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Nov 9, 2011 11:21 AM

Azul Condesa or Azul y Oro?

We'll be in Mexico City in early December. In the past, I've heard a lot about Azul y Oro from friends so it is high on my list. I've only read about Azul Condesa which sounds great too. Which is better? Are reservations needed at both or only Azul Condesa?

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  1. Unless you are already going to be at UNAM, such as to see the museum or the architecture or a student there, Azul Condesa is a lot easier to get to, and the Condesa location also serves wine and cocktails (good ones, too!), which as best I can recall are not available at the original location. The menu is otherwise the same. It is definitely worth the high placement on your list!

    15 Replies
    1. re: foodeye

      Thanks. I actually wanted to know which location has the better kitchen. I'd heard that Azul y Oro was better, more reliable, and wondered if that was true, or still true.

      1. re: Indigo

        I think that is probably true. I was at Azul Condesa in mid-July of this year. I walked in, by myself, without a reservation, about 8:30/9:00ish pm and the restaurant was nearly empty.

        My meal was perfectly fine, but not really great. There were a number of missteps on my entree plate such as unripe tomatoes in the salsa cruda and a black bean puree that was overly salty. Service is efficient but not particularly warm or welcoming. I strongly suspect the food may have fewer bobbles when Ricardo is in the kitchen, but maybe not. In spite of the missteps, I would go back - more likely during the day for comida - and eat there again. Azul y Oro at UNAM is less formal and probably at this time a little more consistent.

        1. re: DiningDiva

          Thank you for the information regarding Azul Condesa. We will be in DF later this week for a couple of days. Do you go to UNAM better for lunch or dinner? I mean, is it deserted for dinner? Also, do you need a reservation for Azul y Oro at UNAM, if so, how many days in advance? We would want to go this coming Friday.

          1. re: nk1810

            OK, a few thoughts about your question. First of all, know that I completely respect DD's opinions about restaurants and food AND we are good in-person friends, eating together as often as possible both in her home town and here in Mexico.

            My differing opinion about Azul/Condesa is based on proximity and frequency of dining there. I live in Mexico City, within walking distance of Azul/Condesa, and eat there quite often--about once a month, the last time being December 23.

            In the beginning--Azul/Condesa opened exactly a year ago--both the service and the food were uneven. DD last ate there in July, only six months after the restaurant opened. In July, I was also experiencing the uneven nature of the kitchen and the wait staff.

            Within the last several months, things have definitely changed. Azul/Condesa, IMHO, runs like a well-oiled machine--in the best possible sense. Service is attentive without being intrusive, wait staff pays attention to all the little details you want noticed without being asked, and the kitchen is sublime. Right now, the monthly special menu features all kinds of chiles rellenos; the standard menu is also available if you prefer to eat something other than chiles rellenos.

            The group of six who dined together on December 23 ordered a variety of menu items: two or three appetizers to share, fish for some, sea snails for another, the wildly and deservedly popular buñuelos de pato con mole negro for another, beef filet for one, enchiladas de pollo con mole negro for me, and one other dish I can't remember. The house brought us a plate of tostadas de bacalao a la vizcaína as a little Christmas treat. Everyone all but licked his or her plate! We shared a couple of desserts around the table--the pastel de café pluma and the pastel de tres leches, both simply outstanding. We all had varieties of coffee, either americano or cappuchino. We drank cocktails before dinner and Casa Madero Shiraz, both by the bottle and by the glass, with the meal. The bill, in case it matters, was about 2500 pesos plus tip, for the six of us.

            Unless you are staying in the UNAM vicinity, it's a very long trek to get there. Azul y Oro, just to the side of the Sala Nezahuacóyotl, is not particularly easy to find. It's only open till 9PM on weekdays and 7PM on Sundays, which might not give you enough time for a leisurely evening meal. Remember that if you are staying in the central part of Mexico City, it can take more than an hour to get to the UNAM even if the traffic is relatively light. There's parking under the Sala, but if you are relying on public transportation, it can be tricky at night to find a cab that knows how to get there and then find a cab AT ALL to get you back to your lodgings.

            If I were you, I would stick with Azul/Condesa. It's at Nuevo León #68 in Colonia La Condesa, an easy cab ride from almost anywhere in the central part of the city. Be sure to make reservations.

            Side note: Ricardo Muñoz Zurita's newest effort, Azul Histórico, opens this week at Isabel la Católica #30 in the Centro Histórico. Management will be the same as that at Azul/Condesa. We can hardly wait to go.


            1. re: cristina

              Could not agree more with Cristina. I eat at Azul Condesa at least once a month, always trying at least one dish from their featured monthly cuisine, and I feel like it has been super solid for a while now. I have had one meal where the desserts underwhelmed - two were just not that flavorful and one cake was way too dense - I don´t often order dessert there, but thought I remembered a great one the first time I went?

              I just can't see any reason to brave the traffic down to UNAM if you won't already be there - traffic is rarely light going south unless it's the morning.

              Yes, do make reservations if you are going in the Mexican dinner hour - between 9 and 11pm. I go often on weekdays and find that a table is only reliable if you are arriving after 10pm. On weekends I've been turned away. Downstairs is prettiest, upstairs is warmer.

              1. re: gueraaven

                Cristina, many thanks for your advice and explanations. We ate at Azul Condesa and were very happy. Very good food and excellent value. We particularly loved the chile poblano relleno (the first one on the special menu) and the tortilla soup. Also, the best margaritas we had at a restaurant during our stay in Mexico City. As you said, the staff was also very attentive.

                1. re: nk1810

                  Cristina: I saw your write-up of Azul Historico. So now, which one do you recommend? We're so overwhelmed with reading about fondas, street food and cantinas that we're probably going to whittle down our "nicer" sit down dining to one dinner. There are so many options!


                  1. re: kukubura

                    Kukubura el al: I would say that the choice is up to you. If you are downtown, there would be no reason to make a special trip to Azul/Condesa. If you are in la Condesa, plan to eat at Azul/Condesa. The menus are the same at both.

                    I will say--not having been asked--that ONE higher end meal in Mexico City is not nearly enough. You'll be here nine days, after all.


                    1. re: cristina

                      It's true! There are too many options! Maybe we'll expand. IF we were to limit to, say, two sit-down meals of that sort, and we were looking for places that really do something new and different, but are still clearly inspired by great history of Mexican cuisine, which would they be? We saw Pujol on Bourdain's show and while it looks like an excellent restaurant it didn't quite inspire us to want to eat there on a relatively short trip. If we lived there we certainly would.

                      1. re: kukubura

                        IMHO--and I'm sure there will be other opinions--Dulce Patria and one of the Azules, all the way. Here's why I pick Dulce Patria:

                        --Jaso is really upscale American with an incredible savory chef AND an over-the-moon pastry chef. But it is not Mexican. Go for dessert!

                        --Izote is not a warm room, although the chef is terrific, the food is wonderful and totally Mexican. Gets a little minus for ambiance--it's better since the remodeling, but still a little hard-edge and minimalist for my taste.

                        --El Bajío is wonderful both in its warm ambiance and its food, it's absolutely Mexican, but is not high end and it's fairly far north in the city--a little out of the way. It's a do-not-miss, but in a more down-home way.

                        Back to Dulce Patria: Martha Ortiz pulls off a warm atmosphere, fabulous high-end Mexican food (including cocina de autor based on traditional ingredients and recipes), and glorious presentations. Anatole France 100, Col. Polanco.

                        I agree with you about Pujol.

                        As I said, this is just my opinion. It's hard to say, 'Oh, you gotta do this!'--because what if you don't like it, and it's one of the two you pick? Somebody else, please weigh in!

                        1. re: cristina

                          Thanks for the thoughts! El Baijo is definitely on the list, although not as a high-end. I thought it was more homestyle, from what I'd read.

                          1. re: cristina

                            could not agree more with Cristina

                            1. re: cristina

                              How about R. Monte Cristo? I rarely hear anyone mention it yet a couple of years ago a friend raved about the food-place-service. It's on Insurgentes N, near the Indios Verde metro stop, not an easy location I suppose.

                            2. re: kukubura

                              kukubura: I wouldn't miss Pujol. Everything about the place is spectacular.

                      2. re: gueraaven

                        Gueraaven: If you haven't sampled Chef Munoz-Zurita's Pan d'Elote, be sure to order it for dessert on your next visit. It's unlike any other you've ever tried. and I can't get that taste memory out of my head.