In the cultural capital of Mexico, there is no shortage of Oaxaca vegan food to try.
As I planned our time in Oaxaca, I knew we’d be frequenting the best vegan restaurants in Oaxaca, according to HappyCow and Google.
Mexican cuisine is designated as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. It’s only fitting that eating *all* the Oaxaca vegan food was our top priority.
In this guide, I’m sharing with you some of the best vegan dishes I’ve ever had. I know I say that often, but Oaxaca’s reputation as a cuisine capital sets it apart as exceptional.
Hierba Dulce: Best Vegan Chocolate Cake!
When in Oaxaca, there are regional delicacies to eat in addition to Mexican foods like tacos, volcanes, quesadillas, and the typical dishes you think of. Save those dishes for Tulum or Mexico City.
In Oaxaca, the cuisine takes on a life of its own.
At the end of my Mexico travel guide, I share a list of Mexican foods to try.
And on that list is mole, a sauce that is the star of any dish in Oaxaca.
Oaxacan cuisine is especially known for mole negro, or black mole. It’s more of a rich dark brown sauce with the slightest touch of ultra-dark chocolate.
At Hierba Dulce, you can try the Oaxacan delicacies this cultural capital is known for.
This place is so amazing we went twice.
My recommendation is either a mole to share, which is their specialty, or the tlayuda. Tlayuda is also a traditional Oaxacan dish, and Hierba Dulce’s veganized creation is a corn tortilla with beans, seeds, vegetables, avocado, and an almond cheese that ties all its flavors together.
Its pure plant ingredients surprisingly burst with flavor, likely due to the almond cheese.
But the star of the menu is their Selva Negra Cake.
It’s a deep, rich dark chocolate that’s just barely sweet to conserve the fullness of the chocolate flavor, topped with a thin strawberry drizzle, fresh strawberries, and slivered almonds.
It’s tied with a chocolate hazelnut cake I ate in Copenhagen for my favorite chocolate cake of all time.
You must try it!
Los Muchitos Comida Vegana: Vegan Tacos in Oaxaca
Los Muchitos Comida Vegana is quite the trek from the city center.
This is almost always a good sign when it comes to finding the best local food.
The prices at Los Muchitos Comida Vegana are also amazing. This place is not only easy on the taste buds, but also your travel budget!
I recommend the agua fresca to drink, which changes daily. When we visited, it was a cucumber lemon lime that was full of refreshing, hydrating pulp.
For an appetizer, I got the sopa azteca, or Aztec soup. It has a tomato base with avocado, fresh tortilla strips, creamy sour cream, and cheese.
As an entrée, I recommend the seitan al pastor tacos. The seitan itself is marinated in a delicious sauce that’s a little bit spicy, and their hot sauce that comes on the side is the best I’ve ever had.
I highly recommend this place—I truly think you’ll love it!
Glotonería: Vegan Ice Cream in Oaxaca
In the heat of the unforgiving Oaxacan sun, we stopped for a sweet treat on this self-guided Oaxaca vegan food tour.
Glotonería is an allergen-friendly ice cream shop, or heladería in Spanish.
This shop stands out as one with such a unique assortment of flavors—they even had a mojito sorbet!
I ordered a scoop of the vegan Oaxacan chocolate with peanuts on top. It came in a waffle bowl, which is also vegan.
The owner allowed us to taste test any flavor we wanted, and this was my favorite by far. Then again, I ate quite a bit of local chocolate while in Mexico…
Even if you don’t love it, I recommend you try the mezcal sorbet as well! That was an *experience.*
When ordering my morning latte from Oaxaca en una Taza, which I talked about in my Oaxaca travel guide, I asked if they had any vegan pastries. The barista told me they didn’t, but she recommended Yegolé.
It’s a little café just down the street from Oaxaca en una Taza, so off I went after my morning cuppa!
This adorable café is veg-friendly, so they have meat dishes as well as vegan ones.
I ordered the toast with guacamole, fried tofu, tomatoes, and leafy greens. This blew my very high expectations for Oaxaca vegan food out of the water.
The breading on this fried tofu was perfectly crispy without being greasy at all. Contrasted with the cold zing of each tomato, the creaminess of the guacamole, and the heartiness of the bread—this brunch was a winner.
I also saw beautiful vegan pastries in their bakery window, but didn’t try any. I was too full from the savory dish I had here.
Yegolé comes to you highly recommended!
Our first morning in Oaxaca, it was a slow, lazy Sunday. Because so many places were closed, I headed to Café Los Cuiles for brunch. They had a couple of vegan options and a wide-open door to their charming courtyard seating.
For brunch that morning, I ordered their vegan soy meat. It had the texture of TVP and had been turned into a flavorful chorizo. Black beans, sliced avocado, and tomatoes came on the side.
With any dish at Café Los Cuiles comes the question, “¿Pan o tortillas?”
My answer: tortillas.
This was an excellent choice—the tortillas were so fresh, they were still hot from the stove when they were placed in front of me, and I could see them being made through the open kitchen breezeway.
Glück: Vegan Tamales in Oaxaca
Glück is a delightful vegan café serving healthy, plant-based dishes. The staff are so kind and welcoming, and the atmosphere of this place is so relaxing I’d stay a while.
This is one of their vegan tamales, which I ordered for brunch after my morning stop at Oaxaca en una Taza.
I loved how fresh and flavorful this tamale was, and Glück comes highly recommended to you as a result. I didn’t try more when I was there, but their other offerings also look superb.
Last, but certainly not least on our Oaxaca vegan food tour is La Bíznaga. This small local restaurant with intimate patio seating was a 5-minute walk from our hotel.
After partaking in an afternoon siesta on par with the local culture, we weren’t interested in walking across town for dinner.
La Bíznaga it was. And this place is incredible.
It’s veg-friendly, and its vegan options aren’t immediately obvious. Ask the friendly owner which dishes are vegan to be sure, or order what I had. It is so, so delicious!
This is Lo’xicha.
Savory mashed plantains are covered in a leafy green native to Oaxaca, then placed in a light tomato broth with sauteed mushrooms and topped with pickled red onion. Crispy blue corn tortillas come on the side.
It was unlike anything I’d ever eaten—I absolutely loved it.
When in Oaxaca, to eat is to explore. To eat is to be invited into Oaxacan culture, history, and tradition in such an intimate way. Each ingredient is so local that it’s part of a story—their story.
It’s only fitting to partake when such an invitation is extended. Savor each bite. Look back fondly on each experience.
Because there’s no place like Oaxaca.
Read more Mexico travel guides:
- Mexico Travel Guide: Culture, History, and Cuisine
- Chichen Itza Day Trip and Ik Kil Cenote Without a Tour
- Tulum Ruins Travel Guide
- 5 Tulum Vegan Restaurants You’ll Love
- Oaxaca Travel Guide
- CDMX Travel Guide (to come!)
- CDMX Vegan Guide (to come!)
- Lonely Planet Mexico (2022 edition)