With its low self-esteem and high urban blight, Hartford is the ultimate underdog city. Sad City Hartford documents the joys, sorrows and eccentricities of New England's Rising Star.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hartford Business: La Fonda Restaurant

While cruising the South End and looking for an adventurous lunch spot a few we came upon and decided on La Fonda, a Colombian restaurant located at 269 Franklin Ave. Our criteria for picking La Fonda were simple; we hadn't been there and there was an open parking spot right outside. As soon as we walked inside we were pleasantly surprised at how nice the place was and how it was busy even though it was about 2PM on a Sunday afternoon.

We took a seat near the bar where we could see the food coming out and the plates looked great.  The inside of La Fonda was very well done and one could easily imagine that it had been an Italian place not too long ago.  While there is still an Italian footprint in the South End, many of the Italian places are moving or have faded from their former glory and are being replaced by Latin American establishments just as many of the Italians have moved to the suburbs and the new wave of immigrants from Latin America make their imprint on the South End.

While we we aren't very familiar with what traditional Colombian cuisine, we imagine that La Fonda must be quite authentic. The menu has an impressive selection of beef, fish and chicken dishes, many served with fried plantains. Knowing your Spanish would certainly be helpful as there was a few menu dishes we simply could not make out. Prices ranged from just about $10 for some plates to the mid $20's for some of the steak or fish dinners. The part of the menu labeled "delights" gave us fits in that we couldn't decide which dish to order.

The waitress greeted us in Spanish and after a poorly spoken reply in Spanish, she took mercy on us and switched to English. We placed our order and of course started with what turned out to be an excellent margarita.

We watched dish after dish come out from the kitchen and were amazed at how good they looked. We had the feeling we had stumbled upon a true hidden gem of Hartford. While waiting for our plates we ruminated on how places like this in the South End were reflective of the shifting demographics of the area and immigrant populations in the last generations.

We also noted that it was a shame that a place like this could go missed by many of our friends who would prefer to rarely venture beyond downtown when they did decide to leave the confines of West Hartford center.

Soon enough our dishes came out. I had a plate of chipped beef, pork, with avocado, and other vegetables served on a fried plantain. It was nothing short of excellent. We spent the entire time eating raving to each other about what a find this was. One of the greatest things about exploring any city is stumbling upon something great, unique and totally unexpected. La Fonda definitely was one of our best "stumble upons" to date.  For anyone looking to try something new and authentic, La Fonda is a no-brainer must.  A enthusiastic Sad City recommendation!


  1. Is that the old La Stella building? Wow, I spent a lot of time in that place.

  2. I really appreciate your post and you explain each and every point very well.I am looking to your next post since I have a new restaurant business now I need more knowledgeable and helpful information.