Restaurant Guide–St Louis

Restaurant Guide Main Index


Missouri


  • 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)

Alton, IL

Morrison’s Irish Pub–200 State St. (Irish) Open Thu-Sun.  An Irish pub that puts as much emphasis on the food as it does the drinks (has a very interesting menu selection). (Dining room is open 9-12-21)

Creve Coeur, MO

Anis Hyderabad House–12637 Olive Blvd. (Indian) Closed Tue.  Said to have very good and authentic south Indian food with. Menu has a very large number of items. There are some negative comments about the biryani. (Dining room is open 9-12-21)

Edwardsville, IL

Bann Thai–4 Club Centre Ct. (Thai) Closed Mon.  Probably what makes it stand out is that they have many good dishes that are not on the menu of most Thai restaurants (so it is a good place to experiment with new dishes). (Dining room is open 9-12-21)

Cleveland-Heath–106 N. Main St. (New American) Closed Sun.  Serves locally sourced food. Some dishes are Asian (ginger tofu, etc) and Mexican (tacos, etc). The Asian dishes get better reviews, though. Everything here is healthy and good (at least if you appreciate fresh flavors as opposed to things being highly salted or spiced). (Dining room is open 9-12-21)

Eureka, MO

Super Smokers BBQ–601 Stockwell Dr. (BBQ) Open daily (lunch only).  Gil recommends this is one of the best he has tried. Ribs, pulled pork, and brisket are all said to be among the best anywhere. (Dining room is open 7-14-21)

O’Fallon, MO

Asian Cafe–1260 Bryan Rd. (Vietnamese) Closed Tue (and closed from 3 to 5 pm).  For those looking for authentic Vietnamese, this is a good find for those in the suburbs. (2-23-19)

Sugarfire Smokehouse–9955 Winghaven Blvd. (BBQ) Open Daily 11am to 9pm.  Seems to be one of the best bets for barbecue in the St. Louis area. Ribs, brisket, pulled pork, and turkey are recommended. Note: there are other locations in the metro area, but this is one of the ones with the best reviews. (Dining room is open 7-14-21)

Thai Kitchen–8632 Mexico Rd. (Thai) Open Daily.  Authentic flavors and spice level. Ginger stir fry is one of the recommended dishes. Some reviewers say this is the best Thai in the St. Louis area, or even the state. (Dining room is open 8-9-21)

Olivette, MO

Sugarfire Smokehouse–9200 Olive Blvd. (BBQ) Open 11 am until sold out (estimated 7 pm).  One of the top barbecue restaurants in STL, but the reviews are more inconsistent than some of the other restaurants. Pulled pork and brisket have good reviews (and many like the smoked turkey). Many say the sauces are one of the big draws, and desserts are a must. (Dining room is open 7-14-21)

Tai Ke–9626 Olive Blvd. (Taiwanese) Closed Tue (and closed from 2 to 5 pm).  Reviewers say this is the real deal. It has cheap prices and a large menu. Dishes are a little different from those in most Chinese restaurants, but they have many “safe” dishes along with the more adventurous ones. Web site says this is Taiwanese street food. (Dining room is open 8-9-21)

Overland, MO

Chef Ma’s–10440 Page Ave. (Chinese) Closed Wed.  Started out as a small restaurant in an old Taco Bell with a short menu of the owner’s special dishes (mostly Hong Kong and Cantonese style)–now moved to a new location. Braised tofu is popular. Prices are very cheap (probably the cheapest in St. Louis for authentic Chinese food). (Dining room is open 8-9-21)

Haveili Indian–9720 Page Ave. (Indian) Closed Sun & Mon (and closed from 2 to 4 pm).  Probably the most authentic Indian restaurant in town, based on the reviews of people from Indian. (Dining room is open 7-7-20)

Sides of Seoul–10084 Page Ave. (Korean) Closed Sun.  Reviewers say this is one of the best Korean restaurants in the Midwest. Small place where you order at the counter. (Takeout only 9-12-21)

St. Charles, MO

Big Woody’s BBQ–1821 Zumbehl Rd. (BBQ) Open 11 am to 8 pm (closed Sun).  This is apparently one of the best rated BBQ places in the SL area, but is a little bit off the radar of most people. Ribs and pulled pork are recommended. People are also complimentary of the side dishes. (6-12-19)

Hendricks BBQ–1200 S. Main St. (BBQ) Open Daily.  This is considered one of the top barbecue restaurants in SL, but Yelp reviews are not quite as high as some others. It is still very good, though. The strength here is that you don’t just go for the BBQ–it is a family restaurant and the total meal (with sides and dessert) is a very good dining experience. (6-12-19)

Spiro’s–2275 Bluestone Dr. (Greek) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  Upscale restaurant with Mediterranean food, but the most popular items are Greek (such as the saganaki). I think you have a choice of very expensive dinners or more moderate (but still good) ones. (Dining room is open 7-7-20)

Tango–2418 W. Clay St. (Argentinian) Closed Sun & Mon.  Empanadas are the specialty. (Dining room is open 9-12-21)

St John, MO

El Comal–8724 St. Charles Rock Rd. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Owner is from Oaxaca and has a few Oaxacan items on the menu, but can prepare a few others by special request (reviewers say they were very happy with this food). (Dining room is open 9-12-21)

St. Louis, MO

Anthonino’s Taverna–2225 Macklind Ave. (Greek & Italian) Closed Sun.  Serves both Greek and Italian food, and reviewers say both are excellent. Most go for the Italian food, though, because there are more menu items and many say this is some of the best Italian food they’ve ever had (pizza is the most recommended item). Greek menu is limited. (Dining room is open 7-7-20)

Blues City Deli–2438 McNair Ave. (Sandwiches) Open 10:30 am to 3 pm (closed Sun & Mon).  Said to have very good sandwiches that would bring you here just for that, but it has the added attraction of live blues music Sat. and on Thursday evening. (Dining room is open and now has “occasional live music” 8-9-21)

Bulrush–3307 Washington Blvd. (New American) Open 5 pm to 10 pm (Thu-Sun only).  Owner formerly had the Curious Kumquat in Silver City, NM. Has a seasonal menu. Food is said to be a home cooking style “Ozark” cuisine. Food is very highly rated by reviewers (so it may be hard to get a table here). (Dining room is open 8-9-21)

Dao Tien–820 Olive Blvd. (Vietnamese) Closed Mon (and closed between 2 and 5 pm).  Broken rice with pork chop is the favorite. Large menu. (Dining room is open 8-9-21)

Italian on the Hill (these are some of the most famous Italian restaurants in the city):

  • Cunetto House of Pasta–5453 Magnolia Ave. Closed Mon & Tue; closed Sat & Sun lunch. Best known for its chicken spedini (but locals order quite a few other dishes). The house salad is very highly acclaimed. (Dining room is open 8-9-21)
  • Guido’s–5046 Shaw Ave. Open daily (dinner only). Best known for its pizza. People also recommend their tapas and the salad. (Dining room is open 7-7-20)
  • Lorenzo’s–1933 Edwards St. Closed Mon (dinner only).  Northern Italian style. Risotto, penne with eggplant, and gnocchi are some of the specialties.  (Dining room is open 7-7-20)
  • Trattoria Marcella–3600 Watson Rd. Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  Menu is very representative of “St. Louis style” Italian food. The popular dishes here are the Italian standards–lasagna, ravioli, rigatoni, etc. (Dining room and patio are open 7-7-20)

Nixta–1621 Tower Grove Ave. (Mexican) Dinner only (closed Mon & Tue).  Reviewers really like the mole negro, and everything else seems to be good as well. Alta cocina food that is authentic in the “modern” tradition of Mexican food. The menu on Yelp showed the mole as costing $29, but a lot of other dishes are considerably less expensive. (Dining room and patio are open 7-7-20)

Onesto Pizza–5401 Finkman St. (Italian) Open daily 4 pm to 9 pm.  Has a full menu, but it’s best known for its east coast style pizza. (Dining room is open 9-12-21)

Pappy’s Smokehouse–3106 Olive St. (BBQ) Lunch only (closed Mon & Tue).  World class BBQ, especially the ribs and burnt ends (according to reviewers). Line is long but customers say don’t panic–you will get a table. (Dining room is open 8-9-21)

Sidney Street Cafe–2000 Sidney St. (Fine Dining) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  Excellent food at expensive prices. The owner is the grandson of the couple who opened La Tertulia in Santa Fe (the best New Mexican food I have ever experienced). Some sources say the restaurant serves some of the dishes from La Tertulia, but there are none listed on the Feb. 2019 menu  (but a possibility would be the chef’s tasting menu). Still, I’m listing the restaurant in case they have other choices on other menus. (Dining room is open 7-7-20)

The Shaved Duck–2900 Virginia Ave. (Soul Food) Dinner Tue-Sat; Lunch Fri & Sat.  This appears to be a very upscale restaurant but does not have “fine dining” prices. Meatloaf and BBQ (ribs, pulled chicken, etc.) are some of the most popular entrees. Cornbread, mac & cheese, and smothered fries are recommended side dishes. There is not a dish to avoid, but some say the burnt ends are not up to KC standards. In 2019 this was the number 1 rated restaurant on Yelp in the St. Louis area. (Dining room is open 9-12-21)

Wei Hong–3175 S. Grand Blvd. (Chinese) Open 11 am to 9 pm (closed Tue).  Cantonese food (has authentic Chinese menu). Reviewers recommend the dim sum. (Takeout only 8-9-21)

University City, MO

Cate Zone–8148 Olive Blvd. (Chinese) Closed Mon (and closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Sichuan style food that can be fiery hot (ask about it if you’re not sure). Reviewers say the food is excellent. (5-23-19)

Private Kitchen–8106 Olive Blvd. (Chinese) Open Daily.  Some call this upscale, but it is mainly because they have some upscale dishes such as Peking duck. It specializes in Shanghai style food, though, so a good choice is the Lion’s Head soup or the soup dumplings. One diner also mentioned the baby pork rib in plum sauce. (Takeout and delivery only 8-9-21)

Salt + Smoke–6525 Delmar Blvd. (BBQ) Open daily (open late night).  One of the top barbecue restaurants in SL. Probably the biggest strength here is that all meats are good, so order something you normally would not choose at other restaurants. (5-23-19)

Wei Hong Seafood Restaurant–7740 Olive Blvd. (Chinese) Open daily 11 am to 8 pm (closed Tue).  Authentic Cantonese food. Has dim sum, but reviews seem to indicate that the St. Louis location has better dim sum. (Takeout only 7-7-20)

Wildwood, MO

Thai Bistro–2436 Taylor Rd. (Thai & Lao) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  People say the food is flavorful and owner talks to customers to see if they want anything specially prepared. Reviewers say the pad thai is especially good (I see this a lot for restaurants which serve Lao food). (Takeout only 8-9-21)

 

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:

Chowhound (St. Louis)

Gil’s Thrilling (and filling) Blog

Google Maps

St. Louis Magazine (St. Louis Italian Food)

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

Yelp (St. Louis)

Zomato (St. Louis)

 

 

Restaurant Guide–Missouri

Restaurant Guide Main Index


Kansas City | Saint Louis


  • 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)

Branson

Black Oak Grill–601 Branson Landing Blvd. (American) Open Daily.  Locally sourced meat makes this a good choice, according to reviewers. Pot roast and chicken fried steak are favorites. (Dining room is open 6-29-20)

Botanas–3515 W. Hwy 76 (Mexican) Open Daily.  Flavorful Mexican food that emphasizes authentic recipes (this is not a Tex-Mex restaurant). (Dining room is open 6-29-20)

Farmhouse–119 W. Main St. (American) Open daily 7 am to 8 pm.  Popular for a traditional American style breakfast or for items such as chicken fried steak, pork loin, etc. (Dining room is open 6-29-20)

Gettin’ Basted–2845 W. Hwy 76 (BBQ) Open Daily.  Said to be good for St. Louis ribs and burnt ends. Some say the sauce is too sweet and the sides are not very good (corn brulee is said to be good, though). (Dining room is open 7-27-21)

India Clay Oven–2005 W. Hwy 76 (Indian) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 5:00pm).  Some think the food is a little bland, but most agree it is good and by far one of the best restaurants in Branson. Some also comment that the flavor is improving (not as bland as when it first opened). (Dining room is open 7-27-21)

Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen–545 Branson Landing Blvd. (Southern) Open Daily.  Reviews tend to range from the food being very good to food that is ordinary, but most seem to like it. Sometimes there is a long wait to get in, and the price seems to be a little high. Based on the reviews I would say the best dish is the chicken and dumplings. (Dining room is open 7-19-20)

Thai Thai–1615 W. Hwy 76 (Thai) Open daily (closed from 3 to 4:30 pm).  The best recommendation for this restaurant comes from the many reviewers who say it is “good” and not just “good for Branson” (some have even been to Thailand and say the food here is good). The dish with the most negative reviews, though, seems to be the pad thai. (Dining room is open 6-29-20)

Vasken’s Deli–3200 Gretna Rd. (Mediterranean) Open daily 11 am to 8 pm.  A healthy alternative to many of Branson’s restaurants. Specializes in wraps and Middle Eastern style sandwiches (gyros, Italian beef, etc.) but also has more American style sandwiches such as reuben and pastrami. Side dishes such as hummus, tabouli, etc. are available. (Dining room is open 6-29-20)

Cape Girardeau

Chan’s–1159 N. Kingshighway St. (Chinese) Closed Mon.  Popular because it has an authentic Chinese menu (people say the Americanized menu is nothing special). Authentic food includes spicy dishes such as ma po tofu. (Dining room is open 6-19-21)

Katy O’Ferrell’s–300 Broadway St. (Irish) Closed Sun.  Irish pub with good food (the usual Irish favorites). (Dining room is open 6-19-21)

Little Kitchen–1036 N. Sprigg St. (Chinese) Closed Sun.  Serves authentic Chinese food (apparently is Cantonese style). Seems very good, but there are so few reviews I can’t confirm this. (Drive through and delivery only 6-19-21)

Rice Noodle Cai–1017 Independence St. (Chinese) Closed Sun.  Has several styles of authentic Asian noodles, as well as some not so authentic non-noodle dishes (General Tso’s chicken, etc.). Noodles are cheap, and seem to give a good taste of Chinese comfort food. (Takeout only 6-19-21)

Note: Some restaurants seem to have excellent food but are in a higher price range. These include 36 Restaurant and Bar (New American) and Celebrations (Regional and seasonal food). (6-19-21)

Carthage

El Quetzal–129 S. Main St. (Guatemalan) Open daily except Sun evening.  The “core” cuisine is Guatemalan, but also serves food from Mexico and El Salvador (pupusas, etc.). Very good reviews by people who seem to know the difference between authentic and Americanized food. Also has a bakery (pan dulce, etc.). (Dining room is open 9-12-21)

Chillicothe

El Toro–108 Washington St. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Serves Mexican food with real red and green sauce (not American style). People love the flavors, and say the steak burrito and the chicken are good choices. (Dining room is open 9-13-21)

Nico’Z–612 2nd St. (New American) Lunch Tue-Fri; dinner Fri only.  The menu doesn’t sound like anything special, but reviewers say it is the way the food is prepared that makes it popular. Mostly serves sandwiches, salads, and wraps. Friday night dinner is more upscale and reservations are required. (Dining room is open 9-13-21)

Clinton

Shawnee Mound BBQ–112 W. Rives Rd. (BBQ) Lunch Wed-Sat; dinner Thu-Sat.  Customers say it is great barbecue in a little shack. Pulled pork, sloppy joe, brisket, and ribs are recommended. (Dining room is open 9-13-21)

Smiths Restaurant–1719 E. Ohio St. (American) Open 11 am to 3 pm (closed Tue).  Serves typical Midwestern food, mostly fried (pork tenderloin sandwich and chicken are popular). Serves BBQ but it’s not as popular as the regular food. Pie is what people like best here. Also has frozen custard. (Dining room is open 9-13-21)

Columbia

Bamboo Terrace–3101 W. Broadway (Chinese) Dinner Wed-Mon; Lunch Sat & Sun (closed Tue).  Apparently it has some authentic dishes (reviewers say it has an authentic Chinese menu). Apparently a lot of Chinese students eat here. Some say the seafood is not fresh, though. (Takeout only 9-13-21)

Bangkok Gardens–811 Cherry St. (Thai) Closed Sat lunch, closed Sun & Mon (and closed from 2 to 5 pm).  It is said to have the complex flavors found in good Thai food. Some say skip the pad thai and try the curries. Some also say the spice level is not quite there if you get the default version. (Dining room is open 6-29-20)

Cafe Poland–807 Locust St. (Polish) Closed Mon & Tue.  Pierogi are popular, but has all the popular Polish dishes. (Dining room is open 7-27-21)

FlyOver–212 E. Green Meadows Rd. (New American) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  Small plate restaurant that has its own recipes for dishes (mac & cheese, country fried steak, etc). It looks as if it is a unique experience that people enjoy. (Dining room is open 7-19-20)

Ms Kim’s Fish & Chicken Shack–1416 Hathman Pl. (Southern) Closed Sun & Mon.  This is the place to come if you want fried food (chicken, catfish, etc.). Sides are said to be very good as well. (1-26-20)

Nourish Cafe–1201 E. Broadway (Health Food & Smoothies) Open daily (breakfast & lunch only).  Healthy food and drinks. Some items are a little pricey but reviewers say it is fresh and delicious. (Dining room is open 7-19-20)

Pho Quan–1301 Vandiver Dr. (Vietnamese) Closed Sat & Sun (and closed from 3 to 4:30 pm).  Some say the pho does not have the depth of flavor found in big city restaurants, but other items on the menu are generally better. (Dining room is open 6-29-20)

Seoul Taco–1020 E. Broadway (Korean) Open daily 11 am to 9 pm.  Supposedly it has both traditional Korean food and Korean fusion (such as the taco). The gogi bowl is the most Korean dish served, but tacos and burritos with Korean flavors are also offered.  (Dining room is open 9-13-21)

Fulton

China Palace–512 Court St. (Chinese) Closed Sun.  Food is American style, but reviewers say it has a very good flavor. (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Fontenot’s Po’boys–600 Commons Dr. (Cajun) Closed Sun & Mon; closed Sat lunch.  Reviewers like the food and say it very good for Cajun food this far north. (Dining room is open 6-19-21)

Fulton Cafe–529 Court St. (Cuban) Lunch only (closed Sat & Sun).  Voted a readers’ choice for rural Missouri restaurants. From photos food looks very fresh (not fried or fast food style). (Dining room is open 6-19-21)

Hannibal

Jet’s Palace–2905 Palmyra Rd. (Chinese) Open 11 am to 8 pm (closed Mon).  Americanized Chinese food, but reviewers think the twice cooked pork is as good as authentic food. (Dining room is open 9-13-21)

LaBinnah Bistro–207 N. 5th St. (Mediterranean) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  The name is Hannibal spelled backwards, and the menu seems hard to categorize but reviewers say the food is very good. Has steaks, seafood, African, Turkish, and other types of food. (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Wayne BBQ–218 N. Main St. (BBQ) Open 11 am to 8 pm (closed Sun & Mon).  Customers say brisket is the specialty and is very good. (Dining room is open 9-13-21)

Harrisonville

Thai Pepper–2010 N. Hwy 291 (Thai) Closed Mon.  Reviewers say the default food is Americanized and too sweet, but ask for it spicy (and Thai style if you want) and it will be good. (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Jamesport

Gingerich Dutch Pantry–118 S. Broadway St. (Mennonite) Lunch only; Dinner on Mon & Fri; Breakfast on Sat (closed Sun).  Amish style home cooked food. Has several buffets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but the menu includes a large choice of items (also serves daily specials). Serves Mexican food Mon. evenings. (Dining room is open 9-13-21)

Jefferson City

Das Stein Haus–1436 Southridge Dr. (German) Open daily (dinner only).  The menu is limited but the Wienerschnitzel, Jagerschnitzel, and cabbage roll are recommended. (No information about whether the dining room is open 6-29-20)

Paddy Malone’s–700 W. Main St. (Irish) Dinner only (Closed Sun & Mon).  Popular Irish pub–fish and chips are said to be very good. (Dining room is open 7-27-21)

Sawaddee Thai–2215 Missouri Blvd. (Thai) Closed Sun.  Reviewers say it has good food, but it is not anywhere close to Thai spicy (they still enjoy the flavor though). Some on Urbanspoon said it has big city quality Thai food. (Dining room is open 6-29-20)

Joplin

Carmine’s Wood Fired Pizza–524 S. Joplin Ave. (Pizza) Dinner Tue-Sat; lunch Fri & Sat. Reviewers say it is true Neapolitan style pizza. (Dining room is open 7-27-21)

MEs Place–1203 Broadway St. (Soul Food).  While this is not an upscale restaurant, the setting is very nice and reviewers say the food is better than is typically found with this type of restaurant. Fried chicken and ham are the most recommended items. (Dining room is open 9-12-21)

Mythos–1306 S. Range Line Rd. (Greek) Closed Sun.  A Greek restaurant that has traditional dinners such as moussaka and kabobs (not just a gyro place). Note: M&M Bistro has similar food and gets similar reviews (but specializes in Middle Eastern food in general and is not a Greek restaurant). (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Thai Time–1804 E. 32nd St. (Thai) Closed Tue (and closed from 3 to 4 pm).  Looks good. Reviews don’t say it uses MSG (but they point out that other Thai restaurants in town do). Pad ga-prao, pumpkin curry, mango curry. (Takeout only 7-29-21)

Lebanon

Bandana’s BBQ–1015 S. Jefferson Ave. (BBQ) Open Daily.  Reviewers say it has good BBQ (up to Kansas City standards). Ribs, brisket and chicken are good. Note: Several locations throughout Missouri. (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Sushi House–747 S. Jefferson Ave. (Japanese) Closed Sun.  This seems to be the best Asian restaurant in town. Sushi and bento boxes are both popular. (Takeout only 9-13-21)

Lincoln

Charley’s Buffet–23785 Hwy B (Mennonite) Open 4:30 pm to 8:30 pm Fri & Sat only.  Amish home cooked style food served in a buffet (so bring an appetite!). Save room for dessert–cake, pie, cookies, cinnamon rolls, etc. Lincoln is located south of Sedalia on US 65. (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Neosho

Pad Thai–204 N. Neosho Blvd. (Thai) Closed Sat, closed Sun dinner.  This seems to cater to local tastes but those who like “real” Thai food say that the food is very healthy although lacking in flavor. I think this can be partially or wholly remedied, though, by asking for the food to be more Thai style, and especially that they make it more spicy. (Dining room is open 9-12-21)

The Bar B Q Joint–410 S. Neosho Blvd. (BBQ) Open Mon-Fri 11am to 3pm.  Reviewers say this is a “destination” restaurant for BBQ in SW Missouri. Brisket and ribs are said to be the best items (with pulled pork getting some people’s votes). They many times run out of one or more of the BBQ items before closing time. Seating inside the restaurant is limited. (Dining room is open 9-12-21)

Nevada

White Grill–200 N. Commercial St. (American) Open daily except Sun evening (serves breakfast).  This was the No. 1 rated diner in Missouri on Urbanspoon. Ingredients are fresh. Onion burgers are popular. People also like the vanilla Coke. (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Nixa

Morning Day Cafe–105 S. Main St. (American) Open daily 7 am to 4 pm.  This is really a breakfast restaurant but is open until 4 pm. Recipes are unique (the way they make pancakes, muffins, etc.) and is said to be very good. Also has drinks (mimosa, Bloody Mary, etc.). (Dining room is open 6-29-20)

Yi’s–312 N. Massey Blvd. (Korean) Open 11 am to 8:30 pm (closed Sun).  Small eatery that gives a good taste of Korean food. I don’t see that they have all the side dishes I normally see in Korean restaurants, but food here seems to be good. (Dining room is open 7-27-21)

Ozark

Lambert’s–1800 W. Hwy. J (American) Open daily 7 am to 9 pm.  Touristy place with home cooking style food (I don’t see many raves for the food but they say it is solid). Barbecue is one of the options for meat (others are chicken fried steak, chicken and dumplings, etc). It is geared for people who want all you can eat (including their Pass Arounds). Smaller meals are available but may not be worth it. (Dining room is open 6-29-20)

Poplar Bluff

Bread+Butter–2586 N. Westwood Blvd. (New American) Closed Sun.  Food is fresh and healthy (bread is freshly baked). The bacon is said to be thick cut and much better than average. (Dining room is open 9-13-21)

The Wine Rack–1212 N. Westwood Blvd. (New American) Closed Sun.  Has items such as veggie burgers and Tuscan herb chicken. Has a good selection of drinks (wine, coffee, etc). (Dining room is open 9-13-21)

Republic

Village Pottery Cafe–127 S. Walnut Ave. (American) Lunch only (open Wed-Sat).  Good place to eat if you want something healthy and are tired of fried food (wraps are popular). (Dining room is open 9-12-21)

Saint Joseph

Il Lazzarone–1628 Frederick Ave. (Pizza) Open Daily.  Wood fired pizza– many think it’s worth a drive from KC or Omaha to eat here. (Dining room is open 6-29-20)

The Cabbage Roll–2641 Lafayette (German) Lunch only (closed Sat & Sun).  Apparently they serve very authentic German food with some Polish items between 11 am to 2 pm weekdays. Friday evening there is apparently a buffet which is the most popular time with customers (they request reservations since the food is fresh and they need to know how much to cook). (Dining room is open 7-27-21)

Saint Robert

Bulgogi House–1018 Missouri Ave. (Korean) Closed Sun.  There are several Korean restaurants around Fort Leonard Wood, but this one seems to be the most authentic and the favorite of Korean people. Suggestions include champong (their specialty dish), soft tofu soup, chajangmyung, bulgogi. (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Ichiban–240 Marshall Dr. (Japanese) Closed Mon (and closed from 2:30 to 4:30 pm).  Mostly known for sushi, but cooked dishes are good as well. (Dining room is open 9-12-21)

Mama Mia’s–101 Comfort Inn Blvd. (Mediterranean) Closed Sun.  Good food with authentic Mediterranean flavor (according to reviews). Gyro and chicken gyro are popular. (This is mostly a Greek restaurant) (Dining room is open 9-12-21)

The Hub–106 VFW Rd. (German) Lunch Wed-Fri; dinner Wed-Mon.  My take from the reviews is that it is not a place to find out how food tastes in Germany, but enough people like it that I’m confident the food is good. (This restaurant serves full meals, in contrast to Ursula’s in Waynesville that is a German sandwich/ deli restaurant). (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Sedalia

Ivory Grille–317 S. Ohio Ave. (American) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  This has the best reviews of any place in town. Fine dining restaurant (serves steaks, fish, seafood, stuffed chicken breast, etc.). (Dining room is open 9-12-21)

Springfield

Asia Express–2462 S. Campbell Ave. (Vietnamese) Closed Sun.  They start cooking the pho at 5:30 am, and reviewers say it makes a difference in the flavor (tofu pho is also recommended). Vermicelli bowls are also popular. (Dining room is open 9-12-21)

Bao Bao–2101 W. Chesterfield Blvd. (Chinese) Closed Sun evening and Mon.  Said to have authentic Chinese food (with a Chinese menu and a regular menu). One recent reviewer, though, said the chef has changed and some of the food is not the same. It still has good reviews, but I want to give this caution just in case the authentic food is no longer available. (Dining room is open 6-29-20)

Buckingham BBQ–2002 S. Campbell Ave. (BBQ) Open daily 11 am to 9 pm.  Reviewers say the barbecue is excellent (much more than just good for Springfield). Burnt ends are especially recommended. Baked beans are the most recommended side item. There are several locations throughout Missouri. (Dining room is open 9-12-21)

Cafe Cusco–234 E. Commercial St. (Peruvian) Open daily 11 am to 9 pm.  Good reviews. They seem to have food that people consider to be delicious and authentic. (Dining room is open 9-12-21)

Casper’s–601 W. Walnut St. (American) Lunch only (closed Sun).  Chili, milk shake (this is a diner from the 1960’s). (Dining room is open 9-12-21)

City Butcher and Barbecue–3650 S. Campbell Ave. (BBQ) Open daily 11 am to 7 pm.  This may be the best BBQ in town, and some say it is the best in the state. Food is served on butcher paper. Recommended that you go early because they run out of items. Burnt ends and brisket are recommended. Apple pie is a must try. This is a Central Texas style BBQ place. (Dining room is open 7-27-21)

Farmers Gastropub–2620 S. Glenstone Ave. (Gastropub) Closed Sun evening & Mon.  This looks like a good healthy alternative to the predominant fried and country style food. (Dining room is open 9-12-21)

Hong Yen–2922 S. Campbell Ave. (Vietnamese) Closed Wed.  This seems to be the place to come for a greatly expanded Vietnamese menu (has bun bo hue). (Dining room is open 7-21-21)

Karai Ramen–640 W. Republic Rd. (Japanese) Closed Sun (and closed from 2 to 4:30 pm).  Reviewers say it is both authentic and delicious. It looks as if it is worth a try. (Dining room is open 7-19-20)

Leong’s Asian Diner–1540 W. Republic Rd. (Chinese) Closed Sun evening.  This is the original place for Springfield cashew chicken, and according to the web site the family still operates the restaurant. From what I can see of the menu, though, there is nothing I would call authentic Cantonese. (Dining room is open 9-12-21)

Pho Kim–3433 S. Campbell Ave. (Vietnamese) Closed Tue & closed Sun evening.  Recommended place for pho and banh mi. Like Hong Yen, said to be very authentic with a wide choice of menu items. (Dining room is open 9-12-21)

Thai Express–948 S. Glenstone Ave. (Thai) Open 11 am to 8:30 pm (closed Sun).  People who are concerned about authenticity as well as flavor seem to think this is possibly the best Thai restaurant in the city. This is a small restaurant with low prices (this is a bonus, but the food is the real attraction). (Dining room is open 9-12-21)

That Lebanese Place–338 E. Commercial St. (Lebanese) Closed Sun evening & Mon.  Has all the standard dishes, but also serves Lebanese “street food” (Pepper Joe, made with ground beef and veggies on pita). Falafel is apparently very authentic. (Dining room is open 7-19-20)

Tortilleria Perches–1601 W. Sunshine St. (Mexican) Closed Sun evening & closed Mon.  Authentic Mexican food (or at least the closest you will probably find in Springfield). Some comment that some dishes are spicy (implying that the other restaurants do not have any spicy dishes). (Dining room is open 7-19-20)

Triple Eight’s–1710 S. Kansas Expwy. (Chinese) Open 11 am to 9:30 pm (closed Mon).  Has an authentic menu, and this seems to be the place where the Chinese university students frequent to get food from home. Xiao long bao is recommended. Specializes in Taiwanese and Sichuan cuisine. (Dining room is open 9-12-21)

Washington

Sugarfire Smoke House–512 W. Front St. (BBQ) Open daily 11 am to 9 pm.  This is a branch of one of St. Louis’ premier barbecue restaurants. Pulled pork and ribs are recommended at this location. Sides are said to be some of the best in the BBQ world. (Dining room is open 9-12-21)

Waynesville

Purn’s Thai–304 US Route 66 (Thai) Dinner only (closed Sun-Tue).  Reviewers like everything here, including the curry. I think the only problem here is the limited hours. (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Ursula’s Schnitzelhaus–311 North St. (German) Open 9 am to 5 pm (closed Sun).  Deli and sandwich shop specializing in schnitzels and German side dishes. Note: The Hub in St. Robert serves full German meals. (Takeout only 8-10-21)

West Plains

Bootleggers BBQ–1464 Gibson St. (BBQ) Closed Sun & Mon.  A barbecue place you will probably want to try if you are in the area. Brisket and pulled pork are recommended. Has three sauces: house, KC sweet, Memphis heat. (Dining room is open 9-12-21)

Ozark Cafe–662 Missouri Ave. (American) Open 6 am to 7 pm; 6-3 Sat (Closed Sun).  Seems to be all the typical food that is not particularly healthy but tastes very good. Breakfast looks particularly good (reviewers say not to miss the biscuits). (Dining room is open 9-12-21)

Sapz Thai Kitchen–929 Preacher Roe Blvd. (Thai) Closed Sun dinner & Mon.  Said to have fresh flavors and no MSG. Soup is recommended by several people (including coconut soup). (Dining room is open 9-12-21)

 

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:

Branson Shows (Branson Landing Restaurants)

Chowhound (Missouri)

Culture Trip (Top 10 Restaurants in Cape Girardeau)

Egullet

Roadfood

Trip Advisor (Springfield)

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

Yelp (Missouri)

Zomato (Springfield)

 

Pho Bulous–Edmond, OK

Pho Bulous
3409 S. Broadway
Edmond, OK
(405) 475-5599
Pho Bulous

Pho Bulous


Pho Bulous does not have what I would call an extensive menu, but it has enough that there are good choices other than its signature dish, the pho. This is a suburban restaurant in a strip shopping center, but there are so many competing Vietnamese restaurants in north Oklahoma City I believe that many of them are stepping up their game, and give customers more than they may expect to find in similar restaurants located in other cities.

In the case of Pho Bulous I believe the main attraction is the pho. I found it to be one of the best in the Oklahoma City Metro, and they have several varieties of the soup including vegetarian soup that is only available at lunch (but this is one of the few restaurants that offers it). Note: as of 2020 the menu says “vegetable broth available upon request.”

Vermicelli Platter

Grilled chicken and vermicelli

Grilled chicken vermicelli platter

The Grilled Chicken Vermicelli Platter was better than I expected in many ways, based on a comparison with other restaurants. The chicken was very good, especially in the quantity of meat that they give, and had just the right amount of char. I liked the fact that there was a generous portion of nuts, and the other vegetables were good. It had a very good chile sauce (a must for me), and overall this was a good meal. The only drawback was that I did not taste any mint, even though the menu said that it was included. I gave the dish five stars because it was that good, but this kind of inaccurate menu description does not sit well with me. In being objective, though, I can say that in spite of this it was a very good dish.

Pho

Noodle soup with chicken

Noodle soup with chicken

The Noodle Soup with Chicken (chicken pho) seemed to be made with the same care that most restaurants use for their beef soup, and I thought it was quite good. In fact, compared to other chicken soups this may be the best one I have had at a Vietnamese restaurant. Other restaurants (Pho Hieu in Yukon for example) add other ingredients that make them better in some ways, but the one here was pure chicken meat with chicken broth, and I was quite impressed with the flavor that it had.

The pho here has MSG, but apparently not very much because I did not have a reaction to it. Because of the soup’s flavor and the fact that it was for practical purposes MSG-free, this restaurant is definitely near the top of my list for the noodle soup.

Other Dishes
My dining companion had a Lettuce Wrap which was described as “passable.” Obviously they are trying to appeal to more people by having other items on the menu, but the Vietnamese food is what I would consider their specialty.

Drinks
In addition to the standard drinks, they have boba drinks (tea and coffee). I think the hot jasmine tea is one the expensive side, and I do not order it.

Recommendations
Pho Bulous offers some of the best bang for the buck I have found in Edmond (provided I skip the hot tea). The pho is some of the best I have tasted, and the vermicelli platter is good quality as well.


RATING: 23

Cuisine: Vietnamese
Cost: $$
Hours: Closed Tue.
Accessible: Yes (ramp is on the north side of the shopping center next to Charleston’s)
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: Beer

Most Recent Visit: Mar. 11, 2017
Number of Visits: 2
Best Item: Chicken Pho

 

Asian Food Details

Tea: Jasmine (bags)
MSG: Yes (in a small amount)
Buffet: No
Special Ratings
star 5 Chicken Pho (Noodle soup with chicken)
star 5 Grilled Chicken Vermicelli Platter

 

Menu (Jan. 2020):

Naylamp–Warr Acres, OK

Naylamp Peruvian Restaurant (Closed)
5805 N.W. 50th St.
Oklahoma City, OK
Naylamp Peruvian Restaurant

Naylamp in Warr Acres


Naylamp Peruvian Restaurant in Warr Acres is the second location for the popular restaurant located on S.W. 44th St. in Oklahoma City. It is also one of several Peruvian restaurants which have opened in northwest Oklahoma City over the past several years (many of these have since closed, but let’s hope that this restaurant has better success).

Because of the others which have been open, I have several points of comparison for Peruvian food. I understand that the owners of Naylamp are related to some of the people who have operated the other restaurants, but this does not mean the food has been the same. Even when a spinoff of Inca Trail opened in Bethany I thought the food had noticeable differences, so I have to say that everyone has their own interpretation of how Peruvian food should be prepared.

Other reviews of Naylamp indicate that ceviche is a very popular dish here. I did not try it, but the dishes I did try are the same ones I have ordered at other restaurants. Naylamp has the Chicha Morada drink, something that I think bolsters people’s claim of the restaurant’s authenticity.

Chicken

Quarter chicken

Quarter chicken

Of the two chicken dishes I sampled, I thought the Quarter Chicken was better in terms of flavor and of how it compared to other restaurants. The meat was a little dry, but the flavors were good.

Pollo saltado

Pollo saltado

The Pollo Saltado I ordered also had chicken which was a little dry, but overall it was still a good dish. I just think if you can make it to Zarate’s in Edmond you will get a better one (the one at Zarate’s also comes with a plantain and a choice of either green or yellow sauce, and I think this makes a big difference). The flavor of the pollo saltado was fine but I think it needs some of these other items to make it a complete dish.

A Preliminary Assessment
Both my rating of the restaurant and my comments are subject to change because I have had such a small sample of the food. Nevertheless, people on the west side of Oklahoma City now have another option for ethnic food (which is apparently authentic), and this goes along with one of the main purposes for this blog. I enjoyed my experience at Naylamp, and even though South American food is not spicy like Mexican food, it is nonetheless flavorful.

The chicha morada drink was good and I would recommend getting it with a meal. I would also recommend asking if they have a choice of sauces (I usually like the green one) and side dishes (I usually like the plantains). I don’t know if ordering all these things would run up the price to the point I would not want to order them, but I think it would be worth inquiring.


RATING: 22

Cuisine: Peruvian
Cost: $$
Hours: Closed Tue.
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking

Most Recent Visit: Aug. 16, 2016

Number of Visits: 1

Best Item: Quarter Chicken

 

Special Ratings
star 4 Pollo Saltado
star 5 Quarter Chicken (or Half Chicken, etc.)

Cattlemen’s–Oklahoma City, OK

Cattlemen’s Steakhouse
1309 S. Agnew Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 236-0416
Cattlemen's Cafe

Cattlemen’s Cafe at the Stockyards


Probably a stereotype easily evoked in people’s minds about the Sooner State is one in which western garb is the accepted mode of dress and cowboys may be seen sauntering along the dusty streets into the sunset. In the Stockyards section of Oklahoma City, this perception is not far from the truth. For most of the twentieth century, and into the present one, Cattlemen’s Restaurant has been a gathering spot not only for those who make their living from various aspects of bovine husbandry, but also for locals and tourists who feel more comfortable in a down home cafe than in the typical fancy steak house in which boots and a cowboy hat would seem as out of place as country and western music over the piped music system.

While this reviewer generally likes to avoid “tourist traps,” a visit to Cattlemen’s is highly recommended, even if it seems that the clientele is composed more of camera laden tourists than the cowboys who have been Cattlemen’s “bread and butter” for so long. The food and service have remained true to the time when the restaurant had not gained national recognition, and it is an experience that is difficult to match, even in the cattle producing regions of the Southwest.

Starters

House salad

Cattlemen’s famous house salad

The House Salad is highly acclaimed for the creamy garlic dressing, and I found the lettuce to be about as fresh as can be expected given the transportation logistics of supplying this vegetable not normally grown in the immediate vicinity. It did seem, however, that there were too many white, pale, and practically inedible plant parts thrown into the salad.

Cattlemen’s is renowned for its Lamb Fries, served as either an appetizer or a main course. Served with a tangy sauce, they make a unique and flavorful dish. Personally, though, I did not find much that I considered special about this delicacy. I think I already have enough hair on my chest that I do not wish to regularly consume something that is purported to grow more.

Steaks
Of course, the main reason to come to Cattlemen’s is for the steaks. Several varieties are available, ranging from the highly marbled rib eye to leaner cuts such as the filet. All of the cuts taste as you may remember them from the days before mass-production cattle ranches and feed lots pumped the animals full of growth hormones and antibiotics before being shipped to chain steak house restaurants and the places offering the “$7.99 specials.” The biggest shock I received after a number of years without visiting Cattlemen’s was how much the prices had increased into the range of some of the fancy steak houses, while the second biggest surprise was how much the steaks still tasted as they did years ago.

The Rib Eye Steak is one of the recommended cuts for a special treat, as it costs a little more than some of the other cuts. Cattlemen’s features a USDA prime cut that is supposed to be the best steak available, but the regular rib eye I ordered was in the top category of my beef experience. The expertise of the cooks in preparing the meat to the red, pink, or brown level ordered by the customer is a large part of the positive experience here. Fat and gristle are removed from the steak before serving, so it would not be unreasonable for the waiter to pick up a “clean plate” at the end of the meal with only the shallowest pool of juice leftover from the steak ponding on the bottom of the plate.

The Filet is the smallest steak served, and also one of the best. The staff at Cattlemen’s recommends ordering this steak medium to medium rare, so this might be a consideration in figuring out whether or not to order this particular cut.

Strip steak

Cattlemen’s strip

The Cattlemen’s Strip was the first steak listed on the menu, but I did not think it lived up to other cuts I have tried. This is known as a New York strip or Kansas City strip at most restaurants, and is usually a cut I find very flavorful and enjoyable. At Cattlemen’s, though, it had quite a bit of gristle and was cooked unevenly.

Back to the positive category, though, I would recommend the T-Bone as one of the better choices that are served (I shared a take-out order so I have a good idea about the taste but not how filling it is compared to the other steaks).

Side Dishes
The Baked Potato is usually as exceptional as the main dishes, but I have not always found it to be so lately. With a limited menu, the establishment has gained a lot of its reputation by producing high quality, perfectly cooked potatoes that taste as if they were subjected to the slowest cooking process possible. Of course with such a reputation there is nowhere for it to go but down if the potatoes happen to be a little “off.” I have experienced good ones over the years, but I do not know if recent experiences are an indication that the quality of the restaurant has changed. I really do not go to the restaurant enough to judge if the food is really different than it used to be. The sour cream, cheese, and bacon bit toppings that come with the potato are of a pretty standard quality, and it is really the tuber itself that provides the basis for the experiences I have had.

Dessert

Something from the pie case

Pie is available for dessert

Cattlemen’s keeps a pie case near the front door so patrons can hardly avoid having to make the decision of whether to eat more, even though I do not think anyone ever complains about the regular meals not being of sufficient quantity. The Pie does not match the quality of my grandmother’s, but it is pretty good for ones served in restaurants.

Other Choices
Prime rib is served on weekends, and chicken fried steak is always available. Other dinners are served, such as chicken and seafood. It is not often, though, that a person would have the opportunity to enjoy steaks of the quality served at Cattlemen’s, so this seems to be the choice of most diners. While Cattlemen’s is not as inexpensive as it used to be, the “stockyards ambiance” does not require that prices be at the inflated levels that customers have come to expect at most places in order to enjoy a high quality steak.

Additional Comments
I have seen mixed opinions on the Internet about whether Cattlemen’s really has the best steaks in Oklahoma City, or whether it is mainly a matter of the history, setting, and reputation that the restaurant enjoys. My own opinion is that some of the steaks will probably live up to people’s expectations, while others may not. It seems that a really top-notch steakhouse should have cuts such as the New York strip that are equally enjoyable as the filet, and I have not found this to be the case at Cattlemen’s. Some places in OKC might give Cattlemen’s some stiff competition in the steaks, but I still think Cattlemen’s delivers what people expect–excellent steaks in a setting that may be even more memorable than the food.


RATING: 24

Cuisine: Steaks
Cost: $$$
Hours: Open Daily
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: Beer

Most Recent Visit: Jul. 11, 2014
Number of Visits: 10+
Best Items: Filet, Rib Eye, T-Bone, House Salad

Special Ratings
star 5 Filet
star 5 Rib Eye
star 5 T-Bone
star 4 Cattlemen’s Strip Steak
star 4 Baked Potato
star 5 House Salad
star 3 Lamb Fries

Zorba’s–Oklahoma City, OK

Zorba’s Mediterranean Cuisine
6014 N. May Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 947-7788
Zorba's

Zorba’s


Since Zorba’s opened in 1991 it has been one of the city’s most popular restaurants for Mediterranean food. With recipes “from Cyprus to Spain” (according to Zorba’s menu), the name “Mediterranean” is very descriptive.

Zorba’s began in a small building near the Mayfair shopping center (where Sheesh Mahal is now located), and moved to the present location in 2007. The new building is much larger, with a bar and some big screen TV’s that are usually tuned to sports or news (at a low enough volume, though, so it does not disturb the conversation). Additional cooks at Zorba’s can serve a larger number of customers, and I think the menu now offers more items.

At the old restaurant I met the owner, got recommendations about what to order, and observed him cooking. I really enjoyed the quality and consistency of the food, and it was easy to know what to order (the owner would give me recommendations).

I thought when the new restaurant opened it got off to a rocky start–with the additional cooks hired to operate the new restaurant and larger menu there were inconsistencies in the food that were not there before. Some of the new items were a “miss,” but mostly I just didn’t know what was the best thing to order any more.

My current thinking is that if you want Middle Eastern food there are other restaurants in town that do it better, and there is a Moroccan restaurant a couple of blocks north of Zorba (so that is a logical place to go for that type of cuisine). Having said that, there are a number of items that I really like at Zorba’s (including a Moroccan dish), and Zorba’s also excels as a place to bring a large group who want to order different types of food. I have raised the rating of Zorba’s from my earlier reviews because I want to highlight what it does well rather than things I have found to be disappointing (many of which I am now attributing to the “growing pains” it had when it first opened).

Salads and Appetizers
Since salads are one of the better items I will start here. Several choices are available, and a salad or soup comes free with most dinners. Unlike Mexican restaurants where queso and sopapillas are usually served “free” (but built into the prices charged), the “free” appetizers here are definite enhancements and really do not jack up the prices to levels that are too high.

Tabouli

Tabouli at Zorba’s

Tabouli is one of the choices available as a free appetizer, but the one here is not my favorite in town. I found it to be rather skimpy on the green vegetables, and even though the flavor was good I would prefer one with less bulgar and more vegetables and herbs.

The Greek Salad (another one of the free salads) was very good when I ordered it several years ago. I have heard from readers, though, that Zorba’s is now including fewer olives and other enhancements to the lettuce.

Persian salad

Persian salad

The Persian Salad seemed rather simple, but it was fresh and flavorful. I would say this is a good choice, and is my favorite of the three free salad choices.

Zorba's signature salad

Zorba’s signature salad

Zorba’s Signature Salad is not one of the ones that comes free with the dinners, but I think is the best one I have tried (and ranks among the best in OKC). The photo shows that it has just about every ingredient imaginable, but also it is very fresh with a good flavor.

Soups

Lentil soup

Lentil soup

Soups are also one of the free appetizer choices with some of the dinners, and there are three choices on the menu. The menu describes the lentil soup as “seasoned to perfection and cooked with the freshest ingredients.” I would say they are correct on the second part but I disputed whether it was seasoned to perfection (I think the soups at Nunu’s and Camilya’s are better).

Vegetable Sampler

Vegetable sampler

Vegetable sampler

On an early visit I ordered a Vegetable Sampler that includes dolma, falafel, spanakopita, tiropita, hummus, baba ghannouj, asparagus, and salad. I thought this plate was not filling enough to make a meal, but it is now served as the “Hospitality Sampler” with some additional items. Mainly I wanted to see which of the vegetable side dishes were the best.

Dolma, or grape leaves, was one of the best items on the vegetable platter. It had a fresh, mild flavor, and was even better when dipped in the yogurt sauce that was provided.

The Falafel was the only fried food on the platter that I thought was at the level of quality I usually find in good Mediterranean restaurants. I could not tell if it was made from scratch or from a mix, but it had a good flavor. Again, the yogurt sauce helped.

The Tiropita (cheese pie) and Spanakopita (spinach pie) were fried, and somewhat of a disappointment. The spinach pie had a fried crust that I thought was too greasy, and the spinach was not spiced as well as I have had in other places. The cheese pie seemed lacking in flavor (in the photo the spinach pies are on the lower left and the cheese pies are to the right of the falafel).

The Pita was very good, and I think is something for which Zorba’s is known.

Hummus was very good and possibly one of the better ones I have eaten (although a pretty small sample came on the vegetable platter).

Shish Kabob Platter

Shish kabob platter

Shish kabob platter

The Shish Kabob Platter seemed to be one of the few meat dishes that contained a balanced amount of vegetables along with the meat. This is good if you like rice, since it comes on a large bed of white rice. The vegetables on the skewer, though, seemed rather flavorless compared to most shish kabobs I have tried. Out of the tomato, onion, potato, squash, and mushroom, I cannot think of anything that really stood out. I really think Zorba’s could do better with their vegetables.

The meat on the shish kabob was all right but I thought it was not very tender. The flavor was OK but I have had better at other Mediterranean restaurants.

Moussaka

Moussaka

Moussaka

Moussaka seemed to be one of the better dinners served at Zorba’s, being a Greek dish I have not found even at some of the city’s Greek restaurants. I enjoyed the one here, and thought it had a good flavor. I am not saying Zorba would be proud of this dish but I think he would at least be happy.

Chicken Dishes

Chicken bandarri

Chicken bandarri

The chicken dishes point out both my enjoyment and frustration with the food at Zorba’s. Chicken Bandarri was a serving of three stewed chicken thighs with a tomato garlic sauce over a bed of basmati rice. The highlight was the chicken, and I really ordered it because so few restaurants offer dark meat chicken by itself. The sauce was not quite as flavorful as I had expected, based on experiences at a number of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean restaurants. The rice came in a quantity that was way more than I could eat, and in fact I thought the entire dinner was too big and I had to take one of the chicken thighs home. The rice was also dry (but I really would not say the same thing about the chicken).

Moroccan chicken

Moroccan chicken

Moroccan Chicken is another chicken dinner available, and this one provides slow cooked chicken with Moroccan seasonings, a lemon olive sauce, and basmati rice. This was the opposite of the chicken bandarri in that the Moroccan chicken had an excellent sauce but I thought the meat was a little dry. Cous Cous Cafe a couple of blocks from Zorba’s specializes in Moroccan cuisine, and normally I would not think to order this type of food at Zorba’s, but in this case I think the Moroccan chicken is something that is quite good. The fresh raisins and olives added flavor, and I thought the sauce was done very well. This was certainly one of the “hits” I have found at Zorba’s (and the meat was not dry enough to really make a difference).

Catalan chicken

Catalan chicken

The Catalan Chicken was served with a flavorful basil butter sauce, and I thought the garlic mashed potatoes were flavorful. This stuck in my memory as being one of the two best meals I have had at Zorba’s (along with the Moroccan chicken).

Desserts

Mediterranean style dessert

Mediterranean style dessert

The Baklava was not the best I have tried, but several types of Mediterranean style desserts are offered. I liked everything I tried, including the baklava.

The original Zorba’s offered Persian tea (either hot or cold) on the house, and I thought this was a very nice touch to the meal. The tea was discontinued at the new restaurant, but now hot tea is available at an additional price. This is not the same tea served at Cous Cous Cafe with sweetener mixed in, but it is good enough for me to enjoy (and is a lot better than the drinks that were offered when Zorba’s first moved to its new location).

There seem to be more items on the menu than previously, and even though I have been disappointed in some items I usually find others that I like. The prices are a little high at Zorba’s but not outrageous compared to other restaurants. It is a good family restaurant with lots of tables and something on the menu for everybody.


RATING: 22

Cuisine: Mediterranean
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: Beer, wine

Most Recent Visit: Jun. 22, 2016
Number of Visits: 9
Best Items: Moroccan Chicken, Catalan Chicken, Dolma, Zorba’s Signature Salad

Special Ratings
star 5 Moroccan Chicken
star 4 Chicken Bandarri
star 5 Catalan Chicken
star 3 Shish Kabob
star 4 Moussaka
star 5 Dolma
star 4 Falafel
star 4 Hummus
star 3 Spinach Pie
star 3 Cheese Pie
star 3 Tabouli
star 4 Greek Salad
star 4 Persian Salad
star 5 Zorba’s Signature Salad
star 5 Pita
star 3 Baklava

Menu (Jun. 2016):