Mexico Life
A tlayuda at Pasillo de Humo. A tlayuda at Pasillo de Humo.

Four Condesa restaurants that should be on your eat list

Oaxaca specialties, antojitos and Asian fare await

The culinary landscape of Mexico City is ever-shifting. You find a favorite haunt and by the time you visit again it’s been replaced by something new. It’s hard to keep track of all the places to go.

As a favorite neighborhood for tourists, Colonia Condesa has a slew of restaurants to choose from that can seem overwhelming as your stomach grumbles and you try to decide “Where tonight?”

Here are four places that might not have been around the last time you checked but should be on your radar for the next visit to Condesa.

Pasillo de Humo

With a couple years under its belt, Pasillo de Humo is making quite a name for itself as one of the best places for Oaxacan food in the city. It’s not an empty promise.

This restaurant, in addition to its breezy casual (yet upscale) ambiance, has an excellent variety of classic Oaxacan dishes thoughtfully prepared and presented.

The fried octopus in red mole is heavenly, as well as the confit duck in mole negro, but the menu goes far beyond moles to include tlayudas, memelas, salpicón and other Oaxacan fundamentals. Breakfast here is a favorite among locals.

On the top floor of the gourmet food court Parian de Condesa, Pasillo is a must-stop while you’re visiting.

Chemema

Two years old and a growing local haunt, Chemema keeps a low profile on the edge of Condesa where the neighborhood meets bustling Insurgentes avenue.

The menu (breakfast and lunch, they close at 6:00pm) is a long list of Mexican antojitos (snacks), things like chilaquiles, enfrijoladas, empipipanadas, sopes, eggs a la Mexicana and dozens of juices and smoothies.

Antojitos at Chemema.
Antojitos at Chemema.

The handmade tortillas – the size of the palm of your hand and in four different colors – are made from corn fresh from Tlaxcala farmers and nixtamalizada right on the premises. Everything has been thought out and it shows.

Temporal

Often the pseudo-chic places try to ply you with ambiance but have mediocre fare coming out of the kitchen. Temporal won’t lead you on and let you down. Part of their plus is the fact that the owner is also the chef, a combination that puts food center stage.

They have been around for four years but have a new administration and still aren’t widely well known outside the neighborhood. Try the fall-off-the-bone chamorro (pork shank) in achiote sauce or the salty tuna tostada with a crust of Oaxaca crickets and worm salt or the trout with cilantro cucumbers.

For foodies who like to dress up sometimes, this place makes for an excellent lunch or dinner no matter what your pleasure — meat, poultry, fish or even vegetarian.

Fat Boy Moves

Tiny and unassuming, you will pass right by the concrete-slab interior of Fat Boy Moves unless you know you are looking for it.

Tucked among the motley crew of Asian and Asian-fusion restaurants in Condesa (Asian Bay, one of the hood’s most famous, is just steps away), Fat Boy Moves creates simple, delicious, casual Asian fare like Vietnamese bahn mi sandwiches and Korean bibimbap or bulgogi.

Fat Boy Moves, Korean food in La Condesa.
Fat Boy Moves, Asian food in La Condesa.

Ingredients are fresh and flavors sidle up against each other nicely (an additional treat are the spicy fried cauliflower appetizers). I was encouraged to try their tony donuts or honey-butter chips with ice cream, but both desserts were totally underwhelming.

(If you are a dessert buff head to nearby Glace Bistro for some of the best ice cream in the city, or Blend Station for a coffee.)

Regardless, main plates (and local craft beer) are good enough to make a return visit to Fat Boy inevitable.

Lydia Carey is a freelance writer based in Mexico City.

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