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Oaxaca, Oaxaca Recs

My girlfriend and I will be going to Oaxaca for 2 1/2 days and I want to make the most of the 5 lunch/dinner meals we'll have. Reviewing past posts the places I'm considering checking out are the following

- Itanioni
- Casa Oaxaca
- La Teca
- Pitiona
- La Olla
- Mercado 20 Noviembre

Any thoughts about either these places or any which I haven't listed but merit a visit would be greatly appreciated!
Also any suggestions for very good, simple comedor corrida places in el centro would be welcome

Thanks in advance

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    1. We went to Oaxaca for Dia de los Muertos last year and will be going again this year. The food was wonderful, from cheap to expensive we only had one disappointing meal in a week. I am a chef and the food in Oaxaca alone is reason to go back again.

      Itanioni -
      It is simple, plastic chairs under a open but covered patio.
      I think everything was al a carte. It is too far of a walk from the Zocolo, we did it but regretted it, so take a taxi. It closes early so check the hours.
      I had the single best tamale of my life at Itanioni. I still get misty thinking about. It is worth the trouble to get to.
      I think what the owner is doing, corn theme, having farmers grow heirloom, almost lost varieties is so interesting. Alice Waters said it was her favorite restaurant in Oaxaca or all of Mexico. Something along those lines.
      They have a strict no photo policy, with signs around the place. But if you ask they will bring you a disclaimer for you to sign and then they will let you take photos. I assume it said you will not publish any photos, they are for your own use.

      La Olla-
      We went for breakfast. I was impressed with how much of their items are made in house. Jam, granola etc. They clearly are cooking with love and care. We would go back for dinner. The chef/owner is a woman and gives cooking classes and has a B&B behind the restaurant.

      Pitiona and Casa Oaxaca were full when we inquired so during DdlM reservations are a must. CO was even booked for the next two nights when we asked. Other people we spoke to said it was wonderful. Expensive but worth it.

      I loved La Biznaga. It was modern, artsy and really great food. It is in the center of a courtyard with some shops and galleries on a few sides. We ate there three nights in a row. I would have to say the appetizers were better than the entrees though. The have a bar on one side of the restaurant that can get loud at the end of the night.

      We went to Los Danzantes in Coyocan (suburb of Mexico City.) They have one in Oaxaca as well. The food was beautiful, the whole place was very glamorous and hip. Everything we had was spectacular. They had a great bar and serious drinks. I assume the one in Oaxaca is the same.

      We had a mid-day snack at one of the restaurants along the Zocolo and it was surprisingly good for being a tourist trap. We even went back another day because I was craving their corn poblano soup and the people watching was great.
      It had Jardin in the name but I think more than one on the square does and one sucks (warned by someone we met) but the other one is the one we liked. I will have to look at our photos for the correct name.

      Do not miss the markets and chocolate shops. The Mercado de Abastos is the largest we went to in Mexico. It was overwhelming and luscious with amazing goods. It is organized by types of things close together. Meats, vegetables, flowers, coffee/chocolate, spices, live animals, housewares, clothes, they have everything. The neighborhood is a bit sketchy if you walk from the zocolo and I have seen warnings of pickpockets at the market. I took at least a hundred photos it was so much fun but exhausting, it goes on for blocks and blocks.

      Have a great time and post and update any finds and suggestions!

      2 Replies
      1. re: Got Cake

        Wow thanks for the thorough review! Will certainly prove very helpful.

        1. re: Got Cake

          The Abastos market is, IIRC, the 2nd largest open air market in Latin America. It is huge. Market days are Tuesday and Saturday when it swells in size and it becomes positively gigantic around major holidays like Muertos, Independence Day, Semana Santa and so forth. I don't think it is particularly unsafe but my Mexican friends, and Mexican acquaintances that live in Oaxaca City, are all a little leery of it. If your hotel room has a safe, just leave the bulk of your valuables there. Don't take anymore than you are willing to loose to a pick pocket.

          There are ceramics vendors around the outer part of one side of the Abastos. On Saturday their numbers swell. A lot of them do the green pottery Oaxaca is famous for and a number of them *are* doing lead free ceramics. You may need a bit of Spanish to determine which ones are lead free (sin plomo). This part of the market also has multiple vendors sell good quality comals. They're fragile, so if you decide you absolutely have to take one home with you, buy more than one so that if one breaks in transit, maybe the other one won't ;-)

        2. Here's a link from fall 2012 that might prove helpful:
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/868060

            1. re: bronwen

              El Naranjo has been closed for a few years now.

              1. re: hankstramm

                El Naranjo--the Oaxaca restaurant owned and run by Chef Iliana de la Vega--has re-opened to rave reviews in Austin, Texas. The food is still marvelous.

                In Oaxaca, don't miss La Teca. It's been the best meal of their trips for many CH posters.

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

            2. Has anyone been to Tlamanalli, the zapoteca resto in Teotitlan del Valle? Is it as good as they say?

              2 Replies
              1. re: LRS

                I have been twice.

                Yes, it is good, but it is quirky.

                1. re: LRS

                  Talmanalli is good but nothing worth writing home about. It's an experience worth trying. Also, it's probably the only decent restaurant in TdV.