Mexico Insider’s 27 essential Oaxaca restaurants

From street food staples like tlayudas and memelas to rich, flavorful moles and succulent barbacoa, here are the best Oaxaca restaurants to visit!

Oaxaca City, the capital of the Mexican state of Oaxaca, is a thriving culinary destination renowned for its vibrant restaurant scene.

This culturally rich city boasts diverse dining options, ranging from traditional family-owned establishments to contemporary eateries.

Oaxaca’s culinary identity is deeply rooted in its indigenous heritage and strong agricultural traditions, which are showcased through its innovative and flavorful dishes.

The city’s thriving gastronomy scene attracts locals and visitors alike, eager to explore the depth and complexity of Oaxacan cuisine. The fusion of age-old recipes and contemporary culinary techniques makes Oaxaca City a true epicenter for food lovers.

The types of restaurants in Oaxaca City are as diverse as the city’s rich culinary history. Here are some of the essential restaurants to visit.

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1. Casa Oaxaca: best of the best Oaxaca restaurants

Casa Oaxaca is celebrated for its contemporary Oaxacan cuisine, which artfully blends traditional flavors with modern culinary techniques.

This restaurant stands out in the vibrant tapestry of Oaxaca restaurants, drawing both locals and travelers with its innovative dishes.

When visiting Casa Oaxaca, patrons should not miss the opportunity to try the stone-ground mole negro, a signature dish priced at approximately 250 pesos (about $13 USD), or the succulent grilled octopus, costing around 300 pesos (roughly $15 USD).

For a truly Oaxacan experience, the tlayudas are a must-try, with prices around 200 pesos ($10 USD). To enhance your dining experience, request a table on the terrace for a breathtaking view of Santo Domingo Church, especially enchanting at sunset.

Additionally, inquire about the chef’s special tasting menu for a curated selection of dishes that showcase the best of Oaxaca’s flavors.

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2. Los Danzantes

Los Danzantes offers a sophisticated twist on traditional Oaxacan dishes, focusing on locally sourced ingredients and creative presentations. As a standout among Oaxaca restaurants, its ambiance and culinary offerings attract a discerning clientele.

Their signature dish, Cochinita Pibil, slow-cooked pork in achiote sauce, is a festival of flavors, available for about 220 pesos ($11 USD). The Chile de Agua Relleno, stuffed with cheese and served with a tomato sauce, is a vegetarian delight at 180 pesos ($9 USD).

For a unique drink, try their artisanal mezcals, with prices starting from 100 pesos ($5 USD) per glass.

Los Danzantes has a secluded courtyard setting so any time of the day is best to visit.

3. El Destilado

El Destilado stands out for its innovative approach to Oaxacan cuisine, focusing on small-batch and experimental dishes that delight the palate. This restaurant is a gem among Oaxaca restaurants for those seeking an adventurous dining experience!

It prides itself on a menu that changes frequently, driven by seasonal ingredients and the chefs’ creative whims.

Highly recommended is the 12-course tasting menu, which is an investment at 2,100 pesos (about $120 USD), offering a gastronomic journey through regional flavors.

For those seeking a la carte options, the rabbit tacos at 200 pesos ($10 USD) and the aguachile de camaron, priced at 220 pesos ($11 USD), are exceptional choices.

Take advantage of the restaurant’s mezcal tasting session, led by knowledgeable staff who can introduce you to rare and exquisite varieties.

4. Criollo

Oaxaca Restaurants

Criollo offers a unique dining experience, emphasizing traditional Oaxacan cooking methods and ingredients while presenting them in a modern, refined context.

It is a notable addition to the landscape of Oaxaca restaurants, blending the old with the new in a serene garden setting.

The Enmoladas, tortillas dipped in mole sauce, filled with chicken, and sprinkled with sesame seeds, are a delight for around 210 pesos ($10.5 USD).

The Stone Soup, a traditional dish cooked with hot stones, provides a unique culinary spectacle and flavor for 250 pesos ($12.5 USD).

Their Rabbit in Mole is another standout dish, priced at 350 pesos ($17.5 USD).

Criollo’s garden setting offers a tranquil dining experience; visit during the early evening to enjoy the golden hour ambiance.

5. Ancestral

Oaxaca Restaurants

Ancestral is a culinary gem that focuses on reviving ancient Oaxacan cooking techniques, offering a menu that is deeply rooted in the region’s culinary traditions.

This restaurant is a must-visit for those exploring Oaxaca restaurants, providing an authentic taste of the past.

Their Clay Pot Cooked Beans served with artisanal tortillas is a simple yet profound dish, priced at 100 pesos ($5 USD). The Grilled Nopal with Oaxacan Cheese is a testament to the power of local ingredients, costing 150 pesos ($7.5 USD).

For a truly local experience, the Oaxacan Mole Tasting Plate lets you sample various mole sauces for 300 pesos ($15 USD).

Ancestral is often quieter in the afternoons, making it a perfect time for a leisurely meal. Additionally, engaging with the staff about the history of the dishes offers deeper insight into the region’s rich culinary heritage.

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6. Gozobi

Oaxaca Restaurants

Gozobi Restaurante Bar is renowned for its eclectic menu that seamlessly merges Oaxacan specialties with international flair. It stands as a vibrant contender among Oaxaca restaurants, catering to a wide range of palates with its diverse offerings.

One of their standout dishes is the Mole Oaxaqueño served over chicken, which encapsulates the region’s rich culinary heritage, priced at 220 pesos ($11 USD).

The Seafood Pizza, a unique fusion dish, offers a taste of the ocean for 250 MXN ($12.5 USD), while their artisanal Mezcal Cocktails start at 120 MXN ($6 USD).

To enhance your dining experience at Gozobi, request a table on the rooftop terrace. This not only offers a spectacular view of the city and its landmarks but also allows you to enjoy the vibrant atmosphere under the stars, making for an unforgettable evening.

7. Vaca Marina

Vaca Marina specializes in seafood, bringing the freshest flavors from the coast to the heart of Oaxaca. This restaurant distinguishes itself within the array of Oaxaca restaurants through its focus on sustainable seafood and inventive dishes.

The Grilled Octopus with smoked chili sauce is a culinary masterpiece, available for 300 pesos ($15 USD). For starters, the Shrimp Aguachile, a spicy and tangy dish, is priced at 180 pesos ($9 USD), and the Fish Tacos, a crowd favorite, cost 160 pesos ($8 USD).

Vaca Marina’s intimate setting is ideal for a quiet dinner; consider visiting on a weekday to avoid the crowds and enjoy a more personalized service.

8. Zandunga

oaxaca restaurants

Zandunga serves authentic Istmeño (from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Oaxaca) cuisine, offering a vibrant and flavorful dining experience unique to the region.

As a standout among Oaxaca restaurants, it provides a lively atmosphere coupled with dishes that are hard to find elsewhere.

Highly recommended is the Tamales de Mole Negro, a traditional dish that offers deep, complex flavors for 150 pesos ($7.5 USD).

The Garnachas Istmeñas, small tortillas topped with savory meats and salsa, are a must-try for 200 pesos ($10 USD), and their Jicara de Pozol, a traditional corn-based beverage, complements any meal for 80 pesos ($4 USD).

To truly appreciate Zandunga, attend one of their live music nights. This not only elevates the dining experience with the festive sounds of the region but also allows you to enjoy the vibrant Istmeño culture in full swing.

9. Teocintle Tikaaya

Teocintle Tikaaya is a hidden gem that explores pre-Hispanic cuisine, offering a menu that delves into the ancient culinary traditions of Oaxaca. Among Oaxaca restaurants, it stands out for its dedication to bringing forgotten flavors back to life.

The Mole de Caderas, a seasonal and historic dish made from goat, is an exquisite choice for 320 pesos ($16 USD).

For a lighter option, the Quintonil Tamales provide a taste of ancient greens for 120 pesos ($6 USD), and the Cacao Water, an ancestral beverage, is both refreshing and historically significant for 70 pesos ($3.5 USD).

Teocintle Tikaaya is best visited during the daytime to fully appreciate its rustic and earthy ambiance, which complements the historical dining experience.

10. Origen

Origen, under the guidance of celebrated chef Rodolfo Castellanos, offers a sophisticated menu that blends traditional Oaxacan ingredients with international culinary techniques.

This restaurant is a cornerstone in the landscape of Oaxaca restaurants, providing an elegant dining experience.

Signature dishes include the Rabbit in Mole Amarillo, showcasing local flavors and techniques, priced at 350 MXN ($17.5 USD).

The Roasted Duck Tacos are another innovative offering, available for 280 MXN ($14 USD), while their selection of Oaxacan Wines starts at 150 MXN ($7.5 USD) per glass.

To make the most of your visit to Origen, book their tasting menu in advance. This option provides an immersive journey through Oaxaca’s culinary landscape, curated by Chef Castellanos himself.

11. Crudo

Crudo is a modern eatery that specializes in raw and lightly cooked dishes, emphasizing fresh, local ingredients and bold flavors.

This establishment adds a unique twist to the Oaxaca restaurants scene, catering to those seeking innovative and health-conscious options.

The Tuna Tostadas, with avocado and spicy mayo, are a must-try for 190 pesos ($10 USD), while the Beet Carpaccio offers a vegetarian delight for 150 pesos ($8 USD).

For a refreshing drink, the Cucumber Mezcalita stands out at 120 pesos ($6 USD).

Crudo is smaller and often busy, so visiting during off-peak hours, such as late afternoon, can offer a more relaxed and intimate dining experience.

12. Sirilo

Sirilo is a standout seafood restaurant that brings the flavors of the Oaxacan coast to the heart of the city, enriching the culinary tapestry of Oaxaca restaurants with its focus on fresh, locally sourced seafood.

This establishment is known for its creative dishes that merge traditional Mexican seafood with innovative culinary techniques.

The Grilled Octopus with Oaxacan Herbs is a delicacy, tender and flavorful, priced at 280 pesos ($14 USD).

For a lighter fare, the Shrimp Tacos offer a zesty and refreshing taste for 200 pesos ($10 USD), and the Seafood Ceviche, a mix of fresh fish and shellfish in lime juice with avocado, is a must-try for 220 pesos ($11 USD).

Sirilo is tucked away in a less touristy part of town, offering an authentic neighborhood vibe. A visit here is best combined with a leisurely stroll through the surrounding streets, discovering local art and boutique shops along the way.

13. Boulenc

Boulenc is renowned for its artisanal bakery and café offerings, serving a range of sourdough bread, pastries, and healthful meals that highlight organic, local produce.

As one of the most beloved Oaxaca restaurants for breakfast and lunch, it provides a cozy and rustic atmosphere. The Sourdough Avocado Toast, topped with fresh local cheese and microgreens, is a perfect start at 120 pesos ($6 USD).

For something sweeter, the Almond Croissant is irresistible at 45 pesos ($2.25 USD), and the Kombucha brewed in-house is a refreshing beverage choice at 60 pesos ($3 USD).

Boulenc can get quite busy, especially in the mornings; arriving early not only ensures you get a seat but also that you get the first pick of their freshly baked goods.

14. Pan Con Madre

Oaxaca Restaurant

Pan Con Madre is a charming bakery and café known for its exquisite pastries, sandwiches, and specialty coffees, making a notable addition to the vibrant array of Oaxaca restaurants.

This spot is ideal for those seeking a casual yet delicious dining experience, with a focus on high-quality ingredients and artisanal bread.

The Ham and Cheese Croissant is a popular choice, offering buttery and flaky goodness for 70 pesos ($3.5 USD).

For a heartier option, the Baguette Sandwich with local meats and cheeses is satisfying and priced at 160 pesos ($8 USD), while their Cold Brew Coffee is a refreshing drink option at 50 pesos ($2.5 USD).

Pan Con Madre is especially pleasant in the early afternoon when the bakery is less crowded, and you can enjoy your meal in the peaceful ambiance of their outdoor seating.

15. Tierra del Sol

Tierra del Sol offers a farm-to-table dining experience that showcases the richness of Oaxaca’s indigenous ingredients through traditional and contemporary dishes.

It’s a standout among Oaxaca restaurants for those interested in the sustainable and ethical aspects of dining.

The Mole Negro, a complex sauce that represents Oaxacan cuisine, is served with turkey and is a culinary masterpiece for 250 MXN ($12.5 USD).

The Grilled Octopus with local herbs and vegetables is another exquisite choice, priced at 300 MXN ($15 USD).

For dessert, the Chocolate Tamal is a must-try, blending sweet and savory for 100 MXN ($5 USD).

Tierra del Sol is situated in a picturesque location, making a reservation for sunset dining highly recommended.

16. La Popular

La Popular is a vibrant eatery known for its authentic Mexican street food with a special focus on Oaxacan favorites.

This restaurant has quickly become a favorite among Oaxaca restaurants for its casual atmosphere and delicious, affordably priced dishes.

For a taste of the sea, the Tacos de Pescado are a must-try, lightly battered and fried to perfection, priced at 60 MXN ($3 USD) each.

The Quesadillas de Flor de Calabaza, filled with squash blossoms and Oaxaca cheese, offer a vegetarian delight for 50 MXN ($2.5 USD).

To drink, the Agua de Jamaica, a hibiscus flower iced tea, is refreshing and costs 20 MXN ($1 USD).

Visiting La Popular in the early evening allows you to avoid the largest crowds and enjoy a more relaxed dining experience.

17. La Atoleria Masea

La Atoleria Masea specializes in traditional Oaxacan atole, a warm beverage made from masa, and offers a cozy retreat for those looking to indulge in this comforting drink.

Among Oaxaca restaurants, it stands out for its dedication to preserving and celebrating the diverse range of atole flavors found in the region.

The Atole de Elote, made from sweet corn, is creamy and rich, a perfect start at 40 MXN ($2 USD).

For something unique, try the Atole de Mora, a blackberry variation, for 45 MXN ($2.25 USD), and don’t miss the Tamales de Dulce, sweet tamales, as an accompanying snack for 35 MXN ($1.75 USD).

Visiting La Atoleria Masea on a cool morning or evening provides the perfect ambiance to enjoy these warm beverages. Plus, engaging with the staff about the history and variety of atole can offer valuable insight into Oaxacan culture and traditions.

This place is right next to the Ethnobotanical Garden of Oaxaca so grab a morning breakfast here before visiting the garden!

18. Levadura de Olla

Levadura de Olla is renowned for its exquisite Oaxacan cuisine, with a special emphasis on mole dishes and innovative offerings like guacamole with chapulines (grasshoppers), adding a unique twist to the roster of Oaxaca restaurants.

This establishment prides itself on its authentic flavors and dedication to traditional cooking methods. The Mole Negro, one of Oaxaca’s most iconic dishes, is a culinary masterpiece here, served with chicken for 240 MXN ($12 USD).

For a daring appetizer, the Guacamole with Chapulines is a crunchy, flavorful delight for 120 MXN ($6 USD), and to complete the experience, the Tlayudas con Asiento, a large Oaxacan tortilla with beans and lard, offer a taste of local street food for 180 MXN ($9 USD).

19. Terraza Istmo

Terraza Istmo offers a dining experience that blends traditional Isthmus of Tehuantepec cuisine with breathtaking views of Oaxaca’s landscapes.

This restaurant has made its mark among Oaxaca restaurants with its rooftop setting and menu that celebrates the rich culinary traditions of the Istmo region.

The Garnachas Istmeñas, small corn cakes topped with stewed meat and salsa, are a flavorful journey for 150 MXN ($7.50 USD).

The Mole Negro con Pollo, chicken in a complex black mole sauce, provides a deep taste of Oaxacan heritage for 200 MXN ($10 USD), and the Tlayudas, large toasted tortillas with assorted toppings, are a communal and fun meal for 180 MXN ($9 USD).

The restaurant’s focus on Istmo culture means it’s a fantastic place to learn more about this unique region of Oaxaca through its food and decor.

20. La Cocina de Humo

Oaxaca Restaurants

La Cocina de Humo is celebrated for its mastery of grilled and smoked dishes, using traditional Oaxacan techniques to create flavors that are both robust and nuanced.

Among the best Oaxaca restaurants, it is distinguished by its focus on high-quality, locally sourced meats and vegetables prepared over an open flame.

The Tasajo, thinly sliced beef grilled to perfection, is a standout dish, offered at 220 MXN ($11 USD).

For a taste of the sea, the Grilled Octopus with a side of esquites (corn salad) is exquisite, costing 280 MXN ($14 USD), and the Mezcal Smoked Ribs provide a unique smoky flavor for 260 MXN ($13 USD).

Booking a table during the early evening allows you to watch the chefs at work on the grill, turning your meal into a live culinary show.

Additionally, the restaurant’s selection of mezcal is perfect for those looking to explore the spirit’s diversity with their meal, making it an ideal spot for a comprehensive Oaxacan dining experience.

21. Restaurante Alfonsina

Restaurante Alfonsina is celebrated for its dedication to traditional Oaxacan cuisine, showcasing the depth and diversity of the region’s flavors through meticulous preparation and presentation.

As a distinguished name among Oaxaca restaurants, it provides an intimate dining experience with dishes prepared from family recipes passed down through generations.

The Mole Negro served with chicken is an exemplary showcase of Oaxaca’s culinary heritage, priced at 260 MXN ($13 USD).

For starters, the Tlayudas offer a crispy, flavorful base topped with local ingredients for 200 MXN ($10 USD), and the Chocolate Oaxaqueño, a traditional hot chocolate, is a must-try beverage for 80 MXN ($4 USD).

To fully enjoy Restaurante Alfonsina, make reservations for their outdoor seating area.

22. La Cocina de Frida

Oaxaca Restaurants

La Cocina de Frida stands out in the Oaxaca restaurants scene for its vibrant, art-filled setting and menu that pays homage to the flavors and spirit of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.

The restaurant specializes in traditional Mexican cuisine, with a focus on dishes that are as colorful and bold as Frida’s own artwork.

The Enchiladas de Mole are a visual and gustatory delight, available for 220 MXN ($11 USD), while the Chiles en Nogada, a seasonal specialty, is a masterpiece of Mexican cuisine for 250 MXN ($12.50 USD).

For a sweet finish, the Tres Leches Cake is a creamy, decadent choice for 100 MXN ($5 USD).

A visit to La Cocina de Frida is best paired with an interest in art; take time to appreciate the Frida Kahlo-inspired decor and paintings that adorn the walls!

23. Pasillo de Humo 

Oaxaca Restaurant

Pasillo de Humo excels in presenting traditional Oaxacan dishes with a contemporary twist, making it a must-visit among Oaxaca restaurants for both locals and tourists.

The menu celebrates the rich biodiversity of Oaxaca, using local ingredients to craft dishes that are both innovative and deeply rooted in the region’s culinary traditions.

The Tasajo Tlayuda, a large, crispy tortilla topped with thinly sliced grilled beef, is a flavorful choice for 220 MXN ($11 USD).

The Ceviche Oaxaqueño, with its fresh, local seafood, provides a refreshing option for 240 MXN ($12 USD), and the Mezcalini, a mezcal-based cocktail, is the perfect accompaniment for 120 MXN ($6 USD).

It is located in a popular market so it’s an excellent starting point for exploring Oaxaca’s vibrant street food and market culture after your meal.

24. Tomas Inn Cantina

Oaxaca Restaurant

Tomas Inn Cantina reimagines the traditional Mexican cantina experience, combining classic cantina dishes with a modern Oaxacan flair.

This addition to the array of Oaxaca restaurants is known for its lively atmosphere, eclectic decor, and a menu that features both small plates and hearty meals.

The Cantina Tacos, a selection of tacos with various fillings, are a crowd-pleaser for 180 MXN ($9 USD) for three.

The Queso Fundido con Chapulines, melted cheese with grasshoppers, offers a unique taste of Oaxacan cuisine for 160 MXN ($8 USD), and the Oaxacan Craft Beer selection starts at 70 MXN ($3.50 USD) per bottle.

The cantina often hosts live music, so checking their schedule in advance can add an extra layer of enjoyment to your visit.

25. Restaurante Catedral

Oaxaca Restaurant

Restaurante Catedral is an institution among Oaxaca restaurants, offering a refined dining experience that highlights the best of Oaxacan and Mexican cuisine.

The restaurant’s elegant setting, combined with its commitment to using the freshest local ingredients, creates an unforgettable dining experience.

The Pechuga Rellena de Huitlacoche, chicken breast stuffed with a corn fungus delicacy, is a sophisticated dish for 320 MXN ($16 USD).

The Sopa de Piedra, a traditional soup cooked with hot stones, is a culinary adventure for 280 MXN ($14 USD), and the extensive wine list features selections that perfectly complement Oaxacan flavors, with glasses starting at 150 MXN ($7.50 USD).

To enhance your experience at Restaurante Catedral, consider dressing up for the occasion; the restaurant’s upscale ambiance calls for a more formal attire, making your meal feel like a special event.

Booking a table on the terrace provides a beautiful view of Oaxaca’s historic architecture, adding an extra touch of romance and elegance to the evening.

26. Asador Bocanora

Asador Bocanora is a celebrated steakhouse that brings the rich flavors of Northern Mexico to the heart of Oaxaca, offering a distinct addition to the diverse array of Oaxaca restaurants.

Specializing in high-quality cuts of meat and traditional asado techniques, this restaurant provides a rustic yet refined dining experience.

The Ribeye al Asador, a perfectly grilled ribeye steak, is a standout dish, priced at 450 MXN ($22.50 USD).

For a unique starter, the Queso Fundido con Chorizo, melted cheese with chorizo, offers a flavorful beginning for 200 MXN ($10 USD), and the Mezcal Ancestral selections are the perfect accompaniment, starting at 150 MXN ($7.50 USD) per glass.

To make the most of your visit to Asador Bocanora, consider dining in their outdoor seating area where the ambiance is enhanced by the open grill’s aromas.

It’s also a great opportunity to explore the restaurant’s selection of Northern Mexican wines, providing a perfect pairing for their grilled meats.

27. Itanoni

Oaxaca Restaurants

Itanoni is a beloved eatery in Oaxaca, revered for its commitment to preserving and celebrating the traditional maize dishes of Mexico.

This quaint and colorful restaurant is a standout among Oaxaca restaurants for its use of heirloom corn varieties in all its dishes, offering an authentic taste of Mexican culinary heritage.

The Tlayudas con Asiento, large toasted tortillas smeared with pork lard and topped with beans, cheese, and avocado, are a rustic, satisfying meal for 100 MXN ($5 USD).

The Tamales de Elote, sweet corn tamales, provide a lighter, sweeter option for 60 MXN ($3 USD), and their house-made Aguas Frescas, in flavors like horchata and tamarindo, are refreshing drinks for 30 MXN ($1.50 USD) each.

Visiting Itanoni during the morning hours offers a peaceful start to the day, allowing you to enjoy their breakfast offerings in a calm setting.

Additionally, the restaurant is known for its support of local agriculture, so don’t hesitate to ask about the origins of their maize varieties, as it’s a great way to learn about the importance of corn in Mexican culture and cuisine.

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