Happy Hour

La Condesa in Phoenix: Happy Hour Report Card

The Spot: La Condesa 1919 North 16th Street 602-254-6330 www.lacondesatacoshop.com

See Also: - 10 Best Margaritas in Metro Phoenix - Dick's Hideaway: Happy Hour Report Card - The Hunt for Fresh Mexican Coconut in Metro Phoenix Is Over

The Hours: Happy Hour is offered Monday through Friday from 3 until 6 p.m.

The Interior: The little joint on 16th Street is known for its Mexican eats. It might not look like much on the outside, but it's small and inviting on the inside. With about 30 seats at tables and the at bar, you might find yourself waiting when it's busy, but the wait is worth it. The classic wooden furniture and contemporary Mexican art are in the spirit of the restaurant, which sticks with classics that work and update when necessary.

The Food: You'll be greeted with warm, freshly made tortilla chips and an invitation to visit the salsa bar. Taco fans go to La Condesa for the selection, regardless of the time of day, but with $1.95 carne asada and tinga street tacos during happy hour, you can really go taco loco from 3 to 6 p.m. Plus if you're really hungry, you can get the three-taco plate for just under $8, which comes with beans and rice.

The simple tinga taco comes with pickled onion and the basic carne asada taco comes with cabbage, which lets the perfectly marinated and seasoned meats take center stage. Plus the salsa bar, which features anything from tomatillo to peanut salsas, has lots of options to jazz up your inexpensive tacos. Our only real issue was with the rice, which we've liked on previous trips, but this time was crunchy and seemed like yesterday's leftovers.

The Drink: You can drink domestic beers for $2 and imports and Anchor Steam for $3, but the $3 margaritas are the real deal. Expertly made and full of fresh citrus, these cocktails are dangerous because it's hard to have just one at such a low price.

The Conclusion: The simple happy hour menu may not have everything you're looking for, but it's so cheap that you can pretty much have one of everything without breaking the bank. Plus, the obvious care La Condesa puts into executing the menu shows through the flavors of the freshly made margaritas and salsas.

Grade: B+

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Heather Hoch is a music, food, and arts writer based in Tucson. She enjoys soup, scotch, Electric Light Orchestra, and walking her dog, Frodo.
Contact: Heather Hoch