First, if your happiness with a restaurant is heavily influenced by ambience, attentive waiters and an extra clean establishments, you might be disappointed. If its the quality of food that makes or brakes it for you , you will be very pleased.
El Escapulario is a wonderful place to go for a surprisingly wide selection of traditional Oaxacan dishes. Many of which I haven't seen anywhere else in town. I have been coming here for years and have never been disappointed in the food. One of the best dishes I have ever had in Mexico was the Pechuga estilo Oaxaca.... Cheese stuffed chicken breast with a sauce of chapolines (grashoppers ) and chile Padilla de Oaxaca ( a local smoked chile).... Outstanding!
Yes, service can be slow, but this is because your being cooked a meal from scratch. Most of the time the proprietor is the hostess, waiter, cook and I think does the dishes as well. If your in a hurry this might not be the best choice, but if a traditional meal cooked by a truly good cook is what your looking for, you have come to the right place. She is very friendly and quite chatty if it's not busy. If it is, be prepared to wait.
I don't find the restaurant particularly dirty, but the bathrooms could definitely use an upgrade. This goes for numerous more up scale restaurants in town as well.
Ambiance is subjective, but there is at least one table in the corner with a nice window. There is nothing wrong with the rest of the tables and some of the criticism about this is unfair. There is also some nice art on the walls by local artists.
All in all this is one of my favorite restaurants in Oaxaca. This is a place that is all about the food. The proprietor is very nice but very busy so cut her some slack. She cooks up one of the most varied traditional Oaxacan menus in town and does a very good job of it.
Relax, come with plenty of time and a sense of culinary adventure and you will be rewarded.
Bill from Seattle.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC