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Need an Update on Oaxaca, Oaxaca Restaurants

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We haven't been to Ciudad de Oaxaca for 6 or 7 years, but will be returning later on this year. I know La Olla and Marco Polo (on the lllano) are still there, but that Iliana left El Naranjo and is now in the States. Also know that Los Danzantes and Biznaga still exist. Please update us: what's "new" in the last 6 or 7 years that's worth trying, what's closed, what's moved, and anything else we should know about the food scene. Muchas gracias.

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  1. It's not new, but if you haven't been to Itanoní on Belisario Dominguez you need to go. The owner is devoted to preserving and promoting native corn and the traditional "corn kitchen". It's pretty delicious. Not all taxistas know it, but if you tell them it's by the "El Che" on Belisario Domiguez, they'll get you there

    http://www.itanoni.com.mx/

    1 Reply
    1. re: DiningDiva

      Thank you. Yes, we've been to Itanoni several times.

      -----
      Itanoni
      Belisario Domínguez 513, Oaxaca, OAX , MX

    2. All of the places you mention are on the tourist path so for eating adventures I encourage you to try restaurants that are frequented more by regular Oaxacans and less by tourists. I have an apartment in Oaxaca and go back and forth between my home in Chicago and Oaxaca. I do not cook at all in Oaxaca but eat out because the food of everyday people is incredible in Oaxaca.

      To start, I suggest Don Camaron, in Colonia Reforma, on Jazmines near Escuela Militar. It has seafood in the style of Sinoaloa. The menu has all the seafood that Marco Polo has but prepared in a much more interesting manner. And you don't have to go into drug cartel territory to get it.

      For fresh, made-to-order tortillas, made by unas senoritas working at huge comals in the doorways, I recommend two small restaurants. Cafe San Miguel at Gerrero 319, just a few blocks southeast of the Zocalo has comida corrida for 40 pesos. Terra del Sol on Tacayuba just south of Murguia is filled at comida time with working people and families. The food is fresh and delicious, and the tortillas are worth going off the tourist path.

      Have a great trip.

      The restaurants you mention are still there (except Naranjo was closed in 2006).

      .

      10 Replies
      1. re: mexicophile

        Many thanks. Will definitely check it out. We used to love the pozole at La Gran Torta across the street from the Alameda. I recently found a website for a La Gran Torta, but with a different address. Is it the same restaurant, but moved? Or is it a different place? Is Quince Letras still on Abasolo? Are they still making wonderful empanadas at Guerita's in Mercado Merced?

        Also, please explain "drug cartel territory". Am I wrong in thinking that Oaxaca is still pretty safe? Are there parts of town we should avoid?

        1. re: PAO

          First Oaxaca is still pretty safe--enjoy yourselves. My comment referred to the state of Sinoaloa and the Sinoaloa cartel which is one of the two most powerful cartels in Mexico. I apologize for causing any worry.

          La Gran Torta is still on Porfirio Diaz between Independencia and Morelos. Two other good places for pozolo are Don Juanito, which has several locations, with one at the corner of Porfirio Diaz and M Bravo, and Tacos Alvaro on Porfirio Diaz at the corner of Quetzalcoatl.

          Quince Letras is still there with their pretty patio.

          Guerita is still making empanandas.

          Not much changes in Oaxaca I guess.

            1. re: mexicophile

              Thanks all for the restaurant tips.

              Any information on "El Shaddai", which sounds Middle Eastern, but from what I gather, is not. It's on Hidalgo at the corner of Galeana, Centro.

              Any comments on "La Escondida", somewhere east of the city center?

              1. re: Anonimo

                I have not gone to El Shaddai but it has the look and location of a restaurant I would love to try. I put it on my list.

                La Escondida is buffet, and I don't like buffets, but it is highly recommended by Oaxaquenos. They also like Hacienda San Augustin for buffet. Catedral on Garcia Vigil has a buffet on Sunday afternoons which is very popular with middle-class families.

                1. re: Anonimo

                  Yesterday I went to El Shaddai, located on Hildago at the corner of Galeana, a few blocks west of the Zocalo and one block south from Soledad Church. This is real food of the people, definitely off the tourist path. I enjoyed the comida corrida for 45 pesos, and the people.

                  The restaurant seems small until you get inside and see it is quite large, with several rooms. It was filled with working class families. I enjoyed seeing the children chowing down on the food, without one "I don't like that".

                  To start was sopa con pasta, light tomato broth with penne-like pasta. Next was arroz with a choice of vegetables or platano. I chose plantano, thinking it would be plantains but no, it was a whole sliced banana. I noticed almost everyone around me had the same.

                  Entree choices were estofado con pollo, verde de pollo, guisado pollo, pechuga empanadado, or caldo de menudo. I had the esofado which had a oregano rich sauce with green olives and raisins.

                  The tortillas were warm although not made to order. The agua was guayaba, which must be the nectar of the gods. Dessert was the ubiquitous gelatina.

                  The restaurant interior had seen better days but I can not say it was dirty, just worn. I doubt it will be updated anytime soon.

                  The owner told me that El Shaddai is Egyptian for Deus.

                  1. re: mexicophile

                    How much was that comida corrida, mexicophile?

                      1. re: cristina

                        Thanks, Cristina, I overlooked that.

              2. re: PAO

                Just went to La Gran Torta, now on Portifirio Diaz, tried the pozole verde, which at 60 pesos, is quite expnsive, and i thought nt that great. The broth was thin, and tasted watery. La Pozoleria, on Morelos, has much better pozole, but since the new owners took over, they have stopped making verde, as they are Oaxacan, not from Guerrero, and dont know the recipe. But their red is great. Also, i tried a place i think is called El Pozolito on Rayon that was quite good as well.

            2. On an earlier thread re this same subject, I posted about Oaxaca Restaurante La Teca. If you put La Teca in the search field on this topic, you'll find it--it is a do-not-miss.

              Link: http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

              1 Reply
              1. There is a newish restaurant that is getting very good reviews, called Pitiona, at 5 Cinco de Mayo #311. The chef, Jose Manuel Banos, trained at El Bulli in Spain. I have reservations there at end of Oct. Anyone been there?

                1 Reply
                1. re: emdrus

                  Would appreciate hearing your review!

                2. OK, I will come back and review after our trip. Also eating at Fuego y Sazon, will review that too.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: emdrus

                    Went to Fuego and Sazon a year ago, service was a joke, and the food wasn't much better. They couldn't bring close to the right order to the table, and brought uncooked fish to both me and a able right next to us. And this wasn't ceviche. We had eaten there a year before that and although they were not there when we went, and we waited for them to open, get organized and cook our order, the food was good, so we went back. It was all downhill, and now we will not go back.

                  2. Not much changes in Oaxaca, but it's not that bad...

                    José Luis, the Teatro Culiinario guy in Crespo brought the operation down to Allende ("Casa Crespo") and eventually left. Casa Crespo is still there, but it is basically a tourist trap to avoid. El Temple in García Vigil closed down, and was replaced by a generic Italian ("Vieja Lira"). There was al place until recently("Vainilla"?) doing fancyish comidas corridas in B. Domínguez (colonia Reforma). There´s a new istmeño place on Murguía, one block west of Pino Suárez. There's a place doing Arabic stuff (lamb cous cous etc) on Reforma, a bit north of Conzatti, and I swear I've seen a Thai restaurant in Independencia east of the Zócalo, though it might've been the mezcal. And Pitiona, which has already been mentioned.

                    I went today to Origen, another recent effort. It's on Hidalgo, half a block east of Zócalo. It's located in a very pleasant old house, with lots of shade, nice furniture and what looks like a small gallery. Pretty minimalistic menu but well balanced. I had bell-pepper soup and slow-roasted pork loin wrapped in hoja santa and bacon. Well executed, but no surprises (either way). Well meaning service but pretty clueless; they couldn't describe the dishes on the menu to save their life. Two not too generous courses plus 2 glasses of table wine plus tip came to almost 30 USD. Not cheap. Might work better as an place to sip some white wine on the top floor in the evening, and leave it at that

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: BenMac

                      " There's a place doing Arabic stuff (lamb cous cous etc) on Reforma, a bit north of Conzatti, and I swear I've seen a Thai restaurant in Independencia east of the Zócalo, though it might've been the mezcal."

                      Got any specific names and addresses? Thanks.

                      1. re: Anonimo

                        El Morocco Cafe, Calle Reforma 905, just north of Conzatti. Great food, classically Moroccan. A good choice when you want something different. You can choose between eating at hammered copper tabletops, or at comfy couches with low tables. Many people come here for coffee or a drink, and to socialize.

                        Nid Noi Nah, Avenida Independencia 802. Another great choice when you can't eat another Mexican thing. This one isn't easy to spot from the street.

                      2. re: BenMac

                        I dont know about the Vieja Lira on Grcia Vigil but the other location on Pino Suarez, has excellent thin crust pizza with nice local ingredients.

                        1. re: BenMac

                          I was in a group of six who took a four hour cooking class at Casa Crespo - near Santo Domingo church - on the Wednesday before USA Thanksgiving. We had a wonderful experience. Dining may be a different matter. We cannot judge that. For US$65 per person - we made (and later consumed) corn tortillas, guacamole, four salsas, stuffed squash blossoms, pollo mole amarillo, horchata, a chocolate dessert and something else (senior moment).

                          The food was also quite tasty, I learned quite a bit (I am not a highly experienced cook), there was ample beer and more than enough food for us to eat.

                        2. La Olla is lovely...dessert..was somewhat dry

                          The Thai restaurant on Independencia is closed due to illness in the family.

                          Pan &Co. bakery is a French style bakery....my saviour for bread, pastry and sit in coffee or chocolate.

                          Friendly, English speaking owner/staff. 2 brothers and their Mother
                          El Quinque corner of Macedonia Alacala and Xoloti...Can't say enough about the food...and the great, honest service...Take a break from Mexican...They close around 6 pm....Fair prices, for great food.