Whether you're looking for lasagna and spaghetti with meatballs or cioppino and osso bucco, these amazing restaurants serve up some of the best Italian food Oklahoma has to offer.
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Since the state’s earliest days, Italians have had a distinct influence on Oklahoma food and culture. Around the turn of the 20th century, many Italians in search of work migrated to small coal towns in southeastern Oklahoma and surrounding areas. Bringing with them their customs, traditions and, of course, food, these families laid the foundation for Oklahoma’s rich Italian heritage. Today, that influence can still be felt statewide in Oklahoma’s Italian restaurants. These restaurants are some shining examples of both the traditional Italian food of the past and the innovative spirit of the present.
At Vito’s, it’s all about family. Having grown up with a strong connection to Italian food and culture, owner Cathy Cummings focuses on delivering the same traditional recipes, made from scratch, in the true Italian way. The bread, sauces and olive oil dipping sauces are all made in-house and the family-style restaurant serves up favorites like tomato basil soup, lasagna, chicken scalloppine, spaghetti and meatballs and eggplant parmesan with a simple yet incredibly flavorful kick.
If you’re looking for a classy establishment serving up exciting, modern versions of classic Italian dishes, make your way to Tulsa’s Tavolo, one of the city’s most acclaimed restaurants. Featuring an exciting menu that changes with the seasons, Tavolo is not your ordinary pasta joint. Start your meal with classic bruschetta, ricotta fritters or one of their unique flatbreads before moving to salmon picatta, veal Milanese or the Italian surf n’ turf with filet medallions and shrimp on parmesan polenta. The wine list is extensive and the atmosphere warm and inviting.
Chef Gzim Krasniqi and his brother Tony, originally from Kosovo, started Roma Italian Restaurant in 2005 after happening on the friendly town of Durant by chance. In a short time, it was clear that Roma was something special. Everything is made from scratch using fresh ingredients, showing Krasniqi’s commitment to authentic and delicious cooking. Try the popular Roma Special with chicken and sausage sautéed with red peppers, ham and black olives in white wine cream sauce or any other of the delicious Italian classics on the menu.
“Old world Italian with a new world twist” is the way chef Anthony Compagni describes his upscale Norman restaurant. Known for exceptional quality and a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, Benvenuti’s is a must try. Start with the namesake appetizer (a salad with poached pear, spinach, gorgonzola and candied walnuts) before enjoying the traditional Bolognese dish or the clams and sausage over Fregola Sarda pasta. For something truly indulgent, splurge on the cioppino, a seafood stew with shrimp, scallops, mussels, clams, crab claws, lobster and calamari, or the herb-crusted lamb chops with Italian sausage in a white wine sauce. Pair your meal with a glass off their extensive wine list and don’t forget dessert like the famous crème brulee or a half dozen of their hand-made cookies to go.
Some say the best Italian food in southwest Oklahoma is made at Giuseppe’s and it’s not hard to see why. Chef Brian “Giuseppe” DiCintio inherited his family’s rich cooking traditions and has translated it to his impressive menu. Start off with bruschetta, an antipasto platter or their famous crab cakes served with a lemon-basil sauce. Go big with your entrée by ordering the osso bucco, the “frutti de mare” pasta with shrimp, scallops and crab in a white wine sauce or the “Oklahoma Veal” Parmigiana made with breaded pork tenderloin and baked with spaghettini. Also, make sure to take a quick look at the gift shop on your way out for a chance to score some of their house salad dressing and marinades.
Tulsa’s Villa Ravenna does upscale Italian right. The menu is straightforward but luxurious, simple yet expertly executed. At Villa Ravenna you can indulge in familiar favorites like chicken Alfredo and spaghetti with meatballs or have one of the truly luxurious dishes off the Menu Speciale like Chilean Sea Bass in a light cream sauce over linguine or the wild boar osso bucco braised in white wine and served over mushroom risotto. Engage the friendly staff for wine recommendations and daily specials.
Even though Papa Gjorgjo has been in the United States for over 25 years, he still knows how to serve up a delicious slice of Old World Italy at his restaurant in Ada. Based on old family recipes, the menu at Papa Gjorgjo’s is a true “greatest hits” of Italian favorites. Try the mouthwatering stuffed mushrooms appetizer made with crab, ricotta and mozzarella cheese in a brandy cream sauce or one of the salads topped with homemade croutons. Choose the chicken Marsala, Veal Gjorgjo or the salmon caprese for a delicious entree that is sure to satisfy. Don’t forget to browse the little on-site grocery for imported oils and house-made sauces before you leave.
Satisfy your pasta craving in western Oklahoma at Woodward’s stand-out Diarti Italian Café. Simple and delicious Italian favorites are the norm at Diarti and the friendly spirit of traditional Italian dining is in the atmosphere. Classic spaghetti, chicken parmigiana, fettuccine alfredo and more are served with skill and simplicity. If you’re looking for something new, give the Veal Arriabiata (veal sautéed with mushrooms and peppers in a sherry white wine sauce) a try or the rich and tasty shrimp and lobster ravioli.
While studying abroad in Italy during college, Stella owner Lori Tyler was deeply inspired by authentic Italian cooking and the relaxed approach Italians have to dining. Instead of hurried meals, Tyler sought to bring the sense of celebration and enjoyment to her restaurant in Oklahoma City. Since its inception in 2010, Stella has been inspiring diners with artfully executed dishes, a fun, relaxed atmosphere, and an engaged and friendly wait staff.
The Italian heritage in Krebs runs deep. By the time Oklahoma gained statehood, the population of the small coal-mining town of Krebs was nearly half Italian-American and it wasn’t long before the town gained a reputation for its great food culture. Restaurants like Pete’s Place, Isle of Capri, Roseanna’s Italian Food in Krebs and Giacomo’s Italian in nearby McAlester have become bona fide destination dining spots with great food and warm atmosphere to spare. Lovera’s Italian Grocery is also a state treasure, offering house-made sausages and cheeses as well as imported products that are near impossible to find anywhere else.
Explore more of Oklahoma's tasty Italian cuisine at these spots located across the state!