We absolutely LOVED Tangier. Within a few hours of arriving in this city, we couldn’t help but fall for its hilly streets, easygoing vibe, and magnificent ocean views. We had just spent a month in the much drier landscape of Marrakech so Tangier felt like an oasis!
Located on the northwestern tip of Morocco and Africa, Tangier lies along the coast of the Strait of Gibraltar – a narrow strait that connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean. Like anywhere in the country, traditional Moroccan dishes like tagine and couscous abound but the real draw in this coastal city is the seafood. From grilled sardines to swordfish tagine to fried calamari, seafood lovers will have lots to look forward to here.
We recently spent three weeks in Tangier looking for the best restaurants to have the tastiest seafood and most delicious Moroccan food. Here’s what we found.
MOROCCAN FOOD QUICK LINKS
To help you plan your trip to Tangier, we’ve compiled links to recommended hotels, tours, and other travel-related services here.
Recommended hotels in and around the medina, one of the best areas to stay for people on their first trip to Tangier.
Luxury: Grand Hotel Villa de France
Midrange: La Maison de Tanger
Budget: Tanja Lucia Hostel
Sightseeing Tour: Tangier Full-Day Grand Tour
Food Tour: Food Walking Tour
Day Trip: Day Trip to Chefchaouen & Panoramic of Tangier
Cooking Classes: Tangier Cooking Classes
Travel Insurance (with COVID cover)
Save This on Pinterest!
No time to read this article on the best restaurants in Tangier? Click on the save button and pin it for later!
MUST-VISIT TANGIER RESTAURANTS FOR TRADITIONAL MOROCCAN CUISINE
1. Cafe Hafa
There’s no better way to start this article on the best restaurants in Tangier than with Cafe Hafa. This legendary cafe has been offering its guests mint tea with some of the most spectacular views in Tangier for over a hundred years.
Cafe Hafa consists of two parts – a cafe and a restaurant. You can eat and drink tea at both but people looking for heavier dishes like tagine or seafood need to go to the restaurant. They offer a wider menu with traditional dishes and comfort food like tagine, fried or grilled seafood, sandwiches, salad, and pizza.
What you’re looking at below is one of their most popular dishes – grilled swordfish with a side salad and fries. It was highly recommended to us by our server and rightfully so.
If you prefer a softer and flakier fish, then perhaps you’d like to try this grilled whiting instead. It’s a type of whitefish that’s oilier and less meaty in texture.
Vegetable tajine is something we need to have with every Moroccan meal. They can be made with different vegetables but Cafe Hafa’s version had a generous amount of cubed potatoes.
And of course, a glass of delicious mint tea to wash everything down with. I enjoyed Moroccan tea so much that I stopped drinking coffee altogether!
Cafe Hafa has been open since 1921 and has attracted celebrities and creatives like Henri Matisse, The Rolling Stones, William S Burroughs, and Yves Saint Laurent over the decades. Today, it’s no longer the Bohemian and intellectual enclave it once was but it remains one of the most popular cafes in Tangier. Wait until you see the view.
This is the cafe section of Hafa. It consists of multiple tiered levels of open-air seating with an unobstructed view of the Strait of Gibraltar. We only drank mint tea here but they do serve a few light dishes as well, like msemen and other types of bread.
This is one of the restaurant’s seating areas. The cafe and restaurant are operated separately.
Here’s a shot of the view from the cafe area. Spectacular isn’t it? My camera can only capture so much so it’s even better in person. That landmass in the distance is Spain.
The sun can be a bit much but they do offer a few areas with covered seating. You’ll probably want some shade because it’s easy to get lost in that view for hours.
Address: Rue Hafa, Tangier, Morocco Operating Hours: 9AM-11PM, daily What to Order: Seafood dishes, tagine, comfort food
2. La Terrasse – Dar El Kasbah (Kasbart)
The street where this restaurant is on is one of our favorites in Tangier. It’s a steep street that runs along the western side of the kasbah and is filled with many good Moroccan restaurants, one of them being La Terrasse – Dar El Kasbah.
Also known as Kasbart, La Terrasse doesn’t offer as wide a menu as some of the other restaurants on this list but they do offer Moroccan favorites like tagine, zaalouk, taktouka, and couscous. Pictured below was my incredibly delicious anchovy tagine.
Aside from Moroccan dishes, La Terrasse offers a few Western-style dishes as well, like this salmon bagel sandwich made with smoked salmon, avocado, cream cheese, arugula, and chives.
Healthy eaters will love the fact that Kasbart offers a wide selection of fresh juices as well.
We were lucky to stay at the top of this hill and not too far from Kasbart. We enjoyed their food and fruit juices, but the one thing that stood out the most was the restaurant itself.
True to its name, Kasbart was one of the prettiest and most artistic restaurants we visited in Tangier. This first-floor seating area was nice but I highly recommend going up to the rooftop terrace.
Isn’t this space lovely? This has to be one of the prettiest rooftop dining areas in Tangier.
Kasbart has a small shop as well selling clothing and accessories. You can dine here too if you like.
La Terrasse – Dar El Kasbah (Kasbart)
Address: 14 Rue de la Kasbah, Tanger, Morocco Operating Hours: 10AM-10PM, Tue-Sun (closed Mondays) What to Order: Tagine, Moroccan salads, breakfast sandwiches, fresh fruit juices
3. Chez Hassan Bab Kasbah
Chez Hassan is a great restaurant located at the bottom of the hill from Kasbart. We ate here several times as it’s probably one of our top three favorite restaurants in Tangier. It’s an inexpensive but delicious Moroccan restaurant that serves many different types of meat and seafood tagine and grilled brochette dishes.
Before we get to the entrees, here’s a quick shot of Chez Hassan’s olives. Nearly every restaurant in Tangier starts you off with brined olives but these were the best. They’re marinated with harissa (Maghrebi chili pepper paste), giving them an extra kick. Delicious!
If you’d like a grilled seafood dish with a little bit of everything, then you may want to get this mixed seafood brochette platter. If I remember correctly, it comes with barbecues prawns, squid rings, and three types of skewered fish. You can get it with a side of Moroccan salad, vegetables, or french fries.
Chez Hassan’s grilled calamari was absolutely delicious – tender and charred in parts – so we had to get a whole plate of it on another visit.
Their chicken brochette is fantastic as well, probably the best we had anywhere in Tangier. At the time of our visit in June 2023, three large skewers went for just MAD 60.
We ate at Chez Hassan once on a Friday so we had to get the vegetable couscous. Couscous is a special dish that’s traditionally eaten only on Fridays in Morocco.
As described, Chef Hassan Bab Kasbah is an inexpensive restaurant that serves delicious food so expect it to be full at peak meal times. Even our Airbnb host called it his favorite restaurant in Tangier.
Chez Hassan Bab Kasbah
Address: 8 Rue de la Kasbah, Tanger 90000, Morocco Operating Hours: 12:30-11:30PM, daily What to Order: Tagine, grilled seafood, brochette
4. Dar Harruch
Don’t miss Dar Harruch. Not only do they serve delicious Moroccan food, but this lovely restaurant is hidden deep inside the medina. Eating here will make you feel like you’ve discovered one of Tangier’s lesser-known gems.
Dar Harruch offers typical dishes like tagine, couscous, and brochette but they offer a few Spanish dishes as well like tortilla de patata and flan. They started us off with these small clay dishes of bean stew, brined olives, harissa, and khobz.
If you’re in the mood for soup, then you may want to try harira. It’s a hearty and warming Moroccan soup made with lentils, chickpeas, and tomatoes.
Dar Harruch offers a few grilled and fried fish dishes but I highly recommend trying the swordfish plate. It’s made with a big, perfectly cooked swordfish steak and a side of pilaf and grilled vegetables. This was delicious and probably the best swordfish dish I had in Tangier.
We ate at Dar Harruch on a Friday. You know what that means right? Couscous! This time, we got it with lamb.
The vegetables in the couscous weren’t enough so we ordered this vegetable tagine as well. The vegetable dishes in Morocco are so delicious.
Nestled deep within the labyrinth of alleyways in the medina, Dar Harruch can be hard to find so be sure to check our map for its exact location.
Aside from serving terrific food, we loved the friendly service and warm and cozy atmosphere of the restaurant as well. Dar Harruch is run by the loveliest Moroccan family which makes the experience of dining here even more memorable.
Address: Mohammed Torres medina, 35 Rue Hadj Mohamed Torres, Tanger 90000, Morocco Operating Hours: 9AM-11PM, daily What to Order: Traditional Moroccan cuisine
We ate at many delicious restaurants in Tangier, but Kebdani may have been the most interesting. Aside from traditional dishes like tagine, pastilla, harira soup, and couscous, they offer a few “Rif” dishes on their menu as well.
We didn’t know what Rif meant so we googled it. Apparently, it pertains to the Rif region and Berber people occupying a part of northeastern Morocco. According to Brittanica, they’re a herding, cultivating, and sardine-seining culture that seems to have their own way of preparing food. Interesting!
Before we get to the entrees, Kebdani started us off with these small plates of stewed beans, olives, Moroccan salads, and khobz. Most restaurants in Tangier offer a few freebies like olives and bread but Kebdani offered the most, which was nice.
I’m a big seafood guy which is one reason why I loved Tangier so much. Almost every seafood restaurant offers some type of fried or grilled seafood platter. The types of seafood vary from restaurant to restaurant but at Kebdani, they give you two types of grilled fish, calamari, shrimp, and roasted vegetables.
If you’re hungry and you love seafood, then you need to get one of these.
Kebdani offers a handful of Rif dishes like Rif salad and Rif tagine made with chicken or lamb. What you’re looking at below is Rif chicken tagine. A savory-sweet tagine that reminded us of mrouzia, it’s made with apricots, figs, grapes, plums, and almonds.
This is the only restaurant where we’ve seen Rif dishes. If you’re interested in trying less common but authentic Moroccan cuisine, then you need to enjoy a meal here. Prices are a bit higher than at other restaurants – about MAD 80-140 per tagine (as of June 2023) – but it’s worth it.
Kebdani is located inside the medina. You can refer to our map for its exact location.
Like many of the places on this list, Kebdani is a small restaurant with a warm and cozy atmosphere.
Address: Rue Dar Baroud, Tanger, Morocco Operating Hours: 12NN-5PM, 7-11:45PM, daily What to Order: Traditional Moroccan Rif dishes
6. Restaurant Al Maimouni
Al Maimouni was one of the tastiest restaurants we visited in Tangier. They serve different types of meat and chicken dishes but what we came here for, surprise surprise, was the seafood.
Before we get into that, here’s a look at the freebies they gave us – stewed carrots with zaalouk, brined olives, and khobz.
We’re more conscious of what we eat these days so vegetables are a big part of our diet. In Morocco, one of our favorite vegetable dishes to order is Moroccan salad. It’s a simple but delicious salad made with fresh vegetables like chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, herbs, and other ingredients.
Many restaurants in Tangier serve the same seafood dishes but not all are created equal. Grilled calamari isn’t hard to come by in Tangier but the version at Al Maimouni was one of the best. It was served with a butter-garlic-herb sauce that was so incredibly tasty.
We enjoyed many delicious dishes in Tangier, but this was easily one of our favorites.
Made with a similar sauce, this grilled sole was equally delicious. As you can see below, they give you a sizeable portion as well!
This was really nice. We wanted to order mint tea after lunch but our server told us that some tea and Moroccan pastries were already included. Merci!
Unless I’m mistaken, these are called ghoriba which is a type of Moroccan shortbread cookie made with ground almonds and toasted sesame seeds.
Restaurant Al Maimouni can be a little hard to find so be sure to refer to our location map to find it.
It was overcast when we went but on clear days, you may want to enjoy your meal on the rooftop. It provides no cover from the sun but it does offer fantastic views of the marina and kasbah.
Restaurant Al Maimouni
Address: Unnamed Road, Tangier, Morocco Operating Hours: 11:30AM-11:30PM, daily What to Order: Traditional Moroccan dishes
7. Restaurant Ahlen
Do a search for the best Tangier restaurants and Ahlen will surely come up. It’s one of the most popular and highly-rated restaurants in the medina, which isn’t hard to understand because their food is delicious and reasonably priced.
Pictured below is the plate of fresh house cheese, olives, and khobz they gave us for starters.
We usually order harira soup but today, we wanted something different. What you’re looking at below is a delicious and hearty bowl of lentejas or lentil stew.
Many restaurants offer sardine tagine but Ahlen was the only place we went to that had grilled sardines. We love sardine tagine but these alone are worth the return visits to Ahlen. So simple but delicious!
There’s nothing more delicious to pair with your meat or seafood than vegetable tagine.
Like Al Maimouni, Restaurant Ahlen offered us some delicious homemade desserts at the end of our meal. I don’t know what this one was called but it was delicious. Thank you!
Restaurant Ahlen is a popular restaurant in the medina so it shouldn’t be hard to find.
Address: 8 Rue des Postes, Tangier 90000, Morocco Operating Hours: 12NN-11PM, Thurs-Tue (closed Wednesdays) What to Order: Traditional Moroccan food
8. Restaurant El Amrani
We love finding restaurants that cater mostly to locals on our travels. In Tangier, El Amrani is one of those restaurants. They don’t have a menu so ordering can be a challenge but it’s definitely worth the effort.
I suggest starting off with this always-dependable Moroccan salad.
I don’t know if their offerings change by the day but they always had sardine and chicken tagine. Pictured below is their tasty sardine tagine. They offer different types of brochette as well.
This one was the chicken tagine. It was made with a whole chicken leg and thigh and vegetables like cauliflower, zucchini, and carrots. Delicious!
Restaurant El Amrani is located in the medina but it shouldn’t be hard to find. They don’t seem to have a lot of offerings but their food is delicious and their prices are very affordable. At the time of our visits, a meal for two typically cost us around MAD 70 in total.
Restaurant El Amrani
Address: Q5PQ+756, Rue Smihi, Tanger, Morocco Operating Hours: 11AM-12MN, daily What to Order: Tagine, brochette
9. Restaurant Bachir
Bachir was easily the most popular restaurant we went to in Tangier. It’s located closer to downtown Tangier, around a 15-minute walk south of the medina, so a vast majority of the customers at this restaurant are local.
Restaurant Bachir serves typical dishes like tagine, brochette, couscous, and seafood but they also have this beauty that you don’t see on every Tangier menu – cow feet and chickpeas. We’re originally from the Philippines so we love finding dishes like this in other countries.
Aside from this delicious dish, Bachir also offers other less common dishes like tripe and chickpeas, sheep’s head tagine, and lamb brain tagine. If you’re a curious eater, then you need to enjoy a meal here.
Can you guess what type of tagine this is?
If you guessed anchovy tagine, then you win a pat on the back. Just kidding. This was delicious.
If you like fish tagine, then another good dish to try is this swordfish tagine. They also have another version of tagine made with shrimp and swordfish.
Here’s another tagine that curious eaters may want to try. It’s called rigamonte and seems to refer to a type of stew made with a tomato-based sauce.
At Restaurant Bachir, you can get two types of rigamote – normal and especial. We tried the normal which was made with egg, liver, chicken, and meat (either lamb or beef). I believe the especial is made with different types of seafood.
If you need more protein in your diet, then these chicken skewers are an excellent choice as well. Some locals were ordering these by the dozen!
And of course, our favorite vegetable tagine to balance out all that meat and seafood.
If you visit Restaurant Bachir on a Friday, then couscous is an obvious choice. They make it with beef, chicken, wild chicken, vegetables, and lben (fermented milk).
Restaurant Bachir is hugely popular with the locals and it isn’t hard to see why. Their food is excellent, the service is fast and attentive, and their prices are very reasonable. A tagine here will cost you between MAD 20-45 which is much less than what you’d pay at most restaurants in the medina. Highly recommended!
On a side note, alcohol isn’t as easy to come by in a Muslim country like Morocco but we found a great liquor store not too far from Restaurant Bachir. It’s called Chez Ali and is about a 2-minute walk from this restaurant. Drink an extra shot for me in gratitude.
Address: Rue Zyriabe, Tanger, Morocco Operating Hours: 11:45AM-1AM, daily What to Order: Traditional Moroccan dishes
Romeo is another great restaurant to visit if you’re willing to walk. Located near Plage Municipal Beach, about a 20-minute walk from the medina, they serve excellent seafood for much less than what you’d pay at many restaurants in the medina.
Before they served us our seafood, they started us off with a couple of freebies like this plate of bean stew.
They also gave us this plate of lentil stew, some brined olives, and a basket of khobz. Merci!
We need an ample amount of vegetables at every meal and Moroccan salad is always a good choice.
And for the main event – this bright and sunny mixed platter of grilled seafood. They usually serve this fried but you can ask that they grill them instead.
If I remember correctly, this seafood platter came with three or four types of fresh fish, calamari, and shrimp, all for just MAD 80! (June 2023). Our total bill with the Moroccan salad and bottled water came out to just MAD 100, which is less than what you’d pay for one entree at many restaurants in the medina. Awesome!
If you’d like to spend the day at beautiful Plage Municipale Beach, then Romeo is a great place to have a delicious and inexpensive seafood feast.
Address: Q5HW+76Q، Rue Abou Alae El Maari. Inm، Ibn Al Khatib A, Tangier 90000, Morocco Operating Hours: 10AM-11:30PM, Mon-Fri / 11AM-11PM, Sat-Sun What to Order: Seafood, sandwiches
11. Made in Healthy
We’re middle-aged travelers so eating healthy is becoming more and more of a priority for us. In downtown Tangier, one of the best restaurants to go to if you’re watching your waistline is Made in Healthy. They have a fantastic salad bar and offer many delicious ala carte dishes like poke bowls, sandwiches, burritos, and desserts.
Pictured below is my supremely tasty avocado tartine with poached eggs.
Isn’t this pretty? This is the beetroot hummus tartine with poached eggs. I love hummus and the versions at Made in Healthy are some of the best I’ve ever had.
When a restaurant’s name is on a dish, then that usually means it’s going to be good. This is the Made in Healthy poke bowl. It’s made with grilled chicken breast, hummus, and a melange of delicious vegetables.
We couldn’t decide on a dressing so our server was kind enough to give us a selection of all three. Thank you!
The made-to-order dishes are delicious but what we loved most about Made in Healthy is their salad bar. Your server will give you this order sheet so you can specify exactly how you’d like your salad made.
And voila! Behold my beautiful medium salad made with eight ingredients and two toppings, not to mention a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice to wash it all down with. The salads here are delicious and something we looked forward to often in Tangier.
Made in Healthy is located in downtown Tangier, about a 25-minute walk south of the medina. It’s a bit of a trek but absolutely worth it.
Made in Healthy is a lovely modern cafe that’s bright, green, and cheery. It just feels good to be here.
Here’s a look at the fresh salad bar. You don’t make the salad yourself. You just fill out the form and the resident salad queen will make it for you.
Made in Healthy
Address: Q5GR+CJC, Tangier, Morocco What to Order: Salads, poke bowls
12. Nougat de Tanger
This last entry isn’t a restaurant, but if you like delicious desserts and snacks, then you’ll probably want to seek it out. The Nougat de Tanger stall makes some of the best nougat we’ve had anywhere. They’re soft, chewy, nutty, and just absolutely delicious.
The Nougat de Tanger stall is located in one of the busiest parts of the medina so it shouldn’t be hard to spot. As you can see below, there’s always a line of customers waiting to get their hands on their tasty nougat.
At the time of our visit, their nougat sold for MAD 200 per kg.
Nougat de Tanger
Address: Q5PQ+25P, Rue Siaghine, Tanger, Morocco What to Order: Nougat
BONUS: Place de Parc
As a bonus, I wanted to share this beautiful park with you. We enjoyed mint tea everyday in Tangier but this was our favorite spot to have it.
Place de Parc is a lovely park located near Cafa Hafa and the Phoenician Tombs. You can enjoy drinks here like Moroccan tea, coffee, soda, and juice. We only had tea here but I believe you can get some light snacks as well.
If you’re looking for a place to unwind, get lost in a book, or just take in the relaxing atmosphere of Tangier, then Place de Parc is an excellent place to do that.
To help you navigate to these restaurants in Tangier, I’ve pinned them all on the map below. Click on the link for a live version of the map.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE BEST TANGIER RESTAURANTS
We’re partial to casual restaurants but if you’d like a more proper tablecloth dining experience in Tangier, then an often recommended restaurant is El Morocco Club. Located close to Kasbah Museum, they offer refined Mediterranean cuisine and a good selection of global and Moroccan wines.
If whole fish set meals sound good to you, then two restaurants you can visit are Le Saveur du Poisson and Al Achab. We were planning on going to Le Saveur du Poisson but we never got around to it. Perhaps on our next visit to Tangier.
Lastly, if the sound of Syrian food excites you, then you should definitely check out Abou Tayssir. It’s a humble but highly-rated Syrian restaurant located close to Chez Hassan Bab Kasbah.
Regardless of where you eat in Tangier, please be advised that restaurants tend to open later than advertised. The restaurant hours posted here are from Google Maps but we found that most places usually open an hour or two after their listed opening time. Be sure to plan accordingly.
Some of the links in this article on the best restaurants in Tangier are affiliate links. What that means is that we’ll earn a small commission if you make a booking at no additional cost to you. We really appreciate your support as it helps us make more of these free travel and food guides. Merci!
When I think of destinations with the most interesting food, Morocco is one of the first places that comes to mind. It’s a fascinating blend of Berber, Mediterranean, and Andalusian cuisines with hints of European and sub-Saharan influences. Thanks to emblematic dishes like tagine and couscous, I’m like Pavlov’s dog – I can’t think about Moroccan food without salivating.
The food is incredible everywhere in Morocco but especially in the tourist capital of Marrakech. In fact, we took a cooking class in Marrakech and one of our instructors told us that she moved to this city specifically for its food!
Spend a couple of days exploring the many colorful souks in the medina and you’ll find dozens of Moroccan restaurants luring you in with their aromatic tagines, exotic spices, and bubbling hot pots of mint tea. With limited time and only a few meals to enjoy in Marrakesh, how do you find the best places to eat?
We travel for food so we spent a month in Marrakesh looking for the best restaurants to find standout Moroccan dishes like lamb tagine, royal couscous, briouat, and mechoui. We visited over two dozen restaurants but these twelve are our favorites.
MOROCCAN FOOD QUICK LINKS
To help you plan your trip to Marrakech, we’ve compiled links to recommended hotels, tours, and other travel-related services here.
Top-rated hotels in the medina, the best area to stay for first-time visitors to Marrakesh.
Luxury: Les Jardins De La Koutoubia
Midrange: Riad Matins De Marrakech
Budget: Riad Dia
Food Tour: Street Food Tour by Night
Souk Tour: 3-Hour Colorful Souks Tour
Sahara Desert Trip: Merzouga 3-Day Desert Safari with Food
Cooking Classes: Marrakech Cooking Classes
Travel Insurance (with COVID cover)
Save This on Pinterest!
No time to read this guide to the best restaurants in Marrakech? Click on the save button and pin it for later!
MUST-VISIT RESTAURANTS FOR TRADITIONAL MOROCCAN CUISINE IN MARRAKECH
1. Cafe des Epices
When I was doing research for the best restaurants in Marrakech, this cafe was on almost every list. I usually shy away from those places but everyone was waxing poetic about this cafe’s rooftop views so we went. As it turns out, everyone was right.
Cafe des Epices is a lovely cafe overlooking Place des Epices (spice square). They serve traditional Moroccan breakfast, sandwiches, salads, tajines, and dessert.
Pictured below is my delicious Moroccan breakfast consisting of an omelette, fruit salad, a basket of Moroccan bread, fresh orange juice, and either coffee or mint tea.
Morocco is known for many types of bread and you can try a few of them in this breakfast set. In this basket are msemen (Moroccan crepe), khobz, harcha, amlou, and barley bread. They come with four different types of dips and spreads – olive oil, honey, strawberry jam, and some type of peanut-based sauce.
We enjoyed this cafe so much that we wound up eating here twice, once for breakfast and another time for mint tea and dessert. Mint tea is an important part of Moroccan culture and something you’ll probably have often in Marrakesh.
When you see a dish or dessert with the restaurant’s name on it, then chances are, it’s going to be good. This is the Cafe des Epices cake made with Arabica coffee, Atlas walnuts, and noss noss icing. “Noss noss” refers to a Moroccan coffee drink made with equal parts coffee and milk.
As described, Cafe des Epices is located right next to the Place des Epices spice market.
This is the view from the second floor. The third-floor view looks pretty similar to this.
A good majority of restaurants in Marrakech offer rooftop seating. However, aside from the restaurants immediately surrounding Jemaa el-Fnaa, most don’t offer great views. This cafe does.
Here we are sitting on the rooftop. Marrakesh can get brutally hot so there are parasols to keep you shaded and a misting system to keep you nice and cool.
Cafe des Epices
Address: 75 Derb Rahba Lakdima, Marrakech 40000, Morocco Operating Hours: 9AM-11PM, daily What to Order: Moroccan breakfast, sandwiches, traditional dishes
2. Henna Cafe
We wanted to visit Henna Art Cafe but we found this restaurant’s menu to be more interesting so we went here instead. As its name suggests, they offer henna tattoos but we were here strictly for the food.
Instead of serving a full Moroccan menu of traditional food, Henna Cafe offers just a handful of dishes that you can order in small or large plates. It’s like having a Spanish-inspired Moroccan tapas meal right here in Marrakesh!
We ordered all six dishes on their menu but they started us off with some khobz, olives, harissa (Moroccan chili paste), and yogurt sauce.
We’ve had falafel a few times in Morocco but the version at Hena Cafe was one of the most delicious. Served with a side salad of fresh tomatoes and onions, they had a slightly bouncy texture that reminded me a little bit of chewy bread like Colombian pandebono.
Pictured below is a plate of loubia or warm butter beans cooked in a spicy tomato sauce.
What you’re looking at here is the Henna Cafe house salad made with fresh shredded cabbage, sliced apples, and raisins.
I love hummus but this was easily my least favorite dish from today’s meal.
This veggie tortilla, on the other hand, was delicious. It’s basically Henna Cafe’s take on tortilla de patata, one of my favorite Spanish tapas.
People who like eating meat need to order this dish. It’s lamb kefta meatballs slow-cooked with egg and onions.
Unlike most cafes and restaurants in Marrakech that serve just one type of mint tea, Henna Cafe offers about seven different types of Amazigh tea. Aside from classic Moroccan spearmint, they make them with different ingredients like wormwood, wild thyme, and geranium leaves.
Henna Art Cafe is more popular but I’m happy to recommend Henna Cafe as well. The tapas concept was fun and not something we saw at any other restaurant in Marrakesh.
As described, we were here strictly for the food but every other table at the time was getting henna tattoos. Getting a plate of Moroccan tapas and tea is a great way to while away the time while getting your tattoo done.
Address: 144 Arset Aouzal Rd, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco Operating Hours: 11AM-7PM, daily What to Order: Moroccan tapas
3. Mazel Cafe
Bahia Palace is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Marrakesh. The perfect time to go is early in the morning when there are fewer people, and a great place to have lunch after your visit is Mazel Cafe.
Located in Tinsmiths Square, about a 5-minute walk from Bahia Palace, Mazel Cafe offers elevated street food in a lovely cafe setting. They don’t advertise themselves as a healthy restaurant but you do get that sense from the dishes they offer and the fresh food they serve.
Pictured below is their Super Bowl made with falafel, hummus, red and white cabbage, cucumber, lentils, carrots, and tahini sauce. They serve food that tastes clean and not too heavy-handed on the seasoning.
Mazel Cafe serves a few pita sandwiches. Called pitanjia, this one was made with lamb shank slow-cooked with eggplant and onion and then served with a refreshing pea mint sauce.
This pita sandwich is called the pita kefta. It’s made with meatballs served with Moroccan tomato sauce, onions, tomatoes, fresh cheese, and eggplant.
French fries aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of healthy eating but these were delicious. They were light and crisp without being oily or too salty.
Mazel Cafe is located in Tinsmiths Square, a lively square with lots of outdoor restaurants. Mazel is an excellent choice but there are many other restaurants here that you can check out after a visit to Bahia Palace.
Address: 8 Place des Ferblontiers, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco Operating Hours: 10AM-8:30PM, daily What to Order: Healthier Moroccan food
4. Snack Adam
You’ll find many of these Moroccan comfort food restaurants with the word “Snack” in the name. For lack of a better term, they’re basically casual restaurants that serve comfort food like sandwiches, hamburgers, pizza, and the Moroccan version of “tacos”. More on that later.
These snack restaurants were some of our favorite places to eat in Marrakesh. We went to many throughout the city but in the medina, our favorite was Snack Adam.
Pictured below is their version of salade Marocaine (Moroccan salad). Recipes vary but it’s a type of fresh salad made with diced tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and other ingredients dressed in a light vinaigrette.
If you love comfort food like I do, then you need to try these Moroccan tacos. I know they look nothing like American or Mexican tacos but they’re absolutely delicious and something I couldn’t get enough of in Marrakesh.
A taco in Morocco is basically a burrito or wrap filled with different types of meat, poultry, cubed potatoes or french fries, cheese, and some type of sauce like bechamel or a mixture of ketchup (or harissa), mayo, and mustard. The fillings are neatly wrapped in a tortilla before being lightly grilled and served with a side of fries.
I don’t know why they’re called “tacos” but the origin of this popular Moroccan fast food dish seems to point to a shop called Tacos de Lyon in southeastern France. Owned and operated by a pair of Moroccan siblings, they introduced the dish in the mid-2000s before moving their shop to Casablanca in 2011. Today, you’ll find a snack shop serving Moroccan tacos on nearly every block in Marrakesh.
Tacos aren’t the healthiest Moroccan dish but they’re absolutely delicious and something you need to try at least once in Marrakech.
Another interesting dish you may want to try in Marrakech is the pastilla. Also known as bastilla or b’stilla, it refers to a savory pie made with crispy warqa dough typically filled with either poultry or seafood.
What makes pastilla interesting is that the baked pie is usually dusted with powdered sugar and cinnamon before serving. Crunchy in texture thanks to the warqa dough, it’s sweet on the outside but savory on the inside which leads to quite a memorable taste experience.
Here’s what the filling of our pastilla looks like. It’s commonly made with chicken that’s first browned in butter and then simmered with onions, parsley, and a mix of spices.
Snack Adam serves some of the best tacos we had in Marrakech so I recommend trying it here.
Address: Riad Zitoun kedim n 197, 50 m of, Avenue Jamaa El Fna، Marrakech 40000, Morocco Operating Hours: 10AM-11PM, daily What to Order: Moroccan comfort food
5. Snack Grand Atlas
Snack Grand Atlas is another “snack-type” restaurant that we enjoyed in the medina. But instead of serving tacos, pizzas, and the usual Moroccan snack fare, they specialize in seafood which isn’t as common at Marrakesh restaurants.
Before we get into our seafood feast, they started us off with a basket of khobz and these delicious little plates of stewed lentils.
As previously mentioned, whenever we see the name of the restaurant on a dish, then we usually order it. What you’re looking at below is the Salad Grand Atlas. It’s a cold starter made with shrimp, squid, tuna, hard-boiled egg, vegetables, fruits, and cheese.
You can get different types of fried seafood or whole grilled fish at this restaurant but today, we felt like trying their fish tagine.
Here’s a closer look at those succulent chunks of fish swimming under all that tasty tomato sauce. This was delicious and a great tagine to try if you want something different from the usual lamb or chicken tagine.
These grilled fish kebabs were equally delicious. So moist and tender!
These were some of the best fish brochettes we’ve had in Morocco thus far, and that includes restaurants in coastal cities like Tangier, Casablanca, and Essaouira. We’re definitely getting these again on our next trip back to Marrakech!
Snack Grand Atlas is conveniently located just a few minutes walk from Jemaa el-Fna so it shouldn’t be hard to find.
Snack Grand Atlas
Address: Rue ibn marine, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco Operating Hours: 9:15AM-10:30PM, daily What to Order: Seafood dishes, Moroccan comfort food
6. Dabachi Chez Cherif
Dabachi Chez Cherif is a gem, especially if you’re traveling on a budget. They serve a full Moroccan menu of traditional dishes but we were here specifically for their set menus. At the time of our visit in May 2022, you can get one of two set menus for just MAD 60.
I ordered the chicken brochette set menu which started with this bowl of soup de legumes or vegetable soup.
How beautiful does this look? Both set menus come with salade mixte and olives so the spread you see below is good for two people. It was comprised of different types of Moroccan salads and side dishes, all of which were delicious.
These were my tasty chicken brochettes. To rehash, this set menu came with vegetable soup, Moroccan salads and side dishes, grilled chicken skewers, olives, bread, and a drink of your choice. All for just MAD 60!
My better half went with this equally delicious tajine kefta. It had all the same inclusions as the chicken brochette set menu except the bowl of vegetable soup.
We ate at many restaurants in Marrakech and these set menus at Dabachi Chez Cherif were among the best deals we could find. Don’t miss it!
Dabachi Chez Cherif is located in the heart of the medina. You can refer to the location map at the bottom of this article for its exact location.
Dabachi Chez Cherif
Address: Derb Dabachi Medina, Marrakech 40000 Morocco Operating Hours: 10AM-11:30PM, Sat-Thurs (closed Fridays) What to Order: Set menus
7. Amal Women’s Training Center
This place is interesting. Not only will you enjoy a delicious Moroccan meal for lunch, but you’ll be supporting a good cause as well.
Amal Women’s Training Center is a non-profit organization that uplifts disadvantaged women by giving them the necessary skills to find employment in the restaurant industry. Around 30-40 women are trained for 4-6 months every year to prepare Moroccan and international cuisine which you can enjoy at the center’s restaurant in Gueliz.
From what I understand, the menu at Amal changes daily. We went on a Friday so we had a good feeling what would be on the menu – couscous. Couscous dishes are traditionally eaten only on Fridays in Morocco. Friday is a holy Muslim day and is equivalent to Sundays in Christian cultures.
Couscous is the country’s national dish so there’s no better way to experience Moroccan flavors than with this dish. It’s served with seven different vegetables and some type of meat, in this case chicken and lamb.
I believe the drinks served at Amal change daily as well. If I remember correctly, the one in the foreground was made with watermelon while the one behind it was made with cucumber and lime.
The Amal Centre is only open for lunch from Monday till Saturday.
We didn’t make reservations but it may be a good idea to do so. We were the first people there so we were lucky to get the only table available.
Amal Women’s Training Center
Address: Rue Allal Ben Ahmed, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco Operating Hours: 12NN-3:30PM, Mon-Sat (closed Sundays) What to Order: Daily Moroccan menu
8. Dar L’hssira
If you’d rather not wait till Friday to eat couscous, then you can go to one of the many great restaurants in the medina like Dar L’hssira. This highly-regarded restaurant offers a good selection of traditional dishes like tagine, tanjia, brochette, and couscous.
Before we get to the mains, we started with this delicious bowl of harira. It’s a traditional Moroccan soup made with lentils, chickpeas, tomatoes, herbs, spices, and other ingredients.
If you like Indian samosas, then you need to order this Moroccan appetizer called briouat. Made with the same warqa dough used to make pastilla, they’re fried triangular pastries stuffed with a variety of different ingredients like meat, onions, vermicelli noodles, cheese, herbs, and spices.
Here’s an inside look at the briouat’s stuffing. These are a popular street food in Marrakech and available at many food stalls throughout the medina.
You can get many different types of couscous dishes in Marrakech but the one couscous that rules them all is rightfully named royal couscous.
Unlike ordinary couscous dishes that contain just one type of meat, royal couscous is made with a combination of different proteins like lamb, beef, chicken, and sausages.
Dar L’hssira is located about a 5-minute walk from the House of Photography museum in the medina.
Cute dining room right? I just love the interiors of these Marrakesh restaurants.
Address: 15-12 Rue Tachenbacht, Marrakech 40000, Morocco Operating Hours: 11AM-5PM, 6-11PM, Wed-Mon (closed Tuesdays) What to Order: Traditional Moroccan dishes
9. Fine Mama
If you’d rather not get lost in the labyrinth of souks in the medina, then a good restaurant to go to is Fine Mama. It’s located just a short walk south of Jemaa el-Fna and offers a wide range of traditional dishes, mezzes, sandwiches, and Moroccan pastries.
What you’re looking at below is a mrouzia sandwich. Mrouzia is a savory-sweet lamb tagine made with raisins, almonds, honey, ras el hanout (spice mix), saffron, and other spices. It isn’t something you find at every Moroccan restaurant and Fine Mama was the only place we went to that served it in sandwich form.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure about Fine Mama at first. It seemed to be one of those touristy restaurants we tend to avoid but what drew us to it were their specials – like the mrouzia sandwich – and these mezze platters. The term mezze refers to a selection of starters commonly found in Turkey, the Levant, the Balkans, Greece, Egypt, the Caucasus, and the Middle East.
Fine Mama offers different types of mezze platters but we went with the mezze Marocain which came with briouates, zalouk (tomato eggplant dip), lentils, chickpeas, olives, beans, kefta and chicken skewers, and Moroccan salad. If you’d like to try many Moroccan specialties all at once, then this is a good platter to go for.
Fine Mama is located in a popular part of the medina with many shops and restaurants so it shouldn’t be hard to find.
We sat outside but they have a lovely dining room as well.
Here’s what their rooftop seating looks like. Like I said, nearly every restaurant in the medina will have something like this.
Address: 89 Pass. Prince Moulay Rachid, Marrakech 40000, Morocco Operating Hours: 9:30AM-12MN, daily What to Order: Traditional Moroccan cuisine, mezze platters
10. Dar Chef
Dar Chef is another great restaurant in the medina that offers a few less common dishes. They started us off with some olives and khobz before serving us our tangia and tagine.
Are you a fan of Turkish testi kebab from Cappadocia? If you are, then you’re probably going to enjoy tanjia as well. It refers to both the slow-cooked meat dish and the clay urn-like pot used to cook it.
Here’s our lamb tangia after it’s been transferred to a shallow clay pot. Tangia is cooked for several hours at a public oven so the meat is always fall-off-the-bone tender.
Tangia is a communal dish that’s traditionally associated with working Moroccan men.
Speaking of dishes that are harder to find, Dar Chef is a great restaurant to visit if you’d like to try mrouzia tagine and other Moroccan specialties like pigeon pastilla and camel tagine. Mrouzia is always readily available but the other two dishes need to be ordered in advance.
If you like lamb and don’t mind some sweetness in your food, then you should definitely try mrouzia.
Dar Chef is a hidden gem tucked away in the medina. It’s easy to miss unless you were looking for it so be sure to check our location map to see exactly where it is.
They weren’t conducting any that day but I believe Dar Chef offers cooking classes as well. That’s another thing you may want to do in Marrakech. We took a cooking class and aside from learning how to make tagine, we learned a lot about Moroccan culture and cuisine as well.
Address: N°123 Bis Rue Kennaria, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco Operating Hours: 9AM-11PM, daily What to Order: Moroccan dishes
11. Chef Lamine Hadi Mustapha
This was the very first restaurant we visited in Marrakech, and there was one reason for that – mechoui. It refers to a whole lamb or sheep that’s spit-roasted in an underground pit. It’s slow-cooked for several hours and results in some of the most meltingly tender meat that you can taste in Morocco. This is seriously delicious.
Mechoui is traditionally eaten by hand with khobz and a salt-cumin mix. If you like lamb, then you absolutely need to try mechoui in Marrakesh.
Of course, we needed fiber to help break down all that meaty mechoui goodness so we paired it with this vegetable tagine.
Chef Lamine Hadi Mustapha is a popular restaurant so it’s best to go early, shortly after they open.
Chef Lamine Hadi Mustapha
Address: Derb Semmarine, Marrakech 40000, Morocco Operating Hours: 10AM-1AM, daily What to Order: Meshoui
12. Terrasse Bakchich
In our opinion, this hidden gem is one of the best restaurants in Marrakech. We loved it for its food, affordable prices, excellent service, and charming setting.
Terrasse Bakchich is a Moroccan restaurant that serves the usual dishes like tagine, couscous, brochette, and tangia. They serve different types of tagine but I read that the rabbit tagine is one of their specialties so that’s what we went for.
Cooked with tomatoes and onions and glistening with olive oil, it was absolutely delicious and one of the most enjoyable meals we’ve had in Morocco thus far.
We also tried their lamb tangia which was very good as well.
And like the mechoui from the previous restaurant, we needed some vegetable couscous to pair with all that meltingly tender meat.
Lastly, there’s no better drink to pair with your Moroccan meal than mint tea. I enjoy it so much that I’ve stopped ordering coffee altogether!
Terrasse Bakchich is tucked away in an alley in the medina so be sure to check our map for its location.
This is what the restaurant’s rooftop terrace looks like. It’s small and simple but charming.
Here’s a picture of my better half reading the article from The Guardian describing Terrasse Bakchich as one of the “10 best places to eat in Marrakech, Morocco”.
Address: 294 rue Talâa, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco Operating Hours: 10AM-10PM, daily What to Order: Rabbit tagine, traditional Moroccan cuisine
To help you navigate to these restaurants in Marrakech, I’ve pinned them all on the map below. Click on the link for a live version of the map.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE BEST MARRAKESH RESTAURANTS
There’s much to love about Morocco and Marrakesh but for us, Moroccan food is one of the best reasons to visit this country on the northwestern tip of Africa.
Tagine and couscous are emblematic dishes that you can find pretty much anywhere in the medina. We hope this article helps you narrow down your restaurant choices and leads you to many memorable meals in Marrakech.
Aside from restaurants, Moroccan pastries and street food are delicious as well so I’ll probably write another article on our favorite food stalls in Marrakech. As already advised, cooking classes are a great way to learn about Moroccan cuisine so that’s something you may want to do as well.
Lastly, as enchanting as Marrakech can be, it can also be annoying. By that, I mean you may encounter a fair number of locals trying to scam you. They’ll either try to divert you to a shop or take you to the tanneries (not worth it).
So if someone stops and tells you there’s a mosque up ahead – meaning you supposedly can’t go that way – or offers their guide services, then just politely say no and keep walking.
In any case, thanks for reading this article on the best restaurants in Marrakech. Have a safe and amazing time in Morocco!
Some of the links in this article on the best restaurants in Marrakech are affiliate links, meaning we’ll earn a small commission if you make a booking at no extra cost to you. We really appreciate your support as it helps us make more of these free travel and food guides. Thank you!
Like in any country, one of the best ways to familiarize yourself with Moroccan culture is through their food. And in my opinion, the best way to get to know Moroccan cuisine is by taking a cooking class.
It’s one thing to enjoy a traditional Moroccan meal, but it’s another to learn how to make it. It’s like looking under the cuisine’s hood.
Morocco is home to one of the most colorful cuisines in Africa. It’s an interesting blend of Berber, Andalusian, and Mediterranean cuisines with notable sub-Saharan and European influences. When I think of Moroccan cuisine, the first word that comes to mind is flavor (followed by tagine).
Year after year, Morocco remains one of the most visited cities in Africa, and its most popular city is Marrakech. It’s the tourist capital of the country and the best place to learn the culinary art of Moroccan cooking.
There are many cooking classes in Marrakech, so we’re here to help you find the best one. Let’s fire up that tagine!
Save This on Pinterest!
No time to read this article on the best cooking classes in Marrakech? Click on the save button and pin it for later!
8 OF THE BEST COOKING CLASSES IN MARRAKECH
We partnered with our friends at Cookly to come up with this guide to the best cooking classes in Marrakech. Moroccan food is a joy to make and these eight cooking classes are currently the most popular and highly-rated classes they have in Marrakech.
We took the first class on this list – at La Maison Arabe Marrakech – which is by far the most popular. I’ll describe it in more detail below but here’s a quick comparison chart of the eight cooking classes featured in this guide.
You can click on the links to go to the cooking class booking page. All classes offer free cancellation as long as you cancel 48 hours before the start of the class.
Name of Cooking Class
Length of Tour
1. Half-day Cooking Workshop in La Maison Arabe
2. Tajine Cooking Class in Riad Jona Marrakech
3. Moroccan Cooking Class on a Farm by L’Atelier Faim d’Epices
4. Moroccan Cooking Class With Chef Khmisa
5. Moroccan Fusion Class with 8 Dishes
6. Berber Cooking Class Day Trip from Marrakech to Atlas Mountains
7. Half-day Cooking Experience on Moroccan Dishes
8. Make Tasty Berber Crepes with Joy
1. Half-day Cooking Workshop in La Maison Arabe
As described, this was the cooking class we took. It’s held at La Maison Arabe Marrakech, a respected 5-star hotel in the medina. We’ve taken cooking classes in many cities around the world but this was the most high-tech. You’ll see what I mean later.
The class started at this salon where the chef gave us a brief introduction to Moroccan culture, Moroccan food, and the different spices and ingredients used in Moroccan cuisine.
After the primer on Moroccan culture and cuisine, the chef and his assistant served us cups of freshly brewed mint tea.
Remember what I said about this cooking class being the most high-tech class we’ve ever taken? These video screens are why.
Aside from the spotless and well-organized kitchen, what makes this class stand out are these video screens. Every cooking station is equipped with a dedicated monitor so students can easily follow what the chef is doing. How cool is that?
Here’s my better half intently watching the chef’s demo from the comfort of her station. After seeing this kitchen setup, it makes me wonder why more cooking schools don’t do this. It makes following the chef’s instructions so much easier.
The chef gave us a bread-making demo and invited a few students to come up to her station and knead the dough. My wife loves making bread so she jumped on the opportunity. There she is on the screen!
We learned to make three dishes today – zaalouk, taktuka, and chicken tagine.
Here we are prepping the fresh ingredients for zaalouk, a Moroccan salad of cooked eggplant and tomatoes.
You can’t talk about Moroccan cuisine without mentioning tagine. An emblematic symbol of Moroccan cooking, it refers to this conical cooking vessel and the dishes cooked in it. Today, we learned how to make chicken tagine.
Here are our artfully aranged plates of zaalouk and taktuka. We learned how to make those tomato roses ourselves.
Pair either side dish with khobz (traditional Moroccan bread) and you’re golden. These were delicious.
And voila! Behold our beautiful chicken tagine.
Moroccan cooking is a culinary art that’s best represented by the traditional tajine. There are many delicious dishes in Morocco but nothing is more representative of the cuisine than tagine. It’s a main dish that can be made with different types of meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, and fruit.
We had another engagement so we couldn’t stay, but students are invited to the main dining room to enjoy what they cooked after the class. Each student is also given a pre-made pastilla au lait for dessert. Thankfully, they were kind enough to pack what we cooked in takeaway boxes.
We haven’t taken any other cooking classes in Marrakech but based on popularity alone, then this class at La Maison Arabe Marrakech is the best one. We certainly enjoyed it and can happily recommend it to anyone.
This class lasts for three hours but La Maison Arabe Marrakech offers an express cooking workshop that takes just one hour. If you’re short on time, then you may want to take that one instead.
Half-day Cooking Workshop in La Maison Arabe
Schedule: Daily Start Time: 10AM, 3PM Duration: 3 hours Capacity: 1-9+ people Cost: USD 60 per person Book This Class: CLICK HERE for more information and to book
2. Tajine Cooking Class in Riad Jona Marrakech
This is another popular cooking class you can book on the Cookly platform, this time at Riad Jona Marrakech, a 4-star hotel in the southern part of the medina.
Unlike the class at La Maison Arabe Marrakech, you’ll have a choice of which dishes to make. Whether it’s zaalouk or briouates for a starter or chicken tagine, royal couscous, or seafood pastilla for your main dish, the choice is yours.
Tajine Cooking Class in Riad Jona Marrakech
Schedule: Daily Start Time: 2:30PM, 5:30PM Duration: 2.5 hours Capacity: 2-6 people Cost: USD 50 per person Book This Class: CLICK HERE for more information and to book
3. Moroccan Cooking Class on a Farm by L’Atelier Faim d’Epices
If you have a keen interest in Moroccan spices, then this next class is for you. It’s held at Faim d’Epices, a spice farm located about a half-hour drive west of the medina.
This cooking class is held from Wednesday till Monday. You’ll cook a full Moroccan meal that includes bread, salads, a main dish, and msemen. The main dish depends on what day your class is so be sure to look at their schedule if you have a preference.
Aside from learning how to make Moroccan favorites like lamb tagine and royal couscous, you’ll be given a workshop on Moroccan spices as well.
Moroccan Cooking Class on a Farm by L’Atelier Faim d’Epices
Schedule: Wednesday-Monday Start Time: 9:30AM Duration: 6.5 hours Capacity: 1-9+ people Cost: USD 67 per adult, USD 41 per child ages 7-12 Book This Class: CLICK HERE for more information and to book
4. Moroccan Cooking Class With Chef Khmisa
If you’d like to take a class that starts with a visit to a local market, then this class may be for you. It’s helmed by Chefs Khmisa and Kawtar, two Moroccan women with a passion for Moroccan cooking and the credentials to match.
After buying your ingredients and spices from the market, you’ll be taught to make Moroccan salads, tagine, and a pastilla for dessert.
Moroccan Cooking Class With Chef Khmisa
Schedule: Daily Start Time: 10AM, 2:30PM Duration: 4 hours Capacity: 1-9 people Cost: USD 38 per adult, USD 35 per child ages 4-10 Book This Class: CLICK HERE for more information and to book
5. Moroccan Fusion Class with 8 Dishes
If cooking two or three dishes isn’t enough for you, then this cooking class may be the one for you. Headed by Edwina Golombek, you’ll start with a market visit before learning how to make eight dishes in this 6-hour class.
Moroccan Fusion Class with 8 Dishes
Schedule: Saturday-Thursday Start Time: 8:50AM Duration: 6 hours Capacity: 1-6 people Cost: USD 95 per person Book This Class: CLICK HERE for more information and to book
6. Berber Cooking Class Day Trip from Marrakech to Atlas Mountains
If a cooking class held in the medina isn’t exciting enough for you, then how about booking one that takes you on a day trip to the beautiful Atlas Mountains?
Starting with a market visit to buy your ingredients, this Berber cooking class will take you to the Ourika Valley before proceeding to a Berber family’s home. You’ll learn how to make mint tea and Moroccan bread. You’ll be taught to cook over a traditional wood fire and even how to milk a cow!
What dishes you’ll make depends on what’s available at the market that day.
Berber Cooking Class Day Trip from Marrakech to Atlas Mountains
Schedule: Sunday-Tuesday, Thursday-Friday Start Time: 9AM Duration: 8 hours Capacity: 2-6 people Cost: USD 88 per person Book This Class: CLICK HERE for more information and to book
7. Half-Day Cooking Experience on Moroccan Dishes
This half-day Moroccan cooking class starts with a market tour. After buying all your fresh vegetables and other ingredients, you’ll be taught to make Moroccan favorites like tagine, zaalouk, and couscous.
Half-day Cooking Experience on Moroccan Dishes
Schedule: Daily Start Time: 10AM, 4PM Duration: 4 hours Capacity: 1-10 people Cost: USD 30 per person Book This Class: CLICK HERE for more information and to book
8. Make Tasty Berber Crepes with Joy
Msemen is one of our favorite dishes to have for breakfast in Morocco. In this class, you’ll learn how to make different types of Berber crepes from scratch.
Make Tasty Berber Crepes with Joy
Schedule: Daily Start Time: 9:30AM, 3:30PM Duration: 3 hours Capacity: 1-10 people Cost: USD 17 per person Book This Class: CLICK HERE for more information and to book
FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE BEST MARRAKECH COOKING CLASSES
Needless to say, cooks and food lovers should seriously consider weaving a Morrocan cooking course into their itinerary. You’ll make delicious food that will rival anything you can order at restaurants in Marrakech.
Many tourists visit Marrakech for just two or three days. If you’re worried that you won’t have enough time for a cooking class, then rest assured that most classes take just a few hours so you’ll have plenty of time to explore the souks and enjoy Marrakech before or after your class.
In any case, I hope you enjoyed this article on some of the best and most popular cooking classes in Marrakech. If you have any questions about the class at La Maison Arabe Marrakech, then feel free to ask us in the comment section below.
Thanks for reading and have fun cooking traditional tajine in Marrakech!
This article was written in partnership with Cookly. They offered us a complimentary cooking class in exchange for an honest account of the experience. As always, all words, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article are mine and mine alone.
Some of the links in this article on cooking classes in Marrakech are affiliate links, meaning we’ll earn a small commission if you make a booking or purchase at no additional cost to you. As always, we only recommend products and services that we use ourselves. We truly appreciate your support as it helps us make more of these free food and travel guides. Thank you!
Photos from cooking classes 2-8 provided by Cookly.
I’ll go right out and say it – Da Nang (or Danang) isn’t the most interesting city in Vietnam. It doesn’t have the history of Hue or the charm of Hoi An but it remains one of our favorite cities in Vietnam. And a lot of that has to do with its traditional local cuisine.
I find Danang to be one of the most liveable cities we’ve visited thus far in Vietnam. I like its size, its relaxed vibe, and great local food. It may not have as many tourist attractions as Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City but delicious regional Vietnamese dishes like mi quang and bun cha ca more than make up for it.
If local food is a big reason why you travel, then this guide to the best Da Nang restaurants will be very useful to you.
DA NANG RESTAURANTS QUICK LINKS
To help you plan your trip to Da Nang, we’ve put together links to popular hotels, tours, and other travel-related services here.
Top-rated hotels near My Khe Beach, one of the best areas to stay for first-time visitors to Da Nang.
No time to read this Da Nang food guide? Click on the save button and pin it for later!
MUST-TRY DA NANG FOOD & STREET FOOD
You can find all kinds of delicious Vietnamese food in Da Nang. Local food is a must for any serious Traveleater so be sure to prioritize these four regional dishes when you visit.
If you were to try just one Vietnamese dish in Da Nang City, then it should probably be mi quang (or my quang). A famous Da Nang food, it refers to a tasty dish made with wide rice noodles served in a small amount of concentrated chicken (or pork) broth. It’s garnished with crushed peanuts and a rice cracker and can be topped with different types of meat and seafood like chicken, frog, shrimp, eel, and snakehead fish.
The toppings are nice but what makes mi quang truly special is its supremely flavorful broth. It’s made by simmering meat (typically chicken or pork) in water or bone broth before seasoning it with fish sauce, black pepper, shallots, and cu nen – a pungent, garlic-type vegetable.
Like many Vietnamese dishes, mi quang is always served with a basket of fresh herbs and leafy greens, along with a few condiments.
Bun Cha Ca
This was one of our favorite dishes in Da Nang. If you like fish cake, then you need to try bun cha ca. It refers to a tasty Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of thin rice noodles and fried (or steamed) fish cake made from a variety of fresh fish like mackerel, barracuda, and lizardfish.
Like mi quang, what makes bun cha ca special is the broth. It’s served in a tasty stock traditionally flavored with fish bones and other ingredients like dill, tamarind, tomatoes, pumpkin, and dried bamboo shoots.
Banh Trang Cuon Thit Heo
If you like Vietnamese dishes wrapped in rice paper like banh xeo and nem lui, then you’re probably going to enjoy banh trang cuon thit heo as well. Translating to something like “pork belly wrapped in rice paper”, this mouthful of a dish consists of thin slices of pork belly wrapped in rice paper with different types of fresh herbs and vegetables.
Aside from the process, what I enjoyed most about banh trang cuon thit heo is the mam nem dipping sauce. A Quang Nam specialty, it’s a supremely flavorful type of fish sauce made from fermented anchovies, bird’s eye chilis, lemongrass, garlic, crushed pineapples, and sugar.
Bun Mam Nem Heo Quay
If the previous three dishes form the holy trinity of Da Nang food, then this next dish is the fourth wheel. After getting a taste of mam nem, you’ll probably want to try it anyway.
Bun mam nem heo quay refers to a central Vietnamese specialty of thin rice noodles topped with roasted pork, anchovy sauce, and other ingredients like fresh vegetables, peanuts, and cha bo (traditional Vietnamese sausage). Unlike the mam nem dipping sauce in banh trang cuon thit heo, the anchovy sauce in this dish is more pungent and may not be for everyone.
But if you can get past its funky aroma, then bun mam nem heo quay is a dish that you’ll probably grow to love and look for on every return trip to Danang.
THE BEST RESTAURANTS IN DA NANG
We stayed for a month in Da Nang City and visited many more eateries, but I wanted to feature only the best restaurants on either side of the Han River so I’ve capped this list at 25. If you have a taste for Vietnamese coffee, then be sure to check out our Da Nang cafe guide as well.
1. Mỳ Quảng Bà Mua
As described, mi quang is arguably the most important dish in Danang’s local culinary culture. You’ll find a restaurant or stall selling mi quang on nearly every block in Da Nang City, but one of my favorites was this beautiful bowl from My Quang Ba Mua. The restaurant serves many different types of Vietnamese food and regional dishes but what they’re really known for is their mi quang.
You can get their mi quang topped with different proteins like chicken, beef, frog, and egg. Pictured below is the my thap cam or mixed noodles which is topped with a little bit of everything. So much flavor and texture going on in this bowl!
Many of the eateries on this list are humble, street-food-type establishments but My Quang Ba Mua is a more polished chain of restaurants in Da Nang. If you prefer proper sit-down restaurants to street food stalls, then you may want to try mi quang here.
I don’t know how many My Quang Ba Mua branches there are in Danang, but I went to the outlet along D. Le Dinh Duong Street, just off Nguyen Van Linh. You can refer to the location map at the bottom of this article to see exactly where it is.
My Quang Ba Mua
Address: 44 Đ. Lê Đình Dương, Phước Ninh, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam Operating Hours: 6:30AM-10PM, daily What to Order: Mi quang, banh trang cuon thit heo
2. Mì Quảng Dung
Mi Quang Dung is another tasty mi quang restaurant in Da Nang City, this time on the eastern side of the Han River. Unlike My Quang Ba Mua which serves many different Vietnamese dishes, I believe this shop serves only mi quang, which is exactly my kind of restaurant.
They didn’t seem to have a printed menu so I asked my server for a bowl of mi quang. He asked if I wanted it topped with chicken, beef, or fish. I went with chicken and it was delicious.
This type of restaurant is typical in Da Nang and Vietnam. It’s like a restaurant / street food stall hybrid. Note the metal folding tables and red plastic stools.
Mi Quang Dung
Address: 121 Đỗ Bá, Bắc Mỹ Phú, Ngũ Hành Sơn, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam Operating Hours: 5:30AM-2PM, daily What to Order: Mi quang
3. Mì Quảng Giao Thủy
Like the previous shop, Mi Quang Giao Thuy is another restaurant in Da Nang that specializes in mi quang. You can get your mi quang topped with different ingredients like frog, snakehead fish, and chicken. Can you guess what this bowl was topped with?
It’s topped with one of my favorite types of fish – eel. You can get your mi quang topped with regular eel or what they label on the menu as “special copper eel”. I don’t know what type of eel that is but it’s delicious.
Mi Quang Giao Thuy is a humble restaurant located on the western side of the Han River. I went here twice and both times, it was filled only with local customers.
Mi Quang Giao Thuy
Address: 1B Ba Đình, Thạch Thang, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam Operating Hours: 7AM-10PM, daily What to Order: Mi quang
4. Mỳ Quảng Cô Sáu
This was one of my favorite Da Nang restaurants. I like restaurants that serve just one or two dishes because that usually means they do it very well. My Quang Co Sau basically offers just two dishes on their menu – mi quang and banh trang cuon thit heo. I tried the former and it was the best bowl of mi quang I’ve had thus far in Danang.
You get your mi quang topped with different ingredients but I suggest going for the my thap cam dac biet. It’s a special mixed version of the dish topped with chicken, fish, shrimp, pork, and a hard-boiled egg. It’s absolutely delicious.
My Quang Co Sau is located in one of my favorite parts of Da Nang City. It’s hidden in a more residential neighborhood in Son Tra Peninsula, on the eastern side of the Han River. It’s definitely worth seeking out if you’re serious about finding some of the best mi quang in Danang.
My Quang Co Sau
Address: 37b Phạm Quang Ảnh, An Hải Bắc, Sơn Trà, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam Operating Hours: 6AM-10PM, daily What to Order: Mi quang
5. Bún Chả Cá Hờn
I asked a Vietnamese Instagrammer for restaurant recommendations in Da Nang and one of the first places she told me to visit was Bun Cha Ca Hon. Just one spoonful of this tasty broth and you’ll quickly understand why.
As its name suggests, Bun Cha Ca Hon specializes in one dish – bun cha ca or fish cake noodle soup. Sweet, savory, sour, and just a little bit spicy, one bowl was all it took to make me a fan of this tasty Vietnamese noodle soup. It’s delicious and something I could see myself eating everyday.
Here’s a closer look at the fish cake. If you’re a fan of fish balls or fish cakes, then you definitely need to try this. Soft and springy, the texture of the fish cake is perfect.
I got mine with just fish cakes but you can get your bun cha ca with chunks of mackerel, tuna, or crab mixed in.
I went to a few bun cha ca restaurants in Da Nang and Hon was by far the busiest. With well over a thousand mostly positive Google reviews, it’s clearly one of the most popular fish cake noodle soup restaurants in Da Nang.
Bun Cha Ca Hon
Address: 113/3 Nguyễn Chí Thanh, Hải Châu 1, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam Operating Hours: 6AM-10:30PM, daily What to Order: Bun cha ca
6. Bún Chả Cá Bà Hoa
Ba Hoa is another tasty bun cha ca restaurant in Da Nang. They have an almost identical menu as Hon but instead of fish patties, they make their noodle soup with fish bars. They’re firmer in texture but still quite delicious.
No matter what goes into this bowl, the star of this noodle soup will always be the broth. It’s seriously delicious and yet another reminder that there’s so much more to Vietnamese noodle soups than just pho.
Like the Hon restaurant, you can get your bowl of bun cha ca at Ba Hoa with the addition of mackerel, tuna, or crab.
Ba Hoa is located on the western side of the Han River, just a couple of blocks away from Hu Tieu Muc (#22), another of our favorite restaurants in Da Nang.
Bun Cha Ca Ba Hoa
Address: 27 Lê Hồng Phong, Phước Ninh, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam Operating Hours: 6AM-9PM, daily What to Order: Bun cha ca
7. Bún Chả Cá 109
To be clear, I haven’t met a bowl of bun cha ca that I didn’t like, but the fish cake noodle soup at this restaurant was my hands down favorite. Located just around the corner from the Hon restaurant, Bun Cha Ca 109 serves the tastiest bowls of bun cha ca that I’ve had thus far in Danang.
The beautiful bowl pictured below is made with fish, shrimp, and crab cakes. It’s listed on the menu as “to cha ca + cha cua + rieu“. Redolent with flavor and texture, it’s absolutely delicious and something I’d love to have right now!
Here’s a closer look at the three different patties that go into this gorgeous bowl of bun cha ca. The fish cakes and shrimp balls are firmer in texture while the crab cake is larger and more loosely packed.
Mix in some fresh greens, pickled pearl onions, and a dollop of chili and you’ve got one of the most delicious meals you can have in Da Nang. Man was this good!
Bun Cha Ca 109 is located around the corner from Hon so you can try both on the same day. Like Hon, it’s a popular restaurant with over 1,200 Google reviews.
Bun Cha Ca 109
Address: 109 Nguyễn Chí Thanh, Hải Châu 1, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam Operating Hours: 6AM-10PM, daily What to Order: Bun cha ca
8. Quán Đại Lộc
Rounding out the holy trinity of Da Nang food is banh trang cuon thit heo. There’s no better place to try it than at Quan Dai Loc, a hugely popular restaurant that was recommended to me by the same Vietnamese Instagrammer.
As previously described, this Da Nang specialty consists of thinly sliced pork belly served with a variety of greens, rice noodle sheets, and thin rice paper. On its own, the pork belly is fairly bland in flavor but what makes this dish truly sing is the mam nem dipping sauce. It’s shockingly tasty and one of the best things you’ll put in your mouth in Danang.
Another interesting thing about banh trang cuon thit heo is the rice paper. Unlike the rice paper served with banh xeo or nem lui, the version served with this dish is much stiffer in texture. They feel almost like thin sheets of plastic until you dip them in water.
Do you see that plastic container filled with water on the left side of the picture below? I had no idea what to do with it until I observed the other customers. They would leave the hard sheets of rice paper in that plastic container for a minute or so to soften them up. Once softened, they would then top the sheets with slices of pork belly and fresh greens. Interesting!
They give you a garden of raw vegetables to wrap with your pork belly. On this plate are slivers of cucumber, unripe mango, lettuce, perilla, bean sprouts, purple cabbage, and more. Talk about a healthy dish!
To eat, you take a few pieces of each vegetable and layer them on top of the softened rice paper. You can’t really see it in this picture but at the bottom of the pile is a sheet of rice noodle.
You then wrap it up and dip into the mam nem anchovy sauce to eat. Delicious!
Like the wrap itself, you can prepare the mam nem to taste. On every table is a pitcher of anchovy sauce with lime wedges, bird’s eye chili, lemongrass, and minced garlic. Not only is banh trang cuon thit heo delicious, but it’s also a lot of fun to prepare and eat.
As you can see from this picture, Quan Dai Loc is popular and almost always packed at peak meal times. Thankfully, they have more than one branch you can visit. Pictured below is their outlet located along Trung Nu Vuong Street.
Quan Dai Loc
Address: 97 Trưng Nữ Vương, Bình Hiên, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam Operating Hours: 8AM-9:30PM, daily What to Order: Banh trang cuon thit heo
Labeled “Dai Loc 2”, they have a second branch along Huynh Thuc Khang Street. I ate at both restaurants and they have identical menus. This outlet may be the less busy of the two.
If you enjoyed the taste of the mam nem dipping sauce at Quan Dai Loc, then perhaps you’d like to try bun mam nem as well. It’s basically a bowl of rice noodles topped with mam nem sauce and other ingredients like pork, fresh vegetables, crushed peanuts, and Vietnamese sausage. When topped with roasted pork, the dish becomes known as bun mam nem heo quay.
Be warned though that the anchovy sauce in this dish is more pungent than the dipping sauce used for banh trang cuon thit heo. In the words of one local, the stinking aroma in a good bun mam nem has to be stimulating (ie pungent) enough to awaken one’s taste buds.
People who aren’t used to the aroma may find it a little challenging at first, but personally, I think it’s delicious.
Bun Mam Liem is one among a cluster of restaurants in the same area that serves bun mam nem. The Vietnamese lady who runs the place is lovely. I could tell she gets a kick out of foreigners who enjoy her food.
Bun Mam Liem
Address: 41 Đoàn Thị Điểm, Hải Châu 2, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam Operating Hours: 6:30AM-10PM, daily What to Order: Bun mam nem
10. Bún Mắm Vân
Every bowl of bun mam nem featured in this guide is tasty, but this one was easily my favorite. The bun mam nem heo quay at this restaurant is absolutely delicious and in my opinion, a notch above the rest.
Lesser bowls of bun mam nem can have a slightly acrid taste but this one didn’t have any of that. It’s so good.
This short alley is filled on either side with restaurants serving bun mam nem, but Bun Mam Van was by far the most crowded. It looks like we made the right choice in coming here!
Bun Mam Van
Address: 23/14 Trần Kế Xương, Hải Châu 2, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam Operating Hours: 6:30AM-10PM, daily What to Order: Bun mam nem
11. Bún Mắm Bé Hà
If you’ve developed a taste for bun mam nem, then perhaps you’d like to visit a third restaurant, this time on the eastern side of the Han River.
This bowl of bun mam hen heo quay wasn’t made with as much roasted pork but it was still delicious. Like the broth in mi quang or bun cha ca, the true star of bun mam nem is the sauce. If the sauce is good, then it doesn’t matter as much what else you put into it.
Bun Mam Be Ha serves banh dap as well so I suggest ordering that to go with your bowl of bun mam nem. It’s a fun dish whose name literally translates to “cracked or smashed rice pancake”.
Bah dap consists of two pieces of crispy grilled rice paper held together by a soft and sticky rice noodle sheet. Served with a side of anchovy dipping sauce, it gets its name from the loud cracking sound it makes when you press down on the pancakes and break pieces off to eat.
Bun Mam Be Ha is located just a few blocks away from My Khe Beach. It’s a great place to try bun mam nem and banh dap on your way to the beach.
Bun Mam Be Ha
Address: 130 Bùi Hữu Nghĩa, Phước Mỹ, Sơn Trà, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam Operating Hours: 8:30AM-7PM, daily What to Order: Bun mam nem, banh dap
12. Bếp Cuốn
The origins of banh xeo are disputed but one thing is clear – it’s an incredibly delicious dish that you should have no matter where you are in Vietnam. In Da Nang City, a great place to try it is at Bep Cuon.
If you’re unfamiliar with banh xeo, it’s a traditional Vietnamese crispy crepe made with rice flour batter and filled with different ingredients like shrimp, pork belly, bean sprouts, and onions. The name banh xeo translates to “sizzling cake” because of the sound the rice batter makes when it’s poured onto the hot skillet.
Banh xeo is typically folded in half like an omelette but Bep Cuon serves theirs open-faced. Each order comes with three pancakes. They make them with different toppings like prawn, pork, beef, and squid but I suggest going for the banh xeo thap cam. Thap cam means “mixed” so you’ll get three pancakes with different toppings.
Banh xeo is eaten in a similar way as banh trang cuon thit heo. You break pieces of the crepe and layer them onto rice paper with a variety of fresh herbs and vegetables.
This is the first time I’ve ever seen it but Bep Cuon serves their banh xeo with a side of kimchi, likely to cater to the many Korean tourists that visit Da Nang City.
After you’ve layered all the components onto the rice paper, you then roll it up and dip into the sauce to eat. Delicious!
In other parts of Vietnam, we’ve had banh xeo served with just nuoc cham (fish sauce) but in Da Nang City, they seem to prefer it with some mam nem as well (like banh trang cuon thit heo).
Bep Cuon is a TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice awardee located on the eastern side of the Han River.
Like My Quang Ba Mua (#1), Bep Cuon is one of the more upscale Da Nang restaurants on this list. They serve many different traditional dishes but I definitely recommend trying their banh xeo.
Address: 54 Nguyễn Văn Thoại, Bắc Mỹ Phú, Ngũ Hành Sơn, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam Operating Hours: 10:30AM-9PM, daily What to Order: Banh xeo
13. Bánh Xèo Bà Dưỡng
Ba Duong was recommended to us by the same Vietnamese Instagrammer. It’s one of the most popular restaurants in Da Nang and with good reason – their banh xeo and nem lui are absolutely delicious.
Unlike Bep Cuon, Ba Duong doesn’t give you an option for banh xeo fillings but it doesn’t matter. Their banh xeo is seriously tasty and the best we’ve had thus far in Danang. Don’t miss this!
Nem lui is another tasty Vietnamese dish that’s eaten in a similar way as banh xeo and banh trang cuon thit heo. It’s a Hue specialty of charcoal-grilled minced pork rolls wrapped around bamboo or lemongrass skewers.
Holding the rice paper in your palm, you pull the meat off the skewer before layering it with the fresh greens. You then roll it up tightly and dip into the same sauce as the banh xeo to eat. It’s another central Vietnamese specialty that’s delicious and fun to eat.
Ba Duong is tucked away at the end of this alley.
With well over 5,000 Google reviews under its belt, Ba Duong is clearly one of the most popular restaurants in Da Nang. Virtually every local we asked for restaurant recommendations told us to eat here.
Banh Xeo Ba Duong
Address: 280/23 Hoàng Diệu, Bình Hiên, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam Operating Hours: 9:30AM-9:30PM, daily What to Order: Banh xeo, nem lui
14. Thìa Gỗ
Thia Go is one of my favorite Da Nang restaurants. A popular spot among foreign tourists, they serve homestyle Vietnamese food that seems a bit more refined than the average restaurant. They offer many traditional Vietnamese dishes but I read that they’re known for their banh xeo and cha gio so that’s what I ordered on my first visit.
Pictured below is a plate of what could very well be the best cha gio or fried spring rolls I’ve ever tasted in my life. Crisp but incredibly light, the practically crumble away between your teeth with little to no effort. They’re so darn good.
You can get these spring rolls filled with beef, seafood, or vegan ingredients. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, then you’ll have plenty of dishes to choose from at Thia Go.
I don’t know if you can tell from this picture but the banh xeo at Thia Go is big, like Ho Chi Minh City big. This is one of the restaurant’s specialties and virtually every table orders it.
Like their cha gio, the fried batter is so crispy and light. It’s delicious though I did find it to be a bit on the oily side.
Here’s a peek inside the crepe. I got mine with squid but you can get it filled with shrimp, beef, oyster mushroom, or a mixture of everything.
The restaurant serves many other dishes as well, like this com chien or Vietnamese fried rice. We got ours with oyster mushroom but you can have it made with beef, shrimp, or seafood as well.
Rau muong xau or morning glory is one of the most commonly served vegetables in Da Nang City. You can have it with garlic or oyster sauce but if you want something more special, then you can have it made with razor clams.
Like nem lui, bun bo nam bo is a Vietnamese dish that’s hard not to like. Its name literally means “southern-style beef vermicelli” and refers to a dry rice noodle dish topped with marinated stir-fried beef and other ingredients like crushed peanuts, fried shallots, bean sprouts, fresh vegetables, herbs, and nuoc cham.
Thia Go is a Traveler’s Choice awardee with a perfect 5-star rating on TripAdvisor. Impressive considering the restaurant has over 1,700 reviews!
Address: 53 Phan Thúc Duyện, Bắc Mỹ Phú, Ngũ Hành Sơn, Đà Nẵng 50507, Vietnam Operating Hours: 10AM-10PM, daily What to Order: Cha gio, banh xeo, com chien, bun bo nam bo
15. Bún Bò Bé Mai
Pho is one of the most famous dishes outside of Vietnam. It’s a Vietnamese national dish but in my opinion, there are many more interesting noodle soups in Vietnam, one of them being bun bo hue.
As its name suggests, bun bo is a Hue specialty consisting of rice noodles served in a supremely flavorful broth with different ingredients like brisket, beef shank, crab patties, oxtail, and congealed pig’s blood. Personally, it’s one of my absolute favorite Vietnamese dishes and something I need to have on every visit to Hue. Thankfully, you don’t have to go all the way to Hue to try it.
Be Mai offers tasty bowls of bun bo made with a variety of different ingredients. If you don’t speak Vietnamese, it can be hard to know what to order so I suggest asking for thap cam (“mixed”) or dac biet (“special”). In my experience, that usually translates to the most loaded bowl which is exactly what you want.
Here’s a closer look at that juicy slice of beef brisket. This was a simpler bowl of bun bo made with mostly brisket.
Bun Bo Be Mai is a local favorite that can be found in the northern part of Da Nang City, on the western side of the Han River.
Bun Bo Be Mai
Address: 17B Đống Đa, Thạch Thang, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam Operating Hours: Open 24 hrs What to Order: Bun bo
16. Bún Bò Bà Rơi
A bowl of bun bo hue can be made with many different ingredients but the true star of this tasty noodle soup is the broth. I’ve never met a bun bo I didn’t like, but my favorite bowls are made with crab balls or patties. That’s exactly what we had at Bun Bo Ba Roi. Isn’t that crab patty gorgeous?
Aside from the crab patties, this beautiful bowl contained big blocks of congealed pig’s blood as well. If you want crab patties in your bun bo, then look for the word cua (“crab”) on the menu. Thap cam and dac biet bowls may have it as well.
Ba Roi is a small bun bo restaurant located in Hoa Thuan Dong in Hai Chau District. It’s about a 15-20 minute walk south of Dragon Bridge.
I loved the simple but clean interior of Bun Bo Ba Roi.
Bun Bo Ba Roi
Address: 5 Phan Thành Tài, Hòa Thuận Đông, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam Operating Hours: 6AM-1PM, 3-10PM, daily What to Order: Bun bo
17. Quán Bún Bà Diệu
The same Vietnamese Instagrammer recommended this restaurant to us and unsurprisingly, they serve the best bowls of bun bo we’ve had anywhere in Da Nang City. When it comes to food, local knowledge truly is invaluable.
This was the only time I ordered a thap cam bowl of bun bo in Da Nang and it came with a little bit of everything – beef balls, beef shank, congealed pig’s blood, and more. So many delicious flavors and textures!
Take a gander at that hefty chunk of beef shank. It’s almost too big to fit in the bowl!
Quan Bun Ba Dieu is a bit of a trek from central Danang. It’s closer to the airport than to Han River but in my opinion, it’s definitely worth the effort.
Quan Bun Ba Dieu
Address: 17 Trần Tống, Thạc Gián, Thanh Khê, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam Operating Hours: 1-8PM, daily What to Order: Bun bo
18. Bánh Mì Cô Tiên
Did you really go to Vietnam if you didn’t eat at least one banh mi? A Vietnamese national dish and one of the best sandwiches in the world, good banh mi doesn’t seem as common in Da Nang as it is in Ho Chi Minh City so I wound up eating at Co Tien four times during my month-long stay.
Pictured below is their banh mi ga ap chao or grilled chicken banh mi with cilantro, cucumber, and chili. Aside from the marinade on the chicken and the texture of the bread, what makes their banh mi special is that they toast it over charcoal before serving to give it an added punch of smokiness.
Whether in Hanoi, Saigon, Hoi An or Da Nang, street food will always be my jam and there’s no better dish to represent Vietnamese street food than banh mi. I enjoyed their grilled chicken banh mi so much that I asked for a special version made with the addition of egg. So fricking delicious.
The Co Tien banh mi stall is located along D. Tran Phu Street, not too far from Cau Song Han Bridge. It’s a popular stall so expect a line no matter what time you go.
Banh Mi Co Tien
Address: Trước Cộng Spa, 80 Đ. Trần Phú, Hải Châu 1, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam Operating Hours: 8:30AM-7:30PM, daily What to Order: Banh mi
19. Bánh Mì Bà Lan
I prefer the sandwich fillings at Co Tien but the bread at Ba Lan may be the best we’ve had anywhere in Vietnam. If you’ve had banh mi in Hoi An and Saigon, then you know that’s saying a lot!
Pictured below is Ba Lan’s banh mi dac biet or special banh mi filled with pork pate, ham, pork terrine, Vietnamese sausage, fresh vegetables, and mayonnaise. The fillings are good but the bread is incredible – crusty on the outside but ultra-light and airy on the inside. It’s so unbelievably good.
We’ve had dozens of banh mi sandwiches in Vietnam but this was our first time trying banh mi queor “stick banh mi”. It’s basically a much smaller, bread-stick-like version of banh mi.
Filled with pate, ham, sweet chili sauce, and butter, I could have eaten twenty of these had we not just eaten at two restaurants! Cute and oh so delicious.
We would have eaten more often at Banh Mi Ba Lan if they weren’t so far from where we were staying. Open from 6:30 till 10:30AM, they reopen at 3PM and are instantly flooded with locals. Cars and motorbikes would idle by the side of the road and get bags of banh mi to go.
Banh Mi Ba Lan
Address: 62 Trưng Nữ Vương, Bình Hiên, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam Operating Hours: 6:30-10:30AM, 3-11PM, daily What to Order: Banh mi
20. Cơm Tấm Bà Lang
Com tam suon nuong is one of our favorite Vietnamese dishes so it’s something we need to look for no matter where we are in Vietnam.
Com tam literally means “broken rice” and refers to rice grains that have been damaged for one reason or another. They used to be considered a cheaper grade of rice but they’ve since become a sought-after food item. Popular in Saigon and southern Vietnam, broken rice is typically paired with a grilled pork chop (suon nuong) and side dishes like eggs and Chinese sausage.
Personally, I can’t really tell the difference between broken rice and regular rice but I do love that pork chop. Pictured below is my delicious glistening plate of com tam suon nuong with a fried egg.
The com tam suon nuong below was paired with cha trung or steamed egg meatloaf.
Com tam suon nuong seems to be a fairly common dish in Da Nang so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding it. We went to a few and the Ba Lang restaurant was our favorite.
Com Tam Ba Lang
Address: 120 Yên Bái, Phước Ninh, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam Operating Hours: 9AM-9PM, daily What to Order: Com tam suon nuong
21. Cơm Tấm Suon Cay
Com Tam Suon Cay is another good com tam restaurant we found in Da Nang City. They serve com tam plates paired with different types of meat like BBQ pork ribs, grilled pork loin, fried frog, fish, and shrimp.
What you’re looking at below is the com tam dac biet or special com tam served with BBQ pork ribs, a fried egg, cha trung, and strands of boiled pork skin.
Personally, I’m a bun cha man but my wife prefers bun thit nuong. It refers to a popular Southern Vietnamese dish of dry rice noodles topped with charcoal-grilled pork, fresh vegetables, roasted peanuts, fish sauce, and a fried spring roll.
We had bun thit nuong at four different restaurants in Da Nang and we liked this one the best.
Com Tam Suon Cay is located in Son Tra Peninsula, about a 10-minute walk from My Khe Beach.
Com Tam Suon Cay
Address: 175duong Nguyễn Văn Thoại, An Hải Đông, Sơn Trà, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam Operating Hours: 8:30AM-10PM, daily What to Order: Com tam suon nuong
22. Hủ Tiếu Mực Thuận Thành
I’ll never forget the first time I tried hu tieu. I was on a boat on the Mekong River in Can Tho when my boatman handed me a bowl of this delicious noodle soup. It was love at first bite and it’s been one of my favorite Vietnamese dishes ever since.
Hu tieu is an immensely flavorful dish made with rice noodles seasoned with garlic oil, oyster sauce, soy sauce, and sugar. It can be served in soup or dry versions before being topped with a variety of meat and seafood like pork, shrimp, offal, and squid.
In Danang, a great place to try hu tieu is at the Muc restaurant. Pictured below is the dry version of their best-selling hu tieu thap cam topped with squid, shrimp, and pork. This was insanely delicious.
We were served a side of broth with quail eggs to go with our hu tieu. If you like, you can pour some of the broth into the bowl of noodles to moisten them up a bit. If you’ve never had hu tieu, then you need to try this.
Hu Tieu Muc is located on Le Hong Phong Street, just a couple of blocks away from Ba Hoa (#6).
Hu Tieu Muc
Address: 15 Lê Hồng Phong, Phước Ninh, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam Operating Hours: 6:30AM-9PM, daily What to Order: Hu tieu
23. Ngu Pho
Whenever we visit Hanoi, a cha ca meal is automatic. Made famous by Cha Ca La Vong, it refers to that irresistible Hanoi dish made with grilled turmeric-marinated catfish served with a mountain of fresh dill. Cha ca isn’t as common outside of Hanoi but thankfully, we found it here at Ngu Pho.
Cha ca is typically cooked on your table which adds to the experience. The catfish goes into the pan followed by the fresh dill which always looks excessive at first, but then it cooks down and turns out to be just right.
Cha ca is served with rice noodles, roasted peanuts, coriander, and a dipping sauce made from fish sauce, shrimp paste, vinegar, garlic, chili, and lime juice. It’s delicious and another must-try in Vietnam.
Ngu Pho is located in central Da Nang, on D. Tran Phu Street.
Address: 219 Đ. Trần Phú, Phước Ninh, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng 55000, Vietnam Operating Hours: 10:30AM-2:30PM, 4:30-9:30PM, daily What to Order: Cha ca
24. Ốc Đêm Sài Gòn
If you like snails, then you need to have an oc feast in Vietnam. Oc is the Vietnamese word for “snail” and refers to a wide variety of sea and freshwater snails. They can be cooked in many ways and is an important part of the local culinary culture.
At Oc Dem Sai Gon, you can have them prepared in dozens of ways. It’s difficult to know what to order if you don’t speak Vietnamese so I recommend going with one of the combos. We went with the Combo My Vi which comes with five plates of snails and other mollusks.
I don’t know the name of this species of snail but it was served in a corn and garlic butter sauce.
Next up was this plate of razor clams cooked in garlic, chili, and morning glory.
These grilled oysters with green onions, chili, and crushed peanuts were amazing.
Being a coastal city, fresh seafood is plentiful in Da Nang and these steamed clams are an example of that.
For our fifth and final plate, we were served another type of snail cooked in tamarind sauce. These snails were tiny but delicious.
Oc Dem Sai Gon is located in the northern part of Son Tra Peninsula. I don’t think many foreign tourists make it to this part of Danang so you’ll probably be the only non-locals there.
Oc Dem Sai Gon
Address: 663 Trần Nhân Tông, An Hải Bắc, Sơn Trà, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam Operating Hours: 3:30-11PM, daily What to Order: Oc
I found this restaurant by chance when I was having Vietnamese coffee next door at House Coffee. Popular with both locals and foreigners, Bodhicitta is a tiny 4-table restaurant that serves vegetarian and vegan Vietnamese dishes.
Pictured below is a vegan version of banh bot loc, a type of tapioca dumpling originally from Hue.
I then had this half-order of salad made with lettuce, cucumber, dried seaweed, and some type of dried fruit or root crop. Chewy and a little sweet, I’m not sure what it is but I’ve had it before at Asian restaurants.
Bodhicitta is located at the end of D. Ung Van Khiem Street. You’d never know it was there unless you were looking for it (or having coffee next door).
Isn’t the space cute? They have just four tables with cushions so you can enjoy your meal while sitting on the floor. Bodhicitta seems to have a loyal client base as most of the foreigners eating here knew the owners and staff by name.
Bodhicitta doesn’t have a printed menu. Instead, they have this push pin menu board with whatever dishes and drinks are available on that day.
Address: 117 Đ. Ung Văn Khiêm, Bắc Mỹ Phú, Ngũ Hành Sơn, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam Operating Hours: 11:30AM-8PM, Tue-Sat / 11:30AM-5:30PM, Sun (closed Mondays) What to Order: Vegetarian Vietnamese food
BONUS: Pizza 4P’s
We typically focus on local food and stay away from international restaurants when we travel, but this pizza restaurant was too good not to include. The Vietnamese Instagrammer who recommended a few of the restaurants on this list also told us about Pizza 4P’s. She described it as the best chain of pizza restaurants in Vietnam. We had to go.
We started our meal with this mozzarella salmon sushi served with a balsamic reduction and olive oil. Instead of rice, they make it with cubes of mozzarella.
To be honest, being told that Pizza 4P’s was the best pizza restaurant in Vietnam wasn’t enough to sell it to me. What got me was the fact that it was started by a Japanese chef who specializes in Neapolitan pizzas. If you’ve had pizza in Tokyo, then you’ll know that the Japanese make damn good pizzas. Some people have even described them as being better than the pizzas in Italy!
At Pizza 4P’s, you can get half and half pizzas so we went with the Burrata Parma Ham Margherita and Soy Garlic Beef. Crisp but light, almost like banh mi, the crust on this pizza was amazing.
After seeing a picture of this Crab Tomato Cream Spaghetti with Ricotta Cheese, there was no way we were leaving the restaurant without trying it. Creamy and tomato-ey, I suggest you do the same.
Pizza 4P’s has two branches in Da Nang – in Indochina Mall and Hoang Van Thu Street. They can be booked weeks in advance so reservations through their website are highly recommended.
Pizza 4P’s may not serve traditional Vietnamese cuisine but if you’re hankering for good pizza and Italian food in Da Nang, then this is the place to go.
Address: 74 Bạch Đằng, Street, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam Operating Hours: 11AM-10PM, Mon-Fri / 10AM-10PM, Sat-Sun What to Order: Pizza, pasta
To help you navigate to these restaurants in Da Nang, I’ve pinned them all on the map below. Click on the link for a live version of the map.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE BEST RESTAURANTS IN DA NANG
Da Nang may not be as interesting as Hanoi or Saigon but if you travel for food like we do, then there’s plenty to keep you happy in this central Vietnamese city.
Being a coastal city, there’s no shortage of fresh seafood in Da Nang. We didn’t go but the same Vietnamese Instagrammer recommended the Nam Danh seafood restaurant to us as well. She also suggested we walk down Vo Nguyen Giap which is the long stretch of road fronting My Khe Beach. You’ll find restaurant after restaurant serving fresh seafood dishes all along that road.
Anyway, this Da Nang food guide has gone on long enough so I’ll end it here. If you have any questions, then feel free to ask us in the comment section below.
Thanks for reading and have a delicious time eating your way through Da Nang!
Some of the links in this article on the best restaurants in Da Nang are affiliate links, meaning we’ll earn a small commission if you make a booking at no extra cost to you. We really appreciate your support as it helps us make more of these free travel and food guides. Cảm ơn!
We love Mexican cuisine. Mexican food is delicious throughout the country but some states like Puebla and Yucatan have a reputation for being top food destinations. Oaxaca is one of those states.
When it comes to Oaxacan cuisine, mole probably comes foremost in many people’s minds. Mole negro and mole coloradito are delicious dishes but in my opinion, the best traditional Oaxacan food can’t be found in fine dining restaurants. They’re served in market fondas and mobile carts on the street.
There are many things to love about Oaxaca, but Oaxacan street food dishes like tlayudas and memelas are two of my favorite things about this city.
If you’re planning a trip to Oaxaca City and want to find the best street food, then this list of 25 Oaxaca street food stalls, eateries, and fondas will be your new best friend in Oaxaca.
This guide focuses on street food stalls and similar establishments but if you’d like to book a table at one of the city’s best restaurants, then be sure to check out our Oaxaca restaurant guide as well. If you have a taste for mezcal, then our guide to the top mezcalerias in Oaxaca will also be of interest to you.
OAXACA STREET FOOD QUICK LINKS
To help with your Oaxaca trip planning, we’ve put together links to popular hotels, tours, and other travel services here.
Top-rated hotels in Centro, one of the best areas to stay for first-time visitors to Oaxaca.
Luxury: Hotel Escondido Oaxaca, a Member of Design Hotels
Midrange: Los Pilares Hotel
Budget: Andaina Youth Hostel
Sightseeing Tour: Guided City Walking Tour
Food Tour: Night Street Food Tour with Transfers and Tastings
Mezcal Tour: Mezcal Adventure
Cooking Classes: Oaxaca Cooking Classes
Day Trip: El Tule, Mitla, and Hierve el Agua Tour with Mezcal
Travel Insurance (with COVID cover)
Mexico SIM Card
Save This on Pinterest!
No time to read this guide on the best Oaxaca street food stalls? Click on the save button and pin it for later!
WHAT STREET FOOD IS OAXACA FAMOUS FOR?
There’s so much delicious food you can enjoy on the streets of Oaxaca but in my opinion, tlayudas, memelas, and empanadas de amarillo are three of the tastiest and most interesting. These street food dishes are important parts of Oaxacan food culture so they’re definitely something you need to try when you visit Oaxaca.
Before anything, it’s important to familiarize yourself with what to eat in Oaxaca City before learning where to eat, so be sure to check out our Oaxacan food guide for a list of 25 must-try traditional dishes and drinks in Oaxaca.
When it comes to the most delicious Oaxaca street foods, nothing stands above tlayudas. Sometimes referred to as a Mexican pizza, this Oaxaca street food classic consists of a large toasted or fried tortilla topped with unrefined pork lard, black bean paste, Oaxaca cheese, and other ingredients.
Considerably smaller but every bit as delicious as tlayudas are memelas. They consist of toasted or fried rounds of masa corn dough topped with a variety of different ingredients like beans, spicy tomato sauce, queso fresco (fresh cheese), guacamole, and chicken tinga.
Empanada de Amarillo
You’ve probably had empanadas in other parts of Mexico or Latin America but I’m guessing you’ve never seen one like this. Oaxacan empanadas de amarillo are much larger than your average fried or baked empanada. To prepare, a large corn tortilla is filled with mole amarillo (yellow mole sauce), shredded chicken, and hoja santa (local Oaxacan herb) before being folded in half and toasted on a comal.
WHERE TO FIND THE BEST OAXACAN STREET FOOD
To help organize this list of Oaxaca street food stalls and restaurants, I’ve categorized them by type of establishment. Click on a link to jump to any section of the guide.
Street Food Stalls
Markets / Fondas
Street Food Stands
We love Mexican cuisine in general but street food is what really makes us tick. There is so much amazing food to be had in Oaxaca City and much of it can be enjoyed on a sidewalk or street corner like memelas, tacos, tamales, empanadas, and tlayudas.
1. Memelas San Agustin
Memelas are a popular Oaxaca street food or breakfast dish that you can find at restaurants, markets, or roadside stalls. Personally, I think they’re best when enjoyed from a mobile cart on the side of the road.
We enjoyed memelas at many different places in Oaxaca City and the Memelas San Agustin stall was one of the best. Pictured below was my tasty trio of memelas topped with chicken tinga (tomato and chicken stew), chicharron, and pico de gallo.
What makes Memelas San Agustin special is their variety of toppings. Many places make them with just simple toppings like refried beans and cheese, but you can get them with different kinds of toppings at this stall.
Don’t you just love the ambiance of a roadside stall? It feels so much more authentic and immersive than restaurants. Not only is the food cheap and delicious, but you get to rub elbows with Oaxaca locals as well. In spite of the language barrier, there’s an instant connection when locals see how much you enjoy their food.
Memelas San Agustin is located on C. de Manuel Fernández Fiallo, between Colón and Vicente Guerrero. You can check the location map at the bottom of this guide to see exactly where it is.
Memelas San Agustin
Address: C. de Manuel Fernández Fiallo 309, Zona Feb 10 2015, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca, Mexico Operating Hours: 8:30AM-5PM, Mon-Sat (closed Sundays) What to Order: Memelas
2. Empanadas del Carmen
We’re huge fans of Netflix’s Street Food series so visiting Empanadas del Carmen was a priority for us. As their name suggests, they specialize in empanadas de amarillo but they make good quesadillas and memelas as well.
To be honest, mole amarillo was my least favorite of Oaxaca’s seven famous moles so empanada de amarillo wasn’t my favorite Oaxacan dish either. However, Empanadas del Carmen makes damn good empanadas. And I’m not just saying that because I’m a fan of the show. This was easily the best empanada de amarillo we had in Oaxaca.
Here’s an inside look at the empanada de amarillo. If you’re familiar with Latin American empanadas, then you may find this Oaxacan empanada to be a little different.
I’m used to smaller empanadas that are pinch sealed and then baked or fried, but this one is more like a quesadilla. A large corn tortilla is topped with ingredients and then folded in half before being toasted on a comal.
This is a quesadilla. See what I mean? It’s very similar in form to the empanada de amarillo except it’s made with cheese, hence the term “quesadilla”.
We tried a few of their quesadillas and they were all delicious. This one was filled with flor de calabaza (squash blossoms), Oaxaca cheese, and salsa verde (green salsa).
This quesadilla was filled with mushrooms, Oaxaca cheese, and salsa rojo (red salsa).
This one was filled with chorizo, Oaxaca cheese, and salsa verde.
As you can tell, we had a street food feast at Empanadas del Carmen. We tried all their offerings in one meal, including these memelas. Unlike the offerings at Memelas San Agustin, the memelas at Empanadas del Carmen are pretty basic – just refried beans, asiento (unrefined pork lard), salsa verde, and queso fresco.
Empanadas del Carmen is located in a busy part of downtown Oaxaca, about a block away from Santo Domingo Church. They’re open from 5-10PM daily and set up right next to a similarly named stall called Tacos del Carmen (#5).
As described, tlayudas are among the most popular street food dishes in Oaxaca. Depending on the restaurant or stall, tlayudas can be served folded in half (see below) or open-faced like an Italian pizza. You can enjoy them with some type of roasted meat, usually tasajo (thin dried beef), cecina (chili-crusted pork), or chorizo.
You can find tlayudas everywhere in Oaxaca. One of the best places to try it is at Tlayudas La Chinita, a popular roadside stall about a few blocks east of Mercado de Abastos. Like Empanadas del Carmen, it was one of the stalls featured on the Netflix series.
From what I can tell, the main difference between tlayudas served at different restaurants or stalls is in the texture of the tortilla. Some are thin and crispy while others are thicker and chewier, like a pizza. This one was somewhere in the middle. It was delicious.
Don’t let this picture fool you. I came shortly after they opened so it wasn’t that crowded yet, but Tlayudas La Chnita is popular. By the time I left, this alley was packed with both locals and tourists.
Thankfully, Tlayudas La Chnita is very organized. They keep track of customers by handing them a number as they arrive. That way no one gets their tlayuda out of turn. A tlayuda melee around hot coals would be dangerous.
Unlike the other tlayuda restaurants we visited, La Chinita offers two sizes – small and large. This was a small and more than enough for me so I assume the large is enough to feed 2-3 people. The radish comes standard but I got mine with an extra side of tasajo and chorizo. You can see the chorizo just barely peeking its head above the tlayuda in the picture below.
Unlike American-style pizzas where the toppings are evenly distributed, tlayuda vendors will give you the roasted meats on the side. Taking bites of the meat after bites of tlayuda is the perfect way to eat this dish. You can really taste the smokiness of the meat that way.
Tlayudas La Chinita is open from 8PM till midnight. They usually set up on this spot, at the corner of 20 de Noviembre and C. de Nuño del Mercado. But for some reason, they set up shop in an alley about a block away on Wednesdays. You can see a befuddled pair of tourists in the picture below. “But Google Maps says it’s supposed to be right here!”
If you decide to go to Tlayudas La Chinita on a Wednesday, then just walk west on C. de Nuño del Mercado after getting to this corner. You’ll see them set up in an alley on your left side (see the next picture).
This is the alley. Just look for the number 405 on the wall and the Tlayudas La Chinita stall will be right around the corner.
Tlayudas La Chinita
Address: Corner of 20 de Noviember and C. de Nuño del Mercado, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca, Mexico Operating Hours: 8PM-12MN, Mon-Sat (closed Sundays) What to Order: Tlayudas
4. Taqueria Chava
We absolutely loved this taqueria. Taqueria Chava is a humble roadside stall that serves some of the best street tacos in Oaxaca.
Taqueria Chava offers just two things on their menu – tacos and consommé. I don’t know if they make their tacos with different types of meat but on the two days we went, they were offering tacos de cabeza or tacos made with meat from the animal’s head.
Tacos de cabeza are among our favorite types of tacos. We’ve enjoyed them throughout Mexico, including Mexico City, and these were some of the best we’ve had. They’re delicious.
The tacos are delicious but you cannot miss their consommé either. It’s basically a cup of soup filled with the same meat they use in their tacos.
In our case, we got a cup of consommé overflowing with that soft and gelatinous head meat. You actually get more meat in the consommé which is why it’s more expensive than the tacos. It’s so damn good.
Taqueria Chava is located on the corner of C. de Los Libres and C. de Mariano Abasolo. We walked by their stall a few times and it would always be crowded with locals enjoying their tacos and consommé. Based on what I’ve read, they stay open only for as long as they have food so it’s best to go early if you can.
Address: C. de Mariano Abasolo 503B, RUTA INDEPENDENCIA, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca, Mexico Operating Hours: 10AM-5PM, Mon-Thurs / 9:30AM-8PM, Fri-Sat (closed Sundays) What to Order: Tacos, consommé
5. Tacos del Carmen
Tacos del Carmen is the street food stand that sets up right beside the similarly named Empanadas del Carmen (#2). They have similar offerings and are just as popular so you should try them as well.
Pictured below are a pair of memelas with Oaxacan cheese and a quesadilla filled with squash blossoms and quesillo.
As I said, Tacos del Carmen is just as popular as Empanadas del Carmen. Don’t worry about confusing the two because the former opens from 8AM till around 3:30PM while the latter doesn’t open until 5PM.
Tacos del Carmen
Address: Jesús Carranza 110, RUTA INDEPENDENCIA, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca, Mexico Operating Hours: 8AM-3:30PM, Mon-Tue, Thurs-Sat (closed Wednesdays and Sundays) What to Order: Tacos, quesadillas, memelas, tlayudas
6. Tacos de Cazuela del Carmen Alto
Tacos de guisado were among our favorite tacos in Mexico City but they don’t seem to be as common in Oaxaca. Thankfully, I found this street food stand – Tacos de Cazuela del Carmen Alto – a block away from Tacos del Carmen and Empanadas del Carmen.
As its name suggests, a taco de guisado is a variety of taco made with different types of stewed ingredients. The one on the right was filled with liver and vegetables while the other one was made with a stew of hard-boiled egg and other ingredients.
Tacos de Cazuela del Carmen Alto is located on a street corner exactly a block north of Tacos del Carmen and Empanadas del Carmen. Pay them a visit if you get a hankering for tacos de guisado in Oaxaca City.
Tacos de Cazuela del Carmen Alto
Address: C. de Quetzalcóatl 103, RUTA INDEPENDENCIA, La Paz, 68000 Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca, Mexico Operating Hours: 8AM-4PM, Mon-Tue, Thurs-Fri (closed Wed, Sat-Sun) What to Order: Tacos de guisado
7. El Lechoncito de Oro
El Lechoncito de Oro is arguably the most famous stall for tacos de lechon in Oaxaca City. A taco de lechon is a type of taco made with roasted suckling pig.
At Lechoncito de Oro, you can get it in tacos, tostadas, or tortas with the addition of either pork leg meat (pierna) or chicharron. Personally, we’re fans of pork rinds so we always get them with chicharron.
El Lechoncito de Oro is open from 8PM till 3AM, making it a great place to get street tacos after a night of mezcal drinking in Oaxaca City.
This stand is popular. There was already a line of people waiting for their lechon tacos even before they formally opened.
El Lechoncito de Oro
Address: C. de Los Libres s/n, RUTA INDEPENDENCIA, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca, Mexico Operating Hours: 8PM-3AM, Mon-Sat (closed Sundays) What to Order: Tacos de lechon
Street Food Restaurants
I enjoy eating street food from roadside stalls but you can have street food in Oaxaca at humble restaurants as well. Here are some of our favorite restaurants for Oaxaca street food.
8. Tlayudas El Negro
Tlayudas El Negro was one of my favorite tlayuda restaurants in Oaxaca. Aside from the usual offerings, they have interesting variations like tlayudas topped with mole negro (enmolada) and chapulines (grasshoppers).
I was excited to try the enmolada but unfortunately, they were out of it that day. I went with a regular tlayuda topped with a side of chorizo instead. It was delicious but if you go to Tlayudas El Negro and enmolada is available, then I suggest trying that. We went to several tlayuda restaurants and this was the only place that had it.
If you’re used to eating American-style pizzas, then you may be tempted to chop up the chorizo and evenly distribute it on the tlayuda. Resist the urge. The meats wind up losing flavor if you do.
Instead, take bites out of the chorizo or whatever meat you ordered it with after each bite of tlayuda. You’ll appreciate the smokiness and flavor of the meats much more that way. I learned that here.
Most tlayuda restaurants in Oaxaca City open only at night or later in the afternoon. I think tlayuda is something Oaxaqueños enjoying eating with a round of beers or other drinks. The dining space of Tlayudas El Negro seems to suggest that as well. There’s a stage for live bands or musicians to perform.
Another thing I liked about Tlayudas El Negro is its location. It’s located in a more residential part of Oaxaca, about a 15-minute walk east of the zocalo (main square). It has a largely local clientele, which speaks to the quality and authenticity of their tlayudas.
NOTE: Google Maps says that Tlayudas El Negro is open from 12NN-12MN. I don’t think this is correct because I tried going there a little after noon one day to find it closed. It’s a bit of a walk from the zocalo so I suggest going later in the day to be safe.
Tlayudas El Negro
Address: Vicente Guerrero 1029, Zona Feb 10 2015, Obrera, 68115 Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca, Mexico Operating Hours: 12NN-12MN, daily What to Order: Tlayudas
9. Las Tlayudas Antojeria Oaxaqueña
Las Tlayudas Antojeria Oaxaqueña is another great tlayuda restaurant in Oaxaca. It was already on our list and our Airbnb host recommended it as well. It’s located in Barrio de Jalatlaco, one of the coolest neighborhoods in Oaxaca.
Like Tlayudas El Negro, Las Tlayudas Antojeria Oaxaqueña offers more interesting tlayuda toppings like chapulines and tripas (small intestines). We got ours with a combination of two meats, which they chopped up and evenly distributed on the tlayuda. This was the only tlayuda restaurant we went to that did that.
Many restaurants will serve your tlayuda with a side of chepiche. It’s a Mexican herb that tastes similar to fresh coriander.
Check out all those delicious strands of quesillo or Oaxaca cheese. Oaxaca cheese is a delicious mozzarella-like string cheese commonly used in many Oaxacan dishes. It’s popular outside of the state as well. In Puebla, it’s a key ingredient in cemitas.
Las Tlayudas Antojeria Oaxaqueña offers other dishes like tacos, tostadas, and pozole as well. Pictured below is a tostada topped with Oaxaca cheese, avocado, and tomato. A tostada is basically a crunchy deep-fried corn tortilla served with a variety of toppings.
Here’s a tostada topped with one of the more interesting ingredients in Oaxaca – chapulines or grasshoppers. Chapulines have been consumed in the region since pre-Hispanic times and can be used in many dishes like tlayudas, tostadas, and tacos. It can even be used to flavor nieves or Mexican ice cream!
A closer look at the chapulines. You can find them in two basic sizes in Oaxaca – small (like below) or large. We’d sometimes get bags of the larger chapulines from markets and bring them with us to mezcal tastings. The saltiness and crunch from the chapulines go so well with the smokiness of the mezcal.
Las Tlayudas Antojeria Oaxaqueña is a colorful and spacious restaurant in Barrio de Jalatlaco. They open from 1PM till 1AM daily.
Las Tlayudas Antojeria Oaxaqueña
Address: Calle de Lic Primo Verdad 119D, Hacienda, 68080 Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca, Mexico Operating Hours: 1PM-1AM, daily What to Order: Tlayudas, tostadas
10. Tacos Roy
Located just a block away from Taqueria Chava is Tacos Roy, another great taco restaurant in Oaxaca. This place was highly recommended to us by two locals and they weren’t wrong. The tacos here are phenomenal.
Unlike Taqueria Chava that has a highly focused menu, Tacos Roy has plenty of offerings. They have tacos a la plancha, tacos al vapor, tortas, pozole rojo, and other typical taqueria dishes like alambres, volcanes, and quesadillas.
Pictured below is a pair of Mexico’s most iconic taco – tacos al pastor. If you’ve never had it, it’s a type of taco made from grilled marinated pork shaved off a vertical spit.
Tacos Roy’s tacos a la plancha are delicious but what we really fell in love with are their tacos al vapor. Also known as tacos de canasta (basket tacos) or tacos sudados (sweaty tacos), tacos al vapor are filled with a variety of stews and then bathed in oil or melted butter. They’re commonly known as basket tacos because they’re sold from baskets covered with cloth to keep them warm.
We’ve enjoyed tacos al vapor throughout Mexico but the offerings at Tacos Roy are different. They aren’t as wet as the usual basket tacos and they’re rolled like small enchiladas. You can get them with different types of meat like carnitas (shredded pork), oreja (ear), corazon (heart), and sesos (brains).
If you’re a fan of texture like I am, then be sure to try the oreja. Soft and crunchy from bits of cartilage, it’s so incredibly delicious. We love tacos, especially tacos made from parts of the head, but this was the only time we saw tacos made with pork ear.
Be sure to try a bowl of their pozole rojo as well. Pozole refers to a Mexican dish made from hominy, shredded cabbage, radish, onion, garlic, chili, and some type of meat. You can get it in white, red, or green versions, the color coming from the type of ingredients used. Pozole rojo is made from different kinds of red chili pepper so it’s usually the spiciest of the three.
Tacos Roy specializes in red pozole served with either pork, beef, or chicken. I’ve had pozole in other parts of Mexico and this was the best I’ve tried so far.
Tacos Roy has several branches in Oaxaca City, two of which are located in the centro area.
Address: Calle de José María Pino Suárez 313, RUTA INDEPENDENCIA, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca, Mexico Operating Hours: 12:30PM-1AM, Sun-Fri / 2PM-1AM, Sat What to Order: Tacos, pozole rojo
11. El Embrujo
Like Tacos Roy, El Embrujo was one of our favorite Oaxaca street food restaurants. They serve Mexican breakfast dishes, memelas, and quesadillas but for us, the best things on their menu are their tacos and consomme. You can get them with various ingredients but our hands down favorite was the ojo or beef eye.
Pictured below is a bowl of their consomme especial with hefty chunks of ojo. My god was this delicious.
We tried different fillings but their tacos de ojo are the best.
We were chatting with the bartender of a mezcaleria one night and we told him about El Embrujo. As popular as this place is with locals, he didn’t know there was a restaurant in Oaxaca City that served ojo! He thanked us for the tip and said he’d be visiting them soon.
Pictured below is a memela topped with ojo. It was delicious though it perhaps contained a little too much ojo meat, which is a good problem. They have the same “problem” with their ojo quesadillas.
El Embrujo serves a few desserts as well, like this flan de vaso…
…and this pay de queso or Mexican cheesecake. Both were very good.
You can’t tell from this picture but El Embrujo is hugely popular with locals. Located near Mercado de la Merced, it’s a big restaurant but it was always packed with Mexican customers.
Address: Mártires de Tacubaya 218, RUTA INDEPENDENCIA, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca, Mexico Operating Hours: 8AM-6PM, daily What to Order: Tacos, consommé
12. Tacos de Lechon Oaxaca Panteón General
As their mouthful of a name suggests, Tacos de Lechon Oaxaca Panteón General specializes in tacos de lechon. They have the same offerings as the more famous Lechoncito de Oro but in our opinion, they’re even better.
You can get two variations of the same dish – tacos de lechon and tacos de lechon with chicharron (pork skin). Definitely get the latter. The chicharron adds another layer of flavor and texture to the dish. It’s so good.
Tacos de Lechon Oaxaca Panteón General is located in a less touristy part of Barrio de Jalatlaco. I believe its name is just “Tacos de Lechon” but Google Maps adds the second part due to its proximity to the Panteón General cemetery.
Tacos de Lechon Oaxaca Panteón General
Address: C. Del Refugio #154, Barrio de Jalatlaco, 68080 Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca, Mexico Operating Hours: 5:30-11PM, Mon-Sat (closed Sundays) What to Order: Tacos de lechon
13. El Torito
El Torito is another great taco stand that not as many tourists get to try because of its location. They serve a few types of tacos but we always get just one thing – tacos de tripa or tacos topped with small intestines.
Tripa has a soft and chewy texture similar to squid rings. These tacos de tripa at El Torito are absolutely delicious and one of our favorite tacos in Oaxaca City.
Open only at night, El Torito is a hole-in-the-wall with just a few tables so we’d always get our tacos de tripa to go.
Address: FERROCARRIL, Victor Bravo Ahuja Sur, 71244 Santa Lucía del Camino, Oaxaca, Mexico Operating Hours: 6:30-11:30PM, Mon-Tue / 6:30PM-12MN, Wed-Sun What to Order: Tacos de tripa
14. Los Sombrerudos
As much as we love tlayudas and memelas, nothing beats street tacos. For us, it’s the ultimate Mexican comfort food and street dish.
Los Sombrerudos is another great taqueria in Oaxaca City. They serve the usual taqueria offerings like tacos, quesadillas, tostadas, and volcanes topped with arrachera (skirt steak), costilla (pork ribs), carnitas, chorizo, or campechanos.
Pictured below is my beautiful platter of taquesos campechanos or tacos made with a mixture of different meats plus cheese. This was pure taco bliss.
More taco deliciousness from Los Sombrerudos. What you’re looking at here is a trio of regular tacos (no cheese) filled with arrachera, costilla, and chorizo. ¡Que rico!
This tasty dish is what Los Sombrerudos calls a super gringa. It’s basically a big quesadilla filled with the meat of your choice, two cheeses, cilantro, and onions.
Los Sombrerudos is located in the Barrio de Jalatlaco area, not too far from Mercado de La Merced. It’s in a more local part of town so I don’t think you’ll find too many tourists there, which is always a good thing.
Address: Avenida Universidad 112, Universidad, Trinidad de las Huertas, 68120 Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca, Mexico Operating Hours: 9AM-9PM, daily What to Order: Tacos
15. El Posito
El Posito was another restaurant featured on the Street Food Latin America series. They serve just two things – piedrazos and aguas frescas.
Meaning “stone” in Spanish, piedrazo is an interesting snack made with dehydrated bread soaked in fruit vinegar and served with carrots, potatoes, onions, Oaxacan cheese, chili powder, and salsa. It’s a highly acidic and spicy dish that gets its name from the bread that’s as hard as rocks before they’re soaked in vinegar.
Piedrazos may be too acidic for some people but pair the bread with some Oaxaca cheese and it all comes together beautifully. The creaminess from the cheese goes so well with the acidity of the vinegar.
Aguas frescas are a family of non-alcoholic Mexican drinks made from different types of fruits, flowers, cereals, and seeds blended with water and sugar. Meaning “fresh waters”, they’re available throughout Mexico but according to the owner of El Posito, two are traditional to Oaxaca – agua de chilacayota and agua de horchata con tuna.
Pictured below is agua de chilacayota. It’s an incredibly refreshing drink made with fig leaf gourd, cinnamon, piloncillo (unrefined whole cane sugar), and water. The molasses-like sweetness of the agua de chilacayota is another component that adds to the experience of eating piedrazos. They go so well together.
El Posito is a small restaurant located southeast of downtown Oaxaca. It’s about a 15-minute walk from the zocalo but definitely worth the effort.
Address: Calz. Cuauhtémoc 112-201, Trinidad de las Huertas, 68120 Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca, Mexico Operating Hours: 9:30AM-5:30PM, Mon-Sat (closed Sundays) What to Order: Piedrazos, aguas frescas
Markets / Fondas
There are a lot of great fine dining restaurants in Oaxaca. Casa Oaxaca and Alfonsina come foremost to mind.
Mexican gastronomy is always interesting but you don’t need to go to a fine dining restaurant to get great food in Oaxaca. More often than not, the tastiest dishes are prepared by abuelas (grandmothers) at market fondas (family-owned eateries) for a fraction of the price.
If you want traditional food and classic Mexican dishes like mole negro, tlayudas, enmoladas, and memelas, then look no further than your humble Oaxacan mercado. Not only are they convenient hubs for cheap eats and street food in Oaxaca, but they’re also home to some of the city’s best and most authentic regional dishes.
CENTRAL DE ABASTOS
Central de Abastos or Mercado de Abastos is by far the largest market in Oaxaca. Most of the ingredients used for all the delicious food in this city probably come from this market.
Central de Abastos is a chaotic labyrinth of fruits, vegetables, meat, baked goods, household items, clothing, accessories, souvenirs, and furniture. If you can’t find something at Mercado de Abastos, then you probably can’t get it in Oaxaca.
I almost didn’t go to this market because every local I met advised us to avoid it altogether. Central de Abastos has a reputation for being unsafe and a haven for pickpockets. However, it’s also where you’ll find Doña Vale and her now world-famous memelas. If her name rings a bell, it’s because she was the main storyline in the Oaxaca episode of Street Food Latin America.
I had to go.
16. Memelas Doña Vale
Like every installment in that Netflix series, I loved Doña Vale’s story. Every episode features a story of triumph and hers was no less inspiring than the others. It was great to see her stall thriving.
Open from 7AM till noon, people say that it’s best to go to her stall before 9AM to avoid the crowd. I arrived shortly after 8AM and there was one spot left on her bench that could seat a maximum of about eight people. All she serves are memelas topped with the best-tasting sauces you’ll find in Oaxaca.
Here’s a trio of Doña Vale’s memelas topped with fried eggs. I believe she offers 2-3 different types of sauces but I asked for her classic signature sauce.
Unlike the other memelas in town which top theirs with refried beans and asiento, Doña Vale makes hers with her own blend of sauces. I don’t know exactly what’s in it but her classic sauce looks and tastes different from the other memela stalls. They’re more like actual sauces rather than just a simple bean paste.
I loved the fried eggs on mine but Doña Vale’s memelas are delicious on their own and don’t really need anything else. I wolfed mine down with a pot of Oaxacan coffee.
The kind gentleman sitting next to me was topping his memelas with some type of local green bean. I can’t remember the name but he told me that they’re native to Oaxaca.
He kept referring to me as paisano (countryman) and offered me as many pods as I could eat. Chewy and delicious, they reminded me of stink beans but smaller and without the smell. ¡Muchisimas gracias señor!
This is what Doña Vale’s stall looked like a little after 9AM. They’re mostly cropped off but you can sort of see the people on the left waiting for a spot on the bench.
People were right. You do need to be here before 9AM if you want to be seated right away. I suggest arriving even earlier, before 8AM if you can.
There are two general parts to Central de Abastos – a tented area with outdoor stalls and the covered market itself. Doña Vale’s stall is located inside the covered market. The pin on Google Maps gets you in the general area so just keep your eyes peeled for signs (like the one below) that point you to its exact location.
After my Doña Vale experience, I can say that it’s definitely worth the experience. Yes, Central de Abastos is chaotic, much more chaotic than any other market in Oaxaca. But it’s no different from any of the large wet markets in Southeast Asia. If you’ve been to any of those, then this is nothing new.
I felt completely safe when I was there. Just dress modestly and keep your valuables secure (like your phone) and you should be ok. Doña Vale’s stall is located at the south end of the market so it’s best to enter from there. These memelas are too good to pass up out of fear.
Memelas Doña Vale
Address: Cosijoeza, Central de Abasto, 68090 Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca, Mexico Operating Hours: 7AM-12NN, Mon-Sat (closed Sundays) What to Order: Memelas
MERCADO 20 DE NOVIEMBRE
Not too far from Central de Abastos is Mercado 20 de Noviembre, perhaps the most famous market in Oaxaca. It’s home to many fondas, bakeries, and pasillo de humo – a popular alley lined on either side with stalls roasting different types of meat or carnes asadas.
17. Pasillo de Carnes Asadas (Pasillo de Humo)
Pasillo de humo or pasillo de carnes asadas is a meat lover’s dream come true in Oaxaca. It consists of a long alleyway with dozens of roasted meat vendors on either side. If you’re a true-blooded carnivore, then you need to enjoy a meal here.
If you arrive at peak times, like around noon, then you’ll be hounded by touts trying to attract you to their stall. Just ignore them and keep walking down the hallway. Every stall pretty much sells the same things so feel free to pick the stall that offers the best deal, though the price difference between stalls shouldn’t be that significant.
Every stall at pasillo de humo will have tasajo, cecina, chorizo, and tripa. Some stalls may offer other types of meat as well, but most if not all will have those four basic meats. They’re priced by weight so feel free to choose the right amount for the number of people in your group.
Many stalls will offer packages which is probably what you’ll want. For reference, a package of 1/4 kg (0.55 lbs) each of tasajo, cecina, and chorizo (3/4 kg or 1.65 lbs of meat total) was a good enough amount for two people. We enjoyed it with tortillas, a few side dishes, and salsa.
Here’s the grill master roasting up our meats. The alley is constantly filled with smoke from the grilling meats hence the name pasillo de humo or “hall of smoke”.
This is what 3/4 kg of perfectly grilled meat looks like. At the top is tasajo and at the bottom is cecina enchilada or cecina for short. Now this is real Mexican food!
We ate at pasillo de humo twice. On our second trip, we asked that the tasajo be replaced with tripa. The tripa is incredibly tasty but it’s also gummy and hard to chew so it may not be for everyone.
Our roasted meat feast with tortillas, roasted green onions, lime juice, and salsa rojo. ¡Buen provecho! Oaxaca cuisine is the best.
Mix the meats up on your tortilla with the salsa and sides and voila! Your very own DIY taco campechano. I just love the smokiness of all the meats. ¡Que rico!
Pasillo de Carnes Asadas (Pasillo de Humo)
Address: 68000, Miguel Cabrera 116, Centro, Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca, Mexico Operating Hours: 10AM-5PM, daily What to Order: Carnes asadas
18. Comedor Chabelita
Comedor Chabelita is a typical Oaxacan fonda located inside Mercado 20 de Noviembre. They serve many traditional Oaxacan and Mexican dishes like enmoladas, mole negro, mole coloradito, and chiles rellenos (stuffed peppers). We heard they make a mean tlayuda so that’s exactly what we came for.
Of all the tlayudas we tried in Oaxaca, Comedor Chabelita’s version had the most unique texture. As you can see below, it wasn’t folded in half like the others. It was served open-faced because the tortilla was thinner and crispier than the others, like a large tostada.
They offer different combinations for their tlayuda but we got the especial which was topped with Oaxacan cheese, tasajo, cecina, and chorizo. It was delicious and the most unique texturally from all the tlayudas we tried in Oaxaca.
I don’t recall what this dish was called but it’s basically a sampler of Oaxaca food favorites like mole, cecina, Oaxacan cheese, and more. Get this if you want a little bit of everything.
Comedor Chabelita is one of the busiest stalls at Mercado 20 de Noviembre. Like hawker centers in Singapore, always look for the fondas with the most locals.
Address: Mercado 20 de Noviembre, 20 de Noviembre S/N Locales 97,98 y 99, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca, Mexico Operating Hours: 7AM-9PM, daily What to Order: Breakfast dishes, tlayuda, mole, tamales
MERCADO DE BENITEZ JUAREZ
Mercado de Benito Juarez is located across the street from Mercado 20 de Noviembre. It was perhaps the cleanest and most organized market we visited in Oaxaca.
19. Agua Casildas Regionales
We didn’t go to any fondas at Mercado de Benito Juarez but we did get a drink at this famous aguas frescas stall called Agua Casildas Regionales. They’ve been serving different types of aguas frescas at the market since 1926.
Agua Casildas Regionales serves many different flavors of aguas frescas like guanabana (soursop), tamarindo (tamarind), jamaica (hibiscus flower), and pepino con limón (cucumber with lemon).
I asked the server for recommendations and she suggested I get the agua de horchata con tuna. It’s the house specialty and one of the most traditional in Oaxaca.
No, agua de horchata con tuna isn’t made with tuna fish. Tuna refers to the sweet fruit of the prickly pear cactus (atún is the word for tuna in Spanish).
A serving of the housemade horchata – made from rice, almonds, cinnamon, and water – is poured into a glass followed by red prickly pear syrup, a few chunks of cantaloupe, and crushed pecans. Like agua de chilacayota, it’s refreshing and delicious.
Agua Casildas Regionales
Address: Flores Magón s/n, Local 30-31, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca, Mexico Operating Hours: 10:30AM-6:30PM, Mon-Sat / 10:30AM-4PM, Sun What to Order: Aguas frescas
MERCADO DE LA MERCED
Mercado de La Merced was in our hood so we spent the most time at this small but interesting market. It’s located just south of Barrio de Jalatlaco.
20. Fonda Florecita
Fonda Florecita was our favorite fonda in Oaxaca. It’s a popular breakfast spot that serves typical fonda fare like mole, enmoladas, entomatadas, and chilaquiles.
If we didn’t need to cover as many places as we could for this blog, then we would have been happy eating at Fonda Florecita everyday. Like the best fondas in Oaxaca, the food is simple but exceedingly delicious.
Mole coloradito is one of the seven famous Oaxacan moles. Mole negro may be the most famous but mole coloradito may have been my favorite.
Like any mole, mole coloradito is made with a plethora of ingredients like ancho and guajillo chili peppers, chocolate, tomatoes, garlic, sesame seeds, raisins, almonds, herbs, and spices. It tastes similar to mole negro but a little less rich and sweet.
Mole coloradito is typically served with a piece of chicken, rice, and corn tortillas. I could seriously eat this every day.
Pictured below is a popular breakfast dish known as enmoladas. Enmoladas are basically enchiladas drenched in mole negro. This one was topped with fried eggs and queso fresco.
You can find enmoladas at nearly every fonda in Oaxaca. Moles in general are time-consuming to make but mole negro is the most complex of the seven famous Oaxacan moles. It’s an incredibly rich-tasting mole that can be made with over thirty different ingredients.
Fonda Florecita makes delicious memelas too. The one in the foreground was topped with huitlacoche and Oaxacan cheese. Huitlacoche is the Mexican term for corn smut, a mushroom-like fungus that grows on corn. It’s an interesting ingredient that’s often used in Mexican cuisine.
This memela was topped with Oaxacan cheese and squash blossoms.
Address: Calle Morelos Mercado La Merced Int 37 Zona del Pan, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca, Mexico Operating Hours: 8AM-6PM, Wed-Mon (closed Tuesdays) What to Order: Mole, enmoladas, entomatadas, chilaquiles
21. Fonda Rosita
Fonda Rosita and Fonda Florecita are the two most popular fondas at Mercado de La Merced. And with good reason because they’re the best. We tried a couple of other fondas at the market and they weren’t as good as these two.
Fonda Rosita has a slightly wider menu than Fonda Florecita. They serve antojitos like tacos, memelas, tostadas, and tlayudas, but what they’re best known for are their desayunos or breakfast dishes.
What you’re looking at here is a hearty plate of entomatadas topped with queso fresco and served with a side of chorizo. Entomatadas are similar to enmoladas, except they’re topped with tomato sauce.
Another common breakfast dish you’ll typically find at Oaxacan fondas is enfrijoladas. They’re basically enchiladas topped with black bean sauce.
Like enmoladas, entomatadas, and enfrijoladas, chilaquiles is another exceedingly popular Mexican breakfast dish. It isn’t unique to Oaxaca and is something you’ll probably find at any Mexican fonda or restaurant that serves breakfast.
Chilaquiles refers to a traditional Mexican breakfast dish made lightly fried corn tortillas mixed with red or green salsa and other ingredients like queso fresco, crema (cream), onions, and avocados. This particular version was doused in salsa rojo and served with a side of chorizo.
Many fondas and breakfast spots in Oaxaca will serve hot bowls of chocolate Oaxaqueño. Chocolate has been an important ingredient and commodity in the region for thousands of years. It’s consumed daily and plays an important part in many rituals and celebrations like births, weddings, and funerals.
Hot chocolate in Oaxaca can be served with water (de agua) or milk (de leche). Drinking it with water is more traditional but personally, I prefer it with milk. It’s richer and creamier in flavor.
PRO TIP: Try asking for your hot chocolate served with a touch of chili. It adds just a hint of spice to your drink so you feel a slight burn in your throat each time you take a sip. It’s delicious.
If you order chocolate Oaxaqueño over breakfast, then chances are they’ll serve it with a roll of pan de yema or Oaxacan brioche bread. This slightly sweet bread is perfect for dipping in the hot chocolate.
Address: Av. José María Morelos 1522A, RUTA INDEPENDENCIA, Centro, 68000 Ejido del Centro, Oaxaca, Mexico Operating Hours: 8AM-6PM, daily What to Order: Entomatadas, chilaquiles, enfrijoladas, antojitos
Tamales are a pre-Hispanic dish that’s popular throughout Latin America. In Oaxaca, you can find several variations of tamales but the most well-known is enriched with mole negro and wrapped in banana leaves instead of the usual corn husk.
You can find tamales Oaxaqueños everywhere in the city. At Mercado de La Merced, one of the best places to try it is at the Lety tamales stall. They offer different types of tamales – both savory and sweet – but if it’s your first time in Oaxaca, then you should start with the version made with mole negro.
Tamales Oaxaqueños are traditionally made with masa, shredded chicken, and mole negro. I’m not the biggest fan of tamales but this may have been the best I’ve ever tasted. It tasted richer, sweeter, and with more depth of flavor.
Tamales Oaxaqueños are also moister than regular tamales, perhaps due to being wrapped in banana leaves rather than the usual corn husk.
Address: Mercado de la Merced, Av. Morelos 1522 Col. Centro 68000 Oaxaca Mexico What to Order: Tamales Oaxaqueños
MERCADO SANCHEZ PASCUAS
Perhaps due to its location in the northern part of downtown Oaxaca, Mercado Sanchez Pascuas isn’t as well-known as the other markets on this list, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. That usually means fewer tourists and a more authentic local experience.
23. Comedor Doña Deme (Fonda Oaxaqueña)
Mercado Sanchez Pascuas was actually the first market we visited in Oaxaca so Comedor Doña Deme was our first fonda experience. We visited in early March but as you can see from their decor, it’s still February 14 at this fonda. Ha!
Comedor Doña Deme serves the usual fonda offerings like mole negro, mole coloradito, chiles rellenos, and tlayudas.
I wanted my first taste of mole in Oaxaca to be mole negro so that’s exactly what I ordered. Like mole coloradito, it’s served with a piece of chicken, rice, and a basket of corn tortillas.
The mole negro was incredibly rich and complex but this may have been the single best piece of chicken I’ve eaten in my life. It was so unbelievably tender.
Mole negro is delicious and one of those dishes that makes you wide-eyed when you first taste it, but like mole poblano, I find it a little too rich to eat regularly. I think Oaxaqueños may feel the same way as every other local at the fonda was eating mole coloradito.
We also tried their chile relleno. Originally from Puebla, it consists of roasted poblano peppers stuffed with minced meat – usually chicken or pork – and Oaxacan cheese. The stuffed pepper is coated in egg before being deep-fried.
At Comedor Doña Deme, they serve their chile relleno with salsa and a side of black beans and rice. It’s a simple but comforting dish that reminded us of tortang talong, a similar Filipino dish made with pan-fried stuffed eggplant.
We haven’t tried it but some Oaxaca restaurants serve tacos de chile relleno as well. It sounds delicious so we’ll definitely look for it on our next trip back to Oaxaca.
Comedor Doña Deme (Fonda Oaxaqueña)
Address: Mercado Sanchez Pascuas, Calle Porfirio Díaz, Calle de Tinoco y Palacios 719, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca, Mexico What to Order: Mole, chile relleno
MERCADO ORGANICO LA COSECHA OAXACA
Mercado Organizo La Cosecha Oaxaca, or “La Cosecha” for short, isn’t a true Mexican market. Located in the northern part of central Oaxaca, not too far from Mercado Sanchez Pascuas, it’s more of an open-air food hall with a few stalls selling traditional Oaxacan dishes like memelas, tlayudas, tamales, and empanadas.
La Cosecha is frequented mostly by tourists so we weren’t sure how authentic their food would be. We didn’t eat here but we did come for a traditional drink that we knew we couldn’t find anywhere else in Oaxaca – pozontle.
La Cosecha is comprised of about ten or so stalls selling traditional Mexican food. It’s a pleasant al fresco space with wooden picnic tables and benches sheltered from the heat by tents.
24. La Pozontleria / Tejateria
These are actually two separate stalls right next to each other. One specializes in pozontle while the other serves tejate. Both are traditional pre-Hispanic drinks made with corn and cacao.
As described, we were here to try the pozontle. La Pozontleria is one of the few, if not the only place in central Oaxaca to try pozontle, a ceremonial drink from the Sierra Norte region of Oaxaca. It’s made with cacao, corn, panela, cocolmecatl (soured vine), and water prepared in a jícara (gourd bowl) and made frothy using a molinillo.
We had dinner with a local Oaxaqueño at Restaurante Catedral one night and he was surprised to learn that we had tried pozontle. According to him, it’s a very uncommon drink and something that you can typically find only in mountain communities. That made us feel even more privileged to try it!
If you like experiencing rare traditional dishes and drinks, then you need to try a bowl of pozontle at La Pozontleria.
I didn’t catch the stall’s name but right next to La Pozontleria is another stall selling tejate. Tejate is a traditional Mexican drink similar to pozontle except it’s much more common and can be found pretty much anywhere in Oaxaca.
Tejate is made with a finely ground paste consisting of toasted corn, fermented cacao beans, toasted mamey pits (pixtle), and flor de cacao. The paste is mixed with water and served with or without sugar syrup in brightly painted jícara bowls.
The white foamy substance you see floating on top is the flor de cacao. After the paste is mixed with water, it rises to the top to form a thick pasty foam.
La Pozontleria / Tejateria at La Cosecha
Address: Mercado Organico a La Cosecha, C. Macedonio Alcalá 806, RUTA INDEPENDENCIA, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca, Mexico Operating Hours: 9AM-4:45PM, Wed-Sun (closed Mon-Tue) What to Order: Pozontle, tejate
BASILICA DE NUESTRA SEÑORA DE LA SOLEDAD
This isn’t a market but right next to Basilica de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad is a cluster of neverias and Mexican dessert shops. At one of these ice cream shops, we tried what could very well be the oddest ice cream flavor we’ve ever had in our lives.
25. Nieves Pepe
Nieves refers to a type of water-based Mexican ice cream made mostly with fruits like fresa (strawberry), guanabana (soursop), tamarindo, and mango. Those are the basics but some shops will sell more interesting local flavors like mezcal, tuna (prickly pear fruit), and elote (corn).
I don’t think you’ll find a flavor more interesting than the one we had at Nieves Pepe. Keep scrolling to find out what it is.
We walked to this cluster of neverias to look for a very specific flavor of nieves. At the time, only Nieves Pepe had it. When you walk up to the courtyard from Av. de la Independencia, Nieves Pepe is the shop on the far left corner, right by the steps to Plaza de la Danza.
I posted this picture on our Instagram Stories and asked people to guess the flavor. Some said tamarindo, others said brown sugar. No one guessed it correctly.
What you’re looking at is a large parfait glass of nieves de chapulin, or nieves ice cream flavored with grasshoppers. Before it was served to us, I was expecting to find nieves topped with whole grasshoppers but that wasn’t the case. The chapulines are ground and fully blended into the ice cream!
You can’t see the grasshoppers but you can definitely taste them. This exotic and very Oaxacan flavor of ice cream is a strange combination of sweet, savory, sour, and spicy. It’s odd but it works!
For people looking for less daring but equally interesting flavors, we suggest trying beso de Oaxaqueño. It’s a creamy concoction made with strawberry, cherry, and white chocolate. Beso de Oaxaqueño is a popular flavor combination that’s often made into mezcal liqueur as well.
Address: Frente ala Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad, Independencia, La Soledad, Oaxaca, Mexico What to Order: Nieves de chapulin
To help you navigate to these street food stalls in Oaxaca, I’ve pinned them all on the map below. Click on the link for a live version of the map.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE BEST STREET FOOD IN OAXACA CITY
We’ve eaten our way through many cities in Mexico and Oaxaca is definitely one of the best food cities in the country. From fine dining Mexican restaurants to market fondas, cafes, and street food stalls, the food in Oaxaca will make even the most jaded of Traveleaters take notice.
As described, there are many fine dining restaurants in Oaxaca City but you really don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a good meal. This guide to the best street food in Oaxaca is proof of that.
In any case, I hope you enjoyed reading this Oaxaca food guide as much as I enjoyed writing (and doing field research for) it. At the very least, I hope it leads you to many amazing street food meals in what could very well be the most delicious city in Mexico.
Some of the links in this article on the best Oaxaca street foods are affiliate links, meaning we’ll earn a small commission if you make a booking at no extra cost to you. We really appreciate your support as it helps us make more of these free travel and food guides. ¡Muchisimas gracias!
On our first trip to Oaxaca City, we did as many mezcal tastings as our livers would permit to find the top mezcalerias in Oaxaca. Like anyone who enjoys a good stiff drink, we enjoyed hopping from one mezcal bar to the next, but it wasn’t enough.
Mezcal has become my favorite spirit so I wanted to learn more. I wanted to visit a mezcal distillery and the best way to do that in Oaxaca was to join a mezcal tour.
Many mezcal tours are actually sightseeing tours that make a stop at just one mezcal distillery. Thankfully, I found this one that took us to three mezcal distilleries and nowhere else.
If you enjoy Oaxacan mezcal as much as I do and would like to learn more about the mezcal making process, then you’ll probably want to book this tour.
Save This on Pinterest!
No time to read about this mezcal tour in Oaxaca? Click on the save button and pin it for later!
WHAT IS MEZCAL?
I cover this in our mezcaleria guide so I won’t get into it in too much detail here, but mezcal is a distilled beverage produced from the maguey (agave) plant.
Known for its smoky flavor, the state of Oaxaca accounts for over 70% of the total mezcal production in Mexico. To say that this agave spirit is an important part of Oaxacan culture and its economy would be an understatement.
If you’d like to learn more about mezcal – how it differs from tequila, its different types, where to go for mezcal tasting in Oaxaca City, etc – then be sure to check out our guide to the top mezcalerias in Oaxaca.
WHY SHOULD YOU JOIN A MEZCAL TOUR?
We learned a lot by doing mezcal tastings in Oaxaca. The bartenders in Oaxaca City are knowledgeable and many speak fluent English so understanding them was easy. They’ll give you a crash course on the different types of agave and mezcal and how to properly enjoy it, but that’s about all they can show you.
If you really want to learn about the mezcal making process and see it for yourself, then it’s best to go on mezcal educational tours. Personally, I wanted to visit as many mezcal distilleries as I could so I could see the process of making mezcal from up close.
I’ll give you an account of the tour we went on (which was awesome), but you can refer to the list below for some of the best mezcal tours in Oaxaca.
MEZCAL TOURS IN OAXACA
Listed below are the top Oaxaca mezcal tours I could find on Get Your Guide. As previously described, the majority of tours are sightseeing tours that stop at one or two mezcal distilleries. If that’s what you want, then you’ll have several to choose from.
I wanted a mezcal distillery tour that was focused only on the agave spirit and nothing else so I booked the Mezcal Adventure tour. As you can see from the prices below, it’s the most expensive tour on this list but in my opinion, it’s absolutely worth it. You can click on the links for more information about each tour.
Name of Tour
1. Mezcal Adventure
2. Mezcal Tasting Session With an Expert
3. Mixology Workshop With Organic Mezcal
4. El Tule, Mitla, and Hierve el Agua Tour With Mezcal
5. Hierve el Agua Waterfalls and Mezcal Tasting
6. Oaxaca, Mitla, and Mezcal Factory Tour
7. El Tule, Teotitlan Village, and Mezcal Tour
8. Full-Day Tour Hierve el Agua Falls and Mezcal Tasting
OAXACA: MEZCAL ADVENTURE
Before we get into it, let’s answer a few general questions some of you may have about this Mezcal Adventure tour.
Is There Mezcal Tasting on This Tour?
Yes, absolutely! They didn’t give us just a few sips either. They gave us enough to make us happy, especially at the first distillery, which is part of the reason why I think this is the best Oaxaca mezcal tour you can book on Get Your Guide.
How Many Mezcal Distilleries Will I Visit on This Tour?
Three. You’ll visit three distilleries of varying sizes.
How Long is This Mezcal Tour and How Much Does it Cost?
At the time of this writing, the Mezcal Adventure tour costs USD 90.23 per person. Our tour lasted a little over 7 hours.
FIRST STOP: Fábrica de Mezcal Mal de Amor
After being picked up from our Airbnb, our tour guide told us we’d be visiting three distilleries of varying sizes. The first would be a large factory, followed by a medium-sized distillery, and then a small family-run operation known for their artisanal mezcal. We enjoyed them all but this first distillery in Santiago Matatlán – Fabrica de Mezcal Mal de Amor – was our hands-down favorite.
In the picture below, you can see the word “palenque” in front of the distillery’s name. Palenque is the name for a Oaxaca mezcal distillery. Other parts of Mexico have different names for mezcal distilleries like taberna, vinata, or fabrica.
Here you can see the freshly harvested hearts (piña) of the agave plant. I don’t know if you can tell how large these are but a single agave piña can weigh up to 40 kg (88 lbs).
We didn’t spend much time here but pictured below is the palenque’s mezcal tasting room. Quite festive-looking isn’t it?
Those colorful paper banners are called papel picado (“perforated paper”). You’ll find them everywhere in Mexico.
We visited Mezcalillera in downtown Oaxaca and I remember being smitten by this bottle. All of their mezcals with this label are joven, meaning they haven’t spent any time aging in oak barrels.
There are over 30 agave species used to make mezcal but by far the most common is maguey espadín (Agave angustifolia). This species of agave accounts for about 90% of all mezcal production in Mexico.
Palenque Mal de Amor is owned and operated by the Hernandez family. It’s led by Armando Hernandez, a 3rd generation mezcal master who learned the art of mezcal making from his father and grandfather.
We couldn’t agree more!
Here’s a picture of the agave plant hearts with a better sense of scale. Some of these piñas are quite massive. The mezcal process essentially starts here.
The best part of this mezcal distillery tour was coming up, but our tour guide showed us around and taught us about the various stages of mezcal production.
After harvesting, the piñas are roasted over hot rocks in these large pit ovens for about three days. This roasting process is what gives mezcal its distinctive smoky flavor (which I love).
This oven was covered and in use but you’ll see an open pit oven later in this article. The size of these ovens is impressive.
After roasting, the agave plant hearts are then crushed and mashed using a heavy stone wheel pulled by a horse. I forgot to ask our tour guide if more modern methods are used these days but according to him, many horses are used in rotation to keep them from being overworked.
The mashed agave is then mixed with water and left to ferment in large vats or barrels. I find the smell of fermenting agave mash to be quite wonderful – musky, sweet, even fruity.
This was the best part of this Oaxaca mezcal tour. If the tour ended after a ride on this barrel truck, then I still would have been a happy man.
Joining us on the mezcal barrel ride were two of Palenque’s Mal de Amor tour guides.
We were lucky to be the only two people on today’s tour but you can tell that the tour guies are used to entertaining buses full of tourists. Party music was blaring as they tried to get the energy up.
On this ride, you’ll realize just how big of an operation Palenque Mal De Amor really is. You’ll ride through agave fields with row after row of maguey espadín plants.
Word of caution, it’s an extremely bumpy ride so keep that in mind if you’re prone to motion sickness.
As described, maguey espadín plants account for over 90% of the total mezcal production in Mexico. This is because of their high sugar concentration which can yield larger volumes of agave spirit.
It takes about 9 kg (20 lbs) of espadín to make a liter of mezcal, unlike some wild agaves that need more than triple that amount.
If you’re wondering what the main difference is between mezcal and tequila, then the answer is in the species of agave plant used. Tequila is always made from blue agave while mezcal can be made from any type of agave plant.
After driving into the heart of the agave fields, we got off the bus to do two things.
The first was to carve our names into the agave leaves using a spine from the plant. Those things are super sharp!
The second was to get a taste of mezcal like we had never experienced before.
Our tour guide cut an agave leaf off with his machete (which I got to try myself as well) and used it as a vessel for us to drink mezcal. He’d pour mezcal onto the leaf and into our gaping mouths.
Mezcal is enjoyable enough on its own but drinking it in this fashion was an entirely new and unexpected experience. The mezcal tasted colder and fresher, like we were drinking it straight from the heart of the agave.
Our tour guide didn’t pour us just enough for a little sip either. He gave us as many mouthfuls as we could take. It was awesome.
Drinking mezcal from an agave leaf in the middle of a maguey plantation in Oaxaca isn’t an experience we’ll be forgetting anytime soon.
The barrel ride would continue with our tour guides offering a toast while we downed shot glass after shot glass of mezcal. Can you imagine how much fun this mezcal tour would be with a bus full of friends?
In Oaxacan mezcal culture, there’s a saying that goes: “Para todo mal, mezcal, y para todo bien, también; y si no hay remedio litro y medio”.
That translates to something like “For all bad, mezcal, and for all good, [mezcal] as well; and if there is no remedy, [then take a] liter and a half.”
We thought the barrel ride would end there but no, we would later be taken to a small pulqueria within the plantation’s grounds to try other agave derivatives. In the clay pots below are tepache, pulque, and aguamiel.
Here’s the pulquero pouring us cups of fresh pulque. Like mezcal, pulque is a drink you’ll probably enjoy often in Mexico. Thick and viscous, it refers to an alcoholic beverage produced from the fermented sap of the maguey plant.
Pictured below is a cup of tepache, a fermented beverage made from pineapple rinds. Tepache is traditionally made from corn though contemporary recipes are more commonly made with pineapples.
Unlike mezcal and pulque, tepache contains very little alcohol. It’s sweetened with piloncillo (unrefined whole cane sugar) and typically served cold.
The last tasting on this Mal de Amor mezcal distillery tour was this cup of aguamiel. Also known as honeywater, aguamiel refers to the unfermented sap of the maguey plant.
We enjoyed mezcal and pulque many times in Mexico but this was the one and only time we got to try aguamiel. It’s delicious and refreshing and helps you understand how the high concentration of sugars in agave plants makes it suitable for making spirits like mezcal.
SECOND STOP: Mezcal Don Agave
The next stop on our Oaxaca mezcal tour was this medium-sized distillery called Mezcal Don Agave. If I remember our guide correctly, he said that this mezcal distillery is equally famous for its restaurant so this was where we stopped to have lunch.
Pictured below is a delicious platter of enmoladas with tasajo (dried beef).
You can’t visit Oaxaca without trying tlayuda. Resembling a pizza, it’s a Oaxacan dish made with a large toasted tortilla topped with refried beans, unrefined pork lard, Oaxaca cheese, and other ingredients. ¡Que rico!
After lunch, our tour guide took us to the distillery’s agave farm to look at wild agaves. If you compare these to the espadín plants from Palenque Mal de Amor, you’ll notice how different they look.
There are around 270 recognized species of agave plants, of which around 30+ are used to make mezcal.
I don’t know what agave species this plant is but can you imagine how many you’d need to make a liter of mezcal? It’s no wonder espadín is so popular.
Because wild agave plants have a lower yield, mezcal made from these plants fetch a higher price.
Here’s a picture of an open pit oven. These things are massive.
If I remember correctly, this is where the liquid from the fermented mash is distilled to modify its flavor before being bottled and sold.
Every stop on this mezcal distillery tour is followed by mezcal tasting. I love it!
We got to sample three different types of mezcal, this time with wedges of lime.
We didn’t get a taste but these beautifully designed bottles contained pricier artisanal mezcal made from different species of wild agave. If you’re looking to bring home a souvenir from this Oaxaca mezcal tour, then these bottles would make an eye-catching addition to your bar cabinet.
THIRD STOP: Mezcal Espina Dorada
The last Oaxaca mezcal distillery we visited on this tour was Mezcal Espina Dorada, one of the best family-owned distilleries in Oaxaca. They make mostly small-batch artisanal mezcal and do interesting things with the agave fibers so nothing goes to waste.
Mezcal Espina Dorada feels quite different from the larger commercial distilleries. It’s considerably smaller so it gives you a sense that more care is given to each batch of mezcal.
The distillery’s tour guide showed us around the palenque’s facilities and made special mention of the agave fibers used in the mezcal process.
At Mezcal Espina Dorada, nothing goes to waste. Instead of being discarded, the agave fibers are dried and used to make other products like these planters. Awesome!
As expected, this mezcal distillery tour would end with mezcal tasting, starting with this bottle of espadín.
This amber-colored mezcal was the most interesting spirit that we tasted on this mezcal tour. If you look at the bottle’s label, you’ll see that it says “avocado con pechuga de maguey”. Pechuga means “breast” in Spanish and refers to a type of mezcal made with raw chicken breast.
Mezcal de pechuga is a type of spirit that’s made by redistilling finished mezcal with fruits, nuts, and grains. What makes it interesting is that a raw chicken (or turkey) breast is hung over the still during the redistillation process. This cooks the chicken breast in the vapors and is said to influence the mezcal’s final flavor.
From its label, this bottle appears to have been redistilled with avocados as well.
If you’d like to bring home something truly special from this Oaxaca mezcal tour, then a bottle of this pechuga de maguey would make a great souvenir. I didn’t ask how much this particular bottle costs but based on what I’ve read, mezcal de pechuga can fetch over USD 200 a bottle.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON THIS OAXACA MEZCAL TOUR
With mezcal being an important part of Oaxacan culture, I expected to find more Oaxaca mezcal tours but that wasn’t the case. As described, there are plenty of sightseeing tours that make a quick stop at one or two mezcal distilleries, but mezcal educational excursions don’t seem all that common.
While doing research for this article on the best mezcal tours, I read about another interesting distillery called Gracias a Dios. Located in Santiago Matatlán, they’re known for making an interesting spirit called agave gin.
I love mezcal but my better half is more into gin so a bottle of their agave gin would make a fantastic addition to our bar cabinet. The bottle and label design are terrific as well. Unfortunately, we didn’t learn about Gracias a Dios until now so a visit to this palenque will have to wait until our next trip to Oaxaca.
In any case, I hope you enjoyed reading this article on the Mezcal Adventure tour, which in my opinion, is one of the best mezcal tours you can join in Oaxaca. You can click on the link for more information and to book this mezcal tour on Get Your Guide.
Thanks for reading and salud!
Some of the links in this Oaxaca mezcal tour article are affiliate links, meaning we’ll earn a small commission if you make a purchase at no added cost to you. As always, we only recommend products and services that we use ourselves and firmly believe in. We really appreciate your support as this helps us make more of these free travel guides. Muchas gracias!
Oaxaca City is home to many excellent restaurants serving elevated Mexican cuisine. Some of the most popular include Casa Oaxaca, Los Danzantes, Restaurante Catedral, and Las Quince Letras. Those are just off the top of my head, but there are many more.
We’re partial to street food and market fondas but we wanted to include one or two fine dining establishments in our Oaxaca restaurant guide. However, we didn’t want to go to just any restaurant. We wanted to find places that were more unique and told an interesting story.
Crudo, a tiny 6-seater restaurant that offers Japanese-Oaxacan omakase, was an obvious choice. Restaurante Alfonsina was another.
Located in San Juan Bautista la Raya, Alfonsina is a destination restaurant that serves haute Mexican cuisine in a setting quite unlike any other in Oaxaca.
Save This on Pinterest!
No time to read this article on Restaurante Alfonsina in Oaxaca City? Click on the save button and pin it for later!
WHAT IS RESTAURANTE ALFONSINA?
Restaurante Alfonsina is a Mexican restaurant located in the small town of San Juan Bautista la Raya, about half an hour south of Oaxaca City. It’s helmed by Chef Jorge León, a young Oaxacan chef who’s trained in the kitchens of celebrated restaurants like Casa Oaxaca and Pujol in Mexico City.
When you get off the taxi, you’ll find yourself in a quiet, residential neighborhood – hardly the type of setting you’d expect to find a fine dining restaurant. I was beginning to doubt we were in the right place when I finally spotted Alfonsina’s sign.
Aside from its location, what sets Alfonsina apart is its setting. It doesn’t look or feel like your traditional haute cuisine restaurant.
We were here for lunch so we were seated outside in a shaded area of their garden. Nothing fancy. No tablecloths or wait staff in uniforms. Just us, a wooden table, and the shade provided by an old tree. We could see a woman making fresh tortillas by hand so it felt like we were guests in someone’s house. We felt right at home.
We found out about Restaurante Alfonsina from the Oaxaca episode of Somebody Feed Phil. From the show, we learned of Chef León’s desire to honor the Oaxaca region’s culinary traditions. He wanted to offer a tasting menu of elevated traditional food made with the freshest seasonal produce, but served in an inviting and unintimidating setting.
We had a few moments before lunch service started so I explored the restaurant’s grounds and snapped some photos. In this interview, Chef Jorge talked about how this property used to be a small corn field.
Take a quick look around and it becomes clear that the restaurant is set in a family home. Chef Jorge emphasized that Restaurante Alfonsina is a family affair. It started when he and his mother wanted to serve breakfast and tortillas to the community in a relaxed and more comfortable space.
Though the restaurant now feeds travelers from all over the world, it seems that the concept and humble feel of the restaurant haven’t changed much. From the looks of it, they’ve even turned a portion of the property into a small bed and breakfast.
Restaurante Alfonsina offers four daily seatings – at 1PM, 2PM, 6PM, and 7PM – from Wednesday till Monday. Reservations are required which you can make through the link on their Instagram page.
In October 2022, our lunch for two with beer went for a total of MXN 1,040. At the time of this writing, the lunch tasting menu at Alfonsina goes for MXN 400-600 depending on the time of year, while dinner is priced at MXN 600-800. Not bad at all.
Address: C. García Vigil 183, 71232 San Juan Bautista la Raya, Oaxaca, Mexico Operating Hours: 1PM, 2PM, 6PM, 7PM, Wed-Mon (closed Tuesdays) What We Paid: MXN 1,040 for two with drinks (October 2022) Instagram: alfonsinaoax
WHO IS CHEF JORGE LEÓN?
A proud native of Oaxaca, Chef Jorge León got his start working as a dishwasher at one of the best restaurants in Oaxaca City – Casa Oaxaca. He worked his way up before earning a position at Pujol, one of the most celebrated restaurants in Mexico. At Pujol, he’d continue to develop his craft under the tutelage of famed chef Enrique Olvera.
Chef Jorge is credited for providing the recipe for Pujol’s legendary mole madre. Made with chilhuacle chiles, this mole earned him the nickname “Moles” from his contemporaries at Pujol.
Chef Jorge explained that Chef Enrique Olvera was looking for a traditional dish from Oaxaca to add to the restaurant’s menu. He shared his family’s recipe for mole negro because in his words:
“You can’t get more traditional than mole because it’s a staple dish for every special occasion. Whether it is served at a wedding, a funeral, or the birth of your child, you will celebrate these events with mole.”
Impressed with the dish, Chef Olvera would develop a vegan version of the mole and make it a permanent fixture on Pujol’s menu.
After working for 6 years at Pujol and helping Chef Olvera open other restaurant concepts like Cosme in New York, Manta in Los Cabos, and El Molino in Mexico City, Chef Jorge decided it was time to branch out on his own. Developing his concept for years with earnings he had saved from Pujol, Chef Jorge finally opened Restaurante Alfonsina to the public in 2018.
Later that year, New Worlder recognized Alfonsina as 2018’s restaurant of the year, a distinction that the young chef credits for his restaurant’s fast rise to success.
We visited Restaurante Alfonsina for lunch and we were treated to a fantastic 5-course tasting menu. Drinks aren’t included and you can opt for extras on top of the five included dishes (more on that later).
Pictured below is a locally brewed craft beer. They serve Victoria too but I recommend getting this one.
As far as I can tell, Alfonsina doesn’t have an ala carte menu nor do they have a printed tasting menu. What your tasting menu includes depends on what’s available at the market on that day.
Calling his cooking style cocina de mercado (“market kitchen”), Chef Jorge explained that he goes to Central de Abastos market every morning to source his ingredients. What he offers on his menu is highly dependent on what’s available at the market that morning.
Today, he started us off with this pumpkin squash blossom soup but tomorrow, it could be something made with pulque, corn, or cauliflower. The restaurant’s location, setting, and daily tasting menu are all part of what makes a meal at Alfonsina so memorable.
This pumpkin blossoms soup was delicious. Made with huitlacoche (corn smut), it had a simple and earthy flavor that set the tone for today’s meal.
These toasted tortilla chips and salsa were some of the best we had anywhere in Mexico. They served them to us at the start but they were long gone before we even got through the first course. Absolutely delicious.
I had read about Chef Jorge’s wild mushroom taco so I was hoping to get that, but what we got instead may have been even better.
I wish I had taken notes to better describe each dish, but if I remember correctly, what you’re looking at below is a fish tostada topped with green salsa and hoja santa (Mexican pepperleaf).
For our main course, we enjoyed this mole manchamanteles with rice. Everything we had today was enjoyable but this was a standout dish.
Mole is an important dish in Oaxacan cuisine so expect to be served some type of mole at Alfonsina. Based on his history at Pujol and this dish, mole seems to be a León family specialty.
For our fourth course, we were served these tamales oaxaqueños. Tamales are enjoyed throughout Mexico but what makes the tamales in Oaxaca different is that they’re typically enriched with mole and wrapped in banana leaves, instead of the more common corn husks.
Unwrapping the tamal, it looks to be made with mole amarillo and hoja santa.
Your lunch tasting menu at Restaurante Alfonsina comes with five courses but you can opt for an extra dish. On the day of our visit, that extra dish was this barbacoa taco.
A weekend tradition in Mexico, barbacoa is a general term used to describe meats cooked over an open fire, traditionally in a pit covered with maguey leaves. The meats are slow-roasted until they’re fall-off-the-bone tender before being served with corn tortillas.
For the final course, we were given the option between two desserts. I went with this homemade guava popsicle.
Being a fan of bananas, my better half went with this roasted plantain. If I remember correctly, both desserts were dusted with a powder made from toasted almonds and pecans.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON ALFONSINA, OAXACA
We enjoyed our meal at Alfonsina but to be honest, I don’t know how much better it is than other haute cuisine Mexican restaurants like Casa Oaxaca or Criollo. We’re drawn to interesting dining experiences which is a big reason why we decided to have lunch at Alfonsina.
Alfonsna isn’t just a restaurant. It’s a destination restaurant and that made all the difference for us. We enjoyed the experience of dining there as much as the food.
Some people might not want to make the trip all the way to San Juan Bautista la Raya, especially considering there are many terrific restaurants within the downtown area of Oaxaca City. The taxi fare to and from the restaurant only adds to the cost.
But if you want honest food created with sincerity and passion – in a setting that you probably can’t find anywhere else in Oaxaca – then a meal at Alfonsina is a must.
We didn’t have the privilege of meeting Chef Jorge but I wish him a long and fruitful career. I hope Restaurante Alfonsina continues to thrive. Based on interviews and what I’ve read about him online, he seems to be a genuinely humble young man who wants to honor the Oaxaca region’s culinary traditions by making good food.
Not just any good food, but food that you will want to travel for.
Some of the links in this article on Alfonsina, Oaxaca are affiliate links, meaning we’ll earn a small commission if you make a purchase at no additional cost to you. As always, we only recommend products and services that we use ourselves and can happily stand by. We really appreciate your support as it helps us make more of these free food and travel guides. Muchas gracias!