El Mesón — Oaxaca City, Oaxaca
Oaxacan Restaurant • $$-$$$ • (B)
Every day from early in the morning until late in the evening, this Centro Histórico Oaxacan, only a stone's throw from the Zócalo, lays out an extensive, all-you-can-eat buffet of hearty, traditional favorites. It all gets started just before 8 o'clock in the morning, when the cooks begin to roll out the breakfast buffet, leaning heavily on scrambled eggs, which they keep replenishing until noon. Shortly after noon, they switch over to comida, which continues through dinner and right up until midnight. The comida buffet always includes a couple of large bowls of carnes drowning in moles, along with another large bowl of frijoles entero, usually black or pinto, making this one of the few places in the Centro serving their beans whole, a real treat for anyone needing a break from the region's ubiquitous refried beans. Regardless of the hour, be sure to ask for a stack of the excellent corn tortillas, which the waitresses hand press and grill to order, and which are included in the price of the buffet. Not up for the buffet? There is a large selection of reasonably priced entrées and à la carte items on the menu to choose from as well.
- Hidalgo 805, northeast corner of the Zócalo; Around the Zócalo, Centro Histórico; Daily 8 a.m. - midnight; MX$50 - 125; Most major credit cards; phone 951-516-2729.