When we headed to Puerto Escondido, we promised ourselves that we were going to try more of the local not so touristy restaurants. And, we did. By “we”, I mean Al & I and his sister and brother-in-law, Lisa & Pierre.
The places below are not in any particular order but they are ones that I suggest you give a try when you’re in the area. You’ll be supporting a local family where your simple purchase of a beverage or a taco will also help put food on their table – and you get an inexpensive tasty meal in return. Basically, no English is spoken at any of them, but owners and staff will work with you to get you what you want. The ambience and presentation might not be 5- star but the food and service will make up for it.
When we walked by this little outdoor place, we were met with 2 boys waving menus, insistent that we come eat. We started to walk by but decided that we were going to stop for a drink anyway, so we might as well stop here. When we went through the opening in the fence, we were greeted by those 2 exuberant boys plus another quieter one. They were all eager to have us take a seat. The owner, and we assume father of the boys, was quick to get to his feet and head to the kitchen area. The oldest boy took our drink orders and was careful to repeat it back to us to make sure he had it correct. Our drinks were quickly delivered. Lisa decided we needed some guacamole – which, of course, we did — and that’s been the fun began. Again, the oldest boy took the order and all 3 boys headed to the kitchen. Moments later, they all went running down the street….2 in one direction and 1 in the other. A few minutes later, they all came running back. The 2 younger ones had 3 beer which we assume replaced the inventory that we had just ordered. The older one came from the other direction with avocados and cilantro. 5 minutes later we had fresh guacamole and warm tortilla chips….yummy!
Location: This place is just a couple blocks up from the beach in La Punta on Heroes Oaxaqueños.
This little restaurant and store was our go-to spot while we were at our Airbnb house rental. One night early in our trip the four of us went for dinner here. Mom and daughter are the cook and wait staff. One of the dishes that they offer is the Oaxaca regional dish called tlayudas which is basically a large tortilla with refried beans, cheese and meat. Lisa ordered this and was very pleased. We all had a bite and agreed it was very tasty. For the remainder of the trip, she called it her Philly steak and cheese. Al had a chorizo torta which was a sandwich similar to a panini with chorizo and fresh lettuce, tomato, etc. My huarache with pollo was not my favourite but that’s because I’m not a huge fan of refried beans. However, I made sure to pick all the chicken off the top because it was very moist and very tasty. Pierre stuck to the plain Jane quesadilla which is also made with the Oaxaca cheese and a bit of tomato. Add 5 beer and a bottle of water to that food order and we came to a whopping 210 pesos for our bill. At the time of posting, that’s about $14 Cdn. A bargain dinner for 4.
For the remainder of our stay at the house, my favourite from this place was a quesadilla with cheese and chicken. It’s not on the menu but my badly pronounced “quesadilla con queso y pollo” managed to get my order across.
There is also a small store which carries all the necessities of life including beer and toilet paper.
And I’d be remiss not to mention that this place has a great view overlooking Puerto Escondido.
Location: If you’re coming from the beach in La Punta, walk up Benito Juerez until it dead ends. Then follow the path that continues on the other side of the street and you will come to a large white house (that’s the Airbnb that we rented). At the far corner of the house, the path will curve right around the house. Just past the house is the tienda.
Carnitas al Estilo Michoacan
On our first trip into town on a collectivo, we had the driver drop us near the bus station. We really weren’t sure where we were going and really just wanted to wander. As we walked by this place, a woman came out to give us samples of the pork that they were cooking. We had already agreed that we needed to stop for something to eat so this was an easy decision since the pork was very tasty. A boy of about 10 or 12 came to take our order. Placing our beverage order was easy but the food order was a bit more difficult. Somehow we managed to get one order of pork tacos delivered to the table and got it through to the server and one of the cooks that we all wanted an order. The carnitas was tasty and moist; carnitas is the braised or roasted pork. There was a menu on the table that showed a number of items; however, all we saw being served was pork. With the aid of my trusty Google translator that can be used off-line, I figured out that there were actually different cuts of pork that we could have requested. I really do need to learn more Spanish!
Location: It’s right on MEX200 about a block before the bus station if you’re coming from Zicatela.
This place was our best meal at a local restaurant. Al had been eyeing this place up every time we went by in a taxi or a collective because it had a big grill and boiling pot out front but the grill never seemed to be working. On a Sunday, the grill was fired up and the place was fairly busy so we stopped for lunch. OMG…what a great decision! The smell of the fresh BBQ alone was worth the stop. We ordered a rack of ribs and a half chicken. The ribs were trimmed off the bone so the meat could be put into a tortilla. All the fixings came with our order: tortillas, onions, salsas, etc. Also, some black beans which were quite tasty. I point that out because I’m not a huge bean fan so they had to be good if I liked them. We had to wait a bit for the chicken as it wasn’t quite cooked. No big issue, we just ordered another round of beverages. The chicken was well worth the wait. It was cooked to perfection, tasty and juicy. As much as we loved the ribs, the chicken was even better! This place only serves the ribs and chicken on Saturday and Sunday.
Location: This great spot is right on MEX200. I’ve added a screenshot from my phone’s mapping tool to help you find it.
La Esquina del Sabor
Again, this was a place that Al had spotted earlier on our trip but we didn’t make it to until late in our vacation. Not knowing the name of the place or the exact location made it impossible for us to tell the taxi driver where we wanted to go but he was willing to take a bunch of wrong turns and have us yell out directions at him to get us there. Finally we arrived at the spot where a man was turning a wooden spit that held a big piece of pork and several chickens over a grill. There is a small storefront just around the corner but it’s not as obvious as the guy with the spit. We had everything packed up to take back to the house for our dinner. Chicken, rice & beans, condiments. I love how hot sauce is provided in a little plastic bag at most take out places –and it’s way tastier than any prepackaged stuff at home. The chicken was very good but a bit of a letdown after our visit to Pepe’s. Don’t let that deter you; it’s still very good.
Location: On Av. Hidalgo just south of MEX200; across MEX200 from the Yamaha dealer.
If you’re a foodie, Puerto Escondido is a great place to visit. There are all kinds of these local places to visit as well as any number of more touristy and upscale spots. Something for everyone.