I am a big fan of Moma Adrianzen and his restaurants here in Lima. I have been a steady customer at Jeronimo, located on nearby Av. La Mar since it opened back in September 2016. I also enjoy the occasional taco and delicious margarita at Chinga Tu Taco, also located down the street on La Mar. It’s no surprise that his new highly anticipated venture, Frida, is situated in this very same popular epicurean neighborhood at a prime corner location on Calle Mendiburu.
Frida breathes the love and respect for Mexican culture and cuisine since Moma “adopted” the country when he lived and worked there for five years. There’s quite a bit of sentimentality as well since his young daughter, Uma, was raised in Mexico in her early years and his son, Amaru, was born in Mexico.
From the moment we stepped inside Frida we were immediately transported into Mexico. The decor and ambiance are visually pleasing. There are vibrant colors everywhere: large, dramatic basket light fixtures, colorful murals with flowers, and of course the huge hand-painted vibrant mural of Frida Kahlo above the kitchen. Frida’s eyes transfix you. The large rectangular bar situated in the middle of the restaurant is a hub of activity, energy, and fun. This eye-catching bar is decorated with colorful tiles and wicker, and illuminated bottles of tequila. There’s also a canoe suspended near the bar with a monkey and fruits nestled inside. It’s clear that every element of the restaurant’s design was intentional; there are myriad factors that went into creating the restaurant’s look.
Speaking with Moma, the founder of Frida
When we sat down with Moma to talk about Frida and the cuisine, he was enthusiastic to discuss this new venture. He says that the concept for Frida just came to him one day out of the blue; he never had it planned. With that being said, once the vision came, Moma put all of his energy towards making Frida into the restaurant that it is today. From the beginning, his concept has been for Frida to be a lively Mexican cantina. The current menu was conceived and worked on for about six months prior to the official August 29th opening. There are approximately 40 menu selections, as well as 6 dessert options. There are classics that you’d expect, as well as some authentic Mexican dishes that not everyone is familiar with.
Moma has compiled an experienced culinary team and wait staff, many of whom are people Moma has worked with before and trusts. Cristian Ruiz hails from Mexico and is the chef in charge of Frida’s kitchen. Cristian has worked with Moma over the past 9 years; they’re pals and the masterminds here at Frida. Four of the cooks are native Mexicans, and one of the waitresses hails from Mexico. Other staff come from countries such as Brazil, Vietnam, the Philippines, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Peru. Since authentic Mexican food is relatively new to Lima, the restaurant has 10 very experienced waiters serving the customers.
Chances are good that you will do a little drinking before eating, so let’s start there. We sampled three totally different cocktails. The first was the Secreto de Frida (S/. 38), a concoction of Altos Reposado tequila (Frida’s house tequila), Havana 7 Rum, Horchata, and an IPA Chanoy beer reduction which was served in a gourd. This drink was very unique and delicious.
We also enjoyed the colorful Ay Chabela (S/. 35). This elixir combined Altos Plata tequila, mezcal, orange liqueur, essence of Flor de Jamaica, lime juice and salt.
One of the most popular house cocktails is the Patada de Mula (S/. 39), a refreshing and slightly spicy mixture of Altos Plata tequila, Alipus mezcal, a chili liqueur, toronjil (lemon balm), pink grapefruit juice and a touch of ginger all served in a colorful skeleton mug.
The menu is divided into six sections: Comal, Vitamina T, Barra Fría, Pinches Calientes, Josper and Postres. Basically piqueos, hot and cold starters, grilled items, main dishes and desserts. We sampled a bit from almost every section.
The Tacos Crocantes (S/. 34) kicked off our dining experience. Five crunchy tortillas (prepared with pituca, a tuber from the jungle) were generously filled with fresh tuna tartare and accented with a chipotle mayonnaise. We really enjoyed the textures and flavors of this dish. We followed this dish up with the flavorful Gordita Negra (S/. 28), two homemade plump purple corn tortillas filled with a shrimp stew mixture, beans, Oaxaca cheese, and cilantro.
One of my favorites was the Tostada de Conchas (S/. 36). If you enjoy scallops, don’t miss this fresh starter. The purple corn tostadas were loaded with ultra-fresh sea scallops along with slices of avocado and a lovely roasted chili aioli.
One of the most gorgeously presented dishes we shared was the Tiradito Pesca del Dia (S/. 54). Mexico also has its own style of tiraditos and ceviches. The fish used for this dish was robalo (similar to sea bass). The fish had a slightly smoky mesquite flavor and an exquisite sauce. A separate presentation of fried, crunchy fish skins accompanied the tiradito. This dish is truly desirable.
The Coctel Acapulqueño (S/. 57), was for me, reminiscent of the shrimp cocktail I used to eat on a weekly basis for years at my favorite Mexican restaurant in Chicago. This version had a generous portion of shrimp and other shellfish swimming in a mixture of a chipotle golf sauce, mescal, Tabasco, and sliced avocado all served in a vibrant and large colorful glass goblet. Crackers accompanied this and this would be another ideal dish for sharing.
If you are looking for a dish to share at the table, the decadent Chamorro de Cerdo (S/. 89) is a delicious solution. This large, crispy and succulent pork shank was roasted for six hours in the oven in pork confit (fat) and the final grilling touches were made in the Josper oven. The pork was very tender and easy to shred to place on the homemade tortillas. Guacamole and pickled peppers, carrots and cauliflower also accompanied this dish which easily serves 2 or 3 diners.
The Elotes Tierno al Carbon (S/. 38) was a table pleaser. The smaller-kerneled corn cobs were slathered with a chile mayonnaise and smoked Parmesan and prepared on the Josper grill. When the corn meets the grill it becomes beautifully charred and is transformed into a decadent dish.
One of the big surprises was the “star” dessert, Tres Leches (S/. 32). I am not normally a fan of this dessert because it’s just too sweet for my palate, but this was one of the best versions I’ve had in a very long time. It was prepared with a special bread made with corn as well as with the Mexican vanilla liqueur, Rompope. The presentation and flavors were exquisite.
Our last dish was the classic Mexican dessert, Bunuelo de Feria (S/. 29). The bunuelo is a cross between a crispy fritter and a pancake which rests on top of cinnamon ice cream and a guava compote dipped in chancaca honey. The crispy bunuelo is tapped with a spoon and then breaks into the bowl to enjoy with the ice cream and compote. A nice dessert of textures.
Don’t forget to check out the fun and whimsical Mexican store located near the entrance which sells homemade tortillas, sauces, tequila, mezcal, handmade mugs, skeletons, dolls, accessories, and a variety of Mexican trinkets. For those that love Mexican food, Frida also offers catering.
My expectations were definitely met, but I will need more than one visit to fully take in and enjoy all that Frida has to offer. All in all, it was a pleasant experience for the taste buds and for the eyes. I am looking forward to returning soon to enjoy some margaritas and a few of their classic Mexican dishes as well as intriguing dishes I’ve never tasted before.
Frida has a great vibe, lots of energy and a friendly staff. It is a lively homage to all flavors Mexican.
Calle General Mendiburu 793, Miraflores
Phone reservations: 778-868
Parking (6 spaces in front of the restaurant)
Reservations accepted and recommended
Hours: Closed Monday
Tuesday-Sunday: 12:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. (Lunch)
Tuesday-Wednesday: 7:30 p.m.-11:00 p.m. (Dinner)
Thursday/Friday/Saturday: 7:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.
Capacity: 130 people
Comal: S/. 22-28
Vitamina T: S/. 33-39
Cold Appetizers/Starters: S/. 28-60
Hot Starters: S/. 28-49
Josper-Grilled Main dishes: S/. 38-89
Desserts: S/. 18-32
House Cocktails: S/. 18-39
Pisco Cocktails: S/. 30-34
Classic cocktails: S/. 32-36
Gin & Tonics: S/. 30-70
Beer: S/. 14-26
Aguas Frescas: S/. 18
Non-Alcoholic Beverages: S/. 9-14
Hot Beverages: S/. 10-16