Food For Thought | Condado Tacos

Food For Thought is a biweekly blog where Kendall Swift reviews restaurants around Pittsburgh.


Kendall Swift | Staff Writer

A Lucy’s Fire taco, left, and a Korean BBQ pork taco at Condado Tacos in Downtown.

By Kendall Swift, Staff Writer

Condado Tacos is situated on bustling Liberty Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh. With its location in the heart of the Cultural District, it is a great dining option that isn’t too far from campus — just a 10-minute bus ride. Inside, the atmosphere is bustling, especially on the weekends. It is a two-story restaurant adorned with fun graffiti artwork everywhere from the tables to the restrooms.

The experience itself is very casual. They have a plethora of dips for before the meal, divided into categories of queso, salsa and guacamole. As for tacos, they have pre-made favorites and build-your-own tacos. There are a variety of “meat” options, including five vegetarian options. Meat bases can also be made into protein bowls, similar to Chipotle, or salads. All the options thoroughly impressed me. Given the diversity of the menu, there is something for everyone.

There are rotating featured options. The newest feature is the Kevin, a taco centered on the chili cheese and ground beef. Its dip component is the fireside reefer dip, which is queso with bacon refried beans, ground beef and other toppings.

I started with their queso blanco, a classic favorite. The dip is topped with paprika and jalapeños, and served with fresh, crispy tortilla chips. The chips have the perfect level of saltiness and the dip nicely complements them since it’s creamy and decadent. After trying the dip, I was very excited for the tacos.

Chips and queso at Condado Tacos in Downtown. (Kendall Swift | Staff Writer )

The taco options are practically endless. I decided to try one of their signature tacos, so I ordered the Korean BBQ pork taco and Lucy’s Fire taco.

The Korean BBQ taco is exactly as it sounds. It features pulled pork, gochujang BBQ sauce, pickled jalapeños and pineapple salsa. A flour soft shell and a hard corn shell attached to each other encase it with queso in the middle — how cool!

The pork is very tender and juicy, and the sauce adds to that. The sauce itself isn’t very spicy, but the pickled jalapeños adds the kick the taco needs. Of course, the special shell is amazing. It’s nothing new to have a hard shell and soft shell together, but putting queso in the middle intrigued me. Like any queso, it is delicious. But my absolute favorite part of the taco is the pineapple salsa. The tanginess of the pineapple pairs nicely with the spice of the rest of the taco. The pineapple salsa can also be ordered separately as a dip, which I would be happy to try on my next visit.

The Lucy’s Fire taco has roasted chicken, lettuce, cilantro, onions, cheddar, corn salsa and cilantro-lime aioli. Just like the Korean BBQ taco, it has a “secret shell.” In this case, it is a flour soft shell and a firecracker — spicy — hard shell sealed together with queso blanco and guac. Once again, the shell is different in the best way possible. I was wary of how guacamole and queso would taste together, but it’s actually very pleasant. The roasted chicken is tender, not dry. The vegetable elements, such as the lettuce, cilantro, onions and corn salsa, make this taco very fresh and add a great crunch. The cilantro-lime aioli is hard to detect with everything else going on, so I can’t say much on that front. Like the pineapple salsa, the corn salsa can also be ordered separately as a dip. Overall, it was an amazing taco as well.

If I had to pick a favorite, it would be the Korean BBQ taco. But both are amazing, which makes it tough to choose. I would easily recommend this restaurant to anyone who asked.

If you happen to be interested, but are not close to Downtown, there are also locations in Lawrenceville and the South Hills. Basically, there is no excuse not to go.

Kendall writes about food and restaurants. You can reach her at [email protected].