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Tastemakers of OKC

Oklahoma City's hyper-local restaurants serve up excellence

For the Food Issue, OKC Lifestyle is highlight six of our favorite local restaurants. Each one is hyper-local, run by neighbors and friends and feature signature dishes that have made them the go-to eateries for locals and visitors alike.

BELLINI'S RISTORANTE & GRILL -  6305 Waterford Blvd., Suite 100, Oklahoma City

Hosted by Owner Tommy Byrd and General Manager Shawnna Underwood, Bellini's is known for its high-end Italian flair and ever-so-popular patio. Shawnna shared her favorite dishes with OKC Lifestyle, but if you visit, you must try their famous "bellini's." After all, that famous cocktail is where the restaurant gets its namesake.

Alongside the delicious, authentic Italian dishes, traditional American favorites and contemporary cuisine, Bellini's also has an impressive wine collection chosen to perfectly compliment your meal. 

Shawnna's picks:

Capellini Gamberetti - Our house made pomodoro sauce tossed with sauteed red bell peppers and topped with blackened shrimp and fresh basil pesto! Definitely overlooked for its simplicity, but we encourage all our guests to give this one a try!  It won't disappoint

Our original lasagna recipe!  Layers of ricotta, parmesan and romano cheese with ground beef and sausage sauteed with bell peppers, olives, mushrooms and onions! We top it off with our signature pomodoro sauce and a generous portion or mozzarella cheese and back it to perfection! You won't get a bigger portion or more flavor out of any other lasagna in the city! We guarantee it! 

Cilantro Pesto Linguini - Probably our most unique pasta dish! Linguini pasta, tossed in our fresh cilantro pesto, red bell peppers, sweet smoked corn and grilled chicken! This dish is unique and hits your palette in all the right places, savory, slightly sweet and a bit spicy!

ZORBA'S MEDITERRANEAN GRILL - 6014 N. May Ave., Oklahoma City

Discover fresh, Mediterranean cuisine that’s bursting with flavors from around the world. With such signature dishes ranging from kabobs to Chicken Marsala, each dish at Zorba's is made in a way that transports diners to the warm, healthy shores of the Mediterranean.

Some of Mark's favorite dishes include Zorba's famous Hummus Trio with spicy harissa hummus, basil pesto hummus and traditional hummus. Follow up that appetizer with the delectable and slow-cooked Lamb Ossobucco, a tender braised lamb shank on the bone served with potatoes, baby carrots and steamed basmati rice.

The Pomegranate Salmon is a charbroiled salmon filet covered with a housemade pomegranate sauce. Or, you can't go wrong with the traditional marinated chicken shish kabob and house marinated tenderloin beef brochette.

Found only at Zorba's is the Baklava Creme Brulee, which combines two of the best desserts into one sweet, rich treasure to finish off the night.

Zorba's, which has been voted year after year for Best Mediterranean, is the only Mediterranean restaurant in OKC with a full bar, so try this pomegranate-infused gin cocktail made with elderflower liquor or the Pomegranate Margarita.

HEFNER GRILL - 

Escape from the ordinary with a fresh twist on seafood accompanied by a premier lakefront view. Hefner Grill on Lake Hefner has a timeless vibe, sophisticated and fresh cuisine, and knowledgeable, service-driven staff. The restaurant will make you feel miles away from your everyday life.

The menu features a wide variety of favorites, from Pecan Crusted Trout and Grilled Bone-In Pork Chop to Cedar Plank Salmon and Newporter Salad, all served with a photo-worthy view of Lake Hefner. 

The Fish Tacos include crispy haddock, coleslaw, spicy cucumber salsa, shredded cheese, taco sauce, cilantro and served with shoestring fries. We recommend you accompany those delicious fish tacos with a JJ Strawberry Sour made with Jameson whiskey, house-made strawberry syrup and fresh lime juice.

DEEP DEUCE BAR & GRILL - 307 NE 2nd St., Oklahoma City

Located in the history-rich district known as Deep Deuce, Deep Deuce Bar & Grill was created in 2002. Well known for having one of the best patios in the metro area, the restaurant specializes in made-from-scratch fresh food and unique menu items.  

Headed up by Kyle Dake and owner/operator Sabra Dake, Deep Deuce specializes in all-American pub grub but caters to a wide variety of guests due to the eclectic menu. From burgers to tacos, chips and salsa with the best queso around to pretzels served with a house-made beer cheese sauce, Deep Deuce's menu reflects its laid-back atmosphere.

"You can come as you are and enjoy great food and cold drinks! We also boast one of the best patio settings around with TVs all around the venue where you can hang out and watch your favorite sporting event or show up with a group of friends and have a relaxing fun time on the patio," said Sabra.

If I had to choose my favorites, I would have to say the Chicken Enchilada Dip, made with red chili soaked corn tortillas, shredded chicken, avocado, pico de gaillo and our house-made queso. It's one of the best appetizers you can find anywhere," said Sabra.

"If I'm going for the gusto, I'll choose the Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese. It has house-made five-cheese sauce with cavatappi pasta, and our proprietary hand-breaded boneless chicken wings tossed in buffalo sauce. It's enormous and so good."

Her favorite sandwich is the authentic Cuban Sandwich. What makes this sandwich is the authentic Cuban bread Sabra flies in from Miami to offer guests a true taste of Cuban cuisine. Other notables are the Lobster Rolls, Spicy Shrimp Tacos and Orchard Salad.

Happy hour is offered seven days a week from 4 pm to 7 pm. with great beer and drink specials all priced at $5 or less along with $5 dollar small plates of some of the best menu items! 

SCRATCH KITCHEN & COCKTAILS, PASEO - 605 NW 28th St Suite B, Oklahoma City

With Happy Hour daily from 3 to 6 p.m. and from 11 to close during the week and from 3 to close on Sundays, Scratch Kitchen & Cocktails in the Paseo is your go-to spot for $6 cocktails and a brunch and daily menu that's to die for.

This eatery is famous for its brunch menu, which features delights like mini funnel cakes, smothered fried chicken biscuit and Egg in a Basket, which is a fried egg in sourdough toast with avocado, tomatoes, candied bacon and local fresh greens.

Scratch also has an all-day menu for non-brunch meals that's just as tempting. Try the 14-ounce cast iron-seared prime ribeye, the cornmeal-crusted pork chop or Wagyu sliders made with Oklahoma Wagyu beef.

The crispy pork belly made with watermelon-glazed pork belly pairs well with the Scratch Deviled Egg made with fire-roasted green chili, Watonga cheddar, cornbread crumbles and dill.

The patio at Scratch is the perfect place to meet friends for brunch while sipping on one of the many cocktails, like the Summer State of Mind, the Hell'Va Raspberry and the Candii Shoppe.

MAMA ROJA MEXICAN KITCHEN - 9219 S Lake Hefner Dr, Oklahoma City

Mama Roja Mexican Kitchen offers craveable food, savory bites, and a fresh twist on Mexican Cuisine. Grab a margarita or cerveza and escape from the ordinary with some of the best views in town at Mama Roja on Lake Hefner. House favorites include street tacos, hand-rolled chimichangas, sizzling fajitas and signature plates, like the Pescado Vera Cruz and Chile Relleno. Don’t forget the chips and queso! 

The festive resort-style atmosphere is complemented by a full bar featuring a large variety of tequilas. Grab a pitcher of Homemade Sangria or Perfect Margaritas and relax at the lakeside cabana! 

Shrimp fajitas, slowly marinated & grilled with caramelized onions & peppers, served with warm tortillas, guacamole, mixed cheese, sour cream, pico de gallo, rice & your choice of beans. Pair with the Mama Roja swirl, a perfect and refreshing blend of frozen margarita and frozen sangria. 

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