Frida Cantina Mexicana, Luxembourg City

I have started 2019 with the resolution to try as much as new restaurants I can. Finally I got the first chance yesterday night and, even if I have still quite a backlog of reviews to publish, I decided to write about Frida Cantina Mexicana immediately today, instead of waiting any further.

So if you follow my stories on Instagram, you might have seen I planned to go to Tom Odell concert with Federica at den Atelier yesterday night. As the weather was incredibly cold, we decided to have a quick dinner in a place nearby den Atelier and unfortunately options on a Monday night are quite limited. So, as Frida Cantina Mexicana was already on my “to try” list and it is just few steps away from den Atelier and from where I live, we decided to go straight there – without reservation, but, again, being a Monday night, we supposed it would have not been an issue.

We arrived at the door at 7 pm, with the restaurant busy but not particularly packed. We waited good 5 minutes on the door, with the two waiters in front of us at the bar totally ignoring the world outside, until the chef, from the kitchen window, noted us and called them. Not a good kick off, but after that we were seated.

The atmosphere was nice, colorful and informal, even if not particularly distinctive. We were handled the menu and made quickly our choice. We ordered one margarita and one beer, with a Mexican mix as starter to share, followed for me by an enchiladas with roja sauce (marked as extra spicy) and a chilaquiles for Federica.

From that moment on, it started be more a nightmare than a proper dinner. As said, we got in at 7 pm and got our food ordered by 7.15. While Federica’s beer and water were taken at the table after fair 10 minutes, my margarita took more than 20 to arrive. Finally, at 8.10, so almost one hour after we ordered, we got our starter to share: a basic dish of commercial tortilla chips, guacamole, pico de gallo and re-fried beans. The dish was cold – as it should have been – with beans probably just out of the can (I can suggest you also the brand, as I buy the same at home). Would this kind of dish need one hour to be prepared in a restaurant not full? I doubt. As we were starving, we finished it in less than 5 minutes. I ordered a second drink – that again, took 15 minutes to be ready – and we waited for our main course, starting feeling pretty nervous about the time, as concert was supposed to start at 9 pm. We also were very surprised to discover that the table next to us, arrived when our starter was out, were served cocktails and main courses in less than 5 minutes. At that point, very nervous, we called the waiter to cancel the order and he promised us that the main course would have arrived in 2 minutes. So finally, after 1 hour 40 minutes in the restaurant, while served only a commercial dish of tortilla chips, we got our dinner.

I said to Federica: I would have easily forgotten about the wait, if food was worth it – you can clearly remember from some recent reviews. Unfortunately my dish was probably one of the most disgusting thing I have ever had in Luxembourg. This soggy wrap – where you cannot even taste the chicken – totally covered up with this that was far being a homemade roja sauce, but was more a mild-spicy watery ketchup. I got to half of the dish only because I really needed some food, but in other circumstances and without a gig to attend, I would have left the dish and have gone somewhere else to have proper food.

Total bill for 2 margarita, 1 beer, 2 half-liter bottles of water, 1 starter, 2 main read 75 Euro (37 Euro each).

Pictures of my dinner followed by my final impressions.


What I liked about Frida Cantina Mexicana:

  • This is probably the first review were I can honestly say: nothing at all. It was one of worst dinner I had in my life. I might have said that the margarita was pretty good, but if I have wait 20 minutes every time I rather have something else to drink.

What I didn’t like about Frida Cantina Mexicana:

  • Service was horrible. It was not only a question of wait, 1 hour and 40 minutes to have a dish is already a great support to this evaluation, but also the attitude of the waiters was awful. They were both walking with their chins down, avoid the eye contact with the clients… how are you supposed to ask for another drink or whatever? Not to mention, when clients were leaving, dirty dishes were remaining on the table forever, basically until the next clients would have been seated.
  • Food was horrible. 12 euro to have a dish “to share” composed by a bunch of commercial tortilla chips, guacamole and pico de gallo (plain ones) and beans out of a can. Main course was something I want to forget as soon as I can: watery sauce and a soggy wrap that you cannot even understand what you were eating. I am not a fan of franchising, but I honestly can say that at the Tex-Mex in Place d’Armes food is way better (while still on the bad side) of the one I had at Frida.

In conclusion: my experience at Frida Cantina Mexicana was personally bad. While I can tell you that on the service side they might have been understaffed and having hired (very) inexperienced servers, on the food side there was nothing I would say it can be saved or improved. This is definitely on my list of places I would not go back even if it was the only restaurant open in town.

Luckily Tom Odell concert was amazing, so our night was not totally ruined.

Advertisements

Agave Mexican Restaurant & Tequila Bar, Hollerich, Luxembourg

This was for me the most waited opening of 2018 – you know why? As I live just nearby and when I saw “tequila bar opening soon” my heart started giggling – LOL.

So when finally Agave opened its door last month, it jumped at the top of my place to try – and my dear friend Jenni came to support me – never seen she left me drinking alone one week-end.

We booked for Halloween night – and I recognize now, it might not have been a great idea as first try, therefore my review should be read in consideration of the above.

We got there around 8ish and the place – that is kind of small – was already packed. I was immediately surprised to note how they did a great job to chance completely its appearance compared to its predecessor (“I Quattro Mori“, that now moved to Esch/Alzette). The restaurant now is colorful, bold, joyful. Remind me of this tequila bar just off the harbor in Isla Mujeres that was serving giant Margaritas – I definitely need some Caribbean vacations I did not take this year!

Anyway – as said, we got there and it was very full. We had our table and we were given menu card. Now, as usual, we started with the idea of limiting our choices as we wanted to “go out” after. We ordered, in the meanwhile, two frozen margaritas, classic, and went after for two starters and one main to share. As starter we had nachos with guacamole and shrimps ceviche, followed by shrimps tacos.

Our wait was the longest I remember in a while and when we were almost done with our second drink and I started feeling tipsy, we checked for our food. Finally, after 5 minutes, it arrived, all together.

As we were pretty in a hurry to get downtown later, we skipped the coffee and the tequila – we actually had them at my place while waiting for our cab 🙂

Our bill: 4 margaritas, 1 bottle of water, 1 guacamole and nachos, 1 shrimps ceviche, 1 shrimps tacos (4 pieces), read 81 Eur in total.

Pictures of the dinner followed by my first impressions about Agave.

What I liked about Agave:

  • The restaurant is lovely: the atmosphere feels authentic, I love the decorations and it is everything but commercial. I think they did a great job trying to give the place a different accent compared to those already existing in the city, something never seen, and I definitely appreciate it – you don’t feel to be in Luxembourg and it is a difficult exercise considering the surrounding area.
  • The food was truly good: loved the guacamole and the shrimps tacos, really. Ceviche was to me a bit a hit and a miss – it was good but could not enjoyed it fully as it was submersed in raw onions – and if you plan a night out, it might not be the greatest thing to eat – not that I had to kiss anyone, but still.
  • The menu also has some very interesting choices: as Jenni does not eat meat, we were a bit limited, but I want definitely to come back to try other dishes that I saw running around toward other tables and looked very good. Portions are also more than fair.
  • Last, but not least, our margarita was amazing, the list of cocktails is fascinating and I would definitely go for a cocktail again.

What I liked a bit less about Agave:

  • Now the painful part. We waited to much, really too much. More than 1 hour and 15 minutes to get nachos and guacamole to me it is definitely not acceptable and I was very annoyed. To make it up, they took everything together, that was also something I didn’t appreciate – as table was small and after 10 minutes food was over.
    I don’t feel the urge to be bad and I think what happened might be considered acceptable considering Agave has been open for less than 1 month, so it is still on trial. And, not to forget, it was Halloween night, so it was fully booked. We talked with a friend who dined there just the day before and said she had a very relaxed dinner. So, keep up and I am sure things will improve.
  • Second thing we noted is that, as it was full but relatively small, it tended to become very noisy – perfect for friends’ dinner, a bit less in that specific case for a romantic rendez-vous.

So – in conclusion: Agave is a new Mexican restaurant at the very end of rue de Hollerich. Decorations are colorful, drinks amazing and food tasty. The place has been opened for less than one month, therefore there might be still room for improvements (for us, the waiting time ). It is a vibrant place with a different kind of cozy atmosphere and I would definitely visit it again on a calmer night to taste other items off their interesting menu list. Strongly recommended for a night out with friends.

 

 

Mamacita, Luxembourg city: good Friday night spot

I visited Mamacita in Luxembourg city as soon as it opened its doors, some years ago. I clearly remember I was not impressed: cocktails were less than average and pricey and food was nothing special. The service, on my first visit, has been really bad and I left particularly annoyed by the waiters’ attitude – they totally ignored us in favor of a kind of “VIP” table next. After this negative experience, I came back there only for some drinks during summer.

But as said several times, I tend to give all the places a second chance after some times, so last week I decided to come back to Mamacita for a Friday night dinner with a colleague who was visiting.

I booked throught their Facebook page – replies were fast and very kind. One improvement point already!

We got there at 8 pm after couple of warm-up drinks next door at White House – good combo on Friday night, even if White House is basically empty at that time, you have the best service and the best tables for you.

We were accompanied to the floor and we got to choose our table between two which were still empty. The room quickly became very busy, with couple of groups celebrating birthday parties.

We started with some frozen margaritas and chilli beers, which we accompanied with a mixed platter of starters for two to share – we were four – and some tequila shots – we were in good mood 🙂

After that, we went for single dishes – I had spicy shrimps while hubby had chilli con carne, similarly my colleague opted for chilli and his wife for a ceviche – and a bottle of Nebbiolo from California. We concluded with some more shots.

Here you have some pictures of our dinner. After that, my impressions about this second try at Mamacita.


  
  
 Thins I loved about Mamacita:

  •  We had great service, indeed. We felt never forgotten by the waiters, notwithstanding the busy evening, and all of them were kind, smiling and in good mood. They granted us a very funny night, thanks.
  • Food was good – not amazing, but still very good. The mixed starter platter was enough to share for 4 people, in particular the quesadillas were very tasty. My main was nice: well presented and fair quantity. I have seen amazing burgers passing in front of me for other tables.
  • Drink selections – my colleague noted it – was very good: between tequilas, beers, wine and cocktails for sure you won’t leave thirsty.
  • The atmosphere is warm and you feel very welcome. Everything is pretty fine priced (we spent 237 Euros in total for 4 persons – 3 cocktails, 3 beers, mixed starter, bottle of wine for 47 euro, 2 platters of shots, 4 main courses).

Things I liked a bit less about Mamacita:

  • I confirm my first time impression on cocktails, unfortunately: frozen margarita was not good at all (lots of ice and syrup) – but as said, you have other things in the list of the drinks you can enjoy more.
  • At a certain point, the room was very very noisy. This might not be definitely a bad point for some, but I would not suggest it for a romantic date or if you want to chat with your mates.

I recommend Mamacita: For amazing and very kind service, nice food at a fair price and great atmosphere. Perfect for a night out in town, parties and celebrations, even for small groups. I will definitely come back soon – during the week – to try the burgers!