Steve's Gastronomic Home Page

Zorba's Mediterranean Cuisine

6014 N. May Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 947-7788

Since Zorba's opened in 1991 it has been one of the city's most popular restaurants for Mediterranean food. With recipes "from Cyprus to Spain" (according to Zorba's menu), it is probably not a true "Middle Eastern" restaurant, but starts with a core of Middle Eastern dishes and adds many from other countries.

Zorba's began in a small building near the Mayfair shopping center, and moved to the present location in 2007. I would like to say that the new restaurant is the same as the old one, but I am not sure this is the case. The new building is much more comfortable and much larger, with a bar and some big screen TV's that are usually tuned to sports or news (at a low enough volume, though, so it does not disturb the conversation). Additional cooks at Zorba's can serve a larger number of customers, and I think the menu now offers more items.

At the old restaurant I met the owner, got recommendations about what to order, and observed him cooking. I am all for small family run businesses, but I realize that Zorba's has enough customers that it had to expand. With the additional cooks there may be inconsistencies in the food that were not there before, but I just do not know since I did not try a large number of items before the restaurant moved. I liked the food better at the old restaurant, but maybe my sample size was too small to know whether the food has now changed.

At present, though, I think there is some inconsistency in the food. Not everything is great, but many items are very good. Portions are sometimes small, but many of the meat entrees exhibit the excessive quantity I find at restaurants throughout the Southwest (and come at a price that I think is excessive as well). There are a lot of fried items, negating many of the benefits of eating a "Mediterranean diet," but there are healthy items as well. The pita bread and some of the appetizers are very good, but I am having a hard time finding main dishes that I think are exceptional. I like the concept of Mediterranean food, but Zorba's does not always execute it as well as I find in many other restaurants.

Vegetable platter
Vegetable platter at Zorba's

In general, the appetizers are what I like best at Zorba's. A good sample of appetizers come on the vegetable platter. This used to be a substantial dinner, but when Zorba's moved to the new building they stopped serving a salad with the plate, making it a little less than I want to eat for a complete meal.

Dolma, or grape leaves, is one of the best items on the vegetable platter. It has a fresh, mild flavor, and is even better when dipped in the yogurt sauce that is provided.

The Falafel was the only fried food on the platter that I thought was at the level of quality I usually find in good Mediterranean restaurants. I could not tell if it was made from scratch or from a mix, but it had a good flavor. Again, the yogurt sauce helped.

The Cheese Pie and Spinach Pie were fried, and somewhat of a disappointment. The spinach pie had a fried crust that I thought was too greasy, and the spinach was not spiced as well as I have had in other places. The cheese pie seemed lacking in flavor (in the photo the spinach pies are on the lower left and the cheese pies are to the right of the falafel).

The Pita was very good, and I think is something for which Zorba's is known.

Hummus was very good and possibly one of the better ones I have eaten (although a pretty small sample came on the vegetable platter).

Tabouli
Tabouli at Zorba's

A choice of salads come with the larger dinners, and can be ordered extra with the vegetable platter. I am beginning to question if it is worthwhile ordering, though, if you have to pay extra for it.

I ordered Tabouli with a dinner, but I found it to be rather skimpy on the green vegetables. The flavor was good, but I would prefer one with less bulgar and more vegetables and herbs.

The Greek Salad was very good when I ordered it several years ago. I have heard from readers, though, that Zorba's is now including fewer olives and other enhancements to the lettuce.

I think the only salad I have not tried yet is the Persian salad.

Shish kabob platter
Shish kabob platter at Zorba's

The Shish Kabob Platter seemed to be one of the few meat dishes that contained a balanced amount of vegetables along with the meat. This is good if you like rice, since it comes on a large bed of white rice. The vegetables on the skewer, though, seemed rather flavorless compared to most shish kabobs I have tried. Out of the tomato, onion, potato, squash, and mushroom, I cannot think of anything that really stood out. I really think Zorba's could do better with their vegetables.

The meat on the shish kabob was all right but I thought it was not very tender. The flavor was OK but I have had better at other Mediterranean restaurants.

Moussaka
Moussaka

Moussaka seemed to be one of the better dinners served at Zorba's, being a Greek dish I have not found even at some of the city's Greek restaurants. I enjoyed the one here, and thought it had a good flavor.

Mediterranean style dessert
Mediterranean style dessert

The Baklava was not the best I have tried, but several types of Mediterranean style desserts are offered. I liked everything I tried, including the baklava.

Zorba's used to offer Persian tea (either hot or cold) on the house, and I thought this was a very nice touch to the meal. This has been discontinued at the new restaurant, however, and in fact you cannot even order it at an additional price. This is not a significant thing in itself, but is part of an overall pattern of disappointment I have personally experienced at the new restaurant.

There seem to be more items on the menu than previously, and even though I have been disappointed in some items I usually find others that I like. The prices are a little high at Zorba's but not outrageous compared to other restaurants. It is a good family restaurant with lots of tables and something on the menu for everybody.

Go to Index

Oklahoma

Main Index

Restaurant Web Site

Zorba's


RESTAURANT DETAILS

RATING: 19

Cuisine: Mediterranean
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No Smoking
Alcohol: Beer, Wine

Most Recent Visit
Oct. 10, 2008

Number of Visits: 7

Best Items
Dolma, Moussaka, Falafel, Hummus, Greek Salad

Special Ratings
Shish Kabob:
Dolma:
Falafel:
Moussaka:
Hummus:
Spinach Pie:
Cheese Pie:
Greek Salad:
Tabouli:
Pita:
Baklava:

Reviews
AOL CityGuide



MORE ABOUT THIS WEB SITE