Central Park

Cafe Frida

There's a fajita on the menu because, as the friendly waiters will tell you, that's what people expect from Mexican restaurants, especially a bustling, swanky one on the Upper West Side. However, the rest of the menu is authentically Mexican, not Tex-Mex, and nicely done to boot. Start off with a margarita at the bar while you wait for a table. Then turn to a tart, chunky, addictive guacamole that arrives in a traditional stone molcajete. For a main dish, you can choose a familiar favorite like an enchilada or a satisfying but somewhat bland chile relleno, but we recommend trying some of the less familiar dishes on the menu, like the exceptional lamb shank cooked in parchment paper. The overall quality of the food makes Frida worth its high price, the one thing besides the fajita that's not authentically Mexican. — Lauren Aaronson

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