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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 4th decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

Itanoni Antojeria y Tortilleria

Oaxaca, Mexico

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

 

As you know, Oaxaca has become a culinary powerhouse.

With decent restaurants on just about every block, restaurant-goers have high standards for their meals.

A much-touted restaurant, Itanoni, was on our list to visit, but unfortunately, we didn't think it lived up to the hype.

 

Itanoni seal, Itanoni Tortilleria, Oaxaca, Mexico

Itanoni emblem

Itanoni means “corn flower” and the restaurant's theme is all based on heirloom corn.

If you are used to grocery store packaged tortillas, the first time you eat a freshly-made, real corn tortilla, will knock your socks off.

CORN!!

Truly, there is no comparison.

 

 

 

 

Part of the hype about this restaurant was created by Berkeley, California's Alice Waters of Chez Panisse fame. In our restaurant days, we'd visit her place regularly to enjoy her leading-edge cuisine. In 2009 Alice claimed Itanoni was her favorite restaurant in Oaxaca.

BAM!

Itanoni became famous.

Entrance to Itanoni Restaurant, Oaxaca, Mexico

The simple entrance to Itanoni

The other reason this restaurant is over-hyped, is because of it's "primal simplicity."

It would be safe to say that many tourists are leery of eating street food for fear of becoming ill, or because there is no menu to choose from, or the place is not a recognized restaurant by North American Standards.

We are Retire Lifestyle Mentors. Our goal is to help you achieve your retirement dreams.

From our experience, eating at Itanoni is like eating street food, but it just so happens to have inside seating.

It's simple, fresh, and has a kind of "family style waitstaff service."

That's a gentle way of saying service is spotty, can be slow, waitstaff can forget what you ordered, or items you ordered will come out at different times.

In other words, casual, not professional.

The kitchen at Itanoni, Oaxaca, Mexico

The kitchen in Itanoni Restaurant

Itanoni is located in a quiet residential neighborhood, named Reforma. Their theme is Mexican and Indigenous corn meal selections, and everything is about as authentic as it gets.

Here you see a large comal (Mexican cooking grill) with blue corn tortillas cooking. Also there is a display of the heirloom corn in the basket.

Tortillas are made fresh, right in front of you.

The pathway to the seating area at Itanoni Restaurant, Oaxaca, Mexico

The entrance pathway to the seating area

As you walk in from the humble entrance you then walk down a narrow passage way to the seating area.

Broad view of seating area,  Itanoni Restaurant, Oaxaca, Mexico

Broad view of seating area

This is the indoor/outdoor seating at Itanoni.

I'm unsure if the roofing is sufficient during rainy season, but this restaurant cannot be closed for months at a time, right? So perhaps it just looks more rickety than it really is!

In the center of the photo towards the back you will see several stainless steel storage vats of organic corn. The cooks stone-grind these corn varieties from Oaxaca and Chiapas.

Corn storage vats at Itanoni Restaurant, Oaxaca, Mexico

A closer look at the corn storage vats

 The varieties of corn kept in these vats include yellow, blue (also called black corn), red, and white.

On the vats you will notice the farmers' names, the location of where the corn was grown, as well as a QR code you can scan if you would like further information!

Nice!

Barbacoa-stuffed burrito, Itanoni Restaurant, Mexico

Barbacoa-stuffed blue corn tortilla

 

 

 

 

The menu was displayed on the wall, and we had even simpler versions given to us at the table.

Even for us who are familiar with local restaurants, it was difficult to understand what, exactly, one was getting when we ordered an item.

Did it come with rice? beans? salad? chilaquiles? grated cheese?

Apparently not. One orders an item and you get that item only.

Later on we realized that there were "packages" we could have ordered which - translated - meant "complete meals".

Here you see Billy's barbacoa, which was delicious, but it could have been mixed with some onion and tomato, for instance. It was solid protein, but eating it with no contrasting flavors or textures became rather dull. There was nothing given to bring you a flavor break from the barbacoa.

Chew, chew, chew.

My Rajas de poblano chile relleno didn't even come with a sauce... nor rice nor beans nor grated cheese... just a stuffed chili on the plate.

It was small, and after eating it, I considered ordering something else. But as I mentioned the casual service, I didn't want to wait another 20+ minutes to get ... what Billy had!

So I sneaked a few bites off his plate!

The winner of the day was the Agua Limon con Perejil - which was sweet lemon water and parsley - and it was healthy, tasty and refreshing. Definitely something I'll make at home.

Our bill at Itanoni, Oaxaca, Mexico

Our bill

With tip, lunch was about $15USD.

Curiously, one of the waitresses came to our table with our bill and a small revolving drum. She explained that it was a tombola, and we were to pick out numbers from the drum for a designated discount.

Our bill previously came to 292Pesos, but with our selected 15% discount from the numbers we picked, it was reduced to 248Pesos.

We gave that 15% savings amount to the waitress for her tip

We would like to say that there is delicious food everywhere in Oaxaca and lots and lots of artisanal corn.

We have eaten street food for decades in our travels and it is very tasty and fresh.

Yes, Itanoni might be worth a visit, but street food in Oaxaca would be cheaper and you would receive better service. We think that Itanoni is ok, but just didn't live up to the hype.

Would we return? No.

Itanoní Antojeria y Tortilleria

Ave. Belisario Dominguez 513

Colonia Reforma, Oaxaca Mexico 68050

Tele: 513 915. 205. 2282

Hours: Open 7-4 daily

For more information on Oaxaca, CLICK HERE

For more information and photos of Mexico, Click Here

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About the Authors

 
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website bookstore or on Amazon.com.

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