Inside look at chef Vicente Del Rio’s Casa Azul Cantina

Mexican cuisine can be enjoyed by all walks of life, from your local taco stand to elevated restaurant cuisine. Now the folks of the Westside can enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine at Casa Azul Cantina in Westwood, CA from chef and restauranteur of the FRIDA Restaurant Group, Vicente Del Rio. Learning his craft from his mother and grandmother, Chef Del Rio’s authentic and traditional Mexican cuisine rivals that which you would find in Mexico. As Vicente tells us “if you go to any part of Mexico, you can find this food there.”

The concept

This tapas styled restaurant, alongside the other restaurants of the FRIDA Restaurant Group, is inspired by artist Frida Kahlo, who as Chef Vicente tells us “was not just a great artist, but also a great cook.” Providing the ambiance of a modern Mexican cantina and highlighting Mexican culture, the decor within Casa Azul Cantina is adorned with authentic art pieces, such as the large painted mural from Puebla, Mexico lining the back wall.

Casa Azul, named after Frida Kahlo’s home and now museum in Mexico City, is a casual and fun yet slightly high end dining experience paralleled by uniquely authentic food, illustrating Chef Del Rio’s “passion for good food.”

Drink and eat

Boasting of great Mexican cuisine, Casa Azul’s extensive menu extends from Botanas (appetizers) such as Guacamole en Molcajete with tortilla strips – made with fresh avocado mixed with onions, jalapeño chile, tomato and cilantro and fresh lime juice prepared table-side and Aguachile de Camarón – Fresh shrimp marinated in a spicy lime serrano pepper sauce with onions, avocado cilantro and cucumbers, topped with extra virgin olive oil; to their Especialidades de la Casa (house specials) such as their signature entree the Mole Poblano – Chicken simmered in a delicious chile chocolate sauce consisting of over 50 ingredients, served with rice, re-fried beans, a cheese gordita and fresh handmade corn tortillas, and the Halibut al Meunier – Fresh halibut in a butter and lime sauce, served with white rice and vegetables.

The Mexican inspired dishes didn’t stop there, as the culture and heritage is also reflected in the extensive lists of beers, wines, specialty cocktails, and tequila. Including the “CASA AZUL MARGARITA” – the signature margarita, prepared with Patron silver tequila, cointreau, Sweet & sour and a splash of orange juice and fresh lime juice and the “El Diablo” – jalapeño margarita in mild, medium or El Diablo.