This is an older article but as you can see many of these establishments are still around and are still quite popular. So these places are now classified as "institutions" and are evermore worthy of a visit. This article is still largely valid and provides insight into their development. - tomzap
Maria Sabina Situated right on the south side of the zócalo. Cute spot with good service. Food grilled right out front. Two very delicious entrees, fish and shrimp pochutla in a stone pot. The later of which was a very unique and tasty dish. It was sort of like a seafood veggie soup with a little bit of zing and had a little bit of cheese on the top like french onion soup. I would highly recommend it. Dinner was about $29 including a couple of beers and a generous tip.
El Italianos Pizza and Pasta Excellent and cheap pizza can be found at El Italianos about a half block off the zócalo from La Flamboyant. Its a small nondescript restaurant that was frequented mostly by the locals. The service was good, the food came quickly and the Pizzas only cost between $3-6 US.
Don Wilo Located on the zócalo near La Flamboyant, the restaurant was known for its excellent pizza. However, having already had good pizza at El Italianos, we decided to try their Mexican food. The Oaxacan food was quite good and very reasonably priced. The two of us tried three different items and the bill was only about $17 US. Unfortunately, the service was mediocre.
Dona Celia On the west side of playa Santa Cruz. This was one of about 4 or 5 restaurants that were right on the beach. It had a super location and offered a nice view of the bay and all the boats. We had chicken and fresh lobster for about $26 US including tip. We thought the food was average, not bad, but not up to the level of the other spots we visited.
Oasis Good breakfast on top of good people watching as this restaurant was located right on the zócalo. We had eggs, fruit, toast, two fresh squeezed OJs and chocolate milk for under $9 US. The food and prices were comparable to Los Portales.
Oasis II Located about a quarter block off the zócalo and up the street from the other Oasis. The breakfast menu and the food was the same as the other one, although the white-washed walls and fountain at this restaurant added a little bit to the atmosphere. Also not as busy as the Oasis on the zócalo.
Los Portales Right on the zócalo, near Sabor De Oaxaca and Oasis. Good breakfast and it showed as they drew a big crowd each morning. We had two egg dishes, fruit and two fresh squeezed orange juices for less than $9 US including tip. I would give the nod to Oasis and Los Portales as the best breakfast spots we ate at.
Cactus We felt this restaurant was highly overrated. It was recommended to us by a couple of people, but if it weren't for its location - right on the zócalo - I don't think it would do well. The menu was limited, the food was average at best, the service was spotty and they tried to overcharge us. The patio area was covered by a tarp which kept the heat and smoke from the grill right on top of the best tables in the house and it seemed hotter than being out in the midday sun. I would not recommend this restaurant.
bakery Located a half block off the zócalo across the street from the Oasis. The pastries and rolls were all 15¢- 25¢ US. One morning we ate a delicious breakfast of pastries and juice in the zócalo for less than $3 US.
Bings A great disappointment. Limited selection relative to other Bings locations in Mexico plus they were out of about 50% of the flavors they had on the menu. Cones cost a little over $1 US.
As the business and residential section of this bustling resort center, you would expect to find the majority of the restaurants here, and you would not be disappointed. The major tourist-oriented eateries are clustered around the Zócalo. Generally, as you move away from the Zócalo, the food tends to be seasoned more to native tastes, and the prices tend to be more reasonable.
La Tropicana, on the northwest corner of the square, is a 24-hour restaurant featuring several big-screen televisions. The food is well-prepared and not too expensive. Upstairs is the new Live Salsa club, Tropic Majic, brought to you by the same folks who feature Magic Circus disco in Santa Cruz. Needless to say, the music bleeds over into the restaurant, so if you like good Salsa music, this should be a plus.
Just down from La Tropicana on the North side of the square is Don Wilos. I've heard mixed reviews on this one; some folks love it. Pizza is featured; but pizza in Mexico may be a bit, well, strange.
On the east side of the square, the prices tend to be a bit more reasonable. Grills serves food til very late at attractive prices. Los Portales has the best buy in breakfasts and very good tacos as well. Los Portales belongs to the same folks who own the La Iguana bar and Peso's Rent-a-car. The owner, Luis, speaks very good English. Excellent ambiance!
On the southeast corner sits The Oasis. This is the spot in Huatulco for sushi. The sandwiches are quite good. The chiaquiles are the best in town. It's a good place to meet folks.
The south side of the Zócalo features Viva México, María Sabinas, and Cactus. Again, reviews on these have been mixed, though María Sabinas seems to be the best of the lot. On the southwest corner is the Plaza Oaxaca. Inside is Yesterdays Pizza. While I'm not exactly wild about their pizza, they do have a good selection of rock video discs and will let you make a selection.
Sabor de Oaxaca specializes in the regional Oaxacan cuisine and is a MUST at some point during your vacation.
For good chicken at a bargain, try Pollo Imperial. You also get charro beans and a rich ham and pasta salad.
There are innumerable spots for sandwiches and tacos. The scope of this article doesn't allow me to mention them all, but I'll try to hit the high spots. Los Portalitos probably has some of the best tacos in town, as well as char-broiled burgers and charcoal broiled steaks (and chicken).
And, saving the best news for last, our good friends at Bar La Crema have persuaded Ramon to move his taco business to their place. These really are great tacos! They also serve up the only Tex-Mex style cuisine in Huatulco, including Chilibeans, chili rellenos, and darn good nachos.
I don't pretend to have covered everything. There's just so much eating a fellow can do, after all! But I think you'll find something to satisfy just about everyone, and if your evaluation doesn't agree with mine, there's plenty of room here to print your reviews, too.
Article submitted by
John M. Williams
PADI Scuba Instructor