As far as food destinations in Mexico, Oaxaca tops the list with its legendary and truly unforgettable cuisine. Oaxacan food is best known for mole, tlayudas and the local cheese, most likely served with chicatanas (ants) and chapulines (grasshoppers), then drowned with shots of smoky mezcal.
Oaxacan food is best known for mole, tlayudas and the local cheese, most likely served with chicatanas (ants) and chapulines (grasshoppers), then drowned with shots of smoky mezcal.
However, in the Pacific seaside town of Puerto Escondido, Oaxacan creations fuse with ingredients from the sea and keep company with cuisines from different parts of the world. The hip, surf retreat is imbued with many restaurants that serve seafood dishes, Oaxacan grub and international fare.
Espadin Restaurant (At the Villas Carrizalillo Hotel, Ave Carrizalillo, Carrizalillo)
The view from this cliff’s edge restaurant may be unrivaled as it watches over the stunning Carrizalillo Beach. However, it’s the food that proves to be the winner. Espadin boasts a menu that blends gourmet Mexican cuisine with tropical flavors and ingredients.
Come for lunch to take advantage of that view. The fried calamari, spicy shrimp tacos and pumpkin seed crusted fish fillet are all excellent choices.
Benito Juarez Market (Calle Octava Nte. S/N, Puerto Escondido)
Carve out time to explore the tangled alleys of Benito Juarez Market, the town’s main public market. Many sorts of wet and dry goods are sold here, but it’s meats, fish, fruits and veggies that take center stage.
This is a bustling place covered with colorful rows of veggies and baskets upon baskets of chicatanas and chapulines.
Buy a bag of carnitas, some freshly made tortillas and a plastic cup of fruit juice, then indulge while navigating through foot traffic. For dessert, there are vendors selling local pastries, as well as free samples of cheeses, fruits and cooked meat.
Fresh Restaurant and Lounge (Calle del Morro S/N, Marinero, Playa Zicatel)
Set right on the beach at popular Playa Zicatela, Fresh is another good choice if you’re seeking dining with a view. This al fresco spot serves international cuisine and prides itself on using the freshest ingredients. While the large, eclectic menu might make you doubt the food quality, rest easy. The dishes prove to be excellent.
Come out for an early dinner to enjoy the sunset view. The nachos, pasta and steak are excellent, as are the cocktails.
La Puesta del Sol (Carretera Costera KM 124, Laguna de Manialtepec)
Nothing stirs your appetite like a good water excursion. For an après lagoon adventures lunch, there’s La Puesta del Sol. Located on the banks of Laguna de Manialtepec, it serves as a jumping off point for several lagoon activities while its restaurant is just the ticket for a casual refueling when you’ve dropped anchor.
Treat yourself to a seafood feast and some hot empanadas. Then, chase all of it down with lime margaritas.
Pascale Restaurant Bar Grill (Playa Principal s/n, Alfonso Pérez Gasga 612, Libertad)
On the beach near the marina, Pascale is a good place for a more romantic atmosphere. Candlelit dinners under palm trees are serenaded with live music and topped with an idyllic view of docked boats dancing on the water. Seafood hogs the limelight on the food menu, but the cocktail and wine selections are decent too.
Have the goat cheese and guacamole to start. The lobster might be overpriced, but it’s one of their specialties.
El Cafecito (Calle del Morro, Playa Zicatela)
Whether you’re seeking a light and healthy breakfast or rich and hearty fuel to get your day started, there couldn’t be a better spot than El Cafecito. This Carrizalillo breakfast and brunch spot right on the beach serves both, with a wide selection of delightful pastries to boot.
For a light meal, order an all-green salad or a bowl of yogurt and granola. For a heavier, more traditional meal, the enchiladas or chorizo molletes are terrific choices. Treat yourself to a warm cup of cocoa at the end.
Almoraduz Cocina de Autor (Blvd. Benito Juárez, Locales 11 y 12. Fraccionamiento Rinconada Sección B.)
A more upscale type of dining experience awaits at Almoraduz Cocina Mexicana de Autor, the brainchild of Chef Quetzalcoatl Zurita and Chef Shalxaly Macías. It’s a locavore’s spot as the kitchen champions Oaxacan cuisine and uses local and regional ingredients, changing its menu according to season and availability.
Some of their best creations are the pork belly with bean puree with piloncillo and nopal salad or the octopus with three chili sauce and blue cheese.
Hotel Recommendation for Foodies: Vivo Resorts (46 Av Vivo, Playa Palmarito, Bajos de Chila)
A quick drive away from town is the tranquil outpost of Vivo Resorts whose winning trademark is to offer travelers a home away from home type of accommodation. Think: Private washer and dryer, a full kitchen and plenty of living space. Those seeking a gastronomy-centered vacation will love the on-site restaurant.
Spearheaded by Head Chef Roberto Cruz, Vivo’s al fresco restaurant serves indulgent and, at times, inventive dishes from breakfast through dinner. Try the chicharron and chicatanas tlayudas as well as the seared tuna for dinner.
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