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Best Oklahoma City Restaurants

AOL PICK from our Editors

Oklahoma City’s best restaurants are all about beef, so if you’re coming to town, plan to eat beef, lots of beef. There are vegetarian options available, as well as old standbys like brick oven pizza, but this is the land of cattle. And don’t leave town without tasting some barbecue, or a little traditional soul food—or both. At Oklahoma City restaurants, dinner is typically an early affair, but our favorite restaurants take reservations early and late, so you can eat on your own schedule.

Red Prime Steakhouse

Neighborhood: Downtown Price: Expensive

A good steak is a great thing, and these steaks are truly exceptional. Housed in the historic 1911 Buick Building, Red Prime marries state-of-the art architecture with cutting-edge food. What sets their steaks apart from other steak houses in town is Red Prime’s use of crusts (a crust is like a very thick rub that coats the surface of the meat) and sauces. Crusts range from fresh black pepper to brown sugar and sea salt. You can also have your steak crusted with coffee, if you so desire. Complement your crust with a carefully chosen sauce, perhaps jalapeño béarnaise or black truffle butter. Sit back and enjoy your meal in the restaurant’s of-the-moment industrial space, or just grab a drink and an appetizer in the bar.

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Coach House (The)

Neighborhood: Nichols Hills Price: Expensive

The Coach House is an Oklahoma City institution. Opened in 1985, it is easily the city’s most elegant restaurant, offering contemporary American and French cuisine. It’s the local go-to for celebrations and special occasions. Chef Kurt Fleischfresser never disappoints—the food is always delicious. The menu, which changes monthly, features Oklahoma-grown venison, beef and lamb, as well as local seasonal produce. A recent menu featured jumbo shrimp, roasted rack of lamb and a Grand Marnier souffle with raspberry sauce. The Coach House also has what is perhaps the best wine list in Oklahoma City. The one problem is that the main dining room can be loud. If you have a large-enough party, consider requesting a private room for a more intimate and peaceful dining experience.

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Metro Wine Bar & Bistro

Neighborhood: Nichols Hills Price: Expensive

The Metro is upscale dining without all the fuss. The restaurant is small and cozy. The space is broken into several different dining rooms rather than a single large one, which makes your experience feel very intimate and personal. This is the perfect spot for a casual dinner, a celebratory lunch or a late-afternoon cocktail. The menu offers a selection of Italian-influenced dishes, such as the saffron risotto with shrimp and scallops. In the summer of 2010, the Metro presented its first entirely local seasonal menu, with all ingredients sourced from local farmers and ranchers. The steak is consistently good, as are the seafood dishes, and the staff is well-versed in wine pairings. The Metro is a relaxing, elegant, but unpretentious, option for lunch or dinner.

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Cafe 501

Neighborhood: Nichols Hills Price: Moderate
Cafe 501 serves what is, hands down, Oklahoma City’s best salad, the 501 salad, which consists of mixed greens, blue cheese crumbles, spicy pumpkin seeds and Granny Smith apples. Also worth trying are the meatloaf, which comes wrapped in bacon and covered in a Worcestershire glaze, and the brick-oven-roasted half-chicken. Save room for dessert, though—Cafe 501 offers traditional favorites, like crème brûlee and New Orleans bread pudding, as well as various bakery treats (the red velvet cupcakes are to die for). Cafe 501 is a grown-up restaurant that makes kids welcome; they offer a separate children’s menu, including crayons to keep the little diners busy. This is a nice family-friendly local option in the city.

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Sage

Neighborhood: Downtown Price: Moderate

Sage is American comfort food with a modern twist. This downtown bistro offers five different types of macaroni and cheese, including grilled shrimp pesto, and three-cheese (made with sharp cheddar, Muenster, and Gorgonzola). Sage also offers an array of sandwiches (the grilled tuna is delicious) and salads (we recommend the scallop spinach and pear) as well as chocolate and vanilla cupcakes for dessert. Sage serves a wide range of salads and sandwiches at lunch and dinner, and each offering is both totally familiar and a little bit quirky. But that’s not all: Sage also offers a salt bar consisting of nine premium sea salt options, including Alaea (“Hawaiian red clay adds nutrients and flavors to this unique salt”) and Murray River (“Perfect finishing salt with a gorgeous apricot color”).

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Cheever’s Café

Neighborhood: Downtown Price: Moderate

Cheever’s Cafe is a bit off the beaten path, tucked away at the edge of a residential neighborhood north of Oklahoma City’s downtown. Cheever’s location reflects its cuisine. It’s an unpretentious neighborhood cafe specializing in “Contemporary Comfort Food,” which really means Southern food with a modern twist. House specialties are chicken-fried steak, which comes smothered in jalapeño cream gravy, and peach-serrano-glazed pork tenderloin, served with green tomato grits. Be sure to save room for dessert, though, because Cheever’s is locally famous for their roasted pecan ice cream ball, which doesn’t sound like much when you hear it described (vanilla ice cream rolled in pecans roasted in brown sugar, cinnamon and red chile, then smothered in chocolate sauce), but it’s truly the most amazingly delicious thing ever. It is also huge, so consider asking for a half-serving if you are dining with less than four people; the waiter can arrange that, even though it’s not on the menu.

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Cattlemen's Steakhouse

Neighborhood: Stockyards City Price: Moderate

Let’s face it: You can’t come to Oklahoma and not eat steak. So if you’re going to order up a filet, you might as well go to the source. Cattlemen’s is the oldest continually-operating restaurant in Oklahoma City, serving up steaks since 1910. In 1945, then-owner Hank Fry lost the restaurant in a dice game. Fry put Cattlemen’s up as collateral, betting local rancher Gene Wade that he couldn’t roll a “hard six,” or two threes. Wade rolled two threes and walked away with the restaurant; to this day, the Hereford Room retains a “33” brand on the wall, in memory of the game. The brand is in keeping with Cattlemen’s rustic decor, which includes cowboy murals and drawings of famous customers (including former President George H. W. Bush). While you can’t go wrong ordering a steak at Cattlemen’s, we would also like to suggest the lamb fries, although consider yourself warned: lamb fries are testicles rolled in batter and fried. They are something of a local delicacy, and Cattlemen’s is the place to go if you want to try them.

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The Wedge Pizzeria

Neighborhood: Western Avenue Price: Budget

If you’re traveling with kids, it’s good to have a pizza option on your radar, but instead of going to a chain store, check out this local offering. The Wedge Pizzeria has two locations, one in the Western Avenue district and one downtown. Both restaurants offer the same menu of appetizers, salads and brick-oven pizzas. Two people can easily split a salad (we recommend the spinach) and a pizza (the fig and prosciutto is delicious). For a larger group, “The Wedge Trio” appetizer plate, which includes hummus, homemade flatbread, roasted artichoke hearts and olive tapenade, is a nice starter. And even the pickiest kid will love the cheese pizza. Be warned, though: Neither Wedge location is particularly large, so arriving at peak hours (6PM on a Friday night) can mean a wait for a table, or eating at the bar. The wait isn’t typically too long, but if you have antsy kids, consider going early.

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Leo’s Barbeque

Neighborhood: Downtown Price: Budget

Leo’s opened in 1974 in a converted gas station, and they’re still there, cooking up the city’s best ribs. This is old-school barbecue at its best, both in terms of the food and the atmosphere. Leo’s side dishes can be hit or miss, but the meat is always perfect, tender and juicy, and the slightly sweet barbecue sauce is delicious. Leo’s also has that barbecue-joint atmosphere—this isn’t a fancy, upscale ribs place; you should plan on going home smelling like meat. But the real treat at Leo’s is the strawberry banana cake, which is made fresh daily. Local residents order Leo’s cake for wedding and baby showers—it’s that good. Save room for a slice.

Mama E’s Soul Food

Neighborhood: Downtown Price: Budget
Oklahoma may not be the South, but we know how to do soul food and no one in Oklahoma City does it better than Mama E’s. Serving up wings and waffles, fried catfish, collard greens and pigs feet, Mama E’s satisfies that craving for basic home cooking.  In 2009, Mama E’s was featured on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive Ins and Dives.” It fits nicely in that last category; it’s a classic dive. But if you’re looking for honest-to-goodness local color, this is where you’ll find it. Nothing fancy or pretentious here, just good old-fashioned food.
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