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El Naranjo

203 Trujano, located just one block west of the zocalo. Serving contemporary Oaxaca food based on old family recipes. Low keyed music in the background and the work of contemporary Oaxacan artists displayed on the walls lend an intimate atmosphere to this good sized interior patio. One of Oaxaca's seven moles is featured each day and there are many delicious variations of chiles rellenos (stuffed peppers) - from mild to hot.Unusual dishes include a cream soup of smoky chipotle chili and nuts and a spinach salad with jicama, bacon, and red hibiscus flowers. Specialties include Oaxaca's seven moles and organic salads, as well as special chiles filled with traditional ingredients.

Casa Oaxaca the Restaurant

The city of Oaxaca is well known for the creativity of its interpretation of traditional Mexican dishes, and Casa Oaxaca el Restaurante is one of the first restaurants in town to offer Mexican nouvelle cuisine. The gifted chef Alejandro Ruiz Olmedo creates imaginative nouvelle Mexican dishes with a light but sure touch. Dining is in the elegant covered patio as well as in an intimate room located just off the kitchen. With prime fresh products of Oaxaca and the coast, he prepares gourmet specialties. Creative dishes include squash blossom stuffed with fresh cheese and honey; fanciful soups and salads. A superb main dish is pork with mancha manteles mole. Alejandro also conjures up mouthwatering concoctions with fresh sea bass as well as roasted duck and rack of lamb.

For dinner, the chef is available to prepare whatever you might like to eat (if in season), but you should make reservations at least a day in advance.

Marco Polo (formerly Los Jorges)

Pino Suarez 806, facing the Parque Paseo Juarez ("Llano park"). A coastal oasis in the city of Oaxaca. Fresh seafood is flown in daily from the Oaxacan coast. Start with shrimp tacos and an ice-cold beer followed by red snapper cooked in their outdoor, wood burning, adobe oven. Full Bar Service. Outdoor garden seating is a great start to a lazy afternoon. Open for breakfast and lunch only. Specializing in Mexican Style Seafood ( Oven-baked, Broiled or Fried ), Fish Fillets, Whole Fish, Shrimp, Crab, Seafood Soup, Ceviche, and Shrimp Cocktail.

House Specialties: Seafood Chile Relleno, Stuffed Crab, Seafood Tacos, Seafood Shish kabob, Breaded Oysters and more A quarry stone entrance leads you into a tropical garden, with tall trees and thick foliage, making for a tropical costal atmosphere right in the middle of Oaxaca. With fresh seafood and a relaxing ambiance, Marco Polo offers the sights, sounds, and sensations of a coastal seafood house. Open every day (except Tuesday) for breakfast and lunch.

Los Pacos

121 Abasolo. Located just north of the Camino Real hotel, this brightly decorated restaurant provids excellent service to its patrons who come for the fresh spinach salads and mole colorado and more (try their mole sampler). 10 tables in the main dining room, and 4 tables on the roof deck offering a great view of the Oaxacan sky.

El Asador Vasco

Portal de Flores 11, upstairs from Del Jardin, on the west side of the main square (the Zocalo) next to the Señorial Hotel. Basque and Mexican cuisine, deliciously rich black mole on chicken, a spicy sopa de tortilla and rich camarones al ajillo are served in this prizewinning restaurant, along with a sumptuous gratinée of oysters in chipotle chili sauce. With its terrific location and good food it is well deserving of its reputation and worth a visit. Later in the evening you'll hear serenading by traditionally dressed student minstrels - evoking medieval Spain.
Often, marimba music floats up from the restaurant below at the same time. Of the restaurants circling the main square, this is your best bet. It certainly offers the best dining seating in the area with tables that overlook the zócalo from a second-floor stone archway. Take your pick of purely Mexican specialties such as chiles rellenos, moles, carne asada or dishes with a European twist like the snapper cooked in olive oil and chile guajillo. Be sure to request a balcony table overlooking the zocalo (reservations recommended on weekends and holidays). Open 1 p.m. to midnight.

Hosteria de Alcalá

Alcala 307, 3 block from the Zocalo. A lovely indoor patio, with tables surrounding a fountain, offers Oaxacan specialties as well as other national cuisine. Live music on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening. Moderately expensive.

Maria Bonita

Alcala 706, right in between the Santo Domingo church and the Holiday Inn Oaxaca. A pleasant 3 minute walk from the square and quietly away from the hubbub, this charming little restaurant serves authentic Oaxacan cuisine to mostly local clientele sitting at its six tables. Gloria Lilia Fernández opened her restaurant ‘Maria Bonita’ in the early 90's to share the flavors and recipes that her family has rescued and safeguarded for these past generations - handed down from mother to daughter. The results are stunning. Authentic regional cuisine prepared with care and consummate skill.
Besides running the restaurant and teaching, Gloria is also working on a cookbook to broaden the appreciation of Oaxacan cuisine. Excellent service, soft music and a gentle breeze.

Terranova/El Portal de la Soledad

Portal Benito Juarez 116, directly across the Zocalo from El Asador Vasco and Del Jardin; with outdoor cafe and indoor seating. The shrimp dishes are excellent, as are many other choices. A little quieter than Del Jardin. Serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Musicians are usually on hand between 8:30 to 10:30 PM playing easy listening, contemporary Latino tunes

El Mesón

El Mesón's inviting, inexpensive buffet is right off the zócalo. At the entrance, women patting out fresh tortillas lure in passers-by. Tortillas are made on the spot and there are 15 types of tacos, as well as pozole, cochinita píbil, and other regional dishes. Stop by for a light snack or a complete Oaxacan meal. The mainstay is the open buffet and their comida corrida catering to downtown working folk. The food is really quite good and very inexpensive. What's more, the all-you-can-eat buffet includes safe-to-eat fresh fruits and green salads plus a variety of main courses. The comida corrida is a shortened version of the buffet. At night, this place becomes a good taquería with it's open grill serving up nice portions of pork and beef. When you sit down, either at a table or the counter overlooking the grill, you're presented with a slip of paper listing their tacos and other antojitos and a pencil. You simply check off what you want to order. Taco prices are per order. Besides the large range of tacos, they serve some specialties such as tamal Oaxaqueño, pozole, and puntas de filete albañil ("bricklayer" beef tips). Check off your choices from their paper menu/order form and return it to the waitress. For dessert, have a cup of rich Oaxacan hot chocolate and a slice of nut or cheese pie.

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