Originally posted October 2011
After a year or more of anticipation, a couple weeks ago I finally made it to Cafe Latino Aroma in the north end. I don’t really have any good excuse as to why it took me this long to visit. All I know is, I’m very happy I did, and the rumors are true… delicious, authentic Latin American food is in Halifax!
The restaurant is on the corner of North and Agricola, and there are two possible entrances. I came in the door on Agricola, but as my lunch date pointed out, if I ventured over to the other entrance, right on the corner of the two streets… there’s a small specialty food store attached to the cafe! Bliss. This was filled with salsas, dried peppers, real masa corn tortillas, and a variety of other Latin American and Mexican food products. A great spot to keep in mind.
The interior is cozy with a lot of brown hues, contrasted with a yellow wall and a terra cotta wall. What I would imagine to be a Latin American feel (I’ve never been).
All of the menu items are ordered individually, which makes it easy to try a few different things. I was pleased with this set-up. I quickly chose three items, which are server said is a typical lunch sized meal.
My choices were: A doblada (Guatemalan) which is a folded corn flour tortilla filled with vegetables, fried, and topped with tomato salsa, cheese, onions and freshly chopped parsley. Very tasty, nice crispy texture, and the chopped parsley lightens everything up.
The next item you probably recognize, it’s a quesadilla, filled with cheese, peppers, red onions, salsa, and sour cream. Again this was topped with parsley. I usually prefer cilantro, but the chopped, fragrant herb still had the same freshening effect.
The fried yellow cake-type thing is a cheese pupusa. This is a dish from El Salvador. It is topped with a mixture of marinated vegetables and a red sauce. Having the marinated veggies balance out the rich flavour and texture of a fried cheese cake was perfect – I really enjoyed this and hadn’t tried anything really like it before.
All of my three items were great. I could have used more heat, though. When I go back I’ll ask if they can turn up the heat on any of the dishes. There was a nice little kick once you had been eating for a while, that started to build up.
All of the menu items come in different meat or veggie versions, so it’s a pretty versatile spot to go.
Cafe Latino Aroma is definitely filling an important niche in the restaurant scene in our city. I had yet to find any real authentic Latin American or Mexican food in Halifax, until I stopped by here. Chances are I’ll be back again and again.