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El Guapo’s Cantina, Tulsa OK

El Guapo’s is the only rooftop cantina in Tulsa, serving up delicious food in a great Day of the Dead atmosphere in the heart of downtown Tulsa

El Guapo, Tulsa OK - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

My life is crazy once August hits, as I get ready for football season. 14-hour days are completely normal, as is working all weekend long. So when I get the chance to escape Stillwater, even if only for a few hours, I jump at the opportunity.

A couple of weeks ago I had an afternoon meeting with a new suiteholder in Okmulgee OK, about 45 minutes East of Tulsa. My colleague Joe raved about Coleman’s Bakery in Okmulgee, and said it would be perfect for the food blog. I already had lunch plans in Tulsa, and it’s a good thing I didn’t drive all the way to Okmulgee for lunch, because Coleman’s closes for the month of August for vacation. Only a family restaurant in a small town can do that.

For the past couple of years I’ve met Amy and Sydney for lunch in Tulsa, to deliver their suite tickets. We usually go to Mexicali Border Cafe, but I recommended El Guapo’s Cantina, since I hadn’t done a post about it.

El Guapo’s has locations in downtown and Southside Tulsa. We went to the downtown location, in the Blue Dome District. I didn’t even know there was another location until I began writing this post. Downtown Tulsa is a great area, with lots of restaurants, a minor league baseball park, performing arts venues, and a large business district. They shut down a portion of downtown for a huge St. Patty’s Day party, and I ran a half marathon through downtown earlier this spring. One of my other favorite restaurants in the area is Tallgrass Prairie Table.

El Guapo’s has a great corner location, and the decor is very bright and colorful

El Guapo's, Tulsa OK - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

I love that El Guapo’s uses a lot of the Day of the Dead decor. El Guapo’s has 3 floors; the ground floor has the host stand, a large bar along the right wall, and tables along the left wall and in the back. The second floor has another bar, plus a large dining room separated into 2 sections. The top floor is the only rooftop cantina in Tulsa. It was too hot for the rooftop, so we sat in the main dining room.

The El Guapo’s menu is quite large, as is normal in Mexican restaurants. The menu features appetizers, soups & salads, specials, combos, tacos a la carte, desserts and, of course, margaritas and other cocktails.

Chips and salsa are delivered to the table almost immediately

El Guapo's, Tulsa OK - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

The chips are warm and lightly salted. They are nice and thin, and have a great crunch. The salsa is thick, and has a very nice subtle kick. We also ordered a side of guacamole

El Guapo's, Tulsa OK - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

Crushed ripe avocados, fresh cilantro, onions & lime. All topped with pico de gallo

The guacamole is delicious, and is a generous portion. What isn’t listed on the menu, and what caught us by complete surprise, is the diced jalapenos mixed into the guacamole. They add a serious kick, especially because they are raw. Another unexpected surprise was the bed of lettuce at the bottom of the bowl. Neither of us had ever seen anything like that.

Sydney got the Guapo rice bowl, and added chicken

El Guapo's, Tulsa OK - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

Poblano rice, pico de gallo, guacamole, onions, cilantro, Mexican crema & melted shredded jack cheese

I didn’t try any, but Sydney said it was really delicious.

I usually get fajitas on my first visit to a Mexican restaurant. My theory is if they can do fajitas well, then everything else will be good. But Mexican restaurants are very generous with their fajitas, and I still had a long day ahead of me. This was my second visit to El Guapo’s, but I honestly can’t tell you what I had during my first visit. After some back and forth, I went with the chilaquiles con pollo, with charro beans instead of refried.

El Guapo's, Tulsa OK - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

Crispy corn tortillas simmered al dente in our red chile salsa topped with smoked chicken, jack cheese, aged cotija cheese, Mexican crema, onions & cilantro

The charro beans were excellent, and the beans maintain a good texture. The broth is extremely flavorful, and has bacon and onions mixed in. The chilaquiles wasn’t as hot as I would like, but it was delicious. The smoked chicken has a wonderful depth of flavor, and the crema and cotija cheese is a great combination. I tried a bite of the rice and it was good, but with the generous portion of chilaquiles, the rice was overkill. Next time I would skip the rice, or do double beans. I barely finished half of my plate, which was a miracle in and of itself. And I was mad that I couldn’t eat more, because I really enjoyed it. I couldn’t take it to go, because I wasn’t going home for several hours. Besides, leftover Mexican food and a hot car is not a good combination.

Will I go back to El Guapo’s? No question. On a beautiful day, to sit on the patio and enjoy margaritas and food.

El Guapo's, Tulsa OK - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

For reviews of more restaurants in Tulsa, click on the photos below!

The Hen Bistro, Tulsa OK - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

The Hen Bistro

Andolini's Pizzeria, Tulsa OK - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

Andolini’s Pizzeria (Repeats)

Tallgrass Prairie Table, Tulsa OK - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

Tallgrass Prairie Table

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