St. Paul >Food & Dining > Barbary Fig
720 Grand Ave, St Paul, MN | Directions 5510544.939901 -93.130400
Neighborhoods: Summit Hill
deliciously delightful – ingredients are obviously fresh, the owner and chef knows how to create delicious dishes along with creating an extremely friendly and welcoming environment. The lamb in the gyros was perfectly cooked and seasoned, the sweet mint tea is made by the owner with honey among other tasty ingredients. While there, we had an amazing dessert that was chocolate and hazelnuts wrapped in a thin pastry sheet drizzled with honey and lavender. So gourmet, and authentic! Must go to this restaurant!
My Favorite Restaurant of all time! – Simply put, this is the best restaurant I have ever been to. From the appetizers to the dessert, the food is excellent. I have never had a bad meal. The dishes are flavorful and filling. The merguez couscous is my favorite along with a turkish coffee. I have always left feeling satisfied. Prices are very reasonable. Quality is outstanding. My all time #1 place to eat.
delicious – very tasty, highly recommended. patio is great in summer.
Great North African Food – I really enjoyed the meal that I had here. I ate the shekshouka with French bread and it was very satisfying. My friend also thought his sandwich was good too. The wait staff was friendly, as well as the owner who greeted us. I will be returning!
I'll be going back... – Great bread. The Shekshouka is my favorite dish. It can be noisy inside during prime hours. I've been there multiple times, and I'll be going back, even though I'm not a fan of their desserts.
Never again. – This place gave me stale couscous and bad uncooked vegetables with it. The bread that came was probably the only consolation for the bad food.
Drive on by or diner beware.... – If you are looking for a garish, cafeteria style ambiance and a bland food experience with tiny dried out portions then you have come to the right place! This was truly a disappointing experience. We walked into the bright drafty dining room trying to disregard the obviously lacking decor. I quickly decided the food must be mind blowing to draw in such rave reviews. Wrong again - the portions were dried out, cold and we couldn't pick out the meat from the vegetables. I am also originally from NY and quite used to small but overpriced portions but normally the two bites on a plate excite my taste buds no matter how brief the experience is. Sadly here the food was terribly bland, I can cook up tastier oatmeal in my kitchen and speaking of oatmeal steer clear of the bread pudding which was literally the stale bread they had served us earlier as an appetizer but now they resurrected it with some cold milk and raisins...yum. Needless to say I will not be heading back and am still scratching my head at who could possibly find the food flavorful here?
A good place ... with some buts about it. – My much-anticipated visit to the Barbary Fig was good ... but left something to be desired. Also, the place has changed somewhat since the original write-up. Those bold blue walls are now aggressively textured, swirling with orange and yellow paint, and the restaurant's closed on Tuesdays, possibly more.
We chose a bottle of wine, the North African Red, which was reasonably priced and would go well even with lighter dishes. We chose specials for our appetizers and meals (the latter took a while to make it to our table). The appetizer nicely grouped crunchy baked apples, crumbled feta, and comforting polenta ... but the "sauce" it was in made everything soggy. Our tuna dish creatively combined squash, dates, orzo and the fish ... but the fish tasted a lot more "fishy" than a tuna cut should, and was particularly tinny with the wine. The lamb went well with its potatoes and other sides ... but was more rare than I've seen lamb before and was a bit salty.
Overall, I liked the place and would probably go again ... but for you more picky folks: there were a few too many "buts" about it.
A TRUELY UNIQUE DINING EXPEREINCE – The owner and chef is a delightful character from Anaba, Algeria, which is situated on the North African coast of the Mediterranean but he learned to cook in Aix-en-Provence, France. The cuisine here is unlike anything else in the twin cities. The menu may look small and intimidating at first, but the servers are knowledgable and more than happy to explain foreign ingredients to first-timers. We greatly enjoyed the blending of savory and sweet flavors in the chicken bastilla, composed of chicken breast cooked in a savory custard, folded into a pastry leaf, baked in the oven and topped with sauteed vegetables and an apricot-fig-pear chutney. Pass up the menu entrees in favor of the specials, which showcase the creativity of the chef and use the freshest ingredients like broccoli raab, fresh rosemary and portobello muhrooms. The North African wine is a blend from Algeria and a good red table wine. Portions are small, so be prepared to order appetizers and you still might have room for dessert! The excellent creme caramel is evidence of the chef's French culinary training, but if you want something unique, try the bourek, made of Belgian chocolate and hazelnuts wrapped in a pastry leaf and smoothered in honey and lavender. If you're tired of all the American bistros, this place is a great escape. We will surely be returning!
Very good Moroccan entrees – I have been to Barbary Fig twice. The menu does look a little paltry by way of choice, but you will forget this drawback once you taste the dish. I had the chicken tagine, a signature dish in France and Morocco I heard, and it was out of this world. My husband also loved the Shekshouka (lamb sausage with scrambled eggs). Although the menu is hardly kid-friendly, the server suggested rice and chicken for my two-year old (which she LOVED) that the kitchen could whip up for her. We dined here on a perfect summer day too, it was just the perfect dining experience!
For dessert, we had chocolate wrapped in pastry (they looked like small cigars), doused in honey and lavender. Sounds weird, sure enough, but it was really good. In a nutshell, Barbary Fig offers great food, warm ambience and great value!
We will definitely be loyal patrons.
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