Tip: Don’t be afraid to try the food stalls!

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Looking for the best Oaxaca, Mexico food guide? I’ve got you covered!

In the spring of 2024 I spent a full month living in and exploring the beautiful Oaxaca de Juarez and all of the best restaurants in the city. Oaxaca is the culinary capital of Mexico and has so much amazing food to offer. When I visited my number one goal for my month-long stay was to eat as much food as possible. And I did a lot of eating to achieve that goal!

From markets and food stalls to upscale restaurants and rooftop bars. Cafes for the best coffee and cafes to work on your laptop for a few hours. This Oaxaca Food Guide covers it all tons of amazing food recs to keep you feeling full for your Oaxaca adventure.

One of the best ways to experience Oaxaca’s food scene is through a food tour in the city.

Throughout this guide I will use a rating guide for pricing:

  • $: 0-150 MXN
  • $$: 100-400 MXN
  • $$$: 400+ MXN
Al Pastor torta from La Flamita Mixe
Al Pastor torta from La Flamita Mixe
Mezcal Negroni
Mezcal Negroni

Before we dive in, here are a few of the most popular food tours and cooking classes in Oaxaca: 

If you’re looking to explore more in Oaxaca, here are some additional tours to check out:

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– Restaurants, cafes and bars
– The best markets and food stalls
– Best cultural sites including museums, churches, gardens, etc
– Print and pottery shops for souvenirs

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Top spots in Oaxaca for specific dishes

  • Best tejate: La Cosecha Organic Market
  • Best memelas: Memelas San Agustin
  • Best ceviche: Humar
  • Best tacos: La Flamita Mixe
  • Best pozole: Chefinita
  • Best cafe to work at: Café Brújula Alcalá
  • Best cafe overall: Kiyo Cafe

The list of amazing Oaxacan foods to try is truly never ending, but here are a few that you can’t leave Oaxaca without trying:

  • Tlayudas – a crispy oversized tortilla slathered with asiento (pork lard), beans, quesillo, chopped cabbage, and a slice of meat or chorizo on the side
  • Mole – A traditional paste created by mixing chiles, chocolate, nuts, spices, and fruits and served with many traditional Oaxacan dishes. Oaxaca is known as the land of the seven moles. 
  • Tejate – a traditional beverage made of roasted corn flour, fermented cocoa beans, mamey seeds and cocoa flower. Expect a sweet light drink with foamy white cocoa butter on top. 
  • Pulque – an ancient alcoholic drink that is made from the heart of the agave plant. It is one of the oldest drinks in the world! 
  • Memelas – small tortillas covered with asiento (pork lard), beans, quesillo, and veggies of your choice. Typically eaten for breakfast. 
  • Pozole – a hearty soup made primarily with hominy (dried maize kernels, meat (typically pork, beef or chicken), and seasoned with herbs and spices. Comes in a red or green broth
  • Chapulines – grasshoppers! Yes, in Mexico grasshoppers are a super common snack typically served with salt or chile and fried up for a snack. 
  • Tamales – traditional dish made from nixtamalized or fresh corn filled with meats or veggies and wrapped in a corn husk and steamed before serving.
  • Enmoladas – Oaxaca’s version of an enchilada, enchiladas covered in mole
  • Quesillo (Oaxacan cheese) – Oaxaca’s traditional cheese
  • Mezcal – the famous alcohol made from the agave plant has its birthplace in Oaxaca. You can’t walk more than a few feet in Oaxaca without stumbling upon a place that sells mezcal. 
  • Nieves – traditional water-based ice cream in Oaxaca
Pozole from La Cosecha Organic Market
Pozole from La Cosecha Organic Market

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Best Restaurants in Oaxaca

  • Humar $$ – our very first meal in Oaxaca and consistently one of the best. It is a mid-range restaurant, upscale without being too pricey. The fresh fish ceviche and tuna tartare are my favorites.
  • El Escapulario $$ – a great local restaurant for trying traditional dishes. Fun items on the menu include huitlacoche, or corn smut, and their delicious mole negro. Lots of opportunities to try chapulines, or grasshoppers, here.
  • Cabuche $$ – a small restaurant open for lunch and dinner that specializes in pozole. A great alternative to the greasier (but obviously delicious) street food option.
  • Levadura de Olla Restaurante $$ – do not visit Oaxaca without a night at the delicious Levadura de Olla. Everything on the menu is delicious but the tomato plate is a must!
  • Los Danzantes $$$– one of the most popular restaurants in Oaxaca, Los Danzantes is a true culinary experience. Don’t miss the selection of seven moles or the delicious desserts.
  • La Flamita Mixe $ – located in Reforma, these are easily the best ‘al pastor’ tacos in Oaxaca City
  • La Casa del Tio Güero $$ – beautiful restaurant in centro focused on home-cooked traditional Oaxacan dishes. Don’t miss the tacos dorados or the enmoladas negro.
  • Roy Tacos $ – local chain specializing in ‘al pastor’ tacos, usually a wait but worth it! Not all of the locations are the same, so I recommend the one just south of Zocalo.
  • Sirilo | Cocina Folk $$- one of Oaxaca’s best seafood restaurant located in the Reforma neighborhood.
The famous tomato salad from Levadura de Olla
The famous tomato salad from Levadura de Olla
Tropical ceviche from Humar
Tropical ceviche from Humar

  • Criollo – $$$ located just outside of Oaxaca’s downtown center, Criollo offers a beautiful tasting menu at their gorgeous restaurant. We did not get a chance to dine here, but I’ve heard mostly good things if you’re looking for fine dining in Oaxaca.
  • Almú Oaxaca $$ – a breakfast and lunch restaurant set in a gorgeous courtyard just south of the Xochimilco neighborhood. A great place for late afternoon cocktails. Cash only! If you’re taking a day trip out of the city, you can find a second location about an hour south of the city by car.
  • La Atolería $ – one of the best places in Oaxaca to try atole. Come with a group to sample a number of different local drinks.
  • Casa Taviche $$ – A simple but beautiful restaurant featuring Mexican staples. I recommend the lunch menu, which comes with an app, entree, dessert and water of the day.
  • Las Barbacoas de México $$ – local barbeque spot close to the airport. A great stop if you’re heading south of the city.

Oaxaca Food Guide: Best Food Stalls in Oaxaca

Best Markets in Oaxaca, Mexico

Whether you came to Oaxaca to shop or not, the markets are the best place in the city to do just that. Oaxaca has so many different markets to check out, some specializing in souvenirs like hand-woven goods and pottery, while others are packed with food stalls and fresh fruits and veggies to purchase. 

You can book a guided tour of the markets to learn more.

Here are a few of the best markets in Oaxaca:

  • Mercado Benito Juárez – Oaxaca’s most popular market, located just south of the city center. A great place to buy souvenirs.
  • La Cosecha Mercado Organico – artisanal market with local food and organic products for purchase with picnic style tables for dining
  • Mercado 20 de Noviembre – a large food market just south of Oaxaca centro, known for its famous smoked meats hall.
  • Mercado de Abastos – one of the largest markets in the country , good for shopping, eating and try local dishes. Safe to visit but be aware of pickpockets.
  • Mercado Sánchez Pascuas – my personal favorite market in Oaxaca. It’s small but has everything you need from fresh fruits and veggies to hot food.

Best Food Stalls in Oaxaca

  • Chefinita $ (tostada’s, pozole y tacos) – a food cart serving up exactly what you think: tostadas, pozole and tacos) just south of Zocalo.
  • Tortas La Hormiga $ – a popular food truck serving up tortas in Jardin Conzatti.
  • Super Jugos Angelita $ – located within Mercado Sánchez Pascuas, the best fresh juice stand. Great prices, super large portions. I must have visited here at least 10 times.
  • Empanadas del Carmen $ – food stall by Santo Domingo, serves quesadillas and empanadas with various moles
  • Tacos del Carmen $ – right up the road, from Empanadas del Carmen but specializing in large, yummy tacos.
Tlayudas from La Chinita
Tlayudas from La Chinita
Al pastor tacos from La Flamita Mixe
Al pastor tacos from La Flamita Mixe
  • Tlayudas La Chinita – Netflix-famous family-run food stall for super large and delicious tlayudas. The large is definitely big enough to share.
  • Lechoncito de Oro $ – pork taco truck on the streets of Jalatlaco. Be careful, the salsa has got a kick!
  • Tamales de Claudia $ – don’t bother trying to put this one into Google because you won’t find it. Claudia sells these tamales right out of her house in Jalatlaco. On available on the weekends. Contact her at: +52 951-145-0287.
  • Memelas San Agustin – this is one of the best things I ate during my month in Oaxaca. You absolutely cannot miss this stand if you want the best memelas. My favorite is the chicken tinga, but everything is delicious.
  • La Flor de Huayapam $ – stall serving some of the best tejate in Oaxaca at Benito Juarez market.
The best memelas from Memelas San Agustin
The best memelas from Memelas San Agustin
Pozole from Chefinita food cart
Pozole from Chefinita food cart
Memelas from La Cosecha Organic Market
Memelas from La Cosecha Organic Market

Best Cafes in Oaxaca

  • Kiyo Cafe – a small coffee shop in Centro with strong WiFi and delicious chai lattes. Alternative milks are available. This is one of the best spots to work from!
  • Boulenc – famous brunch cafe, a must-visit while in Oaxaca. Plan to arrive early for a table. If you’re in a rush you can grab a pastry and coffee for takeaway at the counter nextdoor.
  • Muss Cafe – a gorgeous indoor/outdoor cafe in Centro. Great place to get work.
  • Café Brújula Alcalá – Cafe Brújula is a popular coffee chain in Oaxaca. While their drinks aren’t my favorite, their Alcalá location is absolutely lovely. The backyard courtyard is my favorite place in Oaxaca to work.
Café Brújula Alcalá (outdoor space and laptop-friendly)
Café Brújula Alcalá (outdoor space and laptop-friendly)
Cafebre - a great cafe to work from
Cafebre – a great cafe to work from
  • Pan con Madre – European style bakery with the best fresh bread and pastries in Oaxaca. Lovely outdoor courtyard in the back.
  • Cafébre – a gorgeous, brightly-lit covered space. Perfect cafe for getting laptop work done.
  • Ooooa.studio – gorgeous and delicious cafe for brunch close to the Botanical Gardens.
  • La Selva De Los Gatos – vegan cat cafe in Jalatlaco
  • Once In Oaxaca – part cafe, part art gallery with gorgeous shaded outdoor seating in Jalatlaco
  • Onnno Lonchería – cafe known for the best coffee and pastries (make sure to try the cardamom bun if it’s available)
  • Sagrado Filemon | Pan y Cafe – beautiful cafe in Centro specializing in espresso and espresso-based drinks.
Pastry selection at Pan con Madre
Pastry selection at Pan con Madre
Sagrado Filemon | Pan y Cafe
Sagrado Filemon | Pan y Cafe

Best Bars in Oaxaca

  • Casa Porfirio $– lovely bar tucked away on a side street with two small tables on a small balcony. Good for a nightcap.
  • Terraza Istmo $$- rooftop bar in centro with great drinks, yummy snacks, and a great view of the city and surrounding mountains. We grabbed a drink here so many times during our month in Oaxaca.
  • Sobrio by Mezcal Speakeasy $$– located underneath Case Porfirio, a must-try mezcal bar. Tastings are available but Oaxaroni (Oaxacan Mezcal Negroni) is the best!
  • Sabina Sabe $$$– easily some of the best cocktails in Oaxaca. You can’t really go wrong with anything on the menu.
  • Oaxaca Brewing Co.$$ – lovely local brewery. All of the beers were delicious but the mango sour was easily our group’s favorite.
  • La Cueva Oaxaca $$– small cocktail bar on the edge of Oaxaca centro. They have a full bar but are known for their delicious cocktails.
  • La Mezcaloteca $$$ – a great place to book a mezcal tasting to learn more about this delcious liqour. Be sure to make a reservation.
  • Mezcalería In Situ $$ – endless varieties of mezcal, Mezcalería In Situ is a great place to taste and learn about Oaxacan mezcals.
  • Amá Terraza $$– rooftop terrace by San Pablo Cultural Center. Great place to grab a coffee during the day or a glass of wine at night – they even have natural wine by the bottle!
La Cueva Oaxaca cocktail bar
La Cueva Oaxaca cocktail bar
Passion fruit mezcalina from Levadura de Olla
Passion fruit mezcalina from Levadura de Olla

Getting to Oaxaca

Oaxaca is fairly easy to get to because it has its own international airport, Xoxocotlan International Airport (OAX). There are a few direct flights to Oaxaca from US destinations like Los Angeles and Dallas, but most international flights have a quick layover in Mexico City. 

If you’re planning to extend your trip and spend some time in Mexico City as well, you can find a number of domestic flights and buses between the two cities.

The Oaxaca airport is located about 15-20 minutes outside of the city center. You have the option of a private car ($28) or a shared car ($7). 

Getting around Oaxaca

It is super easy to get around Oaxaca, as the city’s tourist center is actually quite small. You can walk from one end of Oaxaca’s downtown to the other in about 30 minutes. 

If you’re traveling to other neighborhoods or don’t feel like walking, you can use the rideshare app DiDi. There is no Uber in Oaxaca, but DiDi is a comparable alternative. Between Centro and Reforma or Jatalaco we typically paid between 80-100 Mexican pesos (in 2024).

There are also collectivo available, which are shared taxis. These are hailed on the street and can be taken if the driver is already going in your direction. 

If you’re traveling further outside of the city then you have the option of renting a car or joining a tour, depending on your preference. We rented a car twice while in Oaxaca and it was a great way to have more independence when exploring, but you’ll learn a lot more about Oaxaca’s history and culture when joining a tour. 

Where to stay in Oaxaca

You can find a wide range of hotels and apartments in Oaxaca. There are so many beautiful boutique hotels to stay at in Oaxaca City.

Here are a few of the best hotels in Oaxaca:

If you’re looking for a longer stay, then there are one and multi-month apartments available on platforms like Airbnb and available through local Facebook groups.

GRANA B&B

GRANA B&B is a lovely bed and breakfast in the heart of Oaxaca City. The bright and plant-filled space is an oasis in the city. A delicious breakfast is served daily in their dreamy kitchen. Rates start at less than $200/per night.

Check rates and availability

Best things to do in Oaxaca

There is truly so much to do and see in Oaxaca. We spent a full month in the city and still felt like we only scratched the surface of this amazing place. From the endless art galleries and markets to the incredible cultural monuments and striking landscapes to visit on a day trip, you’ll never run out of fun things to do in Oaxaca! 

Street art in Jalatlaco, an artsy neighborhood in Oaxaca
Street art in Jalatlaco, an artsy neighborhood in Oaxaca
You can find tons of beautiful traditional pottery in Oaxaca
You can find tons of beautiful traditional pottery in Oaxaca
  • Take a tour at the Oaxaca Botanical Garden (Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca) 
  • Visit Santo Domingo Church (Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzmán)
  • Explore Oaxaca’s countless art galleries 
  • Check out the collection at the Oaxaca Textile Museum (Museo Textil de Oaxaca)
  • Visit the Centro Cultural San Pablo
  • Hang out in Zocalo 
  • Check out the street art of Jalatlaco 
  • Try a Tlayuda, Oaxacan pizza 
  • Watch a performance at the Macedonio Alcalá Theater (Teatro Macedonio Alcalá)
  • Visit the Metropolitan Cathedral of Oaxaca
  • Try salty chapulines, grasshoppers
  • Take a day trip to Hierve de Agua 
  • Spend a morning at the ruins of Monte Alban
  • Join a mezcal tour (or mezcal tasting)
  • Check out the local Oaxacan markets
  • Enjoy a cold tejate – a typical Oaxacan drink 
  • Head to the coast for Puerto Escondido, Mazunte, and San Agustinillo 
  • Take a hike in the Sierras
  • Visit the world’s widest tree in Tule 

Visiting Oaxaca? Here are some other articles to check out:

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Oaxaca Food Guide: 50+ Places to eat in Oaxaca pin
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