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An Expat’s Dining Survival Guide to Tulsa Updated 9-2007

Have you recently moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma? How did I get here? Where are the people? Where is the traffic? Why does the tea come iced? Why are these grocery cashiers, security guards, complete strangers acting so very friendly towards me? I could go on… This is a dining survival guide just for you. If you can eat well, you can survive anything.

Actually, Tulsa’s dining environment has improved greatly since 2001 when I arrived here. Back then, there was no Starbucks and no decent Chinese food. The big news was the opening of Krispy Crème where they gave away free doughnuts while you waited in line to buy your doughnuts (presumably 2-3 dozen).

The guide highlights ethnic restaurants and those restaurants with healthy fresh food and some vegetarian options. If you are a lover of continental cuisine, you will need to look elsewhere.

A few pointers:
• Never try a restaurant at random when driving around town.
• If you visit an ethnic restaurant, you should discuss the menu with the owner and tell them that you want “authentic Chinese” or “authentic Indian” food. They might make you something special or at the very least suggest the best dishes.
• Please call and double check the hours before visiting these places to make sure they are still in business. They could also be taking the summer off. I’m not kidding.
• Finally, Tulsa diners should remember that one or two good dishes make a restaurant here great. Do not become complacent and order just anything on the menu. M
• Most Tulsa menus rarely change with the seasons or with the years. Is it laziness? Do Tulsa diners just expect the cuisine to stay the same? I’m really not sure.
• Enjoy!

Best Dressy Restaurants

Stonehorse Cafe and Market
1748 Utica Square
Tulsa, OK 74114
918-712-7470
Hours: Tues-Sat, 11:00 am-10:00 pm
Steak and seafood dishes are solid. Desserts are very good. The menu rarely changes. Vegetarians will appreciate the wonderful salads and vegetable side dishes but they sometimes sneak bacon fat into stuff so please ask if it matters to you.

The Brasserie Restaurant and Bar
3509 S Peoria
Tulsa, OK 74105
918-779-7070
www.thebrasserietulsa.com
Hours: Monday 11am – 9pm
Tuesday thru Saturday 11am – midnight
Sunday 10am – 9 pm
This french bistro offers escargots, french onion soup, steak frites plus terrific fish entrees, salads and vegetable side dishes. Dessert is not their strong suit.

Lava Noshery
3512 S. Peoria Avenue
749-3310
Creative continental cuisine with some ethnic flair. Chic setting!

Local Table
Less ambience than the restaurants listed above. This newcomer has healthy, local food with an emphasis on fresh vegetables. Desserts are decent but Kokoa is better.
4329 S. Peoria Avenue
Tulsa, OK 74105
918-794-8013
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 pm daily

PF Changs
1980 East 21st Street
Tulsa, OK 74114
918-747-6555
http://www.pfchangs.com
Hours: Open everyday 11:00 am-10:00 pm
Yes this is a chain but it is consistent Asian food which is rare for Tulsa.

BE LE Vegetarian
6634 S. Lewis Avenue
Tulsa OK 74136
918-499-1414
http://www.belevegetarian.com/
Hours: M-F 11-2:30, 5 – 9 pm, Sat 11-9
This is one of a handful of strict vegetarian restaurants in Tulsa. It is basic Asian stir-fry with various sauces for the most part. There is soy is just about everything. The menu refers to items as Chicken (soy) or Pork (wheat) even though it is actually vegetarian. This is designed to make meat-lovers comfortable. There are not many true vegetarians in town.
Recommended dishes: Spring Rolls, Triple Delight, Soy Pork and Soy Shrimp dishes.

Ri Le
4932 E 91st St # 102
Tulsa, OK 74137
918-496-2126
Hours: 11:00 am-9:30 pm daily except Sunday
The owner of this restaurant (Ri) is a vegetarian and they have some dishes, like sesame soy chicken, that are not on the menu. So please consult your server.

Middle Eastern

Shawkat
4123 S. Sheridan Road
Tulsa, OK 74145
918-742-7023
Hours: Tues.-Thurs (10:00 am-5:00 pm), Fri. (10:00 am-9:00 pm, Sat. (11:00 am-4:00pm) Closed on Sunday & Monday
Suggested dishes: Greek salad, spinach pie, dips and pita.

Halim and Mimi’s Deli (Lebanese
)2615 E 11th St
Tulsa, OK 74104
918-599-9623
Hours: Weekdays 11:00 am-3:00 pm, some Fridays from 5-7
Closed Sat. and Sun. and most of the summer

Helen of Troy
6670 S. Lewis Avenue
Tulsa, OK 74136
918-794-3322
Hours: 11-8 Monday – Friday, Saturday 12-8
www.742dine.com (for menu
)Traditional Middle Eastern, offers lamb, chicken, terrific dips and Mediterranean salad.

Shish-Kabobs - Persian Food
(918) 663-9383
11605 E. 31st
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74146
www.shish-kabobs.com
Hours: 11 - 8 Monday – Thurs, Friday & Sat 11 - 9
Extremely casual setting for middle eatstern food with some Persian influence.

Indian Restaurants

India Palace
6963 S. Lewis
Tulsa, OK 74136
918-492-8040
www.indiapalacetulsa.com
Hours: Open everyday- 11;00 am-2;30 pm and 5:00 pm-10;00 pm
Try the Paneer Makhni, Dal Makhni or Baigan Bharta. They serve meat dishes as well. You may want to request white meat chicken if you prefer it. If you ask they will make you Podhina Raita (Mint Yogurt).

India Corner
6122 South Garnett Road
Tulsa, OK 74103
918-307-0002
Hours: Open everyday 9:00 am-2:00 pm and 5:00 pm-9:00 pm
This is a family-run restaurant with a tiny dining space. Chicken biryani is good but the owner can offer great suggestions. They have a wide variety of Indian sweets here as well.

Desi Wok
3966 South Hudson Avenue
Tulsa, OK 74135
918-621-6565
www.desiwok.net
Hours: Everyday- 11;00 am-10:00pm
Try the saag and curry dishes. Indian fast food.

Mexican Restaurants

You cannot have ambience and decent Mexican food together in Tulsa. And if you are a strict vegetarian, please consider learning to cook Mexican food.

El Rio Verde
38 N. Trenton
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-592-2555
Hours: Open everyday 8:30 am-9:30 pm
Wet burrito can feed a family of four. Heartburn may follow.

La Hacienda
4518 S. Peoria
Tulsa, OK 74105
918-712-8645
Hours: Mon-Fri. (10:00 am-9:00 pm.) Sat. and Sun. (8:00 am-9:00 p-m

)

Ted's Cafe Escondido
3202 W Kenosha St
Broken Arrow, OK 74012
(918) 254-8337
http://tedscafe.com/
Hours: Monday – Thursday (11 am – 10 pm), Friday – Saturday (11 am – 10:30 pm) Sunday (11 – 8:30 pm
)Fresh tortillas and basic Mexican food. This place is decent but not great.

Chipotle! Stay tuned….This is opening on 71st Street soon!

Steak

Doe’s Eat Place
1350 E. 15th St.
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-585-3637
Hours: Mon-Sat. 5:00 pm-9:00 pm, closed on Sunday

Fleming’s Prime Steak House & Wine Bar
1976 Utica Square
Tulsa, OK 74114
918-712-7500
www.flemingssteakhouse.com
Hours: Mon.-Thurs. (5:00 pm-10:00 pm) Fri. & Sat. (5:00 pm-11:00 pm) & Sun. (5:00 pm-9:00 pm

)

Texas Roadhouse (Casual)
11111 E. 71st St.
Tulsa, OK 74011
918-461-8891
www.texasroadhouse.com
Hours: Mon.-Thurs. (4:00 pm-10:00 pm) Fri. & Sat. (11:00 am-11:00 pm) Sun. (11:00 am-10:00 pm

)

Casual Italian

There are several upscale Italian restaurants in town but none of them have consistently good food. Biga is the most consistent of this group but it still falters from time to time.

Biga
Peoria
4329 South Peoria
Tulsa, OK 74105
918-743-2442
http://www.bodean.net/Bigahome.html
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 5 – 10 pm, Sunday 5 – 9 pm
To my knowledge this is the only Italian restaurant in town with homemade pasta and it’s wonderful.

Gina and Guiseppe's (at the Riverwalk
)400 Riverwalk Terrace
Jenks, OK 74037
918-296-0111
http://www.gngdeli.com
Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 11:00am-9:pm
Fri. and Sat. 11:00am - 10:00pm
Sunday 11:00am - 4:00pm
This is the best restaurant in the Riverwalk. It is not great, but it is the only fairly consistent place at that location.
Suggested: Order Pizza but ask for “half the normal amount of cheese”. The grilled vegetable salad is terrific. Their chicken breast special was very good. The pasta and other traditional dishes are underwhelming.

Warning: Do not eat Mexican Food at the Riverwalk. The restaurant is terrible!

Mario's Pizzeria
3323 E 51ST Street
Tulsa, OK 74135
918-743-7761
Weekdays 11 – 2 & 4-9
Sat 11 – 9:30
Sun 4:30 – 8:30
Greasy New York style pizza.

BBQ
Albert G's on South Harvard.
2748 South Harvard Ave
Tulsa, OK 74114-5944
918-747-4799
Mon-Sat 11am-8:30pm
This is literally an old gas station converted into a BBQ joint. If you have never had BBQ, you may be shocked when your meat arrives on a plastic tray (no plate) with white bread and side dishes. The smoked chicken dinner is only available on Wednesday and Saturdays. It always sells out.

Dessert

Kokoa Chocolatier
http://www.kokoachocolatier.com/
3410 South Peoria Avenue
Tulsa, OK 74105
918-742-4069
Hours: Tues, Wed 10 – 5:30
Thurs, Fri, Sat 10 - 11
This is an amazing coffee and dessert location. They are also open for lunch. Plus, they have a truly gourmet private dinner party one evening a month that you can attend. It’s a prix fix menu developed by chef and owner Steven Howard.
Suggested: Truffles, Chocolate Pot de Crème, Chocolate covered gingersnaps. Order what was baked that day.

Nordaggio’s Coffee Inc
This coffee house serves wonderful gelato. There are two locations in Tulsa.
• 300 Riverwalk Terrace Suite 120, Jenks, OK 74037 (918) 392-9944
Hours: M-F (8:00 am-11:00 pm) Sat. (9:00 am-midnight) Sun.(10:00 am-11:00 pm
)• 8156C South Lewis Avenue, Tulsa, OK 74137 918) 296-5288
Hours: M-F (7:00 am-midnight) Sat (9:00 am-1:00 am) Sun.(10:00 am-midnight)

Tulsa Landmarks

White River Fish Market
1708 N Sheridan Rd
Tulsa, OK 74115
918-835-1910
www.whiteriverfishmarket.com/
Hours: Monday – Thursday till 8pm, Friday and Saturday till 8:30 pm
Founded in 1932, this seafood restaurant is a true landmark. The fresh fish is on display as you order your meal. Fish dinners come with 2 sides and their fried hush puppies. Folks in overalls eat alongside folks in suits on wooden benches.
This place is near the airport so it’s perfect to visit before or after a flight.

Queenies Plus
1834 Utica Square
Tulsa, OK 74114
918-749-3481
Hours: M-F 7:00am-7:00pm
Sat. 7:00am-6:00pm
Sun. 9:00am-2:00pm
A landmark for ladies who lunch. Queenies has wonderful salads, soups and homemade desserts. The service is better if you take-out!

Decent Brunch when entertaining Guests

Palace Cafe
1301 E. 15th St
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-582-4321
Hours: Tues.-Thurs. 11:00am-2:30 pm and 5:30 pm-10:00 pm
Fri. & Sat. 11:00am-2:30 & 5:30 pm-11:00 pm
Sundays 9:00am-2:00pm, Closed on Monday

La Villa Restaurant At Philbrook (at the Philbrook Museum
)2727 South Rockford Road
Tulsa, OK 74114
918-748-5367
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 11am-2pm
Sunday Brunch 11am-2pm
A beautiful setting for a meal. Come early to brunch so they don’t run out of your favorite dessert!

Thai Food, Sushi
We cannot recommend any restaurants. There are plenty of decent picks but nothing stellar.

Specialty Food Stores

Laxmi Spices of India
5555 East 41st Street, Tulsa, OK 74135
(918) 270-1555
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 11:30am-8:00pm, Sunday 11:00am-6:00pm
Indian grocery store for pantry and freezer staples

Tulsa Oriental Market
11320 East 21st Street, Tulsa, OK 74129
(918) 437-3022
Hours: Everyday from 9:30am-8:00pm
Authentic asian market for pantry items and fresh produce.

La Donna's Fancy Foods
1523 E 15th St
Tulsa, OK 74120
http://www.ladonnasonline.com
(918) 582-1523 Hours: M-Tues-W-F: 10:00am-6:00pm Thurs. 10:00am-8:00pm Sat. 9:00am-5:00pm Closed on Sunday
Wonderful cheeses, chocolate, teas and specialty ingredients. Don’t leave without their cocoa powder and Callebaut chocolate chips.

Stonehorse Market
1748 Utica Square
Tulsa, OK 74114
918-712-7470
Hours: Tues.-Sat. 10:00am-7:00pm Closed on Sun. and Mon.
Excellent quality meat and fish to cook at home plus pre-made items like pate.

Wild Oats – Soon to be Whole Foods….
1401 E. 41st St
Tulsa, OK 74105
918-712-7555
http://www.wildoats.com
Hours: Everyday from 8:00am-10:00pm

Center 1 Market
35th and Peoria
This market features offerings from Dawsons Market, Farrel Family Organic Bread, Petals & Soup and Nuyaka Natural Farm.

Pare
1441 S. Quaker, Suite A,
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-582-7273
http://www.parefoods.com
Prepared foods to take-out including entrees, soups, salads, dips and baked goods.

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  1. Thank you for taking the time to write this. It must have taken your whole Labor Day weekend! I've spent a lot of time in Tulsa over the years, and have come to love it... so much so that when I'm back in New York I keep on boasting to people about how much better this is in Tulsa, how great that is in Tulsa etc.

    I've posted a few posts on Tulsa which might complement yours. The first two focus on barbecue and on Tulsa landmarks. Some of the info might be outdated, but most is current. Things change more slowly than they do back East.
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/139859

    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/140283

    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/365435

    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/313245

    1. Thanks to you and Brian S, my few weeks in Tulsa were far more enjoyable than my initial dread when I learned I would be working on-site there.

      I can definitely second your Brasserie listing. Even though you classified it as "Dressy", I must admit that by your specific description of it, my impression of it is that of an almost-fast-food French cafe, if based solely on what you typed in its synposis.

      I invite anyone looking for ouststanding French food and "stuck" in Tulsa to give the website a fair lookover.

      Also, being from LA which has a sushi restaurant on every street on the Westside, I'd contend that Sushi Train off the 64/51 (Harvard exit maybe, I can't remember anymore) really isn't that bad. We went in with nearly no expectations, but the freshness of the fish was above-average, and everything else tasted OK.

      1. Good list. I can recommend Thai Chef for good Thai food. I've traveled to Thailand, and this place is authentic. It's just east of Mingo on 31st (south side of the road in a strip center). Tom Kha Gai is a soup, but with rice it's a full meal.

        4 Replies
        1. re: adoggabeme

          And Lanna on 51 Street used to be stellar. I haven't been in years.

          1. re: Brian S

            I frequent Lanna Thai on 51st and Harvard, (which IMO is significantly better than the 71st St. location). I really like the food there, which is always fresh and flavorful, but I can't say as to how authentic it is.

            1. re: Jocelyn P

              My husband and I love Lanna Thai and are saddened that the store on 51st is going away with the Hwy 44 widening. We have also been to the Thai Chef and it was good. Unfortunately it was also empty, which makes me nervous about it's continued success.

              1. re: Cerdanya

                You can start worrying in thirty years when the widening actually happens.

        2. Just a few restaurants you might think of trying...
          Margarets at the Farm (German)
          Brownie's at 21st and Harvard & Claude's at 38th and Peoria (hamburgers)
          Grumpy's Garden east of 15th and Peoria (smoked hot dogs, polish sausage, etc)
          Dalesandro's at 18th and Boston and Mary's at 15th and Peoria (Italian)
          Lola's at the Bowery in the Brady district (tapas)
          Thyme at 31st and Harvard (new American)
          Elmer's at 42nd and Peoria and Hickory House in Sapulpa (BBQ)
          Talking Drum at 71st and Lewis (African, Caribbean, and Italian)

          1. Interesting that no one has mentioned Jamil's.

            Or Coney Island for something more downscale.

            5 Replies
            1. re: sigerson57

              Hey I mentioned Jamil's in the post I linked to . More than happy to link to it again.
              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/140283

              1. re: Brian S

                A new pan aisan restaurant in Brookside on Peoria, KEO is the best new asian in town. Far better than PF Changs or the Pei Kai catty cornered across the street. The owners are local and the chef is originally from Cambodia. She has some great food coming out of her kitchen.

                1. re: tiomano

                  I have been to KEO twice now in the past week. I found the Pad Thai to be a little bland for my taste, but the shrimp dumpling appetizer blew me away. The Vietnamese pho was pretty good, too.

                2. re: Brian S

                  Thank you, Brian. I do appreciate the Tulsa reports on this board and do apologize for overlooking your links when you first posted them.

                  Is Weber's that hole in the wall about about a mile north of I-44?

                  1. re: sigerson57

                    Thank you! Yes, Webers is a shack on Peoria just north of 39 Street.

                    -----
                    Weber's Root Beer Stand
                    3817 S Peoria Ave, Tulsa, OK 74105