Listen, I'm a big fan of cuisine from South America, and Spain, if we must include that one as well, but honestly, take me more Latino than Espanol.
I quite liked Mercado the first time I went to it, to be honest.
The décor was amazing, and the service was revolutionary, what with their fancy Ipads and earpieces.
And these guys had cute little menus, cute little cocktails, and cute little meal portions. Key phrase here being cute, and little. I was never ok with the portion sizes at Mercado, but they were at least tasty. And they had deals!
Like the business lunch that you could eat for 1000, and get tostadas, and something, and something (that's how you know how long it's been since I've been there).
But eventually, the road got to me, for one thing – I hate that road. I know that it isn't their fault that Nairobi is under construction, but if there's one thing that puts me off restaurants – and places in Nairobi, generally – is the amount of effort I'll have to use to get there.
How far is it? Do I have to pay parking? How bad is the road? Is it safe to be there late? How comfortable are the seats? Etc. Etc.
And so, as the standards of the road and food of Mercado fell off, so did my patronage. But now I had to find another place to go, which is when I was welcomed into the arms of Fonda at Rosslyn Riviera.
If you like Mexican cuisine, Fonda is your go-to for authentic tasty collaborations.
There used to be a place in Parklands called Zapata that unfortunately shut down, but man, the chef there, Chef Omar, used to make the tastiest fish tacos I'd ever had in my life.
In my life! And I don't even like fish with anything other than ugali.
But there I was, scarfing those tiny tacos down like I hadn't eaten a meal in a week. And it helped that they had over 30 different types of tequila on offer. You know, for a real Mexican experience. It isn't really Mex if you aren't a little bit tipsy, ha.
Fonda has been a great replacement, in more ways than one.
Sure, it's a little far, but if you plan your driving time or cabbing time or javving time correctly, you'll get there with ample time to spare for a 6 o'clock dinner and a 9 pm exit.
If you're paying for parking, it is never too much for three hours – at most, 100 shillings, unlike other unfriendly malls that won't be mentioned here.
Then, the pricing is friendly. If you're coming for just a taste, three tacos with your choice of fillings will be 900. And yes, of course, try the fish tacos.
They're the only ones on the menu, you can't miss them (or rather, choose the fish filling. Pescado, as we say in Spanish).
If vegetarian food is your thing, they have you covered there as well. Drinks range from 600 to 1000 for a cocktail, and they have other traditional drinks, such as horchata, which is made from rice water.
Their happy hour is only for their (well-balanced) mojitos, but if you order a margarita, you get chips and spicy ass salsa for free.
That salsa they serve is not playing. If you have a friend who thinks they like hot stuff, bring them here.
They may only give mojitos for Happy Hour, but they have specials every day – such as Taco Tuesdays, and 20% off margaritas on Wednesdays.
Circling back to the margaritas though – yum. There's an entire specific menu dedicated to these beautifully flavoured drinks. Even if you're not a fan of tequila, you might still like them.
A personal favourite is the Sandia margarita, which is watermelon-flavoured and perfect for literally any time of day.
It's refreshing, and makes you think of summer in winter, or makes you enjoy summer more. The balancing, as I mentioned, is near flawless, and most importantly – the glass is big.
It would be remiss to not say that if you're on a date night, you must cap it with a slice of their excellently made tres leches cake – sponge cake soaked in three kinds of milk and topped with fruit that results in a delight for the sweet tooth's senses.
Fonda is perfect for a date night, or a girls night, or a salsa night – they also host salsa socials every week, where you can come to watch people dance or learn a little bit about how to dance yourself. See? The true Mexican experience. If salsa after tacos isn't Latino, then I don't know what is...
Wondering where to get the 411 on what's happening in and around Nairobi's foodie scene? There's a lot of places you could go, but here's where we want you to be – getting the dish on the dish. Get it? We knew you would.