The Best Restaurants in Oaxaca City
If there's anything that I know how to do correctly, it's eat.
I've officially been here a month and have narrowed down my favorite places in Oaxaca, because sometimes Culture Trip just misses the mark.
From meatballs to garnachas, here are some delicious places to get your grub on.
A few blocks from centro, this restaurant is a photographer's (or, let's be honest, Instagrammer's) dream. From the gorgeous courtyard to the handmade jams and bread, Boulenc truly offers the full experience, and the food tastes just as good as it looks. Bonus? They locally source all of their ingredients and make all pan and jams/honeys/nut butters are made in-house, so you can bring some of the joy home with you.
Recommendations: Avocado and Cilantro toast, Hot-Cakes, Shakshuka (all pictured above)
This is one that Culture Trip got right. Between the white linen table cloths and the suited up maseros, this place looks like it should be much more expensive than it actually is. You'll have to venture from the city center, but the trip is well worth it.
Recommendations: Enfrijoladas con queso, Huevos rancheros al comal
This is probably my favorite on the list. You haven't had an almond croissant until you've had one from here. Seriously. I ate 2. And then I ate breakfast. There's also a tiny courtyard in the back with a cute spiral staircase and handmade pottery, so it gets an A+ for atmosphere as well. It's about 1.5 miles from the center, so you may have to take a taxi to get there, but honestly, I'd crawl here if that was the only way.
Recommendations: Croissant de almendras, Huevos Benedict con tocino
Pan:am is probably on every American's list of restaurants to check out in Oaxaca. I'm pretty sure that the "AM" is short for American, but don't hold me to that. I rolled my eyes when we stepped into the courtyard and saw (and heard) nothing but gringos (I'm cheeky, I know). But after stuffing my face here, I, too, am a believer. They've managed to combine two of my favorite things (horchata and frappes) into one magical, magnificent thing (horchata frappe). Needless to say, it's my new favorite thing. The prices reflect the heavily touristic crowd, so expect to pay a bit more for your meal than you would elsewhere. There are two locations, and the one in centro is always packed, so either plan to get there at opening or grab a taxi and head to the other spot.
Recommendations: Horchata frappe, Muffin a Caballo
Lunch & Dinner
Cafe Brujula could also fall under the best breakfast and best snack categories as well. Their blueberry muffins are bomb and their in-house carrot cake is kick-ass. But I'm here to talk about the sandwiches. They've managed to transform the humble sandwich into a showstopper that anyone would be lucky to indulge in. I'll tell you how good it is. Anyone who knows me, knows that mayonnaise is pretty much the devil in my eyes. Of course I asked for no mayo, but I'm assuming my request got lost somewhere in my broken Spanish. Anyway, the sandwich comes out with mayo and, you guessed it, I still ate it. It's that good. Cafe Brujula has 5 locations throughout the city, so you can always find a way to get your grub on. Bonus: it's adorable. If there was an award for best branding, this place would win it. It's also a great place to get work done.
Recommendations: Sandwich de pavo o roastbif, Pastel de zanahoria, Muffin de arándanos
So this one is technically not a restaurant, but you won't find any blog post on Oaxaca that doesn't mention this market, and for good reason. It's an experience unlike any other. Imagine a Brazilian steakhouse, but much more crowded and much less bougie. First, you make your way through what I can only describe as a meat alley. There are vendors lining both sides of the walkway selling (raw) steak, pork, sausages and innards (if you're into that). There are at least 20 vendors that all essentially sell the same variety of ingredients, so you'll have to pick one based on who's nicest to you. We picked a guy who was working with his daughter. After you choose your vendor, you let them know what type of meat you want (we opted for a combo) and how much of it you want. They grill it up for you on the spot and bring it to your table (which, by the way, you'll have to share with strangers, so be prepared) in a huge platter with fresh tortillas. Then, you can choose from a variety of toppings ranging from avocados to grilled onions and salsa. It's a dream. Did I mention that it's cheap? $10 (USD) can easily feed 3 people. Needless to say, if you're vegan, you may wanna skip this one.
Best. Tacos. Ever.
Seriously. But it's not just the tacos. I discovered this gem our first week in the city and pretty much exclusively wanted to eat here every day afterwards. I can easily say that this is my favorite restaurant in the city so far. I don’t even like onions and I wanted to eat the pickled onions out the bowl by themselves. The beef and carnitas bring "melt in your mouth" to a whole new level. Ask about the agua del día (their Jamaica is my fave). They also offer a strawberry and cheese (yes, real cheese) ice cream that's a real treat.
Recommendations: Black bean soup, beef o carnitas tacos, steak hurrache
I'd always thought that meatballs belonged exclusively with spaghetti. And then I ate here. Tucked away on a small side street not to far from the Zocalo, you'll find this pastel paradise. Casa Teviche offers a menú del día, which includes an appetizer, entree, dessert and drink for a little bit less than $100 MEX (that's about $5 USD). Like many others on the list, this place gets a 10/10 for atmosphere. It's owned by a very kind family and the food has that homemade feel to it that makes it extra special.
Recommendations: Albóndigas en salsa verde, Garnachas, Strudel de manzana con helado
Ok, this ones a bit of a cheat, because I wasn’t really that impressed with the food. But Google “best rooftop restaurants in Oaxaca” and this place will top most of the lists, for good reason — the view from the terrace is incredible. The food, while not the most impressive taste-wise, gets bonus points for some of the most beautiful plating I saw in Oaxaca. Just keep in mind that the price tag reflects that. Bottom line: if you’re really hungry, opt for another joint on this list. If you wanna chill with friends, get appetizers and drinks and snap a bunch of pics, this is the spot.
This place puts the A in “atmosphere.” I know that I’ve mentioned the decor of pretty much every place on this list, but step into Las Quince Letras and your senses will be overwhelmed by sound, color and smell (delicious, delicious smells) all at once. If you’re skeptical about trying the local cuisine, their sample platter is a good place to start. This is where I first tried chapulines, so it’ll forever hold a special place in my heart.
Recommendations: sample platter, garnachas, chile del arbol relleno
This list is way too short, so I'm sure I'll follow this up with a part 2 (and 3 and 4...) eventually. Got a place in mind that you think I should check out? Let me know below?
P.S. Loving Mexico, but need a break from Mexican food? Make sure to check out What to Eat In Oaxaca When You're Not in the Mood for Mexican.