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The Eater Guide to Oaxaca

Bring on the barbacoa (and mole, and memelas, and tlayudas, and…)

There might be no more romanticized state in Mexico than Oaxaca. As home to 16 distinct Indigenous groups that both anchor and drive the culture, the state of Oaxaca is as varied, complex, and beautiful as the rich moles for which it is famed. The word itself seems to emit a perfume of chiles, wild herbs, chocolate, and smoke. It’s no wonder then, that Oaxaca has, over the last several years, become a must-hit destination for visitors from around the world — especially those who travel for food. Eater and its team of local experts have assembled the ultimate guide to getting the most out of this essential destination, outlining all the best things to eat and drink and where to find them, as well as ambitious itineraries, vital explainers, and spotlights on some of the unique aspects of Oaxacan gastronomy. It, like the place, is a lot to digest — but that’s what the mezcal is for.

Why everyone is so obsessed with Oaxaca

10,523 rural villages, 18 recognized ethnic groups, eight regions. Truth is, it’s more than one guide could ever contain, but here’s a start.

All your eating and drinking, planned

Bookmark these restaurants, bars, mezcalerías, street stalls, coffee shops, chocolaterias, tlayuda stands, and more for a feast that will last the entire trip.

Why three days isn’t enough

The capital city of Oaxaca is an ideal long weekend destination, but for a true taste of the state, save plenty of time to get out of town.


Editorial lead: Lesley Suter
Creative director: Alyssa Nassner
Consulting editors: Bill Esparza, Niki Nakazawa
Contributors: Omar Alonso, Tirza Bonifazi, Javier Cabral, Shava Cueva, Bill Esparza, Nicholas Gill, María Itaka, Emma Janzen, Verónica Jiménez Salcedo, Bricia Lopez, Sarah Menkedick, Madeleine Wattenbarger
Photographers: Shava Cueva, Juan de Dios Garza Vela, Eva Alicia Lepíz, Arthur Santos
Illustrations: Ariadna Vásquez of Central Estudio
Editors: Erin DeJesus, Matt Buchanan, Nick Mancall-Bitel
Copy editors: Leilah Bernstein, Rachel P. Kreiter, Nadia Q. Ahmad
Fact-checker: Liliana Michelena
Engagement: James Park, Carla Vianna, Milly McGuinness
Special thanks to Nat Belkov, Monica Burton, Talia Baiocchi, Patty Diez, Stephanie Wu, Amanda Kludt, Ellie Krupnick, Ivan Vasquez, Tomas “Tommy” Vasquez, Demla Divina Ramírez Roque, and the people of Oaxaca.

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