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Jan 10, 2003 07:38 PM

The Best Restaurants in Tulsa

  • t

For mostly upscale dining in Tulsa, there is a very short list of restaurants that really matter. It is generally a big mistake to just try someplace new unless you know it's good. Bad restaurants abound.

Some may say this approach to dining is snobby. They would be correct. But for those who respect and understand good food, this is a list to follow.

Stonehorse Cafe
This is a wonderful place for Brunch, Lunch or Dinner. Excellent salads, omlettes and fine entrees.
1748 Utica Square, Tulsa, OK 74114
(918) 712-7470

Biga - This Italian restaurant has wonderful homemade pastas and other fine entrees. The pasta chef is a real pro - I have attended his cooking classes. If you eat Italian food at any other restaurant in Tulsa you are making a huge mistake.
4329 South Peoria Avenue, Tulsa, OK 74105
(918) 743-2442

Thai Chef Restaurant
Wonderful Green Curry Chicken.
9720 East 31st Street, Tulsa, OK 74146
(918) 663-6576

PF Changs - in Utica square. Yes, it's a chain, but this is the only decent Chinese food within 250 miles. Dallas is the next closest.

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  1. Awesome! Don't forget Tucci's for Italian.

    1. I found the BEST Thai and Vietnamese I have had in the Tulsa area. We have tried EVERYWHERE and compare it to great restaurants we have been to on the east and west coasts. It is called the Hmong Cafe and it is in Tulsa located on 31st street between Mingo and Garnett on the north side of the street in a shopping strip mall. We LOVE the red curry (We sub Chicken instead of the beef) and the Pad Thai (if Joey is working, he makes the best Pad Thai - ask for him) and for Vietnamese, the Pho soup is outstanding. Great service and very clean. AND around $5-7 per meal w/ huge portions.

      6 Replies
      1. re: nurseh

        How about a rec for excellent BBQ (Tulsa area please), I'm in town this summer.

        1. re: treb

          Billy Simm's has my fave bbq in Tulsa. I live in Austin now, but we go there everytime we're in Tulsa to visit family. My husband loves the sauce so much, my mom bought him a case of it for Christmas. I'd avoid Rib Crib. I was forced to eat there when I was younger because they had all you can eat rib nights on Tuesday. It's just not that good.

          1. re: stephanieh

            Legends on S. Memorial is the least mediocre of a mediocre lot.
            Disclaimer #1: I lived in KC and S Texas so my standards are high.
            Disclaimer #2: I'm strictly a brisket guy and haven't tried anything else.

            Have not yet gone to Albert G's.

          2. re: treb

            Albert G's on Harvard. They are much more about the smoke, sauce is always on the side than most other places in town.

            1. re: treb

              Billy Sim's is very good. Try the puled pork. Rib Crib is a staple in Tulsa BBQ everyone in Oklahoma likes it so treb I believe you are wrong.

            2. re: nurseh

              I just got back from Hmong Cafe. Thanks for the tip!!! It was as good as you said. Here's my report:

              (and here's a recent thread with lots of discussion of Tulsa chow!

            3. Te Kei's also has very good Asian food and it's a really nice non-chain. I love the decor. I make everyone I take there check out the restrooms. They're that nice. I love the potstickers for an app. Their entrees are delicious. And you have to save room for Pacific Rim Bread Pudding for dessert. I know, bread pudding at an Asian restaurant? But it's the best bread pudding I've had in my life. And everyone I've taken there agreed.

              McGill's is also a nice restaurant for steaks, pastas, etc. When our sales veeps came into town, that's always where they took clients. I really liked the seafood pasta there. Cream sauce, shrimp, lump crab, and lobster. Yum.

              8 Replies
              1. re: stephanieh

                I stumbled upon Te Kei's once for lunch found it to be one of those typical restaurants that spends all it's money on decor, but puts little substance into the food. My girlfriend had some noodles and they were bland. They tasted like something out of the grocery store freezer section microwave in a box dinners. I can't even remember what I had, which says a lot about how not good it was.

                It was way overpriced as well.

                I've traveled extensively, lived in San Francisco and had great chinese food at places like Sam Wo in chinatown and Sam Woo in Irvine California. These places serve authentic chinese food. Of course I don't expect Tulsa to have a chinese restaurant on par with one of these facilities, but to think that Te Kei's gets such great reviews for asian food is very disappointing.

                I know there are many who go to restaurants to look at the place and Te Kei's is one of those over decorated places trying hard to be the asian food version of Joe's Crabshack, but when I go to a restaurant, I want to eat good food and Te Kei's just doesn't have it.

                1. re: pjq

                  Totally disagree - TeKeis is great - different but great.
                  Keo also has wonderful asian food -

                  1. re: pjq

                    The asian version of Joe's Crab Shack? I'm not sure you've even been to Te Kei's after that comment.

                    1. re: stephanieh

                      I have to agree that this is really bad chinese food. Not that I have had any better in Tulsa. Unfortunately the only decent chinese I have had here is PF Changs. I have lived on the East Coast and Family on the is far better. I have even had better chinese in Kalamazoo MI.

                      The one and only time we ate there, they asked for our dessert order while we were still eating...they never cleared our dishes and when they brought dessert they just shoved our entree dishes out of the way and left them on the table. By the way, even the dessert was inedible.

                      1. re: tulsa micki

                        I am not a Te Kei's fan, either, and I've found the PF Changs here to be inconsistent lately. Chopsticks on 61st and Sheridan is my go-to Chinese place these days. The chili wontons are oh-so-spicy and fantastic!

                    2. re: pjq

                      I highly disagree with this statement. I love tekei's and I personally know the owner- Todd Kramer. He loves asian cultures and food and often goes to visit. In fact every decorative item that you have seen there(sculptures and paintings and such), came from his trips. In fact one of the walls in one of the private rooms actually was one of the walls from a thai palace and was handcarved by artisans, then shipped here in 44 pieces. The fact that he spent a lot of time decorating, does not mean that is all that he did. The food quality is great. My husband and I go once a week. I love the lettuce wraps, spring rolls, potstickers, general tso's, sweet and sour, and the chicken fried rice. But, atmosphere adds strong appeal in a dining experience as well. Having the pieces of artwork and carpentry of another country sit right beside you, has an overwhelming capability of transporting you. Some of us may never get to take a trip around the world so it is fascinating to see some of their culture. There is nothing wrong with decorating to acheive the atmosphere. Also, you have to take into consideration, that Tekei's claims it is not completely traditional. They are described as an asian kitchen with a slight twist to accomodate the american pallette. They do a lot of different things and are constantly experimenting and adding to their menu and they are bold with new choices. I highly recommend it over and over again to anyone willing to have an open mind and pallette.

                      1. re: pjq

                        I totally disagree - especially when compared with PF Chang's which I found to be bland and formulaic. Try this, compare the Mongolian Beef dishes at Te Kei's and PF Chang's. By far, Te Kei's version is much more spicy, savory, and delicious. I found the PFC version to be just plain bland and somewhat lacking in taste. Also, TK's has THE BEST bread pudding I've ever tasted.
                        As for the decor, that's important to me, and Te Kei's has booths that can make for some great dining. PF Changs is like a large mess hall, by comparison. TK's also has a much more comforatble, separated, bar area whereas at PFC's, it's out in the open and you almost feel like you're in the way of people passing by.
                        Your comments lead me to wonder whether you actually ate at Te Kei's, or whether you might be employed by PF Chang's.

                        1. re: GrubMeister

                          I tried Te Kei Mongolian Beef for lunch today. I think on the whole I prefer PF Chang's food, but the Tei Kei chow was very good. Sometimes the meat dishes at PF Chang's are too dry; Tei Kei's was not (and it wasn't swimming in sauce). Also I believe they put sha cha sauce in the beef, and I liked that. I'll go back.

                    3. S & J Seafood Cafe Oyster Bar was excellent when I was there in 2000/2001. They had live jazz and a pan seared tuna steak to die for.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: flavorfreak

                        Does anyone have feedback on Mahogany Prime Steakhouse in Tulsa? We are going for my father-in-law's 60th birthday and I'm curious what to expect. Thanks!

                        1. re: beckyTX

                          Mahogany's is a very nice steakhouse. I am a big fan of the bone-in filet when it is available and the strip is excellent as well. My wife loves the "something chocolate" dessert.

                        2. re: flavorfreak

                          S & J is gone with the wind. I saw some of their stuff in the "Tulsa Memorabilia" section of e-bay, but that's the only trace you'll find of them.

                        3. I'm very surprised that the White River Fish+Restaurant was not mentioned,we were there 2 months ago and found the seafood excellent,we went for lunch and back again for supper, plus went the next day to load up my cooler full of seafood,which to this day is still good as we just had a seafood cook out 2 day's ago, I worked at a top seafood resaurant in Miami so I know what good seafood is,they definetly have it.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: mutti

                            yes, I was wondering when White River was going to be mentioned too. I've never been to PF Chang's, the extended family likes to go to Te Kei's for large gatherings. Thanks for the Hmong Cafe mention, I will definitely try it!

                            We actually don't eat in Tulsa all that often, but had an enjoyable pre-concert meal at Lola's this week. I've liked every meal I've ever had there, including getting a takeout sandwich when gallery sitting at TAC. This time we had lobster corn dogs, which were tasty little treats.

                            and yes, the passing of S & J's is unfortunate. cool place.

                            1. re: Betty

                              Lobster corn dogs, I might have to head over to Lola's this evening and check that out. I have not been there in a while but when I am over at the TAC gallery they always seem to be busy.

                              And the Hmong cafe was very good, I had the green curry and it was as good as the green curry I had at KEO.