Unlike most travel destinations in México, the city of Oaxaca has a nice selection of restaurants that are either vegetarian or accommodating to them, and which are listed below. For vegans, it’s a bit tougher, although most have become adept, out of necessity, at least the ones that stay vegan, at substituting or avoiding meat and dairy when ordering from menus. Here again, most of the restaurants listed below understand and will try to accommodate those requests.
On the downside, because meat is such an important element in the flavoring of traditional Oaxacan cuisine, most attempts at cooking vegetarian renditions of regional dishes fall short, the meatless concoctions invariably failing to capture the dishes' essences, the removal of meat being too large a culinary obstacle for most cooks to overcome. And so, for vegetarians — no matter how worthy their motivations, be it animal rights, environmental, health, or all of the above — this means that they have few opportunities for exposure to the full range of flavors in this unique cuisine, as well as the moments of authentic encounter that can happen when eating at restaurants and food stalls that cater to locals and cook their food in traditional ways. Nevertheless, one place in the city, Itanoní, seems to have pulled off this delicate balance, offering a handful of vegetarian renditions of authentic Oaxacan dishes.