Oaxaca de Juarez, Mexico has a lot of possibilities when it comes to food- from high-end restaurants to street food. This city in the southwest of Mexico is the capital of the Oaxaca region and is well known for its mole sauces. The food in Oaxaca has a mix of indigenous and Spanish influences and is a great place to dig into Mexican cuisine.
This guide covers where to eat in Oaxaca City with kids. This is by no means an exhaustive guide, but rather a starting place for families looking for good family-friendly, budget-friendly meal options on their visit to Oaxaca.
We visited Oaxaca as part of our Family Year Out, when we spent Six Weeks in Mexico. During our visit, our girls were 4 and 7 years old. Oaxaca was one of our favorite cities in Mexico and one of the places we’d consider coming back to stay for much longer. One of the hardest parts of traveling with kids is finding places to eat that have good, quality food, a budget price, and enough variety for all four of us to find something we can eat.
This guide focuses largely on the Oaxaca City Centro, as that’s where most families will spend the bulk of their time when visiting Oaxaca with kids. We’ll cover the best places for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and dessert, as well as some typical Oaxacan dishes you should keep an eye out for.
We’ve also included our tips for where to stay in Oaxaca and how to get around the city.
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Where is Oaxaca City?
Oaxaca City, also known as Oaxaca de Juarez, is the capital city of the state of Oaxaca, in southwestern Mexico. It is about 7 hours southeast of Mexico City. There are tons of things to do in Oaxaca, but they are best tackled after a good meal.
Worried about traveling with kids? We’ve got all our best safety tips for traveling with kids to ease your mind.
Where to Eat Breakfast in Oaxaca City with Kids
We’ve found that breakfast is often a tough meal for us- when we stay in a hotel without a refrigerator, we need to get the kids up and dressed and out the door before we can feed them- which often means they’re hungry and grumpy before we make it to breakfast.
When we can, we stock up on simple items like bananas, apples, or even crackers that can be eaten in the room to make this transition easier.
There are several of these around the Centro. We prefer the one on C. Macadonio Alcala and Av, José Maria Morelos.
They have wonderful coffee and a small menu of pastries. You eat in a small open-air courtyard that is quiet and peaceful.
There is another location close to the Santo Domingo Church, that is much larger, with seating at long tables indoors.
Location: C. Macadonio Alcalá 104
At first glance, this cafe looks like it only serves coffee and drinks, but there is actually a much larger menu. They have a terrific yogurt, fruit, and honey dish that is served like a parfait. We also tried their vegetarian baguette which was delightful, as well as their coffee. They also have a great selection of smoothies.
Seating is in an outdoor courtyard with a stone fountain (with flowers rather than water) right next to the door for MARO, the all-female Mujeres Artesanas market.
Location: Plaza Don Pedro, C. de Manual Garcia Vigil 204. Closed Sunday.
Marito & Moglie Cafe
This small coffee shop a few blocks east of the Teatro Macedonio Alcala is tiny, but the food is delicious. Try to get here early to get a table, they usually open at 8 am. There are 5 tables inside, and most quickly become communal tables full of people working on laptops. There are a few additional tables in a small courtyard.
We had to wait a bit to get the only table for four inside, but it was worth the wait. The menu is small- 8 or 9 dishes. We tried the yogurt and chia pudding (the chia pudding has a grits-like consistency), avocado toast, Caprese sandwich, and the ham sandwich. Oh, and of course espressos and a croissant! We called it brunch, and enjoyed every bite.
The downside to the cafe is with so many people working around us we felt it necessary to keep the kids to a low level of noise, which can sometimes be a challenge.
Location: Miguel Hidalgo 1204. Closed Sunday.
This cafe is tiny- four tables and four bar stools, so get there early. We arrived just after 9 am and quickly watched the last croissant disappear from the half-empty pastry shelf. After 10 am they open the door to the inner courtyard which has a few more tables.
They have quite an extensive menu- order your coffee and pastry at the counter, then browse the full menu on your mobile device. We had a muffin-like pastry with cinnamon and cardamom that we all liked so much we almost ordered another!
We also had the chia pudding which is served cold with fruit and granola, the oatmeal pancakes which come with banana slices and a blueberry compote, and the eggs and toast.
Location: Av. Hidalgo 911. Opens at 7:30, 8 am on Sundays.
I’m putting this under “breakfast” because it is a coffee shop, but it makes a delightful afternoon snack stop. This coffee shop is in the neighborhood of Jalatlaco, to the East of the Centro. We stopped here while exploring the neighborhood and shared a yogurt smoothie, two pastries, and some espresso.
The pastries were some of the best we’ve had anywhere, I’d come back to this area just to eat here. It’s a lovely walk from the Centro, we highly recommend stopping here.
Location: Aldama 322. Opens daily at 10 am.
This cafe with a bakery to the side is great for breakfast or lunch. We tried to check it out, but they were temporarily closed- we were told the flag on the door indicated a strike.
This cafe has a covered courtyard and is known for its terrific sourdough bread. They serve breakfast until 1 pm. We hear they have a delicious vegetarian Bahn-mi sandwich.
Location: C. Porfirio Diaz 207
Where to Eat Lunch or Dinner in Oaxaca City with Kids
Some of these restaurants can be interchanged between lunch and dinner, depending on the day. We often prefer to eat one heavier meal (either lunch or dinner), and one lighter meal.
We also find that sharing a few dishes increases the chances of everyone in the family finding something they like. The phrase “para compartir” comes in very handy, we also often ask for extra plates to make the sharing easier.
Don’t forget that side orders are usually available, though they may not be listed on the menu. We’ve had great success ordering plates of rice, beans, or even fried eggs for the kids to supplement the more complex meals we are ordering.
This small cafe is perfect for lunch- and in a very handy location close to the Templo de Santo Domingo. The walls are covered in contemporary art, the menu is typical Oaxacan but with quite a few vegetarian options.
They also offer inexpensive sides of rice, beans, and guacamole, which are always winners with our kids!
Location: C. de Manual Garcia Vigil 519.
We ate at this all-vegetarian restaurant for lunch, but you could also easily eat here for dinner. The space is a lovely interior courtyard with branches and greenery covering the opening..
We had the bean soup (with a touch of mint), the hummus platter that comes with carrots, cucumber, olives, and pita, and the tacos dorados that included 2 tacos stuffed with jamaica flowers and 2 tacos stuffed with plantain. Everything we tried was delicious and affordable.
Location: C. Porfirio Diaz 1105. Closed Sunday.
This small restaurant was a clear family favorite in Oaxaca. There are only a few tables inside an open-air courtyard, so arrive early to get a table. The menu is small, but everything was delicious. Nothing was particularly spicy, which means we were able to share all around.
The menu is handwritten and changes often. We tried the tomato and avocado salad, a vegetarian tamale, and a chicken with mushrooms dish.
Location: Miguel Hidalgo 1111. Opens daily at 1 pm.
La Casa de Tio Güero
We were thrilled to be able to order the Oaxacan specialty Chile en Nogada here!
They also offer all seven moles sauces, so you can choose to try a new one (we chose Coloradito which was delicious). We were also able to get a simple side of pasta for E(4), which was cooked perfectly. S(7) chose a ham sandwich, the bread was crusty and delightful.
Ask to eat on the rooftop terrace- but bring a sweater it can get windy. The terrace is small, with a colorful mural, and wonderful views of the hills. Plan to arrive for sunset if you can.
Location: C. de Manual Garcia Vigil 715
Coquina Hua Xha
This restaurant is really small- three tables small, so arrive early for dinner. A husband and wife team cooks everything in a kitchen right next to the tables. They work together like a well-oiled machine!
We had the enmoladas huevos, the chicken mole, the Italian sandwich, and several extra fried eggs and rice for the kids. The tortillas are a highlight-they are flavorful and delicious.
Location: C. Macedonio Alcalá 902. Closed Sunday.
This restaurant draws a lot of families. It specializes in hamburgers, including vegetarian options. They also have fresh salads, burritos and mac and cheese.
We shared a portobello burger that came with a roasted tomato and roasted red peppers on it. There were also two house-made salsas to choose from.
The kids shared a plate of mac and cheese, which was made with higher quality cheese than we normally find in this dish- E(4) declared it the best mac and cheese she’d ever tasted, while S(7) felt that the cheese was “too stinky” and refused to eat it.
La Hostería de Alcalá
We ate here for lunch, but it would have been a better choice for dinner. This restaurant is on the fancier side, in a large, courtyard with draping greenery. You have the option of having a Ceaser salad made tableside, for example.
We shared the chile rellenos, a side of rice, a side of beans, some guacamole, and some agua frescas, and had plenty of food.
Location: C. Macedonio Alcalá 307
Recommended Places We Didn’t Get to Try:
Here are a few places that were on our list as possibilities, but that we didn’t get a chance to try on our trip to Oaxaca. These are on our list for our next visit!
This restaurant is inside an art gallery, with an inner courtyard and lots of greenery. It gets rave reviews for everything from its coffee to its mole sauces.
Location: C. Macedonio Alcalá 303
We didn’t get a chance to try this traditional Mexican restaurant with its bright orange exterior. They should be an excellent option for either lunch or dinner. They are particularly known for their delicious pozoles.
Location: Miguel Hidalgo 1017. Closed Sunday.
Where to Eat Dessert in Oaxaca City with Kids
Of course, you can often eat dessert in Oaxaca City at the same place you eat your meal, but sometimes you need a little something different…
This fancy chocolate shop is just across the street from Coquina Hua Xha. The chocolates are in all sorts of fancy shapes and colors. Nothing is labeled, but the staff is happy to explain each chocolate to you.
We chose a long melon-colored chocolate to share that contained mamey flavored mousse. Mamey was new to us, but apparently is a fruit that tastes sort of like sweet potato with cinnamon. It grows in Florida, Mexico, and the Caribbean.
Location: C. Macedonio Alcalá 808. Opens most days at 1pm.
This cake shop sells deliciousness by the slice. They have everything from banana creme pie to dark chocolate hazelnut cake. They specialize in sweet bakery items and coffees, but also sell a few sandwiches.
We tried the dulce de leche cream pie which has bananas inside it, as well as the dark chocolate hazelnut cake. Both were divine.
We agreed to come back to try the red velvet crepe layer cake, as well as some kind of cookie-based cake with fresh strawberries on top.
Location: Humboldt 103. Closed Monday.
Museo de las Nieves
Don’t be fooled by the name- this is an ice cream shop, not a museum. Nieves are made with crushed ice, like sorbet, as opposed to helados, which are made with cream.
At this shop which has been around since 1857, you can try lots of unique flavors from mezcal to plantain and cream. Make sure to taste a few before you choose your final flavor. All the flavors are made with organic ingredients.
We chose mamey and tuna (nopal, or prickly pear cactus), and both were delicious.
Location: C. Macedonio Alcalá 706. Opens most days at noon.
In your quest for dessert, don’t forget the marquesita street carts! For 30-35 pesos, you can get this Mexican specialty with your topping of choice.
It’s essentially a batter cooked like a crepe but tastes more like an ice cream cone with a filling. We tried one with Nutella, and one with cajeta (goat’s milk caramel)- both girls chose the cajeta as their favorite. You can also add bananas if you wish!
Location: All over in the evenings, often along C. Macedonio Alcalá south of C de Mariano Abasolo.
What Food is Oaxaca Known For?
Oaxaca is the most ethnically diverse state in Mexico, and so has a lot of diverse, unique dishes.
Oaxaca is particularly known for its wide variety (seven) of mole sauces, its mezcal (a smokey alcohol made from agave), and its chocolate.
You’ll also find Tlayudas, which are like a pizza made on a tortilla, and Tejate, a milk-like drink made from corn.
The Culture Trip wrote a great list of specialties to look for when visiting Oaxaca.
Can I Drink the Water in Oaxaca?
No, you should not drink tap water in Oaxaca.
All food stalls and restaurants will use bottled water to make drinks, so don’t be afraid to try the delicious agua frescas you see around town!
Stick to bottled water, or use a Steripen to kill any bacteria in the water.
How to Get Around Oaxaca with Kids
All of the places we’ve listed here are an easy walk from the Centro. There is no Uber in Oaxaca, so you’ll need to take a street taxi or collectivo if you wish to explore other parts of the city.
If you plan to explore the surrounding area including the very popular archeological site of Monte Alban, the famous Tule tree, and the petrified waterfalls of Hierve El Agua, you should consider renting a car.
We use Discover Cars because they are very clear about what you get with your rental- there are no surprise fees when you pick up the car.
Check Prices: Rental from Discover Cars
Where to Stay in Oaxaca with Kids
We advise staying close to the Centro when first visiting and exploring Oaxaca. We found that we spent most of our time on two strips- up by the Templo Santa Domingo, and to the east of the Teatro Macedonio Alcalá.
The cafes and restaurants that intrigued us seemed to be clustered in these areas. Unlike other cities we’ve visited as a family in Mexico, we spent little time at the Zocalo.
Central Hotel: Hotel Oaxaca Real
This is where we stayed. The location was great, we could walk all over the Centro, into Xochimilco, and Jalatlaco. The room and bathroom were small- the room included a small table and two chairs, but we would have preferred more room.
There is a small pool in the middle courtyard, and S(7) loved that they supply Agua Chocolate every morning and Té Limon every afternoon in the lobby.
Check Availability: Hotel Oaxaca Real
Alternate Budget Hotel: Hotel Casa las Mercedes
This hotel is down by the theater, close to a lot of the cafes and restaurants we liked. Breakfast is included in many room rates.
Check Availability: Hotel Casa las Mercedes
There You Have It: Where to Eat in Oaxaca
This list of where to eat in Oaxaca with kids should keep every member of the family happy. All of these places are budget-friendly and serve a wide variety of food.
We look forward to exploring Oaxaca on future visits and adding new favorites to this list!