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La Roca review

LA ROCA

Neighbourhood:  Downtown
Address:  155 Smith Street
Phone:  204-615-9605
Entrees:  $16 – $32

The impact of atmosphere on the dining experience cannot be overstated, and La Roca’s investment in ambiance–from framed calaveras and lucha libre-inspired imagery adorning the walls to a vibrancy provided by an upbeat and predominantly Spanish-language soundtrack–establishes it as a must-visit for those seeking superb Mexican cuisine and the environment to go along with it.

One of the city’s most spacious patios offers ample area to enjoy that aura. A two-level setup affords the option of main-floor or rooftop dining and both come complete with two certainties: a cheerful, sociable vibe and cityscape view that’s a welcome reminder that this slice of Mexico City is situated in the heart of our prairie community.

Along with an air of authenticity, there’s a hearty injection of flavourful fun. The chicharrones are given a burst of colour by way of salsa verde and diced green onions, and these deep-fried pork bites, an excellent alternative to tried-and-true chicken wings, get zip from a house-made tomato sauce. Combine with yucca frittas, which boast an exterior so impeccably crispy and interior more pillowy than any plain-Jane French fry, and elevate it one step further with a revelatory creamy habanero cucumber sauce.

It’s impossible to miss with any colourful taco trio, be it traditional carnitas, chipotle chicken or steak and chorizo. Grilled fish tacos are among the lightest of the bunch and brightened by red cabbage and avocado. Mexican street corn, known otherwise as esquite, is surprisingly sweet and creamy. Panela, a mild Mexican fresh cheese, tempers piquant chili pepper seasoning.

The unmistakable hiss and oh-so-inviting aroma emanating from a direct-to-table delivery of fajitas elicits a Pavlovian response. Thin slices of grilled chicken breast rest on a bed of peppers and onions sizzling on a cast-iron skillet. Served with a deep and smoky house-made salsa and subtly spicy Mexican rice, there’s a singular joy that comes from assembling the perfect bite.

Counteract any spice with a stack of sugary churros. Ten pieces of the traditional Mexican street treat are piled high and awaiting a deep dive into caramel and dark chocolate dips. The cinnamon-touched sweetness is an impeccable counterbalance to the parade of caliente cuisine.

La Roca is open Tue and Wed, 4 pm to late, Thu 11:30 pm to late, Fri 11:30 am to 2 am, Sat 4 pm to 2 am.

LA ROCA

A refreshing new take on Mexican fare in downtown Winnipeg. The large space has a lounge-like atmosphere with contemporary decor, punched with colourful Mexican artwork, and a well stocked bar…

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