Eating Like a Local in Napa: Frida’s Mexican Grill

Frida’s Mexican Grill is between the Sizzler and the tire place on Trancas.

Sounds exciting, no? I think the building was much more exciting back in the day when it was some kind of seafood restaurant with neon fishermen on the exterior brick walls… I may be misremembering, I was young and we didn’t eat a lot of seafood.

Frida’s is a little more upscale than Compadres or Villa Corona, and the prices reflect it. It’s still got the interior decorating vibe of those places. A lot of bright colors, and large mirrors that open up the space. And the ubiquitous multiple portraits of Frida Kahlo. The menu is broader than the usual Mexican places, with some regional dishes you don’t see all the time.

The crew I was with started with the special of the day, fried calamari with a red sauce. It was just meh, with no real flavor to speak of. I had a margarita, and it was pretty good, nothing wowie. The selection of beers seemed larger than most places in Napa (where the focus tends to be on wine, for some strange reason…)

I asked for recommendations from the table, I heard “Fish tacos!” “No, enchiladas!” “No, what you really should get are the carnitas!”

Being the contrarian my name implies, I ordered the Pollo Encebollado. The waitress, who had that wonderful “chill out, trust me, I’m a professional here to make sure you enjoy your meal” attitude you rarely see in mid-priced dining, asked if I wanted a side order of tortillas. I indicated my dining companions and said, “I’ll just steal theirs.”

“Do you like corn or flour better?” she said, “‘Cause then I’ll give your table more of that one.”

The food came in generous portions, and was very, very tasty. I especially liked the fact there were so many types of beans offered instead of just pinto and ‘refried’ because some days, a woman just has to have black beans. Which was part of the reason I picked the Pollo Encebollado. The warmer baskets the tortillas came in ended to make them stick together, and this was a problem for both the corn and the flour tortillas.

Overall, the main dishes were excellent, and the apps and drinks were unremarkable. I know what I’m sticking with the next time I go to Frida’s.

‘Cause I will be back.

This is part of a series of posts I wrote about my recent trip to the ol’ family homestead in Napa. Here’s the complete list so far:

+ Gott’s Roadside Refresher
+ Norman Rose Tavern
+ Frida’s Mexican Grill
+ Malfatti
+ Redd Restaurant

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One Response to Eating Like a Local in Napa: Frida’s Mexican Grill

  1. KAte says:

    Yeah it used to be some sort of seafood place, and I think there was an emphasis on their bar…but I never ate there so I dunno.

    Next time you come down to visit you should go to Frida’s with your Papa for breakfast. He and Dad like to go there. Their breakfasts are tasty, and instead of chips and salsa you get chips tossed in cinnamon and sugar, yum. A tasty way to start the day.

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