OAXACA - El Naranjo is back!
Firstly, I'm a longtime lurker on Chowhound, but a first time poster.
My wife and I just returned from our first trip to Oaxaca, and had so many wonderful meals it's hard to remember them all. That said, there are a few that stand out.
First and foremost is El Naranjo.
Prior to our trip down, my wife did some research and heard about this restaurant - but, we had also heard that it had closed. However, on our second day, we ran into a gringo named Andrew Peterson who was passing out flyers to his restaurant - as it turns out, he bought El Naranjo from the previous owner. Well, we were a little skeptical, but decided to try it anyway - boy are we glad we did.
For an appetizer I had a camarones cocktail that was out of this world. My wife had the flor de clabaza con queso (squash blossoms with cheese). For the main, we both had the Mole Negro which was superb. The atmosphere was relaxing, the wait staff super attentive, and the prices very reasonable. It's right off the corner of the Zocalo.
As an extra added bonus, we got to know Andrew and his wife a bit - they gave us all kinds of other great recommendations, including a restaurant on the way to Mitla. (If you're ever 3K away from Mitla, look for the sign that reads "Donaje.") We spent 2 hours there, talking with her, watching her cook, and then eating her amazing Mole and home made tortillas.
Anyway, I've read a few postings about how El Naranjo was closed, and wanted to give my 2 cents about the new management.
What a pity that our paths didn't cross as we just arrived back from a week in Oaxaca. This trip we went out to quite a few towns. We, too, met Andrew and had a nice meal at El Naranjo. A lot of his recipes come right out of Daniel Hoyer's book. His mole negro recipe is an Etla style mole. The high point of the El Naranjo meal though was the capirotada, beautifully presented and very tasty.
There are way too many restaurants to choose from (our personal favorite is El Escapulario) and I don't know how they are all going to survive unless we get the word out that Oaxaca is back and perfect for a vacation.
We took a lot of photos and I am going to start dropping them here: