One of my favourite meals we ate in Oaxaca. Small quiet terrace out back. Try: the pozole (best I've ever had) and the fish tacos which are made with blue corn tortillas (below). Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. $$
A very small menu of all things fish + shrimp. Everything is $30 pesos. Cheap and easy. Try: The fish tacos. Open lunch and dinner. $
The tlayudas here are sooooo delicious. One can feed two people, they are massive. Try: Tasajo (Oaxacan style salted beef in thin strips) and/or the chorizo tlayuda. Open for dinner and late night until 4 am. $
Local spot 20 minute walk from the centre (or 5 minute taxi) and totally worth it. They focus on antojitos– corn based Mexican tapas including tacos, quesadillas, tamales, tostadas etc. They use heirloom corn varieties to make their food on the comal, a large round Mexican griddle made from terra cotta or cast iron. Itanoni makes delicious antojitos specific to Oaxaca including memelas and tetelas. They use multiple kinds of organic corn flour which are stone ground by the cooks. Try: memelas and tetelas with quesillo (Oaxacan string cheese). Open early for breakfast and lunch. $
A modern take on Mexican food/ingredients. Very delicious and more similar to tapas dishes in Canada or USA but Mexican inspired. Mezcal tastings available where they give information about the agave plant, explain how it's made, the differences in varieties etc. Local craft beers + mezcal cocktails. I loved this place, the vibe is great and so is the area. The staff are amazing here– very happy to serve you but also chill. They all have a lot of knowledge about mezcal and speak English fluently. Happy hour 5-6:30. Try: a variety of their house mezcals + mezcal cocktails. Open dinner to midnight. $$$
Baked goods, breakfast/lunch meals and coffee available for dining in and taking out. Beautiful open air courtyard as the dining space. Went here morning for coffee and morning croissants/bread. Try: the omelettes, house made pastries + granola. Open breakfast and lunch. $$
Authentic Oaxacan food served in beautiful building with good service and interesting dishes. A more upscale meal for a night out. Tried escamoles (ant eggs), black mole, grilled octopus, cocktails and dessert– all was amazing. Best mole I've ever had. Try: the mole!!! Duh. Open lunch and dinner. $$$
PASILLO CARNES ASADA AT MERCADO 20 DE NOVIEMBRE
A hall of barbecued meat!!! (below) Grab your vegetables from the front, then head down and choose your meat(s). Vendors on the barbecues grill the veggies at the same time for you. We got the mixto which included all three– tasajo (salted beef), cecina (thinly sliced pork) + chorizo. There's a lady who sells you warm tortillas and choose your sides (salsas, guacamole, etc) from another person who comes to your seat. A bit confusing at first but definitely worth it! Open all day. $
OTHER SNACKS + STREET FOOD
Traditional sauces made with variations of dried chilies, nuts, seeds, spices and thickened with masa, tortillas, or bread. There are 7 types of Oaxacan mole so take your pick whether you order it at a restaurant atop meat or buy it in bulk from the market and dress enchiladas at home.
Known as the Drink of the Gods. A traditional Oaxacan beverage served by many street vendors. It looks like powdered clay and water, but it is so delicious and refreshing in the afternoon sun. Made with roasted maize flour, fermented cacao beans, mamey seeds + cacao flower made into a paste and mixed with water.
Mexican corn on the cob served by street vendors. Grilled corn topped with a slather of cotija cheese, crema/mayonnaise, garlic, cilantro, + chili. The perfect snack while wandering the Zocalo at night.
FRESH FRUIT W/ LIME + CHILI
There are vendors everywhere in Mexico selling fresh sliced fruit (commonly mango, watermelon, coconut, cucumber, orange) and topped with chili powder, salt and lime if desired.
Jicama “popsicles". Large slices of jicama on a stick brushed in lime juice and dipped in sprinkles + chamoy (a salty, sweet, sour sauce).
Fresh fruit blended with water, lime juice and sometimes a bit of sugar. I like a minimum of two agua frescas a day in Mexico.
A little cup of savoury soup– beef broth, shredded chicken, lime, onions, cilantro, + hot sauce. My favourite consome in Oaxaca City was from a street vendor on the corner of 5 de Mayo and A Gurrión, near the Templo De Santo Domingo.
Some of the best and cheapest tacos are served on the street with a chair or bench near by.
Traditional Mexican distilled spirit made from a variety of agave plants. The agave hearts (piñas) are roasted over hot rocks in a palenque (an in-ground pit) and covered with moist agave fibre that remains from the fermentation. Leaves of agave or palm are laid on top to cover the fibres and the agaves are left for two to three days. The underground grilling caramelizes the sugars of the piñas and produces the smoky and sweet flavour of mezcal that stands out next to tequila which is also made from agave (although only blue agave + baked in above ground oven). Click here to learn more.
PULQUE + TEPACHE
Pulque– a fermented milky drink made from the sap of agave plants. It is older than tequila or mezcal, has a low alcohol content of 4-6 % and is high in vitamin c + probiotics. Tastes a little sour, milky + a bit sweet. Mostly home brewed or sold by vendors/mezcal shops/
Tepache– a fermented Mexican beverage made from pineapple peels, piloncillo (unrefine Mexican cane sugar) and cinnamon. Similar to kombucha in it's funky sweet flavour and can quickly turn to vinegar if fermenting for a little too long. How to make tepache here.
Mexican popsicles served out of little shops (paleterias) or by street vendors. Perfect for the heat of the day, made with fresh fruit (pureed or left in chunks/slices) of all kinds. Pineapple or any kind of melon are my favourites. Some are made with cream but are still light and fresh.
Beer with lime, maggi sauce/worscestirshire, hot sauce + maybe clamato/tomato juice.
Creamy and refreshing drin made from rice, sometimes almonds, sugar and cinnamon.
AGUA DE JAMAICA
One of my all time favourite things from Mexico– hibiscus water. Boiled hibiscus flowers, water, sugar and sometimes lime. Sweet + tart, served almost everywhere.
AGUA DE CHILACAYOTE
Drink made from squash, pineapple, piloncillo (Mexican cane sugar), + cinnamon. The one below came with a scoop of lime sorbet in it. I was confused.
Roasted grasshoppers seasoned with chili and lime. (above)
Evening/late night street food. Little hamburgers the perfect size to fill but not stuff you. Get the pineapple on it!
A Mexican sandwich you can put anything and everything on it. From a basic cubano or jamon y queso (ham + cheese) to the biggest torta of my life: 3 meat, 2 cheeses, avocado, mayo and vegetables.
ANTIJITOS FROM THE COMAL
Round corn snack made on the comal, topped with mashed beans, cheese and meat/vegetables if desired.
A thin triangle stuffed tortilla filled with mashed beans, cheese and meat/vegetables if desired. Get the quesillo cheese! (Oaxacan string cheese)
A Oaxacan “pizza" of sorts. One large tortilla crisped up on the comal, topped with smashed beans, quesillo (string cheese), shredded lettuce, strips of meat, vegetables, + salsa. Soul food at it's best.
Top with whatever salsa they have on hand.
What are your favourite foods or places to eat in Oaxaca?! I'd love to know.