1533 Trancas St.
Hours: 8 am. to ...?Google Maps to Frida's
Arturo Delgadillo leaves Compadres in Yountville after 20 years to show that Mexican food can be more than mom and pop taco shops. It doesn't aspire to be a high-end restaurant, but Delgadillo wanted to show more of the range and depth of Mexcian cooking and succeeds.
Frida's has a pretty large menu which sometimes makes us nervous as sometimes you're not sure how good any one particular dish is. But we started off with Friday's taco platter as an appetizer, and they were delicious. Some of the best tacos we've had. The carnitas meat is just amazing. Moist, flavorful, with a crisp outisde. The steak tacos were very tender and juicy; I think only The Pearl has better steak tacos. Their pastor was good although I still like Tres Hermanos pastor tacos the best. Their chicken taco was dry, but at least it had a nice seasoned, grilled flavor to it.
Oddly, we did have the carnitas as an entree once, and it was disappointing compared to our first experience there. It came out a bit on the lukewarm side, and it didn't have the juiciness of our first time with the tacos. I'm hoping that was a mistake given how good the first time was with the tacos.
For the entree, I had the seafood diablo which was a combination of fish, shrimp, and scallops in a spicy red sauce along with the customary beans and rice. It's a good dish, but maybe the sauce and its spiciness overpowers the taste of the seafood a bit. We also had their paella which had the same grilled chicken meat found in our tacos as well as shrimp, corn, and some scallops, and it was solid as well.
Pictured below is the chile verde which was pretty good too. I would've liked a little stronger of a chile verde sauce, but overall Frida's does really good pork, and their rice is pretty solid too.
Dessert is where things fell apart surprisingly fast. We probably should've gone with something closer to the restaurant's roots like say flan. Instead, we went with a banana and strawberry chingalinga(?) which had waaaay too much going on. It's a banana wrapped in a tortilla, deep fried, sprinkled with sugar, and cut up...and then there are these thawed frozen strawberries with a drizzle of caramel and then ice cream. As much as we liked the food, the dessert was a real mess. Arturo should axe that one ASAP or at least simplify it.
We'll definitely be coming back here though. When it comes to food that doesn't have a strong French, Italian, American, etc. base, Napa Valley suffers. Frida's isn't higher-end Mexican food like say San Francisco's Maya (and I think it'd be interesting to try). The flavors overall are quite good, and it's nice to see some meaningful variety in the eats here in Napa. It is the best Mexican restaurant in town, a distinction we used to give to Villa Corona.
Frida's service and setting
Since the place is named after Frida Kahlo, you will see much of The Monobrowed One and her art throughout the restaurant which is painted in bright colors, particularly cherry red which was apparently Friday's favorite color. Inside, the restaurant layout and furniture resembles more of a everyday traditional sit-down restaurant. You won't see the deep brown earth tones, stainless steel, oak floors, etc. that will adorn a lot of the higher-end restaurants in the area. Frida's is right next to a tire shop which means you're greeted with the lovely smell of tires when you first approach the restaurant and even after you get in. Oh well, not their fault. Service overall was fine and friendly. The waiter offered us a strawberry margarita that we didn't need to pay for if we didn't like it which we didn't take him up on.
Other Frida's reviews and links
Fridas is still pretty new. I think it opened sometime in mid February; so, there isn't a lot in terms of online reviews. However, it's filling up nicely as words gets around.