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Introducing: Fonda Lola, a new Queen West cantina that serves kombucha on tap


Name: Fonda Lola
Neighbourhood: Queen West
Contact Info: 942 Queen St. W., @FondaLola
Owners: Ernesto Rodriguez, Howard Dubrowsky and pop-up chef Andrés Márquez, who is also involved with the Charlie Burger supper club
Chef: Howard Dubrowsky, the former chef and owner of L.A.B. on College

The Food: Traditional Aztec recipes inherited by Márquez from his anthropologist aunt. Mains include grilled steak with mole sauce and Ontario trout marinated in aguachile, a blend of lime juice, macerated jalapeños and cilantro. Taco specials change daily.

The Drinks: Tequila-based cocktails made with unconventional mixers like kombucha (i.e. fermented black tea), coconut water and maple water, which is used instead of simple syrup. Traditionalists might opt for the classic margarita, which blends grapefruit, orange and lime juice. Fonda Lola is the first outfit in Canada to serve kombucha on tap.

The Place: The warm room is crammed with bird cages, painted ceramics and other Mexican tchotchkes, which liven up the DIY aesthetic. Antique wooden tables are topped with cheery woven napkins and blue-and-white patterned crockery imported from Mexico.

The Numbers:
• $2000 for a bottle of Clase Ezul, the most expensive tequila on the menu
• 1852 hours for Márquez to renovate the space
• 150 distinctive blue-and-white Anfora plates shipped in from Mexico
• 25 bottles of tequila consumed during construction
• 18 inches of water in the basement after last Julys epic flood
• 2 culinary fact-finding missions to Mexico
• 1 tequila library where customers can store bottles of tequila until their next visit
• 1 kombucha tap, the first to be installed in Canada

Our Introducing series explores newly opened restaurants, bars and shops throughout the GTA
This is not a review.
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  • Toronto Foodie

    Is anyone reading this and believing it? Toronto dining scene is so lame when compared to some of its counterpart cities that the restaurant owners are having a hard time differentiating themselves in sea of overpriced italian, mexican, ramen and elevated greasy pub grub. There is much to be said about the city which discovers Napolitan pizza in the 21st century, where before this the staple was the high attaining standard of Pizza Pizza. Back to the point…..So its not Mexican, now its Aztec? Ancient recipes pre-Mexico given to the owner by his anthropologist aunt? Being an anthropologist makes her an expert I guess. Presumably she found the recipe scroll in a cave? What do you know, the ancient book of Mexican, sorry Aztec, recipes calls for organic certified Ontario trout. The other items in the scroll were a little hard to read, so the boys decided to make a trip to Mexico on a fact finding mission. Couple of things standing out in the “By the numbers” section:

    - 1852 hours to renovate…if its an average 10 hour day, that would be a rough 185 days to complete the reno. 25 bottles of tequila for that amount of time? This works out about 3 shots a day. Pretty lite considering the connotation here. Aztec warriors would not be proud.

    Good eatin’

  • Scene in Toronto

    Did you try their food at that Tromba tequila party? Just disgusting. Worst tacos I ever had in my life.
    Thank god for the great tequila and the other restaurants that were there serving food.

  • You’re an idiot

    You’re an idiot, try serving 3000 tacos in an hour. The smaller tastings they had were outstanding, better then Grand Electric, and makes Playa Cabana look like a toilet, come to think of it, it does.

  • Jennifer Crinion

    Toronto Foodie,

    Please don’t knock it till you try it. This place offered up some of the best food ( mexican, aztec or otherwise) I have had in YEARS.