Oklahoma’s origin story is steeped in unique cultures and traditions.
At last count, there are more than 36 different nationalities and ethnicities offering a taste of their culture in restaurants in Oklahoma City. If you count regional cuisine from places like Mexico and China, the number is closer to 50. Visitors and even locals are often surprised at how diverse the food scene is in OKC. From fine dining to taco trucks, and from regional Chinese food hailing from Guangdong, Fuzhou and Sichuan to chicken-fried steak, the variety offers a delicious smorgasbord of flavors, techniques, dishes and experiences of all the wonderful cultures that contribute to the Modern Frontier.
Dining around OKC tends to cluster in districts, both the official districts like Paseo and Plaza, but also unofficial stretches like N. May Ave. or SW 59th. Sometimes the district dictates the cuisine, like La 29, the Latino-centric district along SW 29th, with its amazing selection of taquerias, mercados and taco trucks. Often, though, restaurants just pop up near heavily trafficked areas, like W. Memorial on the northern edge of OKC. The good news is that wherever your business or vacation has you in Oklahoma City, excellent food is nearby.
Oklahoma is a beef state, and we have been since before statehood. That means you’ll find some of the best steaks in the world in our prime steakhouses, including our world-famous Cattlemen’s Steakhouse in Stockyards City. The Blue Ribbon cut is always prime beef, and you’re going to want to try the house dressing. Mahogany Prime Steakhouse downtown is a destination all the time, but during Thunder season, it’s abuzz with before- and after-game energy that keeps the steaks coming and the wine pouring. Say yes to the lobster cargot without fail. Jamil’s is one of the last Lebanese steakhouses in the state, and they’ve been delivering steak, ribs, tabouli, hummus, cabbage rolls and smoked bologna for nearly 60 years.
We don’t do a lot of formal dining in Oklahoma City, but outstanding upscale casual concepts abound. The Hamilton Supperette & Lounge features Okie-centric dining from Chef Stephanie Miller, with Oklahoma specialties from quail to cobbler. Vast is our top-of-the-city destination with cuisine inspired by our home state as well as our neighbors along the Gulf: shrimp, seafood, lamb and steaks are paired beautifully with an exceptional wine list. The Metro Wine Bar & Bistro has been the wine gold standard in OKC for more than 30 years, and they also feature outrageously good food like lamb potstickers, risotto, fresh fish and Continental favorites.
A Little More Spice
If you’re a fan of TexMex, New Mexican or Southwestern cuisine, you’ve come to the right place. Frida Southwest in the Paseo District is one of our flagship restaurants, featuring the brilliant work of Executive Chef Quinn Carroll and Pastry Chef Rachel Porter. It’s rare to find a restaurant good at every part of the meal – appetizers, entrees, dessert, wine and cocktails – but Frida nails it in every category. For delicious TexMex, try Barrios Fine Mexican Dishes in Midtown. The chorizo queso and fish tacos are among the best dishes in the city. Here on a cold day? Head over to Hacienda Tacos for New Mexican specialties like posole and green chile stew.
Tacos and Trucks
If you’re the adventurous type, hit an ATM and then head to the south side for a tour of our taco trucks. You can also find plenty of choices on the west side, including Taqueria Sanchez, the one that started the taco truck craze here, and Taqueria Rodriquez, a truck at NW 10th and Portland with the city’s best quesabirria tacos. For sit-down dining, it’s impossible to beat Trompudo’s Tacos, with their Mexico City-style approach that includes brilliant al pastor from the trompo, and a full bar that includes stellar frozen margaritas and specialty drinks.
The Buthion brothers moved to Oklahoma from France more than 40 years ago, and we’re thrilled they stayed, because La Baguette Bistro offers outstanding French cuisine at breakfast, lunch and dinner from the pioneer for French cuisine in the state, Chef Alain Buthion. Executive Chef Jonathan Krell is the powerhouse behind Patrono, with their emphasis on modern Italian food downtown. If you’re going to a show at the Civic Center, Patrono is a short walk, and you’ll be glad you stopped in for the carbonara or any of the other brilliant dishes.
South American Gems
Our city has a wealth of talent from Central and South America, and while many of the Guatemalan, Honduran and Salvadoran places are off the beaten path, the food at Tienda Guatemala, Pupuseria mi Chalateca and Mi Tierra Sabor Catracho make them worth a visit for adventurous eaters. For empanadas Colombian style – and sobrebarriga – El Fogon de Edgar is the best choice. Cafe Antigua (rustic) and Café Kacao (modern) offer two delicious and popular takes on Guatemalan cuisine from the same family. If you love potatoes (and huancaina sauce), Naylamp has remarkable Peruvian cuisine, including mind-blowing chicken salad.
A Taste of Vietnam
Oklahoma City is regionally famous for our pho restaurants. The traditional soup can be found in several locations in the Asian District and scattered throughout the city. VII Asian Bistro offers a delicious version, and they also serve pho’s spicier cousin bun bo hue. For a modern take, Riviere Modern Banh Mi in Midtown has small-batch pho, xiu mai meatballs, and some of the city’s best bulgogi (think of it as Vietnamese- Korean fusion).
China is a Big Place
We tend to think of Chinese food as a monolithic thing, but the large nation has 31 distinct provinces and regions, and like any other large country, the food from the regions is diverse. Szechuan Story is a favorite destination for locals, and their crispy spicy chicken is among the city’s best dishes. The beef noodle bowl at Northern Noodle House brings the best of China’s northeast to Oklahoma City, and you’ll find delicious buns and dumplings at Oodles of Noodles in the city’s northwest quadrant.
More Noodles Please
Ramen has found a home here, too, and whether you like the savory tonkatsu style or a more subtle take for hot months like chilled ramen (no broth), you’ll find what makes your heart happy at Tamashii and Goro. Both offer a variety of dishes and full bars.
Inside the First Americans Museum, Thirty Nine offers Modern Indigenous Cuisine steeped in tradition. Regional Executive Chef Brad Harris and Emmy award winning Chef Loretta Barrett Oden (Citizen Potawatomi Nation) created menus honoring traditional ingredients of the 39 distinctive First American Nations in Oklahoma. Their delicious adaptations use ingredients that have been grown, gathered and hunted in this area for generations. Vegan and gluten free options are available, and a museum entry fee is not required to dine.
We’re Here for Brunch
Yes, it really is just expensive breakfast, but at least you get to drink early without feeling bad. Neighborhood Jam and Hatch both offer dishes from traditional to creative, as well as full bars and mimosas to kickstart your weekend.
The diversity is impressive, and even locals are often surprised at what we offer. The list could be far longer, including brilliant Pakistani/Indian cuisine at Sheesh Mahal, the world’s best house-made Oaxaca cheese-jalapeno sausages at Edge Craft Barbecue, hashwa at Nunu’s, life-changing falafel at Saj, amazing seafood at Sedalia’s, sushi at Culprits, breakfast tacos at Big Truck, pastries at Ganache Patisserie, inexplicably good pizza at Fairweather Friend – why does a brewery have such good pizza?! – goat birria at Los Desvelados, and even curried goat Caribbean style at Carican Flavors. If you thought you were just here for the chicken-fried steak at Cheever’s (and you should absolutely try it), we have far more surprises for you than you’ll believe.