Dining & Nightlife
For dining and nightlife in Oaxaca, there is something for everyone. Although Oaxaca can’t boast the loudest, wildest nocturnal scenes, it will provide you with an elegant, unique, fun and cultural dining and nightlife experience.
Food of Oaxaca
What Oaxaca can boast about is its food. Oaxaca is known throughout the world for certain dishes like mole, tlayudas, chapulines , cheeses and tamales. All of these are more can be easily found and sampled in Oaxaca.
Mole: is a unique sauce born from the Mestizo culture of the Oaxaca region. Mole comes in many different flavors but the common ingredient is always chili peppers. They may also have tomatoes, garlic, spices, anise, dried fruit, and other local flavorings. Mole is generally served over chicken, turkey or pork.
Tlayudas (sometimes incorrectly spelled Clayudas) consist of a baked, crunchy tortilla topped with refried beans, pork and/or chicken, avocado, lettuce, cheese and salsa. Sometimes this dish is folder over and put beneath a steak skirt.This is referred to as tlayuda con falda
Chapulines are a snack made by cleaning, washing and roasting a grasshopper. The grasshoppers are baked with lime, agave, garlic and salt. Crunchy and nutricious, this is considered a delicacy by locals and foodies.
Queso Oaxaca (Oaxaca Cheese) is a type of cheese served in many local dishes like quesadillas and empanadas. The consistency and processing is similar to that of mozzarella but with a slightly saltier taste.
Tamales are a Mexican food you may have had before, but Oaxaca adds a special and unique twist. Instead of corn husks, Oaxacan tamales are wrapped in banana leaves. The tamale consists of either chicken, pork or mole, along with several corn mix, dried fruit, herbs and spices.
Dining in Oaxaca
There are several sit-down restaurants throughout Oaxaca that serve local and international cuisine. They range from up-scale to very casual. The greatest selection of restaurants can be found around the city center.
Quick Budget Eating
If you are in a rush or need a cheap meal, there are several recognizable fast-food restaurants around the center, including McDonalds, KFC and Burger King.
Another less expensive and quicker option in Oaxaca is to eat from vendors on the street. Along with hot dogs and sandwiches, you will find many of the local foods mentioned above like tamales and chapulines.
If you want to try eating like the locals, you can always head to one of the open-air shopping markets scattered throughout Oaxaca. Here they have unprepared food like dry beans, chili peppers, fruits, vegetables, uncooked meat, etc. If your accommodations have a kitchen, you can prepare your own food.
But these markets also have prepared food you can buy and take or eat with the locals on the picnic tables nearby. These foods have the local flavor and seasoning that really makes Oaxaca food unique.
Even though Oaxaca has a calmer nightlife compared to other Mexican tourist cities, if you know what you want, you can find the perfect spot for a memorable night in Oaxaca. Most of the nightlife is around the historic center, or Zócalo.
Enjoying the Music
Oaxaca’s nightlife is centered on music. If you want something truly unique, try a Guelzagatto show. This is a reenactment of Oaxaca’s annual Guelzagatto holiday and parade. The show features local music, traditional clothes and Oaxacan dances. These performances can be seen at certain hotels and restaurants including Casa Cantera, Hotel Monte Alban and Camino Real Hotel.
There are also clubs for all music tastes. There are venues that showcase jazz, hip-hop, merengue, salsa, reggae and reggaeton.
If you want something a little more low-key, there are several bars where you can relax and sip your Michelada (local beer) or Mezcal (distilled alchohol similar to tequila) drink.