Two Perspectives: By Jen Betts and Melissa Curtin
Those who live in Los Angeles can get street food in many places. Grabbing a simple hot dog or taco is a habit of many while wandering the streets of LA. However, if you are looking for an experience with delicious Mexican street food, Cocina Condesa is the spot. Located on Studio City’s Ventura Boulevard, also known as restaurant row, Chef Eddie Garcia is serving up some serious eats.
Cocina Condesa offers happy hour, brunch, taco Tuesdays, and a killer dinner menu. There is patio dining, allowing guests to observe the bright exterior colors, while those who choose inside dining view colorful lights and interesting rustic Mexican décor around a lively bar.
Chef Garcia features a menu with all the notorious Mexican dishes favorited by many, such as, tacos, guacamoles, enchiladas, burritos, and ceviches. There is a modern Mexican spin on some dishes such as the Mexican Kale Salad, the Cauliflower Tacos, or the Ahi Tuna Tostaditos that are packed with flavor, but healthy enough to indulge. Cocina Condesa’s cocktail concoctions are made with some of the best tequila and mezcal offered in Los Angeles. Guests should come to Cocina Condesa for the bar menu itself. There are over 20 different mezcals and tequilas.
Cocina Condesa offers an experience better than most Mexican establishments in Los Angeles because of the food and drinks alone! Eating out can be expensive, and time consuming. The trip to Cocina Condesa is well worth it. Sure, the food resembles street finds and Mexican favorites, but the perfection in taste of these items makes Cocina Condesa a must-visit for Angelenos and Los Angeles tourists.
LaLaScoop shares two perspectives. Two girls, Jen Betts and Melissa Curtin dined at Cocina Condesa on separate occasions. Here’s what they had to say about their favorite dinner menu items.
Guacamoles and Salsas
Guacamole Fuego– made with hass avocados, cilantro, red onion, lime, sea salt, habanera chili, and golden raisins. Delicious and easy to make at home, addicting in flavor. I would order this every time with a cocktail. Those who are stopping by for a quick drink should order this appetizer.
Guacamole Loco – spiced mango, cotija cheese, lime and toasted crickets. Of course I had to order this due to the crickets! It was amusing to see my friend dig into this guacamole with no idea she was eating four legged hoppers and loving every bite. The crickets almost tasted like candied cranberries. Excellent flavor combination!
Guacamole Chingon – Another unusual quacamole that won me over even with my simple taste buds. Crispy chickarrones, dried apricots, and pomegranate seeds are delightful on top of guacamole.
Mexican Kale Salad– made with wild kale, arugula, queso fresco, candied pepitas, shaved carrots, dried strawberries, chipotle pesto, croutons, strawberry, and lime vinaigrette. Angelenos are conscious about what they eat. This dish is fresh, tasty, and will not have you leaving Cocina Condesa full or in a Mexican food coma. Those who just finished a workout session and meeting a friend for fun can spoil themselves with this dish.
Carnitas- pork shoulder, cilantro, salsa, red onion, and lime. There are no words that describe how absolutely delicious these tacos are. You just need to visit to understand. The meat is juicy, and the smoky flavor to the pork is outstanding. Those visiting for Taco Tuesday- here is what you order!
Chorizo & Papas- made with peewee potatoes, radishes, and charred jalapenos. This is such a simple taco for two, but the heat with this taco will leave any saying “what is this?” It is a taco that is perfect as a starter, and worth the try.
Panuchos de Tinga- made with Mary’s chicken, cotija cheese, salsa chipotle, shredded lettuce, and cream fresca. These tacos are pretty much a reason why someone should dine at Cocina Condesa. The chicken is to die for! Period. Those who are local and lunching, these are a must order.
Cerveza Battered Camaron – I always opt for the shrimp and in this case beer battered shrimp with a nice crunch combined with papaya jicama slaw and avocado salsa is a nice way to start your meal.
Carnitas – Who can pass up succulent braised meat in a house made corn tortilla?
Don’t forget: TACO TUESDAYS ($5 for two tacos)
Antojitos “Little Cravings”: (Literally we could have picked everything!)
Carne Con Queso- made with manchego, shredded brisket, peewee potatoes, pico de gallo, and pickled fresno chiles. This dish is delicious, packed with flavor, and no one else in LA is serving this. Those who come to Cocina Condesa and want to try a dish that offers comfort, this is what you order. This dish is perfect for a girl’s night out, shared, or with cocktails by your side.
Street Corn– served on the cobb with tapatio aioli, cotija cheese, chili, and lime. This appetizer dish is a stable for Cocina Condesa; all who dine should order this. It exudes what the restaurant is. There is no street cart that is serving street corn this good.
Chile Rellano– made with a roasted Pasilla chile, melted Oaxaca, salsa verde, and topped with two fried eggs. This item is unbelievable. Served over Mexican rice, the Chile Rellano is my favorite item.
Carne Con Queso – The manchego cheese oozing over the shredded brisket atop tiny roasted fingerling potatoes in a simmering pan may be the best comfort food invention. The huge portion could feed at least four as an appetizer, or take home the leftovers because you will be missing this dish the moment you wake up.
Fried Sweet Plantains – This huge portion of large sliced plantains is drizzled with honey lime sour cream and cotija cheese and almost feels like dessert. You may want to save this one for your final menu item. This is a yummy sweet and sour twist.
Street Corn – Sweet and savory, but spicy with a kick thanks to being doused in a cheese, chili, lime, aioli sauce. It may be hard to stop at just one.
All of these “little cravings” should not be missed.
Chocolate Mole Chicken Enchiladas– made with three enchiladas, chile cocoa mole, refried white beans, and Mexican rice. Packed with spice, those dining on a date, one person needs to order this, and let the other taste.
Cocktails and Beverages
Bonita Chica– made with vodka, pomegranate juice, orange liquor, and fresh lime juice. Those searching for a delicious drink with no tequila, this is the way to go.
Boyz in the Hood– made with gin, quina tonic, fresh lime juice, colt 45 simple syrup, club soda. This drink has a fun appearance! It comes in a baby bag giving you the hood-feel while guzzling it down. Tasty!
Maestro– made with mescal espadin, fresh lemon juice, fresh ginger, fresno chile infused honey, chapulines-spiced salt rim. Too many of these and you will leave Cocina Condesa with no regrets. This is the winner drink.
La Cucaracha- made with horchata, bacadri spiced rum, candied almond, a salted rim, and house cinnamon simple syrup. This drink is dessert. It is delicious and unlike anything I have tasted in LA. Cheers!
Fresh squeezed watermelon and lime juice, non-alcolohic. Not on the menu, but refreshing!
Horchata with rice, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon over ice is always my favorite and it’s made extra special here.
Although I wanted to try the Horchata Panna Cotta and Mini Churros with caramel sauce, I only found room for bites of this coconut style ice-cream with caramel sauce atop a brownie. Not on the menu but worth every calorie.
Cocina Condesa is successfully serving California-style Mexican eats with a unique twist.
11616 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA