Oaxaca de Juarez, also known as Oaxaca City or just Oaxaca, is deemed the food capital of Mexico, and for good reason.
While every part of Mexico has amazing culinary offerings, Oaxaca has some of the country’s best moles (traditional sauce), its own signature cheese (known as quesillo), and street-side barbecued meat – Oaxaqueno style – which is used to fill everything from tlayudas to tacos.
The natural surroundings and rich history of this region make for a perfect mix of flavors, and travellers just can’t get enough. For a sample of the city’s best, here are some of the best places to eat the next time you find yourself in Oaxaca de Juarez.
Mercado de La Merced
Save your pesos and have a cheap and delicious breakfast at one of Oaxaca’s markets. Located in the eastern section of Centro, Mercado de la Merced is the perfect place to dip your toe in the world of Oaxaca City’s markets. Here you’ll find La Guerita, a food stand in the market that’s famous for its memelas.
The base of a memela is fried or toasted corn dough and typically topped with cheese, refried beans, and salsa. Wash your memelas down with a hot chocolate or coffee for less than 50 pesos. Come hungry, leave happy.
Tlayudas El Negro
Beloved everywhere but most ubiquitous in Oaxaca, tlayudas are probably one of Oaxaca’s most famous foods. You don’t have to walk more than a block to find a place selling tlayudas in the city.
A common late-night snack for Oaxacans, tlayudas are a large (really big!) toasted tortilla filled with everything from vegetables to meat to refried beans and quesillo. It’s usually folded in half and then cut so you can eat it as a sandwich.
One of the best local places to eat tlayudas in Oaxaca is at Tlayudas El Negro, an unassuming place on Vicente Guerrero street just southeast of Centro.
Levadura de Olla Restaurante
Come to this beautiful Oaxacan restaurant in Centro for a cozy dinner where you can sample some moles and other traditional dishes made with fresh, local ingredients. The menu at Levadura de Olla will vary depending on the season, but you’ll leave satisfied each time.
The tortillas here are made with different types of corn (from blue to yellow to white) and you can see the tools on display that are used for the process. Any dish that comes with mole negro is a must-try. It’s also the perfect place for a date night in Oaxaca.
The menu del dia (daily menu) at Casa Taviche is always a safe (and delicious) bet when you’re in Oaxaca. This is a great place to go for lunch, where you can sit outside and enjoy their beautiful courtyard. It’s also a great vegetarian and vegan-friendly option in the city.
The mains and starters alternate each day, offering an amazing sample of Oaxacan dishes and flavors with a modern twist and beautiful presentation. They also serve mezcal and some signature cocktails. Go a few times to Casa Taviche during your trip to Oaxaca and see what they offer.
A little outside of town in Barrio de Xochimilco is Chepiche Cafe, the perfect brunch spot in Oaxaca City. It’s a huge outdoor space with an inviting garden that you won’t want to leave.
When it comes to breakfast options, you can take your pick here: enjoy a Mexican-style breakfast like huevos divorciados or chilaquiles, or splurge on their French toast made with challah bread and a vanilla-orange flavored egg batter. There are also eggs benedict on the menu if you’re craving a little taste of home.
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