11616 Ventura Boulevard
Photo courtesy of Cocina Condesa
Cocina CondesaEnjoy authentic Mexican street food—and one of the only Mezcalerias in the city—while sitting in an open-air space decorated with artifacts from south of the border. Cocina Condesa Executive Chef M. Elena Vega grew up in the seaside town of Tuxpan in Nayarit, and learned to cook under the guidance of her beloved grandmother, Aurora Aguilar. A graduate from the world-renowned Le Cordon Bleu, Vega created her own pop-up in Santa Ana. Y Tú Mamá También was an authentic Mexican eatery that’s still remembered by many.
Vega's culinary creativity shines through in such dishes as the chocolate mole chicken enchiladas with refried white beans and red quinoa. Now add agave expert Gilbert Marquez to the mix (Mexicano, Mercado, El Carmen and Tacoteca), who has teamed up with Joe Valdovinos as the executive beverage director of the Mezcaleria. Steering clear of sweet, fruity drinks, their goal is to educate mezcal skeptics and turn them into fans.
Happy hour (3–6:30 p.m.) is a good time to try a drink or two. Taco Tuesdays are even better: You can also grab two tacos, including braised pork shoulder or Baja style fish, for only $5.