CLOSED: Frida (Toronto)

Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 999 Eglinton Avenue West
Type of Meal: Dinner

Note: Given the sheer amount of items ordered and shared within this meal, prices are given beside the dish rather than providing an order total

Amongst paintings by Frida Kahlo, as educated by my friend, we dined in a small quaint restaurant. The self-portraits are definitely interesting - a particular bare breasted one of the artist sparked some conversation.

We couldn't go to a place voted by the Toronto Life as "best guacamole in Toronto" without trying it, so we shared an order to start. It was definitely the best guacamole ($11) I've ever tried and love the micro fine pieces of red onions and cilantro laced throughout. Rather than spicing the dip with jalapenos, the chef used chili oil - an interesting twist. But, I'll admit, if some diced jalapenos happened to make their way into the dish, I wouldn’t complain. A bunch of arugula accompanies the dish, which adds a fresh peppery bite when topped on a guacamole tortilla.

Guacamole (1)

We didn't know, but Frida also provides tables with a complementary dish of fried corn tortillas accompanied by two sauces - salsa verde (a mild sauce derived from tomatillos) and salsa morita (a spicier sauce made from dried chipotles). They were a departure from the red tomato salsa we’re normally use to and I enjoyed the salsa morita.

Given I wanted to try a number of items, I opted to order from the "Little Bites" menu. I wish someone would have warned me that what Frida notes as "Little", it really means "One to Two Bites" menu. When the three items were placed in front of me, I was shocked at how small they were:
  • Camaron a la diabla ($3) - my favourite of the three and consisted of a good sized prawn cooked perfectly with a spicy diablo sauce. It was flavourful but wasn't overly spicy, rather had just a slight kick to it.

  • Empanada de champinones ($4) - I found the corn crust of the empanada slightly overdone and bit too hard. The portion that was covered with salsa verde was better, but since it was so crusty, it was a bit difficult to appreciate the delicate mushroom and corn flavours of the empanada.

  • Taco de barbacoa ($3) - a sliver of mediocrely flavour lamb served on a tortilla crisp. I hadn't read the dish’s description in detail and thought it would be a mini taco, but the taco was actually like a pita chip. Definitely the most disappointing of the three.

Restaurant staff should feel comfortable warning patrons about how small these Little Bites portions are.  I would have appreciated if my waitress warned me so I wouldn't have been disappointed on my choice.  The staff doesn't have to complain about it - a simple "have you eaten here before?  Just want to let you know that the Little Bites is meant to compliment a meal and is almost like a hors d'oeuvres would suffice.

Luckily, my friend had also ordered the Little Bites and was more than happy to split the Tacos de carne with Oaxaca cheese ($13) with me. Three soft corn tortillas topped with a generous portion of slice steak arrived at the table. They were good but nothing spectacular. Perhaps it's because I've been too accustomed to westernized Mexican food, but I expected the tacos to be more flavourful. I had to add quite a bit of salsa morita to give it the taste I wanted ... rather than relying on a well-seasoned steak.

I also had a glass of the raspberry sangria ($9) that tasted more like sweet pink lemonade with muddled raspberries. But, it was still refreshing - if you weren't expecting sangria.

Our waitress was friendly and attentive. Perhaps it’s because we ordered five types of Little Bites, but I found the pace of receiving dishes to be a bit slow. 

Overall mark - 6.5* out of 10

* If the rating was based purely on the items ate I'd rate Frida a 6. However, I now realize we should have ordered dishes off their "entrees" section and tried the churros for dessert. So, if I am ever in the neighbourhood, I may try Frida again - even if it’s just for the guacamole.

Gastro World's Grading System
  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!
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Photo Sources:
  1. Foodspotting -

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