Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Phoenix >
Mar 11, 2010 08:40 PM

Endorsement: El Nopalito

This hungry chulo had a mid-afternoon meeting out on the west side and elected to take a late lunch before going out there -- off-peak increases the chances for a quick lunch in a small or very popular place, verdad? I went in, sized it up and sat down like the other 6-8 patrons in the small green-painted room. Most everyone was chatting in Mexican/Spanish but the ladies tending the room conversed with this gringo cheerfully in English.

I love burros but I opted for four street tacos at a buck apiece. No carnitas available, but I had the carne asada, al pastor (pork), adobada (puerco again) and chicken, which is pollo por los gringos out there. I had a diet Coke (sue me, okay?) in a plastic bottle ($1.99!!! practically the most expensive thing on the menu!) but I saw the tell-tale scarred glass bottles of Coke on the other tables.

They all were very tasty -- delicious, in fact. I should have had eight or nine of them. Next time? Nah -- I'll get a burro, check out the beans ... the salsas were decent. The red was servicable; the green was better with more kick and texture.

I dug it and I will return someday.

The only downside was after I parked I navigated around a, um, bum who was forking in a salad a few feet away from the door. I'm a city boy and used to bums and all that -- some may say I'm a bum too -- I only wondered where he got the salad and did he prefer it al fresco or would he have enjoyed it more inside.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Love El Nopalito as well, but La Condesa on 16th St. is now seducing my passion for tacos. I ate at the latter today and drove by the former on the way home... and kinda felt like I cheated!

    They are both two distinct experiences and like a parent, I couldn't choose a favorite, nor is this post meant to compare. I simply wanted to point out another great option in the area.

    8 Replies
    1. re: tastyjon

      Where on 16th st is La Condesa?


      1. re: tastyjon

        I really liked the Shrimp Quesa I got at La Condesa but it was defintely a major gut bomb! Its like a deep fried calzone made of masa dough. One of my new favorite indulgences!

        I was a little disappointed with the conchinita. It seemed like they just took some slow cooked pork and added the sauce; it did not taste like it was infused during the cooking process and it was too wt. I think they throw the same sauce on the chicken as well.

        I liked the variety of salsas but not one of them stuck out to me as being really good.

        I will get back there soon to try the carne asada and the shark tacos, both of which looked good on a neighboring table.

        1. re: drobe30

          Had lunch at La Condesa today; muy bueno! My buddy arrived before I did and ordered some kind of huge quesadilla and a horchata (?) that had tons of good-looking debris in it. I ordered a plato including a cochinita pibil burro and a black mole taco (chicken). Both were excellent but if I had to do it over I would have the mole in the burro (more mole) and the pork taco. The cochinita was very good but a little fattier than I prefer. The salsas were fantastic! Had to be a dozen of them -- the red peanut one was tasty, the avocado one quite good, the tomatillo servicable, strawberry very good, and so on ... go there, it's great, and they are nice people. I want to go back and check out the tinga and the asada.

          1. re: misohungrychewlow

            I got take-out several weeks ago and am puzzled -- how do you all know which salsas are which? They weren't labeled (at least not on my visit). Did a server give you a "tour" of the salsa bar, or have they started labeling things or what? I'd read positive comments about the strawberry salsa, the watermelon salsa, etc. and was excited to try them but then was faced with vats of nameless, mysterious salsas (I could have asked, of course, but didn't take the time so just tried a few at random).

            I had a cochinita taco and a carne asada taco. Both were tasty but a little on the fatty side, for the record. I am looking forward to trying some of the other offerings.

            1. re: Bax

              Regarding some problems at La Condesa, I would say they were experiencing a rocky stretch, a couple of weeks ago. I was worried, but, they seem to be getting it back together, now. Let's hope the manager stays involved and keeps the talent. One day I was there, the salsas were not set up properly at all, and I wasn't given any chips.

              El Nopalito
              2831 N 24th St, Phoenix, AZ 85008

              La Condesa Gourmet Taco Shop
              1919 N 16th St, Phoenix, AZ 85006

              1. re: Bax

                Within the last couple of weeks, they rolled out signs next to each salsa.

                1. re: azhotdish

                  Ate at La Condesa yesterday. Food came out very quickly and much, much faster than my first visit. Salsa's had signs. I had the Cochinita Pibil Quesa which was great. Those with me had beef tacos and carne asada burrito and enjoyed both.