Where to Eat in Oaxaca: Amazing Food for Every Budget

Where to Eat in Oaxaca: Amazing Food for Every Budget

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Pozole lunch with tortillas at Cabuche

14 Honest Dining Reviews on Where to Eat in Oaxaca

Oaxaca has developed a reputation as a culinary destination in Mexico. It is the point of origin for some of the country’s most iconic dishes and cuisines. It is also home to some of the country’s most lauded restaurants. We spent some time digging up some of the most popular or acclaimed dining spots, be they street vendors or white table cloth affairs. Here’s our honest opinion of some of Oaxaca’s most famous and popular dining options to help you decide where to eat in the city of Oaxaca.

Where to Eat Street Food in Oaxaca

Tacos del Carmen

Oaxaca’s take on Mexico’s staple, the humble taco is a little different from its cousins in the north. Large thick tortillas made from white corn filled with meat, beans and Oaxacan cheese (a local cheese like a dry mozzarella), before being rolled up and charred on a wood-fired grill. Alongside the tacos you can find local empanadas with meat swimming in thick rich sauce and a hoja santa leaf sealed up in tortillas and grilled. Or the local take on quesadillas which involve heapings of the Oaxacan cheese, and meat, folded and grilled to crispy gooey perfection.

This is the best place in the city to try these regional recipes and arguably the cheapest with large tacos, empanadas, and quesadillas costing just 20 pesos. One of the best places to eat in Oaxaca, Carmen’s is perfect for a cheap lunch or breakfast on the run.

Useful Information

  • Address: Jesús Carranza 108
  • Hours of Operation:
    • Monday – Saturday: 8:00 am – 3:30 pm
    • Sunday: Closed
  • Cost: $

Lechoncito de Oro

Discover where to eat in Oaxaca. Waiting in line at the taco stand at Lechoncito de Oro
Where to eat in Oaxaca? Definitely here at Lechoncito de Oro

Pork tacos. Delicious, rich pork carnitas. Served simply on soft corn tortillas these tacos are a must-try when visiting Oaxaca. Salsa while available is unnecessary to accompany these salty, greasy tacos. Popular with locals and tourists alike, there is even an impromptu drive through serving locals in the know. These guys open from 8:00 pm each evening and are a great place to swing by in between visiting local bars.

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Libre Tlayudas Dona Martha

Tlayudas are a cornerstone of Oaxacan cuisine. Served open face or closed like a quesadilla, these huge tortillas come with refried beans, cheese, your choice of meat and fresh veggies. Heated up over a hot charcoal grill one giant tlayuda is enough to fill you up and costs just $50 pesos.

Tlayuda on the coal grill at Libre Tlayudas Dona Martha.Where to eat Oaxaca.
Where to eat in Oaxaca? Check out Libre Tlayudas

While not our absolute favourite Mexican street food, no trip is complete without sampling at least one while visiting Oaxaca. And Libre Tlayudas Dona Martha is the one you should try. When locals and tourists visit the place, you know quickly that you have found a good thing.

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Mercado 20 de Noviembre

The meat platter of chorizo, skirt steak, and chicken at Mercado 20 de Noviembre in Oaxaca. Where to eat in Oaxaca
So much delicious meat at Mercado 20 de Noviembre

Swerve the colorful loud kitchens vying for your business in the main dining hall where small portions of overpriced food are served up by disinterested stall owners to hordes of tourists. Instead, head to the northeast corner to find a unique dining experience (vegetarians need not read any further). A large hall filled with fresh meat vendors at one end, some tables and a team working a hot grill at the other. Find a vendor, select your meat, beef, pork, and chorizo. Take a seat while your meat feast is grilled, piled into a basket, and delivered to your table. Definitely an experience and high on the list of places to eat in Oaxaca.

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Where to Eat in Oaxaca for Mid-Range Meals

Marito & Moglie

Marito & Moglie one of our favourite spots for coffee in Oaxaca also serves a mean breakfast. Lucky for you, breakfast is served from 8:00 – 15:00. This small cafe is not to be missed if you are craving Western-style cafe breakfast or in search of the perfect vegetarian breakfast. Avocado on toast, caprese sandwiches and fresh yogurt bowls are just some of the nourishing breakfasts available daily. This cafe is a must for anyone exploring Oaxaca.

Useful Information

  • Address: Miguel Hidalgo 1204
  • Hours of Operation:
    • Monday: Closed
    • Monday – Saturday: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
    • Sunday: 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
  • Cost: $

READ MORE: Oaxaca’s 8 Best Cafes

Cabuche

Pozole lunch with tortillas at Cabuche
Pozole is a staple in any Mexican diet

Cabuche is the top pick for a where to eat in Oaxaca a delicious and affordable lunch. Walking in, Cabuche feels like one of many older traditional style local restaurants with a facelift. Fresh paint and modern decor differentiate it from other restaurants here.

It’s not just the decor that’s been lifted here, the food is a cut above. Simple dishes are elevated and executed perfectly. Think delicious pozole soup, yummy tacos filled with guisos and outstanding burritos (a US transplant but a delicious one). The staff put a lot of TLC into this restaurant and it shows. Definitely near the top of the list of where to eat in Oaxaca.

Useful Information

  • Address: Miguel Hidalgo 1017
  • Hours of Operation:
    • Monday – Saturday: 10:00 am – 10:00 pm
    • Sunday: Closed
  • Cost: $$

Chepiche Cafe

Traditional Oaxacan breakfast of cheese wrapped in banana leaf served in a tomato-based sauce served with plantains
Our traditional Oaxacan breakfast at Chepiche Cafe!

If you are looking for where to eat in Oaxaca for breakfast then look no further than Chepiche Cafe. Chepiche Cafe offers tasty breakfast and delicious coffee in a sun-drenched courtyard. Located in Barrio Xochimilco, it might be slightly off the beaten track but well worth the trek.

Their menu of traditional Oaxacan breakfasts or western favorites will leave you more than satisfied with your decision. One of the best breakfast spots in town and one of the best restaurants to try in Oaxaca.

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Ancestral Cocina Tradicional

Ancestral Cocina Tradicional tasty snack
Where to eat in Oaxaca like a local? Don’t miss this hidden gem.

Ancestral Cocina Tradicional is another restaurant off the beaten track located in Barrio Xochimilco. If you are looking for where the locals go to eat in Oaxaca, this is it!

The price point compared to the quality at this restaurant makes it one of the best values in town. These guys specialize in plating up Oaxacan classics with modern style. Ancestral is a must-try when visiting Oaxaca.

Useful Information

  • Address: José López Alavez 1347
  • Hours of Operation:
    • Monday: Closed
    • Tuesday – Saturday: 8:00 am – 12:30 pm, 2:00 pm – 10:30 pm
    • Sunday: 8:00 am – 12:30 pm, 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm
  • Cost: $$

La Popular

La Popular is a small restaurant located one block over from the Temple of Santo Domingo. A staple on the tourist circuit, La Popular specializes in traditional Mexican cuisine. On the menu you will find succulent pork filled tacos, the Oaxacan staple of tlayudas and other local specialities. While the prices might be slightly higher than local establishments, the lively atmosphere and quality ingrediants are worth it. Be prepared to wait a few minutes for a table as this place fills up fast!

Useful Information

  • Address: Calle de Manuel García Vigil 519
  • Hours of Operation:
    • Monday: 2:30 pm – 1:00 am
    • Tuesday – Saturday: 11:00 am – 1:00 am
    • Sunday: 2:00 pm – 10:00 pm
  • Cost: $$

Casa Taviche

This small and chic restaurant offer modern platings of traditional Oaxacan fare. The warm dining space with its colourful tables and hanging plants is cosy and without pretension.

We turned up early (before 7pm) on a Monday night without a reservation. Snagging a seat just in time before the place filled up completely with gringos.

Unfortunately the two meals we ordered fell short of expectation. We should have sensed something was off when our meals were served within a few minutes of ordering. We ordered the entomatado de pollo and rollo de carne. Both our meals were bland and pretty dissapointing given what a stellar reputation this place has garnered in recent years.

Perhaps it was an off night. Or perhaps the quality control has gone down as the restaurants popularity and traffic has increased. Unfortunately not of our favorite places to eat in Oaxaca.

Useful Information

  • Address: Miguel Hidalgo 1111
  • Hours of Operation:
    • Tuesday – Saturday: 1:00 pm – 1:00 am
    • Sunday: Closed
  • Cost: $$

Expendio Tradicion

Expendio Tradicion is the place to be for the sophisticated traveler looking to enjoy great food, mezcal, cocktails or wine without a full sit down meal.

The bar food was delicious but a little pricy compared with other options in Oaxaca. The sit-down restaurant menu looked good too but we haven’t tried it yet. We think there are places with a little more bang for your buck.

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Where to Eat in Oaxaca For Fine Dining

Casa Oaxaca

Fresh sashimi at Casa Oaxaca
Where to eat in Oaxaca? Casa Oaxaca is an institution and not to be missed.

Casa Oaxaca has a reputation around town, and it is no wonder why it is on every list of the best restaurants in Oaxaca and where to eat in Oaxaca for a great evening out.

A large terrace overlooks the Panuelito Garden, just south of the Temple of Santo Domingo. The view provides for the perfect ambiance for dining under the Oaxacan stars.

The food, however, remains the star here. The menu is a la cart. Beautifully prepared dishes take their cues from local foods, ancient traditions, international cuisine, and modern techniques. Think sashimi with local flavors, veal tongue in mole, or crispy duck tacos.

Expensive compared to some mid-range options in town, prices remain in step with the quality and represent good value.

It’s no surprise that Casa Oaxaca remains one of the city’s most celebrated restaurants and was one of our favorite places to eat in Oaxaca.

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Pitiona

Pitiona
Pitiona’s reputation is well deserved.

Pitiona is recognized as one of the best places to eat in Oaxaca. Located in the city center with impressive views over the Temple of Santo Domingo. Booking a table outside is a must. We recommend booking an early dinner to enjoy the sunset over the temple and city.

Pitiona offers a tasting menu ($1,450 pesos as of November 2019) or you can dine a la carte.

Exciting dishes rooted in traditional Oaxacan and Mexican cuisine are beautifully executed. We enjoyed the guacamole pitiona, pork tacos and the chard salad as an appetizer. To finish off the meal, we dined on fried octopus tacos with chintextle and milpa rice. The milpa rice was a particular highlight.

Rounded out by a solid wine and cocktail menu and first class service Pitiona is a real treat without breaking the bank.

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Criollo

Criollo should be in the conversation when deciding where to eat in Oaxaca
Enrique Olvera’s Criollo is a must for any food lover!

Having visited Enrique Olvera’s Pujol in Mexico City which has repeatedly been recognised as one of the top 10 restaurants in the world we were excited to try his Oaxacan restaurant Criollo.

The restaurant offers a tasting menu with a drink pairing ($995 and $500, respectively as of November 2019). There is no option to order a la carte, so you are at the mercy of the chef.

In our opinion, the meal started out strong with modern takes on the traditional Oaxacan specialties. Memelas of refried beans, Oaxacan cheese, crispy pork topped with a chili reduction and a ceviche tossed in an avocado salsa.

While it goes without saying we had a great meal, both Casa Oaxaca and Pitiona out shined Criollo. Such a shame as we had such high hopes for Enrique Olvera’s third restaurant. But while Enrique Olvera is involved in the restaurant here, we learned while dining that he is in fact not the chef at Criollo. Maybe this is the reason why Olvera’s other two restaurants are among the top in the world and not Criollo.

  • Address: Francisco I. Madero 129
  • Hours of Operation:
    • Monday: 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
    • Tuesday – Thursday: 1:30 pm – 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm – 10:15 pm
    • Friday – Saturday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm 10:15 pm
    • Sunday: 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
  • Cost: $$$

We hope our experiences help you decide where to eat in Oaxaca and discover the best restaurants Oaxaca has to offer. Let us know if you agree or disagree with our recommendations!

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