Oklahoma City’s dining scene continues to attract national and international attention as the accolades for our chefs and restaurants pile up this year. We had our first James Beard Award winner with Florence Jones, two other nominees (Chef Andrew Black and Chef Zach Hutton) and Ma Der Lao Kitchen won Bon Appetit magazine’s Best New Restaurant in Oklahoma as well as making The Restaurant List, a selection of 50 favorites compiled annually by the New York Times.
The hospitality industry has been taking body blows since 2020, but they’ve shown no inclination to quit, and so once again, OKC gets to welcome several new restaurants to our culinary landscape, including some bold new flavors, fresh seafood, a New Mexico-style cantina, and Taiwanese food in Uptown 23rd.
Sedalia’s Oyster & Seafood is the creation of Chef Zack and Silvana Walters. He’s a local who spent a ton of his culinary career in California, developing a love for fresh seafood. She’s a Boliviana with an amazing resumé as a front-of-house specialist. And they’ve put together one of the most exciting new concepts we’ve seen in OKC. With fresh oysters, anticuchos of octopus or beef heart (a Bolivian specialty), crudos and roasted fish, Sedalia’s puts phenomenal food on small plates and dares you to order the whole menu. The wine list is quirky, and the gin and tonic is one of the best versions of the classic you’ll find. No matter what, say yes to the pumpernickel bread.
El Coyote is Chef Jonathon Stranger’s homage to Southwest cuisine. The bar and cantina feature a beautiful interior and patio, stellar cocktails like a rum-spiked frozen horchata and New Mexico specialties like stacked enchiladas, hominy, blue corn tacos and explosive, spicy flavors. If they tell you it’s hot, it’s hot, but that’s the soul of New Mexican cuisine.
Gilded Acorn in The National is another winner from James Beard Award nominee Chef Andrew Black. Not content with having the city’s best fine dining restaurant in Grey Sweater, Black extends himself yet again to offer Champagne, oysters, caviar, pastries and the city’s best egg salad, all in a setting that invites you to stay awhile and maybe have two bottles of bubbles.
Formosa is Taiwanese street food in the heart of Uptown 23rd. Ivan Wong, a partner in Szechuan Story, wanted to highlight Taiwanese specialties in this bar-restaurant tucked into the Tower Theatre cluster. Scallion pancakes, spicy edamame, dumplings and basil popcorn chicken are some of the highlights of this small but focused menu that’s sure to be a favorite among the late-night crowd. And yes, there is a full bar with specialty cocktails.
The Joinery occupies the space in Bricktown formerly known as Tapwerks. Chef Chris McKenna oversees a kitchen that offers elevated pub food in a beautiful setting. The burger is excellent, as is the Italian meats sandwich and the meatballs. You can go a little upscale with the bone-in pork chop or braised short rib, but there is simply no way to go wrong with this menu.
Culprits is the newest restaurant from Provision Concepts, and it features a collaboration with James Beard Award nominee James Fox of Vecina in Phoenix. Located in the new Renaissance Hotel, they offer four services, beginning with breakfast every day and brunch on weekends. The rack of lamb, steak tartare, vodka mezzi and Flaming Scallops are the standouts, but the menu is deep and full of delicious options. Operating partner and Provision Concepts founder Jeff Dixon loves sushi, so it’s no surprise it shows up here, too.
30th Street Market just off Paseo in Edgemere gives us something we’ve been missing in OKC: an excellent sandwich shop with freshly baked breads, high quality ingredients and menu options for dietary restrictions, including gluten-free sandwich bread. The pastrami is the star, but the guilty pleasure is pimento and cornichons on milk bread. Say yes to the peanut butter-miso cookie.
Flycatcher Club is as much beer bar-honkytonk as restaurant, but Riley Marshall’s new Ironworks District destination has a chicken sandwich that we ought to be lining up for, so it’s going in the restaurant category. Chef Brian Wilson is back in the urban core, and we’re lucky to have him helming the kitchen. The chicken tenders are magical, and of course, you can get the Arbolada smash burger every day.
Saj Lebanese is a welcome addition to Automobile Alley. Sitti’s kitchen is the section of the menu where we do the most damage, but all the traditional Lebanese dishes are delicious. The showstoppers are the dolmas, falafel and baklava.