368 Columbus Ave, New York, NY | Directions 1002440.780803 -73.976321
Neighborhoods: Midtown, Upper West Side
The nice thing about Cafe Frida, that Upper West Side standby, is that it serves two totally different kinds of diner: the Manhattanite who just wants some fajitas on a sizzle platter, accompanied by a cold margarita; as well as the gastronome who knows all about the rural and regional cooking of Mexico. The neighborhood is longer on the former than the latter, which is why their double-barrel approach is such a credit to them.
Real Mexican – As a little girl I lived in Mexico for a few years and felt in love the food and the culture.
When I found Cafe Frida for the first time, it just took me back to those days, from the decor, the equipales (traditional chair style from Mexico) to the service and the food, those delicious Chiles en Nogada (from Puebla), the Mixiote de Cordero (the lamb shank slow cook ) to the homemade tortillas and the variety of Tequilas and Mezcales. In one word you will fell like you are in Mexico!!!
Try it and enjoy it!!!
Not Mexican at all – I been there a couple of times, both times I thought the menu is over priced and the portion are to small , I would recomended to anyone and the food is more like texmex than traditional mexican
Some of the best Mexican in the city and great cocktails! – I went to Cafe Frida on Saturday with some friends for some quick drinks. I decided try try the sangria (because it's my favorite) and ended up staying for dinner! We figured if the drinks were great so must be the food. The salsas were the best I've ever had. We also had the lobster tacos which were amazing and the chille relleno cheese mixture was to die for. The service was quite good considering how crowded the place was. We ordered not only more sangria after out meal but some margaritas as well. Everything was delicious. We'll definitely be back and I recommend this place to anyone looking for not only some of the best mexican food but great drinks and good service.
Museum and good food makes a great time – Went to the American Museum of Natural History and wanted to have brunch first. This place was a wonderful find. Ordered the guacamole, the fajitas with chicken and steak, the quesadillas with shrimp, and maduros. VERY flavorful and proportioned just right to fill you up but not make you tired. Lots of options for seating (the back room for darker, more intimate dining, the front for sunny open dining. The wait staff was nice and attentive. This was a nice meal to go with the museum excursion.
Great Mexican Food! – Doesn't look like a mexican restaurant from the outside, but inside the decor is entirely mexican. Great guacamole and steak fajitas!
Best Birthday Celebration ever! – My 3 close friends and I wandered in to Cafe Frida the other night. We hadn't originally planned on going there but the restaurant we wanted to try out was closed for a private event. The staff were all very friendly and the place was busy but we got a table almost right away. We shared the guac and then each ordered a salad and a small apetizer (empanadas, etc). It was all very tasty. But the best part was dessert. We had told our server that it was my friend's birthday (expecting them to maybe put a candle in her chocolate cake, or something similar). But they did much more! They turned off the loud salsa music and put a recording of "Happy Birthday" on the sound system while they all came out of the kitchen singing. It was probably one of the most hilarious birthday surprises any of us have had in recent memory. After we finished our yummy desserts, the bar tender gave each of us a special mexican shot on the house in honor of our b-day celebration. What a great time! I highly recommend it, especially for birthdays!
Ruse hostess – We were around the area and decided to walk-in after hearing that the food had improved to justify the price after a disappointing visit a few years back. It took a good five minutes to be seated even though there were three open tables that we could see. The waitress was slow getting to us though friendly and helpful with menu questions once we she got there. We didn't fall for the offer for guacamole "while we wait" knowing it was pricey at $11. We were seated next to the door and the draft was really making us quite uncomfortable. Seeing three empty tables around us, we asked the hostess if we could move to the one next to us. She simply stated no since they were expecting a party 15 minutes later and simply walked away without offering us another table, a cup of hot tea or even to move the heater closer to us. We were shocked. The steak a la tampina was good though the chicken fajitas were the same you could find at any Mexican restaurant for much less than the $22. We explained the lower tip based on the bad table and rude hostess to the waitress and to the hostess in front of the manager but though the manager was friendly and did agree that there was a problem with the tables being so close to the door, the hostess simply pushed a business card in front of us and told us to make reservations next time. I could not believe she would actually think there would be a next time.
Great food/service. Increase side portions just a bit to be really excellent – Went for Friday night dinner. Had reservations and were seated promptly, though even without reservations I don't think the wait would have been more than 10 minutes. The waiter came by quickly with the menus and water (glancing at other tables, their service was quick as well).
Got the fresh guacamole (pricey at $11, but very good, with chunks of perfectly ripened avocado and not overmushed), the carne a la tampique?a which is hard to cook right but they got it, and the salmon that was almost raw enough to be called sushi. The sauce on the salmon was not very strong, although the fish itself was excellent. The chocolate cake dessert was also very good, and its refreshing to see chocolate served spicy and not sweetened, though the portion was a bit on the smaller side. The steak also came with a too small side portion of rice and (very good) black beans.
The only real con I could see was sitting up front. We were originally seated there, but everytime the door opened it got really cold and drafty (snowing outside), even with the space heater next to us. We asked to be moved and were moved quickly to the upstairs alcove where there was no wind.
Great Creative Food – My wife and I stopped at Cafe Frida for Sunday brunch on a February weekend. We were promptly seated and found an imaginative menu in front of us. Most of the menu items were above the standard "Mexican" fare. The food was great- rich variety of flavors that blended very well together. One downside was the amount of waiting time for the food to be prepared. Secondly, as the place became more popular closer to lunch time, the breeze from outside made our seats near the window a little chilly. I think this place has turned a corner from the earlier reviews, and I highly recommend this restaurant for anyone wanting affordable, creative menu.
Mediocre food, terrible service, poor value – A friend and I dined at Cafe Frida on a Thursday night. I arrived early and ordered a margharita at the bar, tried to pay with my credit card but the bartender asked, "sorry sir, do you have any cash? i would prefer it." Nice honest employees there.
We were seated promptly at our reservation time and the restaurant seemed to have a nice buzz (so far, so good). After that, everything went downhill. It took five minutes for our menus to arrive and another 10 minutes just to get some drinks ordered. Our waiter only had a few tables but was nowhere to be found for much of the evening. Our entrees toook 20-25 minutes to arrive after ordering them and I had to ask for the food to be cleared when finished. The food was of good quality but unimaginative. The check came (quickly, how amazing...) and I tried to pay with my Amex but was told the restaurant only took Visa/Mastercard. Call me stuffy, but a restaurant that charges $80 for two entrees and a round of drinks should take American Express.
If you're hungry for good Mexican on the UWS, I'd recommend Rosa Mexicana - much better food, service and atmosphere for the same price.
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