The yellow stucco imposed over La Condesa's brick exterior gives the restaurant a less appealing veneer than your local Taco Bell. However, spend some time inside and you'll find La Condesa's food and ambience light-years beyond anything Taco Bell could achieve.
Pleasantly straying from the typical primary-colored Mexican decor, La Condesa's walls (and even parts of the ceiling) are sponge-painted with coral and sea green hues and dotted with indigenous masks. The menu features nearly two dozen appetizers plus entrees that run the gamut from steak, chicken and shrimp to tuna and tilapia. Most of the dinner options fall between $9 and $12 and come with rice, beans, salad and an order of tortillas.
The caldo tlalpeno, chicken soup with bacon, celery, vegetables and chipotle pepper, is highly recommended. Breakfast (mainly featuring eggs) is served daily from 8 a.m. to noon, but if you're craving early morning food outside that time frame, $1.50 extra will help you fulfill your desire. You'll frequently hear the clientele speaking Spanish, and, while it's not a necessity to be bilingual, in-depth descriptions of dishes may prove difficult to understand if the only vocab you know is "queso" or "pollo."
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Laura Brown