Hays Take On is a blog series where we explore the Twin Cities (and more) in order to find the best and most interesting food and drink stops. Check for updates every Wednesday and follow along to see what we find!
Linden Hills may be the new hotspot for food, as it’s got plenty of Minnesota‘s new and great restaurants. One of the most notable spots in the area is Martina, an Argentinian style restaurant with a great brunch as well as great dinner and cocktails. Daniel Del Prado, born in Buenos Aires, brought some of his Argentinian flavor to the Twin Cities along with his experience working with Isaac Becker (112 Eatery, Bar La Grassa, and Birch) to create an incredibly flavorful menu.
Martina was originally the old Upton 43, which has now moved to the north loop, and has a similar look and feel to the former tenant. The huge, long, and narrow building has extra tall ceilings that gives you a feeling of openness, even with all of the tables in the building. The place is white, silver, and minimalistic, with lots of tables and a buzzing atmosphere. This minimalistic design lets diners focus more on their food, ultimately the real star of the show, rather than get distracted by fancy design. Overall, a very comfortable feel in the entire room, but nothing to distract you from the excellent food.
Martina’s brunch features a great menu of breakfast items, but we lean towards the lunch side of “brunch” with how good their double cheeseburger is. Martina has captured that melt away in your mouth taste that we loved from the burgers at Parlour and Revival, which bumps it up high on our list. A nice lightly crisp bun with a moist inside as well as two patties separated by cheese, this one is a can’t miss. We also had the breakfast sandwich which we consider the adult version of the Sausage McMuffin, with your classic english muffin topped with sausage and egg, but also avocado, tomato, and lettuce.
For dinner, the menu is split into 5 sections – Chilled Appetizers, Hot Appetizers, Main Plates (non-grilled entrees), Grilled Plates, and Vegetables. After starting with the charred avocado bruschetta and seared scallops, we made a trio of the braised lamb fusili, the grilled swordfish puttanesca, and the charred cucumber. The lamb fusilli has a distinct flavor from the turmeric and mint as well as that melt in your mouth tenderness that we love, all topped with pecorino over some fusilli pasta. The charred cucumber has a great balance of heat from the chili oil and a nice saltiness from the feta cheese. The two most popular cocktails from the bar are the Ballerina #2 and the Martina Old Fashioned. Of course the Old Fashioned comes with the signature single ice cube, but the Ballerina featured small crushed ice cubes that slowly work the coolness into your drink.
There’s a reason that Martina is booked out weeks in advance because this food is the real deal. There are so many great options on the menu that are packed with flavor that it’ll take a few rounds to try it all. Also a fun note, while they do have a standard Gnocchi on the menu, on the 29th of each month they do a special version for just that day!
For more on Martina, check them out here: https://www.martinarestaurant.com/
Or on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/martinarestaurant/
Make sure to check back next Wednesday for the next adventure and if you have any suggestions on places we need to check out let us know in the comments!