June 8th, 2014

Frida Restaurant & Bar

Frida Restaurant and Bar Toronto

Mexican is probably one of my all-time favourite cuisines. It’s vibrant, flavourful, and fresh.

BlogTO recently put together a list of Toronto’s best Mexican restaurants, which I swiftly sent to all my friends. Luckily they were equally eager to give some of them a try, so on Friday night we made reservations for post-work week dinner and drinks at Frida Restaurant & Bar.

Frida Restaurant and Bar Toronto

It’s a friendly, relaxed spot on Eglinton West, serving up authentic Mexican flavours inspired by the work and soul of Frida Kahlo, the famous Mexican painter.

Her art was raw, fearless, and unpretentious, and serves as the inspiration for Frida’s head chef, Jose Hadad, who drew from his roots to offer the essence of the Mexico he knows.

Frida Restaurant and Bar Toronto

Frida Kahlo’s influence on the place doesn’t stop at the menu.

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Bits of the artist are scattered throughout the restaurant, from framed black and white photographs of herself, to prints of her paintings adorning the walls.

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Frida Restaurant and Bar Toronto

Frida Restaurant and Bar Toronto

Even the menu has quotes by Frida Khalo weaved throughout it, like this one: “I drank to drown my pain, but the damned pain learned to swim, and now I am overwhelmed by this decent and good behaviour.”

Frida Restaurant and Bar Toronto

We ordered a round of mojitos to sip on while we more thoroughly inspected the menu. Katya and Daniel both had tequila mojitos, but since tequila and I won’t ever be friends, I stuck with a classic one, which was refreshing, minty, and delicious.

Frida Restaurant and Bar Toronto

To start, we shared the chips and salsa and the guacamole. I’m pretty critical of restaurant guacamoles, since I still think my recipe is the best guac in town. (Chipotle’s “guacamole” is an insult to all guacamoles, in my opinion. It’s just flavourless, green sludge.)

However, I must concede that Frida’s guacamole was fantastic, made with perfectly ripened avocados, tomatillos, cilantro, red onion, and served with crispy homemade corn tortilla chips for dipping.

Frida Restaurant and Bar Toronto

Frida Restaurant and Bar Toronto

Frida Restaurant and Bar Toronto

I definitely recommend trying the guacamole the next time you’re at Frida!

Frida Restaurant and Bar Toronto

The chips and salsa come with both a green salsa, which is more mild, and spicy red salsa for those who enjoy a bit more kick.

As good as the starters were, the mains were the real stars of the show. In addition to full-sized portions, they also offer tapas-style, which means the portions are smaller and you can try a few different things.

Frida Restaurant and Bar Toronto

Katya ordered the slowly braised pork rib and belly, served with a roasted tomatillo and pasilla salsa, refried beans, and chili oil.

Frida Restaurant and Bar Toronto

I ordered the “Pescado Tikin Xic”, which is baked fish wrapped in banana leaf smothered in spices, topped with roasted tomato and served with a side of rice. (This is the tapas size.)

Frida Restaurant and Bar Toronto

It was scrumptious; melt-in-your-mouth tender and flavourful.

Frida Restaurant and Bar Toronto

Daniel had the duck carnitas, essentially five mini tacos stuffed with juicy, marinated pulled duck and topped with guacamole and pico de gallo.

We stayed for quite a while chatting, drinking, (their homemade blueberry lemonade is particularly tasty) and waiting for Wendy to join us that our server very generously brought over some empanadas for us to share.

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They were absolutely delicious, but I’m not entirely sure what was inside. (Their empanada offering changes daily.) Anything with crumbled cheese is just fine by me, though!

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We skipped dessert, being far too stuffed by the array of delicious dishes, but their churros come highly recommended. Maybe next time!

Frida Restaurant and Bar Toronto

All in all, a great experience. Fantastic food, wonderful service, and a very pleasant atmosphere. Give it a try the next time you’re craving Mexican food! xx

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