babalu again. Sir, you can have your 'house'. I've never treated those I entertain as badly as you.

0
★☆☆☆☆

I have dined in some of the finest restaurants across the nation and I have never been treated so poorly. The service was awful!!! To quote the owner, 'This is my house, I'll treat you the way I want to'. A response that was prompted by our complaint that although we had made a reservation for 8:30, we were still not seated at 8:55 and then once we were seated, we had to wait an additional 15 minutes before a waitron visited our table to take our intial drink order. Again, I've never been treated so poorly. Needless to say, we did not stay for dinner and will never go to Babalu again. Sir, you can have your 'house'. I've never treated those I entertain as badly as you.

Pros: NONE

Cons: RUDE SERVICE , RUDE OWNER

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So, we were seated promptly by the blonde hostess...and that's where it ended. After waiting a good 15-20 minutes (and yes, we were counting), for someone to greet us and take our beverage order, I decided to summon the hostess for assistance. Unexpectedly, the chef/owner, was standing near the entrance and I was directed to him. I began with how horrible the service was and he proceeded to get into my face and started to push me around. I guess he takes things personally. I would hope that the city WALKS away from this crapstand for some R-E-S-P-E-C-T and goes elsewhere. If I wanted to be pushed around and verbally berated I guess I would show up for a happy hour at Lucy's in St. Paul!

0
★☆☆☆☆

So, we were seated promptly by the blonde hostess...and that's where it ended. After waiting a good 15-20 minutes (and yes, we were counting), for someone to greet us and take our beverage order, I decided to summon the hostess for assistance. Unexpectedly, the chef/owner, was standing near the entrance and I was directed to him. I began with how horrible the service was and he proceeded to get into my face and started to push me around. I guess he takes things personally. I would hope that the city WALKS away from this crapstand for some R-E-S-P-E-C-T and goes elsewhere. If I wanted to be pushed around and verbally berated I guess I would show up for a happy hour at Lucy's in St. Paul!

Cons: Obnoxious, Offensive, Disgusting

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We were there on a Tuesday night, and it was crowded for a week day. The food was great; service was excellent. We had a very large group for two birthdays, and our waitress (I forgot to get her name) was great.

The big bummer was the lady they had caterwauling in the background as accompaniment to the dancers. She has got to go - totally out of tune at the top of her lungs.

Also, the flights of merlot were overpriced for the quality of the wines. Two were barely drinkable.

2
★★★★☆

We were there on a Tuesday night, and it was crowded for a week day. The food was great; service was excellent. We had a very large group for two birthdays, and our waitress (I forgot to get her name) was great.

The big bummer was the lady they had caterwauling in the background as accompaniment to the dancers. She has got to go - totally out of tune at the top of her lungs.

Also, the flights of merlot were overpriced for the quality of the wines. Two were barely drinkable.

Pros: Food, Service

Cons: Entertainment, Parking

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Let's start with the the self-righteous hostess who glares at you as you walk up to her and then stares blankly while you give her your reservation. Couldn't be more rude or more stupid. Many of the appetizers appear to actually be from the freezer aisle at Lund's. Portion sizes are very small, but they don't let you finish what you have anyway - they clear your plate well before you're finished eating and in some cases mid-bite. The service is so ridiculous, you wonder if you're being taped for a hidden camara show. On top of all of that, it's over priced and the servers are so bad they don't even thank you after you've settled up. We've been 3 times since they opened up with the same result each time. Needless to say, we won't be back and would highly recommend against going. Run fast and run far...

1
★★☆☆☆

Let's start with the the self-righteous hostess who glares at you as you walk up to her and then stares blankly while you give her your reservation. Couldn't be more rude or more stupid. Many of the appetizers appear to actually be from the freezer aisle at Lund's. Portion sizes are very small, but they don't let you finish what you have anyway - they clear your plate well before you're finished eating and in some cases mid-bite. The service is so ridiculous, you wonder if you're being taped for a hidden camara show. On top of all of that, it's over priced and the servers are so bad they don't even thank you after you've settled up. We've been 3 times since they opened up with the same result each time. Needless to say, we won't be back and would highly recommend against going. Run fast and run far...

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My boyfriend returned from Iraq to visit the Mpls/St Paul area. I heard Babalu's was a great place to go. He called to make reservations and the girl who answered was rude and not helpful at all. We went somewhere else and emailed the Babalu website to inform them of the terrible phone service. The response was "Go.... yourself..." !!!!
I will NEVER patronize this establishment and intend on telling everyone I know about the terrible service there!

0
★☆☆☆☆

My boyfriend returned from Iraq to visit the Mpls/St Paul area. I heard Babalu's was a great place to go. He called to make reservations and the girl who answered was rude and not helpful at all. We went somewhere else and emailed the Babalu website to inform them of the terrible phone service. The response was "Go.... yourself..." !!!!
I will NEVER patronize this establishment and intend on telling everyone I know about the terrible service there!

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I've read the readers reviews and I beg you-- don't listen to the negative.
My husband and I were sent via the concierge at our hotel and was floored with our entire experience. Although we were not seated immediately, when we arrived at our table, our server apologized for the wait and we were immediately presented with complementary tapas.
Even though it was a busy Saturday, our server spent time with us to explain the menu and her recommendations were outstanding!!
The most memorable part of the experience wasn't the ambiance (fabulous) or the music (too loud for intimate dining) but how gracious our server was. She spent most of her time with us crouched table side or literally on her knees which made us feel very welcome and comfortable, unlike most stuffy "fine dining" establishments.
We even exchanged email addresses to keep in touch.

2
★★★★☆

I've read the readers reviews and I beg you-- don't listen to the negative.
My husband and I were sent via the concierge at our hotel and was floored with our entire experience. Although we were not seated immediately, when we arrived at our table, our server apologized for the wait and we were immediately presented with complementary tapas.
Even though it was a busy Saturday, our server spent time with us to explain the menu and her recommendations were outstanding!!
The most memorable part of the experience wasn't the ambiance (fabulous) or the music (too loud for intimate dining) but how gracious our server was. She spent most of her time with us crouched table side or literally on her knees which made us feel very welcome and comfortable, unlike most stuffy "fine dining" establishments.
We even exchanged email addresses to keep in touch.

Pros: SERVICE, SERVICE, FOOD

Cons: TOO LOUD

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The music was live and hot. The atmosphere was very chic and comfortable. We are latinos and still live most our days in South America. While the food was spicy (most latin foods are not), it was good. The wines were reasonably priced and the drinks at the bar were great. Overall, I recommend this place for a very elegant night out.

2
★★★★☆

The music was live and hot. The atmosphere was very chic and comfortable. We are latinos and still live most our days in South America. While the food was spicy (most latin foods are not), it was good. The wines were reasonably priced and the drinks at the bar were great. Overall, I recommend this place for a very elegant night out.

Pros: Great music

Cons: A little loud, inexperienced service

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A word to the wise. Try adventuring to a new restaurant after a couple of months. It makes a world of difference. Just like all business, it takes awhile to work the kinks out. The food was delicious and the service was even better. The decor is fabulous. I've been there on a few occasions and the jazz has never let me down. I could see how it could get a little loud if your trying to have a serious/romantic conversation. Weekend crowds overwhelm the bar staff as the bar is too small to handle the volume, stacked 3 to 4 deep.

2
★★★★★

A word to the wise. Try adventuring to a new restaurant after a couple of months. It makes a world of difference. Just like all business, it takes awhile to work the kinks out. The food was delicious and the service was even better. The decor is fabulous. I've been there on a few occasions and the jazz has never let me down. I could see how it could get a little loud if your trying to have a serious/romantic conversation. Weekend crowds overwhelm the bar staff as the bar is too small to handle the volume, stacked 3 to 4 deep.

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Apparently you cannot wait for a table on Sat. nights during busy hours. When I had called to make reservations, I was told typically it is an hour or so wait leading me to believe we could wait for a table. The hostess was rude and told us our options were to sit at the bar for tapas or stand outside and wait for a patio table until someone left. We saw many other people throughout the evening arriving and leaving due to this as well. The food was average overall.

1
★★☆☆☆

Apparently you cannot wait for a table on Sat. nights during busy hours. When I had called to make reservations, I was told typically it is an hour or so wait leading me to believe we could wait for a table. The hostess was rude and told us our options were to sit at the bar for tapas or stand outside and wait for a patio table until someone left. We saw many other people throughout the evening arriving and leaving due to this as well. The food was average overall.

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I was very excited to try the food at this place my experience was mixed. Service was actually pretty good and our server really helpful with selections. The seabass my friend had was "melt-in-your-mouth" awesome. My other friends Churrasco ARegnetion (steak) was also very good. I had tapas - two very oily and expensive dishes, 6 or 7 small clams baked in a sauce of OIL for 8.95- and fried cheese (manchego) also swimming in a bath of oil for 6.95. Now that I think of it everything was pretty much over-priced - dessert, though good, was $9.00 and the "house" chardonnay was $8. My biggest complaint though was that we were totally unable to hold a conversation. If I went back I would be asked to be seated as far from the LOUD music as possible.

1
★★★☆☆

I was very excited to try the food at this place my experience was mixed. Service was actually pretty good and our server really helpful with selections. The seabass my friend had was "melt-in-your-mouth" awesome. My other friends Churrasco ARegnetion (steak) was also very good. I had tapas - two very oily and expensive dishes, 6 or 7 small clams baked in a sauce of OIL for 8.95- and fried cheese (manchego) also swimming in a bath of oil for 6.95. Now that I think of it everything was pretty much over-priced - dessert, though good, was $9.00 and the "house" chardonnay was $8. My biggest complaint though was that we were totally unable to hold a conversation. If I went back I would be asked to be seated as far from the LOUD music as possible.

Pros: Entrees

Cons: Noise level

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This place is terrible. It is pricey, has bad service and uninspiring food. It is trying too hard to be a cool place. I guess it is alright for loud people with no taste.

1
★★☆☆☆

This place is terrible. It is pricey, has bad service and uninspiring food. It is trying too hard to be a cool place. I guess it is alright for loud people with no taste.

Cons: Food, Service, Price

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Arrived 8:30, enjoyed the drink, bartenders rude and slow.
Reservations 9:30, seated 9:45, received drink after 20 minutes, appetizers after another hour, decided to skip dinner (didn't want to be there ALL night), dessert another half hour later.
Food Good, yet, that and prices are NOT WORTH THE WAIT.

1
★★☆☆☆

Arrived 8:30, enjoyed the drink, bartenders rude and slow.
Reservations 9:30, seated 9:45, received drink after 20 minutes, appetizers after another hour, decided to skip dinner (didn't want to be there ALL night), dessert another half hour later.
Food Good, yet, that and prices are NOT WORTH THE WAIT.

Pros: The Look/ nice place, Food

Cons: Wait, Wait, Wait

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A pretty cool place...I've been there three times. Each time the food was OK but the service was terrible, in fact the the bar service was beyond terrible. Owners and staff need to understand that uttlerly slow and rude service will not make it here in Minneapolis...it's not that hard!

1
★★☆☆☆

A pretty cool place...I've been there three times. Each time the food was OK but the service was terrible, in fact the the bar service was beyond terrible. Owners and staff need to understand that uttlerly slow and rude service will not make it here in Minneapolis...it's not that hard!

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When the portions are that small, shouln't the staff wait just a few minutes to see if people are going to finish the 4th scallop before they try to clear the not-yet-empty plates? The hostess was unfriendly, the server not very attentive, and the music too loud. That said, the food was good; just not too plentiful on the tapas plates. Don't go hungry, or with someone you want to converse with; go to nibble and people-watch.

1
★★☆☆☆

When the portions are that small, shouln't the staff wait just a few minutes to see if people are going to finish the 4th scallop before they try to clear the not-yet-empty plates? The hostess was unfriendly, the server not very attentive, and the music too loud. That said, the food was good; just not too plentiful on the tapas plates. Don't go hungry, or with someone you want to converse with; go to nibble and people-watch.

Pros: Nice people watching

Cons: Too loud for talking, Terrible Service

 

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