Situation 1: You find yourself in Quito on a Saturday night, pining for some tacos.
Situation 2: Your parents come to visit from another country, expecting to eat tacos when you mention grabbing Ecuadorian food. You arrive at your go-to ceviche spot. Your parents gripe about the lack of tacos, so you take them to the closest thing to Tex-Mex their little American hearts desire: Frida Tacos.
But this ain't no Tex-Mex. This is a full on, Mexican Taquería. From the service structure to the sole item on the menu being tacos, Frida Tacos is an authentic Taquería centered in La Floresta neighborhood. La Floresta was the heart of Quito back in the 70s and 80s that got lost in the metropolis but is now slowly but surely becoming the go-to zone not only for eating and drinking but also for living and working (there are at least two co-op-type office spaces there that are attracting more and more young professionals). Take a quick look at a map of La Floresta neighborhood.
Owners Ana Maria and Jorge opened Frida Tacos’ doors in November. This is their first co-led business and they seem to be doing mighty, mighty well for their first gig. Ana Maria continues her career as a chef, but Jorge left his job as a graphic designer to start the restaurant. Ana Maria is a native of Quito, while Jorge hails from Mexico but considers himself a Quito native at this point.
The Taquería Experience
Here’s how the Frida Taco experience unfolds. The lively owners and chefs lend you a cheerful welcome. You then order at the counter, in typical Taquería fashion. I recommend ordering two dishes per person and of the dishes that I’ve tried, the Pastor and Gringa are at the top of my list. Both of these dishes come with pineapple, which pairs really nicely with the spice of the tacos. You then wait for your name to be called. In the meantime, serve yourself portions of salsa roja and salsa verde (both salsas have mild and picante variations). All of the salsas complement the different flavors in the tacos, so make sure to try all of them out, but I highly recommend the picante salsa roja. Once they call your name, grab your food. Aaaand then you gorge.
So what makes Frida worthy of its own post? It’s smart in the sense that they get all of the important things right. The taco flavors are creative, but more importantly they have figured out the right (ta)combination of acidity, spiciness, juiciness, cheesiness, saltiness, etc. The walls are lined with strikingly colorful décor and ridiculous quotes, providing you with entertainment and an easy segue into nonsensical or deep conversations. Even with a beer and two orders of tacos, your tab will be under $10 for a sizable meal. Also, Frida Kahlo.