clock menu more-arrow no yes
Mole negro with duck leg at Claro
Mole negro with duck leg at Claro
Amber-Lynn Taber

7 Outstanding Oaxacan Restaurants in NYC

Expect tasajo, memelas, moles, and the Mexican pizzas called tlayudas

View as Map
Mole negro with duck leg at Claro
| Amber-Lynn Taber

Not long ago Oaxacan food was hard to find in New York City, and we looked with jealousy at Los Angeles, where long-established restaurants like Guelaguetza offered a fairly fulsome look at the cuisine. Heck, we even envied New Brunswick, New Jersey, where a handful of restaurants dedicated to Oaxacan cooking flourished. The cuisine is one of Mexico’s most fascinating, featuring as many as 200 pre-Columbian sauces called moles, often summarized as the “legendary seven moles of Oaxaca.” In addition, there are small masa cakes called memelas, tamales wrapped in banana leaves, soupy black beans, rubbery quesillo cheese, and dried beef tasajo, along with lavish use of grasshoppers.

While we still don’t have enough Oaxacan places, we now can boast of a substantial number. Here’s where to find excellent Oaxacan fare in NYC.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. La Morada

Copy Link
308 Willis Ave
Bronx, NY 10454
(718) 292-0235
Visit Website

The long-running Mott Haven cafe has many Oaxacan dishes in its repertoire, including an impressive collection of hard-to-prepare moles. Pick from mole verde, mole negro (like mole poblano but darker), mole pipian (made with pumpkin seeds), spicy mole Oaxaqueño, and mole blanco — a nut-driven sauce that achieves an ivory hue. Apart from those, find such distinctive dishes as tlayudas, hand-patted sopes, and stew served in a basalt mortar.

Chicken mole Oaxaquena
Chicken mole Oaxaquena

2. Cienega Las Tlayudas de Oaxaca Mexican Cuisine

Copy Link
10432 Corona Ave
Corona, NY 11368
(347) 353-2366
Visit Website

This informal, colorfully decorated restaurant, open since 2013 in Corona, specializes in its namesake tlayudas. Sometimes known as Oaxacan pizzas, these giant rounds of masa dough are rolled thin, cooked to near crispness, and topped with ingredients that often include quesillo, black beans, cactus strips, jalapeños, tomato, and avocado — plus meat or poultry. Other good choices include monster tacos placeros, chilaquiles, and enmoladas (mole enchiladas).

Tlayuda featuring fiery chicken tinga
Tlayuda featuring fiery chicken tinga

3. Oxomoco

Copy Link
Read Review |
128 Greenpoint Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11222
(646) 688-4180
Visit Website

Like Claro, this restaurant is driven by a wood-fired grill, including many things that are distinctly southern Mexican, if not specifically Oaxacan. The tacos of lamb barbacoa are superb, and the single tlayuda features quesillo, beans, and a salsa with the favorite Oaxacan herb pipicha. It also glistens with lard, another popular component of tlayudas back home.

Lamb barbacoa tacos topped with squash blossoms
Lamb barbacoa tacos topped with squash blossoms

4. Casa Mezcal

Copy Link
86 Orchard St
New York, NY 10002
(212) 777-2661
Visit Website

Dark and mysterious, this cocktail lounge and Mexican restaurant is a Lower East Side staple, with bar food more adventurous than many of its patrons probably want. There are drinks with rims of pulverized grasshoppers, and grasshopper taquitos, too, plus a nice tlayuda. A classic chileajo is made with vegetables instead of pork. Though the mole list is meager, there are plenty of mezcals to make up for it.

Cheese quesadilla is only one of several grasshopper bearing dishes,
Cheese quesadilla is only one of several grasshopper bearing dishes,

5. Claro

Copy Link
Read Review |
284 3rd Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11215
(347) 721-3126
Visit Website

Claro was one of 2017’s most exciting restaurants, a partly outdoor Mexican bistro near the Gowanus Canal with a wood-fired hearth in which many of the main courses and meats incorporated into the antojitos were roasted, with real Oaxacan flair. The handmade masa cakes called memelas are a specialty, as are a rotating spectrum of moles, including a duck leg in a mole negro and chicken in a mole amarillo. Mezcal and tequila flow freely in the tree-shaded backyard.

Chorizo memela
Chorizo memela

6. La Loba Cantina

Copy Link
Read Review |
709 Church Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11218
(347) 295-1141
Visit Website

This Kensington pair of rooms, culminating in a kitchen you can eat in and a backyard, is decorated in a way that makes you feel like you’re in Mexico. But its emphasis on mezcals, presented in all sorts of interesting ways, means that food takes a back seat. Still, there are some great drinking snacks including the bean-stuffed triangles called tetelas, some tlayudas, and wonderful Oaxacan tamales. Try the green pozole, which is technically more Guerreran than Oaxacan.

Bean and cheese tetelas
Bean and cheese tetelas

7. Costa Chica Mexican Restaurant & Pizzeria

Copy Link
314 Handy St
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
(732) 545-2255
Visit Website

This glossy Mexican restaurant in a former diner is decorated with vividly painted tables and chairs, and presents a southern menu with plenty of Oaxacan choices. The tlayuda is prodigal, as heaped with toppings as it should be, including plenty of avocado and cheese. A fine black mole Oaxaqueño is presented with the usual poached chicken, as well as cecina enchiladas, showing the state’s penchant for dried meats. Another formidable Oaxacan spot, La Placita Mexicana, is located right across the street.

Mixed meat tlayuda
Mixed meat tlayuda

Loading comments...

1. La Morada

308 Willis Ave, Bronx, NY 10454
Chicken mole Oaxaquena
Chicken mole Oaxaquena

The long-running Mott Haven cafe has many Oaxacan dishes in its repertoire, including an impressive collection of hard-to-prepare moles. Pick from mole verde, mole negro (like mole poblano but darker), mole pipian (made with pumpkin seeds), spicy mole Oaxaqueño, and mole blanco — a nut-driven sauce that achieves an ivory hue. Apart from those, find such distinctive dishes as tlayudas, hand-patted sopes, and stew served in a basalt mortar.

308 Willis Ave
Bronx, NY 10454

2. Cienega Las Tlayudas de Oaxaca Mexican Cuisine

10432 Corona Ave, Corona, NY 11368
Tlayuda featuring fiery chicken tinga
Tlayuda featuring fiery chicken tinga

This informal, colorfully decorated restaurant, open since 2013 in Corona, specializes in its namesake tlayudas. Sometimes known as Oaxacan pizzas, these giant rounds of masa dough are rolled thin, cooked to near crispness, and topped with ingredients that often include quesillo, black beans, cactus strips, jalapeños, tomato, and avocado — plus meat or poultry. Other good choices include monster tacos placeros, chilaquiles, and enmoladas (mole enchiladas).

10432 Corona Ave
Corona, NY 11368

3. Oxomoco

128 Greenpoint Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Read Review |
Lamb barbacoa tacos topped with squash blossoms
Lamb barbacoa tacos topped with squash blossoms

Like Claro, this restaurant is driven by a wood-fired grill, including many things that are distinctly southern Mexican, if not specifically Oaxacan. The tacos of lamb barbacoa are superb, and the single tlayuda features quesillo, beans, and a salsa with the favorite Oaxacan herb pipicha. It also glistens with lard, another popular component of tlayudas back home.

128 Greenpoint Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11222

4. Casa Mezcal

86 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002
Cheese quesadilla is only one of several grasshopper bearing dishes,
Cheese quesadilla is only one of several grasshopper bearing dishes,

Dark and mysterious, this cocktail lounge and Mexican restaurant is a Lower East Side staple, with bar food more adventurous than many of its patrons probably want. There are drinks with rims of pulverized grasshoppers, and grasshopper taquitos, too, plus a nice tlayuda. A classic chileajo is made with vegetables instead of pork. Though the mole list is meager, there are plenty of mezcals to make up for it.

86 Orchard St
New York, NY 10002

5. Claro

284 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215
Read Review |
Chorizo memela
Chorizo memela

Claro was one of 2017’s most exciting restaurants, a partly outdoor Mexican bistro near the Gowanus Canal with a wood-fired hearth in which many of the main courses and meats incorporated into the antojitos were roasted, with real Oaxacan flair. The handmade masa cakes called memelas are a specialty, as are a rotating spectrum of moles, including a duck leg in a mole negro and chicken in a mole amarillo. Mezcal and tequila flow freely in the tree-shaded backyard.

284 3rd Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11215

6. La Loba Cantina

709 Church Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11218
Read Review |
Bean and cheese tetelas
Bean and cheese tetelas

This Kensington pair of rooms, culminating in a kitchen you can eat in and a backyard, is decorated in a way that makes you feel like you’re in Mexico. But its emphasis on mezcals, presented in all sorts of interesting ways, means that food takes a back seat. Still, there are some great drinking snacks including the bean-stuffed triangles called tetelas, some tlayudas, and wonderful Oaxacan tamales. Try the green pozole, which is technically more Guerreran than Oaxacan.

709 Church Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11218

7. Costa Chica Mexican Restaurant & Pizzeria

314 Handy St, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Mixed meat tlayuda
Mixed meat tlayuda

This glossy Mexican restaurant in a former diner is decorated with vividly painted tables and chairs, and presents a southern menu with plenty of Oaxacan choices. The tlayuda is prodigal, as heaped with toppings as it should be, including plenty of avocado and cheese. A fine black mole Oaxaqueño is presented with the usual poached chicken, as well as cecina enchiladas, showing the state’s penchant for dried meats. Another formidable Oaxacan spot, La Placita Mexicana, is located right across the street.

314 Handy St
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Related Maps