Norman, a friendly college town just south of Oklahoma City, is full of great restaurants that draw on global cuisines and local produce. The town was once populated by restaurant chains, but now more and more independent restaurants are popping up, giving choices of new flavors and dishes. We’ve chosen the ten best spots to visit during your stay, where you can expect everything from traditional Southern fried chicken to sushi.
This charming B&B is owned by French chefs Chinda and Rany Kchao, so it’s no surprise that the restaurant is at the top of their list of priorities. The menu is continental, from Norwegian salmon to French classics like crab bisque or ragout. The dinner is punctuated with nice touches like the freshly baked bread and the palate-cleansing sorbet served between courses. The dining room is quaint yet decadent, with a chandelier and French flourishes. The B&B is a little way out of town, near Thunderbird Lake, but is definitely worth the drive for an overnight stay, or for dinner and drinks.
Whispering Pines, 7820 E State Highway 9, Norman, OK, United States, +1 405 447 0202
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1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
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1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
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1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
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Established by Angelo Dimas after emigrating from Greece, Greek House once served a fanfare of Greek food, but gyros, a traditional Greek dish of rotisserie meat served with tzatziki, tomatoes, and onions inside pita bread, proved to be the favorite. Now, the menu reflects just that as gyros is the only main dish on offer, either served as a sandwich, with salad or on its own. With great bang-for-your-buck portion sizes, you won’t mind the limited choice here. The kitchen is open, so diners can watch the chefs expertly cut and prepare the meat from their simple blue clothed table. And, if anyone is still hungry after a gyros, the dessert menu offers a perfect slice of sticky, sweet baklava.
Greek House, 768 Jenkins Ave, Norman, OK 73069, United States, +1 405 364 6300
Benvenuti’s Italian inspired, high-end menu uses local ingredients to create innovative meals. Chef Anthony Compagni creates Italian recipes with Oklahoma produce, such as shrimp sriracha, pork cheeks or quail Milanese. The restaurant is housed in an old building down by the train tracks, and has a patio out front so you can eat al fresco if the weather’s good. There’s also great vegetarian options, including the grilled vegetables and polenta platter. The desserts are also worth saving room for. Try the creme brulée with berries, or a chocolate pot with homemade graham crackers.
Benvenuti’s Ristorante, 105 W Main St, Norman, OK, United States, +1 405 310 5271
Serving traditional American dishes in a causal, cozy setting, Charleston’s is great for all occasions and mealtimes. Its decor of exposed brick walls and a high wood-beamed ceiling gives Charleston’s a real modern twist with a homely foundation at its core. Choose from an array of dishes, from light dishes such as its soup of day, sandwiches and salads, to the more filling fare such as burgers and steak. The starter of Cream Spinach Artichoke Dip served with freshly made Tortilla chips is well-raved about and as for it’s specialities, the slow-cooked Barbecue Ribs with baked beans and fries comes highly recommended, as does its Prime Rib steak. For dessert, the warm five-nut brownie with champagne custard is so good it has to be tasted to be believed.
Juan Del Fuego
Husband and wife team chef Juan and Elayne Herrara run this authentic Mexican diner just off Main Street. They serve traditional American breakfast and lunch dishes with a Mexican twist. Hash browns and pancakes come with guacamole, chorizo, chili and pork tamales and for lunch, the quesadillas and toasts are a standout. Juan’s chefs cook with a flourish in the open kitchen so be sure to sit at the counter for the best show. The decor combines eclectic religious ornaments with bright yellow walls, and the dining area is small, so arrive early to avoid disappointment at peak brunch times.
Juan Del Fuego, 223 34th Ave S W, Norman, OK, United States, +1 405 310 2030
Tarahumara’s Mexican Cafe
This family-owned cafe, a Norman institution, serves Tex-Mex at its best, from delicately cooked ceviche (fresh fish marinated in citrus juices) to chips, salsa and fajitas. Housed in a cheerful maroon building near Frances Cate Park, Tarahumara’s is known as much for its margaritas and bloody marys as its food among locals, and always has a lively, buzzing atmosphere. Dishes are served in large portions with sides of rice and beans, homemade cheese sauce, guacamole and salsa to complement your chosen dish. Favourites are the enchilada plate, the Diablo Shrimp, the chile Colorado and for dessert, traditional Mexican sopapillas.
Tarahumara’s Mexican Cafe, 702 N Porter Ave, Norman, OK, United States, +1 405 360 8070
This downtown burgers and beer joint serves the best burgers in town. There’s a choice between beef, turkey and bison with a wide selection of toppings, and tacos or wings if you don’t fancy a burger. The fries are a meal in themselves, coming with bacon, sour cream, jalapenos or a generous helping of beef chilli. The restaurant itself has a friendly bar atmosphere, with quirky vintage signs on the walls and out front, bar stools around small round tables, and old-school pinball and video game machines. It’s a laid-back place to meet locals or watch some American football.
The Garage, 307 E Main St, Norman, OK, United States, +1 405 701 7035