Just returned from a week and a half trip to Oaxaca. Although there's always more to be had, we covered some pretty good eating ground. A word of "warning," we stuck mostly to seafood. Some chicken but we both avoid red meat so hopefully someone can comment with those additions.
- La Olla (we stayed at Las Bugambilias which is attached to the restaurant hence the number of meals here)
Dinner: tortilla soup, cream of squash blossom soup, fish with nopales and hierba santa, all very good, fresh, oaxacan food without feeling too heavy or cheese laden.
Lunch: mole amarillo with turkey, blueberry ice cream. good, spicy!
Breakfast: squash blossom omelet, as with all the other dishes here, beautiful presentation. simple and delicious.
Lunch: worth the trek. Contrary to lots of people saying taking a taxi is necessary, the walk is not that far from the center of town. Translations were a bit difficult since my Spanish is not that advanced, so we basically tried to order everything we didn't recognize. Ended up with a trifolded tortilla with soft cheese, crema and mushrooms. Was the best thing we ordered.
Originally were going to do the tasting menu but were too full because of a late lunch and so much chocolate.
Dinner: carrot tacos with ceviche ("tacos" were a tad too sweet but ceviche was yummy), plantain fritters with black beans and cheese (delicious. very sweet), memolitas with fish (my favorite, perfect little bite), octopus salad with amaranth (had a "dirt" sauce/dressing....not quite ideal but the greens and other components of the salad went well together, sweet and refreshing), corn cream cake dessert (surprisingly not very sweet and therefore refreshing).
Overall the food here was quite creative and extremely fun. although some dishes were more unsuccessful than others, I appreciated the risks that were apparent at Pitiona. Made for an overall enjoyable meal full of things to talk about.
- Casa Crespo
Actually took a cooking class here but ate what we made after it (with Oscar's recipes) and was one of the more traditionally Oaxacan meals, so worth mentioning.
Lunch: guacamole and 3 salsa variations (fresh, simple, good), chiles rellenos (unexpected delicious nut, raisin,olive combo in the stuffing), hierba santa wrapped cheese (so. delicious. eat whenever you can. we mostly did for breakfast), squash blossom and cheese tortillas, squash blossom soup, mole negro (so rich, complex, fun) avocado ice cream (rich but not too sweet).
- Casa Oaxaca
To be fair, I had originally picked Pitiona over going to Casa Oaxaca but was told on our last night that this was a big mistake. Thank god! Really glad I didn't miss this meal...definitely my Oaxaca favorite and one of my favorites of all time.
Dinner: Fresh made salsa at the table - soooo gooooood, ricotta honey stuffed squash blossoms (mmmmm), shrimp and avocado with a green sauce (refreshing especially post sweet cheese honey combo), heirloom tomato salad with cheese (fresh, lots of flavors), ceviche (the sauce on this was ridiculous. i wanted to drink it from a cup. perfect sweet, sour, spicy combo), chocolate desert with passion fruit sauce (so good, super rich).
- La Biznaga
Dinner; quesadillas: mushroom, squash blossom and chile (simple, yummy), salad with green sauce dressing and LOTS of cheese (a little too much cheese for my taste but the dressing was good and much more of a thick sauce than dressing), tamarind mole! over shrimp (something different, extremely delicious, rich without being too heavy).
- Los Danzantes
Light lunch: soup and salad (can't remember exact types but light, fresh, good taste), goat milk flan with chocolate and figs (mmmmmm)
Dinner: nopales soup with egg (rich broth), ceviche: more Peruvian with corn and sweet potato,
fish en nogado!!! (was so excited to see this on the menu since the usual chile version includes beef. so many different things in this sauce but it all worked, sweet, savory, extremely rich but unlike anything else i've ever tasted.), pineapple meringue dessert on sponge cake with fruit (maybe cherry?) sauce (I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the dessert stole the show. One of the, if not the most, ridiculously awesome, inventive desserts I have ever had. Very sweet though--in case that's not your thing.)
We also traveled to Puerto Escondido for a few days:
Confession: we ate dinner here every night. The view was unreal and the food was good and fresh. Very delicious shrimp tacos. If you live in NY, you know them from Mercadito. Pina guacamole was also a fav, as were the Mezcal margaritas.
Another Puerto Escondido favorite was
Traditional Mexican menu with Oaxacan specialties. Just good fresh food, not super fancy or anything.
Didn't have any bad seafood (lots of random shrimp tacos, cocktails and sopa de mariscos consumed...
Hope this helps some plan their trip and inspires others to go!!!