Oaxacan Cuisine offers a fabulous variety of dining alternatives; it is an exotic combination of flavors, aromas and colors not often found in other places. With Oaxacan meals, the delight enters by the eyes and nose. Oaxaca has several flavors that will pleasure the most fussy and sophisticated taste, it is not indispensable to go to expensive or luxurious places for this, and it is enough to know where to find those places that satisfy a demanding palate.
The Mole (come from the Nahuatl "Molli," meaning mixture) is a first example. Mole is a rich sauce (often served with chicken) that frequently is made with more than 32 ingredients, from numerous varieties of chiles, seeds, spices until chocolate. Tamales instance another local specialty, and are made with special heed, frequently are wrapped in banana leaves. Pork seems to be served every bit as often as beef, as a main course. Cuisine in Oaxaca, usually begin with some flavorful appetitive that may have some of the areas famed cheeses, or rather quesillo. The stringy cheese made in and around Oaxaca is soft and nutty. It makes its way into many dishes, even those that have nothing to do with Mexico. Hint: that's not mozzarella on your pizza.
There are several local sweets. White gelatinous dessert called jicuatote is prepared with cinnamon, cloves, milk, and cornmeal. It is offered in tubs or cut into cubes and is usually colored red on top. The coffee is of extraordinary quality and is considered at a world class level, and also important is Oaxacan chocolate. You must taste a hot cup of this wonderful potage with the delicious egg yolk bread. Mezcal is the local drink; it is an antique drink that is considered by locals as a gift from the gods. The word mescal comes from the nahuatl word ‘Mexcalmetl', which means ‘agave'. Currently, the common word used in Mexico to name this agave is maguey.
Eating in Oaxaca
Casa Oaxaca - Constitucion across the street from Santo Domingo church and in the same courtyard as the Galleria Quetzalli; if you are looking to splurge on a meal that you will not be able to find in other restaurants in Oaxaca, Casa Oaxaca fits the bill. Ask for a rooftop table and enjoy the 5-course tasting menu for $32USD/person. Treat yourself to corn mushroom soup, fresh fish with tomato marmalade and succulent sorbets. The wine list is decent with some excellent Spanish wines and good local options. There is another Casa Oaxaca restaurant, in the same location as Casa Oaxaca Hotel.
Como Agua Pa' Chocolate - First-class food in a romantic atmosphere. Spectacular dishes and interesting fusion cuisine mixing Mediterranean style with Mexican ingredients. Can not go wrong with the quails in rose petal sauce, the champandongo, the chiles en nogada or the king prawns flambéed in orange sauce.(Hidalgo 612 Altos, overlooking the Alameda park and Cathedral, Tel: (951) 516-2917)
Marco Polo - Famous for its seafood, Marco Polo is a local favorite. Try the ceviche and the beer with chiles. There is also a smaller location on Cinco de Mayo closer to the Zocalo. (Pino Suarez 806, located next to the Paseo Juarez, Tel: 01 (951) 513 43 08)
La Biznaga - Dine in a covered courtyard surrounded by art and wireless web surfers. Prices are reasonable for creative Oaxacan cuisine. (512 Garcia Vigil Av., Tel: (951) 51 18 00)
La Red - On the corner of Bustatmante and Colon, a block south of the Zocalo. Serves fabulously fresh seafood for lunch fixed in dozens of different styles.
El Naranjo - A block and a half west of the Zocalo on Valerio Trujano 203, 514-1878, famous for serving all seven moles, one each day of the week.
La Toscana - It is best to take a taxi to this restaurant because of the out of the way location. They serve the best martinis in Oaxaca and delicious seafood with Italian flair. (5 de Mayo 614 Col Jalatlaco, Tel: 513-8742)
Mercado 20 de Noviembre - Two blocks south of the Zocalo; Food stalls line the streets outside the market serving up hot, savory tlayudas and tostadas. Local women offer up chapulines (grasshopper), and you will find countertops inside that serve up moles, soups and desserts.
Cafes and Bars in Oaxaca
La Olla - Complete cafe, homemade and healthy relaxing atmosphere open Daily: 8am - 10pm (Reforma #402-1, Tel: (9) 516-6668)
Coffee Beans - Delicious desserts and coffees, express and capuccino, open daily: 8am - 11pm, no credit cards (Cinco de Mayo #400)
Cafe Bar Del Jardin - Portal De Flores No 10 Col. Centro, Tel: 516-2092
Bar Hacienda De La Trinidad - Rayon No 1014 Col. Centro, Tel: 514-7155
Bar Terranova - Portal Benito Júarez 116 Col. Oaxaca, Tel: 514-0533
Montezuma's Revenge Bar - Av. Alfonso Pérez Gasga Sn Col. Libertad, Puerto Escondido, Tel: (019) 5 82 19 17
Tequila Rock Oaxaca - Porfirio Díaz 102-B Col. Reforma Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Tel: (019) 5 15 60 99
El Sagrario - Live music, full bar, casual atmosphere, open daily: 8am - 2:30am (Valdivieso # 120, 1 block from the Zocalo, Tel: (9) 514-0303)