Great meals can be found everywhere, but it’s not often that you have a meal that’s so uniquely delicious that the memory of the taste lingers long after you take the last bite. I can count these kind of experiences on two hands. One of them happened to be last year in Oaxaca at a restaurant called La Olla. I had the opportunity to go back to that restaurant again this summer, and one year later, it was just as delicious.
I went with two of my fellow hostelers who were both hanging out in Oaxaca for awhile and were always down to make the most of the city. We began with octopus tostadas. These were little crunchy tortillas that were topped with guacamole and wonderfully cooked octopus. I typically have an aversion to all things avocado, but the guacamole wasn’t overbearing and the octopus had enough flavor that I barely noticed it.
For the main course, I debated on whether have the same amazing chicken mole negro I’d had last year or try something new. The mole negro de fandango won without much thought. La Olla mixes things up by stuffing the chicken with plantain. The first time I tried it, I wasn’t sure if the plantain would fit in with the dish, but it really works. Then the chicken is topped with black mole, a sauce that encompasses Oaxaca. Spicy with a touch of sweetness, rich and hearty, bold and complex, chocolatey. The La Olla version of mole negro is one of the most beautiful things I’ve tasted and I’m so glad I got to have it again.
In addition to fantastic and moderately priced food, La Olla is charmingly decorated. There are two indoor levels to this place, and at the top, there is a roof terrace with more seating and colorful hanging lamps. If the weather had been more agreeable that night, it would’ve been the perfect spot for a post dinner drink.
Restaurant and Bar La Olla
Reforma No. 402
Colonia Centro, Oaxaca