The Oaxacan Kitchen

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The MEXICO Report

By Susie Albin-Najera

When you’re a party of 13 people and seven of those are children aged six and under, it’s a bit of a challenge to do a proper review of a restaurant.  However, it was great to be in northern California recently among family, along with all the nieces and nephews to enjoy a night out dining in a new eatery.

I chose The Oaxacan Kitchen really because my mom had purchased one of their market bags (all time favorite bags) at a local farmers’ market and I was curious to how the food compared to the ‘real’ Oaxaca.  Side note: since my trip to Oaxaca a few years back, I had looked for these incredible market bags.  Luckily they sold them there at the restaurant, to which I purchased a handful at $3.00 each.

Oaxacan market bag

Oaxaca native Zaida Maria Kent and her husband, Ron Kent, a professional chef,  are the owners of The Oaxacan Kitchen in Palo Alto, CA and opened their doors just over a year ago.  Upon our arrival, we were greeted by a friendly host and seated to our long table. The inside, although very narrow, boasted impressive photos from Oaxaca that told stories of love, food and culture.

There was also a small bar-type eating area overlooking part of the kitchen where fresh, hand-made tortillas were prepared. We had the pleasure of meeting Zaida on this night, who was very friendly and extremely helpful.

The dinner menu consisted of Oaxacan comal favorites such as molotes, memelas, tlayudas, ensaladas, sopas, mariscos, moles, and other traditional Oaxacan plates. I ordered the Vegetarian Tlayuda ($8.50) as an appetizer, a large, toasted hand made tortilla topped with black bean purée, salsa, guacamole, avocado, tomato, and queso fresco and the Enchiladas de Mole ($8.00) for the main dish. Although I was preoccupied entertaining the kids most of the time, my taste buds relished in the rich mole sauce that smothered the cheese enchiladas. The fond memories of Oaxaca came flooding back on the very first taste.


Photos of Oaxaca Beautify the Walls


But what impressed me the most was that the majority of the menu items were gluten-free and even though I don’t eat meat, I was happy to learn that The Oaxacan Kitchen uses 100% organic grass-fed beef, goat and lamb.

With the inviting ambiance, friendly service and health-conscious, traditional-style cuisine, The Oaxacan Kitchen is certainly worth a visit!

The Oaxacan Kitchen
2323 Birch Street
Palo Alto, CA 94306
(650) 321-8003

*All photos taken and provided by Jim Bryson.


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Susie Albin-Najera
Susie Albin-Najera is the creator and editor of The Mexico Report, an award winning travel blog showcasing news, deals and resources for the modern traveler. Najera is a writer, author, travel blogger, marketing and public relations specialist and producer. Najera serves on the host committee for Maestro Cares, founded by singer Marc Anthony and producer Henry Cardenas; and on the advisory board for Corazon de Vida, providing aid to children in Mexico. She is also the creator of 'The Real Heroes of Mexico' showcasing community heroes in Mexico and producer of Latino Thought Makers. Najera has been recognized by the Mexican Consulate and Mexico Tourism Board for fostering positive relations between countries and her dedication to showcasing Mexico as a premiere destination. She can be reached at

5 comments for “The Oaxacan Kitchen

  1. Guadalupe Corona
    2010-01-28 at 3:50 pm

    When will they open one in San Diego. Sounds delicious…

  2. Victor Acevedo
    2010-01-28 at 2:56 pm

    I’m glad everybody is looking forward to try them!!! I was raised in the capital of the State of Oaxaca for 10 yrs and have resided for 10 yrs in San Diego. Even though I go back to Oaxaca once or twice a year, nothing beats to drive all morning to enjoy lunch at real Oaxacan food, can’t wait to make this a road trip. This restaurant sounds like the real deal.

  3. Julia
    2010-01-28 at 2:07 pm

    Sounds wonderful! I will definitely check it out.

  4. 2010-01-28 at 1:24 pm

    Enchiladas de mole!!! WOW!! That I gotta try!!

  5. 2010-01-28 at 9:20 am

    Looks great. Palo Alto here I come!

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