Casa Escobedo in Agoura Hills – New Mexican Restaurant Review

Casa Escobedo opened early this summer where The Rabbit Hole used to be.

casa escobedo chips and salsa


Simple and delicious. Perfect for a neighborhood Mexican restaurant.

Casa Escobedo opened quietly (well, it opened while I was out of town, so if there was a big fiesta, I missed it) at the northeast corner of Thousand Oaks Boulevard and Lake Lindero Drive in Agoura Hills. Some of my friends had tried it earlier in the summer and they’ve raved about it. I finally got a chance to dine there with my friend Michelle. We met for lunch in their redecorated spacious double-wide storefront restaurant, and I thought the change from The Rabbit Hole to be remarkable.

casa escobedo storefront

The new eatery retains the two-unit nature of its previous occupant, and they’ve added a big rectangular opening in the wall between, opening it up even more. The walls are painted a lighter shade than the dark and cozy atmosphere it used to have, giving Casa Escobedo a bright, airy, welcoming feeling. Authentic-looking Mexican art adorns the walls and the shelves installed in the interior wall’s opening.

casa escobedo kitchen

casa escobedo mexican art

casa escobedo dining room

There are a few tables in the main kitchen area with plenty of seating and tables in the adjacent space. When this place gets packed, I’ll bet it will be a fiesta indeed. For an early lunch on a Friday, though, there was lots of room.

Welcoming Decor, Tasty Food

Kitchen staff and a customer greeted us warmly when we entered, and the woman who took our order and served us was very friendly. She suggested the lunch special, which was 2 soft tacos, rice, and beans for $8.95.  You can choose from carne asada, chicken, or pastor. Our plates looked delicious and simple – adorned only by a a generous sprinkling of cilantro and onions. The salsa served on the side was flavorful but not too spicy. As I recall, we asked for extra.

casa escobedo lunch special

Since it was our first time there, our server said, she wanted us to try the chicken soup. Just one little sample was enough to keep me thinking about that soup for days. The flavor was intense and the soup was obviously homemade. I need to go back and get a big bowl of it, served with corn tortillas.

I tend to like milder flavors, so I was pleased with the simple dish, the Mexican rice, and the beans, but the flavor was on the plain side for my friends. I’m definitely eager to return and try some more dishes, like that soup and the tamales they serve only on Saturdays and Sundays. Casa Escobedo is open every day 9AM to 9PM. They serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, and crepes, flan, or bread pudding for dessert.

Casa Escobedo
30651 Thousand Oaks Blvd.
Agoura Hills, CA 91301

Cocina Condesa For a Fine Meal in Studio City

Cocina Condesa dresses up street food for a delicious dining experience in a colorful, welcoming restaurant.

cocina condesa taco platter

photo courtesy of Cocina Condesa

As the weather warms up I find myself making more excursions east of the grade. Those adventures are made even better when I get to have wonderful meals at the end of them! Here’s a spot I’d like to recommend if you are going to Universal or anywhere in Hollywood. On the way home, hit Cocina Condesa for dinner. It’s a bustling Mexican restaurant and mezcaleria on the south side of Ventura just east of Colfax.

cocina condesa exterior

You can’t miss Cocina Condesa, because its colorful exterior and welcoming patio tables stand out from the surrounding businesses on Ventura Blvd. The dining room and bar welcome you with the lively conversation of its many patrons, and the warm natural wood decor. Families, dates, business meetings, and girls’ nights out were all around us when my friend Suzanne and I recently dined there as the restaurant’s guests.

Cocina Condesa markets its food as “Mexican street food,” but it sure doesn’t come across that way. The dishes have roots in Oaxacan cuisine, and with chef Eddie Garcia and mixologist David Rubin’s influences, the blends of taste and texture are at times fully satisfying and also surprising.

Our server explained that Cocina Condesa is primarily a “small plates” restaurant, and by now Los Angeles is pretty accustomed to this sort of thing. Plus, we lucked into visiting on the restaurant’s Taco Tuesday, during which selected tacos are only $2.50 each. Bring on the plates! Pair that deal with $8 house margaritas, and you have one fine hora feliz.

To start, we tried a few of the new drinks on the menu along with the requisite (and satisfying) chips & salsa & guac.

cocina condesa chips and salsa

First course

In the mule mug is the Bronco: Whiskey, Fresh Ginger, Soda, Fresh Watermelon Juice, Fresh Lemon Juice. For a ginger-lover, this is a solid, refreshing beverage. The watermelon juice makes it taste like summer. I tried the pink one, the Paloma: Tequila Blanco, Pinch of Salt, Squirt, Fresh Grapefruit Juice, Fresh Lime Juice. It was delicious. The best margarita I ever had in my life was at a tiny streetside bar in Loreto, Baja California Sur. The Paloma is the first drink that reminded me of that!

Then we tried some of the tacos from the Taco Tuesday menu – the asada was our favorite with perfectly cooked steak and toppings, but the vegetarian entry, with squash, sweet corn, and mushrooms, was a surprisingly sweet counterpoint to the other items we tasted. Everything we tried was quite delicious but another taco, this one on the regular menu, was our hands-down favorite: the Cerveza Battered Camarones Tacos. Basically, shrimp tacos. Topped with papaya jicama slaw and avocado sauce, this taco was the perfect combo of flavors.

cocina condesa shrimp tacos

Cerveza battered camarones tacos – photo courtesy of Cocina Condesa

Another favorite was STREET CORN, which I put in all caps because it is not to be missed. The chefs will take the corn off the cob for you but we opted to eat it the authentic, messy way. This corn is prepared with tapatio aioli, cotija cheese, chili and lime.

cocina condesa street corn

Street corn

Between the small plates and sampling a few of the bigger meals (meant to be shared), we had to try some mezcal. It’s a tequila-ish alcohol that Cocina Condesa serves with a wedge of orange with chili powder on it. The act of drinking it is meant to be similar to tequila: down the shot and then suck on the wedge of orange. But I decided to sip this, and really savor the flavor. Basically it tastes, to me, like liquid smoke, perfect for the barbecue lover!

cocina condesa shot of mezcal

We tried the short rib birria dish, which is braised beef short ribs, topped with grilled frisee tomato salad and sautéed shitake mushrooms and served over pureed potatoes. The beef was so tender and savory, this was a very close second to the shrimp tacos. There was nothing left over.

cocina condesa short ribs birria

Everything about this dish is good

We also had to try the mole. I mean, if there is mole on a menu, isn’t a requirement to eat some? So we chose the chocolate mole chicken enchiladas served with Mexican rice and a scene-stealer: refried white beans. First time I’ve ever seen that.

cocina condesa chicken mole enchiladas

Refried white beans, upper right

Like good researchers, we saved room for dessert. There are a few good options, but the most “street-foodie” seemed like the right choice, and boy were we happy with it.

cocina condesa mini churros

These are mini-churros served on a nest made out of a brown paper bag alongside a bowl of caramel dipping sauce which honestly, you can just eat by itself with a spoon. What a satisfying end to a delicious meal in a great place.

A few cool things about Cocina Condesa:

  • Easy to get to off the freeway – from here, take the 101 to Laurel Canyon, south to Moorpark, east to Colfax, south to Ventura, turn left. Roll on up to the brightly colored Cocina Condesa and if there’s no street parking just valet for $6. Make it easy on yourself.
  • All dishes are served on unique plates made of wood, like slices of trees preserved and shined up for admiration and use. This is a small detail but every dish that came out was served on these and I was delighted by them
  • There is a back room with its own bar that you can rent out for parties.
  • The location is studio-close, so the staff is beautiful and you might be dining or drinking alongside cast, crew, or executives from shows in production.

Cocina Condesa
11616 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City 91604