From handmade pasta and crispy chicken Marsala to spaghetti Bolognese and tiramisu, fantastic is a word that can get overused fast when discussing the menu at Tavolo.
Imagine a street in Manhattan. Tall, 100-year-old buildings tower above you with streamlined shapes, decorative facades, elaborate fixtures, golden chandeliers and other decorative details modern buildings neglect. You walk under some scaffolding as you make your way to your destination. Now imagine that rather than noisy, the neighborhood is serene. Rather than crowded, it’s open. And rather than the Big Apple, you’re in the Oil Capital of the World. You’re in Tulsa’s Deco District, and one of the best Italian restaurants is right there in the Philtower building: Tavolo.
This lovely Italian bistro makes great use of the historic Philtower space, with a multilevel dining area, enormous windows with a view of the street, a private dining area, and a glamorous crystal chandelier hanging from the high ceiling, giving Tavolo the final, extravagant art deco design detail.
“We’ve been at the Philtower for five years,” says John Burton, Tavolo’s general manager. “The space is unique. We can seat groups up to 35 in the mezzanine and the private dining room next door is great for presentations and events for groups of up to 30.”
Burton is proud of Tavolo’s dedication to quality. “I haven’t had Italian this good in a long time,” he says. “The pasta is handmade. Everything is made in-house, from scratch. We’re locally sourced as much as possible. Our herbs come from a local hydroponics place and our dairy comes from Lomah Dairy nearby.”
That freshly made pasta will make you a Tavolo believer. Try it in the linguine and meatballs, one of the most popular dishes on the menu. The fresh pasta adds a hearty texture, and the meatballs must be seen — and tasted — to be believed. “The San Marzano marinara is fantastic,” adds Burton.
Fantastic is a word that can get overused fast when discussing the menu at Tavolo. Crispy chicken Marsala? Fantastic. The spaghetti Bolognese? Fantastic. The flatbreads? “Fresh and fantastic,” says Burton.
The gnocchi is one of Burton’s favorites. “It’s the best gnocchi I’ve ever had.” The rustic appearance of the fresh gnocchi belies how hearty they are. The dish is beautifully dressed with snap peas, tomato, and cauliflower. The green onion pesto, though, is the breakout star of the dish, creamy and full of a complex interplay of flavors that blend together into heaven for your taste buds.
For another dish as beautiful as it is delicious, consider the linguine carbonara. A generous serving of Tavolo’s fresh linguini with pancetta and broccolini in a rich, creamy carbonara sauce surround a perfect, golden egg yolk. It’s like a sunrise you can eat, and every bit as warm and pretty. Be sure to dip your fork into that yolk with every bite for the full blissfully decadent experience.
Fettuccine Alfredo is a classic Italian-American indulgence, and Tavolo does it right. Of course, their creamy Alfredo is rich, thick, and smooth, and of course it’s perfectly seasoned. The fresh-made fettucine serves as the ideal companion for the sauce, with its hearty texture and fresh taste. The dish is made more special with the addition of mushrooms and spinach, and then topped with tender grilled chicken. It’s comfort food for your eyes, mouth, tummy, heart, and soul.
Another standout menu star is the garlic herb chicken. The white meat chicken is cooked tender and juicy and served atop a creamy parmesan polenta. Sautéed broccolini, spinach, and red onion add crunchy texture and visual appeal, but it’s the sauce that brings it all together. The tangy white wine butter sauce contrasts perfectly with this hearty and savory dish to take this meal from merely delicious to heavenly.
Tavolo’s dessert menu is decadent and full of enticing and unique choices. There’s the traditional Italian favorite, tiramisu, made special with Tavolo’s spiced whipped custard. For a light and bright refreshing finisher, try the lemon tarte with its sweet and tangy flavors of lemon curd and berry compote. Or try the raspberry pistachio semifreddo with fresh berries and a balsamic reduction. “Semifreddo means semi-frozen,” explains Burton. “It’s like ice cream, but richer and lighter.”
Tavolo is a great choice for a special dinner, whether it be a date night, a night out with the girls or guys, or an extra-special treat for yourself, but they have plenty of other ways to take care of you, too.
For a great lunch, check out their $9 specials. You can cure your case of the Mondays with a chicken panini with provolone and red onion, sink your teeth into an Italian cheesesteak Tuesday, bring your Hump Day to a peak with choice risotto, indulge yourself Thursday with a gnocchi mac n’ cheese, and finish out your week with the lasagna of the day. At only $9 each, you can indulge your taste without hurting your wallet.
For wine lovers, check out Winesday on the first Wednesday of every month. “Four courses, each paired with a wine. Our beverage director, Ryan Cooper, works with our chef to make it perfect,” says Burton. You can purchase your all-inclusive Winesday tickets online.
If you’re heading downtown for a show at the Performing Arts Center, Tavolo has you covered. “We have our PAC Tasting Menu,” says Burton. “It’s a slimmed down menu of time-efficient items for people to enjoy before the show.” The menu includes your choice of a salad, an entree, and a dessert for one cost. It’s Tavolo’s way of being a good neighbor to the PAC, as well as taking care of their patrons.
427 S. Boston Ave. | Tulsa
Monday-Friday: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Saturday: 4-10 p.m.
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