It’s time to add Guatemalan food to your takeout repertoire. The cuisine is rare in Connecticut's restaurant scene, and until now, all but nonexistent in Hartford County. But with the December opening of Aurora’s in the capital city, a family of first-time business owners is introducing their culture to the area. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner and housemade baked goods, Aurora’s offers omelettes, sandwiches, wraps, salads and specialties like churrasco with carne asada. Daily specials include tamales, traditional soups and stews, tacos and stuffed chiles.
I had my eye on the shucos, described as a “Guatemalan hot dog” on a sub roll with choice of meat (chorizo, carne asada or grilled chicken) with chimichurri, avocado, cabbage salad, ketchup, mayo and mustard. It’s more like a grinder and a Mexican torta had a baby, with a burst of flavors and textures on the fresh bread. Maybe a hint of a great burger, too, with the carne asada’s subtle char playing along with the ketchup and mustard. I missed the sandwich as soon as I took the last bite. Guatemalans love their bread, co-owner Karen Valenzuela says, and a case displays the day’s lovingly baked treats: French bread, pan dulce, tostadas, cinnamon rolls. Campechana, an airy loaf swirled into a spiral and delicately dusted with sugar, was a favorite, perfect for breakfast with coffee.
Eat in or take out?
Aurora’s cozy space is sunny and inviting if you’re comfortable eating indoors, and picnic tables stand ready outside on the sidewalk for warmer weather. But the food travels well as takeout, and either way, we think you’ll be bringing home a few loaves of bread.
399 Capitol Ave., Hartford
Hours: Mon.–Sat., 7 a.m.–7 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.–7 p.m.