Casa Oaxaca and Los Danzantes Excel for Restaurant Fare and Ambiance.Each of Casa Oaxaca El Restaurante, and Los Danzantes, should be on the “must visit” list for tourists to Oaxaca seeking a special experience for both food and ambiance.
While La Catrina de Alcalá runs a close third, and Temple struggles to survive through changing its image with a new menu, Casa Oaxaca and Los Danzantes boast arguably the most pleasing all round dining experiences in Oaxaca, combining exquisite ambiance with top notch cuisine. Oaxaxa restaurant Los Danzantes has struggled with consistency in the past, but the restaurant now appears to have found the recipe for success through service, seven days a week. And Casa Oaxaca still ranks on top, though locals have commented that tourists are at times favored in terms of waiter attentiveness.
Ambiance of Oaxaca Restaurant Los Danzantes
Los Danzantes is accessed by a long wooden plank-way leading from the street to the back of an historic building, original frescoes still gracing some walls. The restaurant is accented with smartly designed, ceiling high adobe walls, and a small pond. Furnishings are simply yet comfortable. An intimate dining / appetizer area with plush leather chairs and sofa can be reserved, or if towards the end of one’s meal it is unoccupied, ask to conclude the evening there, with after-dinner drinks and desserts. Or attend for a late night of appetizers in the lounge: venison tostadas with habanero chili sauce; shredded duck tacos with avocado and chile morita sauce; or chili crusted tuna sashimi with soy vinaigrette.
Entrées at Oaxaca Restaurant Los Danzantes
Pastas include ravioli stuffed with your choice of duck, ricotta or a delicacy known as huitlacoche (corn mold); vegetarian lasagna with basil béchamel and tomato sauce; and thin noodles with smoky chipotle, red onion, cheese and sour cream. For fish, consider seared tuna steak with mango and habanero sauce, or the coconut crusted shrimp with sweet and sour apricot and citrus sauce (also appropriate as an appetizer). For meat and poultry, try the BBQ duck wrapped in banana leaf; beef marinated with mezcal, pineapple and apple; pan roasted filet with sweet potato and Chiapas cheese au gratin with red wine and caramelized onion; or sweet and sour pork ribs with fried plantain and black beans.
Casa Oaxaca el Restaurante, for Special Occasions
For resident Oaxacans planning a special occasion, or tourists wanting a final evening of fine dining, Casa Oaxaca tends to be visited more than any other high end restaurant. In fact, chef Alejandro Ruíz is the restauranteur most called upon to cater grand openings, installations, as well as weddings and other rite of passage celebrations. And of course the city’s literati, visiting international personalities, and politicians often supply the restaurant’s ritz and glitz.
But there’s good reason: service is superb (despite the foregoing qualification); décor is modern and tasteful; the dining room is intimate, with a roof top option for those wanting a breeze and view; and the food satisfies those both wanting continental, and yearning for a hint of Oaxaca.
Casa Oaxaca Restaurant Satiates All
For appetizers try the seafood platter, or go native with jícama tacos filled with huitlacoche, string cheese and grasshoppers. One cannot go wrong with any of the soups or salads. Each of the former is uniquely Mexican in its use of primary ingredients, herbs and spices. Choice of fish varies on a daily basis, but for flavor, top billing goes to the daily catch seasoned with lime, caper and tomato marmalade. Under the meat and game grouping, choose from beef filet, lamb, duck and venison. Every pasta has a Oaxacan flare. Try the caneloni with quince and squash blossom, or the fettuccini with seafood sauce accented by aromatic epazote. Oaxaca’s moles are traditionally combined with a particular meat or poultry. At Casa Oaxaca under the Oaxacan Specialties category, each mole is well-matched with suckling pig, veal tongue, venison, turkey, chicken or duck. However, if there’s a downfall, it’s with the mole verde. Mole verde is perhaps the most difficult mole to prepare institutionally, in terms of maintaining individual ingredient flavors and complexity; best to figure out how to get invited to a native Oaxacan’s home to sample top notch mole verde as traditionally prepared.
Los Danzantes: M. Alcalá 403 – 3, tel: 501- 1184. Open seven days. Casa Oaxaca el Restaurante: Constitución 104 – A, tel: 516-8889. Closed Sundays.