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opinions on Fonda (Solano Ave in Albany)?

  • m

Thought about trying it out instead of the usual Dona Tomas. Any opinions on the food/service/prices? Thanks.

Link: http://www.fondasolana.com/menus.html

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  1. We ate at Fonda last week. Enjoyed it very much.

    Service: Host was fantastic. Table service was perhaps a little slow, but on par with other Tapas places (better then Caesar, on par with A Cote).

    Food: Overall, good. Some unique flavors and lots of borrowing from Argentinian/Cuban. The flavor profile of the dishes is more varied then Dona Tomas, which is better to me, but not necessarily better to you.

    We had:
    Duck Tacos: Very tasty, good tender duck. A little pricey for two tiny soft tacos.

    Chicken Mole: Excellent mole.

    Skirt Steak: We had two of these actually, the first was superior, the second merely good. I suspect this was a function of the cut of meat, and not the preparation. Grilling skirt is a crap shoot.

    Yuca Frites w/two sauces. Excellent. This was a special, get them. Lots of yuca, and a chimichurri and red (unknown) dipping sauce.

    Salad of Romaine, Manchego, and nuts: Fine. I'd try something else next time for variety.

    The roasted nuts: Skip. Oily, watery, weird. Not my thing.

    Pork Toastaditas: Good. Not quite up to the carnitas at Dona but very very good.

    The specialty drinks were all fantastic and strong. I love foo foo and was so happy to find a place that takes foo foo seriously. Hibiscus based drinks were unique - everything was well prepared.

    Good vibe.
    Love the upstairs.

    We'll be back again soon. A very nice experience.

    Perhaps a little pricey for what it is, but I think I think that about all three of the Tapas places, so I guess it's standard...

    1 Reply
    1. re: ads

      I was just there last week and second this entire post!! Try it, you won't be dissapointed.

    2. I prefer Dona Tomas, but then I really love well prepared Mexican Food.

      Fonda is great for some appetizers with a crowd though.

      1. Like those who've already posted, I'll say they are very different. Fonda is more of a fun place, good drinks, relatively hip decore, eclectic Nuevo Latino menu. I think Dona Thomas is more serious about offering authentic Mexican food.

        1. If you're feeling adventurous, ask them for the grasshoppers (chapulines).

          1. I've had two meals at Fonda in the last couple of months, and have been generally quite happy with this place. I'd describe the food as Nuevo Latino small plates, and would compare Fonda more to the small plates restaurants in the East Bay (Cesar, A Cote, Grasshopper) than to Dona Tomas.

            The menu seems to change fairly regularly, so you'll probably see different dishes than what's posted online, but I have enjoyed the lamb chops, the grilled steak, the mussels, the tiradito and the yucca fries. The only dish I did not like at all was the Vuelve a la Vida (Veracruz style seafood cocktail), it had a tomato based cocktail sauce throughout that did not work at all for me. The desserts are generally good as well, especially the bread pudding, but I did not care for the Passion fruit creme brulee.

            1. only went once. the wine service was appalling. i can only hope that the server i had was the only one with no knowledge of or interest in wine, AND was having a rotten day.
              i think the food was pretty good, but don't remember well.

              1. Food is delicious. Duck tacos and steak are fabulous. But, Fonda is way too pricey. Through the years we have seen the portions shrink before our eyes. When the suggestion comes up to go there, we always end up somewhere else because of the small portions and high price.

                1 Reply
                1. I haven’t been in a few months but we tend to really enjoy Fonda. I really like the atmosphere. If possible try to sit upstairs, they have very comfortable couches. They use a lot of lime and chili to season the food which is fine by me. The food is tasty, vibrant and not too heavy. I agree with the others about the Duck Tacos, they are always excellent. Also really like the Pork Toastaditas. They frequently have tuna tartare or another raw fish dish and this is always worth getting.

                  1. Been going there for years. The menu changes 3? 4? times a year and my favorites are the skirt steak, the seared scallops with frisee & mandarin supremes, quesadillas which are really more like empanadas (DF-style quesadillas?), carnitas tostaditas, and the cuban mini burger off the happy hour menu. Recently tried the grilled calamari and enjoyed that quite a bit. The pickles, sides, and/or sauces that accompany the dishes are well thought out which is nice. Off the dessert menu, I like their chocolate mousse with a buneolo, but must note that it is MILK chocolate. Recommended it once to someone sitting near by and they were not happy about that. Drinks wise, Fonda is my ideal place as I tend toward drinks that aren't sweet and most often opt for the Calmado, although enjoy their Royal Margarita as well. Great (and strong) happy hour margaritas.

                    I would highly recommend sitting at the bar - they have fantastic bartenders and although I do get exceptional service now, I've never had problems. The one downside is can get very LOUD in there.