OAXACA CITY VEGAN FOOD GUIDE

 
 
 
Street view of Oaxaca City during the early morning.
 
 
 

BEING VEGAN IN OAXACA CITY

Forward by Clareminded

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In case you’re unaware, I’ve been in Oaxaca City for the last 5 months with the BLOKLIFE plant-based movement, crushing Oaxaca vegan food on the reg. If Oaxaca City isn’t on your radar yet, it is now. Not only is the city bursting with color, beautiful architecture, and an insane amount of diverse flora, the veg scene here is off the charts. Oaxaca has a reputation for delivering some of the best Mexican food in the whole country, and to my surprise that includes the vegan scene. Before moving here I was advised that is was near impossible to eat vegan in Oaxaca. Maybe their scope was somewhat jaded, because without doing much digging at all I was able to score some world class vegan eats.

Apart from some of my favorites listed below, Oaxaca City also supplies local ingredients, fully organic markets, a plethora of juice bars, massive plates of vegetables and dishes exploding with flavor. One tip, don’t rely on Happy Cow. Get uncomfortable, follow your nose and you’re likely to stumble upon some surprising vegan eats.

Rule of thumb, if you don’t see vegan items on the menu, just ask. Speaking as someone who’s been in and out of the hospitality industry for a decade, 9/10 restaurants will no doubt accommodate you and your vegan needs.

Happy Planting,

Clare


 

OAXACA CITY VEGAN GUIDE MAP

We’ve assembled a Google map of our favorite vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants across Oaxaca City! Click the icon on the top left to open the list of places to get more details on each one. Click the icon on the top right to expand the map even bigger. Happy hunting!


OUR FAVORITE VEGAN-FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS, SHOPS, MARKETS & CAFES IN OAXACA CITY

Hierba Dulce

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Vegan tacos from Hierba Dulce in Oaxaca City with a side salad, beans, and guacamole.

Vegan tacos from Hierba Dulce in Oaxaca City with a side salad, beans, and guacamole.

 

Currently the only exclusively vegan restaurant in Oaxaca City, a visit is practically mandatory. If you’re staying nearby you’ll likely find yourself eating here daily. There’s something so comforting about being handed a menu that you know you can eat everything on. Remember they’re unfortunately not open for dinner, so get here early.

Favorite Vegan Menu Items:

  • Taco Plate - best $60 pesos (or $3 USD) that you’ll spend in town.

  • Avocado Toast - they take it to another level

  • Enchiladas - saucy and oh so bossy. Did I mention their cheese is vegan? Yes please.


Calabacitas Tiernas

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Vegan curry plate and kombucha from Calabacitas Tiernas in Oaxaca City.

Vegan curry plate and kombucha from Calabacitas Tiernas in Oaxaca City.

 

Calabacitas Tiernas has something for everyone in your group, even the omni’s. Their menu has a clearly marked vegan section making ordering a breeze. They have a good selection of kombucha too, we’d suggest trying the ones on tap.

Favorite Vegan Menu Items:

  • Falafel

  • Banana Bread (aka Panque Vegano)

  • Curry

  • Sopa de verduras - perfectly light to wet the palate or if your tummy is unsettled

  • Agua de Jamaica - get the ½ jarra because it goes down like melted butter on a pancake, quick AF.

  • Kombucha on tap


 
Main dining room at the vegan-friendly restaurant Boulenc in Oaxaca City.

Main dining room at the vegan-friendly restaurant Boulenc in Oaxaca City.

 

A venerable Oaxaca institution, Boulenc has the best bread in Oaxaca. Period. Maybe the best bread we’ve ever had — yeah we said it. What started out as a small artisanal bakery has grown into a full restaurant and bar that practically every tourist in Oaxaca will pass through at some point. Voted the best restaurant in Oaxaca by Tripadvisor, plan ahead for the crowds unless you’re visiting in the off-season. The restaurant doesn’t have a ton of vegan options, but what they lack in quantity they more than make up for in quality. Our go-to is the vegan pizza, which is ridiculously good. The vegetarian sandwich (without cheese) won’t disappoint, and neither will the mantequilla de mani (peanut butter toast).

Favorite Vegan Menu Items:

  • Vegan Pizza - we order the mushroom pizza without cheese and usually add eggplant as a topping. The sauce and the bread carries this pizza so much that you’ll probably wonder why cheese was ever invented.

  • Veggie sandwich for lunch

  • Mantequilla de Mani (Peanut Butter Toast) with banana and homemade guayaba marmalade (be sure to ask for it vegan so they don’t toast it with butter)

  • Chai latte with almond milk

  • TIP: If you’re in Oaxaca City for a while, make sure to pick up a loaf of their sourdough bread at the bakery next to the restaurant. You can thank us later.


 
First floor dining area and food bar at the vegan-friendly restaurant Local 215 in Oaxaca City. There’s also a great loft space on the 2nd floor to eat or browse the web.

First floor dining area and food bar at the vegan-friendly restaurant Local 215 in Oaxaca City. There’s also a great loft space on the 2nd floor to eat or browse the web.

 

Next door to Gourmand, one of our favorite latte spots, sits this modern fast-casual vegan-friendly restaurant and cafe otherwise known as Local 215. From smoothie bowls to vegan waffles and fresh-pressed juices, Local 215 is the jam. Their menu is very vegan-friendly and you can make several things from scratch like juices, smoothie bowls, etc.

Favorite Vegan Menu Items:

  • Waffles Rojos (ask them to make the waffles without butter)

  • Verde Machin Smoothie Bowl

  • El Ahorcado Smoothie Bowl

  • Chiavocho - the best cold oat game we’ve been served on the road. There’s enough for two people in this one bowl if you each grab a juice.

  • Clorofila Juice

  • Popeye Juice - Popeye says to get your greens in. Popeye knows best.

  • Dermashot

  • Matcha Coco Frap - if you’re looking for a kick without the shakiness of coffee sip on this creamy dream pop.


La Matatena Pizzeria

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Welcome to the vegan-friendly pizza joint otherwise known as La Manatena. Two words: VEGAN CHEESE!! Yes it’s true, there is a legit pizza place with real-deal plant-based cheese that melts exactly how you want it to. Bit on the pricier side by Oaxaca standards but worth every peso when you need your pizza fix.

Favorite Vegan Menu Items:

  • Make-your-own vegan pizza (they also offer gluten-free crust if that’s what you’re into)

  • Vegan lasagna


Taj Mahal Indian Cuisine

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Entrance to the vegan-friendly Taj Mahal Indian Cuisine restaurant in Oaxaca City.

Entrance to the vegan-friendly Taj Mahal Indian Cuisine restaurant in Oaxaca City.

 

If you’ve done the Indian buffet thing before, this place should be familiar. The $99 pesos (about $5) all-you-can-eat buffet generally has 4-5 fully vegan items to choose from. You can also order off their extensive menu and generally pay about the same per person as the buffet. Only rub with the buffet is naan isn’t a part of it. Still a great deal for a bottomless plate of plant-based goodness.

Favorite Vegan Menu Items:

  • Chana Curry

  • Mixed Vegetable

  • Aloo Ghobi

  • Spinach and Potato (not on the menu but he will make it special if you ask)

  • Lentils

  • Also, every day there is an all-you-can-eat buffet with several vegan options

P.S. Say hi to the chef and owner, Irfan, for us. We’ve dined at Taj Mahal so much he invited our crew to his home in the hills for an authentic homemade Indian dinner. It was fantastic!


Rayon Pochote Organic Market

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Entrance to the robust and vegan-friendly Rayon Pochote Organic Market in Oaxaca City.

Entrance to the robust and vegan-friendly Rayon Pochote Organic Market in Oaxaca City.

 

This cool organic market has plenty of options for everyone. Not only do a number of the vendors cater to the plant-based diet, there’s now even a fully vegan restaurant tucked in the back corner! (see Verde Vegano below)


 
Green smoothie bowl and tofu scramble at the vegan restaurant Verde Vegano in Oaxaca City.

Green smoothie bowl and tofu scramble at the vegan restaurant Verde Vegano in Oaxaca City.

 

Verde Vegano is located in a back corner of the Rayon Pochote Organic Market. A bit difficult to find but well worth the effort. Everything here is 100% plant-based so go ahead and order anything on the menu. Everything is good but we particularly like the scrambled tofu breakfast, possibly the only place in Oaxaca that does a legit tofu scramble.

Favorite Vegan Menu Items:

  • Tofu Scramble (we prefer a hybrid of the Mexicana and the mushroom scrambles)

  • Chocolate Pancakes

  • Smoothie bowl


Le Campane

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I give La Campane credit for the work they put into their vegan menu options, I just wish they tried a little harder on the service side of things. Feels like everyone working isn’t happy to be there. If you can get past the low-energy staff its worth a visit, especially if you aren’t comfortable with requesting modifications in Spanish. There menu has vegan items clearly marked and there’s a large selection of them.

Favorite Vegan Menu Items:

  • Lentil Soup - every vegans staple, and if it's not you should try upping your legume game

  • House-made soy hamburger

  • Vegan fajitas

  • Vegan tacos

  • Spaghetti with “meat” sauce


 
Vegan pad thai from Mia Arroz in Etla just outside of Oaxaca City.

Vegan pad thai from Mia Arroz in Etla just outside of Oaxaca City.

 

Little off the beaten path if you’re home range doesn’t extend much beyond the Zocalo and Santo Domingo areas. But hot damn is it worth the trip. We were pleasantly surprised to find that Oaxaca had a proper Pad Thai that not only was good, but stood up to some of the best we’ve ever had. Also popular with the locals, this place can get quite busy, meaning the service can be painfully slow, so we’d suggest going for lunch shortly after they open if you don’t want it to become a 2 hour ordeal.

Favorite Vegan Menu Items

  • Pad Thai - You literally don’t even need to look at the menu. Seriously, drop it. Order the vegetable pad thai (minus egg or sin huevos) and maybe another for the road. You’re welcome.


 
Vegan veggie samosas with gravy, otherwise known as the manchurian, from Mini Taj in Oaxaca City.

Vegan veggie samosas with gravy, otherwise known as the manchurian, from Mini Taj in Oaxaca City.

 

How great is it that there’s 2 different Indian restaurant options in the Centro?! If buffets aren’t your thing check out Mini Taj. Unlike the Taj Mahal proper, they don’t do a daily buffet. This place is quaint and your waiter is also the chef and owner. How badass is that?! While the experience is nothing to write home about, the quality of this Indian food is top notch.

Favorite Vegan Menu Items:

  • Manchurian (Veggie Samosas with gravy - make sure you get the gravy...it’s unbelievable, you can thank us later)

  • Mixed Vegetable

  • Chana Masala

  • Aloo Ghobi

  • Dal


Trigo Verde

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There are a number of organic health food and supplement stores in Oaxaca but only Trigo Verde has a full kitchen with a number of very cheap vegan options. Everything from tacos to Tlayudas, you can nab a quick meal here for only a few bucks.

Favorite Vegan Menu Items:

  • Amaranth Burger

  • Soy Burger

  • Vegan Soyrizo Tacos

  • Vegan Pulled Pork Tacos

  • Vegan Tlayuda


Cafe Los Cuiles

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Vegan breakfast soy scramble with beans and avocado from Los Cuiles cafe in Oaxaca City.

Vegan breakfast soy scramble with beans and avocado from Los Cuiles cafe in Oaxaca City.

 

Located across from Parque Labastida, Cafe Los Cuiles is a popular tourist stop. There are times you might have to wait to be seated, but at least you can take a stroll through Labastida and check out some local artists works for sale. We highly recommend the soy scramble for breakfast, and the vegan tacos for lunch.

Favorite Vegan Menu Items

  • Vegan Tofu Scramble

  • Vegan Tacos


Monica Restaurant Hindu

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Vegan Indian food has been served at Monica Restaurant in San Felipe, just north of Oaxaca City.

Vegan Indian food has been served at Monica Restaurant in San Felipe, just north of Oaxaca City.

If you find yourself up in the San Felipe area you’ll have far fewer dining options than in Centro. Fortunately San Felipe has their very own Indian restaurant, coincidentally owned by a family member of the folks behind Mini Taj so you already know its good. We highly recommend checking out San Felipe as it’s just north of Oaxaca City.

Favorite Vegan Menu Items

  • Specialty Dish

    • Mushrooms & Peas with special sauce

  • Mixed Vegetable

  • Aloo Ghobi

  • Chana Masala

  • Naan (of the 3 Indian spots in the Oaxaca City area, the best naan is here)


La Popular

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Ironically La Popular is quite popular with both locals and travelers. It’s rare to stroll by and not see almost every table full. Even so, it's often not too difficult to snag a table as they’re happy to seat you with strangers if there’s room. We love the communal vibe and have made some new friends along the way. They only have two vegan menu items, but they are pretty darn good. This is great place to good with a group of mixed dieters.

Favorite Vegan Menu Items:

  • Vegetarian Tlayuda (without cheese)

  • Veggie Soup


Origen Vida Vegana

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origen-vida-vegana-v1.jpg
 

If you’re spending a significant amount of time in Oaxaca City you’ll be thankful for Origen, the only exclusively plant-based store in town.  They have most of the hard-to-find items you miss from back home, including a large selection of vegan cheese, plant-based meats, Daiya frozen pizzas and much more! Plus, the owner is vegan and pretty amazing.


Pochote Organic Market

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Only open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, this crunchy little market is a bit of a hike but totally worth it. There’s a vegetarian stall that also serves a few vegan options. The owners daughter, who is vegan, prepares them however they’re often sold out by Saturday morning, so go early. Or better yet go on Friday.

  • Favorite Vegan Menu Items:

    • Chickpea Veggie Pancakes (more savory than sweet)

    • Veggie Sushi Roll

    • Vegan tamales


 
Holding one of our favorite vegan soy lattes at Jaguar Yuu Cafe in Oaxaca City.

Holding one of our favorite vegan soy lattes at Jaguar Yuu Cafe in Oaxaca City.

 

One of our favorite coffee shop cafes in Oaxaca, Jaguar Yuu has fast wifi, great coffee and a handful of solid vegan items on the menu to fuel you up. The breakfast smoothie bowl with a soy latte is our goto on most mornings. Also, their choice in melodic electronic music is usually on point.

  • Favorite Vegan Menu Items

    • Breakfast smoothie bowl

    • Best soy lattes in the city, for $30 pesos (or $1.50 USD). Most lattes will run you $40 - $60 pesos in Oaxaca City. 


La Biznaga

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La Biznaga has a sign that reads “Slow Food.” They’re referring to the service.. That said it’s a cool space with an open courtyard and great pulque. There are a couple of vegan options on the menu, but they’re not advertised. Pastry cones stuffed with mushrooms is basically what you want to order.

  • Favorite Vegan Menu Items:

    • Mushroom Stuffed Pastry Cones


Organic Harvest Market

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Really cool and funky organic market with lots of great vendors. A bit on the bouggie side, but in a good way, this place has everything you’d expect to find in a crunchy upscale cafeteria/market. There’s even 3 different kinds of pulque.


Los Danzantes

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If you’re looking to splurge head on over to Los Danzantes. Hats off to whoever designed the dining area - its modern, sexy and a great backdrop for a date or celebratory meal.

There’s one veg dish and it can be executed vegan and it’s pretty darn good.


Berlina

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While you’re waiting for your reservation at Los Danzantes, take the stairs up to Berlina for some good vibes and great soups.

  • Favorite Vegan Menu Items:

    • Broccoli Soup

    • Cauliflower Soup