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Welcome to the rainbow city of Oaxaca! The bustling streets invite you to experience a rich history, lively markets, brightly colored colonial buildings, and artisan galleries. The friendly locals are passionate about their culture and eager to share all their home city can offer.
It’s no wonder Oaxaca is one of my favorite places to visit in Mexico and a place we once called home for a short period of time.
Of course, there is no shortage of fantastic places to eat in Oaxaca. The city boasts some of the best Mole in Mexico and is well known for its use of cacao beans. One of the most popular tours in Oaxaca is a food tour, and this is a testament to the amazing food you can try in the city!
The aromas of traditional, International, and fusion cuisine blend harmoniously from street to street. In addition, you can find super tasty and expertly prepared street food – my favorite!
Certainly, the restaurants in Oaxaca will take your everyday cravings on a scrumptious journey.
So, are you ready to visit the best restaurants in Oaxaca? Let’s go and explore the gastronomical capital of Mexico!
The BEST Restaurants in Oaxaca City
1. Los Danzantes Oaxaca – Best Fine Dining Mexican Cuisine
- Location: Near the Museum of Cultures of Oaxaca, Santo Domingo. Google Maps location here.
- Price Point: Mains are $15 to $20 USD
- Come here for: Fine dining and Mexican food
With its beautiful decor and delectable cuisine, Los Danzantes Oaxaca is a magical place to visit in Oaxaca for those who like fine dining. The restaurant is located in an old converted monastery, and the ambiance is simply divine. The food here is some of the best in Oaxaca, and you’ll definitely want to try their famous Mole Poblano!
The only reason I went to Los Danzantes was that a friend recommended it to me, and I was not disappointed in the least.
There was nothing lacking in terms of flavor or presentation, and the service was impeccable. This restaurant comes highly recommended for anyone looking to enjoy a nice dinner in a beautiful setting. You must visit Los Danzantes if you want to get a true taste of Mexican cuisine in its purest form.
They have recreated all the classic flavors of traditional Mexican cuisine using fresh, locally sourced ingredients, so you can enjoy the authentic experience of a Mexican family kitchen. Their menu is designed to appeal to a wide range of palates, with vegetarian options as well as dishes that are suitable for vegans and those with gluten intolerances clearly marked. It’s clear that they have put a lot of thought into making their restaurant accessible to everyone.
If you’re looking for things to do in Oaxaca, make sure you add grabbing a bite to eat at Los Danzantes to your list!
2. Los Pacos Oaxaca – Best Mole
- Location: In Reforma, north of the main downtown area. Google Maps location here.
- Price Point: $15 to $20 USD for mains
- Come here for: Best Mole!
Los Pacos Oaxaca has mastered the art of Mole sauce, synonymous with Mexican cuisine in Oaxaca. Their location is a little out of the city center; therefore, you can enjoy less of the hustle and bustle alongside your meal. We were met by friendly smiles and were offered a seat under their beautiful Palapa roof. An ideal spot to be on a warm late afternoon or evening.
This restaurant in Oaxaca offers seven different types of Mole. We sampled one of each alongside a strong and refreshing Margarita. I was excited to try the ones my palate had become familiar with. Even more exhilarating, there were quite a few Dan I had never tasted.
It was a difficult choice! Eventually, I decided to have the Black Mole and Dan the Green Tomato and Cappers. We relished every mouthful served with tender ribs that fell off the bone and a side of Guacamole.
As the evening set in, we treated ourselves to one more Margarita. A lip-smacking spicey experience and by far the best Mole I have eaten in Mexico! Definitely, one of the best restaurants in Oaxaca and a must for those new or experienced with Mole!
3. Casa Taviche – Best Affordable Tacos
- Location: City Center, three blocks east of the Zocalo. Google Maps location here.
- Price Point: $7 to $10 USD for mains
- Come here for: Mexican Cuisine and a cheap meal
Don’t walk past this delightful restaurant in Oaxaca. The interior is non-pretentious, done with subtle pastel shades, and adorned with greenery. There is a warm and earthy feeling, and the background lounge music adds to the ambiance perfectly.
The menu is small in size, as are the signature dish portions. A fantastic opportunity for you to try one or two mains. Equally, you can enjoy a three-course meal with ease on their “menu del dia” for around $7 USD.
Dan and I were looking for a light dinner on this particular day. Casa Taviche was ideal. I ordered the Steak Tacos and Dan the Chicken Mole. It would appear the Mole bug has bitten Dan, and I was so surprised at the fine dining presentation! The menu was handwritten, so I’d say it is constantly changing depending on seasonal availability – how exciting!
Both were so delicious, freshly prepared, and served with a smile. For our dessert, we both opted for the Sticky Chocolate Brownie. Too smooth and decadent for words. We washed our meal down with a good ol’ Corona beer – not to be cliche.
My favorite part was the simplicity of the setup, met with an evident passion for local flavor and authentic arty touch. What a surprising experience. Make sure to pop this spot for one of the cheapest places to eat in Oaxaca city!
Related Read: If you happen to be visiting in late October or early November, don’t miss celebrating the Day of the Dead in Oaxaca!
4. Gozobi Restaurant – Best Rooftop Restaurant
- Location: City Center next to the Museum of Cultures of Oaxaca, Santo Domingo. Google Maps location here.
- Price Point: $10 to $20 USD for mains
- Come here for: Mexican meets International Cuisine/Bar.
A meal with a view? Yes, please! Gozobi Restaurant is located in the heart of the city center. This restaurant in Oaxaca has excellent Mexican cuisine alongside a vibey bar atmosphere. The décor is natural and brings in the natural Mexican surroundings. Dan and I popped in for a late lunch and promptly made our way to the rooftop.
Once seated, we took a moment to absorb the magnificent view. Wow, quite something over the city and a reason to visit on its own! Our server was prompt and friendly and recommended we try their Margaritas. So glad we did, of course! Super refreshing on a hot Oaxaca afternoon.
We started our meal with Guacamole – a tradition of ours. A generous portion with onion, tomato, and cilantro. Fresh and delicious! I decided to try the Raviolis stuffed with Picadillo in a Creamy White Sauce. Dan opted for the Spicy Chicken Breast with Cheese. Both our meals were scrumptious and delivered timeously after our starter. The prices are great too!
As the evening set in, more locals and travelers arrived to relax at the bar with a fresh and fruity cocktail in hand. Definitely, one of the best restaurants in Oaxaca and by far the best view of the city!
5. Tr3s 3istro Restaurant & Oyster Bar – Best Oysters and Fresh Seafood
- Location: City Center. Google Maps location here.
- Price Point: $8 to $20 USD for mains but steaks go up to $50 USD.
- Come here for: Mexican Cuisine, steak, oysters, and seafood
Oysters and fresh seafood, anyone?! If you answered, “yes” then Tr3s 3istro is the best restaurant in Oaxaca to satisfy your seafood craving. The décor is elegant with a 5-star appeal. Yet, the vibe is relaxed and informal. Located on the second floor at the El Zocalo, you can expect extraordinary views over the city, including The Cathedral.
The Oyster Bar has a fabulous selection. I ordered the Flamed Oysters au Mezcal. Spicy, cheesy, and spectacular! Dan opted for the Fried Oysters with Mornay Sauce. Battered and fried to perfection and delicious.
The recommended Fish Tacos were our choice for the main. I savored every bit of the Shrimp “Gobernador” and Dan, the Salmon Baja Style. Fresh and morish!
The smooth and velvety Seasonal Fruit Mousse was an ideal choice for dessert. Dan got a bit tropical and tucked into the Coconut Flan with Ice Cream. A light and sweet way to end an exceptional meal, alongside warm and friendly service.
Besides our amazing meal, my favorite part of dining here was seeing The Cathedral lit up. Just magical!
6. Boulenc – Best Brunch
- Location: City Center, 3 blocks north of the Zocalo. Google Maps location here.
- Price Point: $5 to $10 USD
- Come here for: Café meals and decadent pastries
Boulenc is a café-style restaurant in Oaxaca offering melt-in-your-mouth pastries and spectacular meals. Dan spotted this delightful café, and we had to pop in for brunch. The beautiful wooden tables and stylish chairs give this café a warm and inviting atmosphere.
I loved the courtyard where you are seated amongst the raw and natural buildings. Truly authentic and real.
We ordered two cappuccinos while browsing the menu. Excellent coffee, aromatic and smooth, and they only cost just over $2 USD each! I knew I would order the Chocolatin de Almendra Croissant for dessert. No explanation is needed there!
For brunch, I ordered Molletes. Fresh sourdough with beans and Menonita Cheese, paired with Pico de Gallo, Sour Cream, and Grilled Salsa. Super yum! Dan thoroughly enjoyed his Spicy Shakshuka. Served with bread and Lebanese cheese. A real win! The best part is, both meals were under $5 USD.
We saw the Pizza coming out of the kitchen. We will definitely return to give these a try! The toppings offer unique combinations and look scrumptious.
Finally, my croissant moment arrived. Freshly baked and crumbling perfection! So, when it comes to where to eat in Oaxaca to indulge in superb café food? Look no further than Boulenc!
7. La Matatena Pizzeria – Best Pizza
- Location: City Center, less than two blocks north of the Zocalo. Google Maps location here.
- Price Point: A large pizza is around $10 USD
- Come here for: Pizza!
When your palate needs a break from Mexican cuisine, La Matatena Pizzeria is the restaurant in Oaxaca to go to. The bright turquoise walls with exquisite colonial-style finishes welcome you into a warm and friendly atmosphere. Take a moment to admire the enormous carved wooden doors. Just gorgeous! You cannot miss this Pizzeria in the streets of Oaxaca city.
The restaurant is family owned and is passionate about all your favorite Italian cuisine. Naturally, Dan was excited to see their Pizza variety. And what a variety it was! Certainly, not an easy decision to make.
My choice of the Eva topped with apple, pecans, blue cheese, and honey was unusual and scrumptious. Dan opted for the Luigi topped with artichoke hearts and almond and ground basil pesto. Truly delicious, and we both had plenty of leftovers from our large pizzas.
They offer fabulous gluten-free options – perfect for those traveling with an intolerance. Moreover, the Vegan Pizza and Pasta are appealing and tantalizing. For this reason, Dan and I decided to try the Vegan desserts.
I ordered the Banana Cupcake and Dan opted for the Carrot Cake. Both are decadent and the ideal sweet ending to our mouthwatering Italian cuisine experience. Undoubtedly, one of the best restaurants in Oaxaca!
8. Humar – Best Seafood Dishes
- Location: Just outside of the city center. Google Maps location here.
- Price Point: $7 to $12 USD for mains
- Come here for: Mexican Contemporary Seafood!
Humar is a casual and attractive restaurant in Oaxaca offering some of the city’s best seafood. Just like the surrounding architecture, the meals were bursting with color and met with outstanding freshness and taste.
Our meal began with shrimp. I ordered the Chupa-pela Shrimp. The zesty lemon and roasted garlic oil made this dish super delicious. Dan opted for the Shrimp Popcorn. These delightful shrimp bits in beer tempura served with a sweet and sour sauce are crispy and flavorsome.
Dan was still feeling an “Italian” vibe. So, his choice of Frutti di Mare was perfect. Al dente fettuccine tossed with Shrimp, Black Mussels, Clam, Garlic, Parsley, and a generous splash of wine. Super delicious! I loved every bite of the pan-seared Tuna in sesame oil as my main, just be prepared to enjoy it rare.
The cocktail menu is fabulous! We sipped our Mojitos and enjoyed the background music alongside an upbeat and friendly vibe.
Our server was highly tentative. The chefs in this restaurant in Oaxaca take great pride in serving the freshest seafood made with the finest ingredients. I was so surprised at our bill too. It felt like a steal, and we left a nice tip!
9. Hierba Dulce – Best Vegan Restaurant
- Location: City Center, 4 blocks north of the Zocalo. Google Maps location here.
- Price Point: Average Main $7 USD
- Come here for: Mexican Vegan Cuisine
It’s always a pleasure to find a Vegan restaurant offering delicious and healthy options. Hierba Dulce is precisely that! Their menu is incredible. In addition, they pay close attention to organic and fresh, locally produced ingredients.
Since Dan had tried new and exciting Mole in restaurants previously, he was keen to keep his Mole bug appeased. I have to agree; I felt the same! Therefore, I ordered the Almond Mole. An almond base with heirloom tomatoes and a spicy cinnamon kick. This is served with potatoes, olives, and pickled chili. Need I say more?!
Dan opted for the Enchilada. Comprising handmade tortillas dipped in Red Mole prepared with red chilhuacle chili. Followed up with a hint of sweet and sour notes and a spiciness. Too yummy for words! Indeed, Dan was satisfied.
Our dessert choice of Sorbet made with orchard-fresh seasonal fruit was sublime. We washed our Vegan meal down with an epic Oaxacan craft beer. My favorite part was the evident passion the owner has for vegan-inspired Mexican cuisine. Vegan or not, this best restaurant in Oaxaca is the spot!
10. Mexita – Best Italian Cuisine
- Location: North of the City Center in Reforma. Google Maps location here.
- Price Point: About $15 USD for a pizza
- Come here for: Authentic Italian Cuisine
Mamma Mia, you are in for an Authentic Italian treat in Mexico! The owner of Mexita brings all the flavors from his home in Italy to your palate. Agreeably, we all enjoy our pizza made a certain way. However, a fresh and expertly prepared base is an essential factor.
This restaurant in Oaxaca has mastered the art of the pizza base. Accompanied by generous and fresh toppings. You are in for a satisfying meal. I decided to go for the Calzone Ladrone. Stuffed with homemade mozzarella, ricotta, Jamon ham, mushrooms, and salami.
Dan opted for the Curiosa. A perfectly textured base topped with homemade mozzarella, arugula, and fresh salted prawns. The mozzarella stretched with every bite. Also, the flavors were incredible!
They offer a superb wine selection to accompany your meal. We shared a bottle of Valpolicella Don. A pleasant dry red wine-drinking experience. The decadent and layered Tiramisu was our dessert of choice. Just the right amount of sweetness to end our scrumptious meal.
Our server was hands-on, alongside a warm and friendly ambiance. Mexita may be a little out of the city center. However, the experience and flavors are out of this world! Get to one of the best restaurants in Oaxaca for an Italian taste adventure!
11. Casa Oaxaca El Restaurante – Best Contemporary Mexican Food
- Location: City Center right next to the Temple de Santo Domingo. Google Maps location here.
- Price Point: $10 to $30 USD for mains
- Come here for: Contemporary Mexican Cuisine
Chef Alejandro Ruiz is passionate about Mexican Cuisine. Casa Oaxaca El Restaurante offers you all the authentic Mexican flavors with a contemporary twist. The décor is magnificent and aligns with the contemporary approach. He links closely to organic farming, ensuring freshness on your plate every time.
Like most passionate epicures, his meals are a masterpiece bursting with visual pleasure and taste. I began my dinner with a new experience of toasted insects, including chicatanas, chapulines, maguey worms, guacamole, chepiche, and radishes. Who knew insects could be so delicious?! Dan kept to his mole and tried the Octopus tetela with peanutted mole and pickled carrot puree. Excellent choice for my Mole crazy partner!
I ordered the Braised Beef Rib with mole manchamanteles, fruit puree, and chives for my mains. Wow, super tasty combination, and the beef rib was expertly prepared. Dan decided the Pork Steak with chickpea puree and green mole paired with mashed beans and vegetables was the way to go. I didn’t try his because I’m not a huge fan of pork, but he said he loved it!
The Guava Mousse and Rose Petal ice cream was my dessert. Dan savored the Purple Banana, Mezcal Caramel, and Pot Coffee Sorbet. Exceptional sweet sensations to end an all-around delicious 3-course meal. Be sure to pop in for a memorable eating experience! By far one of the best restaurants in Oaxaca for those who enjoy delicate food!
12. Pitiona – Best Dining Experience
- Location: City Center, one block from Temple de Santo Domingo. Google Maps location here.
- Price Point: About $20 USD for mains
- Come here for: Contemporary Mexican Cuisine/Fine Dining
When you eat a meal at Pitiona, you are taken on an ancestral flavor journey. Chef Jose Manuel Banos brings his childhood kitchen adventures and cooking passion to your plate. This restaurant in Oaxaca is in a prime location with breathtaking views of The Cathedral and the city.
We sat on the terrace, and both agreed on the magnificence of the location. Pitiona infuses special flavors from all over Mexico into their expertly prepared fine-dining meals. Like so many gastronomic Chefs, you can expect an individual and unique touch.
The portions are fine dining size. Therefore, you can try more than one. I love these kinds of culinary experiences. It’s an opportunity to relax and immerse in a rich culture through food. With this said, Dan and I ordered 4 dishes to try. The Rib Eye Toast, Piglet Tacos, Octopus to Size, and Black Mole with Steak – Dan had to get his Mole in!
Each dish carried a distinct spice and flavor. My favorite was the Octopus to Size. Often Octopus can be overcooked and rubbery. I found this dish melted in my mouth, and the taste was extraordinary. Dan shared a similar view on the Black Mole with Steak. The steak was tender, and the Mole was flavorsome.
The Coconut Honey and Cocoa desserts were decadent. I particularly enjoyed the Green Apple Sorbet. We loved our experience at this incredible restaurant in Oaxaca, but our bill certainly wasn’t cheap. This restaurant is the place to go in Oaxaca if you’re looking for a complete culinary experience – of course, one of the best things to do while in Oaxaca city!
13. Expendio Tradicion – Best Cocktails and Lite Bites
- Location: City Center. Google Maps location here.
- Price Point: $12 to $15 USD for mains
- Come here for: Cocktails and lite bites
The next level of dining in the heart of Oaxaca is here! This magnificent restaurant in Oaxaca has a renowned reputation for the best Mixology. In fact, Expendio Tradicion won a Gourmet Reward for Best Mixology Nationwide. Wow!
Upon arrival, we took a moment and sat by the bar. The décor is stylish and trendy, alongside a warm and friendly atmosphere. We felt very welcome and relaxed. We were eager to try one or two of their award-winning Mezcal cocktails. The bartender did his thing, and we sipped away at some of the best cocktails we have had in Mexico! They range in price but expect to pay around $6 USD.
Next, we ordered tacos. Every mouthful was bursting with spice, and the meat was tender. The portions were rather generous. A melt-in-your-mouth experience.
Our evening was completed with another delicious Mezcal cocktail. Certainly, one of the best restaurants in Oaxaca for cocktails!
14. Chepiche Café – Best Breakfast and Coffee
- Location: North of the City Center. Google Maps location here.
- Price Point: $4 to $6 USD for a dish.
- Come here for: Breakfast and coffee!
If you are looking for healthy, creative, and scrumptious café-style food, Chepiche Café is an exceptional choice. It’s a short walk north of the city center. However, it will be worth the visit!
We popped into this delightful garden patio café before we left Oaxaca. The vibe is relaxed, and the surrounding gardens are magical! We sat outside on a gorgeous, sunny morning and couldn’t wait to try some of their breakfast meals.
We ordered some coffee to get our day going. Really great coffee with a full-bodied aroma and flavor. I decided on the From the Garden Omelet. A mixture of sauteed green leaves and goat cheese. All were folded into a light, fluffy omelet and placed on a spicy red sauce. The added fruit and toast were excellent condiments. Truly a unique combination and morish!
Dan opted for the Drowned Eggs special. A rich tomato and chili broth, with potatoes, zucchini, poblano chili, quesillo, and two eggs bobbing about. Certainly, an unusual breakfast. Yet, super tasty! The added bread was ideal for soaking up the delicious broth.
This restaurant in Oaxaca was the perfect stop for our last breakfast. My favorite part was the setting accompanied by delicious food. Just ideal!
15. El Escapulario – Best Traditional Oaxacan Cuisine
- Location: North end of City Center. Google Maps location here.
- Price Point: Around $8 to $12 USD per main
- Come here for: Traditional Oaxaca Cuisine
Dan and I were wondering where to eat in Oaxaca to enjoy one more lunch meal? Some fellow travelers recommended El Escapulario, and I am thrilled they did! Here, Oaxaca’s aromatic, spicey, and traditional flavors come together.
The space is intimate, the setting is super relaxed, and the service is top-notch. You can see that the owner is passionate about the city and the cuisine. So much tender, loving care goes into every dish.
Of course, Dan had to get one more Mole in for good measure. His choice of the Enchilada in a red mole hit the spot. I opted for the tortilla smothered in a decadent mole and topped with cheese and chorizo. We washed our meal down with refreshing fruit juice as we headed out of the city for the last time.
My favorite part of this restaurant in Oaxaca is you really have a sense of how the locals eat in their homes. Honestly, the perfect way to end our travels in Oaxaca! Simple, tasty, and authentic food.
Activities to do While You’re in Oaxaca
With all your restaurant plans taken care of, it’s time to fill up your itinerary with more fun things to do in Oaxaca! Whether you’re in town for a few days or a couple weeks, here are some of our favorite activities:
- Tour the historical center – Learn about Oaxaca’s rich history as well as the day-to-day lives of locals on a guided walking tour! If you’re on a budget, try this Free Walking tour, but if you can afford it, this guided tour is much more in-depth and very well-rated.
- Visit the world’s widest tree – El Arbol del Tule is the world’s widest tree and one of its oldest! It’s located just outside Oaxaca City, so you can take a private car or this guided tour, which also visits historical towns and includes a mezcal tasting. If you prefer to exercise, visit the Tule tree on this bike tour.
- Day trip to Teotitlan del Valle – This unique village near Oaxaca is famous for its weaving. Every step of the rug-making process is on display when you pop into the artisan weaving shops here. This 3-in-1 tour includes a stop in Teotitlan del Vale for weaving demos along with a visit to the stunning Hierve el Agua to see a petrified waterfall.
- Explore the Botanical Gardens – If you need a break from all the action, visit the Botanical Gardens. They house a wide range of flora and fauna local to the city – and since Oaxaca is one of the most biodiverse regions in Mexico, you’re bound to see something that catches your eye.
- Go museum hopping – Take a break from the sun and stop into a few of Oaxaca’s museums. The Textile Museum of Oaxaca is a haven for fashion and textile enthusiasts. The Oaxacan Museum of Contemporary Art is the ideal place to immerse yourself in art, history, and culture. Lastly, Museo de la Culturas de Oaxaca is a glorious landmark with a wealth of historical artifacts.
Travel Insurance is more important than ever right now!
If you’re traveling during these uncertain times, be sure that you have travel insurance!
SafetyWing is our go-to insurance when we are going on longer trips. They offer travel medical insurance that’s super affordable (only $45 USD per 4 weeks!) and even have coverage in case you get that dreaded c-word. The only thing to note is that the insurance must be purchased once you’ve left your home country – we typically buy it as soon as we land at the airport.
We’ve personally used SafetyWing for many different trips, and we’ve been reimbursed for countless expenses when we’ve fallen ill. SafetyWing even covered our flights back to Canada in full when the pandemic first happened (when last-minute flights before the borders closed were super expensive!)
It’s safe to say that travel insurance has saved us thousands over the years!
Thanks for reading!
In two words, Holy Mole! It’s not a surprise Oaxaca is on the rise with travelers and epicures seeking unique, exciting, and excellent culinary adventures. This blog just scraps the surface when it comes to what Oaxaca has to offer when it come to food. But I can tell you one thing, eat at any of these Oaxaca restaurants, and you won’t be disappointed!
If you enjoyed this blog, be sure to check out some of our other blogs about Mexico, including the related reads below: