Renee Steve

La Gran

2207 Central Ave NE

(612) 706-4146

Date of Review
December 6, 2008


Entree Price:
$10 - $15

Our Total Bill:







Pepper: None

Kid Friendliness: Good

High Chair: Yes

Quick Service: Yes

Noise level: Moderate

Crayons/Toys: No

Takeout Available: Yes

Renee's Side Steve's Side

  • Empanadas $4.99 (shared)
  • Tamales special $10.99

La Gran is one of the ethnic restaurants on Central, where you are never sure what you are going to get, but are really curious to find out. This was one where I was pleasantly surprised.

The empanadas were very good. They had a nicely spiced meat mixture inside a light crispy shell. I had the tamale which was a special of the evening. It was not like the tamale that I am used with corn paste mixture with meat or veggies inside wrapped up in a corn husk. It was wrapped in banana leaf and the inside was like a rice hotdish almost. It had rice, some veggies, and a bunch of different meats, some I could identify and some I am not sure about. Somehow it all worked in a homey, midwestern, hotdish sort of way.

This is the only Columbian restaurant I know of and it is great to have in the neighborhood.

  • Carne Asada Frijoles, arroz y maduro. Grilled top round steak, rice, beans, sweet plantain $11.99

La Gran is a hidden gem that I hope will soon be discovered and flourish. La Gran is in NE Minneapolis in the former Marino’s Restaurant location, and many will remember the basic family restaurant layout and décor. It’s by no means flashy, but it’s very functional. La Gran serves generous portions of superb Colombian food. It’s worth driving to try it out; just keep in mind that this is home cooking and you may be just as happy with your neighborhood Mexican/Latin American restaurant.

We’ve had empanadas at a handful of restaurants over the years, and La Gran’s were as good as any of them. The empanadas at La Gran had a unique shell made out of potatoes that was a little harder than most empanadas, but the difference was refreshing and tasted good. The carne asada was a large steak, nothing special in itself, but flavorful. It came with an egg on top – yummy. The sauce accompanying the steak was outstanding and sets La Gran apart. A separate plate was need for beans, rice and a sweet plantain. Our sweet pea loved the sweet plantain. I’m sure we’ll go back to La Gran to sample more from their menu.

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