11 Best Restaurants in Oaxaca, Mexico

Espadín

$$ | La Rinconada Fodor's choice

Don’t let the location down a dusty dirt road scare you from dining at this breezy restaurant in the boutique hotel Villas Carrizalillo. Perched on a terraced cliff overlooking the white-sand crescent of Carrizalillo Beach, Espadín offers a winning combination of sophisticated cuisine and stunning ocean views (try to arrive at sunset). Even at its busiest, the ambience is pure romance, thanks to the soaring palapa roof, fresh flowers, and attentive service. Popular menu choices include perfectly grilled whole red snapper, a delicate roasted beet–and–Oaxacan cheese salad, and chicken in a fragrant mole negro. Finish your meal off with an artisanal mezcal. On weekends, there's often a guitarist playing soft ballads. It's open all day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

A 10% gratuity is included in the bill.

Almoraduz

$$ | La Rinconada

Welcoming chef-owners Shalxali and Quetzalcoatl Zurita focus on presenting traditional Zapotec, Mayan, and Mixteco ingredients in contemporary ways. Begin your evening with a margarita made with seasonal fruits such as prickly pear or mandarin, and then embark on a culinary adventure of new tastes such as tixinda (a local mollusk) appearing in a refreshing salad rather than the more traditional tamale, or beef tenderloin wrapped in fragrant hoja santa leaf (Mexican pepperleaf). Opting for the five-course tasting menu is a good way to dive in. If you like beer, try a Bendita, which is brewed in the town of Santa Catarina Juquila, the pilgrimage site of the Virgin of Juiquila, midway between Puerto Escondido and Oaxaca City. Although the restaurant lacks a view, its earthy, minimalist decor is stylish, and the location in the heart of the Rinconada restaurant row offers interesting people-watching.

Blvd. Benito Juarez 11 and 12, Puerto Escondido, 71983, Mexico
954-582–3109
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon.

Cofetarika

Centro Historico

Cofetarika, on a terrace above the Danzantes restaurant in the heart of the city center, is open all day from 8 to 6, making it a perfect place for lunch. It offers freshly prepared food and a wide range of gourmet drinks in a relaxing environment.

Recommended Fodor's Video

El Cafecito

$

This lively street-side café-bakery-restaurant is a hub for locals, visitors, and those passing through; everything you need to know is being passed around by word of mouth here. Almost always full but with speedy service, the restaurant is best known for its hearty breakfasts, Mexican specialties such as enchiladas and quesadillas, aguas de frutas (fruit water), and reliable Wi-Fi. Kid-friendly chow such as hamburgers and spaghetti plus sturdy high chairs make it extra appealing to families with toddlers. The daily special is an especially good deal. Popular bakery items include fruit-filled pastries, whole-wheat bread, and cinnamon buns. There's another branch—slightly spiffier but minus the view—on La Rinconada

There's no kids' menu, but you get 30% off on half orders of any dish.

La Galería

$$ | El Adoquín

Every inch of wall space at this elevated restaurant on the west end of the Adoquín is filled with paintings. And every inch of your small, square table will be covered by platters of homemade pasta, like tortellini, ravioli, and lasagna. Pizzas are also popular; try the one with eggplant, garlic, mushrooms, and basil. Though service can be spotty, the brick-and-stone floors and red tiles peeking through the rafters make for a pleasant environment. The bacon-wrapped shrimp Culiacán is a popular choice.

Av. Pérez Gasga s/n, Puerto Escondido, 71980, Mexico
954-127–1302
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: No credit cards

La Hosteria Bananas

$ | Playa Zicatela

A few steps up from street level and offering views of Playa Zicatela from most tables, this casual yet impeccably clean restaurant with traditional Mexican decor offers an expansive menu with something to please everyone. Signature thin-crust, wood-fired pizza is always a good option as are the house-made pastas and even some authentic Mexican dishes. Add to that friendly service, and the unusually late opening hours—you can sit down for dinner at 11:45 pm—and you've got a winning formula.

Calle del Morro s/n, Puerto Escondido, 71980, Mexico
954-582–0005
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted

La Palapa de Carrasco

$ | Centro

This toes-in-the-sand beach restaurant is a local favorite for whiling away a pleasant day at Playa Manzanillo. Owners Pablo and Doris Carrasco are always happy to whip up a coco loco or offer a shot of fruit-infused mezcal. All the seafood is fresh and reasonably priced. You can eat while lounging just steps from the water or at a table under the shade of an almond tree. The vuelve a la vida (return to life) seafood cocktail is particularly recommended as it's packed with shrimp, pulpo (octopus), and clams. Or try the popular shrimp or dorado topped with creamy tequila-chipotle sauce. The owners' son is working on Blue Flag eco-certification for Manzanillo Beach, so restaurant patrons get the bonus of access to modern and environmentally friendly toilets. If you are going for dinner, be aware that the restaurant closes early—by 7:30.

Playa Manzanillo at 5a Sur, Puerto Escondido, 71980, Mexico
No phone
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: No credit cards

Manolo: Museo de las Nieves

Centro Historico

Manolo is the most traditional of the Oaxacan ice-cream manufacturers, started in 1877. It’s small ice-cream museum is located on the principal city-center street and attracts both locals and tourists. Visitors can experience a wide range of traditional and exotic ice creams including mezcal, corn, and the elusive beso Oaxaqueño (made from carrot, pecan, and appple).

One Love Restaurant

$ | Brisas de Zicatela

On busy weeknights, it seems everyone in Puerto Escondido wants to eat here. Originally created to serve backpackers at the hostel of the same name, the restaurant began drawing food fans willing to make the pilgrimage across town to enjoy its winning combination of expertly prepared cuisine, good value, and fun vibe. The eco-friendly decor and contemporary menu are inspired by the music of the 1960s and '70s, so expect to see dishes such as "Groovy Chicken" or "Give Peace a Chance" (a generous portion of fresh dorado breaded with toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds and slathered with chili aioli). Sides include tabbouleh salad, crispy browned baby potatoes, and local greens. The eclectic menu has lots of vegetarian choices, pizzas, and pastas—all served with flair.

Pascale

$ | El Adoquín

Seafood doesn't get any fresher than at this open-air restaurant bar and grill on the beach in front of the fishing boats of Playa Principal. Each morning, owner Ludovic Tisseur, who hails from Lyon, France, sources what's freshest from local fishermen, so the menu features an ever-evolving array of seafood from decadent lobster to a delicious shrimp and fish brochette. Pascale's is also the place to go for expertly grilled T-bone steaks, classic Chateaubriand, or house-made tortellini. Attentive service matches the ultraromantic ambience of candles, white linen tablecloths, and graceful palm trees. Call ahead if you have your heart set on lobster.

Av. Perez Gazga, Puerto Escondido, 71980, Mexico
954-582–1093
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. and Sept.

Villasol Beach Club

$ | Bacocho

When you're looking for a bite to eat on your day at the beach, choose between poolside service or a table at the more upscale Pez Gallo restaurant. The latter offers inventive Mexican cuisine and great views. After, join a baby-turtle release, hang out at the swim-up bar, watch a free movie at nightfall, go for a long walk, or just lounge in a hammock at this expansive beach club set directly on Playa Bacocho. Even during peak periods, the large, free-form swimming pool never feels crowded. A playground, their own swimming pool, and a kids' menu will make little ones happy.

Arrive early to snag a prime lounger and for happy hour noon–1 daily.