Margarita’s–Oklahoma City, OK

Margarita’s Mexican Restaurant
7801 N. May Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 848-8394
Margarita's

The new Margarita’s on the west side of May Ave.


Margarita’s has been a popular Mexican restaurant for a number of years, but in 2013 I made my first visit to their new restaurant across the street from the original location. I immediately noticed a larger dining room with more comfortable tables, and there were several indications that it had changed ownership. It turned out that the couple who had run the restaurant for years had retired, and their daughter had opened the new restaurant. I think the daughter added some things to the menu, but the dishes from the old restaurant were still there.

I always appreciated the fact the food at Margarita’s was from a specific region in Mexico–in this case it was the state of Zacatecas. It is not that this food is any better than in any other region of Mexico, but rather that it is true to a regional Mexican cooking style. The emphasis is on preparing dishes people will like rather than being “authentic,” but the Zacatecas style dishes from the family recipes are among the choices, and I think they add a great deal to the restaurant.

It may be my imagination, but some items seem to taste better than at the old restaurant. I have also discovered some items that have become some of my favorites, so overall I have been happy with the new restaurant.

My review of the old restaurant describes some of the dishes I tried before the restaurant moved (I do not think anything has been dropped from the menu). This is the same Margarita’s Restaurant that has operated at two locations.

Set-Ups
Like most Mexican restaurants, Margarita’s gives you a “set-up” of Salsa, Cheese Sauce, and Chips. Overall I was not very impressed by these items, but they are better than at some other restaurants. The tortillas did not come with real butter (but instead there was some kind of spread), and I would guess that they were not home made.

Habanero sauce

Habanero salsa can be requested

A pleasant surprise, though, was the tastier than average Habanero Sauce I ordered, which was also a larger serving than average (and came free with the meal). This was not fiery hot, but was spicy enough to be very good, and to satisfy my craving for something more authentic than the first set-ups had been. A bonus was that I was able to take home the leftover sauce, and it was very good there as well.

Guizo

Guizo de puerco with red chile

Guizo de puerco with red chile

The Guizo de Puerco with Red Chile was probably even more of a pleasant surprise, because in contrast to many similar dishes I get in other restaurants, this one reminded me of the kind of food I would find in Mexico. In fact, other than the meat being a little tough this was just about as classic an example of this dish I could find. It is listed as being “with red chile” because customers can order either red or green (another sign that this is authentic Mexican food). The heat level of the chile was about four stars out of five, and was at the level I find comfortable. I also thought it was at about the level it would be served in Mexico, and that was lacking the extreme spiciness that would only be appreciated by dyed-in-the-wool chileheads. As one of the dishes listed under “Specialidades de la Casa,” this is one of the Zacatecas style dishes that I have found to be so good.

It should be noted that the order normally comes with rice and beans, but I asked them to omit these items. The fact that they will do this and I can have a more reasonably sized meal is another reason I like this restaurant.

Mole

Chicken in mole

Zacatecas style mole

Margarita’s Mole (also listed in “Specialidades de la Casa”) is another very good dish that I have enjoyed at both the old and new restaurant. The chicken has been a little dry on occasion, but it has a very good red colored mole sauce (I think this is one of the “must order” dishes of the restaurant).

Tacos

Mexican style tacos

Pastor (pork) and chicken Mexican style tacos with papas (potatoes)

Mexican Tacos are similar to the Calvillo style tacos served at numerous restaurants in Oklahoma City (this is the style of food from Aguascalientes, a neighboring state of Zacatecas). The tacos are good because they are authentic, and you can order the amount you want to fit your appetite. Out of the two tacos I tried the chicken was better, with the pastor meat falling a little flat compared to the tacos I get at Abel’s.

The Papas tasted greasy to me, and I thought I could have gotten a better side dish.

Quesadilla

Quesadilla

Quesadilla with beef fajitas

The Quesadilla was another example of the type of food I thought was better at Abel’s (and some of the city’s taco restaurants). The main problem here was the the fajita meat tasted gristly.

Costillas
Costillas Zacatecanos are another specialty of the restaurant that I think are quite good. They come in a huge serving, though, which I am not likely to order again unless I can share with someone (so please refer to the review of the old restaurant for a photo).

Enchiladas

Green enchilada

Enchilada with chile verde

The Enchilada with Chile Verde is among the ones in OKC that I consider to be quite good, and the beans were above average as well (the rice was about average). The green chile had about a “4 chile” spice level (about right for me–spicy but not fiery), and had an authentic Mexican flavor.

Some Other Notes
Besides serving some of my favorite dishes, one key point I have noticed is that they will try to customize your dinner if they can (such as omitting the rice and beans). Another is that over the years everyone in my family has always enjoyed coming here (some like it because of their Tex-Mex food, and the chile relleno has always been a favorite). While I like to find the obscure authentic dishes served at Mexican restaurants, Margarita’s is also in the mainstream in offering the favorites that most people like to order.

While some “mainstream” items such as the fajitas and cheese enchiladas (Tex-Mex style) do not seem to match up to the ones at other restaurants, I thought the guacamole, tortilla soup, and other items were quite good. A chile relleno I sampled was much better than one I had at the old restaurant, and several items seem to be better than before. Overall I have been very pleased by what the new restaurant is doing.


RATING: 23

Cuisine: Mexican Zacatecas
Cost: $$
Hours: Open daily except Sun. evening
Accessible: Bathroom is not accessible
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: Beer

Most Recent Visit: Aug. 28, 2016

Number of Visits: 5 (many more at the old restaurant)

Best Items: Chicken Mole, Enchiladas with Chile Verde, Costillas, Guizo de Puerco, Chile Relleno, Habanero Sauce

Mexican Food Details

Chile Index: chile 4

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Enchiladas with Chile Verde
star 5 Chicken Mole
star 5 Costillas Zacatecanos
star 5 Guizo de Puerco
star 5 Chile Relleno
star 5 Mexican Taco (chicken)
star 4 Mexican Taco (pastor)
star 3 Quesadilla (Beef Fajita)
star 5 Refried Beans
star 5 Borracho Beans
star 4 Rice
star 5 Guacamole
star 4 Chips
star 5 Habanero Salsa
star 4 Horchata

Restaurant Guide–Montana

Restaurant Guide Main Index


  • Date indicates the most recent update of the restaurants listed
  • Bold indicates my recommendations; others come from what I consider to be good sources (see bottom of page for further explanation)

Anaconda

Gallicano’s Pizzeria–118 E. Park Ave. (Pizza) Closed Sun.  Reviewers say the pizza here is the best food in Anaconda, and rates high compared to all other pizza. (3-21-17)

Bigfork

Moroldo’s–7951 MT Hwy 35 (Italian) Dinner only (open Wed-Sat).  Family run restaurant that reviewers say is authentic and as good as the best restaurants in big cities. (3-16-17)

Pocketstone Cafe–444 Electric Ave. (American) Open daily 6 am to 3 pm.  The best reviews are for breakfast–serves Northwest style fresh food (strawberry pancakes, several types of egg scrambles, etc.). Breakfast tacos are also available. (2-18-17)

Big Sky

Lotus Pad–3090 Pine Dr. (Thai).  Flavors are pretty close to traditional Thai but the spice level is not (order it spicy if you are used to medium spice levels at other restaurants). Reviewers like the curries, but the pad thai is not very popular. Some recommend getting the daily special, whatever it is. (3-17-17)

Billings

A Taste of Asia–111 S. 24th Ave. W. (Lao & Vietnamese) Open Mon-Sat 11 am to 8 pm.  Lao food seems to be what they do that is the most authentic, but Vietnamese (particularly pho) is what is most popular with customers. (3-16-17)

Harper & Madison–3115 10th Ave. N. (New American) Open Tue-Sat 7 am to 2 pm.  Popular place for breakfast–somewhat upscale, quiche is one of the recommended dishes. (3-16-17)

Imperial Thai–216 N. Broadway (Thai) Open 11 am to 10 pm (closed Sun).  Reviews seem to be uniformly positive, saying this is the best Asian food in Billings. Curries are recommended. Some dishes have kaffir lime. Owners also have Asia Garden in Sidney, MT. (3-16-17)

J P Kitchen–805 N. 24th St. W. (Chinese) Closed Mon & closed Sun lunch.  Probably more authentic style Chinese food than the other restaurants in town. Menu is limited, though. (3-16-17)

Lilac–2515 Montana Ave. (New American) Dinner Tue-Sat; brunch on Sun.  Interesting looking dishes (not much for vegetarians, though). There are several other New American restaurants in downtown Billings, and Lilac looks like as good a place as any to start. (3-16-17)

Okinawa Sushi–1414 Main St. (Japanese) Open Daily.  Has udon and other dishes besides sushi. (3-16-17)

Bozeman

Caspian–34 N. Bozeman Ave. (Persian) Dinner only (open Tue-Sat).  Serves Persian food that reviewers really like. There are quite a few negative comments, though, dealing with everything from uncomfortable chairs to spotty service to small portion sizes (particularly with the rice). (3-16-17)

Jam!–25 W. Main St. (American) Open daily 7 am to 3:30 pm.  Serves upscale breakfast, including fresh squeezed orange juice. (3-16-17)

Saffron Table–1511 W. Babcock St. (Indian) Dinner only (open daily).  Reviewers say this is very good Indian food. Thali is available. (3-16-17)

Sweet Chili Asian Bistro–101 E. Main St. (Thai) Open Daily.  Reviewers say this is one of the best Thai places anywhere. (3-16-17)

Butte

Annie’s Cafe–815 E. Front St. (American).  Popular place for breakfast & lunch. Serves typical breakfast dishes, but they do them very well (according to reviewers). From the photos I would say to order the omelet. (3-16-17)

Freeway Tavern–2001 S. Montana St. (American).  This is a dive bar that is famous for one thing–the pork chop sandwich (the pork chop is battered in what looks like tempura and is called the “Wop Chop”). (3-16-17)

Northwest Noodles–563 S. Arizona (Thai) Closed Sun.  Probably the best choice for authentic Asian food in Butte. (3-16-17)

Pekin Noodle Parlor–117 S. Main St. (Chinese) Open Daily.  Old style Chinese food (get sweet and sour, ginger shrimp, tofu with veggies, house special fried rice). It’s best if you can order several items and eat them family style. Orders come with a choice of rice or noodles (reviewers say get the noodles). Each table is in an individual room. Go for the experience more than the food (rest. is 100 yrs. old–all with the same family). (3-16-17)

Columbia Falls

Laurie’s Deli–330 9th St. W. (Sandwiches).  Recommended place for soups and sandwiches. Uses house made bread, and cuts the meat for your order. (3-16-17)

Tien’s Place Oriental–329 9th St. W. (Chinese).  I don’t really think this is a “recommended” Chinese restaurant–just one of the best choices in the area. Food is Americanized, but the Szechuan style dishes are probably the closest to real Chinese food. (3-16-17)

Deer Lodge

Sesame Wok–1007 Village Ln. (Thai).  This is a double restaurant–Chinese Garden (Chinese) and Sesame Wok (Thai). Thai is what most people like–Singapore noodles, pad thai, curry, etc. (3-21-17)

Yak Yak’s–200 Main St. (American) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Sun).  Good reviews for both breakfast & lunch (omelet is popular for breakfast). (3-21-17)

Dillon

China Garden–130 N. Montana St. (Chinese) Closed Sun.  Most of the menu consists of Americanized dishes, but look for the more authentic ones (such as clay pot dishes). (3-16-17)

Fiesta Mexicana–510 N. Montana St. (Mexican) Open daily 9 am to 10 pm.  Dining room is in a converted bus (this probably saves on heating bills in the winter). Authentic style food–tacos, burritos, etc. (I didn’t see a single picture of anything smothered in cheese). (3-16-17)

Sparky’s Garage–420 E. Poindexter St. (American) Open Daily.  This seems to be a favorite with locals. Serves burgers, sandwiches, etc. Has special items such as fried green tomatoes. Everything is made on site (including the salad dressing). (3-16-17)

East Glacier Park

Two Medicine Grill–316 US 2 (American).  Good quality (not always found in tourist towns where they have very little repeat business). Recommended items include breakfast (blueberry pancakes, omelets, etc.), bison burgers, and pie. (3-16-17)

Evergreen

Pho Ly–2121 US Hwy 2 East (Vietnamese) Open 11 am to 8 pm (closed Sun).  Pho is described as top notch–serves other Vietnamese dishes as well. (3-17-17)

Gallatin Gateway

Cafe at the Inn–65840 Gallatin Rd. (American) Breakfast and lunch only (closed Mon & Tue).  Good food in a beautiful setting. Mostly known for its breakfast. Some items have green chile. (3-17-17)

Gardiner

Wokking Panda–906 Scott St. (Chinese).  Many Americanized dishes, but a few satisfy people who are used to real Chinese food (onion beef, celery pork, and kung pao dishes in particular). (3-17-17)

Yellowstone Grill–404 Scott St. (American) Breakfast Wed-Sun; lunch Wed-Fri.  Breakfast is popular–best items are the more upscale ones (eggs Benedict, Mediterranean omelette, blueberry pancakes, etc.). (3-17-17)

Glendive

Li’s Chinese–1615 W. Towne St. (Chinese) Open daily except Sat lunch.  Dishes listed are Americanized, but owners are from San Francisco and reviewers say the food is good. Many people have cautioned, though, that they sometimes close early and do not follow the posted hours. (3-21-17)

Great Falls

Eddie’s Supper Club–3725 2nd Ave. N. (Steaks).  This is a retro steakhouse that has been open since the 1940’s. Steaks are locally sourced, and chicken is recommended also. (3-17-17)

Maple Garden–5401 9th Ave. S. (Korean).  I don’t know if it has the best Asian food in Great Falls, but it has the greatest consensus of diners that the food is good. Also has Chinese food, but it specializes in Korean. (3-17-17)

Suki Cafe–1229 10th Ave. S. (Thai).  Food is Thai and sushi, but the Thai food gets better reviews. People say it has “good Thai flavors” (so I would probably get curry or a stir fried dish). (3-17-17)

Hamilton

Spice of Life–163 S. 2nd St. (New American) Lunch Mon-Fri; dinner Wed-Sat. Some good dishes include French onion soup, Cajun pasta, wild salmon, chicken alfredo, halibut and steak. Reviewers say it is worth stopping here. (3-21-17)

Taste of Paris–109 N. 4th St. (French) Closed Sun. Bistro style French food. French onion soup, pear salad, crepes, and desserts are some of the popular items. (3-21-17)

Helena

Mediterranean Grill–42 S. Park Ave. (Middle Eastern) Open daily 11 am to 9:30 pm.  Good reviews for the food, but they frequently run out of items (probably a result of being located far from large metro areas). Has some unusual items such as Turkish desserts. (3-17-17)

Suki Cafe–15 W. 6th Ave. (Thai) Closed Sun.  This seems to be the only Asian restaurant in town with good reviews that is open for lunch. It has Thai and Japanese food (mainly sushi). Like its sister restaurant in Great Falls, the Thai food looks like a better bet. If you order the Japanese food, the salmon gets good reviews. (3-17-17)

Toi’s Thai–423 N. Last Chance Gulch St. (Thai) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  Green curry is recommended (but not many dishes have the same level of popularity). Overall the restaurant has quite a few supporters. Don’t order the food spicy unless you really want it that way. (3-17-17)

Trattoria Bella Roma–440 S. Park Ave. (Italian) Dinner only (open Wed-Sat).  Although this is upscale dining, it also fits one category I want on this list–the offbeat. The chef only gives two choices for the entree, and it changes daily. You don’t have much choice, but don’t worry-diners say everything is excellent (and authentic). (3-17-17)

Hungry Horse

Carolyn’s Cafe–8930 Hwy. 2 East (American) Open 7am to 2 pm daily.  Located in a gas station, it’s especially popular for breakfast (huckleberry pancakes are a local favorite). At lunch huckleberry pie is popular. Everything is made in house. (3-21-17)

Kalispell

Brannigan’s Pub–101 E. Center St. (Irish) Open Daily.  Irish pub with food that gets good reviews. (3-17-17)

Knead Cafe–21 5th St. E. (American) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Sun & Mon).  Has the usual breakfast favorites, but with a British twist (scones, corned beef hash, Welsh eggs, etc. (3-17-17)

Pho Ly (see Evergreen, MT)

Thai Palace–319 Main St. (Thai) Open 11 am to 10 pm (closed Sun).  Owners are from Thailand and return periodically (so food is authentic). Reviewers say price is an issue, though, and it’s better to go at lunch. (3-17-17)

Lewistown

China Garden Kitchen–316 W. Main St. (Chinese) Open Daily.  American style Chinese food, but reviewers say it is very good, fresh, and flavorful. (3-17-17)

Livingston

Crust & Crumb Bakery–1106 W. Park St. (American) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Sun).  Open for breakfast & lunch, but most people seem to go for lunch. Chicken soup and turkey bacon wrap are examples of the items served. The pie is very popular. (3-17-17)

Faye’s Cafe–415 E. Lewis St. (American) Breakfast & lunch only (open Sun-Wed only).  Upscale restaurant that is popular for breakfast. (3-17-17)

The Wok–102 N. 2nd St. (Chinese).  Reviewers say the owners do their best to offer authentic Chinese food within the limits of being in rural Montana. Good ratings for the food. (3-17-17)

Yellowstone Valley Lodge–3840 US 89 S (American) Open Daily.  This is a steak restaurant located in a lodge that reviewers say is very worthwhile. Not only are the steaks a good taste of Montana food, but they are apparently less expensive than at other restaurants. Other main dishes are served, and the same care goes into the side dishes as the entrees. Note: this is located south of the town of Livingston (3-21-17)

Lolo

Lolo Creek Steakhouse–6600 Lolo Creek Rd. (Steaks) Dinner only (open daily).  This restaurant is more expensive than my normal guidelines, but seems to be worth it for a good example of Montana’s “national food” (steaks). (3-17-17)

New Hong Kong Chef–11400 Hwy 93 S (Chinese) Closed Tue & Wed.  This seems to be the new location for the former Hong Kong Chef in Missoula where I ate and really enjoyed the food (so I want to put this restaurant on the list even though I couldn’t find any reviews saying whether it was good or not). (3-17-17)

Missoula

Bayern Brewing–1507 Montana St. (German) Open Daily.  The emphasis is definitely on the beer, but they also serve schnitzels and German cucumber salad (also potato salad). The customers seem to be very satisfied. (3-17-17)

Five on Black–325 N. Higgins Ave. (Fast Food) Closed Sun.  This restaurant fits the “fast food” category only in that it is pre-prepared and you are served quickly. The food is fresh and good quality, and is Brazilian inspired (has South American flavors available if you want). Reviewers say this all works and it is very good. (3-17-17)

Indian Grill and Curry House–400 E. Broadway St. (Indian) Closed Sun (and closed from 3 to 5 pm).  This is the type of restaurant that probably could only work in a college town because the ordering is somewhat complicated (you are served five items on a plate with five compartments, but you have to pick between two choices for these items). People say the food is good, though, and worth it once you figure things out. Most of the people who really love the restaurant have either eaten here before or are already familiar with Indian food and the different choices you have. (3-17-17)

Vietnam Noodle–2100 Stephens Ave. (Vietnamese) Closed Sun (and closed 3 to 5 pm).  Reviewers say there is a large menu selection, and this is legit Vietnamese food. Pho has mixed reviews (reviewers say Vietnam Grill at 420 N. Higgins is better for pho). (3-17-17)

Shelby

The Griddle–215 Main St. (American).  Everything for breakfast is good, but eggs, bacon, muffins, and omelets are the most popular. Burgers are popular at lunch. (3-21-17)

Saint Mary

Johnson’s Cafe–21 Red Eagle Rd. (American) Open daily 8 am to 9 pm.  Fried chicken, bison steak, veggie burger, omelette, and huckleberry ice cream pie are recommended. (3-21-17)

Sidney

Asian Garden–115 E. Main St. (Thai) Open daily 11 am to 9 pm.  Serves Chinese food (Americanized), but the thing to get here is the Thai (green curry, yellow curry, chicken coconut soup, etc). (3-21-17)

Stevensville

Marie’s Italian–4040 US 93 N. (Italian).  For some reason there are several Italian restaurants in town, but this restaurant north of town is the one that gets the most rave reviews, serving upscale food that you will likely remember for some time (I don’t know the prices here–they are likely to be fairly high but lower than comparable restaurants in major cities). (3-21-17)

Three Forks

Iron Horse Cafe–24 N. Main St. (American) Closed Mon.  Casual restaurant that serves steaks, but seems to specialize in sandwiches and other popular items such as Sunday night all you can eat catfish. (3-21-17)

The Wok–10 N. Main St. (Chinese).  The food is described as authentic (in the flavors, etc.) and can legitimately be called the best food in town. (There is also a Peking Restaurant listed at the same address, but both restaurants get the same good reviews, and I think are the same place). (3-21-17)

West Yellowstone

Euro Cafe–237 Firehole Ave. (International) Breakfast & lunch only (open daily).  This would probably be a better breakfast than at other places because you get more variety (such as crepes, scones, etc). However, some reviewers say not to expect European quality–just a good choice for a tourist town in Montana. (3-21-17)

Red Lotus–19 Madison Ave. (Chinese) Only open May-Oct.  In addition to the Americanized menu they have a Chinese menu (with authentic food such as ma po tofu and Chinese green beans). Photos of the food honestly look like something from San Francisco (and get excellent reviews). (3-21-17)

Whitefish

Cafe Kandahar–3824 Big Mountain Rd. (Modern American) Dinner only (open daily).  World class food that I imagine is very expensive, but it’s on this list because the restaurant is very highly recommended. Food is fusion style, and everything is local and organic. You can come in jeans. Some reviewers describe it as small with limited seating. (Located at the ski area north of town). (3-21-17)

Loula’s Cafe–300 2nd St. E. (American) Breakfast & lunch daily; dinner Thu-Sun.  Probably the most popular breakfast place in town. Food looks fresh and organic (although reviewers don’t say it is organic). (3-21-17)

Orient Express–6155 US 93 S. (Chinese) Closed Mon.  Best Asian in the valley–goes beyond standard (Americanized) Chinese dishes. Satay beef noodle soup is popular. (3-21-17)

Willow Creek

Willow Creek Cafe–21 Main St. (American).  Best known for its ribs, but people rave about the steaks also. Serves good vegetarian meals as well. (3-21-17)

 

Notes About This List:

This is a “master list” of restaurants that I have seen on the Internet or other sources and would like to try, or that I think would be of interest to others.  I do not mean for this to be an exhaustive list of every good place to eat, but it should represent a good sample of the most interesting or unique restaurants, along with a few that best represent an area’s regional cuisine.  My own recommendations are in Bold.

I am not looking to include:

  • Fine dining (unless they are unique because of regional specialties)
  • Low end restaurants that are popular with locals but may not be of much interest to travelers or people in general (everyone will have to use their judgment on this one)

Extra consideration for the following:

  • The food is organic, fresh, healthy, or farm to table
  • The restaurant serves a relatively hard to find type of ethnic food and reviews are good

In addition to the regular guidelines I try to include:

  • The best Asian restaurants in the area even if they are not totally authentic
  • Particularly good Mexican restaurants (this usually means the food is from a particular state in Mexico or it is one of the best examples of a U.S. regional style)

Please feel free to leave your own comments or suggestions.

 

Sources:

Trip Advisor

Urbanspoon.com (former web site which I used for preliminary research)

Yelp (Montana)

Zomato (Missoula)

 

Lido–Oklahoma City, OK

Lido Restaurant
2518 N. Military Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 521-1902
Lido Restaurant

Lido Restaurant


Lido was the original Vietnamese restaurant to become popular in Oklahoma City, opening the door for several others serving the same type of food to become successful. In the 1990’s Lido opened a second restaurant in The Village that is now Kim Wah (and has separate ownership). Lido and Kim Wah are the two places that I have used as the standard when I try noodle bowls in OKC or other cities such as Seattle.

Lido was a rather cutting edge restaurant at the time it opened, giving the Heartland a taste of Vietnamese food for the first time. Now other restaurants, such as Golden Phoenix, offer a larger Vietnamese menu. The argument is also made that other Vietnamese restaurants are more authentic than Lido. I certainly think Golden Phoenix has more of what I would call authentic Vietnamese dishes. Lido seems to be living by the adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” In my opinion Lido gives customers a good representation of Vietnamese food that is flavorful, authentic, and explained on the menu so that people know what they are getting.

Lido's aquarium

Lido’s aquarium

Lido also provides a pleasant dining room and good service, something that is important to many people (along with the good food), regardless of how extensive a menu it has for authentic Vietnamese dishes.

Lido loses some credibility in being called authentic by having a Chinese menu that is American style (unlike restaurants such as Golden Phoenix that has a separate menu of authentic Chinese food). I have tried the Chinese food at Lido in the past, and there is nothing wrong with having it on the menu, but I think people will probably be more satisfied with the restaurant’s Vietnamese food– that is really what they do best.

There is also a small French menu, reflecting the long time French influence in Vietnam. The French menu here is nothing compared to the food served in some of the Seattle Vietnamese restaurants, but it is a start.

Vermicelli Bowls

Chicken and lemongrass vermicelli bowl

Vermicelli bowl with chicken and lemongrass

The Vermicelli Noodle Dishes are really the specialty of the restaurant, and the dishes I think they do better than anyone else (although I think the ones at Kim Wah are very similar). The ones here and at Kim Wah (which used to be Lido’s branch restaurant) are possibly equaled by others I have tasted, but I do not think they have ever been exceeded. They have the right mixture of mint, vegetables, peanuts, noodles, and meat. My favorite vermicelli noodle bowls are the ones made with lemongrass, and these are available at Lido (although I found out they are not included on the lunch menu).

Pork and lemongrass vermicelli bowl

Vermicelli bowl with pork and lemongrass

The vermicelli bowls come with a special nuoc mam sauce that I think is a less strong version of traditional Vietnamese fish sauce. Every Vietnamese restaurant in the city (and in other cities I have been to) seems to serve the same kind of sauce, and whether it is authentic or not I think it is very enjoyable (and is the kind of sauce most people would expect).

Pork Chop

Pork chop, shredded pork, and egg quiche

Shredded pork, egg quiche, and pork chop on broken rice (#72 on menu)

The Pork Chop at Lido was quite a good dish, and this is one of the restaurant’s more authentic Vietnamese choices that is popular at other restaurants such as Golden Phoenix. The pork chop on a rice plate came with an egg quiche, cucumbers, and shredded pork as side dishes. I had a very similar dish at Golden Phoenix, and in my opinion all the side dishes at Lido were a little disappointing in comparison. However, the pork chop was one of the best I have tried, and was certainly at least as good as the one at Golden Phoenix (but I really thought it was better).

Other Items
For many years Lido was the only restaurant I could find that served canh chua, called Hot and Sour Chicken Soup on the menu (not to be confused with Chinese style hot and sour soup). This soup, which is a meal in itself, is made with lemon juice for the sour part, red chiles for the hot part, pineapple for a sweet flavor, tomatoes, celery, and bean sprouts for a delicious traditional Vietnamese soup. It also comes with catfish or shrimp, but the one with chicken is the version I tried at Lido. Although the soup at Lido was good, I cannot say it was the best version of this dish I have had.

Other Comments
Lido has a Chinese menu, with many of the lunch specials looking as if they are American style and some of the dinner menu items looking more like traditional Chinese food (I have not ordered any of these items on recent visits, though, so that I could give a description of them). The Chinese Hot and Sour Soup, though, has been quite good over the years (and a similar version is served at Kim Wah).

While most dishes I have tried at Lido have been better at other restaurants, this is not true of the vermicelli bowls. The pork chop also gave me reason to want to return, and I think Lido will always be on my list of notable Vietnamese restaurants.


RATING: 23

Cuisine: Vietnamese
Cost: $$
Hours: Closed Sun.
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking

Most Recent Visit: Mar. 17, 2016
Number of Visits: 10+
Best Item: Vermicelli with Chicken and Lemongrass, Vermicelli with Pork and Lemongrass, Pork Chop, Chinese Hot and Sour Soup

 

Asian Food Details

Tea: Jasmine (bags)
MSG: Yes
Buffet: No

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Lemongrass Chicken Vermicelli Bowl
star 5 Lemongrass Pork Vermicelli Bowl
star 5 Pork Chop
star 5 Chinese Hot and Sour Soup
star 3 Vietnamese Hot and Sour Soup