If you've never tried comida corrida, you're in for a treat. You might be asking, what is comida corrida? Well, it's an affordable lunchtime option served at restaurants all over Mexico sometimes called menu del dia. You'll often find the meal's several small courses posted on signboards or on a chalkboard on the restaurant wall.
Trying comida corrida in Oaxaca is particularly delightful as ingredients are fresh, locally-sourced, and change every day giving you a chance to sample a variety of new recipes. It's also affordable, expect to pay between 30 and 130 pesos for the meal which will include an agua del dia (sweet fruit water) a simple soup of pasta or vegetables in broth, and a hot entree. Many also come with a small dessert, like flan or pay de queso (similar to cheesecake). Some restaurants will sub a salad for the starter, and these days many places include a coffee as well. While the meal is typically served between 1 and 4pm, chefs often make a set amount of food so it lasts until it's gone.
Here are the ten best spots to try comida corrida around the city.
Try a comida corrida at any of Oaxaca's best spots for an affordable taste of the region © Melissa Kuhnell / Getty Images
Artsy hotspot, Sabina Sabe, is a bit dark and swanky inside with brick walls and exposed pipe giving it an industrial feel. It boasts an extensive selection of mezcal and an inventive cocktail menu, which might raise the price of your cominda corrida, but is worth it if you like a sweet afternoon drink.
This place has reliably decent food, including a vegetarian option, every day. The comida corrida at Santo Sabor is also very affordable, at around 60 pesos, and usually offers multiple entree options to go with your agua and dessert. It offers tried-and-true traditional recipes as well as some fun fusion experiments, and menus aren't repeated for many months. If you’re out earlier in the day instead, stop in for their basic breakfast buffet.
Many offerings at Cabuche are prepared on a traditional comal © Bex VanKook / Lonely Planet
Southeast of the Zocalo, Cabuche, is a bit pricer. The comida corrida tends to fluctuate between 100 and 130 pesos depending on the ingredients. The entrees usually feature a fish fillet or pork ribs. For a smaller and more affordable lunch, try the pozole instead. The menu also boasts a selection of burritos, tacos, and other corn dishes prepared on the comal, including a number of vegetarian options. Best of all, most everything prepared on the comal is made with blue corn.
Near Llano park, Cocina Isabel, isn’t as fancy as some of the others on the list, but it offers a truly classic Oaxacan comida corrida with more choice than you’ll find anywhere else. You can pick from two soups, a dozen or more entrees and several different desserts — some combinations cost as little as 45 pesos. You can add extras, like an order of black beans and you can even get your comida corrida to go!
Casa Taviche serves fresh, locally sourced entrees like these cochinita pibil tacos © Bex VanKoot / Lonely Planet
Just down the street from Cabuche, you may not think much of the small Casa Taviche at first sight, but it is absolutely the star of the comida corrida show. It has a lovely, bright atmosphere with cute pastel-painted furniture and plays chill music all day. The menu is more affordable than some, usually around 85 pesos and includes two glasses of the agua del dia. The rest of the menu also changes daily, depending on the ingredients available, so you know all the food is fresh and locally sourced — the best that Oaxaca has to offer.
Cafe Nuevo Mundo
Out on the northwest end of downtown is Cafe Nuevo Mundo, a small spot that is known for its many beverages and sweets. A small bit of a featured dessert is the best part of Cafe Nuevo Mundo's afternoon meal.
The food is good, but the rooftop views are unbeatable at Comala © Bex VanKoot / Lonely Planet
The regular menu at Comalá isn’t particularly inspiring, but the comida corrida menu offers up a bit more creativity at an affordable price. The real reason to dine at this downtown spot is the view from the rooftop patio, which can’t be beaten by any of the other spots on this list.
Another small restaurant that is fairly new to the scene, Quinque looks like a fun and funky burger and craft beer joint, with its black and white wall art and simple checked tablecloths. In addition to the regular menu, the restaurant offers a daily comida corrida for only 60 pesos, and is open as late as 10pm. Though the selection of the day is bound to run out before then.
Las Quince Letras goes above and beyond with its platos fuertes, like this stuffed breast in mole sauce © Bex VanKoot / Lonely Planet
La Quince Letras
At Las Quince Letras, you get a meal that tastes home-cooked with service that feels five-star. The restaurant is fairly large, with a number of large open rooms inside the downtown colonial building. The best seats in the house are out on the bright covered patio, where you can watch fresh handmade tortillas and other corn masa treats being made. A typical menu includes not just a soup but a snack from the comal, like memelas, plus your entree, plenty of the agua del dia to drink, and a dessert to finish.
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