There is perhaps no more romantic state in Mexico than Oaxaca. Home to 16 distinct indigenous groups that anchor and drive the culture, the state of Oaxaca is as varied, complex and beautiful as the rich moles for which it is famous. The word itself seems to emit a scent of chili peppers, wild herbs, chocolate and smoke. It’s no wonder, then, that Oaxaca has become, in recent years, a must-visit destination for visitors from all over the world, especially those traveling for food. Eater and his team of local experts have put together 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, along with challenging itineraries, essential explainers and spotlights on some of the unique aspects of Oaxacan gastronomy. Like the place, there’s 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. The truth is, it’s more than a guide could ever contain, but here’s a start.
All your meals and drinks, planned
Bookmark these restaurants, bars, mezcalerías, street stalls, cafes, chocolate shops, tlayuda stalls and more for a feast that will last the whole trip.
Why three days is not enough
Oaxaca’s capital is a great destination for a long weekend, but for a real taste of the state, save plenty of time getting out of town
Editorial Manager: Lesley Suter
Artistic 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 de Central Studio
Editors: Erin DeJesus, Matt Buchanan, Nick Mancall-Bitel
Reviewers: Leilah Bernstein, Rachel P. Kreiter, Nadia Ahmad
Fact Checker: Liliana Michelena
Engagements: James Park, Carla Vianna, Milly McGuinness
Special thanks to Nat Belkov, Stephanie Wu, Amanda Kludt, Ellie Krupnick