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A boy selling snacks walks along a beach. People relax on the sand and boat around a small bay in the background

The beach at Puerto Escondido.

Verónica Jiménez Salcedo

The 21 Essential Restaurants in Puerto Escondido

Because nothing beats a plate of fresh catch, a spicy salsa, and a cold beer just steps away from the beach

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The beach at Puerto Escondido.

| Verónica Jiménez Salcedo

This beach destination has been on surfers’ maps for a long time, but since 2017, Puerto Escondido has also increasingly become known for its food — whether in its markets, in restaurants offering both local and international cuisine, or in its taco stands and street stalls. Today you can really find every cuisine here, from Japanese to Iranian and Greek to Italian, but the focus of many spots, regardless of approach — and not surprisingly for the major attraction on Oaxaca’s Emerald Coast — is seafood. Fresh catch is fried and nestled in tortillas for fish tacos, it’s kissed with acid and chiles in ceviches and tiritas, it’s grilled and placed atop tostadas, or fried and served with a wedge of lime. Nothing beats a plate of fish or shrimp, a spicy salsa, and a cold beer or cocktail, all often consumed steps away from (or directly on) the beach.

Visitors to Puerto Escondido are likely to spend most of their time in three districts — Rinconada, the main shopping and dining area; Playa Zicatela, one of the world’s top surf destinations (it’s not for beginner surfers, drawing big-wave pros and experienced surfers); and Punta Zicatela, a newer but fast-growing community. But this city is full of diverse restaurants and hidden corners — one of its best seafood spots is literally called “the Bunker” and sits behind a car wash — that position Puerto Escondido as a culinary destination just as much as it’s a place to catch some waves.

Price per person, excluding alcohol:
$ = Less than 200 pesos (less than USD $10)
$$ = 200 - 380 pesos (USD $10 to $18)
$$$ = 380 - 570 pesos (USD $18 to $28)
$$$$ = More than 570 pesos (more than USD $28)

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

Verónica Jimenez Salcedo is Huatulqueña by conviction, a lover of telling, listening, and living stories and the art of communicating. Tirza Bonifazi is an Italian-Finnish journalist based in Huatulco, with a long career in music and film and a passion for food.

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Mercado Benito Juárez

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The Mercado Benito Juárez is a space where aromas, flavors, and cultures converge. Here you can have a taste of traditional Mexican cuisine, as you can find tlayudas, tamales, atole, enchiladas, jerky, nopal salad, chaya water, and other products of the region, which makes it the best grocery option in Puerto Escondido. It’s a delight to walk through its aisles, especially on what are called “días de plaza” (square days), Saturdays and Sundays, when all the people from neighboring communities come down and bring their local harvest: coffee, pumpkin sweets, all kind of vegetables, and a great variety of products that is usually not found during the week, such as free-range eggs and turkeys. [$]

Rows of food stalls in a hangar-like space. A family dines at a nearby table set with colorful textured tablecloth. Other people mill about

Inside Mercado Benito Juárez.

Fredy García

Terraza Molli

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Molli, which debuted in 2020 during the pandemic, sits on the beautiful terrace of the Shavanna Hotel Boutique. Chef Esaú Rendón Cruz is originally from the valleys of Oaxaca, and among his culinary specialties are tamal de frijol (bean tamale), a version similar to the one made in the Mixteca, filled with a spicy bean paste and covered with hierba santa, stuffed with quesillo, and enchilada pork. Embarrada de mole negro, a toasted tortilla smeared with black mole and served with cheese and tasajo, is another classic. But the star of the menu is a sweet option, pan francés, a French toast topped with homemade red berry jam and fresh cream cheese. [$$$]

From above, French toast topped with jam, sliced fruit, and powdered sugar

Pan francés.

Verónica Jiménez Salcedo

Marisqueria Los Erizos

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Since August 2018 this casual seafood restaurant has served some of the best shrimp tacos in Puerto Escondido, together with other specialties like chicharrones made from mahi-mahi skin and the seafood tower, a departure from the classic seafood cocktail that’s ubiquitous on the coast. (Here, it’s Sinaloa-inspired, a literal tower of precariously layered shellfish, shrimp, octopus, and more.) Chef Matteo Conti’s special tostadas lean nontraditional: octopus with chimichurri and pork rinds, and one with shrimp that borrows from Chinese takeout flavors like sesame and sweet-and-sour sauce. You won’t be disappointed. [$-$$]

A seafood tower packed with large chunks of octopus, fish, shrimp, and vegetables, in a shallow sauce

Seafood tower.

Marisqueria Los Erizos

El Bunker de JP

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In 10 years this super-casual restaurant has become a haven to locals, though little by little, thanks to word of mouth, visitors are now in on the secret. Created by a family of fishermen, El Bunker is committed to having the best local product in the house, which shows up in rich tiritas, fresh oysters, or a delicious sashimi best accompanied by a cold beer. This hidden gem is located behind a car wash; you can leave your car next door while you eat. Open from Monday to Saturday from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. [$]

A variety of dishes, including ceviche and octopus salad, on a dark red tablecloth

A full spread at El Bunker.

Verónica Jiménez Salcedo

Filomena

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“Argentine” and “fusion” are the key words at Filomena, where you can find excellent cuts of meat, classic empanadas, Argentina’s traditional “lomito” sandwich, and specialties like calamari stuffed with red mole and chile poblano stuffed with Argentine chorizo. Of the house-made desserts, don’t miss the dulce de leche ice cream; same goes for any pour on the varied Argentine wine list; and the “White Mexican,” a version of the famous White Russian adapted to Oaxacan flavors made with mezcal infused with coffee, coffee liqueur, milk cream, and Fernet with Coke. Closed on Wednesdays. [$$]

A bright blue restaurant exterior, with a few wood tables and chairs set outside

Outside Filomena.

Verónica Jiménez Salcedo

El Nene Grill

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Steak and seafood are the main draws at El Nene Grill, which sits under a beautiful palapa located in Rinconada. Cuts of New York strip and skirt steak are available alongside the local favorite tasajo and, when it’s in season, seared tuna (pair any of those with a starter of garlic mushrooms). On the restaurant’s walls you can read the phrase, “You don’t drink Mezcal, you kiss it,” an invitation to kiss the house’s large selection of mezcals, though the extended list of their cocktails is also not to be missed. Open from Monday to Saturday from 3 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. [$$]

A cook prepares a large skillet of food in a small kitchen

Working the grill at El Nene.

Verónica Jiménez Salcedo

El Sultán

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In the midst of a jovial atmosphere — many locals use this as a gathering place — you will find a wide variety of healthy, vegan, and gluten-free Lebanese and Mediterranean food. Wraps filled with different combinations of hummus, falafel, shawarma, and kebab are a diner’s favorite. There is also a large juice and smoothie bar. Open from Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. [$-$$]

Two servers set tables outside El Sultán, painted a bright blue exterior, with a juice bar and ordering counter visible within

Setting up at El Sultán.

Verónica Jiménez Salcedo

Almoraduz

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Located in Rinconada, Puerto Escondido’s best dining neighborhood, Almoraduz captures the essence of contemporary Oaxacan cuisine. The menu by chefs Quetzalcóatl Zurita and Shalxaly Macías changes according to the season and privileges organically produced ingredients by local farmers. One of Almoraduz’s iconic plates is the black risotto, which gives primacy to Mexican flavors with huitlacoche, the mushroom that comes out of corn, and tichindas, a lagoon mussel found in the coastal mangroves of Oaxaca. Zurita and Macías’s goal is for their chic restaurant to become a gastronomic landmark in Mexico; they’re well on their way. [$$$-$$$$]

From above, a table set with dishes centered on a bowl of black risotto, with meat and vegetable dishes around

A variety of dishes at Almoraduz.

Almoraduz

Helados Palma Negra

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In Rinconada, the neighborhood closest to Puerto Escondido’s paradise beach of Playa Carrizalillo, lies Palma Negra, an ice cream shop with a surfer soul. Palma Negra listens to the whims of its customers and makes them come true — many of its creations were born that way, and inspired by Mexican fruit. In addition to ice cream, there are a variety of popsicles of all colors, with real fruit inside them. Guests’ favorite flavors are coconut and chocolate Oaxaqueño, made with local cocoa with a touch of cinnamon, and sweetened with agave honey. Open from Monday to Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. [$]

An ice cream shop exterior, with bright geometric decorations, a chalkboard advertising flavors, and a small picnic table for customers

Outside Helados Palma Negra.

Verónica Jiménez Salcedo

La Morena

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This relaxed and friendly spot serves some of the freshest fish in Puerto. The name is a tribute to the mother of the family who runs the restaurant and to all the women of the coast, and on certain days you can find only women working here. The dishes served are a perfect celebration of the sea: everything from ceviche to pescadillas (fried fish tacos), tostadas to tiritas (strips of fish marinated in lime). The beers are cold and the prices are great. On Sundays you can find a classic dish of Mexican traditional cuisine — pancita (beef belly). Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. [$$]

From above, a hand holds a tostada over a table set with other dishes

Tostada and other dishes.

Verónica Jiménez Salcedo

Espadín Restaurante

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Mezcal fuels Espadín, a restaurant named for the type of agave: Owners Amy Hardy and Arik Torren, American expats, also own the mezcal brand Fidencio. To accompany all that mezcal: Signature dishes like coconut shrimp, the catch of the day in almond crust, and the octopus chicharrón. Take in the wonderful view over Carrizalillo Beach that can also be enjoyed in the morning during breakfast. [$$-$$$]

A hunk of fish plated on a mound of mashed potato with vegetables, with a view of a sunny cove in the background

Catch of the day.

Verónica Jiménez Salcedo

La Principal Cantina de Mar

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In this beach restaurant with views of the old town of Puerto Escondido, the lighthouse, and amazing sunsets, you can while away a relaxing afternoon with exquisite cocktails. Chef Levi Said Ruiz Méndez, who used to own the seafood restaurant El Coste, transformed his vintage Volkswagen van into this food truck, where he offers seafood and casual dishes. But the real draw is the drinks: People soak in the sunset while sitting in one of the outdoor swings or hammocks, sipping cocktails like the Tepache Sunset (mezcal, orange juice, piloncillo, tepache, and cardamom), or with a selection from the great wine or agave lists. Open from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. [$$]

A man stands in front of a white van, parked on a beach beneath palm trees and string lights, with tables of diners in the background

Levi Said Ruiz Méndez with his Volkswagen van.

Verónica Jimenez Salcedo

Restaurante Santa Fe

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This iconic restaurant, which sits on the covered terrace of the Hotel Santa Fe, is a must-visit. The cuisine is mainly Oaxacan-Mexican, fully pescatarian, and sometimes vegan: Here you can find tamales Oaxaquenos, fried fish, shrimp-stuffed avocado, and some kind of ceviche. A tofu scramble is part of one of the best breakfast menus in town that pairs nicely with the beautiful view of Zicatela Beach. [$$-$$$]

A plate of chips with eggs in bright green and red salsa, in front of an open-air, thatched roof dining area

Chilaquiles divorciados.

Verónica Jiménez Salcedo

Agua Salá

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Agua Salá is the beach club of the Shavanna Hotel Boutique and a popular location for beach weddings, thanks to its amazing views of the sunset over the ocean. Fashionable young people flock here for its casual atmosphere — complete with cabanas — and signature cocktails, like the one made with ron, carambola, jamaica, and basil. Its menu offers seafood dishes like chargrilled octopus, oysters on the half-shell, and octopus tostadas, alongside beautifully plated salads. Closed on Tuesdays. [$$]

A wooden sign for the restaurant hangs over a passageway build over a small pier, leading to the beach beyond

Entering Agua Salá.

Verónica Jiménez Salcedo

El Cafecito

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Some say that if you didn’t go to El Cafecito, you didn’t go to Puerto Escondido. This place is a true icon, having indulged locals and visitors for 29 years. Having breakfast here while watching the picturesque Zicatela Beach in the early mornings is a classic experience: That’s why there’s always a long line outside. Once you make it inside, the chilaquiles in green sauce are a must, accompanied by hot coffee and freshly made bread. Open from Monday to Sunday from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. [$]

A bright backbar area, with mugs, condiments, and pitchers of drinks, beneath a logo for the restaurant

Inside El Cafecito.

Verónica Jiménez Salcedo

Bananas

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Founded in 1984 by the Conti-Avogaro family, Bananas is a Playa Zicatela icon, considered a must-visit for all Italians seeking out the essence of the old days that director Gabriele Salvatores immortalized in his 1992 film named after the town. The pizzeria and family-style restaurant offers Italian dishes from the sea and the countryside, served in a space with a  privileged view of the wonderful sunsets. You’re here for the scene and the view, but their homemade pasta is excellent. Open daily, from 11:30 a.m. to 12 a.m. [$$-$$$]

From above, a bright yellow bowl of pasta toped with mussels, shrimp, and octopus

Seafood pasta.

Bananas

Food Market La Punta

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Inspired by food courts, Food Market opened in August 2020 and boasts six different restaurants — Grilled & Smoked, Samuray Sushi, Delixius Wave (with a menu of tacos, salads, and bagels), Fettuccini (serving handmade pasta, gnocchi, and Argentine sorrentinos, with a gluten-free alternative), Green Bowl (vegan and vegetarian dishes), and Fishos (serving fish and shrimp tacos, burgers, and burritos). The place is totally casual — groups can grab food from different spots and sit together — and the ship containers-turned-kitchens give the market an urban look, breaking up the beachy monotony with a touch of originality. [$-$$]

Diners sit at picnic tables in a metal-roofed space lit by string lights and bright blue neon glowing on indoor plants, with a kitchen visible in the background

Inside Food Market La Punta.

Food Market La Punta

Azar Aghai and her family opened Persia to share the cuisine of their country, Iran. The atmosphere and decor of their restaurant takes you on a journey to the Middle East, with falafel, hummus, piroshki (an appetizer of ground beef encased in dough) and several vegetarian options like kuku, eggs whipped into balls with ingredients like potatoes and herbs. Open from Monday to Saturday from 6:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. [$$-$$$]

A thatched-roof tent-like space, with pots hung from ropes from the ceiling, Middle Eastern art on the walls, banquettes covered in patterned cushions, and wooden tables surrounded by greenery

Inside Persia.

Persia

Piyoli Punta Zicatela

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Relatively new to the Puerto Escondido scene, Piyoli — which means “bee” in Nahuatl — is a casual restaurant where everything is fresh, healthy, and local (the dedication is real: There’s a salad on the menu called “Fuck Monsanto”). The extensive menu includes a catch of the day, squash blossom tacos on handmade tortillas, fish burgers, and vegetarian burgers made with lentils and pea protein; the eggs are organic and all the breads are made in-house. In the morning the bar serves fresh pressed juices, while in the evening it shakes up original cocktails: Try El Anochecer En Piyoli, made with mezcal coffee, almond milk, cocoa, and grated coconut. Open from 8:00 a.m. to Midnight. [$$]

A bartender hands over a pink beverage in a glass mug, with a celery stalk sticking out. The bar is decorated with large South Asian statues

A bright concoction from Piyoli Punta Zicatela.

Verónica Jiménez Salcedo

One of the first restaurants to establish a following in La Punta, today Lychee Thai Food is a classic: It’s known for its Thai and Japanese fusion, served in a beautiful interior that welcomes lingering. Thursdays are unmissable, with its sushi nights accompanied by good live music — blues, jazz, or bossa nova. The bar features a list of fun cocktails, including a handful with sake, as well as sippable mezcals. Open from Monday to Sunday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. [$$]

Wooden hanging signs for Lychee restaurant and “Thai food”, in front of a lush bunch of foliage

Entering Lychee.

Verónica Jiménez Salcedo

Café Olé

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Twelve years ago, Café Olé started as a palapa selling juices and sandwiches, providing a healthy option to the surfers who came to Puerto Escondido. Little by little, the place has become the restaurant that it is today, a coffee shop and creperie serving waffles, omelettes, and delicious coffee that’s produced in Oaxaca. Café Olé makes its own yogurt for smoothies, jams, pesto, chimichurri, and bread, and dishes are named after the pets that have been a part of the restaurant through the years. [$$]

A barista slides a tall iced drink and a latte in a decorative mug across a bartop

Coffee drinks at Café Olé.

Café Olé

Mercado Benito Juárez

The Mercado Benito Juárez is a space where aromas, flavors, and cultures converge. Here you can have a taste of traditional Mexican cuisine, as you can find tlayudas, tamales, atole, enchiladas, jerky, nopal salad, chaya water, and other products of the region, which makes it the best grocery option in Puerto Escondido. It’s a delight to walk through its aisles, especially on what are called “días de plaza” (square days), Saturdays and Sundays, when all the people from neighboring communities come down and bring their local harvest: coffee, pumpkin sweets, all kind of vegetables, and a great variety of products that is usually not found during the week, such as free-range eggs and turkeys. [$]

Rows of food stalls in a hangar-like space. A family dines at a nearby table set with colorful textured tablecloth. Other people mill about

Inside Mercado Benito Juárez.

Fredy García

Terraza Molli

Molli, which debuted in 2020 during the pandemic, sits on the beautiful terrace of the Shavanna Hotel Boutique. Chef Esaú Rendón Cruz is originally from the valleys of Oaxaca, and among his culinary specialties are tamal de frijol (bean tamale), a version similar to the one made in the Mixteca, filled with a spicy bean paste and covered with hierba santa, stuffed with quesillo, and enchilada pork. Embarrada de mole negro, a toasted tortilla smeared with black mole and served with cheese and tasajo, is another classic. But the star of the menu is a sweet option, pan francés, a French toast topped with homemade red berry jam and fresh cream cheese. [$$$]

From above, French toast topped with jam, sliced fruit, and powdered sugar

Pan francés.

Verónica Jiménez Salcedo

Marisqueria Los Erizos

Since August 2018 this casual seafood restaurant has served some of the best shrimp tacos in Puerto Escondido, together with other specialties like chicharrones made from mahi-mahi skin and the seafood tower, a departure from the classic seafood cocktail that’s ubiquitous on the coast. (Here, it’s Sinaloa-inspired, a literal tower of precariously layered shellfish, shrimp, octopus, and more.) Chef Matteo Conti’s special tostadas lean nontraditional: octopus with chimichurri and pork rinds, and one with shrimp that borrows from Chinese takeout flavors like sesame and sweet-and-sour sauce. You won’t be disappointed. [$-$$]

A seafood tower packed with large chunks of octopus, fish, shrimp, and vegetables, in a shallow sauce

Seafood tower.

Marisqueria Los Erizos

El Bunker de JP

In 10 years this super-casual restaurant has become a haven to locals, though little by little, thanks to word of mouth, visitors are now in on the secret. Created by a family of fishermen, El Bunker is committed to having the best local product in the house, which shows up in rich tiritas, fresh oysters, or a delicious sashimi best accompanied by a cold beer. This hidden gem is located behind a car wash; you can leave your car next door while you eat. Open from Monday to Saturday from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. [$]

A variety of dishes, including ceviche and octopus salad, on a dark red tablecloth

A full spread at El Bunker.

Verónica Jiménez Salcedo

Filomena

“Argentine” and “fusion” are the key words at Filomena, where you can find excellent cuts of meat, classic empanadas, Argentina’s traditional “lomito” sandwich, and specialties like calamari stuffed with red mole and chile poblano stuffed with Argentine chorizo. Of the house-made desserts, don’t miss the dulce de leche ice cream; same goes for any pour on the varied Argentine wine list; and the “White Mexican,” a version of the famous White Russian adapted to Oaxacan flavors made with mezcal infused with coffee, coffee liqueur, milk cream, and Fernet with Coke. Closed on Wednesdays. [$$]

A bright blue restaurant exterior, with a few wood tables and chairs set outside

Outside Filomena.

Verónica Jiménez Salcedo

El Nene Grill

Steak and seafood are the main draws at El Nene Grill, which sits under a beautiful palapa located in Rinconada. Cuts of New York strip and skirt steak are available alongside the local favorite tasajo and, when it’s in season, seared tuna (pair any of those with a starter of garlic mushrooms). On the restaurant’s walls you can read the phrase, “You don’t drink Mezcal, you kiss it,” an invitation to kiss the house’s large selection of mezcals, though the extended list of their cocktails is also not to be missed. Open from Monday to Saturday from 3 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. [$$]

A cook prepares a large skillet of food in a small kitchen

Working the grill at El Nene.

Verónica Jiménez Salcedo

El Sultán

In the midst of a jovial atmosphere — many locals use this as a gathering place — you will find a wide variety of healthy, vegan, and gluten-free Lebanese and Mediterranean food. Wraps filled with different combinations of hummus, falafel, shawarma, and kebab are a diner’s favorite. There is also a large juice and smoothie bar. Open from Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. [$-$$]

Two servers set tables outside El Sultán, painted a bright blue exterior, with a juice bar and ordering counter visible within

Setting up at El Sultán.

Verónica Jiménez Salcedo

Almoraduz

Located in Rinconada, Puerto Escondido’s best dining neighborhood, Almoraduz captures the essence of contemporary Oaxacan cuisine. The menu by chefs Quetzalcóatl Zurita and Shalxaly Macías changes according to the season and privileges organically produced ingredients by local farmers. One of Almoraduz’s iconic plates is the black risotto, which gives primacy to Mexican flavors with huitlacoche, the mushroom that comes out of corn, and tichindas, a lagoon mussel found in the coastal mangroves of Oaxaca. Zurita and Macías’s goal is for their chic restaurant to become a gastronomic landmark in Mexico; they’re well on their way. [$$$-$$$$]

From above, a table set with dishes centered on a bowl of black risotto, with meat and vegetable dishes around

A variety of dishes at Almoraduz.

Almoraduz

Helados Palma Negra

In Rinconada, the neighborhood closest to Puerto Escondido’s paradise beach of Playa Carrizalillo, lies Palma Negra, an ice cream shop with a surfer soul. Palma Negra listens to the whims of its customers and makes them come true — many of its creations were born that way, and inspired by Mexican fruit. In addition to ice cream, there are a variety of popsicles of all colors, with real fruit inside them. Guests’ favorite flavors are coconut and chocolate Oaxaqueño, made with local cocoa with a touch of cinnamon, and sweetened with agave honey. Open from Monday to Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. [$]

An ice cream shop exterior, with bright geometric decorations, a chalkboard advertising flavors, and a small picnic table for customers

Outside Helados Palma Negra.

Verónica Jiménez Salcedo

La Morena

This relaxed and friendly spot serves some of the freshest fish in Puerto. The name is a tribute to the mother of the family who runs the restaurant and to all the women of the coast, and on certain days you can find only women working here. The dishes served are a perfect celebration of the sea: everything from ceviche to pescadillas (fried fish tacos), tostadas to tiritas (strips of fish marinated in lime). The beers are cold and the prices are great. On Sundays you can find a classic dish of Mexican traditional cuisine — pancita (beef belly). Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. [$$]

From above, a hand holds a tostada over a table set with other dishes

Tostada and other dishes.

Verónica Jiménez Salcedo

Espadín Restaurante

Mezcal fuels Espadín, a restaurant named for the type of agave: Owners Amy Hardy and Arik Torren, American expats, also own the mezcal brand Fidencio. To accompany all that mezcal: Signature dishes like coconut shrimp, the catch of the day in almond crust, and the octopus chicharrón. Take in the wonderful view over Carrizalillo Beach that can also be enjoyed in the morning during breakfast. [$$-$$$]

A hunk of fish plated on a mound of mashed potato with vegetables, with a view of a sunny cove in the background

Catch of the day.

Verónica Jiménez Salcedo

La Principal Cantina de Mar

In this beach restaurant with views of the old town of Puerto Escondido, the lighthouse, and amazing sunsets, you can while away a relaxing afternoon with exquisite cocktails. Chef Levi Said Ruiz Méndez, who used to own the seafood restaurant El Coste, transformed his vintage Volkswagen van into this food truck, where he offers seafood and casual dishes. But the real draw is the drinks: People soak in the sunset while sitting in one of the outdoor swings or hammocks, sipping cocktails like the Tepache Sunset (mezcal, orange juice, piloncillo, tepache, and cardamom), or with a selection from the great wine or agave lists. Open from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. [$$]

A man stands in front of a white van, parked on a beach beneath palm trees and string lights, with tables of diners in the background

Levi Said Ruiz Méndez with his Volkswagen van.

Verónica Jimenez Salcedo

Restaurante Santa Fe

This iconic restaurant, which sits on the covered terrace of the Hotel Santa Fe, is a must-visit. The cuisine is mainly Oaxacan-Mexican, fully pescatarian, and sometimes vegan: Here you can find tamales Oaxaquenos, fried fish, shrimp-stuffed avocado, and some kind of ceviche. A tofu scramble is part of one of the best breakfast menus in town that pairs nicely with the beautiful view of Zicatela Beach. [$$-$$$]

A plate of chips with eggs in bright green and red salsa, in front of an open-air, thatched roof dining area

Chilaquiles divorciados.

Verónica Jiménez Salcedo

Agua Salá

Agua Salá is the beach club of the Shavanna Hotel Boutique and a popular location for beach weddings, thanks to its amazing views of the sunset over the ocean. Fashionable young people flock here for its casual atmosphere — complete with cabanas — and signature cocktails, like the one made with ron, carambola, jamaica, and basil. Its menu offers seafood dishes like chargrilled octopus, oysters on the half-shell, and octopus tostadas, alongside beautifully plated salads. Closed on Tuesdays. [$$]

A wooden sign for the restaurant hangs over a passageway build over a small pier, leading to the beach beyond

Entering Agua Salá.

Verónica Jiménez Salcedo

El Cafecito

Some say that if you didn’t go to El Cafecito, you didn’t go to Puerto Escondido. This place is a true icon, having indulged locals and visitors for 29 years. Having breakfast here while watching the picturesque Zicatela Beach in the early mornings is a classic experience: That’s why there’s always a long line outside. Once you make it inside, the chilaquiles in green sauce are a must, accompanied by hot coffee and freshly made bread. Open from Monday to Sunday from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. [$]

A bright backbar area, with mugs, condiments, and pitchers of drinks, beneath a logo for the restaurant

Inside El Cafecito.

Verónica Jiménez Salcedo

Related Maps

Bananas

Founded in 1984 by the Conti-Avogaro family, Bananas is a Playa Zicatela icon, considered a must-visit for all Italians seeking out the essence of the old days that director Gabriele Salvatores immortalized in his 1992 film named after the town. The pizzeria and family-style restaurant offers Italian dishes from the sea and the countryside, served in a space with a  privileged view of the wonderful sunsets. You’re here for the scene and the view, but their homemade pasta is excellent. Open daily, from 11:30 a.m. to 12 a.m. [$$-$$$]

From above, a bright yellow bowl of pasta toped with mussels, shrimp, and octopus

Seafood pasta.

Bananas

Food Market La Punta

Inspired by food courts, Food Market opened in August 2020 and boasts six different restaurants — Grilled & Smoked, Samuray Sushi, Delixius Wave (with a menu of tacos, salads, and bagels), Fettuccini (serving handmade pasta, gnocchi, and Argentine sorrentinos, with a gluten-free alternative), Green Bowl (vegan and vegetarian dishes), and Fishos (serving fish and shrimp tacos, burgers, and burritos). The place is totally casual — groups can grab food from different spots and sit together — and the ship containers-turned-kitchens give the market an urban look, breaking up the beachy monotony with a touch of originality. [$-$$]

Diners sit at picnic tables in a metal-roofed space lit by string lights and bright blue neon glowing on indoor plants, with a kitchen visible in the background

Inside Food Market La Punta.

Food Market La Punta

Persia

Azar Aghai and her family opened Persia to share the cuisine of their country, Iran. The atmosphere and decor of their restaurant takes you on a journey to the Middle East, with falafel, hummus, piroshki (an appetizer of ground beef encased in dough) and several vegetarian options like kuku, eggs whipped into balls with ingredients like potatoes and herbs. Open from Monday to Saturday from 6:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. [$$-$$$]

A thatched-roof tent-like space, with pots hung from ropes from the ceiling, Middle Eastern art on the walls, banquettes covered in patterned cushions, and wooden tables surrounded by greenery

Inside Persia.

Persia

Piyoli Punta Zicatela

Relatively new to the Puerto Escondido scene, Piyoli — which means “bee” in Nahuatl — is a casual restaurant where everything is fresh, healthy, and local (the dedication is real: There’s a salad on the menu called “Fuck Monsanto”). The extensive menu includes a catch of the day, squash blossom tacos on handmade tortillas, fish burgers, and vegetarian burgers made with lentils and pea protein; the eggs are organic and all the breads are made in-house. In the morning the bar serves fresh pressed juices, while in the evening it shakes up original cocktails: Try El Anochecer En Piyoli, made with mezcal coffee, almond milk, cocoa, and grated coconut. Open from 8:00 a.m. to Midnight. [$$]

A bartender hands over a pink beverage in a glass mug, with a celery stalk sticking out. The bar is decorated with large South Asian statues

A bright concoction from Piyoli Punta Zicatela.

Verónica Jiménez Salcedo

Lychee

One of the first restaurants to establish a following in La Punta, today Lychee Thai Food is a classic: It’s known for its Thai and Japanese fusion, served in a beautiful interior that welcomes lingering. Thursdays are unmissable, with its sushi nights accompanied by good live music — blues, jazz, or bossa nova. The bar features a list of fun cocktails, including a handful with sake, as well as sippable mezcals. Open from Monday to Sunday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. [$$]

Wooden hanging signs for Lychee restaurant and “Thai food”, in front of a lush bunch of foliage

Entering Lychee.

Verónica Jiménez Salcedo

Café Olé

Twelve years ago, Café Olé started as a palapa selling juices and sandwiches, providing a healthy option to the surfers who came to Puerto Escondido. Little by little, the place has become the restaurant that it is today, a coffee shop and creperie serving waffles, omelettes, and delicious coffee that’s produced in Oaxaca. Café Olé makes its own yogurt for smoothies, jams, pesto, chimichurri, and bread, and dishes are named after the pets that have been a part of the restaurant through the years. [$$]