After late nights in Oaxaca kept up by the creep of the mezcal high, I’m always excited for the rewards in the morning: frothy hot chocolate, fresh juice, crispy-edged fried eggs off the comal. Here are a few places to enjoy breakfast in Oaxaca city. For more, read my first post. Thanks to @oaxacking for introducing me to most of these places.
During the rein of Porfirio Díaz (Mexico’s president for three and a half decades prior to the revolution), this building was his hub for illicit activity— his casino—owned by a Turk and called Casa Estambul. The small brothel rooms surrounding a courtyard in the back of the restaurant now house kitchen supplies.
The courtyard is bordered by patterned tiles, and inside the bar area the entire wall is covered with the work of three well known painters. If you walk in and experience mezcal flashbacks, you may be thinking of the owners’ previous speakeasy-like bar Piedra Lumbre. Fer and Betty are also the publishers of Arrecife
, a local magazine and guide, and their design sensibilities translate gorgeously off the page.
Brunch is a hit here, and I can see why. There’s a big menu, accommodating your friends who “will just have a smoothie bowl” and your pals soaking up a hangover with a torta de chilaquiles. The barista program is on trend, with dirty chais, matcha lattes, and milk substitutions. We had the chilaquiles verdes with tasajo, orange-red from chorizo spices and softened by queso fresco on top. They have three green juices, and I enjoyed the well-balanced number one: pineapple, kale, spinach, celery and coconut water.
Our first salad in two weeks had dried fig, winter melon, almonds, cheese from chiapas, and a tamarind dressing. The cocktail program here is also fun, I enjoyed a clean and refreshing ginger mule called the Mulas Tercas. Note that this is also a great place for an evening cocktail and dinner.
Tierra del Sol
An ode to unofficial Oaxacan ambassador, Lila Downs, this restaurant is housed in the singer’s childhood home. Private dining rooms are named after songs, and her cropped embroidered blouses and painted knee-high boots are illuminated in a glass case. The garden patio sprawls as cacti-entwined trees and hanging shiny green ceramics open to the kitchen, where fried eggs and tortillas are made on the comal. The only thing uninteresting about this place is that they only play her music (I mean, I like it but it’ll get repetitive quick).
I am a fan of enjoying the subtle ways in which cooks (home and professional) add their takes on simple staples, like chilaquiles. Here they are served with yellow mole, a mild herbal mole that’s poured over chips into a bowl, with two fried eggs.
The waiter will come to your table immediately offering hot chocolate and café de la olla, kept warm over a small grill in the outside patio. There are fresh juices, and some typical breakfasts from the Mixteca region.
This location is just a short drive from the heart of the city but feels like a distant retreat. They recently opened a new location in the centro.
It’s weird to say that a several thousand-year-old kitchen tool is trending, but is anyone else noticing more molcajetes used as serving bowls? Here at Las Chilmoleras they are filled with bubbling breakfasts, and alongside fresh pastries, juices, and good coffee. Try the huevos estrellados a la chilmolera, fried eggs with thick bacon, enfrijoladas, and salsa. (Tip, don’t scrape a molcajete with your utensils.)
If you’re missing marshmallows while enjoying all that Oaxacan hot chocolate, you’ll find them here.
This is a casual breakfast joint with a bright lavender and turquoise exterior and a patio that’s right next to the open kitchen. It’s owned by a Colombian chef, who married a Oaxacan. He sent out some freshly baked croissants filled with jam as we were leaving, and it made me want to stay for round two.
Just like I scout out the good coffee in a new place, I’m always on the outlook for a juice shop in Mexico. Often juice shops are open before cafes in Mexico, which is helpful for this early riser. Anyway, this place is in a central location and will fill all your juice needs and give you a place to sit down. You’ll also learn about the nutritional value of seasonal tropical fruits by reading the hand-written signs on the wall.