San Marcos–Warr Acres, OK

San Marcos Mexican Restaurant
4101 N. MacArthur Blvd.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 787-1963
San Marcos on MacArthur Blvd. in Warr Acres

San Marcos on MacArthur Blvd. in Warr Acres


San Marcos Mexican Restaurant currently has five locations, with “Number 4” occupying the building which was formerly Los Amigos Restaurant in Warr Acres. Los Amigos served a style of food which came from the state of Aguascalientes in Mexico. What I have understood from several restaurant owners is that many if not most of the Mexican restaurants in Oklahoma City serve this style of food at least when it comes to their authentic dishes (most of them also make the Tex-Mex and Americanized dishes available as well).

San Marcos has a similar flavor to these other restaurants, but I think its authentic menu is limited compared to some other places (particularly to Los Amigos which it replaced). A specialty of San Marcos seems to be large meat plates and other items which I think require a pretty good appetite in order to finish. There are smaller options here, but one thing which I actually think is a big plus for the restaurant is that you not only get a good portion of food but also free chips, tortillas, queso, sopapillas, and several types of salsas and condiments with the meal. The extra spicy salsa is freshly made in the kitchen and comes out heated to the table.

I have been to the restaurant on Rockwell (San Marcos No.3) more times than I can count, and I do think that many of the items are very similar at both restaurants. Over the years the Rockwell restaurant has dropped some of their special authentic items due to lack of demand, while the Warr Acres restaurant appears to have a larger Mexican clientele who would order these items. The menus of all San Marcos Restaurants are the same, and the differences would mostly be in the non-menu items that are available. One example is some special enchilada sauces which used to be available at the Rockwell location but which have now been discontinued. I do not know what special items the MacArthur (Warr Acres) location has, but I think it is likely to be more than at Rockwell.

Setups

Chips and salsa

Salsa, queso, and spicy salsa

I do not really bother with San Marcos’ regular salsa, which looks like chopped up tomatoes, but I think the Spicy Salsa is excellent, and to me it is better than at the Rockwell location. It is freshly made and served hot (and comes close to the quality found in El Paso restaurants).

The chips and queso dip are both good. I also like to order the corn tortillas. All of the setups are free, but in the case of the spicy salsa and tortillas (either corn or flour) you have to request them.

Enchiladas

Enchiladas with a special salsa verde that is not on the menu

Enchiladas with salsa verde

The Enchiladas with Salsa Verde are one of my favorite items at the Rockwell location, and I tried them here for comparison. My judgment was that the green sauce was a little bit better here, but they did not give me very much of it. Overall I liked the food better here, but the difference was not very pronounced. The spice level here was about the same as at the other San Marcos location, which is about four out of five chiles for the green sauce.

One flaw I found here was the the cheese did not seem to be quite melted enough (something I really have not noticed at the Rockwell location).

Guisado

Guisado rojo

Guisado de chile rojo

Guisado is one of the more expensive items at San Marcos, and one for which it takes a pretty good appetite to eat. I liked the red sauce version of this dish, although the meat seemed to be a little tough. Sometimes the Rockwell location also serves tough meat, but my experience at San Marcos is that this is not the norm.

Dessert

Sopapillas are free

Sopapilla

The Sopapillas here are free, and I think are very good as long as you are not expecting them to be like they are in El Paso or New Mexico. The ones here are sprinkled with what looks like a sugar/cinnamon mixture, and I usually like to add honey as well.

Other Observations
The best feature of San Marcos is that it seems to be improving over time. One example is the chips which have improved drastically since I started coming to the restaurant. The enchiladas with red or green sauce are also very reminiscent of the ones you would get where they serve authentic Mexican food, and they are always available (they are in the “La Feria” section of the menu).

The Warr Acres restaurant was similar enough to the Rockwell location that I think the food is about the same at either place. I do think the spicy salsa is better in Warr Acres, and I suspect that they have some non-menu items that you can order. What I discovered from the Rockwell location was that they kept the non-menu items going as long as people kept ordering them, so I do not know what is popular at the Warr Acres location now.

There are three other locations in the OKC Metro, and I suspect they follow the same pattern of having much the same food but possibly their own non-menu items.

Note: The “Chile Index” refers to the ranchera and similar sauces (the salsa verde and salsa roja are spicier).


RATING: 22

Cuisine: Mexican
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: Full bar

Most Recent Visit: Feb. 23, 2020

Number of Visits: 2

Best Items: Enchiladas with Salsa Verde, Spicy Salsa

Mexican Food Details

Chile Index: chile 3

 

Special Ratings
star 4 Enchiladas with Salsa Verde
star 4 Guisado de Chile Rojo
star 4 Rice
star 4 Beans
star 5 Chips
star 5 Spicy Salsa
star 5 Sopapillas

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):