Albany >Restaurants > Fonda
1501 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA | Directions 9470737.891054 -122.287273
Fun place for drinks – Finally had a chance to come here. I'm very fond of Sea Salt, Lalime's and T-Rex (same owners). This place is busy!! We had to wait almost an hour for a table but luckily found a spot at the bar for a few pre-dinner cocktails. Pricey but strong and good! We finally got seated and orders tapas and small plates. Some better than others but all were pretty good. We went on a Sat night so it may be easier seating on the weekday. Will try them again for sure.
Great food and ambience. – This place was amazing. Top quality. I went there to celebrate my birthday with my sister. We started off with the chips, guacamole, and salsa appetizer. We then ordered the duck tacos (very small, but delicious), the scallops (also small, but equally scrumptious). At this point, I was still hungry. But then came the mushroom quesadilla (they're really empanadas). These were so hearty and filling. After this, we ordered the passionfruit creme brulee. It was amazing! My sister and I practically licked the plate! The service was also excellent. Quick tip: Try to sit in the big, soft chairs. The upstairs room is nice.
Disappointing Friday night – Have been to Fonda many many times before and always left feeling satisfied and fgood about the experience except this time. Four of us went on a Friday night recently and we noticed that some of the items on the menu had changed. The drinks were great as usual and almost perfect. However the food was lacking in taste and quality as compared to the past times we had visited. I am assuming that their chef was out for that day. We ordered more than 12 dishes and the only one that came close to being decent was the lamb. Most of the dishes were cold and the broccoli looked like it was cooked in the morning-- discolored and pale, cold with the garlic soft and soggy-- no flavor what so ever! The fish tacos that we ordered were miserable! They had more sauce than anything else! The spicy wings looked like they were cooking in stale oil for a long time and then dunked in bbq sauce to be presented at the table in a big heap. That totally put me off!
Nevertheless, I would not pass off on this place and give it another try. I really like the service, good bar and atmosphere -- a little loud and might need to speak loudly. The warm chocolate cake makes me want to go back there again and again.
Favorite tapas bar in the east bay! – Any restaurant can put food on little dishes- but at Fonda's you'll find some of the tastiest tapas in the east bay. This restaurants lands on the top of my list of places to eat at when I visit the bay area.
Some of my favorite dishes:
Veracruz-style scallop, seabass and dungeness crab cocktail
Duck tacos with arbol salsa and guacamole
The restaurant generally does not take reservations- arrive early.
my favorite bar on solano – They have a great happy hour- drinks for $5 starting at 9pm. The nice ambience and this drink special make it a favorite of mine for having a couple drinks and catching up with friends. Servers are nice and unpretentious. Some happy hour drinks are better than others, but they are all a bargain compared to almost anywhere else.
It's all about good at Fonda! – A word to some other reviewers: tapas ARE small. They are not supposed to be a meal. They are supposed to be a compliment to an evening of drinking and socializing. That said: yes, it's a bit pricey, but the food is so good -- every single tiny tapas morsel -- is absolutely scrumptious. Michael, manager/host, is always professional and accommodating. The drinks are stiff, unique and delicious. The service has always been good. I admit that my son cooked there for a time, so I probably got some "special" treatment, but my portions were the same as everyone else's and the drinks were, too. This is a terrific place to have a lively chatter with friends, wonderful drinks and truly wonderful tapas. If you want to fill up a bit, try the black beans and/or guacamole and chips, a hearty portion of refried black beans or guacemole with chips is really affordable and very good. The meat and fish dishes are more expensive and lesser in volume, but well worth it. When scallop ceviche is on the menu, do not do yourself a disservice, you must order it. The lamb is awesome, my favorite of the meat dishes. If you like lively nightlife, unique drinks, excellent tapas, and a notch too loud but moody, cozy atmosphere, this place is not to be missed, but do be ready to spend some bucks if you are looking for a full on meal. Cindy and Haig really surpassed themselves with Fonda, and yes, I say this after revisiting many times, even after my son left the kitchen. My only wish is that I could walk home after an evening here, because after two drinks in an hour, you really shouldn't drive.
It's all about the bar! – I've been to Fonda twice this month because I wanted to try everything on the menu. I recommend sitting at the bar, it's highly entertaining and I found that if you ask enough questions about the drinks the bartendress will start giving you little tastes, perhaps to shut me up. The two ladies behind the bar were both very well versed in the recipies used in the kitchen and in their cocktails. The best deal by far is the happy hour margarita (starts at 9pm!) for $5. All top shelf and fresh ingredients -and a heavy pour to boot!
If your not familiar with the menu a little assistance can get you a long way. Asking whats good is kind of silly seeing as everything really IS good on the menu. Asking what may fill you up may be more appropriate. I found that 2-2.5 plates can fill me up. The Prawns are delicious! The Lamb perfectly cooked and I was warned it would take a little longer that the other dishes (about 20 minutes.)
It's a fun, loud, hip enviroment. We were two people and were quickly seated at the bar on a very busy Friday night. If you like quick service and even quicker wit then sit at the bar, the stunning 6 foot bartender had me in hysterics and kept me at the bar two margaritas longer than I had planned for.
Excellent food ... just not very much of it! – Went there last night with a couple of ravenous friends. The margaritas and agua frescas were quite tasty, and the food was superb, but the size of the plates definitely left much to be desired. The plates here were smaller than any other tapas place I've been to.
We had the chips and salsa (great), prawns (delicious sauce), tostaditas de carnitas (excellent blending of flavors), grilled skirt steak (wow!), molotes (too salty), and quesadillas (looked like empanadas, but still quite good). We still weren't full by this point, so we ordered the grilled lamb. Service had been quite brisk, so we inquired about the lamb about 10 minutes after ordering, and were notified that the dish usually takes 20 minutes to prepare. This would have been good to know *prior* to ordering. Lamb was a little undercooked, but good, although not quite worth the extra wait.
All told, we did quite a bit of damage and still walked away without feeling full. It's a good place to go for drinks and snacks, but if you want to pay less for more food, try Colibri Mexican Bistro in the city.
Delicious and different tastes! – We like to sit at the bar and watch the food coming out. Love the scallops, duck tacos, tuna on chips, lamb, halibut tacos, and just about everything else. The margaritas are just ok but love the sangria. A bit on the pricey side but perfect when you want lots of different tastes. Michael, the host, is fantastic!
good drinks, but not worth the price – Met a few friends at Fonda tonight for drinks and dinner. The wine list was ok, but they don't have any wine by the glass for under $7. The portions are small- like the halibut for example, which costs $13.50, and not worth the price. Dinner for two was way over $100 with tax and tip. I would go back for a cocktail, but not fot dinner. Also, our server was prompt but not personable.
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