Experts Agree: La Condesa Is The Best Mexican Restaurant In Austin

It wasn't so long ago when "Mexican" food was best represented stateside by a heaping platter of rice and refried beans along with gloopy enchiladas covered in melted cheese, with maybe a couple hard-shell tacos on the side. Thankfully we've come a long way, and now the cuisine of just about every region of Mexico is now well-represented in the American culinary landscape. Today, most people realize that the standard menu of burritos, chimichangas, quesadillas, and the like are in fact more Tex-Mex than authentic Mexican, and that once you head south of the border there's a whole world of flavorful (and non-cheesy) possibilities to explore. Additionally, while authenticity is prized, some of this country's most highly regarded chefs, like former pastry chef Alex Stupak and Oklahoma-born Rick Bayless, have also turned their attention and creativity to Mexican, which has become somewhat of a cuisine célèbre.

To assemble our ranking of America's 50 Best Mexican Restaurants, we analyzed results from surveys we sent out to some of America's leading culinary authorities, writers, and critics, used to assemble our rankings of America's 50 Best Casual Restaurants and the 101 Best Restaurants in America. We supplemented those with best-of lists both in print and online, and rounded it out with our personal favorites from around the country. We also made sure to include restaurants that specialize in authentic Mexican fare; while some Tex-Mex classics on the menu are acceptable if done really well, the main focus had to be on true Mexican cuisine. We found that from a high-end restaurant in Chicago specializing in ribeye carne asada to a modest taqueria in Mountain View, Calif. serving some of the finest carnitas you'll ever encounter, America has no shortage of great Mexican restaurants—and as it turns out, three reside in Austin.

La Condesa does it all. From inventive guacamole (with chipotle puree and toasted almonds, for example) to a plethora of ceviches, the restaurant offers traditional Mexican dishes with new-age flair. The cocktail list is quite extensive, with specialties like the alma blanca made with habanero-infused tequila, ginger liqueur, agave nectar, pineapple juice, fresh corn, hoja de hierba santa, and hibiscus-rose-infused salt rim. But don't ignore its stellar tequila and mescal menus that pair perfectly with specialty menu items like the mero de ajo negro, a pan-roasted grouper dish accompanied with glazed potato, black garlic puree, chayote slaw and childe de arbol vinaigrette.

La Condesa scored the impressive #4 spot on our compilation, placing higher than local competitors Fonda San Miguel (#19) and Changos Taqueria (#20). This means that, according to our panel of experts, La Condesa is the best Mexican restaurant in Austin.