Seafood Restaurants — Oaxaca City, Oaxaca
Early in the morning, weather permitting, the fishermen along Oaxaca’s Pacific coast climb into their lanchas, small fiberglass boats powered by single-engine outboard motors, and head out to sea, returning with just enough mahi-mahi, red snapper, or tuna to eke out a living, albeit a hard and precarious one.
Once ashore, the day’s catch is packed in ice, sold locally, or trucked inland, north along one of the state's three major highways winding through the rugged southern sierra, eventually arriving before day’s end at one of the state’s many highland or valley mercados, including all the ones in the city of Oaxaca.
With this reliable supply of fresh fish from the sea, the city has become something of a hot spot for good, reasonably priced seafood. And of the many restaurants in town specializing in seafood, the three reviewed here — La Red, Marco Polo, and Don Camarón — all stand out. As for the reviews of all the restaurants in the city listed in this guide, not just the ones specializing in seafood, read the article Restaurants — Oaxaca City, Oaxaca.
La Red • Seafood Restaurant • $$-$$$ • (M)
A local favorite, this marisquería inspires repeat visits with its low prices, tasty seafood, and welcoming vibe. There are two La Red restaurants in the city, one in the Centro Histórico, a block south of the Zócalo, the other in the Reforma neighborhood, about a thirty-minute walk north of the Zócalo.
- Las Casas 101, corner Bustamante; South of Independencia, Centro Histórico; Daily 12 noon - 8 p.m.; Mex$80-150; phone 951-514-6853.
- Belisario Domínguez 225, corner Emiliano Zapata; Colonia Reforma; Daily 12 noon - 8 p.m.; Mex$80-150; phone 951-515-1660.
Marco Polo • Seafood Restaurant • $-$$$ • (D)
There are two Marco Polo restaurants in the city, one set in the historic center of the city, the Centro Histórico, across the street from El Llano park, where patrons dine in a large garden overflowing with ferns and other tropical plants, the second restaurant, with similarly lush outdoor dining, located in the middle-class Reforma neighborhood, about a thirty minute walk north of the Zócalo. Open for breakfast and comida only, both locations bake and grill some of the finest seafood in the city, drawing in a steady stream of customers throughout the day. The comida specials always feature a fresh fish of the day, usually red snapper, baked outdoors in wood-fired adobe brick ovens. In addition to seafood, the menu has some traditional Oaxacan dishes, including (budget travelers take note) breakfast specials for 49 pesos, which come with unlimited refills of coffee and, if requested, a basket full of warm, filling corn tortillas.
- Pino Suárez 806, across the street from El Llano park; North of Iglesia de Santo Domingo, Centro Histórico; Daily 8 a.m. - 6:30 p.m., closed Tue; MX$49 - 200; Most major credit cards; phone 951-513-4308; www.cocinadelmar.com; email@example.com.
- Calzado Porfirio Díaz 219; Colonia Reforma; Daily 8 a.m. - 6:30 p.m., closed Tue; MX$49 - 200; Most major credit cards; phone 951-518-4309; www.cocinadelmar.com; firstname.lastname@example.org..
Don Camarón • Seafood Restaurant • $$-$$$ • (E)
The only thing missing at this Sinaloa-style seafood restaurant — with its extensive menu of fish tacos, shrimp cocktails, and every possible permutation of filleted fish and whole pescado, including the eyes — are the warm breezes off the Gulf of California, all of which makes this a worthy alternative to the other two seafood specialists in town: La Red and Marco Polo.
- Jazmines 618, corner Heroica Escuela Naval Militar; Colonia Reforma; Daily noon - 8 p.m.; MX$75 - 150; Most major credit cards; phone 951-132-5891; www.restaurantdoncamaron.com.