Above: Chef Keisuke Harada, Kakurege Omakase, Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca - RICARDO RAMOS

Dining Hot Spots on the Oaxaca Coast

Chef Keisuke Harada, Kakurege Omakase - Ricardo Ramos

In contrast to top restaurants in Oaxaca City, those in Puerto Escondido are mostly international, with hints of Mexican flavor. In the town itself, shacks up and down the beach at Playa Zicatela serve seafood and tacos, though we didn’t find any worth recommending. We did enjoy our sunset drinks at La Olita, one of the only beachfront bars serving craft cocktails along with interesting nonalcoholic beverages like locally brewed kombucha. The area near La Punta, which is where you’ll find the biggest selection of shops and restaurants, is known for health-focused cafés. We loved the juices at Piyoli and bought a few snacks for the flight home at Moringa Fresh and Wild.

In addition to enjoying Mexican seafood dishes like aguachiles (similar to a spicy shrimp ceviche) and fish tacos at the resorts, we discovered a Peruvian fusion restaurant, a natural wine bar and a hidden omakase sushi spot.

Chicama

Sesame-crusted tataki-style fish with teriyaki sauce, Chicama

Puerto Escondido sprawls along the coast, but most of the action is centered around La Punta, at the southeast end of Playa Zicatela. There, backpacker bars and hippie juice cafés abound, but it’s also home to the area’s chicest restaurants and shops. Peruvian Chicama makes frequent appearances on local “best of” lists, and for good reason. Even though the restaurant was packed during high season, we didn’t have to wait long for a table (it doesn’t take reservations). The setting is as casual as it gets — the floor is sand, and it’s not uncommon to see patrons in their bathing suits — but the food is impressive. The menu features authentic seafood tiraditos and ceviches alongside vegan and vegetarian options like mushrooms marinated in leche de tigre. Main courses run to Peruvian-Mexican-Continental-fusion fare, including arroz chaufa, one of my favorite Peruvian comfort foods. The fried rice dish came with carrots, peppers, zucchini and broccoli along with grilled marinated prawns. Accompanied by a perfect pisco sour, it was almost enough to transport me to Lima. Closed Tuesday.

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Above: Chef Keisuke Harada, Kakurege Omakase, Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca - RICARDO RAMOS

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