Oaxaca is Mexico’s foodie paradise, and not just for moles and mezcal. Also on the menu are delicious regional specialities, including excellent breakfast and brunch—a blend of the local and the international. While Oaxaca City might be pretty sleepy on Sunday mornings, these are a few places where you can go for a scumptous and leisurely start to your day.
Pan AM is known all over town for its freshly-baked bread and pastries, which put them on the map from the beginning as one of the city’s most exciting new bakeries. They also have good coffee and the “least sweet” Oaxacan hot chocolate in town (Normally hot chocolate in Oaxaca is a sugar bomb). The restaurant is packed most weekends, so come with the idea that you might have to wait a minute before being seated. Also on the list of favorites are the waffles covered in fruit and berries, and the chilaquiles. They also have sandwiches which are served at lunch time.
Mezcal bar by night, breakfast hotspot on the weekend, Casa Estambul has a little bit for every breakfast seeker. Of special interest to you might be the variety of cold-pressed juices and smoothies (including the refreshing kale/pineapple/spanich/celery/coconut water mixture) to get your eyes open. The riffs on chilaquiles—chilaquiles ahogados (a chilaquiles sandwich bathed in salsa) or creamy chilaquiles in a bowl (a fried tortilla wrapped in an egg, with chile poblano salsa, kernels of corn and cheese)—are especially good.
The San Pablo Restaurante has just the kind of indoor-outdoor dining that we all crave on a Sunday. They are a combo Oaxacan-Libanese-international cuisine spot where you can order pita bread with spices and spinach along with your Oaxacan hot chocolate and huitlacoche-filled crêpes. The restuarant is located within the San Pablo Cultural Center and makes a lovely location for a special meal or just an ordinary Sunday when you want a treat.
A great neighborhood café, Cabuche takes its name from the flower of the biznaga cactus, found throughout Mexico’s desertic zones. The food is traditionally Mexican with lots of choices and a good amount for vegetarians. They are known for their pozole, but folks also love the tacos, the tepache (a fermented drink made with pineapple) and the tlayudas. They also serve a good selection of cocktails and craft beers if you are ready to start day-drinking.
Sandwiches, coffee, omelettes, english muffins, sweetbreads and pie—what more could you want from a breakfast in one of Mexico’s most iconic cities? You will most definitely want to try the guayaba cheesecake and have a cup of their famed Oaxacan coffee. They even have French press, which is not a preparation you can find everywhere in Oaxaca City.
A French-named bakery run by two life-long friends from Satillo, Coahuila, Boulenc is bringing French-style bread to Oaxaca City and has become a super hit since opening in 2013. This bakery/café has a menu dedicated to their passion—bread—and so you will find not only delicious pastries and homemade breads but also sandwiches, pizzas, crossiants and more. They source their ingredients locally, and establish fair trade agreements with local farmers.
Latitud 17 is a vegan and vegetarian restaurant in the heart of downtown Oaxaca City. They have both Mexican and international options for breakfast like chilaquiles, enfrijolados, waffles and omelettes. This small cafe also has burritos, vegan tacos, salads and tlayudas for lunch and serves Oaxacan coffee and espresso drinks. Non-meat eaters can’t go wrong here!
It’s a classic choice, and maybe too obvious for someone who wants to get off the beaten track in Oaxaca City, but the Mercado 20 de Noviembre is famous for a reason. Not only can you experience the delights of a local Mexican market, but you can also sip incredible Oaxacan hot chocolate (made with water instead of milk) and pan de yema—a golden yellow, ever-so-slightly sweet breakfast bread. There are about a hundred other dishes to choose from as well if you want to go heartier for breakfast.