At Mexico’s southern tip lie three small coastal fishing villages: San Agustinillo, La Ventanilla and Mazunte, whose combined population tops out at just more than a thousand. Thatched roof huts of dried palm overlook golden sandy beaches, frolicking sea turtles and stunning ocean views, luring eco-tourists who seek the last of the world’s pristine, undeveloped lands.
The setting inspired Mazunte Taqueria owner Josh Wamsley to create a dining experience matching those spent as a hungry English professor in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, a place he calls the “unofficial mecca of Mexican cuisine.” During his tenure, he culled together recipes from “old grandmothers,” who no doubt are among those carrying on the region’s reputation as the “land of the seven moles,” richly complex, chocolaty, spicy sauces that take a day (or more) to prepare.
Wamsley opened the doors of his flagship Mazunte location in Madisonville in late 2013 and it has since been a cult favorite dining destination. (Mazunte won the Best Mexican readers pick in CityBeat's 2019 Best Of Cincinnati issue.) Starting July 31, he will open the third in his Mazunte portfolio: a Mazunte Centro location downtown. There is also a mercado in Madisonville.
The downtown menu features tacos, tostadas, tlayudas (a sort of Mexican-style pizza), soups, sides and alcohol. Taco fillings range from al pastor to chorizo con papas (housemade ground sausage and potatoes) and mushroom and beet to beef tongue.
The tlayudas, which serves two and is described on the menu as "giant toasted handmade corn tortilla with housemade requesón (ricotta), queso Oaxaca, black beans, cabbage, tomato, rajas, avocado salsa and red jalapeño salsa, comes with multiple topping options similar to the taco fillings — barbacoa, calabaza (roasted zucchini), pollo verde, etc.
Fans of Maztune's pozole — a chicken stew with hominy — can find it here, as well as non-alcoholic drinks like horchata and aqua de limon.
Mazunte Centro is located at 611 Main St., Downtown. Hours of operation are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday.