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La Roca

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The best part about La Roca is its ability to transform.

On weekends, you’ll witness casual dinners take on new life as DJs arrive, lights are dimmed, and the restaurant begins to pulse with Latin music, salsa dancers, and tequila specials taking over for taco orders.

As soon as it dips into the late evening, La Roca swaps into lounge mode, with Latin-inspired entertainment on Fridays, and more thumping club music on Saturdays. “We’re a restaurant that turns into an upbeat lounge,” says owner, Wade Salchert.

“We are catering to an older demographic, with the average age closer to 40 for more of an upscale, mature lounge environment.”

While Mexican fiestas predictably spike before any shows or games at Bell MTS Place, reservations at La Roca flood in before each weekend, filling their large-capacity restaurant.

Beyond its lounge capabilities, La Roca stands out for its stunning double decker patio, the perfect place to gawk at Winnipeg’s downtown in the summer months, with a rooftop capacity of 40 and ground level terrace braced for 120.

With its dynamic environment, La Roca has the ability to appease the foodies among the sports fans. La Roca’s premium lime margaritas are reminiscent of those beachside in one of the most popular Winnipeg winter getaway spots.

“I just love the Mexican culture and the food,” says Salchert, of his penchant for travel down south. “I thought, ‘why can’t we have that here?’”

Grab tableside guacamole at La Roca as fresh as it comes – mixed up right before you with fresh-squeezed lime juice and tortilla chips made in-house.

Fish and shrimp ceviche is served nearly as fresh as if ordered from straight off a beachfront food cart as well.

“We’ve been thinking about this Mexican concept for about five years,” says Salchert, of him and his partners in the venture. “We were very particular about (the location) – the proximity to (Bell MTS Place), being on the south side of Portage and our ability to have a patio – it’s a little bit of everything put together… to have a very successful nightlife venue,” says Salchert.

With ambient acoustic music to gently coax you through dinner to stay for dancing, and a tequila list of 40-strong, La Roca has the right mix of Mexican ingredients to get you in the home-away-from-home spirit, right here at home.

Visit La Roca at 115 Smith Street, open Tuesday to Saturday. Keep an eye on www.laroca.ca/specials for weekly specials like Taco Tuesday (serving taco trios for $10) and weekday recurring parties with drink specials like Cinco de Wednesdays.