Here's something new, and maybe exciting, to brighten the dreary days of winter. A new restaurant has opened in downtown Kalamazoo, on the downtown mall, in the location that was Fandango.

Roca is this new restaurant, and it's upscale Latin American cuisine. And if just looking at the menu means anything, foodies will be excited to try the place, and curious others will want to give a try, too.

Roca is the brainchild of the people behind Principle, also on the Kalamazoo Mall. While Principle is American cuisine, Roca's menu is definitely from south of the border.

Looking at the appetizer menu, one of the first items at catches the eye is "Shrimp Aguachile" which is "pickled onion – avocado – cilantro - jalapeno – lime". There's also "Queso Fundido" which is "monterey - chihuahua - poblano - toasted telera bread and chorizo. (and there's a plant-based chorizo option.)

On the main entree menu, most of the items are priced the way you'd expect in an upscale place, ranging from $17 to $25, but you do see items like duck egg, lobster and flatiron steak.

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And for diners who are more cost conscious, there are fancy tacos featuring lamb, pork and sea bass, and most of those are in the $12 - $14 range. The desserts include Tres Leches, and Flan, but the Fried Split sound very interesting: horcata gelato – avocado gelato – corn flake – plantain - strawberry.

The previous tenant, Fandango, had a good run in Kalamazoo. I was always fascinated with the rattlesnake appetizer there (well, it was all appetizers. It was tapas, after all)  But its time came and went, and it'll be interesting to see what Roca does on the Kalamazoo restaurant scene.

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