After Work Hotspots: Condado.

IMG_2217Everyone knows that Pittsburgh is a great city, but a little secret everyone might not be in on is that its home of some fantastic tacos. A new place popped up a few months ago and it’s making some serious fiesta waves. I’m talking about Condado – home of tacos, tequila and margaritas.

It’s not everyone’s conventional “last meal before a big race” dinner, but we had the craving for tacos and Condado seemed like the cure. Located downtown on Liberty Avenue, the bright colors and artistic Mexican folk art lure you inside.

The place is divided into two levels. The first level has a large bar and several long tables in the middle of the room. Black and white Mexican skull designs paint the walls and give you the urge to paint the designs like a coloring book.IMG_2220

Follow the stairs painted “Tequila” to the top where the dapper skeleton greets you and you’ll find yourself on level two. It’s a bit more colorful, yet continues to carry the “Day of the Dead” fiesta look with another bar full of margaritas and tequila.

We followed the tequila pathway upstairs, got a window seat and took a look at the drink options. They have plenty of margarita flavors and for an extra dollar, you can have fresh fruit puree added to your already refreshing beverage. I had never had a banana margarita before, but the flavor intrigued me. After a couple of sips, I was sold and the puree was worth every cent.

We thought we’d get this fiesta started some chips and dips. Condado offers a three dip special called el tres amigos that features your choice of a salsa, queso and guacamole. Each has a few options to choose from, we selected the corn salsa, the blanco queso and the tuscan guac.IMG_2221

The spread arrived with a couple bowls of fried and flaky chips and the bonus of salsa verde on the side. The queso was creamy and the guac was garnished with some extra flavor on the top. The corn salsa was my favorite though. Beneath the layer of corn was a creamy queso layer that really hit the spot.

Now pay attention to the taco ordering process because you have a couple options. You have two lists to look at that can be found in a box at the edge of your table. Both are lists with checkboxes, but one has suggested menu items and the other allows you to build your own tacos.IMG_2226

I decided to build a couple of my own tacos. I will admit, it was a little overwhelming.

For the first taco, I selected the flour tortilla filled with roasted pollo, jicama cabbage slaw, chihuahua, salsa verde, cilantro and lime aioli. It arrived in a basket wrapped in foil. The cheese was creamy, the salsa brought up the temperature a small notch and the jicama added the texture it needed.

My second taco really took it to the next level. To start, the shell was two layers – a soft flour tortilla combined with a hard corn tortilla with queso in between. This masterpiece is called the ju-ju tortilla. The magical tortilla was filled with braised beef brisket, Middlefield smoked cheddar, pineapple salsa with tomatoes, peppers and onions topped with chipotle honey.IMG_2223

Again the combination was amazing, but the special tortilla really made it an extra treat. It was a little heavy on the queso, but otherwise delicious.

Stop by after work and receive $1 off tacos and half-off margaritas during happy hour, or try Condado for brunch Saturday or Sunday.

No matter what time of day it is, it’s always a good time for tacos.

Experience Pittsburgh, One Bite at a Time.

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