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Good eats in Condesa DF?

FrankieLaRue Mar 31, 2011 06:43 AM

Hi! I am headed to Mexico City in a few weeks and I am looking for some recommendations in the Condesa neighborhood. I will be staying there and I have heard there are lots of good restaurants in the area. Has anyone been or does anyone have recommendations? My budget is mixed. I can do an expensive night or two out but would want to balance that with less expensive nights. I will be there for 4 days. Thanks!!

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    foodinspace RE: FrankieLaRue Mar 31, 2011 07:11 AM

    Scrolling down a bit, you'll see this post:


    for Azul Condesa. I had a fantastic dinner there...one of the best pieces of fish I've ever had.

    1. f
      FrankieLaRue RE: FrankieLaRue Mar 31, 2011 10:45 AM

      Cool, thanks! That is totally the sort of thing i am looking for. perfect. definitely on my list :)

      1. Ora RE: FrankieLaRue Mar 31, 2011 10:58 AM

        I just came back from MEX City. We had great steak tacos at EL CALIFA.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Ora
          cristina RE: Ora Mar 31, 2011 12:37 PM

          To each his/her own...I live in la Condesa and recently ate at El Califa after a friend on another board said it was fabulous. Well...*sigh*. IMHO, it was extraordinarily overpriced and mediocre at best. Both my partner and I ordered house specialties, spent a total of about 200 pesos, and left hungry. We are talking about orders of ordinary tacos, not a full meal. I heartily do not recommend El Califa.

          Azul, on the other hand, is out of this world. After three meals there, I give it four stars for food, three for service, and four for ambiance. Dress well, make a reservation, and have a ball. Don't miss the buñuelos de pato con mole negro--we order them as an appetizer for three or four people. In a couple of weeks, I will review Azul on Mexico Cooks!--watch for it.

          I also strongly recommend Restaurante Flor de Lis, Calle Huichapan 21--not the tamales takeout place, but the full sit-down restaurant. Last time I was there, I had the enmoladas and they were extremely good. Traditional old-timy place, just wonderful.

          Email me, FrankieLaRue, and let's talk about where else to eat. patalarga@baddog.com

          Link: http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

          1. re: cristina
            Soul Vole RE: cristina Apr 1, 2011 12:23 AM

            Wow, well, I am a fan of El Califa but I'm not a fan of everything on the menu. I can understand leaving disappointed. The Gaonas are supposed to be a house specialty but left me flat, and I've had better rib eye.

            Some things I've really liked or loved there: costilla, arrachera, bistec, the coffee, the flan. Also just the fresh-made tortillas. And I find the al pastor quite good. Some other things I won't be ordering again: the costra de pastor and the pollo al pastor.

            But what I love most is their salsa asada. I *adore* that salsa. If all the food were mediocre I'd still go back just for it. It's the chunky one, molcajetada, usually with stems of cilantro and pieces of chile de arbol surviving the grind. If anybody offers a comparable salsa asada I'd love to know about it.

            Thumbs up also for Azul Condesa and Flor de Lis, especially the tamales. (I think somebody once recommended their chilaquiles but I wouldn't. There's much better out there, El Bajío for instance.)

        2. mjs RE: FrankieLaRue Mar 31, 2011 11:41 AM

          El Tizoncito in Tamaulipas street has very traditional tacos al pastor, and late hours.


          4 Replies
          1. re: mjs
            Ora RE: mjs Apr 3, 2011 03:29 PM

            We also tried El Tizoncito in MEX City last week and enjoyed it. Inexpensive prices and good service.

            1. re: Ora
              TheUrbanGrocer RE: Ora Apr 5, 2011 12:59 AM

              I used to live in La Condesa and I loved El Tizoncito. I tried El Califa too and I know for some people it's all about the sauces or the tortillas there but for me, it was bof. El Tizoncito's tacos al pastor were, for me, the best. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. On a hot day those tacos and a beer are all I need.....

              If you're looking for something far off the beaten path but so good and so cheap there is a small shop/ stand/ window with a few old ladies in working in there that make great lunch. I think you can get chicken tacos in a flour tortilla with salsa verde for instance, for like 20 pesos. They have a name but I don't remember it. Find the hotel in Condesa, The Red Tree House (I think it's on Culican?) and it's across the street from there (moving away from Parque Mexico). There is a small bodega and the ladies are right next to it. Go during lunch and you'll see the line.

              OH! And you have to go to El Diez!!! It's amazing Argentine steak. There are a few locations in Condesa but the one on Alfonso Reyes, I think, is the best. SO good.


              Caitlin Zaino | www.TheUrbanGrocer.com

              1. re: TheUrbanGrocer
                Soul Vole RE: TheUrbanGrocer Apr 5, 2011 06:58 AM

                > I tried El Califa too and I know for some people it's all about the sauces or the tortillas

                Well, what a nice thing to say. Yes, all I really care about are salsas and tortillas.

                1. re: TheUrbanGrocer
                  Soul Vole RE: TheUrbanGrocer Apr 5, 2011 07:16 AM

                  My advice as far as tacos al pastor -- well really La Condesa doesn't have the best options. El Califa is decent, not the best. I'm not a big fan of El Tizoncito, which is not to say that it's bad, but it doesn't live up to its ratings, so to speak. I've had some really excellent al pastor at El Faraón ("El Califake" -- an offshoot by ex-Califa people) in Roma Norte on Oaxaca. By which I mean crispy and roasty yet suave and juicy. That's my standard for al pastor. I've never gotten that from El Tizoncito. The best al pastor I've ever had was at El Huequito in Centro. It's worth the short metro ride, or however you get there.

            2. Anonimo RE: FrankieLaRue Apr 2, 2011 06:35 AM

              We had a very enjoyable dinner last June, 2010 at El Racó, on Avenida Sonora. The cuisine is Catalan influenced. Service was superb.

              In a totally different category, Parrilla Quilmes (I believe it's on Av. Alfonso Reyes) is the best Argentine style steakhouse we've dined in.

              1. c
                comiendosiempre RE: FrankieLaRue Apr 2, 2011 10:14 AM

                Another vote for Azul Condesa. Good food, nice room, good crowd. Have fun.

                5 Replies
                1. re: comiendosiempre
                  cristina RE: comiendosiempre Apr 2, 2011 12:24 PM

                  And dress up, this is not your jeans-t-shirt-and-sneakers kind of place. A suit and tie or dress pants and guayaberas with leather shoes for men, high-casual or dressier for women. Gorgeous restaurant, great vibe, incredible food, wonderful drinks (the Mistique mezcal, reposado, is out of this world), beautiful art, mm hmm. Nice to live within walking distance of Azul/Condesa!

                  Link: http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

                  1. re: cristina
                    FrankieLaRue RE: cristina Apr 5, 2011 06:00 AM

                    This is all so cool! Thanks for your help everyone. I will obviously have to head to Azul. I leave in 2 weeks and am really looking forward to it now. Cristina -- as the leave date gets nearer, I'll send you an email. Thanks for the offer to help. That is great.

                    1. re: cristina
                      foodinspace RE: cristina Apr 12, 2011 07:14 AM

                      I've been to Azul several times in jeans and t-shirt....no one seemed to care...I didn't feel out of place at all. In fact, it seemed most of the other clientele were dressed similarly casual. Also, no need for reservations. Every time I've been (3 times) it's been nearly empty...even at 9pm on a Saturday night. In fact the only time I did make a reservation, it wasn't written down anyway.

                      1. re: foodinspace
                        cristina RE: foodinspace Apr 12, 2011 04:19 PM

                        Just goes to show that everyone's experience is different. I've also been to Azul three times and each time the restaurant was packed--for comida, at 3PM. The one time that there was mistakenly no reservation (our error, the member of our party of chefs who was to have called failed to do so), they had to move tables around to accommodate our group. There was barely room for the extra table; we were lucky to be seated. Tonight at 8PM we are going with other visting-fireman friends and we did indeed make a reservation.

                        And no, we're not dressing in our ball gowns, but we are also not going in jeans and t-shirts. The crowd is upscale and my philosophy is 'when in Rome'. No one there will ever come right out and say, 'oh my you look like a bum,' but why let other diners think that about you?

                        Naturally YMMV.

                        Link: http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

                        1. re: foodinspace
                          cristina RE: foodinspace Apr 12, 2011 09:35 PM

                          OK, we are just back from cena at Azul/Condesa. I paid particular attention to the dress of other diners. I wore a long black linen skirt, a gray linen blouse, black sandals, and carried a fire-engine red purse. My partner wore a long deep blue skirt, a cream-colored linen blouse, and cream colored sandals. Our two women dinner companions wore similar things. The rest of the patrons were dressed in various styles, from business casual up to pretty dressy. We got there at 8PM and about 6 tables were occupied downstairs; I didn't go upstairs. Within half an hour, the room was packed. We left at 11PM after a delicious meal--the theme for the month is MMMM...Mango!--and we ordered buñuelos of roast duck with mole negro as an appetizer, cold mango and mint soup, and my partner and I shared an order of sauteed shrimp with mango salsa. It was a delightful evening full of surprises, including surprise visits to our table by several notable Mexican chefs. Only one, who had been working, was wearing his chef's jacket, the rest were dressed quite well. No sneakers in sight.

                          Link: http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

                    2. Soul Vole RE: FrankieLaRue Apr 5, 2011 11:32 PM

                      Some more ideas:

                      El Contramar - For seafood, this goes without saying.
                      Pablo el Erizo - Good for when you're craving Ensanada-style seafood.
                      Damiana - Traditional Mexican, excellent.
                      Canneo Bistro - A mix of traditional Oaxacan and nueva cocina. The lasagna in mole seems to be their signature bet, and, though skeptical, I really liked it.
                      Charro - Nueva cocina. I've only been once but I really enjoyed it.
                      Xel-Ha - Seems a very decent choice for a Yucatecan fix except for the crappy panuchos.
                      Matisse - Always a great option, excellent breakfasts.
                      Tacos el Greco - A change of pace from the usual al pastor, sort of taking it back to its Middle Eastern roots.
                      Tacos Gus - Tacos de guisdado and more. The outcome of a rift between the brothers running the famous Tacos Hola, El Güero. Seems to me Gustavo is winning. Both are highly recommendable.
                      El Califa - I present exhibits A and B.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Soul Vole
                        Soul Vole RE: Soul Vole Apr 5, 2011 11:38 PM

                        Sigh, exhibit B here, I hope:

                        1. re: Soul Vole
                          Soul Vole RE: Soul Vole Apr 6, 2011 02:55 AM

                          Oh, exhibit B is El Tizoncito.

                          1. re: Soul Vole
                            TheUrbanGrocer RE: Soul Vole Apr 20, 2011 07:45 PM

                            I want to eat Exhibit B.

                            1. re: TheUrbanGrocer
                              Soul Vole RE: TheUrbanGrocer Apr 22, 2011 04:42 AM

                              I went back to El Tizoncito for the umpteenth time last night on the weight of your recommendations. Maybe I've just hit them on bad days, over and over and over again. I know al pastor can be highly variable. El Faraón has served me some of the best and some of the worst pastor I've ever witnessed, all in the same seating. (It looked like they were training somebody on the trompo that night.) As with every other visit I found El Tizoncito's al pastor soft and dull and while not unenjoyable not standout either. Same as every visit before. And they're just a couple blocks away. I really wish they were better.

                              I like that they serve totopos and refried beans in the salsa rack. Except when the beans are completely cold, like last night.

                              The other night I went back to El Farolito after a fair absence and had some really outstanding tacos al pastor. Crispy and flavorful, the way I like it. (I hope I managed to explain my preferences.) I'd forgotten how well they can do them and I'd like to amend my comment above and say that there *is* very good al pastor to be had en La Condesa.

                              By my preferences El Califa would probably rank #2.

                        2. cristina RE: FrankieLaRue Apr 6, 2011 10:53 AM

                          If you get a craving for french fries in Condesa, you can't do better than Hamburguesas MEMOrables, on Nuevo León almost to the corner of Aguascalientes. Their burgers could be better, but the fries are out of this world.

                          Link: http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: cristina
                            Soul Vole RE: cristina Apr 6, 2011 10:07 PM

                            Have you tried the hamburger at Primos? Dee-vine! Perfectly seasoned and cooked with thick, crunchy red onion on fresh baguette. Maybe the best I've had in Mexico. Great fries too. With fries included, at $80 it's actually cheaper than Hamburguesas Memorables and quite a bit cheaper than Barracuda Diner. The gourmet hot dog is also outstanding, and I was going to mention them for their torta ahogada de pavo but guess I forgot.

                            1. re: Soul Vole
                              Anonimo RE: Soul Vole Apr 23, 2011 03:55 AM

                              I had the excellent hamburger at Sobrino's in La Roma last Friday evening April 15. It exceeeded my expectations. The French Fries were good, although I still the fresh simplicity of the fresh cut fries of Hamburguesa's Richards, in Morelia. And I still like the cheaper but tasty and juicy street stand burgers at the Hamburguesas a la Parrilla, on the corner of C/ Colima and C/ Morelia, in Colonia Roma Nte.

                              I wanted a glass of red wine with my Primo's/Sobrino's burger, but the prices, starting at $110 pesos a glass were deterring. So I had a Cerveza Bohemia Oscura instead.

                              Sobrino's burger photos:


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