Galería Nina Menocal
Rafael Rebollar #56, Colonia Condesa
The Cuban-born Nina Menocal is the legendary force who has propelled the careers of many contemporary Mexican and Cuban artists and curators, among them the now legendary Felix Gonzalez-Torres, who she showed in Mexico in the early 1990's. Aside from presenting the work of established international artists like Rosa Brun and Atelier Morales, Menocal also organizes small buying trips to Cuba for serious collectors. The gallery is by appointment only. Photograph by Patrick Pettersson
Gob. Rafael Rebollar 94, Colonia Condesa
Monica Manzutto and her husband José Kuri's gallery is probably the first to roll off anyone's tongue when talking about the contemporary art scene in Mexico. Together with their pal Gabriel Orozco, probably Mexico's most famous contemporary artist, in the early 2000's they came up with the idea of presenting the work of their contemporaries in pop-up spaces all over the city (and the world). Of course, nowadays, those artists—among them, Daniel Guzmán, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Damián Ortega—are big names and so is Kurimanzutto, which settled into a gorgeous gallery space in 2008, with quite the roster of local and international artists. Don't miss this gallery: The exquisite Alberto Kalach-designed space is worth the visit alone—it's one of our favorite examples of contemporary architecture in the city.
Alfonso Reyes 232, Colonia Condesa
It was only a matter of time before Mexico City got its own hipster fair-trade artisanal café, and this teensy one couldn't be more on point when it comes to sustainability. As the name implies, the perfectly roasted and brewed espresso comes from a small grower in the state of Veracruz, which is famous for its coffee. Fittingly, they serve up a great café con leche, a warm and sweet milky coffee drink that's famous in that part of the country, along with cappuccinos, matcha lattes, chai teas, and more.
Ojo de Agua
Glorieta Citlaltepetl 23, Colonia Condesa
Freshly squeezed fruit juices are a regular part of everyday life in Mexico city. You can buy them by the liter at any local market, and with rare fruits like guava, pitahaya, and watermelon, the variety of combos is hard to beat. So it was only a matter of time before someone came along and made it all a bit healthier. At Ojo de Agua, they make fruit juices fresh from the ingredients in their rustic, market-like display, along with the healthier, green juice options—many with cactus leaf—ginger shots, and the like. In addition to the juices, their menu of super fresh salads and veggie sandwiches come as a nice relief from the tacos and tortas that make up most every other day's dining.
Yucatán 84 Local E., Colonia Condesa
The guys behind the ever popular El Parnita have gone out and revealed some of their secret ingredients at this new gourmet shop. They're stocking all their favorite finds from across the country—cheese, wine, chilies, spices—along with their own jams, moles, olive oils, etc. They've also designed beautiful packaging, not to mention gift boxes, making this an ideal place to buy hostess gifts and mementos.
Fernando Montes de Oca #89, Colonia Condesa
The Condesa locale of this authentic soda fountain and sorbet (nieve) shop has been around since the late 1940's, serving up light sorbets, milkshakes, and ice cream sundaes. Today it remains pretty much unchanged and totally retro, with the addition of a few well-executed replicas in other Mexico City neighborhoods. While they'll put together a mean banana split, a single scoop cone of any of their sorbets (lemon, mandarin, mamey, chicozapote, melon, pineapple, etc.) hits the spot.
Av. Ozuluama #4, Colonia Condesa
Many traditional Mexican pastries like the Concha and the Oreja can be traced back to French origins, so this pretty Parisian-inspired café makes perfect sense. Here, coffees, Mexican egg breakfasts, and perfect pastries are served in the airy dining room and outside on a leafy, secluded corner in the Condesa. Besides the bread, the best thing about this place are the old-school pinafores and lacy aprons that the bakers wear. There's a second location in Polanco.
Altata 22, Colonia Condesa
Choosing your taqueria chain in Mexico City is kind of like choosing your soccer team: It's likely to cause some debate and is a marker of age, social standing, tastes, and politics. The main divide seems to be between El Farolito and El Califa, so much so, that there is one street in the Condesa where the two warring factions are directly across from one another. Both serve great tacos, whether its steak, nopal, chicken, pork belly, or the standard al pastor (spit-fired, marinated pork), but each has its own specialties. Farolito, which is slightly more old-school has its own salsa especial recipe, a mix of all their salsas thrown together on the grill—dangerously spicy and addictive. Meanwhile, the Califa, the hipster's taqueria of choice, offers "the Costra" which was invented in a taco stand outside one of the upscale nightclubs in the 90's and became legendary: it's a tortilla topped with an abundant amount of crisped cheese and then filled with a meat topping. Try both: We try to be non-partisan when it comes to tacos (though we're starting to lean toward El Califa).
Amsterdam 204, Colonia Condesa
This spot from the owners of Contramar is yet another successful foray into importing quality seafood to Mexico City. With their support, Chef Jair Tellez, who first made a name for himself with Laja, a restaurant located in the Valle de Guadalupe wine region in the Baja Peninsula, brings his brand of Spanish-influenced, northern coastal cuisine to this street-side deck dining room in the Condesa. In the spirit of surf and turf for which the restaurant is named, there are delicate ceviches, seasonal salads, whole roasted fish, and serious hunks of lamb and pork on offer. Along with the food, the wine list boasts many of Mexico's best producers from the Ensenada region in the north, and there are Mexican craft beers available, too.
Ometusco 87, Colonia Condesa
The Condesa neighborhood is packed with hipster bars that are now past their prime, but Felina is tucked away enough that it still feels like a discovery. With its specialty rum-based cocktails and mid-century furnishings—which got a major revamp this year—it has a little bit of a Mad Men feel. The bar's arty crowd heads here after work and on lazy weekend afternoons to enjoy the drinks, watch the skilled bartenders, and listen to the great playlists of obscure soul which the bar is famous for. Get there late and you'll be standing.