Somehow, Tulsa has become a hub of Caribbean eateries. I don’t remember there being any Caribbean restaurants here until the past few years. If there had been any Caribbean restaurants while I was a college student, my Trinidadian and Jamaican friends from college would have essentially lived there. But nowadays, there are plenty of places to get your jerk chicken and Cuban sandwich fix. Here are a few recommendations.
Situated in the increasingly popular Brady District downtown, Sisserou’s at 107 N. Boulder Ave. is a popular lunch, Happy Hour, and dinner destination. Sisserou’s Restaurant concept is inspired by the colorful cuisine of the island of Dominica, the Nature Isle of the Caribbean. Although inspired by a specific little known island, the restaurant’s menu includes a broader spectrum stylized on authentic Caribbean cuisine with a touch of European and American influences.Sisserou’s has some of the most unique dishes in town: “Bake & Shark” – a popular Trinidadian dish of deliciously seasoned deep-fried shark served inside a “bake,” or fried dough a served with tamarind and cilantro aioli, spicy ketchup, grain mustard, and crunchy accoutrements. Also, Oxtail Stew! Enough said.If you aren’t much for being adventurous with your food, then you can stick to the Caribbean basics, like Jerk Chicken. On my recent visit there, I had the Jerk Chicken Meal (left) — a whopping half of a jerk chicken typically served with spicy street corn. Instead of the corn, I opted for a side of Mac & Cheese, which had a delicious breaded topping. The chicken was flavorful and cooked to perfection. The mac and cheese didn’t disappoint, either!My friend tried the Curry Chicken served over white rice (right). The curry sauce was delicious — a little spicy, but nothing like Indian curry. The main flavor evident was coconut.I’ve previously tried the Roti Wrap, a popular Caribbean flat bread molded around a spiced split pea mixture, and rolled out thin. The wrap is stuffed with a savory curried chicken potato filling. It was really tasty and extremely filling!
Everything I’ve tried at Sisserou’s is delicious, but I’m equally impressed by the atmosphere. Bright colors abound, from the wall colors to the lanterns hanging from the ceilings. A visit there in the middle of a workday is a breath of fresh air!
2. Hibiscus Caribbean Bar & Grill *according to the Hibiscus Facebook page, the restaurant is currently closed while they look for a new location. Here’s to hoping they’ll re-open soon!
Hibiscus is straight up Caribbean. This is where my Jamaican friends go, folks. Located at 3316 S. Peoria Ave. on Brookside, you feel like you’re walking into Jamaica when you walk into Hibiscus. Bob Marley posters and Rastafarian colors adorn the walls, and the bar is stocked with Caribbean favorites like Bahama Mamma, Bob Marley Punch, and a Jamaican Mule. Your blood pressure immediately drops and you start humming, “Don’t worry; be happy.”
During my recent visit to Habiscus, my friend tried the Jamaican Curry Chicken (above) — chicken breast with a thick curry of potatoes and carrots. She chose a side of fried plantains, which were delicious.
I opted for the Jerk Chicken (left). Y’all, it was the tastiest Jerk Chicken I’ve tasted this side of Kingston. It was so flavorful, sweet, and perfect! I had the most amazing side, too — Festival Bread. These are essentially Jamaican cornbread fritters. They are deep fried and almost like donuts! Sooo yum and perfect for dipping in the Jerk Chicken sauce!
3. Taino’s Caribbean Fusion
Taino’s at 4840 S. Memorial Drive has to be one of the most underrated restaurants in all of Tulsa. This Caribbean fusion restaurant offers incredible food presentation with an impressive taste.
The dishes at Taino’s are a taste of Puerto Rico, which include some of the Caribbean staples like Jerk Chicken and Cuban sandwiches, but also offer dishes I’ve never heard of, like tostones, mofongos and pinchos. My friend opted for a Chicken Mofongo (above). A mofongo is made with plantains that are mashed in a pilón (wooden mortar and pestle) with seasonings and fried. It was served with a side salad. It was quite tasty and filling.
I tried the Cuban Sandwich. It had been a long time since I’d had a Cuban, and this did not disappoint. It was filled with ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard on toasted bread. It was served with a mound of french fries drizzled with a slightly spicy mayonnaise.
While Taino’s is not particularly impressive as far as atmosphere goes, the food and service will not disappoint. Also, Taino’s is apparently the place to party on the weekends. Guests are allowed to smoke Hookah pipes on the outdoor patio. Also, the restaurant stays open to approximately 4 a.m. Friday and Saturday and occasionally has salsa dancing contests.
What’s your favorite Caribbean spot in Tulsa?