Don’t get bogged down with how many different Authentic food experiences you can have. We were in Oaxaca City for 4 weeks and have tried some of the best restaurants on offer – also many nights of Little Caesars – and hope our experiences help inform yours!
Itanoni – Gotta family-sized appetite?
Great food for the family! The food is affordable, nearly American-sized portions, and delicious. Best of all, you get a complete view of the kitchen – perfect for authentic Oaxacan IG/TikTok clips! I would say this place is perfect for eating delicious Oaxacan cuisine – on a budget!
Levadura de Olla – Bold with a dash of quaint
We went here on an AirBnB Experience and it was the highlights of that tour! This place is all about reviving traditional Oaxacan Recipes and invigorating them with modern flavors. You must try the Stone Broth Soup!
Pan:am – Consider it Brunch’d
- Waffles w/berry jam: good & tasty – 🍓 Jam put it over the top!
- Molletes w/cochinita pibil (marinated pork): As delicious as is simple.
- 🍊Orange Juice
- Total: $364pesos ($17.85US)
- Atmosphere: Music reminds me of the kind 60s rock you’ll hear in a diner. Hip! The spacing is well done, but you will always see people in your peripherals – yeah, there are a lot of people. True sign of a good restaurant, right? The food is good and well priced. Not all that hungry? Most meals have the option to cut the standard portion in half w/significant reduction in price.
Boulenc – Absolute must attend!
- Shakshuka: The sauce was sweet, the bread perfect, and cream cheese put it over the top.
- English Muffin: this is a sandwich, and the highlight here is the bread. Don’t get me wrong the eggs and cheese 🧀 are tasty as well.
- Bahn Mi: don’t let the fact it’s completely vegetarian deter you – it’s perfect. The pickled carrot 🥕 makes this sandwich a crunch fest.
- x 2 Dos Equis
- Limonada Mineral
- Total: $364pesos ($17.70US)
- Atmosphere: This place is packed – Always! But there is a good use of space. I’d say the vibe is hipsteresque: You will see all types of people – mostly tourists – and the music is as cool as it is current, yet somehow not mainstream. Making the above scrumptious meal is just the side-hustle. They make delicious bread (pan) 🍞 first and foremost. In fact, their bakery (next door) has even more customers!
Zandunga – Dinner is served!
- Grilled vegetables: quite nice
- Beef Empanadas: nice and crunchy👌
- Red & Black mole chicken enchiladas: highlight of the meal – mole was smooth and rich!
- x 2 Agua Tamarind
- x 2 Ixtepec Cocktail (jarabe especiado, pineapple 🍍 juice, lemon 🍋, and mezcal)
- Total: $755pesos ($37.46 US)
- Atmosphere: Great. Smartly dressed beautiful people. The music is lively – even the rendition of Drake Hotline Bling instrumental was thoroughly Mexican! The food arrived ASAP. The staff were attentive, but knew only a little English.
Pitiona – Go for the vibes; stay for the food!
- Tostada de Jaiba (crab 🦀 taquitos): Crunchy and the crab was succulent. Dynamite appetizer!
- Gorditas de Tripa: Thick, grilled and crunchy corn 🌽 tortilla with the “filling” piled on top (instead of inside). The filling was thinly shredded, fried and chewy intestines. Delicious, but may not be for everybody!
- Tacos de Lechon (pork taco 🌮): It was perfect! Thick cut of pork w/chopped chicharrón (aka crackling) sprinkled on top and a hint of guacamole. Truly the dinner’s highlight; personally, a bit more guacamole would have cut through fat. Unfortunately, this was part of a taco of the day option – I’m not sure this meal will be available on your visit.
- Albondigas en pipian (shrimp 🦐 meatballs on a bed of mole): The mole was new to me and not my favorite, but I do not want to dissuade you from trying. To be clear, I loved its rich flavour, but could not appreciate the gritty texture. The huge chunks of shrimp and thinly sliced zucchini was the saving grace.
- Gasnate: Both my wife and I loved it. Very sweet but not overbearing. Only negative, small portion – it’s not the best option for sharing.
- x 1 Beso apasionado:
- x 1 Limon 🍋 Margarita:
- x 2 Limonada
- Total: $1,426 Pesos ($70 US)
- Atmosphere: This place feels fancy, and the people are dressed to impress. And it should, this is one of the most aesthetically beautiful restaurants I‘ve had the pleasure of dining at in Oaxaca City. Whether you eat inside or on the terrace, you will enjoy light music and feel the intimacy – spacing was well done here. There are several different areas on the terrace that provide a different view of the city as well as a sense of VIP, but all areas have a magnificent view of Templo de Santo Domingo!
Casa Oaxaca – Night of laughter and merriment
- Squash blossoms filled w/ricotta: light, fresh and tasty! Small dish that will leave a powerful impression.
- Paddle cactus 🌵 and watermelon 🍉 salad (Nopales Salad): beetroot was earthy, and the watermelon clashing w/citrus flavors were spot on!
- Yellow Mole (vegetarian): Scrumptious! Veggie patties perfect for absorbing the flav-tastic sauce, the veggies were perfect but the broccoli 🥦 stole the show.
- Suckling Pig 🐖: The veggies, pork, and mole were cooked to perfection.
- x 1 Xocontstle Cocktail (pineapple🍍, tuna, mezcal)
- x 1 Verde es Vida Cocktail (cucumber 🥒, mint, mezcal)
- x 1 Dos Pasiones Cocktail (passionfruit, apple 🍎, mezcal)
- x 1 Limonada
- Chocolate Sierra: A mountain of chocolate well worth the climb – chocolate crisps, rich chocolate ice cream, crunchy cacao nibs, and mint flakes
- Total: $1,523.00pesos ($74.00US)
- Atmosphere: we recommend you make a reservation. We were seated immediately, but it seems like you may have a sincere case of FOMO if you’re after a joyous social night. We were seated away from the lively music 🎶 and jubilant laughter coming from the area upstairs. However, this may be a blessing for those seeking a more intimate evening. People were spaced far enough away to be outside our peripherals! The staff were attentive, created a salsa at our table, and spoke English well.
Los Danzantes – Did somebody say Je Ne Sais Quoi?
- Mogo Mogo (fried plantain stuffed w/stew): Rich tomato 🍅 sauce. The beef and plantain combination made for a sweet stew. It cut through the sauce’s creamy richness. Playful!
- 🥥 Coconut Shrimp w/rice in sweet and source sauce: The shrimp 🦐 was huge! The shrimp 🍤 was crunchy! The shrimp was strong with the coconut 🥥! Personally, I thought the sweet and sour clashed with the coconut shrimp, but it completely compliments the rice 🍚. An absolute pleasure!
- New York fillet (400g) w/potato 🥔 terrine: It was Medium Rare, and my wife ordered Medium Well. So, I ate it. Yeah my cholesterol is uh terrible! If we talk about what we ordered: definitely loses a point because she doesn’t like her steak pink or bloody. If we are talking about what we got: Succulent! The accompanying potato terrine and salad 🥗were good.
- Pork ribs in a bed of apple 🍎 & plantain puree: very nice! Loved the tenderness of the meat 🍖 – talking fall off the bone. The apple-plantain flavors made everything spot on – not too sweet, not too smokey. Don’t let the look fool you – it’s good!
- Chocolate cascade (lava cake): Decadent! Great sharing portion. Vanilla ice cream 🍨 mixed well with the berry jam. Together they blended well with the gooey chocolate and cake.
- x1 Elegant stranger:
- x1 Limonada
- Total: $1,828 Pesos (~$91 US)
- Atmosphere: This was the 2nd or 3rd most expensive place we ate in Oaxaca City – it is perfect for a dinner date, or small group for after work drinks. The food, vibes and décor make for a perfect place to get dressed up and unwind. Spacing was well done, but there will be people all around you – couples dressed up and groups dressed smart. I suggest you make a reservation – almost guarantee it will be packed. We didn’t, but were able to leave a name and number. We were called 15 or so minutes later. Are you a tourist? I recommend requesting Omar as your waiter. He was delightful – whether anecdotes about Mexico; meal choices; or future tourist destinations!
Criollo – Now that’s smancy. No! The epitome of Fancy.
- Ground beef garnacha w/picked onions: Crunchy! Deliciousness! Wish I could have had more!
- Cheese ball on a bed of jalapeno puree: My wife was over the moon when this arrived. Basically, a deconstructed jalapeno popper – the cheese 🧀 cut right through the spiciness!
- Lentil soup 🍲 w/tomato 🍅 and crispy potato: Great! Potato was crunchy and loved the flavors.
- Cochinita Pibil: the empanada crust was crispy, and the marinated pork left a lasting impression!
- Soft Shell crab 🦀 w/chickpea puree: Highlight of the night! The puree was creamy except for a few un-mashed chickpeas, which provided a balancing texture. I’m a seafood junkie and the crab did not disappoint!
- Plantain and chicken smothered in yellow mole: All three make for a winning combination – great blend of sweet and savory!
- Chocolate cake w/chocolate ice cream and bananas: Good. Aside from the presentation, nothing really stood out.
- x1 Tangerine Margarita
- x1 Grapefruit Mezcalita
- x1 Limonada
- Total: 2,580 Pesos (~$120 US)
- Atmosphere: This place is fancy – best fine dining experience in Oaxaca city! Beautiful and open courtyard – be sure to dress warm during the winter months – on a clear night you will be sure to see stars 🌃. Speaking of attire, dressing smart is the way to go! Criollo has a 7-course tasting menu that changes daily. This means there are at least 7 new reasons why you should dine here; although your reasons will be different than mine, you can still look forward to intimate music, an attentive wait staff and a dynamite drink menu. Yes, the price is steep! That’s why I recommend this place for an expensive date, family celebration/special occasion, or tourist must do! Remember, the meal will be unique, and the experience unforgettable.
Everywhere we go we are told the places you just have to try. These are the places we just could not get to, but hope you try!
- Tacos de Lechon – small shop that makes the best street-style pork tacos!
- Marco Polo – A seafood lover’s delight
- Memela Ladies – The stand is unnamed. It’s called this because sisters have been making dynamite Memelas for 3 generations. Street stand near the San Augustin church
- La Hormiga (The Ant) – Tortas stand. Makes the best sandwiches in Oaxaca City!
- Quinta Brava – Delicious food! We took a cooking class and it was a fantastic experience. Dedicated Chef! The restaurant is under construction currently.
Places you can skip
El Destilado – Intimate Setting w/beautiful decor. The bar food was a miss. Best for a drink!
Gozobi – The food was good, but not great. There is a large terrace, but facing the wrong direction. Decent drink menu. You will have a nice meal. It’s just, nothing WOW’d me here – even the prices were middle of the pack.
MezzaLuna – Big swing and a Miss!
- Pesto Fettuccini: the flavors were not right and it was cold
- Lobster Ravioli: tasty and creamy, but cold as well.
- Caesar Salad: good. Nothing to write home about.
- Total: $854pesos (~$41US)
- Atmosphere: This place has a beautiful atmosphere. There were few highlights of this dinner outing: The terrace view was great. The staff were kind, attentive, and spoke English well. The music was that kind of café jazz that adds without being intrusive. Sadly, our experience failed to live up to the reputation.