The Best Places to Eat in Tulsa, Oklahoma

For a farm-to-table fine-dining experience in Tulsa, Juniper is the place to go
For a farm-to-table fine-dining experience in Tulsa, Juniper is the place to go | © Juniper
Chloe Hay

Bridging the flat, dusty divide between the Midwest and the South, Tulsa embodies the best qualities of both – an all-American wholesomeness best experienced through its food. From finger-licking fried chicken to gourmet corn dogs and tater tots, here’s the full rundown of the best restaurants in the tastiest city in Oklahoma.

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Hank’s Hamburgers

Hank’s Hamburgers is a culinary landmark in Tulsa, and there’s nowhere else quite like it. It has been flipping the city’s tastiest burgers for more than 70 years. Feeling brave? Take on the Big Okie, a mountain of a burger with four beef patties, four slices of cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and onions. For those not looking to bite off more than they can chew, the burgers also come in single, double, triple and half-pound versions. But don’t forget the sides – the corn dogs, tater tots and chili-cheese fries are excellent. As for something sweet, the chocolate-covered peanut butter balls make for a rib-sticking dessert.

Evelyn’s Soul Food

One of Tulsa’s best-kept secrets, near the Tulsa International Airport, Evelyn’s serves up the sort of lip-smacking soul food that’s an integral part of the city’s culinary heritage. An order of the fried chicken – crispy on the outside, soft and tender on the inside – is a must-try. There are also first-class renditions of comfort classics, such as baked turkey, fried catfish and fried pork chops. Order the candied yams, mac ‘n’ cheese and green beans as sides to share or to make up a vegetarian meal by themselves.

Juniper

Priding itself on its use of seasonal ingredients, sourced from local producers, Juniper is a proper farm-to-table fine-dining restaurant. Housed in a cozy red-brick building in the heart of downtown Tulsa, it’d make the perfect spot for a date-night dinner or a special occasion. Choose from the à la carte menu or the well-priced five-course tasting menu, accompanied by an optional, expertly curated wine selection. Alternatively, for something more punchy, grab a cocktail that incorporates Juniper’s house-infused spirits.

Kilkenny’s

With 12 beers on tap, including Guinness, and Irish coffee on offer, Kilkenny’s is as popular for its bar as it is for its food, which is how it should be for a top-notch Irish pub. It’s open for brunch, lunch and dinner, with the King’s River fish and chips with tangy tartar sauce, Guinness-infused barbecued baby back ribs and Irish stew being some of the cockle-warming classics available. For dessert, the chewy, gooey bread pudding is an excellent choice.

Siegi’s Sausage Factory

Dishing up arguably the Midwest’s best handmade sausages, the family-owned Siegi’s is the place to go for a full Bavarian blowout. In addition to the classic bratwurst, it offers traditional wiener frankfurters, weisswurst (a kind of white sausage flavored with lemon and parsley) and other eastern European classics, including giant, glossily glazed pretzels, fluffy potato pancakes, Hungarian goulash and Swiss schnitzel. However, it wouldn’t be a Munich-style medley without lashings of German beer, which it has on tap, of course.

Palace Café

Once an antique store, Palace Café is now one of the most imaginative restaurants in Tulsa, on pretty Cherry Street. The menu is a hit list of Asian-American-Mediterranean fusion dishes – from a bento box filled with appetizers such as shrimp-shiitake potstickers to short-rib ravioli with a mascarpone-potato filling – all made with seasonal, locally available ingredients. On the whole, it’s a meaty menu, but non-carnivores needn’t fret. There’s a separate menu for vegetarians, with entrées such as goat’s-cheese arancini and mushroom barley risotto.

The Chalkboard

Currently run by siblings Josh and Shannon Ozaras, the Chalkboard has been around since the 1970s, making it a bit of a local institution. However, it’s far from stuck in the past – the decor is modern in a turn-of-the-millennium way, with plenty of seating, including a leather banquette, and canvases of contemporary abstract art adorning the walls. Food-wise, think European classics such as a fillet steak with seasonal vegetables, a lemon-and-herb roasted half chicken, and pan-seared market fish. It’s not breaking any conceptual boundaries, but that doesn’t matter when the quality is consistently this high.

Villa Ravenna Fine Dining

With its brick floor, ceiling beams and open fireplace, this Italian restaurant feels like the kind of trattoria you could stumble across on a drive through the Umbrian countryside. However, the homey, laid-back atmosphere belies a more formal, fine-dining experience. The menu demonstrates the clever simplicity of good Italian cooking; start with an antipasto of grilled wild boar sausage with marinara sauce, followed by freshly made fettuccine alla bolognese or veal osso bucco.

White River Fish Market

Despite being in the heart of a city in a landlocked state, the White River Fish Market prides itself on delivering fish as fresh as any you’d find on the coasts. It’s so confident of the quality of its product that it encourages you to inspect the fish in its large chilled display case before picking out what you want and letting the kitchen know how you want it prepared. Alternatively, order something from the menu, with options including fresh oysters on the half shell, fried soft-shell crab or broiled lobster tail.

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