a joy to happen upon a good, safe, traditional
Oaxacan restaurant with a reasonable fixed price luncheon
menu (comida corrida) in the Benito Juarez market district
(aka 20th of November) a couple of blocks southwest of the
Zócalo. Owners Roberto and Clara Loranca seem to always
be on hand to ensure their patrons receive fast, hearty, tasty
offerings, from the a la carte menu or the diverse daily full
After wandering the aisles of the market looking for gifts,
crafts, foods or simply chácharas under the awnings
outside the main building, it cant get any better than
to find a pleasant respite right under your nose.
The ambience is classic Oaxacan: the walls in deep pink and
mauve with yellow and blue accents are adorned with vintage
photos, pottery pieces and textile; glass topped pine tables
and comfortable chairs are set off with bright green tablecloths;
and the music is traditional taped Mexican, when a trio or
lone troubadour is not passing by. Theres always an
unusually adequate compliment of smartly uniformed staff to
greet and ensure that you have a tall cool glass of the water
of the day virtually upon being seated
after negotiating the market or crowded streets.
The menu is diverse both in terms of breakfasts which range
from 15 to 30 pesos, and comidas from 18 to 45 pesos. The
comida corrida is 40 pesos and offers a wide variety of choices.
While la carta is easily readable and well organized into,
for example, delicious meal-sized Salsas (egg, cheese, chorizo
or chicharón), Carnes, and Traditional and Mexican
Plates, we invariably opt for the daily specials. For this
visit the comida corrida consisted of, in addition to bottomless
water of the day, dessert and tortillas, your choice of soup,
then flavored rice or green bean salad, followed by one of
an aromatic roast chicken breast
plate with refried beans and fresh salad, a beef and bacon
dish similarly garnished, pork spine in amarillo sauce or
mole negro (naturally with chicken).
We tend to gravitate to comidas built around one of the 7
moles, and did so for this visit. You cant go wrong.
But first, the soups were pasta with vegetables, and cream
of broccoli with croutons, each of which were flavored in
a subtle and mild fashion, deliberate so as to not overshadow
the main courses, enabling the meal to build up to a tangy
and piquant crescendo. The saffron rice contained the prerequisite
peas and carrots and the cooked green beans included onion
and tomato, topped with crumbled cheese.
Each of the moles finish the palate with a little bite, but
not so much as to mask or overtake the classically distinct
Oaxacan flavors. The chicken mole was extremely flavorful
in terms of easily being able to discern the chocolate and
chili components. While the sauce was rich, at the same time
it seemed light, reminiscent of all the times Id lamented
if only I could have the taste and tang without the oil and
fat. My yearning was not in vain this day. Similarly the pork
spine in amarillo had a nice kick to it, this time from ancho
and guajillo chilies, also prepared with the bare minimum
of artery clogger. The meat easily fell off the bone as it
should, and the sauce, containing green beans and chayote,
garnished with onion, had that tell-tale avocado leaf flavor.
Roberto and Clara are proud of their moles, so much so that
if you manage to finish your main course including sauce,
all you have to do is ask and management will be proud to
oblige by bringing you some extra sauce, with tortillas to
help you along. The chilled gelatin dessert proved to be a
perfect finish to a memorable meal. And so whenever we have
guests to the city, hidden-away Fonda Mexicana is always on
our list for a spur-of-the-moment impressionable Oaxacan treat.
Lunch and breakfast offered
Fixed meal offered
Beer and mezcal
Average price full meal incl. beverage 40 60.
One word: moles
Roberto and Clara Loranca López
20 de Noviembre Num. 408
Machaya Oaxaca Bed & Breakfast ( http://www.oaxacadream.com
& Arlene Starkmans Casa Machaya Oaxaca Bed &
Breakfast ( http://www.oaxacadream.com
) combines the comfort and service of quality downtown Oaxaca
hotels, with the quaintness of country inn lodging. Oaxaca
accommodations with a personal touch. Ask about Alvins
Oaxaca tours, fully personalized. Casa Machaya is a founding
member of the Oaxaca Bed and Breakfast Association.
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