Oaxaca City recommendations needed
I'll be in Oaxaca mid-November and will be looking for some places to eat. Market stands are fine as are full-scale restaurants as long as they prepare local dishes made with real ingredients and aren't outrageously expensive. I am also thinking of attending a cooking class. I'd appreciate any recommendations. Gracias!
I'm sure that there are many prior posts on this topic, but I wasn't able to find them using the Chohound search tool, located just above; at least, not in the short time I devoted to it.
Restaurants of note that come to mind are Casa Oaxaca (I've not eaten there), La Olla (good), María Bonita (good), Marco Polo (grilled seafood from a wood burning oven (good); Mercado 20 Noviembre for comida casera (good); El Biche Pobre 2 for botanas (good); La Toscana for upscale Italian (good, but pricey), the Friday Tianguis at El Lllano for antojitos and aguas frescas (good, and cheap; depends what you eat and which stand); Mercado El Pochote, Fridays and Saturdays for organic and artesanal foods.
There's lots more.
For starters, have a look at these blogs:
(part two, three and four follow; also, "Un Paseo Por El Llano".
I am currently in Oaxaca. We have been coming here for 14 years or so, usually for a month or more. I agree with anonimo on la Olla ( comida corrida is good value), Marco Polo ( the one on El Llano park not the one further downtown). El Pochote market no longer exists, I have heard there is a new incarnation in Barrio Xochimilco but haven't tried to find it. We have tried a couple of new ( to us ) places in the last week both of which I would highly recommend. The first is called Fuego y Sazon and is located on Cinco de Mayo in Barrio Jalatlaco. It is an easy walk from our hotel in Calle Pino Suarez near el Llano Park. ( about 3 or 4 blocks) The food was outstanding and the prices were much lower than Casa Oaxaca ( which is good but expensive ). We had excellent Oaxacan sopas and since we'd been in town and were slightly overdosed on molés we ordered steaks ( only 110 pesos - less than 1/2 of most places in town) -among the best I've ever had! We will be going back to try their Oaxacan specialties which were very reasonably priced at about 70 pesos. Also had very nice ambience. The second place which we were taken to tonight by friends who live here year-round was called La Teca. It is a small place on La Violetta in Colonia Reforma north of the centre. Our friends had a car - you might want to take a taxi, it would be a fair walk. The food is istmeño and is said to be the best example of this style. It was very delicious. The garnachas were wonderful, as were the tamales, and the relleno ( we had a large selection of items tapas-style among the 4 of us and all were excellent )
Among other favorites of ours would be Itanoni for wonderful organic corn tacos de cazuela - on Belisario Dominguez in Colonia Reforma ( a long but do-able walk from the centre.) It is very inexpensive and is our daughter's favorite restaurant in the world. We like El Topil on Plaza Labastida for Sopa Azteca, Crema Garbanzo, enchiladas, etc. They are open quite late if you've been to some event. Mayordomo on the Alcala has great hot chocolate. There are several good Italian/Pizza places - Nostrano across from Santo Domingo is our favorite. La Biznaga on Garcia Vigil, and Los Danzantes on Alcala are a couple of other places that have somewhat more modern takes on Oaxacan food. La Crepe and Flor de Loto are good for lighter meals. I could go on and on. You will probably find your own favorites!
We were in Oaxaca recently and stayed at Casa Oaxaca, so ate dinner there several times. It was absolutely outstanding - though expensive by Oaxaca standards, as noted. FWIW, we were a bit disappointed by our meal at La Olla - but perhaps that was an off day. Food was just average (for Oaxaca, which is admittedly a high standard) and service was surprisingly brusque and unfriendly.
Iliana de la Vega closed the restaurant a few years ago during the teachers unrest and strike. She is currently teaching for the Culinary Institute of America at their San Antonio branch. She sold the restaurant at least a year ago to an American ex-pat and it re-opened to fairly decent review.
El Naranjo is closed. The American guy who bought it from Ileana kept it going for a bout a year or so, but it was never the same as when Ileana had it. I heard she has a food truck in Austin area too! saw it online. She didn't leave because of the teacher's strikes, which did drive her mad as all of us, but because of some health care issues in her family. WISH SHE'D COME BACK! it was my favorite for years! and she is sooo nice.
Make your way to the Central de Abastos - the city's largest and principal marketplace - where you'll find scores of small "fondas" / restaurants operated by families and at which you can sample some of the best of what Oaxaca has to offer. Breakfast and lunch, until late-afternoon, only - don't wander about the marketplace after dark. ;-)
Here's what you're gonna do. Get in a collectivo on a Thursday. Go to Zaachila. At the right side of the market (facing there from the cathedral). Eat at one of the empanada stands (they are large corn tortillas doubled over a filling of flor de calabaza, tinga, amarillo, verde, or champinones). Gorge yourself on empanadas and memelitas. Now go to Nieves Siboney in the middle of the market. Get a cup of leche quemada con tuna. Enjoy :D
And in Oaxaca City (alla en la ciudad hay mucha gente mala jaja) be sure to go to the Mercado 20 de Noviembre. There are a lot of food stalls with cheap and delicious eats.
And remember, Oaxaca isn't just mole. There is so much more. You just gotta go out and explore