Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Restaurant Review: Frida's Restaurant & Bar

Hello lovekatz!!

This post is a little overdue, but I absolutely need to write it and tell you about this AH-MAZE-ING Mexican restaurant we got to try during "Summerlicious" last month! We were fortunate enough to try this restaurant during a special prix fixe menu promotion, but it would be with every penny to try it the other 48 weeks of the year.

Frieda's Restaurant & Bar is located in North- Central Toronto in the Upper Village area (pretty close to Forest Hill) and has been voted in as one of Toronto's best restaurants since 2008. It is advertised as "Mexican Fine Dining, that modernizes Mexican food in a fresh, relaxed and contemporary setting.",  and boasts to have the best churros in the city. Of course, we were intrigued and made reservations for a Sunday at 630pm.

We arrived at Frieda's and instantly you can see the life in the place. It makes one excited to eat! The physical appearance of the restaurant is cute, small... But cute and bright coloured. The host at the front was very polite and quiet, and you can see the entire restaurant from where he stood. We choose to sit by the big front window as it was a nice day and we were soon approached by our waitress. We had ordered drinks but needed more time to decide on our meals and told this to our waitress, who was quick to retort that the kitchen and bar will be closing at 7 so we need to decide fast. This did sort of set the tone for the rest of our experience as the waitress kept approaching us to see if we wanted drink refills because the bar is closing. Not very welcoming and we did feel rushed. Thankfully the food was so good that it saved the rest of our experience.

Let's move on and talk about the food.

Before we get into the appetizers, they had brought out this cute little plate of tortilla chips with two types of salsa- One was a green chili cilantro salsa and the other a tomato basil, both very tasty! There were a couple stale chips, but the salsas were yummy and went will with our mojitos!!

For starters, call me predictable, but I chose the ceviche. Classic Mexican cold dish, and they made it so much more. I loved that they used large everything - chunks of soft cod, scallops and shrimp. It was so fresh! I love the balance of the brine with the creamy-ness of the avocado, the bitterness of the cilantro against the sweetness of the fish and tomatoes. The side of tortilla chips was a nice balance to the soft fish, and brought the dish full circle. It was a phenomenal start, got me excited for my entree!

My partner chose the caramelized onion and Oaxaca cheese quesadilla and that came with a small frissee salad on the side. As much as I loved my ceviche, I still crave these quesadillas to this day. These were so (unexpectedly!) delicious! They caramelized the onions in a chipotle sauce which countered the sweetness of the onions perfectly. The flour tortillia was warm and not soggy at all, and the cheese was melted so it was stringy and fun to eat! The frissee salad was a nice pairing as the vinaigrette cut through the strong flavours and cleansed the palette between bites. I'm coming back for this dish, and soon!!!

 For my entree I chose the "Pollo en Mole Negro Oaxaqueno" which was BBQ half chicken in Mole Negro Oaxaqueno sauce served with white rice, refrito beans and a fried plantain. The mole sauce was the real star of the dish, and they weren't stingy with it either which was much appreciated!! The chicken was made well, you can taste a good BBQ flavour and the meat was very tender and not dry. What was amazing was that they garnished the dish with some toasted sesame seeds and it made all the difference! It added the perfect toasted, nutty taste to the mole sauce and really gave it well rounded flavour. The rice and refrito beans were good, but the chicken was what really shined. I wished they had given more pan fried plantains, as they are my favourite, but I understand as it would give the dish too many sweet elements. The food arrived hot which is important for me especially with a meat dish, and the portion size was perfect.

My partner chose the "Chiles Rellenos Poblanos" which was the deep fried, stuffed Pableno pepper with a tomato-epazote sauce served with vegetables and rice. This was a great gourmet twist to a classic stuffed pepper dish. The batter was nice and fluffy and soaked up the tomato sauce and the pepper was stuffed with Oaxaca cheese with made it pretty decadent. The vegetables on the side were cooked well and had a nice seared flavour, but still crunchy! Super hearty vegetarian dish, that again is balanced nicely. The tomato sauce and cheese are a great combination because they balance each other out and that with the freshness of the veggies against the deep fried batter, make this a well rounded dish to feed the all the senses!

Of course there's no way we can come to Frieda's without trying and tasting the "Best Churros in the City", it would be a terrible waste of an opportunity. We both ended up ordering the "Churros de la Esquina" which are Chef Hadad's award winning churros, filled with dulce de leche, drizzled with blueberry coulis and blueberries for garnish. These churros lived up to their prestigious reputation, served hot and oozing with goodness, it almost brought me to tears! It was a shame I could not finish my dessert, they were some of the best sweets I've ever eaten! Next time I know to leave a lot more room for dessert - who am I kidding!? I will go there and have churros for dinner, you wait and see!

All in all I am giving Frieda's Restaurant & Bar a 4.5/5! The food was incredible and the restaurant and its atmosphere really made for a great dining experience. I am a big fan of Mexican food and this is genuine, authentic Mexican cuisine and flavours that all will surely enjoy. The only negative was the rushed feeling we had because the kitchen and bar were closing soon, and this was made very clear by our waitress. I didn't expect to be rushed because I had made reservations, if I knew we would be rushed, I would have made reservations at an earlier time to really enjoy the experience. This will definitely be the place I will go to from now on when I'm craving Mexican food and to be honest, I haven't stopped craving it since I left. A return visit is in order and very soon, because I cannot keep fighting temptation this strong!!

For more information on Frieda's Restaurant & Bar, please visit the link below:


Well there you have it, my darlings - my experience at Frieda's Restaurant & Bar. Have you visited this restaurant before? I would love to hear your opinion and experience in the comments box below! Did you love it? Maybe not so much? Leave me your thoughts, would you try out this restaurant as a first time customer after reading this post? Did I get your tummyy rumbling and your mouth watering? I'd also love to know if there are any restaurants you'd like me to try or do a review on? Leave me a comment below or email me at makeupmasochist@gmail.com !!

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Is it too early for lunch?


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