10853 Lindbrook Drive
Westwood, CA 90024
By MARIE TABELA | Special to the Palisadian-Post
Frida Mexican Cuisine was born from founder Vicente Del Rio’s longing for home cooked flavors from the central valley of Mexico. Unable to find the flavors and dishes he craved here in Los Angeles (particularly for mole poblano), Del Rio took matters into his own hands and opened his first Frida’s in Beverly Hills in 2002.
Since then, he has gone through several trials and tribulations in the restaurant industry, but has come out on top, with a successful chain of both upscale and casual Mexican eateries from Cerritos to East Pasadena.
Locals may have enjoyed some of the authentic flavors at Frida Tacos in the Brentwood Country Mart or the lively atmosphere at Taco Libre in Santa Monica, but we had the pleasure of dining at the bustling, full-scale Westwood Frida Restaurant.
Nestled between UCLA and several offices in the Westwood area is Frida Restaurant on Lindbrook Drive. This location features a large bar in the center, with tables around the perimeter and on the patio of this spacious location.
Perfect for happy hour (which, by the way, is all day long), this location caters to both students and professionals looking for a tangy, cold beverage, accompanied by delicious fare.
Speaking of beverages, we tried (but only sips, we swear) the Classic Margarita, Frida and Diego and Passion de Tamarindo. All three tasted incredibly fresh and were bursting with flavor.
Our waiter, Cesar Villalba, explained that every morning, the crew gets there early to make each ingredient from scratch—no pre-made mixers here. The Classic Margarita was well-balanced and not overbearing. It was the perfect accompaniment to their crispy tortilla chips and smoky chipotle salsa.
Our favorite was the Frida and Diego, which featured El Silencio Mezcal, Frida’s own spicy mix and fresh lime juice. This drink is an excellent choice if you’re looking for something fruity with a kick.
Our first course was the Camarones Al Ajillo, which is a dish made of sautéed prawns in garlic, white wine, butter and lemon juice. The dish is served with rice in the middle.
All of the dishes we experienced at Frida’s were amazing, but this one was by far and away the favorite. The best part of this dish was the sauce. In fact, when Assistant Manager Mauricio Marquez overheard us saying we could drink the sauce, he returned with large spoons that were very warmly received.
Next came the Ceviche Tasting. If you are a fan of ceviche, this dish is an absolute must. Three kinds of ceviche are offered with generous servings of each.
The first was the Frida, which was made of fresh white fish, lime juice, jicama, cilantro, carrots, red onions, jalapeño chile and special sauce. This was a classic, refreshing take on a traditional fish ceviche.
The next was the Rasurado, made of fresh shrimp with avocado, jalapeño chile, red onions, cilantro, olive oil and lime juice. This had the perfect level of spice and is an excellent choice for shrimp ceviche lovers.
The next, Aguachile, was the group favorite. This ceviche was made of fresh shrimp cooked in spicy lime Serrano chile sauce and tossed in olive oil, red onion, avocado, cilantro and cucumber. This ceviche had an original flavor that you won’t get in every restaurant.
It is on the spicier side, so only get this if you aren’t afraid of a little kick (and if you tend to carry around a few extra tissues). The spice, though prominent, was not overbearing and did not overpower the other flavors in the dish.
The next course featured the Molcajete Frida, which is a beautiful dish that is a surefire win with any table. The bowl comes with skirt steak, chicken, chorizo (some of the best we’ve tried), panela cheese, avocado, grilled cactus and cilantro, and roasted tomatillo salsa. It is served with fresh handmade corn tortillas, white rice and black beans.
If you’re craving a little seafood, prawns can also be added. The salsa in the middle is served boiling, and is again the kind of sauce that could really be consumed directly from spoon to mouth. Repeatedly. This dish is an absolute must, and wins top points for tasting just as good as it looks.
Our final course before dessert was the Mole Tasting, which includes a sample of green, poblano, and black and red pipian mole over chicken. It is served with rice, refried beans, cheese gorditas (amazing) and fresh handmade corn tortillas.
Mole fans: Make your way over there right now for this dish. The sauces are prepared masterfully (are you sensing a theme here?) and the chicken was cooked perfectly. It can be hard to make boneless, skinless chicken breast tender, but Frida’s has mastered the technique.
To finish off our meal, we enjoyed Flan. The flan was creamy, smooth and light. It was the perfect ending after gorging ourselves for two hours.
Frida’s is a versatile, lively restaurant that is a great spot to grab dinner (or happy hour—remember, it’s all day) with friends and family, or even for a date night. The high quality of the food is obvious in every bite and the fresh flavors burst with each forkful.
The Sherman Oaks location on Ventura Boulevard just opened, making this location number five for Frida’s.
Frida’s has perfected the balance of being upscale without being pretentious, and we can’t wait to go back.