Inside Calgary’s new contemporary Mexican restaurant (PHOTOS)
Attention Mexican food lovers: the brand new Fonda Fora restaurant will be serving Yucatan-inspired dishes starting next week.
Fonda Fora is located inside the Westley Hotel, near Eau Claire in downtown Calgary, and the restaurant and hotel will open on June 29. Fonda Fora plans to be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, which will give them plenty of time to be creative with the menu.
The restaurant will cater to hotel guests and locals alike, and Chef Rafael Castillo has created a menu that pays homage to his hometown of Yucatan, Mexico, in addition to flavors from around the world.
Highlights on the menu include the shrimp ceviche with leche de tigre, which is inspired by Peru and Japan, and the Sikil P’aak, a traditional snack from the Yucatan Peninsula with a hot, smoky flavor. Literally translated, “Sikil” means pumpkin seed and “P’aak” means tomatoes, and the dish creates a perfectly balanced dip.
Another iconic Fonda Fora plate is Tamal de Cochinita Pibil, a classic Mexican dish revisited. Chef Castillo noted that the Cochinita Pibil is like a religion for the Yucatecans, adding that if you are in the peninsula on Sunday morning, you will see small places selling it all over town.
The marinated, slow-cooked pork is traditionally cooked underground with hot stones and covered with a banana leaf, which isn’t much different from how it’s served in Calgary’s newest Mexican restaurant.
Fonda Fora’s beverage director, Allie Martin, worked with Chef Castillo to develop a unique range of drinks to accompany your meal or to sip on its own.
The drinks at 630 4th Avenue SW restaurant stay true to their Mexican roots and complement the menu perfectly, while adding Martin’s special touch to ensure these drinks are unlike anything you’ve ever tasted before.
The Lee Trevino is Fonda Fora’s version of the classic Arnold Palmer, with a nod to Mexican professional golfer Lee Trevino. Refreshing and easy to drink, the vodka-based drink is made with a homemade iced tea blend of peppermint, black tea, lemon and sugar.
For what appears to be the Mexican equivalent of the Caesar, look no further than El Jefe’s Michelada.
A michelada is a popular beer drink in Mexico, mixing together lime juice, hot sauce, petroleum (the dark part of the mixture – usually Jugo Maggi’s or Worcestershire) and other additions like olive juice. and fresh vegetables. The Fonda Fora version includes Chef Rafael’s house michelada blend.
It’s common to see tomato juice or Clamato in Micheladas, but Chef Rafael doesn’t drink his micheladas with Clamato, so the restaurant’s recipe doesn’t include it either. (Insider tip: If you want your drink to include Clamato, just order an Ojo Rojo!)
For restaurateurs who want to complete their meal with a dessert to drink, look no further than Dulce de Papaya. This Instagrammable drink uses syrup from a popular Yucatan dessert for a complex sip of perfectly balanced spice and fruit.
The sweet drink is served in an adorable tea cup, accompanied by a piece of candied papaya garnished with dried coconut in a nod to the traditional dessert.
This is just a sample of what will be on offer at Fonda Fora, but, trust us, you’ll want to see the other drool-worthy dishes this Mexican restaurant has on its menu, starting June 29.
Address: 630 4th Avenue SW, Calgary