The Best of the Best 2015

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Dining

Asian

Asian cuisine and the many cultures and cooking traditions it embraces offer taste buds myriad flavors, and these restaurants have found the winning combinations that keeps customers returning. If you’re in Tulsa, KEO Restaurant, landing at the top of the list of great Asian tastes, offers guests healthy, fresh, made-to-order tastes from a variety of countries in Southeast Asia. Lanna Thai is also a fan favorite in Tulsa, serving a comprehensive menu of authentic Thai cuisine with bold flavors and fresh ingredients. And if you haven’t tried Ri Le’s, you should. A family-style Vietnamese restaurant, Ri Le’s has been serving Tulsans for years.

If you’re in Oklahoma City and looking for a delicious Japanese steakhouse, Musashi’s gives a fiery performance, with its tastes receiving a standing ovation. For another fan-favorite Japanese restaurant, try Okura Sushi & Grill, whose guests can’t seem to get enough of its sushi, teppanyaki and more. And if you’re in the mood for bold, Thai tang, Tana Thai’s tastes will satisfy both palate and belly.

Lanna Thai, Best Asian Photo by Natalie Green.
Lanna Thai, Best Asian
Photo by Natalie Green.

Bakery

When you’re craving something sweet and homemade, there’s nothing better than walking into a bakery that engulfs you in its warm aroma. Offering some of the best smells and sweets in Tulsa, Ann’s Bakery has been serving its community for more than 75 years and has perfected the skill of curing your sweet tooth. In Utica Square, Queenie’s Café & Bakery continues to draw a crowd with its homemade cakes, cookies, pies and other delicious desserts cooked daily. With traditions that date back to 1979, Merritt’s Bakery’s locations in Tulsa, Broken Arrow and Jenks have grown into a sweet tooth’s staple.

For a taste of France, La Baguette Bistro & Bakery in Oklahoma City offers specialty cakes, tarts, cheesecakes, pies and other sweet bites. For one of the largest selections of bread in Oklahoma, Big Sky Bread of Oklahoma brings home the loaf with its 18 varieties, whose availabilities vary Tuesday through Saturday. Brown’s Bakery also makes the list with its colorful and delicious creations, and Cuppies & Joe continues awakening our appetites with its cupcakes, pies and other delights.

Barbecue Restaurant

Barbecue in Oklahoma is a cut above the rest, and Oklahomans can’t get enough. Whether it’s the flavor, the history or the service, Elmer’s BBQ and its famous barbecue sauce are at the top of this year’s list. Rib Crib, with locations in eight states, continues pleasing hungry patrons with its southern fare, and usually around lunchtime, a line forms outside Burn Co. Barbecue, where barbecue fans flock for one-of-a-kind tastes.

In Oklahoma City, Earl’s Rib Palace wears the crown. With six locations throughout Oklahoma City, Earl’s smokin’ hot barbecue is fit for a king. In Norman, diners can’t get enough of the tender, smoked meats at Ray’s BBQ, and Iron Star Urban Barbeque in Oklahoma City offers delicious barbecue comfort foods that would even make Oklahoma outlaw Belle Starr turn herself in for a bite.

Breakfast

With breakfast being the most important meal of the day, and let’s admit it, the most delicious, it makes sense to start the day off right with the best bite. Phill’s Diner, a Tulsa staple, serves some of the best breakfast in Tulsa and ties at the top of this year’s list with Brookside By Day, which has a tendency of packing the house with soon-to-be-satisfied diners. Duffy’s Diner greets its customers at 6 a.m. with a smile and breakfast goodness, while Tally’s Café piles tasty ingredients onto every plate off its breakfast menu. At Savoy Restaurant, family recipes dating back to 1925 are handmade from scratch, a quality that feeds your hunger and your soul.

Jimmy’s Egg of Oklahoma City has won over its patrons with its fresh, hot and flavorful breakfast options, while IHOP, a nation-wide breakfast hotspot, pleases with an extensive, all-encompassing menu. Classen Grill rounds out the top three with its breakfast specialties that incorporate chicken fried steak, quesadillas and salmon into its breakfast menu.

Junior’s, Best Steakhouse Photo by Brent Fuchs.
Junior’s, Best Steakhouse
Photo by Brent Fuchs.

Burger

There’s nothing better than biting into a big, juicy, flavorful burger, and when you can order a burger raw, that’s when you know you’re getting the best. In business since 1975, Ron’s Hamburgers and Chili has opened 18 Oklahoma locations, all offering a variety of burgers that people can’t stop biting into. Fat Guy’s Burger Bar, with two locations and a third in the works, serves fresh burgers, delivered and ground daily. Brownie’s Hamburger Stand began crafting patties in 1956 and now has three locations.

At Charcoal Oven in Oklahoma City, premium Angus beef burgers, made fast and served hot, have the same great taste as they did in 1958. Johnnie’s Charcoal Broiler, with locations in Oklahoma City, Norman and Edmond, has been perfecting its burgers since first opening in 1971, and they are served best slathered in Johnnie’s sauce. If you’re craving a famous Oklahoma onion burger, Tucker’s Onion Burgers has crafted one that’s irresistible.

Deli/Sandwich Shop

Sandwiches come in all shapes and sizes. Long or square, hot or cold, piled high with ingredients or a unique combination of just a few, these eateries have taste buds wanting more. Jason’s Deli, a nation-wide sandwich shop, prides itself on fresh, natural ingredients and has a comprehensive menu that’ll satisfy anyone’s craving. Felini’s Cookies & Deli offers made-to-order sandwiches so patrons can enjoy it just the way they want. PJ’s Sandwich Shoppe has critics raving about its bites, and after changing its name from Dilly Deli to Dilly Diner, the downtown Tulsa eatery will still serve its favorite sandwich selections.

City Bites, with a new location in Edmond, serves fresh cold and grilled hot sandwiches on your choice of seven delicious breads. Someplace Else Deli & Bakery, a favorite sandwich shop for many, is known for its delicious Reuben, and N D Foods is a quaint deli that loads its sandwiches with meat, cheese and flavor.

Desserts

We’ve all heard the slogan, “There’s always room for dessert,” and when you’re at one these eateries, there’s nothing more true. Dragonmoon Tea Company’s sweets include gingersnap, tartlets, croissants, pudding, cookies and more, and when you take a bite you’ll understand why it’s at the top of this year’s list. Michael V’s makes all its delectable desserts from scratch, and Queenie’s Café & Bakery in Utica Square has acquired fans with its cake, pies and cookies.

Cuppies & Joe in Oklahoma City bakes sweet cupcakes served best alongside a hot cup of joe. La Baguette Bistro & Bakery brings the flavors France to Oklahoma City, packed inside cheesecakes, truffles, tarts and cakes. For a sugar fix in all its glory, Pinkitzel brightens Edmond, and now Tulsa, with its colorful array of cupcakes, taffy, truffles, chocolates and hundreds of loose candies sold by the pound.

Diner

Today, our favorite diners still provide customers with the same American tastes and experience as those that arrived and thrived in the mid-twentieth century. From décor to the foods they serve, these diners are doing it right. Phill’s Diner, a Tulsa landmark, offers a small-town diner experience alongside friendly service and homemade tastes. Tally’s Café, located off Route 66, serves all the diner classics and more. From breakfast to lunch to dinner, Tally’s serves up some of the best, as does Duffy’s Diner, an excellent, old school diner on Cherry Street.

Oklahoma City’s Good Gravy Diner takes an interesting twist on biscuits and gravy, offering more than 40 gravies as toppings to some delicious menu options. Classen Grill serves full plates for breakfast and lunch, piled high with as many ingredients as they can fit. Beverly’s Pancake House, an Oklahoma City staple, puts its touch on diner standards, and The Diner in Norman serves hearty portions for breakfast and lunch in its unique, ‘50s-style diner.

Fast Food

Running a bunch of errands on your lunch break and looking to grab something on the go? Well, quick does not jeopardize quality at these fast food locations. You can’t go wrong with Arby’s, which serves at least nine meats daily, piling its sandwiches high with delicious ingredients and roast beef so good it stands great alone. And the curly fries. Let’s not forget the curly fries. Sonic Drive-In is a close second with its mouthwatering burgers, hot dogs and sandwiches, and it offers some of the tastiest drinks to cool off with during the summer. Taco Bueno, a brand that’s been around since 1967, serves fresh Tex-Mex options that are muy bueno.

Fine Dining

Finding a fine dining restaurant with the tastes and service that are worth the price can be difficult, and weeding through false finesse is not an enjoyable process. But our readers have made it easy. Polo Grill in Utica Square always draws a crowd of excited diners who can’t wait to enjoy the experience Polo Grill’s award-winning culinary team cooks up. Palace Café offers elegant tastes that change with the seasons in a refined, unique setting. Mahogany Prime Steakhouse crafts its plates around the finest custom-aged U.S. Prime Midwestern beef.

Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse, an Oklahoma City icon, impresses with its chef-driven menu, sophisticated space and the overall experience that engulfs its patrons. The Coach House delivers seasonal, fine dining delicacies using local produce and regional specialties, and Mahogany Prime Steakhouse offers its same great tastes and experience in Oklahoma City.

Dragonmoon Tea Company, Best Desserts Photo by Natalie Green.
Dragonmoon Tea Company, Best Desserts
Photo by Natalie Green.

Ice Cream Shop

A cold scoop, or three, of ice cream on a hot summer day, topped with sprinkles, fresh fruit or other yummy delights, can’t be beat. Braum’s Ice Cream and Dairy Stores, whose business model and great tastes have been around since 1933, milks its own cows, a feature that’s reflected in every scoop. Baskin-Robbins’ more than 50 flavors have continued pleasing ice-cream fans throughout the years. And, fairly new to Tulsa, STG Pizzeria & Gelateria serves scoops of gelato that’ll take you to Italy and back with every rich, gooey bite.

Braum’s Ice Cream and Dairy Stores also lands at the top of the list in Oklahoma City, serving one delicious scoop after another. Cold Stone Creamery, making its ice cream fresh daily, continues mixing up some of the best combinations on its frozen granite stones. Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt joined the fro-yo revolution, standing apart from its competitors with flavor and quality.

Eischen’s, Best Place to Take Out-of-Town Guests Photo by Brent Fuchs.
Eischen’s, Best Place To Take Out-of-Town Guests
Photo by Brent Fuchs.

Italian

Creating delizioso Italian sauces and dishes that have just the right balance of spices and ingredients is an art form. Ti Amo Italian Ristorante brings the Italian dining experience to life at every table through its appetizing creations and delightful service. Dalesandro’s Italian Cuisine’s quaint eatery on Boston Avenue sparkles at night with tantalizing tastes full of flavor and fresh ingredients. Biga, located along Brookside, serves authentic, home-style Italian dishes; Villa Ravenna, in The Farm Shopping Center, offers homemade pastas, delectable game meats, seafood and other amazing ingredients; and Mondo’s Italian Restaurant, also on Brookside, welcomes diners into its cozy, warm space with tasty, family recipes rooted in Italian heritage.

Victoria’s Pasta Shop has been serving Oklahoma City for more than 25 years and is committed to using the freshest ingredients available. Stella Modern Italian Cuisine aims to give its customers an all-encompassing Italian experience that goes beyond great tastes to include a sense of community and celebration. Bella Vista Italian Kitchen, a family-owned restaurant in southwest Oklahoma City, serves Italian comfort food in a casual setting; Vito’s Ristorante offers delicious traditional Italian bites whose recipes date back through generations; and Papa Dio’s Restaurant & Wine Bar, run by three generations of Bonadios, offers its patrons both casual and fine-dining experiences.

Coolgreens, Best Salads Photo by Brent Fuchs.
Coolgreens, Best Salads
Photo by Brent Fuchs.

Margarita

Whether on the rocks or blended, finding a bartender that knows how to properly mix a margarita can be difficult. But when you’ve found the right match, the angels sing. Los Cabos Mexican Grill and Cantina’s three locations have concocted the perfect blend. At Mi Cocina on Cherry Street, all its cocktails are one-of-a-kind, and its margaritas are comprised of premium tequila and fresh lime juice among other quality ingredients, as are Café Ole’s margaritas. El Maguey Mexican Restaurant in Claremore pours a delicious frozen margarita, and Senor Tequila in Brookside doesn’t take its drinks lightly; all its margaritas start with a special sweet and sour mix, and with nine different options, where you go from there is your choice.

Chimy’s Norman location whips up seven great margaritas to go with the good times spent there. Poblano Grill’s eight potions add jalapenos, pineapples, oranges, basil and red chile pepper to the mix. Chelino’s Mexican Restaurant’s 12 locations in and around Oklahoma City continue to serve delicious margaritas alongside great tastes.

Mexican

Whether craving tacos, burritos, enchiladas or fajitas, these Mexican restaurants are serving up the best. Los Cabos Mexican Grill and Cantina has three locations, each eager to feed its fans’ hunger with large, appetizing portions, and Mi Cocina’s Mexican and Latin American dishes are light and fresh and keep Tulsans longing for more. Café Ole and Senor Tequila, both with locations along Brookside, have earned themselves a well-deserved spot at No. 2 with their always appetizing options. Ricardo’s Mexican Restaurant gets great reviews for the flavors that accompany its dishes as well as its service, tying with El Maguey Mexican Restaurant, which always serves authentic, mouthwatering Mexican cuisine.

Iguana Mexican Grill sizzles with flavor, serving fresh bites with carefully chosen and plated ingredient. Ted’s Café Escondido makes everything fresh daily with enough options to please every diner it serves. Poblano Grill’s menu boasts a colorful combination of ingredients and flavors that doesn’t disappoint.

Outside Dining

There’s nothing better than dining on the patio during the summer. Enjoying a chilled Pinot Grigio or ice-cold beer alongside appetizing bites and friendly conversation is what we relish during the warmer months. Los Cabos Mexican Grill and Cantina has a great patio for its patron to enjoy its margaritas and fresh Mexican fare, while Waterfront Grill in Jenks welcomes its customers with a beautiful patio view of the Arkansas River and its light, crisp menu options that go great paired with a sunny day. Hey Mambo in the Brady Arts District serves its scrumptious Italian creations on its highly sought-after patio, and Blue Rose Café’s patio, which wraps the restaurant, offers the beautiful scenery of the Arkansas River and Riverside Parks, which goes great with a beer. R Bar & Grill and Doc’s Wine & Food, both on Brookside, have great patios that shade you from the sun while helping you enjoy its warmth.

In Norman, The Mont Restaurant serves its delicious food and refreshing drinks on its brick patio nestled within a beautifully landscaped space. Café Do Brasil welcomes its guests to its rooftop patio, Bossa Nova, where its delightful drinks unique to Brazil are best consumed. The patio at Flint includes comfortable seating, a fire pit, a full-service outdoor bar and seasonally inspired cocktails.

ice-cream-shutterstock_76449391Pizza

Pizza shops are a dime a dozen. But the best, most delicious are a select and cherished few. Throughout Oklahoma, the pizzerias cooking up the most scrumptious slice haven’t gone unnoticed. Hideaway Pizza brings fun and flavor to its pies and has created innovative specialty pizzas that tempt the taste buds. Andolini’s Pizzeria, with a heritage tracing back to Avellino, Italy, crafts its pizza as the art form its is, using fresh and sustainably sourced ingredients. Mazzio’s continues pleasing its customers’ palettes with famous original, deep pan and thin crust pizzas, while Hey Mambo’s pizzas arrive with savory ingredients and a robust sauce buried beneath a bubbly layer of cheese.

Oklahoma City diners are just as crazy about Hideaway Pizza’s irresistible inventions as Tulsans. Upper Crust comes in at a close second with its wood-fired, thin crust pies that emerge from its brick oven with perfectly charred and smoky dough, boasting a hearty helping of toppings. Empire Slice House serves succulent specialty pizzas as well as build-your-owns that are created with subtle simplicity and a focus on flavor; The Wedge Pizzeria slides its pizzas into a wood-fire oven for a flame-kissed experience you can taste; and the pies at Eagle One Pizza emit a seductive smell that’ll hypnotize your palate and keep you craving more.

Place To Take Out-of-Town Guests

Oklahoma offers some great tastes, so when you’ve got family or friends in town, don’t let them leave without trying our best – they’ll be sure to come back for more. Polo Grill in Utica Square is an inviting experience offering guests a quaint location to enjoy award-winning tastes and impeccable service, while Palace Café, serving seasonal fare in an upscale space, is a great gateway onto Cherry Street. Stonehorse Café in Utica Square excites guests with its French-inspired cuisine with a New England flair, and Celebrity Restaurant rolls out the red carpet for its visitors, offering some of the best Caesar salad, lobster, steak and chicken you can get your hands on. SMOKE. on Cherry Street puts a modern spin on some great American dishes and those you may have never heard of.

Eischen’s, situated in the town of Okarche, is an Oklahoma landmark and has customers driving hours for its famous, legendary fried chicken. Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse not only serves some of the best steak in the state, but also caters to some of our state’s most well-known celebrities and athletes, making dining here a rare and exceptional experience. The Coach House has been serving Oklahoma City since 1985 and remains one of the finest upscale restaurants around.

Salads

Salads that mingle crispy, fresh greens with a variety of vegetables, a seasoned dressing and maybe even some protein are the best of their kind. Celebrity Restaurant is known for its world-famous, inimitable Caesar salad, which has patrons returning time and time again. Upper Crust offers six salad combinations, using fresh ingredients, and plenty of them. Charleston’s Restaurant offers four unique salads with fried, grilled or roasted chicken as the muse as well as a delicious Caesar salad boasting hickory-smoked salmon.

In Oklahoma City, Coolgreens is the favorite salad destination with its 10 different healthy mixtures that can be made into a salad or a wrap, with the option to add a protein for a little extra. Café 501’s 14 carefully thought up salads offered at lunch and five during dinner take inspiration from around the world. Charleston’s Restaurant’s light and flavorful salads find a similar fan base in Oklahoma City as it does in Tulsa.

Salsa

Salsa is the teaser, the trailer that gets our taste buds excited for the full-length production. If the salsa doesn’t have the right, balanced combination of ingredients that delight, what can we expect from the main course? These restaurants have made our readers want to see more. Café Ole on Brookside is at the top of this year’s list, and you’ll understand why after taking one bite of its salsa, made using the perfect proportions. Mi Cocina is a close runner-up with its light and spicy salsa with a hint of garlic that goes best with its delicious guacamole. At Los Cabos Mexican Grill and Cantina, scoop up a serving of zest with your chip to experience fresh and popular salsa, and Ricardo’s Mexican Restaurant melds the freshest ingredients to create its admired appetizer.

Iguana Mexican Grill in Oklahoma City offers four sought-after salsas that range in spice and flavor. Poblano Grill’s specialty salsas, Caliente and Diablo, are made fresh daily and are sure to add the fire to your feast. 1492 New World Latin Cuisine’s upscale Latin-inspired cuisine is delicious following some its distinctive chips and salsa.

Seafood

Overcooked seafood is a meal spoiler, but these restaurants prepare it just right with enticing flavors that’ll leave you wanting more. Bodean Restaurant & Market will make you feel like you’re under the sea with its décor and selection of fish and shellfish, flown in twice a day to ensure it’s the freshest possible. Bonefish Grill offers seven wood-grilled, market-fresh fish dishes served with one of five signature sauces. Joe’s Crab Shack’s seafood comes steamed, fried, grilled, roasted and boiled, all a taste of success, while White River Fish Market & Restaurant, serving Tulsa since 1932, offers the gamut of seafood options, flown in from coasts all along North and South America.

Reeling in the prize in Oklahoma City, The Mantel Wine and Bar Bistro’s seafood selections have been perfected, offering its guests delectable gourmet tastes. Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse combines freshness with finesse, preparing impressive dishes both in presentation and taste. The Shack, a seafood and oyster bar, has a finger-licking-good menu that includes Creole-inspired creations alongside fresh seafood that’s best fried, grilled, blackened or boiled.

Steakhouse

Cutting into a perfectly seared steak to reveal its juicy interior, cooked just how you ordered it, and then taking that first mouth-watering bite is an experience you don’t easily forget. Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar’s craft of selecting, preparing and serving its cuts of wet- and dry-aged beef is a skill it doesn’t take lightly, and at Mahogany Prime Steakhouse, its custom-aged U.S. Prime Midwestern beef is broiled at 900 degrees, locking in the corn-fed flavor. Prhyme selects each cut by hand, butchering it in house to ensure the highest quality product. Freddie’s Bar-B-Que & Steakhouse’s tender and seasoned steaks are all hand-carved from prime or choice beef.

Mahogany Prime Steakhouse serves Oklahoma City with the same quality and flavor as it does Tulsa, a noticed taste that was awarded the No. 1 spot alongside Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse, which grills its famous USDA prime beef over an open flame. Red PrimeSteak has won over a crowd with its spice rubs that add immeasurable flavor to an already high-quality cut of meat, and Cattlemen’s Steakhouse’s perfectly aged steaks, hand-cut in its own butcher shop, are broiled over a hot flame, searing it just right on the outside and leaving it mouth-watering within. Junior’s has been serving Oklahoma City hand-cut certified Black Angus steaks since 1973, while Boulevard Steakhouse has mastered the art with its hand-cut, custom-aged steaks flavored with kosher salt and pepper and caramelized with butter.

Sunday Brunch

Sunday brunch has turned into an all-day event that goes beyond delicious bites. When choosing the best place at which to partake, Sunday brunchers take location, atmosphere and drink selection into account. Lucky’s Restaurant’s comprehensive brunch menu, the perfect proportion of breakfast and lunch options, as well as its drink choices – $1.99 mimosas – has earned it a warranted No. 1 spot. Polo Grill draws the Sunday crowd to Utica Square with its fresh, light, seasonal brunch menu. Palace Café brings colorful combinations to its brunch menu, and Wild Fork’s natural ingredients fill its brunch plates with flavor.

syrup. in downtown Norman earned a well-deserved spot at the top of the list for its simple but rich twist on our favorite breakfast and lunch options. Cheever’s Café comes in at a close second with its contemporary take on comfort food. Flint serves tasty American cuisine with a simple approach, attentive to all ingredients.

In the Raw, Best Sushi Photo by Scott Miller.
In The Raw, Best Sushi
Photo by Scott Miller.

Sushi

Whether served alone, over a ball of sushi rice or rolled up with myriad ingredients, fresh, high-quality sushi makes the world of difference. Winning creations also have the right combination of flavors that meld perfectly when rolled together into mouth-size bites. In The Raw always draws a crowd with its fresh, traditional selections and creative inventions. Fuji is a fan favorite that can also be enjoy at home with delivery. Yokozuna’s large selection of Nigiri, Sashimi and signature rolls always satisfies that sushi craving.

Sushi Neko tops the list in Oklahoma City with its rolls full of flavor and ingredients. In The Raw offers its delicious, fresh sushi in Oklahoma City. Okura Sushi & Grill’s extensive list of sushi selections fulfills every type of sushi-goer.