Riviera Maya Cantina & Restaurant (opened October 2020)
Is spring putting you in the mood for a tropical stay-cation? Riviera Maya Cantina & Restaurant offers up a taste of Cancun in the heart of Maple Grove. With an extensive menu featuring authentic Mexican staples and fresh seafood, this restaurant says it was designed to make visitors feel like they’re on an exotic getaway.
If you want to start with something for the table, consider trying Riviera Maya’s elote, which is Mexican-style sweet corn on the cob, prepared in a street food-style and traditionally topped with creamy mayo, a sprinkle of crumbly Cotija cheese and finished off with chili powder and cilantro.
To make the most out of el mar, head to the chef specialties toward the end of the menu. Dip a toe in with an order of Mexican-style shrimp cocktail, or dive in headfirst with the seafood molcajete. This dish offers up the bounty of the sea, including grilled shrimp, scallops and tilapia, all served out of a molcajete—a traditional stone grinding bowl—and includes all the classic taco fixings.
To complete the vacation mindset, try a frosty bottle of Mexican beer or a blended margarita. Customer Kim W. writes on Facebook, “The food and service were both excellent, along with the margaritas! The portion sizes were very large. Highly recommend! We will definitely be back!”
Riviera Maya Cantina & Restaurant
7904 Main St.; 763.355.5340; rivieramayamn.com
Mango Mango Dessert (opened November 2020)
If you’ve seen the menu for Mango Mango Dessert, you might feel tempted to start with something sweet before dinner. Inspired by the famed hot desserts of Hong Kong, this ice cream shop definitely delivers on the name while offering a few menu items off the beaten path, as well.
Those familiar with bubble tea might get a feeling of déjà vu when they view Mango Mango’s signature drink. The special mango juice sago and pomelo with mango sorbet features a goblet filled to the brim with tantalizingly ripe mangos, juice and pearl-like sago balls. Similar to the tapioca pearls in bubble tea, sago is made from starch and brings a chewy texture to the dish.
If you’ve never had bubble tea, you’ll get a chance to try that, too. Customer Katja M. writes on Facebook, “I tried the Thai bubble milk tea, and it was absolutely fantastic. In addition, I came back within two days just to get another strawberry mango smoothie. It was delicious and tasted like it was made with crisp fresh fruit (no syrupy fillers). It’s my new favorite.”
Looking to dive into an authentic Hong Kong hot dessert? Mango Mango also offers an assortment of sweet and savory dessert soups, including walnut, almond, black sesame and more, all topped with sago.
Customer Ka Mei M. writes on Facebook, “They have authentic Hong Kong style desserts in the hot dessert section. I had the walnut soup tonight, and it tastes just like the ones I had in Hong Kong. Thank you for having this restaurant in the neighborhood here. Love it!”
Mango Mango Dessert
11630 Fountains Drive; 763.373.8001; mangmangdessert.com
The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill (opened November 2020)
There’s nothing better than a home-cooked meal, except for a home-cooked meal you don’t have to make yourself. The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill menu features family recipes, as well as freshly-prepared produce and proteins. Aside from handling all the slicing and dicing in-house, The Great Greek kitchen makes all its sauces, soups and desserts from scratch and daily.
If it’s all Greek to you, the restaurant offers a go-to glossary.
Avgolemono Soup (AV-go LEM-oh-no): Essentially breaking down to “egg” and “lemon,” this soup offers a creamy palate experience without the, well, cream. Chicken is finished off with a bright citrus note in this traditional dish.
Baklava (Bah-klah-VAH): You’ll likely have seen this in the bakery section of specialty grocery stores. Think layer and layer of pastry dough married to honey and nuts.
Dolmades (Dol MAH dess): This finger food is named after the grape leaves they’re wrapped in. Inside is a mix of rice, herbs and a spritz of lemon juice.
Gyro (YEER-oh): This slow-roasted, thinly-sliced beef or lamb is usually served in pita bread or over salad.
Kourabiedes (Koo-rah-bee-ED-ess): A pillowy-soft butter cookie dusted with powdered sugar.
Souvlaki (soo-VLAH-kee): Think of a kebab or a skewer, and you’ll be on the right track. The Great Greek offers four protein varieties for its souvlaki entrees—chicken, steak, lamb or shrimp.
Tzatziki (tsah-TSEE-kee): This sauce is ideal to serve as a dip for veggies or pita wedges or drizzled over meat. (Get it with your gyro!)
If you’re on-the-go, The Great Greek offers well-reviewed takeout options. Customer Dawn L. writes on Facebook, “Ordered takeout from here and the food was fabulous. The process to order and pick up was super easy. All the extras like napkins forks etc. were included. We had gyros, feta fries and rice bowl with shrimp. Highly recommend.”
The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill
7860 Main St.; 763.951.3902; thegreatgreekgrill.com