With the closing of Juquilita in San Jose, the local pickings down here for really good Oaxacan food have been slim. I noticed in a Spanish language circular that a new-to-me restaurant was serving up Oaxacan dishes: Restaurante Monte Alban.
We've visited twice so far and have been impressed with the large selection, the quality, the portions, and the price. What a win! And we've only sampled the Oaxacan style dishes for the most part.
Of the various moles, we've only had the pipian (pumpkin seed) so far, since that is harder to find. It was extremely rich and the chicken leg it was served with was moist and excellently cooked. The molotes were fat and presented well with some mole negro and fresh cheese. Good comfort food for the coming chilly months. The enchiladas were served traditional style -- meat on the side with a generous and flavorful sauce. The banana leaf tamals were better than the corn, much moister, but all were good (we tried the frijole and chepil as well as the mole in the banana leaf).
Their salsa bar is stellar (even if the chips aren't) and they offer house pickled jalepeno mix with carrots, onions and green beans. Guacamole is made fresh to order.
Drink offerings are even more extensive than the late Juquilita. They have alotes, tejate and champurrado, yes, but also the fermented pineapple drink tepache (which I've seen popping up on more menus -- you can also get it down the street at 5 Spot Chivas Grill), and the sweetened cinammon squash drink: agua de chilacoyote.
Other than the chips our only disappointment so far has been the empanada amarilla, which was a favorite dish at Juquilita. They do it grilled here and the filling is more liquidy.
The photos here are the pipian mole, the molotes, the guacamolito, the memela with meat, and the agua de chilacoyote.
5 Spot Chivas Grill
869 S 1st St, San Jose, CA 95110
577 W Alma Ave, San Jose, CA 95125
Restaurante Monte Alban
960 S 1st St, San Jose, CA 95110