Hole-in-the-Wall restaurants are usually local, small, indistinct places that you can sometimes find the best food in the city. The people and stories behind these restaurants are what give our food scene character and authenticity. A restaurant doesn’t need to be big, fancy, or expensive to be great. These restaurants might look unassuming, but they are some of our most beloved spots in Tulsa and that’s why we’ve put together a list of some of our favorites.
Dena’s Lebanese & Ethnic Cuisine
Dena’s Lebanese Cuisine, on Route 66, has been our go-to lunch spot for years. The restaurant is small and decorated with photos and souvenirs from Lebanon. You’ll always see one or both of the husband-wife owners, Randa and Ghalib, they are so kind and always seem to remember what you ordered last. Their Chicken Tawook, Baba Ganoush, Cabbage Rolls and Fattoush Salad are our absolute favorites, but we often venture out to try new things from their menu. 2615 E 11th St, Tulsa, OK 74104
Guang Zhou Dim Sum
The first time we stumbled across the delicious and authentic Guang Zhou was many years ago when they were a little Chinese restaurant attached to an Econo Lodge. Ever since then we’ve frequented the spot for Dim Sum (Chinese ‘brunch’) every weekend. Not only is this pretty much the only place in Tulsa to offer an authentic cart served Dim Sum service, but it’s also competitive with some of our favorite Dim Sum experiences in big city Chinatowns. Since our first visit, Guang Zhou has moved into a new location by the University of Tulsa but fear not, they still offer all of their Dim Sum classics including (but not limited to) char siu bao, egg cream buns, shumai, spare ribs in black bean sauce, oyster rolls, sweet egg tarts, red bean sesame balls, lotus leaf wrapped sticky rice, and for the more adventurous: chicken feet! 4003 E 11th St, Tulsa, OK 74112
Hero’s Subs & Burgers
This casual eatery has been a North Tulsa landmark since 1984, but what makes it truly exceptional is the owner, Sam Keesh. If you look at his restaurant’s reviews online, you’ll find a lot about his delicious food, but what you’ll also notice is how much his clientele loves and appreciates Sam. From burgers topped with melting cheddar and fresh veggies, to lamb and beef gyros drizzled in tangy tzatziki sauce, and all the way to (our personal favorite) Sam’s house-made cabbage rolls, Hero’s does not let you down. 6508 E Admiral Pl, Tulsa, OK 74115
Pho Da Cao
Pho is a Vietnamese soup consisting of broth, rice noodles, herbs, and meat – usually beef, sometimes chicken. Pho is a popular street food in Vietnam. What’s the best Pho in Tulsa you ask? This is a question we get more frequently than you’d think, and it always starts an epic argument between several of the top contenders. The truth is, there’s a surprising amount of great Pho shops in Tulsa, but if you ask us, when it comes down to quality of broth and authenticity, look no further than Pho Da Cao, a little hole in the wall in South Tulsa that you’d likely drive right past if you didn’t know what you were looking for. Definitely try the Pho here but don’t be scared to adventure into some of their other dishes, they have a great variety of authentic Vietnamese dishes available. 9066 E 31st St, Tulsa, OK 74145
La Roma Pizza
Originally from Beirut, by way of the Caribbean, Tulsa is home since 1981 for Katia Azar and her mother, Souhila Azar. Each day, they both work in the restaurant preparing classic Mediterranean food and pizzas. You’ll find dishes like cabbage rolls, hummus, tabouli, tawook, calzones, and specialty pizzas. If you’re in the mood for pizza, we suggest you try the “R. J. Pizza”. 6027 S Sheridan Rd, Tulsa, OK 74145
Tacos Don Francisco
There’s little better in life than chorizo or marinated pork wrapped in a warm tortilla. Tacos Don Francisco is a great place for authentic carne asada. We love the Don Fransisco Platter, Enchiladas, Tamales, and their Horchata. If you’re ever in the mood for late-night tacos, look no further. They stay open until 10pm during the week and 3am on Friday & Saturday. 4008 E 11th St, Tulsa, OK 74112
Shawkat’s Mediterranean Restaurant
Shawkat’s is a part of Tulsa’s history. It was here before Tulsa got “hip” with dining options of urban ambiance and complicated ingredients. So, come in expecting amazing food, slower service as everything is freshly prepared for you on the spot and simple plastic plates with classic Lebanese fair of the highest quality. Shawkat’s menu is filled with fresh salads, falafels and lebnis (keifer cheese) options for the vegetarians in your family as well as perfect cabbage rolls and kebob plate options. We love their kafta and chicken kebob entrees, both are perfectly seasoned and freshly grilled on the spot. 4123 S Sheridan Rd, Tulsa, OK 74145
El Rio Verde Restaurant
Nestled just off of Admiral and Utica, it’s safe to say the location is right for authentic Mexican food. The decor is spot-on, too. Owners Roman and Romona Gonzalez have been running this restaurant for 20 years and they know what they’re doing. Pictured above is their famous wet burrito, a large flour tortilla packed with pulled beef (or pork or chicken), refried beans, fresh pico de gallo and smothered in a rich, zingy enchilada sauce and topped with queso Blanco. If you haven’t tried this bad boy yet, we suggest you do. 38 N Trenton Ave, Tulsa, OK 74120
Cumin Flavor Of India
Cumin is tucked away in a large shopping center off of 71st street where you can find some of the most authentic Indian food in Tulsa. They offer a lunch buffet during the day and the full dinner menu in the evening. A few of our favorite dishes are their Butter Chicken, Saag Paneer, Lamb Saag, Tikka Masala… too many to list them all! 8242 E 71st St, Tulsa, OK 74133
Gogi Gui Korean Grill
Drive past a carpet cleaner. A beauty salon. A bar. A gun shop. And then you’ll see it, a hidden road, a second row of stores, a brightly polished plate glass window with a discreet sign painted on: “Korean Grill”. Step inside, and it’s a different story. Sleek, modern, professional. First, you need to sample the most beloved part of any Korean meal, the banchan. That’s a little array of appetizers, a lot like mezze but much more intricate, that ushers in the meal. The kimchi is wonderful. You can also find dishes like Bibimbap, Pork Dankatsu, Gogi Burrito, and kimchi fried rice on their menu. We also love their Boba tea. 6380 E 31st St, Tulsa, OK 74135
For a taste of Brooklyn in Tulsa, pop into NYC Pizza for an experience as close to NYC as you can get in the Midwest. Big, cheesy slices hold up well on the doughy but crispy crust and don’t be afraid to fold them in half. NYC Pizza shines in other areas, too: the garlic knots and cannoli are not to be missed. 4775 S Harvard Ave, Tulsa, OK 74135
Missing one of your favorites?
These are just some of our personal favorites around town! Think you’ve got a spot that belongs on this list? We’d love to check it out. Simply fill out the form below with your recommendation.