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.
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.