We have Petula Clark to thank for singing about it … downtown. Thanks to a few bold restaurateurs and a bright and shiny new event center, downtown Tulsa is the place to be. Here’s a list of our favorite foodie spots — from coffee to crème brulèe, everything’s waiting for you!
(18th Street and Boston Avenue/south downtown)
Real food by real Italians. Specials include a tableside Caesar salad and the infamous swordfish picatta, but don’t pass on hearty pasta dishes such as the ginormous six-layer lasagna.
6-10 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday; 6-11 p.m., Friday-Saturday
1742 S. Boston Ave., 582-1551, www.dalesandros.com
A great place to stop in after work or after dinner, for the ambience is unbeatable. Sixty wines from around the world are offered by the taste, glass or bottle.
Open at 4 p.m., Monday-Saturday
1740 S. Boston Ave., 582-0700, www.vintage1740.com
A gastropub offers food that is a step — or rather a staircase — up from typical pub fare. Oscar’s is no exception. No fish and chips or Guinness pie here. We’re talkin’ crisp chorizo wontons, tomato pesto panzanella and organic hanger steak and frites. With 24 beers on tap, Oscars is the place for after-work gatherings. Happy hour specials are 4-7 p.m., Monday-Friday.
Lunch: 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Friday. Dinner: 4-10 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 4-11 p.m., Friday-Saturday
1738 S. Boston Ave., 938-6960,
Luxuriously nestled in the lower level of the Hotel Ambassador, this swanky eatery offers upscale classics such as beef Wellington, bouillabaisse and portabella mushroom bourguignonne. Perfect for a nice dinner pre-theater.
Breakfast: 6:30-10 a.m., Monday-Saturday; 7-10 a.m., Sunday. Brunch: 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. Lunch: 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Monday-Friday. Dinner: 5-10 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 5-10:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday; 5-9 p.m., Sunday
1324 S. Main St., 582-1964,
The soft bun; the chopped, flat top-cooked beef; the sautéed onions and peppers; the liquid cheese — all the necessities of an authentic cheesesteak, and Phat Philly’s serves it up well. I would go for dinner, unless you keep a pillow at your desk. Bring your appetite and you may just get on the wall of fame — one brave customer ate eight cheese-steaks in one sitting, the current record.
10 a.m.-7 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 10 a.m.-
3 p.m. and midnight-4 a.m., Friday and Saturday
1101 S. Detroit Ave., 382-PHAT (7428), www.phatphillys.com
Blue Dome District
Blake Ewing had a dream — to open a brick oven pizza joint in downtown Tulsa. We’re glad, for Joe Momma’s offers up some of the best pie around. Build your own or choose among the featured specialty pies, including The Golden Driller (garlic alfredo, tomatoes, mushrooms, roasted chicken and pine nuts) or VooDoo Pie (spicy arrabiata sauce, mozzarella, shrimp, andouille sausage, bell peppers and onion).
11 a.m.-midnight, Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-3 a.m., Friday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sunday
112 S. Elgin Ave., 794-6563, www.joemommas.com
With special events, including Burrito Monday, Taco Tuesday and Fajita Thursday, there is always a reason to visit this downtown cantina — especially when the weather is nice. For it offers Tulsa’s only rooftop cantina, The Top of the Guap. We especially love the ceviche de camaron (traditional shrimp cocktail) and the carne asada soft tacos, but the giant wet burritos (meaning they got lotsa sauce!) are the house favorite.
11 a.m.-10 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday-Saturday
332 E. First St., 382-7482, www.elguaposcantina.net
The first restaurant in the "Elliot Nelson Downtown Tulsa Revitalization Plan" (he also owns McNellie’s Sidebar, El Guapo, Tiny Lounge and the recently opened Dilly Deli) is by far the most popular. McNellie’s offers a "friendly neighborhood pub" atmosphere with more than 60 beers on draught, including a quad from Tulsa’s own Marshall Brewing Company. Great bar food, including pub classics such as fish and chips and cottage pie — and don’t miss out on Wednesday night’s $3 burgers.
11 a.m.-2 a.m., Sunday-Saturday
409 E. First St., 382-7468, www.mcnellies.com
Blue Dome Diner
There’s nothing fancy about this downtown diner — Formica counters and a concrete floor — but the food will satisfy the soul. Mouth-watering biscuits and gravy, grilled cheese with "real" cheese and fluffy "plate-sized" buttermilk pancakes make this Route 66 diner a necessary pit stop.
7 a.m.-2 p.m., Tuesday-Friday; 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Saturday-Sunday; 6-11 p.m.,
313 E. Second St., 382-7866, www.myspace.com/bluedomediner
Newly opened in March, this marks the fourth downtown establishment opened by Elliot Nelson. The menu consists of deli sandwiches, each named after General Manager Dru Titchener’s friends and family; homemade soups; and baked goods. The deli also serves espresso, beer, wine and liquor — should your java need an added kick. Making it anything but your typical deli, this one features a bocce ball court, shuffleboard and full-service patio — perfect for spring.
10 a.m.-10 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 10 a.m.-midnight, Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday
402 E. Second St., 938-6382
Eloté Café & catering
Libby Auld is not only committed to providing Tulsans with delicious, fresh and somewhat authentic Mexican food, but she also is championing a "green" restaurant movement. Eloté provides diners with compostable takeout containers, recycles fryer oil, buys from local vendors and composts food remnants to give to local farmers. We love the puffy tacos and tamales!
11 a.m.-2 p.m., Monday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday; 4-11 p.m., Saturday
514 S. Boston Ave., 582-1403, www.elotetulsa.com
This jazz-themed restaurant and lounge, right across from the BOK Center, is perfect for dinner before the show. The menu begins with "Take it From the Top" (starters), moves to "Interludes" (soups and salads) and finishes with "And All That Jazz." Manager Jared Jordan and Executive Chef Jason Hart also are planning to open the Brickhugger Bar around the corner in this newly established "Arena District."
Lunch: 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Monday-Friday. Dinner: 5-9 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday. Live music Thursday-Saturday evenings. 219 S. Cheyenne Ave., 295-0177,
Boston Avenue Grille & Catering
Shelly Harris and Licia Zampino serve up house-made soups, salads and sandwiches — among other tasty offerings — in their urban deli in the First Place Tower. Planning a business meeting? They also offer catered meals ranging from a hot breakfast platter to the "Great Wall," piled high with fresh sushi rolls.
7 a.m.-2 p.m., Monday-Friday; 15 E. Fifth St., Suite 150; 392-7171;
For 150 years, Topéca coffee has been grown, harvested, roasted and sold by Margarita Lucia Díaz de López’s family. A cup of Topéca offers one major difference from Starbucks — the coffee goes from their plantation to your cup. Located in the historic Mayo Hotel, the cafe serves coffee, tea and smoothies for breakfast and a variety of crepe and panini options for lunch.
6:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday-Wednesday; 6:30 a.m.- 10 p.m., Thursday-Friday; 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday; 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday
115 W. Fifth St., Suite 169; 592-9090;
This offshoot of the popular Brookside chocolate shop offers a small breakfast, including coffee drinks and a delicious egg and cheese panini. The lunch menu — a panini layered with roasted chicken and house-made mozzarella, salads and a soup of the day, in addition to fruit tarts, cookies and truffles. You can even take home a beautiful orchid plant. The gem of a space only seats a few people, so plan for takeout.
8 a.m.-2 p.m., Monday-Friday
510 S. Boston Ave., 592-5656,
This cozy spot on a prime corner in the Brady District features burgers, pizzas and panini sandwiches for lunch and Spanish tapas for dinner from 5-10 p.m. Live entertainment features gigs from Annie Ellicott or Tulsa’s legendary Rebecca Ungerman with no cover charge.
5-10 p.m., Monday-Saturday (open late Friday and Saturday depending on band)
5 E. Brady St., 592-7995, www.lolasatthebowery.com
White Rabbit Deli
From the Grasshopper Pinwheel (a spinach tortilla with avocado, spinach, sprouts, sunflower seeds and egg salad) to the signature White Rabbit Salad (cottage cheese with craisins, apples, pineapple and poppy seeds), this Brady newcomer has a primo spot just down the block from the historic Cain’s Ballroom. And don’t forget, Friday is free cookie day!
7:30 a.m.-3 p.m., Monday-Friday, 224 N. Main St., 582-0200
Upscale comfort food — think fried pickles, cheese fries, Cobb salad, baked potato soup and my favorite, fried chicken and waffles. Happy hour specials are available from 2-7 p.m., Tuesday-Friday, and don’t miss out on Thursday’s cheese fries special — a plate that gives Eskimo Joe’s a run for its money, for only $3!
11 a.m.-2 p.m., Monday; 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday; 5-10 p.m., Saturday
18 E. Brady St., 588-CHOW, www.cazschowhouse.com