Cafe 7–Oklahoma City, OK

Cafe 7
14101 N. May Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 748-3354
Cafe 7

Cafe 7 on North May Ave.


Cafe 7 has four menus (all of which offer choices in the same price range): Sandwiches, Pizza, Pasta, and Salads. The pizza is individual sized, and the pasta menu follows the trend of some national chains in offering a variety of dishes along with a “build your own pasta” selection. Cafe 7 is strictly local, though, and I think the real beauty of it is that you get individually prepared items with the type of selection that is normally available mainly in larger restaurants. They can meet all kinds of dietary needs, such as serving vegetarian and gluten free dishes, and the source of the food seems to be largely local. More than anything else I am impressed with the quality of the food.

Seasonal menus offer additional choices, some of which are higher priced. Most of my favorite items are from the regular menu, but there have been some standouts from the seasonal menu.

The dining room

Cafe 7’s interior

Some of my personal feelings about Cafe 7 are that I like the dining room, I like their tea, and I think the prices are reasonable. I sometimes find it a problem that they close at 8:00 P.M., but they do not seem to mind if customers stay after this time. I thought they had the best cupcakes in Oklahoma City, but they are no longer available and the staff tells me there is nowhere else that I can buy them (meaning that they did not come from one of the local cupcake restaurants). It is not really necessary to order a dessert here, though, since the meals are filling enough.

When customers enter the restaurant they pick up one of the order sheets, fill out the choices, and go to the counter to pay. Special orders are also available, but these sometimes have a higher price (I think the soup and sandwich combination I ordered was a dollar extra). I sometimes ask for suggestions from the employees at the counter, and I really have never gone wrong with the sandwiches, pasta, or seasonal specials they recommend. If they are busy, though, I think the system of giving you the menus while you are waiting in line works very well.

Sandwiches

Turkey and guacamole sandwich

Turkey and guacamole sandwich

On my first visit I ordered a special that is not listed on the menu– a half sandwich with soup. The full order of Turkey and Guacamole Sandwich (pictured above) was as good as the first experience, and reinforced my idea that this is a good flavor combination. The turkey seemed to be roasted (not processed), and I think this set it apart from most turkey meat served in restaurants. The bread has changed since my first visit (not better or worse– just something different). The fact that the guacamole blended well with the turkey speaks to the art and thought that went into creating the sandwiches offered here.

Cuban sandwich

The Cuban

The Cuban reinforced my opinion that the sandwiches are top quality. With pulled pork, ham, Cuban relish, onions, pickles, Swiss cheese, and Dijonnaise sauce on a toasted hoagie there was plenty about this sandwich to like. I did not notice any flavors that particularly stood out except the sauce and Swiss cheese, and all the meats were good. The sauce was a little spicy, probably comparable to most of the city’s Mexican restaurants.

Soups

Cream of broccoli soup

Cream of broccoli soup

The Cream of Broccoli Soup sounded very good, but I thought the flavor was a little flat. The most disappointing thing, though, was that it was too salty for me. I thought the soup was fresh and good quality, but I tend to find the best soups at ethnic restaurants rather than ones that are American style.

Tomato basil soup and cobb salad

Tomato basil soup and cobb salad

The Tomato Basil Soup was also one of my favorite items at Cafe 7, although I would not place it in the same category as the soup at some of the city’s better Italian restaurants.

Ms. Vickie’s Chips used to be served with all sandwiches, but they later dropped this in favor of the much better all natural Popchips potato chips. As of 2015 they seem to have changed the chips again, but in any case they are better than the original Ms. Vickie’s (but customers can still get Ms. Vickie’s for an additional cost if they want).

Salads
The Cobb Salad tasted very good when I sampled it, but I think it would not be filling enough to order as a meal (even though the regular salad is twice the size of the one shown in the picture). The honey mustard dressing was one of the highlights of it, after trying several less flavorful versions at other restaurants (such as Interurban).

Pasta

Rigatoni Sorrentino

Rigatoni Sorrentino

Wanting to try items from the pasta section, I chose the Rigatoni Sorrentino because it sounded good from the menu. It also tasted good with a very good seasoning that I thought was not overpowered by Italian spices (one of my pet peeves in Italian restaurants). This dish contains grilled chicken, mushrooms, and sun-dried tomatoes, all of which I thought were very good. The tomato cream sauce was also better than I thought it would be (I am not a big fan of cream sauces). This isn’t the kind of Italian food you get at Vito’s, but I thought it was very good and I enjoyed it.

Pasta maggio

Pasta maggio

Pasta Maggio was recommended by an employee at the counter, and was also very good. This had a creamy pesto sauce that I thought was not as good as the one with the rigatoni sorrentino, but the ingredients made up for it with chicken, mushrooms, and artichokes. Overall I would have to say this was the best pasta dish I have tried.

Pasta primavera

Pasta primavera

The Pasta Primavera is the one that I consider “my other favorite” (along with pasta maggio). This has a lemon flavor, and the banana peppers give it somewhat of a kick (in a good way that is not too spicy). I also like the vegetables in this one.

Pizza

Margherita pizza

Margherita pizza

Several types of pizza are served, including a “Build your own pizza” that comes with sauce, cheese, and up to three meat toppings. Margherita Pizza was one of the specialty pizzas offered (all pizzas are the same price unless you get more than three toppings). I thought the Margherita pizza was a little disappointing in the flavor of the pizza and texture of the crust. It had standard tomatoes instead of the sun dried tomatoes served in most Italian restaurants, and the flavor of the cheese was rather overwhelming compared to my perception of the way a Margherita pizza should be. The ingredients were fresh and good quality, but this was not my favorite pizza in terms of flavor.

Seasonal Menus

Fettuccine bona

Fettuccine bona

Cafe 7 provides more variety by offering seasonal menus of different types of items. For instance, in Summer 2013 the Fettuccine Bona was an item I found very refreshing with green and red olives and a flavorful pesto seasoning. Another good item was the Muffaletta, which I thought was well made (with good sauce, meat, and bread). Other choices from the menu were a sirloin salad, salmon salad (both of which cost more than the standard menu items), two wraps, and an ultimate margherita pizza.

Chicken pot pie

Chicken pot pie

The Chicken Pot Pie which I first had from the Fall 2016 menu (and again in Winter 2020) was an excellent version of a dish I usually order at any restaurant which has it on the menu. In case they have it in the future you may like to know that the crust and gravy were both good, it had large chunks of white meat chicken, there were plenty of potatoes, but I would say it was short of the other vegetables I usually like in a pot pie. It met my standard of not being too salty, and overall I liked it very much.

Green chile mac and cheese

Hatch green chile mac & cheese

The Hatch Green Chile Mac & Cheese has evolved over a couple of years to the point that this is perhaps my favorite seasonal dish served. The cheese is thin and fully melted, and along with the fresh green chile I think this is what makes it special to me. On the heat scale the chile is about four out of five (not as spicy as they usually serve in New Mexico but spicy enough to really bring out the flavor).

Desserts

Red velvet cookie

Red velvet cookie

Some of their desserts have been wonderful, such as the Chocolate Mousse and the Cupcakes. However, they keep changing the desserts all the time, and I know the cupcakes are no longer available. I am not sure what is good at the moment, or if the Red Velvet Cookies, which I liked, are still available.

Additional Comments
Customers fill up their own drink cups, and there is a choice of three kinds of iced tea: black, green, and white.

Side dishes are somewhat limited, but I liked the Potato Salad (and I would have liked it even better if it were not made with mayonnaise).

When Saturn Grill had a location on Memorial Road I was able to compare a number of items there and at Cafe 7. My conclusions were that Saturn Grill had better vegetarian sandwiches overall, but that the turkey and guacamole and Cuban sandwiches at Cafe 7 were better than any of the meat versions served at Saturn Grill. I liked the pasta dishes better at Cafe 7, but overall I thought the seasonal menu was much better at Saturn Grill. I never really formed an opinion about who had better soup.

Cafe 7 has now opened a restaurant in downtown OKC, and the large number of customers on North May attests to its continued popularity. People know good food when they taste it, though, and this is certainly among my favorite places.


RATING: 23

Cuisine: Deli
Cost: $$
Hours: Closed Sunday
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: Beer, Wine
Additional Location: 100 W. Main St.

Most Recent Visit: Feb. 19, 2020
Number of Visits: 10+
Best Items: Turkey and Guacamole Sandwich, Cuban, Tomato Basil Soup, Pasta Maggio, Pasta Primavera, Chicken Pot Pie (seasonal menu), Hatch Green Chile Mac & Cheese (seasonal menu)

Special Ratings
star 5 Turkey and Guacamole Sandwich
star 5 Cuban
star 5 Pastrami Reuben
star 3 Classic Turkey & Swiss
star 5 Pasta Maggio
star 5 Pasta Primavera
star 5 Rigatoni Sorrentino
star 3 Margherita Pizza
star 5 Tomato Basil Soup
star 4 Cream of Broccoli Soup
star 4 Signature Salad
star 5 Cobb Salad
star 4 Potato Salad
Seasonal Menu
star 4 Fettuccine Bona (Summer)
star 4 Muffaletta (Summer)
star 5 Green Chile Mac & Cheese (Summer)
star 5 Chicken Pot Pie (Fall & Winter)

Menu (Feb. 2020):

 

 

Family Pho–Oklahoma City, OK

Family Pho
13325 N. MacArthur Blvd.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 470-0648
Family Pho

Family Pho


Family Pho is a small family run Vietnamese restaurant in a strip shopping center that is really not typical of other such restaurants. They do not serve the pseudo Chinese food found in most strip mall restaurants (the food here is strictly Vietnamese). The flavors are authentic (as far as I can tell), and the menu is closer to the restaurants in the Asian District than to other strip mall restaurants. They definitely do not have all the menu items served in the larger Asian District restaurants, but the pho selections are very good, as are the rice and vermicelli dish choices.

I am encouraged about this type of restaurant because the clientele is overwhelming non-Vietnamese, yet the menu is easy to navigate for both those who are Vietnamese food experts and those who really do not have much knowledge about it. My advice to first time diners would probably be to try the pho–not only because this is the restaurant’s specialty but also because I think this restaurant has a very good version of it.

Pho

Chicken pho

Chicken pho

So far I have only tried the Pho Ga, or the chicken version (chicken breast meat in a chicken broth). This is not a slap at the other types of soup at Family Pho, it is because I find the chicken pho disappointing at many restaurants and I am very glad to find one that is good. The flavor is quite good, but probably more important to me is the fact that the restaurant does not use MSG (which leaves me free from worry about how I am going to feel after the meal).

The chicken pho has a chicken broth and white meat chicken as the main soup ingredient. Other types of non-beef soup are also available, including vegetarian, shrimp, and seafood.

They told me that one of the “secret” ingredients in the soup that makes it so good is cinnamon, although it is not obvious when tasting it, and this is just one of the ingredients used to make the flavors balanced.

Chicken pho with basil

Chicken pho with basil

Of course I like to add the condiments served on a side dish including the basil and bean sprouts.

Vermicelli Bowl

Lemongrass chicken

Lemongrass chicken vermicelli bowl

There are not many suburban restaurants that have a Lemongrass Chicken Vermicelli Bowl, but Family Pho has it (as well as lemongrass beef). This is also one of my favorite items here, although it did have the shortcoming of not having mint as one of the ingredients. The rest of it, though, is good enough for it to say on my “want to order” list.

Banh Mi

Banh mi

Banh mi

Although I did not order the sandwich myself, I have a photo of it as well as a recommendation to order it.

Takeout

Lemongrass chicken takeout order

Lemongrass chicken takeout order

I found out that the takeout version of the Lemongrass Chicken Vermicelli Bowl is as good as the one in the restaurant, and in this case may be even better. This one had mint (something that was previously missing in the restaurant version), and everything else was excellent. It was a little short on the lemongrass flavor, but it was certainly a main part of the dish and there was enough to do the job. The chicken, sauce, noodles, etc. were all excellent. This was easily one of the best items I have had from Family Pho, even though I did not actually eat it in the restaurant.

Another factor to consider with this dish was the fact that it left such a pleasant aftertaste with me that I did not want to “spoil” it the rest of the day with any other food items including dessert. I would judge the fish sauce, chile paste, and the dish itself to be among the best I have had anywhere, and to have such a meal at home was a special treat, especially compared to the other takeout items that are available. I think the chile sauce was something I requested and is not normally included in the orders, but I would definitely recommend it.

Recommendations
My best experience at the restaurant was the pho, but the takeout version of lemongrass chicken stands out as the most memorable meal I have had from Family Pho. I do not know if the food has generally gotten better over the last several years or if it was just the circumstances around the specific meal I ordered, but I definitely think this is an excellent restaurant for takeout, and will likely be just as good when they are able to open the dining room again (I am writing this in light of the Corona virus outbreak while all Oklahoma City restaurants are forced to close their restaurants to dine-in patrons).


RATING: 24

Cuisine: Vietnamese
Cost: $$
Hours: Closed Sat.
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: N/A

Most Recent Visit: Feb. 18, 2020
Number of Visits: 7
Best Items: Chicken Pho, Lemongrass Chicken Vermicelli Bowl

 

Asian Food Details

Tea: Jasmine (bags), Thai Tea, Milk Tea
MSG: No
Buffet: No

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Pho Ga (Chicken)
star 5 Lemongrass Chicken Vermicelli Bowl

 

Menu (Jul. 2017):

 

Nunu’s–Oklahoma City, OK

Nunu’s Mediterranean Cafe & Market
3131 W. Memorial Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 751-7000
Nunu's

Nunu’s


Oklahoma City is fortunate to have more than its share of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern restaurants, but as far as I am concerned the market is still far from saturated. Not only is this one of the most delicious types of food in the world, it is also recognized as being one of the healthiest. Nunu’s in far north Oklahoma City is one of the relative newcomers serving this type of food, and it seems to strike the right balance between the high quality of a very special restaurant and the casual setting of a home style restaurant people can make a frequent destination.

Janet (Nunu) is no longer at the restaurant on a regular basis, but she has left it in capable hands and the food still follows the same family recipes.  For the most part there will not be any noticeable changes at the “new” Nunu’s.

If anything I think the food is better now than it has ever been. I noticed this particularly in the chicken kabobs. At the same time the items that were my favorites before are still very good (such as the lentil soup and the hashwa). The menu is smaller at the “new” Nunu’s but what they have seems to be uniformly excellent. The old Nunu’s seemed to be a replica of the old Cedars Restaurant in Tulsa, with some items that were not traditional Middle Eastern food but which were popular among Oklahoma’s Lebanese and Middle Eastern community. My older review of Nunu’s is still available for reference.

Nunu’s used to have a deli at the back of the restaurant which I think has largely disappeared, but as a result I believe the restaurant now has more tables and can better accommodate the large crowds which I have frequently seen.

Nunu's serving counter

Nunu’s serving counter

Customers pay upon ordering at the cash register, and drinks are “serve yourself” from the soda machine (I should take this opportunity to also mention that I have enjoyed the Lebanese style lemonade which I think is still available). The menu and daily specials are listed at the counter (I do not know if they still have the daily specials but I mainly got the ones on Tuesday and Thursday).

Salads

Salata

Salata

Salads are a little different here than in most restaurants because they can easily serve as an entire meal or a substantial part of a meal that you can assemble by ordering a la carte items. Salads come in a full or half size so they all tend to be somewhat large. If you want a basic salad, though, the Salata is available consisting of cucumber, tomatoes, and mixed greens (the menu lists it as their “side salad”).

Small plate of fatoosh salad

Fatoosh salad

I believe my favorite salad is the Fatoosh Salad, a mixture of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions, and parsley with a lemon juice and olive oil dressing. One thing that is special about it, though, is the mixture of herbs that give it its unique flavor. Many times I prefer this salad to tabouli or other side dishes that I normally get at Middle Eastern restaurants because of its flavor and freshness that are not normally found in restaurant salads.

The menu also includes a plate of fatoosh with chicken breast or beef kafta, and this offers a more inexpensive way of ordering these items than ordering each one separately.

Greek salad

Greek salad

Normally one of my favorite salads is Greek Salad, and it is the same here. I just gravitate toward the fatoosh, though, because it is not available at many other restaurants (and Greek salads are rather common throughout Oklahoma City).

Soups

Cup of lentil soup (the bowl is even bigger!)

Cup of lentil soup

The Lentil Soup has really been my favorite item at Nunu’s since I have been coming here. The cup size is shown in the photo, and the bowl is even larger, but in either case I consider the soup as an appetizer rather than my main meal here. I try not to get too detailed in these reviews and say that you should not order the soup as a main dish, but this is only what I have found in my own experience. Definitely order the lentil soup if you can, but I like to get something else with it.

Other than ordering a cup or a bowl, though, the only way you can get lentil soup is on the veggie sampler plate (something I frequently order because of the fact that it includes the soup).

In the past Nunu’s has had other soups available as the soup of the day, and I do not know if they still do this. All of them have been good, and I would feel confident ordering anything they had.

Vegetarian Dishes

Veggie sampler plate

Veggie sampler plate with veggie cabbage roll, lentil and rice pilaf, tabouli, hummus, pita, and lentil soup

The veggie sampler plate contains most of the vegetarian items available at the restaurant (with the notable exception of falafel). The Veggie Cabbage Roll is quite good, being hand rolled with rice, tomatoes, and garbanzo beans cooked with lemon juice. Although only one cabbage roll is served, there are enough other items so that it makes a substantial meal.

Hummus is more flavorful than most, with the texture being just right. The olive oil to make hummus a good dip for the pita bread. In the early days of going to Nunu’s I thought the garlic overwhelmed the other flavors, but over time this has evolved from a good dish to a great one, with the flavorings (and not the garlic) becoming more pronounced.

Tabouli is very fresh and well balanced. There is quite a bit of competition around the city for good tabouli, but overall I think Nunu’s is the best (in fact, this is one of the best items at the restaurant).

The veggie cabbage roll is served on a bed of Lentil and Rice Pilaf, a very fresh and filling serving of this vegetable mixture with onions mixed in for flavor.

Lentil and rice pilaf plate

Lentil and rice pilaf plate

A Lentil and Rice Pilaf Plate is also available from the vegetarian menu. Although I think it is excellent, the hashwa plate (with meat) would be my normal choice instead of this one.

Falafel plate

Falafel plate

The Falafel Plate is another good vegetarian choice. However, I usually go for the falafel sandwich because it has more sauce and I think a better flavor combination.

Specialty Plates

Takeout order of the sampler plate

Sampler plate

I would say that most of the best items at Nunu’s are on their “Specialty Plates” sections of the menu. Just about all of them are on the Sampler Plate, which includes hashwa, chicken kabob, beef kafta, and a cabbage roll (with a side of tabouli, hummus, and pita).

Beef Kafta is very flavorful and has always been a standout item. One of its best features is the excellent spicing.

The Chicken Kabob was not always my favorite meat item here, but recently it has been perfectly cooked with excellent quality meat. It has enough seasoning to make it appetizing but not so much that I feel that I am being overwhelmed by garlic and other spices. I would rate it as being almost as flavorful as the kafta, but in terms of meat quality it is the same.

Hashwa plate

Hashwa plate

The menu has described Hashwa as Nunu’s signature dish, and it is used on many plates as a “bed” underneath a meat item. It consists of rice and beef cooked with clarified butter and topped with toasted almonds, but I think the spices and flavors in it are much more complex than this. A Hashwa Plate, as shown in the above photo, is also available.

Cabbage roll plate

Cabbage roll plate

I have to rate the Cabbage Roll made with beef, spices, and clarified butter, as one of the best items at Nunu’s (I know I am creating somewhat of an endless list of best items, but the cabbage rolls should be included as well). These are not only good, they are the type of cabbage roll that will make me want to return whenever possible for a “fix.” A slight sour taste makes them seem a little like German style food, but the mixture of spices is an excellent representation of Middle Eastern cooking.

Special Dishes

I think the specials may now be discontinued but this was my favorite

Eggplant casserole served as a special

Nunu’s used to have several daily specials, and I do not know if this is still the case. My favorite was the Eggplant Casserole, which I believe Janet made herself. Although I believe the old specials were discontinued along with several menu items when Janet left, it may still be worth checking for specials or asking about them if you want to try something besides the items listed on the menu.

Dessert

Baklava

Baklava

I believe Nunu’s always has two kinds of Baklava, and I sometimes notice other desserts available as well. This is one of my favorite versions of baklava in the city. (Note: they sometimes run out during evening hours).

Other Notes
I should point out that there are some other Lebanese restaurants in Oklahoma City, including Camilya’s and Jerusalem (in Edmond). All of them either have items that the others do not or they do certain items better than the other restaurants. In most of the cases the items I have identified as a “best item” at Nunu’s are also my favorite in the city, but  this is not necessarily the case for meat items (all three of these restaurants are excellent for this).


RATING: 25

Cuisine: Middle Eastern Lebanese
Cost: $$
Hours: Mon-Sat (11:00 am to 8:00 pm)
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: Beer, Wine
Special Features: Deli & Market; Outdoor Patio

Most Recent Visit: Feb. 14, 2020

Number of Visits: 10+

Best Items: Lentil Soup, Houmos, Tabouli, Cabbage Rolls, Fatoosh, Kafta, Hashwa, Baklava

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Kafta
star 5 Chicken Kabob
star 5 Hashwa
star 5 Lentils and Rice
star 5 Lentil Soup
star 5 Tomato Basil Soup
star 5 Cabbage Rolls
star 4 Veggie Cabbage Rolls
star 5 Hummus
star 5 Tabouli
star 4 Falafel
star 5 Fatoosh Salad
star 5 Greek Salad
star 5 Baklava