Upper Town and Adoquín
Many of Puerto Escondido’s good restaurants line the adoquín. One major exception is immaculate, strictly home-cooking-style Margaritas (Ave. 8 Norte, few doors east of Calle 2 Poniente, tel. 954/582-0212, 8 a.m.–6 p.m. daily), where all you need is to love good Mexican food. Find it in the upper town, near the market. Although the long country menu, including eggs in several styles ($3), tacos, tamales, and quesadillas ($2–3), fish and shrimp any style ($6–10), and broiled steaks ($8–12) reveals nothing unusual, everything arrives at your table delicious. The day’s main event is the comida corrida set lunch. You get all of this for $3.50: entrée (for example, savory beef or pork guisado stew, or mole chicken, or chiles rellenos), dessert, and drink, chosen from a half dozen delicious fruit aguas (strawberry, lemonade, melon, orange, and more).
Back down on the adoquín, Restaurant La Galería (just inside the west end chain, on the inland side of Pérez Gasga, tel. 954/582-2039, 8 a.m.–midnight daily, $5–12) usually has customers even when most other eateries are empty. The reason is the excellent Italian fare—crusty, hot pizzas, rich pastas and lasagna, bountiful salads, and satisfying soups—which the European-expatriate owner puts out for her batallion of loyal customers.
For refined beachfront ambience, try the excellent, airy Restaurant Junto del Mar (right on the beach, just inside the adoquín west-end chain, tel./fax 954/582-0025, 8 a.m.–11 p.m. daily, credit cards accepted). The menu offers good breakfasts—rich bottomless coffee, fresh fruit, omelets, and French toast ($2–5)—plus many delectable lunch and dinner options. Specialties include shrimp-stuffed fillets ($9), lobster and shrimp brochettes ($11–14), and whole garlic-stuffed fish ($9). Mornings are brightened by the always-changing beach scene; evenings, the setting turns romantic, with soft candlelight and strumming guitars.
Breakfast patrons at beachfront Restaurant Los Crotos (a block farther east, tel. 954/582-0025, open daily 8 a.m.–11 p.m., $4–12) sit at shady view tables, enjoying the fascinating morning beachside scene. Later, at lunch and dinner, back beneath the luxuriously breezy, palm-fringed palapa, the house specialties—jumbo shrimp, broiled lobster, and superfresh pompano, attractively presented, competently served, and delicious–seem like an added bonus.
Two blocks farther east, just outside the east-end chain, try the tasty creations ($7–14) of owner-chef Bendito, at his completely unpretentious Restaurant Bendito (tel. 954/588-2186, 8 a.m.–midnight daily). Make up a party and enjoy sampling his delicious Napoli-style specialties, such as spaghetti puttanesca ($5), spinach raviolis ($5), mushroom fettuccine ($7), and pizza zavarieta ($8).
© Bruce Whipperman from Moon Oaxaca, 5th edition