While your travel plans are on hold, you can experience a culinary adventure at a new restaurant in downtown Bakersfield.
Open Monday, ZAMA Latin American Cuisine will bring the flavors of Tulum and the Mexican Yucatan Peninsula to its cuisine and cocktails.
“Zama means dawn in Mayan, so the menu takes Mayan cuisines, from Cancun to Guatemala to Peru, all influences, inspired by our chef, Daniel Alvarez,” said manager Johnny Diaz.
The chef-led menu leans heavily on seafood, with an assortment of entrees as well as Peruvian ceviche and negros aguachiles specialties and a red snapper with a special aioli sauce.
(The restaurant owners also run Bocados, the Mexican-inspired sushi bar on Coffee Road.)
“The traditional chili relleno and moles are totally different with our menu. Even our desserts are; for our custard we use goat’s milk instead of regular milk. “
Diaz said that in addition to new take on classic dishes, there will be a little something for everyone, including vegans, vegetarians and pescatarians. Other dishes include queso fundido made with mushrooms and poblano peppers, enchiladas and rack of lamb.
Steakhouse fans will be happy to know that ZAMA will be offering seven different premium cuts including Rib Eye, Porterhouse and Tomahawk.
And what better with a steak than a cocktail? ZAMA’s libations will be vibrant and distinct.
“We use a lot of flavors, Latin American flavors,” Diaz said. “Jamaica, tamarind, very tropical flavors that come under our concept with more emphasis on sweet and savory. The menu is rich in mezcal and tequila.”
ZAMA transformed the space that was last The Mark with a lush tropical vibe with touches such as a sea of greenery, stone walls and an upstairs dining area tucked away with floral wall art .
The restaurant has a main dining room, a large living room that can accommodate formal dinners as well as cocktails and two smaller private dining rooms that can seat 10 and 14 people respectively.
Later next month, ZAMA will also open the adjacent patio for outdoor dining. Lunch service will also begin in mid-February.
With final preparations underway for Monday’s opening, Diaz said everyone involved was excited to bring this fresh dining concept to downtown Bakersfield.
“When we are hungry we can go anywhere,” he said. “When you want to live an experience, you go to this type of restaurant.”
“We are here to create memories for each of our guests.”
ZAMA Latin American Cuisine opens Monday at 1623 19th St. Dinner service is 4:30 pm to 10 pm Sunday through Wednesday and 4:30 pm to midnight Thursday through Saturday.
Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter: @realstefanidias.