Believe it or not, this restaurant review almost didn't happen, as I'd checked out of my motel room, and I was in the process of leaving Yuma. I'm the sort of person that when I'm on the way out, I don't feel like hanging around, as I'm focused on my next goal, and on this Friday morning of October 22, 2010, I was focused on the goal of the day, Needles, California, and quality time to be spent railfanning BNSF's busy Needles Subdivision. To make matters worse, I really wasn't hungry, so I considered skipping breakfast at La Fonda.
Photo: My truck is parked facing south on South 3rd Ave., in front of La Fonda Restaurant.
To digress, it's interesting how I found La Fonda in the first place. They have an outstanding web site, which is listed at the end of this article, and despite the fact that I extensively surfed the Yuma dining scene before arriving in town, somehow their web site never came up. I found the restaurant the "old fashioned way," the morning before, as I left Brownie's Café after enjoying a delicious diner-style breakfast, I got a little lost and in the attempt to avoid an illegal U-turn, I headed south on 3rd Ave., and I noticed La Fonda on the right. The sign on the front of the restaurant caught my eye, as it advertised, a) Mexican food b) Breakfast, which is my favorite meal. Honestly, I'm always in the mood for breakfast, and when I can find breakfast with a Mexican slant, so much the better. However in Yuma, finding a good Mexican breakfast is easy, as there are many restaurants that feature the fine cuisine.
Curiosity, and the desire to enjoy "just one more restaurant" in Yuma got the better of me, so I pulled over, parked my truck on the street in front of the restaurant, and walked inside.
Photo: La Fonda's dining room is elegant, comfortable, squeaky clean, very comfortable, and all of the furniture matches.
Photo: Jaime at work in the kitchen, as he smiles for my camera with a portion of a order of custom made carnitas that he's preparing.
La Fonda is more than a Mexican restaurant, as they have an in-house torterilla, where they make their corn and flour tortillas in-house, and also an extensive catering business, and a take-out business, that has its own menu board posted on the wall behind the cashier's station, near the window to the kitchen. On this Friday morning, the guy in the kitchen, Jaime, was doing it all, as he was doing cooking duties, making tortillas, and as he was proud to point out to me, in the process of preparing a custom order of several dozen carnitas.
The decor is very attractive, and it reminds me of a class, traditional Spanish, not Mexican restaurant, except that the national colors of Mexico are everywhere. Traditional decor includes dark wood ceilings, tile floors, pastel walls decorated with lots of paintings. Probably the most impressive feature are the tables and chairs, which remind me of something that would be right at home in a medieval castle, and each ensemble matches perfectly, and is very comfortable to sit in, and for me, was at the right height. To me, there is nothing more disconcerting than settling my backside into a naugahyde booth at a retro diner, and to have it sink into a black hole; then the table height is about at my chest instead of at my belly button, where it belongs. Not a problem at La Fonda, as the furniture is constructed of attractive, sturdy wood. The whole room is squeaky clean, classy, need I say elegant? ... and a place that invites fine dining.
Photo: Alejandra allows me to take her photo as she brings my breakfast, and a stack of fresh, warm, and delicious corn tortillas to my table.
Photo: My coffee cup gets refilled...
I was greeted by friendly Alejandra, who was dressed in a traditional Mexican dress, who greeted me in perfect English - it must be my Anglo appearance - and I returned the greeting in Spanish, which ignited a momentary look of surprise to her... she invited me to sit anywhere I desired. At 0800 on this Friday morning, I was the only customer, as I had nearly opened up the restaurant, so I chose a table for two for the three of us, me, myself and I, near the window, with a great view of the restaurant. She brought a menu and a cup of coffee to the table, and I was set.
La Fonda's breakfast menu, or desayunos in Spanish, is quite extensive. It features all your Mexican favorites, but also includes pancakes. I not a huge fan of pancakes, but the thought of ordering pancakes in a Mexican restaurant intrigued me. During my visits to Mexico, I have never seen pancakes offered on the menu, except of a small handful of restaurants that cater almost exclusively to American tourists. Carne asada and eggs really spoke to me, but I ended ordering the Number 7, which was a combination plate of bacon and eggs, and much more.
As my breakfast was being prepared, Alejandra kept my coffee cup full of delicious coffee, and answered my many questions. Jaime and Alejandra speak excellent, but accented English, which adds to the atmosphere, and really seemed interested when I told them about my web site, and the fact that I am a "foodie," who especially enjoys a traditional, Mexican breakfast. Both Jaime and Alejandra were very gracious, and didn't object to the many questions I asked and the numerous photos I took.
In between chatting with Alejandra and sipping my delicious coffee, I was able to enjoy a bowl of fresh tortilla chips, and a bowl of freshly made salsa. I've never been served chips and salsa as an appetizer at breakfast, even during visits to Mexico, so this was a first culinary adventure for me.
Photo: The best breakfast that I've ever eaten in Yuma, of bacon, salad, fried potatoes, a slice of cantaloupe, fried potatoes, refried beans, eggs over easy, corn tortillas, chips and salsa, and a cup of delicious coffee.
Photo: Alejandro graciously took my photo, as I'm about ready to enjoy breakfast, but this photo offers an excellent view of the dining room of La Fonda Restaurant.
Alejandra gracious allowed me to take her photo as she brought my breakfast to the table. The number 7 consisted of three pieces of bacon, fried medium, just the way I requested, two fried eggs, over easy, as per my order, fried potatoes, refried beans, garnished with cheese, a small salad, which seems to be a de facto Yuma standard, and a slice of cantaloupe melon. Freshly made corn tortillas were stacked on another plate, and the bowl of tortilla chips and salsa, and the ever-present cup of coffee were nearby, for my breakfast enjoyment.
Rave time: During my stay in Yuma, I enjoyed four breakfasts, and all of them were delicious, but I would give La Fonda the award of "Best Breakfast in Yuma," and probably the best, Mexican-style breakfast, that I've had the pleasure to enjoy in the United States. The ingredients were super-fresh - maybe they have a bean patch behind the restaurant - and the beans... I LOVE refried beans for breakfast - were creamy, garnished with queso fresco cheese, and tasted like they were cooked in lard. Lard! Yesssss!!!! The eggs were cooked perfectly, as the yokes were runny, but not broken or "fried," and the bacon was slightly chewy and rubbery, which is just the way I like it. As I previously stated, the breakfast was outstanding... so I give La Fonda the best breakfast award in Yuma.
Photo: I'm working on my breakfast, and enjoying every bite of it... La Fonda Restaurant prepares the best breakfast that I've enjoyed in Yuma.
The price was right: $7.00 for the meal, and $1.99 for the coffee, and when you include Arizona State sales tax, the bill came to $10.30. I paid my bill and tipped Alejandra a whopping $5.00, as she was a very efficient hostess, and very gracious to answer all of my questions and to tolerate my photos.
The folks are friendly, the service is great, the food is outstanding, and there's plenty of it, the price is right, and the food is simply delicious. As I mentioned before, La Fonda serves the best breakfast that I've enjoyed in Yuma.
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