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“The best food I've had in a very long time!”
Review of La Olla Restaurant

La Olla Restaurant
Ranked #20 of 469 Restaurants in Oaxaca
Price range: $5 - $20
Cuisines: Mexican, Latin
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Families with children, Romantic, Special occasions
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Breakfast, Brunch, Late Night, Free Wifi, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Outdoor Seating, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
Description: This small, charming restaurant has a lot going for it. Located only two blocks from historic Santo Domingo Church, and within easy walking distance of the Zocalo, La Olla is very popular with both foreign residents and visitors as well as with locals. La Olla is one of the more trendy eateries in the city, and our spotless kitchen produces a wide array of traditional Oaxacan, continental, and vegetarian foods. We pride ourselves in serving the best quality of products available,and most of our produce is grown locally and delivered to us by farmers during the week. Our coffee is locally roasted and the foods we serve are extremely fresh. We bake delicious apple strudel, chocolate cake, oatmeal cookies, vanilla flan, and more on our premises daily! All of our creations are cooked to order, prepared fresh starting when we receive your order. We use more fresh fruits and vegetables to create healthful and visually attractive dishes than any other restaurant in Oaxaca. Delicious sandwiches are served on home-baked whole wheat bread, and we even make the mayonnaise in our kitchen. There is a wide variety of healthy drinks available, using unusual combinations of fresh fruits and vegetables. The main meal of the day in Oaxaca is eaten in the afternoon. A real bargain at "La Olla" is the "Menu del día" or "Comida corrida", a full meal which changes daily, for only $90 pesos served from 1-4 pm. It includes a freshly-made salad, followed by a soup, a choice of two entrees, with tortillas or bread, and finishing with a dessert or espresso coffee. Many typical Oaxacan dishes are featured, and for a low price you can experience traditional cuisine at its very best. There is also a full a la carte menu featuring a wide selection of dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The prices are moderate and the quality very high. La Olla is proud to display and promote artwork created by local, regional and international artists. Our gallery is open daily during restaurant hours. The art on display is available for sale, and the gallery selection is changed periodically.
Brooklyn, NY
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
“The best food I've had in a very long time!”
Reviewed July 6, 2014

I had the first restaurant meal of my Oaxaca trip in La Olla, and boy, was it a great introduction to the variety of flavors in Oaxacan cuisine. Pilar Cabrera, the chef/owner, came to our table and answered all of our questions about ingredients and cooking techniques for the dishes we ordered. The restaurant is charming and very welcoming. I had two very tasty mezcal margaritas over the course of the meal--they were easily the most well-balanced margaritas I've ever had. The salad of greens with sweet potato, sprinkled with Oaxacan cheese, was perfectly fresh and deliciously dressed. My main course was a fish dish--again, super tasty! My table shared two desserts: a flan that was perfectly set and not too sweet, and a tart with mamey and fresh ice cream. I knew that Oaxaca is a serious food city, but I was still very pleasantly surprised by the relaxed atmosphere, friendly and welcoming service, and excellently prepared meal at La Olla. I also took one of the classes that Pilar teaches. I would recommend these classes to anyone who is interested in getting an introduction to the ingredients and techniques of Oaxacan cuisine. Over the course of three hours, Pilar took us to a mercado, where she showed us how to select the proper ingredients for our meal--all of the vendors we bought from knew and clearly respected Pilar. Then we spent a few hours preparing a most delicious three course meal of a salad with greens, jicama, pomegranate seeds, slivered cucumber and onion and grapefruit, a super flavorful chicken with a mole made from peppers and a variety of spices and dried crushed corn, accompanied by tamales, and a dessert of warm rice pudding stuffed inside guava halves. The food was delicious and Pilar's class allowed us to appreciate the care and skill that goes into transforming the wonderful and varied ingredients available here into the delicious food, and her patience and humor as a teacher invited us all to jump right in with our knives and cutting boards. All in all Pilar Cabrera and La Olla are real treasures.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank fc718
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
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Date | Rating
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English first
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Terrible. Worst food we ate in Mexico.”
Reviewed June 11, 2014 via mobile

We ordered the set menu of the day as it came recommended. The chicken tortillas came out cold and soggy, they had an odd tasting sauce on them, wilted lettuce sprinkled on top and the chicken was brown. We tried to eat them but only managed two mouthfuls. They were the worst food we have tried in Mexico. There were four waitstaff in the room and only one other table there and for ten minutes of us sitting there not eating the meal, no one came over, we had to ask for their attention. They took the meal away and gave us the bill as requested, advising us we would need to tip in cash. Upon entering we should have read the signs, the place is Mexican styled in a contemporary fashion, it does not look authentic, just tacky and like it has been designed by an expat. It is all about the shallow looks here, not about service or good food. I would not recommend this place if you are visiting Oaxaca to experience the delicious local food, you can find this at the market or at a authentic Mexican restaurant.

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank FuLaz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rome, Italy
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Nice Mole, slow service”
Reviewed June 8, 2014

The food and atmosphere were good, but the service was a bit slow. After waiting for our entree for nearly a half and hour, the waiter came over and asked my friend what he had ordered again, and then we waited another ten minutes. Not sure what the problem was. I was with a friend from Oaxaca so it wasn't a language issue. Perhaps the waiter was having an off day.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Beatrice P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brooklyn, New York
Level Contributor
66 reviews
39 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“For a Particular Crowd”
Reviewed June 8, 2014

If taste of food is not your raison d'être, then la Olla is the place for you!

Ok… I admit I'm being too extreme. La Olla is pretty damn great. Centrally located, near the Santo Domingo de Guzmán Cathedral, the restaurant is three-stories with a lovely terrace. There is a fantastic drinks menu that includes delightful mezcal cocktails and locally-brew craft beer! The waitstaff are attentive and very professional. We ordered cocktails, a soup, a salad, a rabbit cooked in mole sauce, and grilled shrimp. Everything was delicious with the exception of the mole. It was so disappointing because Oaxaca is the home of the mole and also because there has been so hype about the food at La Olla.

For people who care about the taste of food above all, I would recommend going to the lunch counters at the marketplace. It is simple, without frills, but the food was so mouthwatering DELICIOUS that I kept returning.

  • Visited April 2014
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Chophelie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Plattsburgh, New York
Level Contributor
328 reviews
160 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 275 helpful votes
“World Class Cuisine in the Heart of Oaxaca”
Reviewed June 2, 2014

When we were here two years ago, we had a chance to take a cooking class with Pilar. What an outstanding experience! However, we didn't have a chance to dine at her restaurant La Olla. Having just returned for another visit to one of my favorite cities in Mexico, eating at La Olla was on the top of our list. Lunch today was a treat well worth waiting for! Although La Olla offers a menu of the day, we simply ordered off the regular menu taking recommendations from both our waiter (who spoke excellent English) as well as Pilar herself. All of her dishes represent authentic flavors of not only Mexico, but specifically of the Oaxacan region. Looking at the menu the real challenge was deciding which of the delicious sounding dishes to order. I chose the Chili Pasilla Oaxacano. The chili pasilla was stuffed with pureed black beans and topped with a strip of Oaxacan cheese. This all sat on a delicate rose sauce. Others in the group order the Enfrijoladas. This regional dish featured a black bean and herb sauce covering tortillas and cheese (adding steak is optional). This was all washed down with a local craft beer Tierra Blanca. In addition to excellent food and excellent service, La Olla is just far enough away from the Zocalo to get away from the hustle and bustle of the restaurant scene of the central plaza. La Olla should rank high on anyone's list of the best restaurants in Oaxaca.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Grousedoctor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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