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From street tacos to ultra-fresh seafood prepared by innovative chefs, Puerto Escondido offers a culinary extravaganza of dishes, ingredients and cuisines.
And here are the 15 best restaurants in Puerto Escondido to try in 2023!
Why is Puerto Escondido Food so Good?
Situated in the state of Oaxaca on Mexico’s southern Pacific Coast, Oaxaca’s traditional cuisine is known for its complexity and diversity.
There’s everything from chapulines (toasted grasshoppers) to “string” cheese.
To add to the mix, Puerto’s large community of expats have contributed global flavours — from Italian to Middle Eastern — creating an international food scene.
This means that, in addition to all the great things to see and do in Puerto Escondido, It’s one of the country’s most exiting culinary destinations!
I’ve been eating my way through Mexico — writing for Fodor’s Guide to Oaxaca and Lonely Planet’s Mexico from the Source cookbook as well as owning a home and living in Oaxaca — since 2003.
One thing I’ve learned is that the Puerto Escondido food scene is ever-evolving.
Just as we lament the closure of favourite eateries, along comes a new guided food tour or an exciting new restaurant with a fresh, chef-driven menu.
So, if you’re trying to decide where to eat in a city known for its great food, here are my top picks of the best restaurants in Puerto Escondido in 2023 (for lunch/dinner) to put on your must-try list.
Looking for breakfast or brunch? Check out our list of the 10 Best Breakfasts in Puerto Escondido
1. Almoraduz Restaurant: Acclaimed Gastronomic Experience
The accolades keep rolling in for Puerto Escondido’s most acclaimed restaurant. Almoraduz Restaurant was selected as one of 250 of Mexico’s best restaurants for the Larousse Guía México Gastronómico 2022.
Chef/owners Shalxali and Quetzalcoatl Zurita are the creative forces behind dishes and cocktails that are a spin on traditional Oaxacan cuisine.
Sauces burst with flavour, punched with chile-fuelled power and locally-sourced herbs such as pungent epazote.
Sample regional ingredients from the Oaxaca Coast such as Istmeño cheese, tepiche (a flavourful herb) and beef tongue in chapuline (toasted chile grasshopper) sauce. Desserts can include treats like chocolate and maracuyá (passion fruit) truffles
This is a prime spot to sample a jamaica margarita featuring local mezcal. So if it’s available, be sure to order it!
Reservations: 954 582 3109
2. Espadín Restaurant: Fine Dining with a View
If you have time for just one restaurant with a view, Espadín should be top of your list of where to eat in Puerto Escondido for fine-dining.
Located within the picturesque boutique hotel Villas Carrizalillo (Google Map) on a cliff overlooking the Puerto Escondido beach of the same name, Espadin Restaurant offers a memorable dining experience that’s fresh and locally-inspired.
Fish dishes and toatadas are stand-outs. Their signature dish is a chicken in mole negro sauce.
Popular dishes such as the house-made ravioli, fish of the day and vegan hamburger often run out. So arrive early if you’re hoping to order those dishes!
Prices are reasonable given the quality of ingredients and attractive presentation.
The restaurant-bar also carries a wide selection of high-quality mezcal including their house version.
Contrary to what their website states, Espadin Restaurante no longer accepts reservations. Arrive early if you hope for a table with a view. 954 164 3363
Pro Tip: Take a taxi or use a flashlight if you’re walking here at night. The road is unpaved and it’s easy to get lost.
Best Puerto Escondido Restaurant Tour
No time to read the whole article? Our top pick for a restaurant tour in Puerto Escondido is the Mexico Magico Food Tour.
It gets fantastic reviews too!
3. Escondido Brunch & Seafood: Best New Restaurant
Affectionately known as the “Ben-Zoo” among regulars and fans of the lively Happy Hour, this hotel and restaurant bar is a Puerto institution.
Especially popular among Canadians and Americans, the hotel offers very affordable hotel rooms (some with balconies), a large lending library for guests and fabulous sunset views from the rooftop.
Its new restaurant Escondido Brunch & Seafood offers an evening menu for around 100 to 180 MXN pesos depending what’s on the menu. Their margaritas get top votes.
Escondido Brunch and Seafood is helmed by Chef/Owners Rodrigo Herrera and Alejandra, who along with their team, hail from Chihuahua.
Chef honed his culinary skills at upscale restaurants in Torreón and Monterrey as well as Xcaret and Banyan Tree Mayakoba Riviera Maya, Mexico.
The sophisticated presentation and styling of dishes such as mahi mahi crusted in sesame seed, paella and shrimp flambeed in mezcal reflect Chef Rodrigo’s experience gained at a 3 Michelin star restaurant in Barcelona.
The flavours capitalize on the bounty of the seasonal ingredients available from land and sea on the Pacific Coast. Escondido Brunch & Seafood has some of the best food in Puerto Escondido right now.
Food fans are hoping this culinary team decides to make Puerto Escondido their permanent home.
Ask about their new Puerto Escondido cooking classes too!
Insider tip: Take home a jar of their house-made salsa macha for just 70 pesos. This smoky-spicy, slightly nutty salsa in oil is delicious with tacos, quesadillas and breakfast eggs.
Located at Calle Tercera Sur 303. The entrance is at the back of the Ben Zaa hotel in the Hidalgo neighbourhood.
4. El Nene: Hottest Table in Town on the Rinconada
Under new ownership and offering great value, the former location of Restaurante el Nene Bar & Grill was so popular it was almost impossible to score a table.
All that’s changed at its spacious new location across the street and further down Benito Juarez Boulevard (Google Map).
It’s set under a soaring palapa roof that looks as though it could host a Cirque du Soleil “big top” performance.
In addition to being both stylish and comfortably breezy on even the most sweltering Puerto afternoon, the new restaurant features expanded washroom facilities and an impressive bar complete with bar stools.
There’s also an open kitchen at the back.
The three-tiered, multi-level seating zones help keep it from feeling cavernous.
The menu features an exceptional selection of artisanal mezcals such as cuishe, ensamble (a blend of two or more species of agave), tobala, tepeztate and more.
Sip them straight or in one of the creative mezcal cocktails.
Menu at El Nene
The food at El Nene is as beautifully presented as its setting.
There are several charcoal-grilled meats, pulpo and burgers to choose from. The New York Steak comes highly rated. Surf & Turf topped with a red wine reduction will no doubt be a popular choice.
While I’m personally not a fan of potato salad (the standard side for burgers) unless it’s well chilled, the other diners during our visit seemed to enjoy it.
Veggie lovers will be thrilled with the menu at el Nene. It includes a selection of fresh salads as well as enticing mains such as crispy tofu fingers wrapped in fresh lettuce and vegetarian meatballs bathed in tomato sauce.
The vegetarian chile rellenos are a nod to traditional Oaxacan cuisine as the poblano peppers come stuffed with huitlacoche (black corn fungus) and quesillo and are served on a bean puree. Good value at 145 MXN pesos.
Alas, one of my favourite dishes from the old location didn’t seem to be on the new menu. But if you see the seared tuna reappear, go for it.
It’s usually served with creamy mashed potatoes and a fresh salad topped with a delicate house-made vinaigrette.
El Nene is located at a new location on Boulevard Benito Juárez 9 (Google Map). 954 102 5701
5. Turtle Bay: Popular Restaurant on the Rinconada
It continues to regularly top the list of best restaurants in Puerto Escondido on Tripadvisor and other user-generated review platforms.
You can expect to pay around 290 MXN pesos ($14 USD) for a mahi-mahi entree, which is at the upper end among restaurants in Puerto Escondido, especially given its curbside setting
However, its spotlessly clean premises, attentive service and the consistency of its dishes makes it a reliable choice especially if you’re dining with a small group.
The menu includes mahi-mahi served a variety of creative ways (such as parmesan-crusted, coconut-pineapple sauce and chardonnay reduction), hearty burgers and even rack of lamb crusted with mustard and fresh rosemary.
Many of the entrees come with very plain rice or pureed potato and steamed vegetables so you’ll welcome the accompanying house made hot sauces to add a boost of flavour.
On busy weekends or peak times, it’s wise to make a reservation. Phone: 954 147 7469
6. Chill a Kill: Gourmet Hideaway in Bacocho
While Chill a Kill Restaurant has been around since 2021 I didn’t manage to make it over there until this year. Now, I’m making up for lost time!
Perhaps it’s because of its location (rather off the beaten path of restaurant row on the Rinconada) or because of its name (it’s a play on the word “chilaquiles”) but Chill a Kill Restaurant is a hidden gem. An overused word in travel writing but in this case it’s true.
Not only is the decor, set beneath a soaring palapa, stylish, airy and spotlessly clean but the kitchen helmed by Chef Paola turns out creative cuisine that’s exciting and delightful.
The bar has an extensive selection of mezcal (try a mezcal cocktail!) as well as the usual beer, wine and aguas de frutas (fruit waters).
Although Chef trained as a lawyer, at Chill a Kill she’s following her passion by tapping into a natural talent to combine flavours and textures in distinctive and delicious ways.
The ultra fresh fish of the day, for example, topped with caramelized garlic comes accompanied by house-made bread and loads of veggies.
There are also plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. Chill a Kill (Google Map) is one of the best vegetarian restaurants in Puerto Escondido.
Case in point a fantastic mushroom enchilada that comes bathed in savoury salsa roja – perfection! Plus there’s hummus and several other tasty Middle Eastern dishes ( reminiscent of the original El Sultan of Puerto fame).
So next time you’re looking for a great meal in a lovely setting, head a few short blocks up from Benito Juarez Boulevard to Chill a Kill (2 Dorados). You’ll be surprised by what you’ll find.
Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
7. La Julia Coffee, Market & Gallery in Bacocho
While Parisian-themed La Julia quickly vaulted onto our list of best breakfasts in Puerto Escondido shortly after it opened, it took us a few visits to discover that they also do a fine job on dinner.
The setting in the afternoon is as magical as it is in the morning, with its Parisian flea market meets Midsummer Night’s Dream decor in the heart of the Bacocho neighbourhood.
A long walk in the heat of the afternoon makes the reflecting pool with its curtain of cascading water droplets feel like a real oasis.
Sip an icy chocolate frappe and dine on specialities such as creamy spinach or albondigas (meatball) soup and feel the day’s heat slip away.
Open 7:00 am to 8:00 pm. Closed Tuesday.
8. Cañabrava: Best Restaurant on Zicatela Beach With a View
If you’re searching for a romantic dinner or a lively Ladies Night with music and seated dining, Cañabrava will deliver.
This two-storey Zicatela beach bar/restaurant (Google Map) has been delivering epic dining for years.
Its beautiful rounds of parota wood tables and inventive cocktails are popular among both locals and tourists.
Sip a sangria, an Aperol spritz or an artisanal mezcal while enjoying one of the best sunset views in Puerto Escondido.
In addition to the fabulous views, Cañabrava also happens to offer some of the best food on the Zicatela strip.
Rather than the usual ho-hum grilled fish filet you’ll find on most other menus in Puerto Escondido, at Cañabrava a filete de pescado al ajillo is elevated to something special.
It comes garnished with slivers of chile guajillo and accompanied by a creamy risotto-style rice, steamed veggies and two house-made fresh salsas for 220 MXN pesos or US$10.50.
9. le Bistrot du Marché: French Food in Mercado Zicatela
Many people (including myself) lamented the closure of chef David’s Paris Le Bistrot on the Rinconada a few years ago.
Now, there’s cause for celebration. He’s back and creating wonderful casual French fare at a corner location within breezy Mercado Zicatela near La Punta.
Much as a Parisian bistro that serves moderately-priced simple meals, the menu at le Bistrot du Marché features casual French fare.
Highlights of the menu include three types of quiche (swoon-worthy ratatouille quiche), flambeed shrimp in Pernod and arrachera (skirt steak) bathed in a creamy mushroom leek sauce you’ll want to slather overtop everything.
The house-made desserts are another standout. Can’t decide between the mousse de chocolate, the profiteroles or the crème brûlée?
Go for option #5 on the menu ( 70 MXN pesos or US$3.50) and you’ll score mini versions of all three plus an espresso or tea. Mais oui!
Open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10 am to 7:00 pm. Sundays until 4:00 pm. Closed Mondays.
10. Santa Fe: Classic Cuisine and Service at Zicatela Beach
Situated within the Santa Fe Hotel, a gracious grand dame set at the entrance to the Zicatela strip where it meets Playa Marinero, this long-standing restaurant has endured for decades for good reason.
The service is attentive, the setting is gorgeous any time of day and the menu features dishes that are expertly prepared. Which all adds up to making it a good bet for the best food in Puerto Escondido.
Breakfast comes with coffee sourced from its own coffee plantation – Finca de las Nieves – and is some of the best coffee in Puerto Escondido.
In the evening, top dishes to try at this Puerto Escondido restaurant include catch of the day (usually dorado), fish and chips, vegetarian lasagna and chile relleno. The menu is pescatarian but there’s a wealth of options for vegetarians.
There’s often live background music on weekends.
11. La Olita: Best Tacos Fusion-Style
If you’re looking for tasty fish tacos, then you’ll want to try La Olita. It regularly tops the list on Trip Advisor as one of the best restaurants in Puerto Escondido and has grown even more in popularity and size over the past few years.
Made of tacos of amaranth and moringa, the tacos here are a tasty change from tortillas de maize or harina.
One of the popular versions at La Olita comes topped with grilled or battered fish/shrimp plus loads of delicious grilled fruit and veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower and pineapple.
The house-made hot sauces are fiery good. The decor is also fun — featuring local parota wood and creative murals. At La Olita, you can even pair your tacos with an order of artisanal mezcal, served with chapulines.
There’s a second location in La Punta.
12. Fish Shack: A Buzzing Seafood Restaurant in La Punta
When it comes to deciding on the best tacos in Puerto Escondido, the Fish Shack La Punta (Google Map) is favoured as the best restaurant in La Punta. It’s always busy, so be prepared to wait for a table or an order.
They offer both grilled and fried fish tacos with a selection of hot sauces. It is a bit pricier than the others mentioned but when in La Punta, this is the go-to.
Tucked away on a sandy pedestrian footpath to the beach, it’s a bit hard to find. But just look for the line-ups and you’ll be able to find it.
The loud, busy atmosphere and mix of expat/tourist surfers at the communal tables adds to the buzz.
13. La Juquileña Restaurant: Typical Oaxacan Food
There’s no better way to dive into a culture than by sampling the local cuisine. And lunch at Antojitos Regionales Las Juquileñas is a sensory extravaganza.
Although tlayudas (Oaxaca’s version of pizza – a giant corn tortilla slathered in refried beans and toppings) are most usually enjoyed as a popular street food after an evening of nightlife in Puerto Escondido, you can get them in the middle of the day at Antojitos Regionales Las Juquileñas restaurant.
But that’s just one reason to visit this local favourite located near Benito Juarez market on Calle Octava Norte (Google map) in el Centro. It has communal tables, open grills, huge portion sizes and a lively atmosphere.
And it’s definitely the best restaurant in Puerto Escondido for traditional Oaxacan food and soups.
The menu at La Juquileña includes traditional Oaxacan foods such as mole negro, mole amarillo, sopes, huaraches and empanadas in a wide range of variations including mushroom, tasaja (dried beef) chorizo and more.
There’s even molcajete de carne, a tower of meats served in a bowl made of volcanic stone.
Don’t miss the caldo de piedra (stone soup), a seafood, epazote and tomato soup made by immersing red-hot stones in broth in a gourd right at your table.
This traditional chinanteco dish is so important it has been recognized by the state of Oaxaca as a Patrimonio Cultural Intangible de Oaxaca for its cultural and artisanal significance.
14. El Horno Escondido: Local Eats in Lazaro
El Horno Escondido is a bit out of the way as it’s above Highway 200 (Google Map) but this newly-opened rustic restaurant features fresh-caught fish baked in a horno (clay oven).
It’s well worth seeking out for a lunch or early dinner.
To order, you select the size of fish (usually red snapper) and request whether you want it with chile sauce or garlic. I recommend you go for both and enjoy each spread on half of the fish.
The cost for a whole fish begins at 500 MXN pesos and rises quickly based on size.
Your meal will be preceded by a complimentary appetizer (usually tiritas de pescado or escabeche) with house-made tortilla chips.
The baked fish — which is reminiscent of the famous pescado zarandeado of Jalisco state — is served butterflied and baked to crispy perfection.
Enjoy the fish tucked inside a warm tortilla topped with hot sauce with sides of fluffy rice, baked pineapple and simple salad.
Open until 6:00 pm only.
It’s located at Francisco Villa 427 in Lazaro Cardenas a few blocks up from the OXXO store on Highway 200. Phone: 954-126-0587.
15. El Rincón de Los Almendros Restaurant and Grill
Set at the end of Boulevard Benito Juárez where it curves towards the Bacocho neighbourhood, el Rincón de Los Almendros is where to eat in Puerto Escondido if you’re looking for steak such as New York or rib-eye grilled to perfection.
Meat lovers with hearty appetites should opt for the parrillada, a platter for two featuring grilled beef arrachera, chicken, quail, pork ribs and chistorra (Basque-style sausage) served with charred onions, nopal (cactus), guacamole, beans and tortillas.
To soak up the most of the lovely garden setting, time your visit for the evening.
Other Puerto Escondido Food Experiences to Try
Split Coconut: Best Beach Bar in Puerto Escondido
While the legendary Bradley Lopez is no longer with us, his spirit live on at the fabulous new location of his namesake restaurant bar on Zicatela beach.
Located beside Sativa and across from the popular co-working hostel chain, Selina’s, Split Coconut features a fantastic view of the sunset with plastic tables spilling onto the beach.
While open throughout the day (horseshoes anyone?) the Split Coconut is best known in Puerto for its live music scene. Evening line-ups of classic rock and blues by local and visiting musicians draw a loyal crowd of snowbirds, retirees and Baby Boomer ex-pats.
In between dancing beneath the palm trees, you can enjoy the new location’s expanded menu. It features a few new additions as well as standards such as the bone-sucking ribs made famous at the Split Coconut’s string of former locations.
Check Brad’s Split Coconut Facebook Page for updates on specials such as pork chops and rib eye steak nights.
If you’re craving live music or want to meet some English-speaking folk, Split Coconut is your spot. Closed Tuesdays.
Gina’s Food Walking Tour
We’ve already included Gina’s Walking Tour of Puerto Escondido as one of the best ways to begin your day. It includes a stop for a typical breakfast along with its deep dive into Puerto’s history, culture and traditions.
But it’s always worth checking in at her Information Booth on the Adoquin to see what other gastronomy-themed tours might be available. Current options include:
- Cooking classes
- The Secrets of Mezcal
- Loco Por El Chocolate (cacao production)
- Secret Lunch with Locals
Prices vary. The walking tour costs $400 MXN pesos per person, including breakfast and takes place on Wednesdays and Saturdays 7:45 am – 10:00 am
Phone (954) 559-5518
Las Margaritas: Best Value Breakfast in Puerto Escondido
Wondering where to eat in Puerto Escondido near Benito Juárez market? Las Margaritas (Google Map) is truly an oasis from the bustling street scene along 8a Norte.
Portions of brochettes of fish are so generous you can take some home for your next meal! Another top choice is grilled beef arranchera.
Dishes come with creamy guacamole, green and red salsas, tortillas made on the comal, black beans and grilled nopal cactus.
The pleasant shaded courtyard, breezy fans, friendly service and immaculate washrooms make it a place you’ll want to return to again and again. Daily specials and set meals are exceptional value.
Look for Las Margaritas awning at the corner of Avenida Oaxaca and 8a Norte near Benito Juárez Market.
Restaurante Eliel: Oysters at Agua Blanca
It’s well worth a day trip south to Agua Blanca where a string of seafood shacks serve seafood plucked fresh from the Pacific.
While it’s certainly possible to order the usual beachside fare of coconut shrimp, whole fish (served al ajo, a la diablo, al ajillo etc) or shrimp cocktail, the main attraction here is fresh oysters, shucked while you wait.
You get a dozen of the largest, freshest oysters you’ll ever see for around 150 pesos. While you can get them a la Mexicana or empanizados (breaded), the best way to enjoy them is ‘naturales’ served raw with lime and hot sauce.
While everyone has their own favourite restaurant at Agua Blanca, we usually head for Restaurante Eliel.
Service is attentive and it’s just steps to Agua Blanca’s sublime tidal pools set among the rocks. Public washrooms (10 pesos) are across the street.
This post was originally published in 2021 but was updated in 2023.
The most popular restaurants in Puerto Escondido include el Cafecito, el Nene, the Santa Fe, Espadín, El Sultan, Cañabrava and Lychee Thai.
El Cafecito on Zicatela is a good restaurant for families with children as it’s close to the beachside playground and has fast service as well as high chairs. High chairs are also available at El Nene Restaurant on the Rinconada. Pizza is always popular with kids (especially teens) which makes Luna Rossa a good option for a family-friendly restaurant in Puerto Escondido.
There are many places to eat in Puerto Escondido! From Oaxacan street food such as tlayudas (giant tortilla pizzas) to fine dining with a view at Espadín and Hotel Santa Fe and world cuisine such as Thai and Middle Eastern, Puerto Escondido has a surprisingly wide range of places to eat for every budget.
Other Popular Puerto Escondido Food Posts
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Dividing her time between Canada, Guatemala and Mexico (or the nearest tropical beach), Michele Peterson is the founder of A Taste for Travel. Her award-winning travel and food writing has appeared in Lonely Planet’s cookbook Mexico: From the Source, National Geographic Traveler, Fodor’s and 100+ other publications.
Read more about Michele Peterson.