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Look Inside St. Paul’s Newest Pasta and Pinxtos Hotspot

Estelle serves affordable fare in a comfortable dual dining space

A wall with sconces illuminated by a ray of natural light
A new restaurant in Mac Groveland is serving dishes from Southern Europe
John Yuccas/Eater Twin Cities

Estelle opened last week in St. Paul’s Mac Groveland neighborhood and word spread quickly that there was a new family-friendly and date-worthy eatery in the quiet part of the city. Overseen by chef Jason Hanson and hospitalitarian Peter Sebastian the new eatery is humming with an open kitchen and tucked away, quiet bar.

The location was previously Bottle Rocket and before that Scusi — way before that it was once the original location of Heartland. The layout is tricky, but Estelle navigates it with a host stand next to the door, directing people either into the bar or down a short hall into an open dining room with views of the cooks plating dishes.

A pale green wall is decorated with a bird painting. Out of focus, there are small green plants near a large window that overlooks St. Clair
A light-filled entryway is where the host stand is located, checking in reservations or directing people to the intimate bar area

The menu is an affordable trip through Southern Europe with tapas from Spain including little crispy/fried goodies served with toothpicks. There’s a selection of salads, pastas, and sandwiches. All the food is priced at $17 or less.

White subway tile lines the kitchen, walls are white inside the dining room, while fixtures, tables, and seats are dark brown
The cozy, intimate dining room

These are the foods that chef Jason has been obsessed with for years, even as he was cooking in such notable local kitchens as Tilia and 112 Eatery.

The chef is grating cheese over a bowl of pasta inside the open kitchen overlooking Estelle’s dining room
Chef Jason Hanson getting liberal with the cheese

He backpacked through Europe in his twenties and has been continually drawn back to these dishes and flavors ever since.

Arancini in a bowl
Arancini are fried rice balls stuffed with fontina cheese and served with a zesty sauce

On the other side of the restaurant is the separate bar space. A tall, dark bar looms over a narrow room that’s gotten a light refresh with fresh, patterned wallpaper and light colored leather stools.

A light colored bar lined with light brown leather-backed seats with a white wallpapered wall behind it with a marble-topped, thin counter
The bar has enough room for one long line of seating, with a few leaning perches
A view of the long, slim bar room
Perfect for tucking away for intimate conversations

Estelle is open Tuesday through Sunday for dinner. Parking is available on the street outside, or a small shared lot on Fairview and St. Clair.

A skewer of olives and sardines
Two dates skewered in a round, clay pot on a white tablecloth
Bacon wrapped dates topped with a sweet pepper sauce
Portuguese egg tarts
A bowl of pasta on the table with a view of the restaurant behind it
Rigatoni in a red pepper sauce
A tall wide-lipped cocktail glass with a pink drink topped with an eggwhite foam from a canister by a bartender
Cocktails balance the sweet and spirit forward in delicate glasses
A champagne glass holds a pale pink drink, garnished with lemon on the bar with a beam of light from a nearby window shining on it
Many of the cocktails lean into Spanish flavors and names, one is even topped with El Guapo bitters
With plenty of little bites and affordable entrees, it’s easy to order a bunch of food without breaking the bank
Estelle’s owners Peter Sebastian and Jason Hanson outside the restaurant in St. Paul’s Mac/Groveland neighborhood


1806 Saint Clair Avenue, , MN 55105 (651) 330-9648 Visit Website