New Restaurant Review: Cardamom at the Walker Art Center

Turkish and Moroccan influences abound at this easy-breezy work of art

Part counter-service cafe, part refined-casual dining. Chef Daniel del Prado has teamed up with pastry maven Shawn McKenzie to create the perfect restaurant for the Walker Art Center.

It’s easy-breezy for a lunch meeting or post-gallery tour but also romantic for a date night with global flavors that befit the setting. My wife and I have gone together, we’ve brought out-of-town friends, and we’ve gone with our kids and friends who live in the neighborhood.

Turkish and Moroccan influences abound, including lots of harissa, labneh, and za’atar. The lamb burger with a single slice of piquillo pepper and the bright and lively tuna tabbouleh are great entrees, but the contrasting textures and flavors of the vegetables are what really shine.

The menu is tight and focused, with six garden items, a handful of snacky platters, and a plate section with sandwiches and entrees. The pita is absolutely addictive—it’s more Lebanese in nature, thinner and lighter than what you might expect. The mezza plate with olives, labneh, prosciutto, and a really flavorful olive oil is a great $13 thing to share with friends.

The onion tart tatin ($12) is an absolute work of art: thin julienne cuts of onion with lavender and thyme. Just a savory beaut.

Don’t miss the peach-and-tomato panzanella or the fried cauliflower with spicy peanut sauce and creamy burrata. We liked the spice of the tuna tabbouleh, as well, served on quinoa with tomato jam and fresh parsley.

And three cheers for the thoughtful kids menu—because you should be bringing your kids to the sculpture garden and the Walker! The $8 cheeseburger is a 1/4-pound, meaty, salty, nicely done burger served with a side of the potato churros made famous at del Prado’s Martina.

Real chicken in those chicken tenders, too, and a light touch on the batter makes this a $7 bargain that I may order without my kids. Coffee and tea during the day, a very nice wine and cocktail list at night (including zero-proof cocktails like a cardamom, pomegranate herby concoction called the Gazoz you shouldn’t miss), this is another solid restaurant from a chef who doesn’t seem to miss.

Plenty of street parking near the Walker and an underground ramp makes this an easy spot to visit. Ordering happens online through your phone where you can add things on while you’re there (don’t forget to close out), although friendly servers came around to help and make suggestions.

725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis, 612-375-7542,

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