The Italian Coffee Company will feel familiar to anyone who's ever been in a Starbucks before. While the coffee selection may not be quite as extensive as Starbucks, this is still the place to go for fancier coffee drinks done right. Especially popular in the summers are the frapee's, like the "Frioreo", a blended cookies and cream coffee drink. The service is friendly, fast and economical, although they do have comfy armchairs if you would like to relax and take your time.
This little family-owned restaurant is tucked away in the residential neighborhood of San José La Noria, just south of the Centro Historico. This hidden gem serves up delicious meats of all kinds, but especially in the traditional Oaxacan style. Typical dishes include tasajo, a thin and typical cut of beef and cecina, a thin piece of pork, salted and rubbed with chile. The main attraction at El Molino, however, is steaks done perfectly, served in the typical Oaxacan style. After you're done eating, take a little time to wander around the charming and tranquil neighborhood.
The restaurant at Casa Oaxaca specializes in "nouvelle Mexican cuisine." The restaurant features two elegant dining spaces, a covered patio as well as the indoor dining room. Fresh and inventive dishes include roast meats, stuffed squash blossoms as well as a select number of the traditional Oaxacan moles.
One of the "splurge" restaurants of the city, Los Danzantes is named for the famous carved monoliths discovered at the nearby Zapotec ruins of Monte Alban. Go all out on dinner, or try the changing set lunch menu in the atrium, where the sky is mirrored into the reflecting pool. The food offered here is a modern kind of twist on traditional Oaxacan food, taking traditional and seasonal ingredients and using them in creative ways.
One of the most popular restaurants in the area, Pitiona is the place to be when seeking a scrumptious, Mexican meal. Upscale and sophisticated, expect nothing short of a highly relaxed, enjoyable experience from this marvelous restaurant. A team of highly experienced chefs work tirelessly to plan and perfect dishes that bring out the true essence of Mexican cuisine. Feast on an array of delectable Mexican meat preparations or opt for the popular wraps, that are certain to leave a imprint itself onto your memory. To complement your meal choose from a selection of exquisite wines and beers.
The Mercado 20 de Noviembre is full of all kinds of food stands. Here you can find all different varieties of bread from simple rolls to colorfully decorated sweet breads. The main draw here, however, are the comedores or food stands, which cook and serve up all kinds of Mexican and Oaxacan specialties. Try tortas, tamales, tacos, sopas, ensaladas and any other kind of traditional foods you can think of. Take this opportunity to try chapulines, or fried grasshoppers with chile. Legend says trying them will ensure you return to Oaxaca one day.
At first glance, one might seem skeptical at trying Japanese food in Mexico, but Sushi Itto is surprisingly delicious and authentic. Serving all the classic Japanese staples, like Miso soup, many different varieties of Sushi, Gyoza, Tempura and of course, Sake, among other things. The staff at this chain restaurant is very friendly and the restaurant also features a menu in English. Its location right on the Zócalo allows you to eat inside, or out front al fresco, so you can enjoy a gastronomic change of pace while also enjoying some world-class people watching.
Located in the historic center of Oaxaca, the restaurant also doubles as a culinary class for interested ones. Chef Pilar Cabrera, the owner of the restaurant, leads these cooking classes on Oaxacan cuisine; after, you'll be treated to a five-course meal that you've prepared!
Mariscos La Red has more than just this most central and popular location. This restaurant serves up fresh seafood using traditional method. Feast on shrimp tacos, fish ceviche or octopus cocktail, not to mention the many liquor cocktails they serve as well.
This late night eatery is a favorite among locals, serving up a traditional Oaxacan dish, Tlayudas. The tlayuda consists of a giant tortilla, placed over coals, with Oaxacan style beans, quesillo (Oaxacan string cheese), salsa and very few meat choices, the most popular being the salted beef tasajo. As one of the few places that stays open extra late, there is usually quite a crowd, so be prepared to get your food and take it elsewhere.
La Casa de la Abuela, located upstairs in the northwest corner of the Zócalo, serves up traditional regional specialties in a bright, airy atmosphere. Try the tasajo (salted beef), cecina (chile marinated pork), squash blossom soup, or the quesadillas, which they call empanadas. Also at La Casa de la Abuela, diners can sample all seven moles of Oaxaca.
El Asador Vasco occupies the upstairs space of the southwest corner of the Zócalo. Specialties here are mostly Basque, including various types of fondues and other salty and spicy specialties. The upstairs location makes it great for views of the square and lots of interesting people-watching. The lively Zócalo atmosphere is a perfect accompaniment to the bold flavors of El Asador Vasco.