Adventures in Tulsa: Restaurant
Since moving to Tulsa, we are constantly having friends and family reach out to ask where they should eat in Tulsa. Either they’re coming for an anniversary, or a weekend, or to visit friends and don’t know where to eat. Because Caleb and I practically ate our way through Tulsa the first year we lived here, we are good people to ask. Once that year was up, we looked at our eating-out budget and decided we needed to make a change – probably for the better of our waistlines, heartburn, and overall budget – so lately we haven’t eaten out as much. We do still enjoy going out every once and awhile, and always have our go to places.
Now here is a disclaimer…these are our CURRENT top 10 (As of October 2015). There are many restaurants that we’ve been told to try or have had on our list that we haven’t made it to yet. So think of this as a “living” post category that I’ll come back and updated you on. There are a TON of great restaurants in Tulsa, these are just the 10 that we enjoy frequenting.
Delicious Mexican food! Their burritos are about as big as your face. You can either share one, or what we normally do is each order one and take the second half home for lunch the next day. They are also downtown and have a rooftop bar area where you can sit and enjoy the Tulsa skyline and sun, while stuffing your face with Mexican food.
2. Laffa - website
I was a little bit hesitant to try laffa for the first time. I grew up with an extremely picky palate, but Caleb on the other hand will try about anything and grew up eating all sorts of things that I hadn’t heard of until we started dating. It’s a Mediterranean meets middle eastern restaurant downtown and it is delicious. Some of our favorites are their Shawarma (they have a little walk up window just for shawarma on the go), the mezze medley (sometimes I get this as my dinner), and they have delicious salads.
3. Mondo’s - website
This is a delicious italian restaurant that has been open for maybe a year in Brookside. The atmosphere is classy with large leather circle booths lining the walls and small tables and chairs filling up the middle. They play old black and white movies on projectors, a lot of them silent films. The walls of the restaurant are lined with galleries of old pictures in black frames, going from the floor to the ceiling. From their website, it looks like the pictures are old family pictures of the owners. The service is excellent, but they tend to be really busy on weekend evenings. Even if you make a reservation, you might be waiting 30 – 45 minutes for your table to open. Their complimentary bread is to die for as well as pretty much any entree you get. They make the majority of their pastas and all of their sauces in-house, all from family recipes. Anything you will get, you will love, but we are biased toward the ravioli, pizza and chicken parmesan.
4. Kilkenny’s - website
This was our first meal when we moved to Tulsa. We parked the uhaul on the street next to our tiny 1920s bungalow style rent house and walked down the street to Kilkenny’s with my family. It is one of our go to’s. Pretty much you can’t go wrong ordering anything on the menu but we absolutely love their Boxtys. They are these potato pancakes stuffed with different meats and veggies with a sauce poured over it. Just typing this is making my mouth water. Their salmon boxty is my favorite, the corned beef with cabbage boxty is a classic, and Caleb’s favorite is the crab, jumbo shrimp and lobster boxty. Their fish and chips are also the best I’ve had.
5. Andonlini's - website
This is one of the places in Tulsa that you have to know which evenings you can get a table. Friday through Sunday, you are likely to wait an hour or two to be seated, especially if you have more than four in your party. But the wait is well worth it. When the wait starts getting long, the cooks are nice enough to hand out free slices of pizza and melt-in-your mouth garlic knots (what dreams are made of) to everyone who is waiting. Our first year in Tulsa, we rented a little bungalow house just a walk down the street from here, so we frequented a lot and got to know the schedule. We could get seated almost immediately on Tuesday and Thursday nights. Their DeMarco of Brooklyn is our top favorite, and the Pizza Rustica is second, which is a pizza and calzone in one (Ben Wyatt would be so happy).
6. Elote - website
Two words: Puffy Tacos. Elote is a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant in downtown Tulsa, right on main street. From the outside, it looks very small, but they actually have a large location. The first time I went to Elote, the first word I thought of was “fresh”. From their salsa, to their tacos, to their sautéed veggies, everything is fresh and high quality. The meat is organically fed and raised in Bixby. They are large supporters of the local farmers and go to the Farmers Market every Saturday to offer their breakfast tacos (so yummy!). Everything is delicious here, but the first time I ate at Elote, I ordered the puffy tacos and haven’t strayed since.
7. Burn Co - website
This is probably the best Barbecue I have ever had. It started as an extremely small “shack” type restaurant with only three or four tables to sit at, but now it has grown to a large sit-down restaurant with outdoor and inside seating. The trick is to actually get a seat. This place is so popular, that they tend to run out of meat by mid afternoon, because the line for lunch tends to be an hour wait and down the street. They have a platter that you can order (we would recommend with a group) called the Happy Plate, which is a cut of every meat they offer, including the fattie. This thing is crazy. It is meat, wrapped in more meat, wrapped in more meat and smoked overnight. Any man or woman would die and go to heaven after eating one of those.
8. The Tavern - website
The Tavern is nestled in one of my favorite districts of Tulsa called the Brady Arts district. It is a corner classy-pub restaurant with the hanging wooden sign, old wooden tables and a leather tufted bench seat that takes up the entire wall. The atmosphere is laid back and the food is awesome! Brunch, lunch and dinner are all good. They have a great Burger and shoestring fries. The burger has mushroom cognac cream poured over it, topped with a challah bun. Yum! Their mac and cheese is also delicious. At the moment, the Tavern is under construction and we are waiting for it to reopen. They opened a pop-up restaurant named Temp Tavern that you can try the burger at. (UPDATE 2-18-16: The Tavern is new and improved and back open!)
9. Tallgrass Prairie Table - website
This is a farm to plate style restaurant in the Blue Dome district. All of the ingredients are locally sourced and super fresh. This is definitely a nice date night or a place to bring someone from out of town that loves food. The atmosphere is what I would call classy farmhouse/industrial, with giant wood barn doors in the entry, and chandeliers that are made from galvanized pipe. It is beautiful in the interior and the experience and the food is just as good. Since it is farm to plate, they cook the food as it is ordered, so some of the entrees will take longer than others to cook. We took my parents here for dinner before a concert one night and didn’t realize that some of the entrees would take longer, so we had to settle on the ones that took the least amount of time. Everything we got was so good, but we would definitely like to go back when we have more time and try some of the things we didn’t get to.
10. Yokozuna - website
This is an asian fusion restaurant in the Blue Dome district downtown, with a huge variety of sushi, ramen bowls, and rice and noodle entrees. This would also be a nice place to go for a date-night. We’ve gone a few times at lunch and shared sushi plates, and thought it was decently priced. We love sushi, so we’ve tried the majority of what they have to offer and it’s all really good. Our favorites are the Spider Roll, Classic Spicy Roll, and Tempura Shrimp rolls. We’ve tried the Hot Mess, which has a spicy jalapeno and queso flavor and is the largest sushi roll I’ve ever seen, and the Nutty Professor, which has peanut butter, and they are both good, but not an everyday roll for us.
What do you guys think of our current Top 10? Are there any Tulsa restaurants that you love and think we need to try? Please let me know in the comments.
Also, look out for more “Adventures in Tulsa” posts, including coffee shops, places to satisfy your sweet tooth, and some great local shops. A “Tulsa Weekend Getaway” free downloadable is in the works, that will have everything you need to get the most out of your weekend in Tulsa. Be on the lookout for that in the coming weeks.