The time has come for me to put together a comprehensive Oaxaca food guide of all the best restaurants in Oaxaca, a place that has pulled me into its orbit again and again.
I’ve spent over 9 collective months visiting this city and now live here full time - so I've been able to experience living in different neighborhoods as well as villages outside the city, eating on the street, in traditional comedors, and in trendy restaurants.
A couple of years ago, after my first visit to the city, I wrote a blog post - 11 Must Eats in Oaxaca. I've just majorly updated it, so that post is relevant - but it focuses on 11 must eat Oaxacan dishes and where to find them. But after many more months and many more restaurants, markets, and food stands, I wanted to write something much more comprehensive - an ultimate Oaxaca food guide.
So this aims to be a complete list of my favorites, broken down by category. I’ve included bakeries, street food, market eats, traditional restaurants, mid-range cute spots, upscale restaurants, coffee shops, and where to drink cocktails, mezcal, artisanal beer, and coffee in this Oaxaca food guide.
It’s looking like I will be spending much, much more time in this delicious city, so I’ll continue to keep this updated as I try new places or restaurants close and open. I want to keep this Oaxaca food guide current and relevant for the best restaurants in Oaxaca. Of course I’m one person who hasn’t been everywhere, but I’ve been many places, developed a long list of favorites, and will continue trying new places in the years ahead.
Happy eating! You picked one of the best places in the world for it. 🙂
Bakeries: Best Restaurants in Oaxaca
Think Mexico doesn’t do bread? Think again. There are a couple absolutely fantastic bakeries in Oaxaca centro.
If you’ve done any Googling about best restaurants in Oaxaca, you’ve most likely already come across this local institution in a Oaxaca food guide. The Mexican owner perfected his European style bread and baked goods before opening La Boulenc in 2014. Their emphasis is on locally sourced and healthy ingredients.
Grab some fresh baguettes and croissants from the bakery, or head next door to the restaurant and sit down for some tasty food. This isn’t a place for traditional Oaxaca food, but fresh, well prepared and delicious dishes that often have a traditional influence.
Their space is lovely - very shabby chic. They also sell jams, and other locally made artisan food goods in the bakery.
207 Porfirio Diaz
This is one of my favorite bakeries in the world. This tiny spot is located in the centro, but away from the hustle and bustle in the Northwest corner. This is also a European style bakery. My favorite things here are the focaccia (omg), the fresh english muffins, and the whole wheat loaves.
Besides that, they have an absolutely excellent homemade granola. They also often sell coffee by the kilo here.
Pan con Madre
Porfirio Diaz 816-A, Centro
Street Food: Best Restaurants in Oaxaca
Las Tlayudas de Mina y Bustamante
I don’t think anyone actually calls this tlayuda stand by the above name, but that’s its location - at the NW corner of Mina y Bustamante, just a block from 20 de Noviembre Market.
These tlayudas are super legit and one of my favorites in the city. Order one and have a seat at the tiny cart counter (if you can find a spot) or a plastic stool nearby. Be sure to order some “chocolate” (chocolate atole), too - it’s delicious.
Las Tlayudas de Mina y Bustamante
NW corner of Mina y Bustamante
This one isn’t a secret, you can find it here and there in lists of the best restaurants in Oaxaca, but it’s absolutely delicious and a classic so I had to include it in my Oaxaca food guide. They make perfectly grilled tlayudas on the grill outside and have some seating inside off the street. This spot is also open super late, so if you need a snack after a few mezcals, this is a solid solution.
Calle de Los Libres 212
Speaking of late night delicious food, Lechoncito de Oro has some of my absolute favorite tacos in Oaxaca. They make only two types of tacos: pierna (pork leg) and chicharron (pork skin). Both are incredibly delicious. Definitely try both.
They also have another location east of the centro - I haven’t been there, but am sure it’s delicious as well.
This is an absolute must in my Oaxaca food guide for tacos.
Lechoncito de Oro
Calle de los Libres y Murguia
Esquites Stand in El Llano
Esquites are boiled corn served in a cup. Add crema, mayo, chile pepper, salt, lime - and presto, you have a tasty snack. It’s much more delicious than it sounds, and a very popular Mexican evening snack.
There are many esquites vendors in the Zocalo, and on random street corners. Many are good, but the best, in my opinion is in El Llano park. You will be able to tell because they always have quite a long queue.
Check the map above for the approximate location. Generally opens after dark.
Esquites Stand in El Llano
Ave Benito Juarez close to intersection with Humboldt
Market Food: Best Restaurants in Oaxaca
I loooove visiting markets when I travel, and the ones in Oaxaca are some of my absolute favorites, jam packed with delicious food.
I wrote an extensive blog post already about what to eat in Oaxaca markets: Mercado Benito Juarez & 20 de Noviembre - highlights include tlayudas at Marie Alejandra’s and the tastiest grilled meats ever in the Carne Asada hall. Full details in the post including where to get tamales, chapulines, drink tejate, and more.
Traditional Casual Restaurants: Best Restaurants in Oaxaca
Biche Pobre is one of the first restaurants I tried in the city, and in my opinion still one of the best restaurants in Oaxaca. It’s a traditional local spot, filled with families having a big shared lunch. It’s no frills, but still very comfortable and a great place for taking in the local culture.
I love the mole negro here (which is a dish you really have to try when coming to Oaxaca). They also have great tamales and chiles rellenos.
Calz. of the Republic # 600
Tacos Roy is another classic in my Oaxaca food guide. It’s a small local chain that has several locations in the city. The tacos here are tasty, but my favorite thing to order here is pozole. What’s pozole? A suuuper delicious traditional soup that includes hominy, your choice of meat, and is often topped with cabbage, crema, onion, radishes, and other tasty toppings. If you’re wondering why you would eat soup on a hot day, just do it anyway - it’s delicious.
If you are looking for one of the best restaurants in Oaxaca to try pozole, Tacos Roy is a great choice.
My favorite two locations are:
Valerio Trujano just west of 20 de Noviembre
Or Abasolo and Pino Suarez
Xuncu Choco is unique in this Oaxaca food guide because the cuisine is mainly from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Oaxaca state. This area is quite far from Oaxaca city, and very different geographically - instead of being in the subtropical temperate mountains, it’s hot and tropical lowlands.
The region’s cuisine has some similarities with the typical cuisine in the Valles Centrales, but includes ingredients indigenous to the tropical lowlands, seafood, and flavors that are just a bit distinct. One of the dishes I tried at Xuncu Choco included a sauce that was both sweet and savory - and super delicious.
Definitely one of the best restaurants in Oaxaca to try casual Tehuantepec cuisine.
Av. Independencia # 302
I always order pozole at this popular local restaurant - particularly the green pozole. Pozole verde isn't very common in Oaxaca (it comes from the neighboring state of Guerrero), so it feels like a treat to have it here. It also comes with chicharron and avocado - yum.
This restaurant is on a popular corner for my Oaxaca food guide - right across the street from Boulenc, and around the corner from two of my favorite mezcalerias - In Situ and Archivo Maguey. You can easily make a whole night hopping from one spot to the next.
La Gran Torta
Porfirio Diaz No. 208
Tlayudas Las Animas
I'm just adding this tlayuda spot to the best restaurants in Oaxaca list because I just discovered it. It's only open 3 nights a week - Thursday, Friday and Saturday for dinner. It's very simple - walk in the hallway passing the tlayuda grill and have a seat in the open courtyard.
The tlayudas here are absolutely delicious - perfectly grilled, crispy and smoky. They also have a tlayuda enmolada - or a tlayuda with mole sauce instead of the normal aciento. The tlayudas are on the smaller size (or rather, they are about the appropriate size to eat in one sitting. but you will find them much larger just about everywhere else).
Since this is open late on weekends, it's a good Oaxaca food guide choice for before or after some mezcals.
Tlayudas Las Animas
Mariano Matamoros 203
Mid-range Restaurants: Best Restaurants in Oaxaca
Curious which restaurant is my absolute favorite on this Oaxaca food guide list? Well ya found it.
Cabuche has it all: a lovely, simple atmosphere, great staff, and totally delicious food. Everything I’ve had here has been superb - and I’ve been here many times.
The standouts here are their pozole (super super good), cochinita pibil tacos, and the enmoladas. Be sure to also order their agua of the day (flavored water) or maybe a house-made artesanal beer or pulque.
Cabuche is open for breakfast, lunch or dinner so is perfect for anytime of day. This is a can't miss on my Oaxaca food guide!
Miguel Hidalgo 1017
I mentioned Boulenc earlier in the bakery section, but they have an adjoining dining room for eating in as well. It’s a cute spot with rustic decor, and an indoor/outdoor space.
The menu is best described as fusion, with salads, sandwiches, and pizzas.
It’s a cool spot, and they also occasionally have live music or popups. Check their Facebook page for current events.
207 Porfirio Diaz
Itanoni has gained a little online buzz as well, and for good reason. This restaurant’s claim to fame is the heirloom corn varieties they use to make each and every dish in the house. From the freshly made tortillas, to the tamales, to the traditional drinks made from corn, to the corn cake for dessert.
The menu here is huge, but here are my favorite things to order at Itanoni, one of the best restaurants in Oaxaca:
Tascalate - this is a beverage and is my favorite thing at Itanoni. It’s a traditional non alcoholic drink made from toasted maize, chocolate, ground pine nuts, achiote, sugar and vanilla. It’s amazing - trust me. If you’re in a group - order the jarra (pitcher) to share.
De ese - this unusual snack is a tortilla stuffed with a hoja santa leaf (adding an anise/peppery flavor) and whatever other ingredient you choose.
Tamales - their tamales are delicious. That is all.
Tetelas - triangle shaped tortillas stuffed with goodness. My favorite stuffing options are cheese or mushrooms.
Pan de elote - for dessert, the subtly sweet corn cake is perfect. If you still have any room.
Itanoni is definitely one of the best restaurants in Oaxaca to indulge in all things corn. It also has a cute casual atmosphere open to the street and colorful streamers strung up and down the side dining room.
Itanoni Tortillería y Antojería
Belisario Domínguez 513
La Popular a very simple and small dining room that always feels lively (mostly because it’s, well, very popular!), and also doubles as an art gallery. The food is good, the atmosphere is great, and it’s very centrally located just one block from Santa Domingo.
I like to order the tacos de cochinita pibil or the quesadillas de huitlacoche.
Calle de Manuel García Vigil 519
I had Casa Taviche on my list for a couple years before I finally made it over for lunch. It’s centrally located and easy to find, I had just somehow missed it before.
The dining room is adorable with cute and colorful geometric designs painted on the tables and chairs, and colorful wall accents.
They typically serve a menu del dia - or a menu of the day. This usually includes 3 courses and a drink all for a reasonable price. The dishes are beautifully plated as well as delicious and fresh.
Casa Taviche is one of the best restaurants in Oaxaca to try out a typical (though slightly more upscale) menu of the day.
Miguel Hidalgo #1111
El Quinque serves THE best burgers. Really - they are exceptionally high quality and delicious. Truthfully, I haven't tried anything else here because I prefer to keep having the amazing burgers.
Callejón Hidalgo 218
Upscale Experiences: Best Restaurants in Oaxaca
El Destilado is my favorite “fancy” restaurant in Oaxaca for a few reasons: the decor is stylish, the staff is wonderful, the food is delicious, and the mezcal and cocktail list is fun to explore.
I’ve been several times, done the fun tasting menu a couple times, and ordered a la carte other times.
I’d recommend making a reservation beforehand. I’d also recommend ordering the mezcal de mole. It really tastes so much like mole.
5 de Mayo 409
Los Danzantes is a classic Oaxaca restaurant that serves excellent traditional food. You’ll certainly find them on most best restaurants in Oaxaca lists, and for good reason - they do traditional food well.
Their outdoor terrace is lovely and chic, perfect for a romantic dinner.
They also bottle their own brand of mezcal.
Macedonio Alcalá 403
Criollo is a word used in Mexico to denote that some food ingredient is indigenous to the area and an heirloom variety. This name seems to reflect the restaurant’s connection to Oaxaca’s traditional cuisine.
The restaurant was created by 3 partners, one of which is chef, Enrique Olvera, of Pujol fame. That should be enough to convince you to head to Criollo asap.
The location is tucked away at the edge of the centro, but finding it is well worth the work - it’s a gorgeous space with a lovely courtyard. And the food is wonderful - inventive and still respectful to its Oaxacan roots.
We had the pleasure of dining here when it was still in its soft opening. I definitely have to return soon! I would say it’s one of the best restaurants in Oaxaca for upscale dining. Reservations required.
Francisco I. Madero 129
Expendio Tradition is another restaurant in my Oaxaca food guide that I didn’t try until fairly recently, but it shocked me with it’s super tasty dishes.
The restaurant is in a gorgeous space - lots of beautiful tile, wood paneled ceilings, and a grand open courtyard.
Be sure to order one of their mezcal cocktails, which are refreshing and tasty.
The SE corner of Reforma & Murguía
Outside of Oaxaca Centro: Best Restaurants in Oaxaca
Chances are you will be spending most of your visit in the centro, where most of the tourist attractions, hotels and tourist amenities are. But if you find yourself venturing out, have a rental car, or are just curious about typical Oaxacan life, check out some of the great Oaxaca food guide choices outside of the tourist zone.
Tlayudas Doña Flavia is one of the best restaurants in Oaxaca (in my opinion) and also one of the best places to eat tlayudas in Oaxaca.
Tlayudas are giant round tortillas topped with asiento, Oaxacan string cheese, and often cabbage, tomato, and avocado, then grilled to perfection. They are sometimes served open faced (like a pizza), or folded.
One of the tastiest tlayudas in Oaxaca is at Doña Flavia’s - an unassuming local spot on the highway heading out east towards Tlacolula.
If you don’t have a car, this might not make sense as a stop on your itinerary. But if you are doing any day trips out east to Hierve el Agua, Mitla, Tule, Teotitlan de Valle to see the weavers, etc.. you can make a stop at Doña Flavia's on the way back for dinner.
Tlayudas Doña Flavia
Carretera Internacional 2019 Crucero de San Sebastián Tutla
Luz de Luna is one of my favorite restaurants in this Oaxaca food guide, but a big reason for that is that I’ve spent many months living in San Andres Huayapam, the little village outside of Oaxaca city where this restaurant is located.
But this restaurant is also super delicious. Everything I’ve had here is wonderful - from the tlayudas, to the pozole, to the freshly made aguas del dia.
It’s also an adorable restaurant. Very cutely decorated, without being over the top. The staff is warm and friendly, and the restaurant can get quite busy on weekends when city-dwellers come out to Huayapam for a visit.
This is another spot that might not make your itinerary if you just have a couple days in the centro. But if you plan to do any exploring of the Sierra Norte, you might want to make a stop at Luz de Luna for a tasty meal on your way back to the city.
Luz de Luna
Calle La Paz NUMERO 6, Centro, 68287 San Andrés Huayápam
I have two favorite tacos in Oaxaca - the first are the lechon tacos at Lechoncito de Oro (see the street food section above), and the second are the carnitas tacos at Carnitas la Luz.
We discovered this local taqueria only because it is close to the Chedraui grocery store we used to visit while housesitting nearby. But this taqueria was an amazing discovery.
The carnitas are incredible - melt in your mouth incredible. And the servers bring you an array of beautiful homemade salsas plus pickled onions to use to your heart's desire.
Carnitas la Luz is one of the best restaurants in Oaxaca for delicious tacos.
Carnitas la Luz
Calle Alamos 703, Colonia Reforma
Consejo Cervecero is a brewery and a pub. It might seem like an odd choice on a Oaxaca food guide since it doesn't serve traditional Oaxacan food, but it’s a great place to experience modern Oaxacan beer and bites.
Consejo Cervecero brews the most famous local artisanal beer. You’ll see their two most popular varieties all around town - Boy Stout and Rey oh Baby (2 amazingly cute names).
They also serve typical bar food, but their burgers are super super delicious.
If you’re looking to see what locals eat when they aren’t having tlayudas or mole or to see where young people are hanging out, Consejo Cervecero is a great place to try out! And since it’s in Reforma, it’s not too far from the Centro.
Av Belisario Dominguez
Where to Drink Mezcal: Best Restaurants in Oaxaca
In my opinion, drinks deserve a place in any Oaxaca food guide, so below you'll find my favorite places to drink mezcal, cocktails, artisanal beer, and coffee.
I’ve written an extensive post with my favorite places to drink the best mezcal in Oaxaca: 8 awesome mezcalerias. Head there to the full details! And if you're interested in learning lots more about mezcal, consider taking a Oaxaca mezcal tour to some of the best and most traditional distilleries. Or peek below for where to drink cocktails, artisanal beer, or coffee in this Oaxaca food guide.
Where to Drink Cocktails: Best Restaurants in Oaxaca
Casa Estambul is one of the cutest and loveliest places to hang out on a lazy afternoon. The space is beautiful and cool. Lots of murals line the wall, the floors are covered in pretty tile, and the middle courtyard is giant and lovely.
Their cocktails are delicious and carefully crafted, and the space can’t be beat.
Ignacio Allende 316
Sabina Sabe is a gorgeous and cool cocktail bar in the centro. The space is beautifully decorated with rustic brick walls, pretty tiled floors, and great mood lighting.
The cocktails are delicious and the place has a great lively vibe. Get there early on weekends!
5 de Mayo 209
Where to Drink Artisanal Beer: Best Restaurants in Oaxaca
La Mezcalerita is one of my favorite bars in Oaxaca so it definitely needs a spot in this Oaxaca food guide. There are a couple bars in small rooms in front, a small courtyard inside, and a large roof terrace.
The amazing thing about La Mezcalerita is the sheer size of their artisanal beer and mezcal menu (they also earned a spot in my best mezcalerias in Oaxaca blog post). And not only are there a lot to choose from, but all are from Mexico - divided out in the menu by regions of the country. I couldn’t begin to guess how many there are to choose from, but it’s fun to try new varieties each time. They also serve pulque.
Calle Macedonio Alcalá just one door south of Calle Cosijopi
Santisima Flor de Lupulo is another of my favorite beer spots in this list of the best restaurants in Oaxaca. They brew their own beer here, and always have a few varieties on tap to try. The tiny bar only has a couple tables, but has a warm and friendly atmosphere.
Santisima Flor de Lupulo
Ignacio Allende 215
Coffee Shops: Best Restaurants in Oaxaca
It wouldn't be a complete Oaxaca food guide if I didn't include cafes that serve some of the delicious locally-grown coffee.
Cafeto y Baristas is my favorite coffee shop in Oaxaca. It’s a tiny room, but cutely decorated with little cacti and succulents, and kitschy wallpaper. The baristas know how to make a mean cup of coffee and they also have excellent cold brew. You can also buy beans to go.
Cafeto y Baristas
Calle José María Pino Suárez 407 B
Cafe Nuevo Mundo is local institution, and a great coffee shop to hang out in for awhile. It’s a large space with several rooms. They also make great coffee and you can purchase beans to take home.
Cafe Nuevo Mundo
Calle de Manuel Bravo 206
Cafe Brujula is another very popular Oaxacan coffee shop. They have two locations - one right outside of Santo Domingo and the other closer to the Zocalo. I much prefer the location near the Zocalo. It’s bigger, and much more pleasant to spend time in for awhile. They have a large central courtyard lined with tables that is great for catching up with friends over coffee or working from your laptop.
Calle Macedonio Alcalá 104
Cafe La Antigua is a lovely little cafe that is only a couple blocks from Santo Domingo, but feels like it’s far from the tourist hustle and bustle.
They make great coffee here from beans from the mountains of Oaxaca. I don’t usually order mochas but they make a great one here. And the decor is simple but warm and inviting.
Cafe La Antigua
And there you have it! My Oaxaca food guide from my last few years spending many months in my favorite city in the world. I’ll continue to update this best restaurants in Oaxaca list, but please feel free to drop me a note below if you have something to add!
More Oaxaca on the blog: