Caffe Pranzo: a hidden favorite
Being an Italian food freak, I find that I am often drawn to Italian eateries when I decide to dine out for the evening. It used to be that I enjoyed the Italian chain restaurants, but all of that changed when my date to the senior prom suggested we eat at Caffe Pranzo for the big night. What I did not know is that I would be recommending this place on a regular basis for years to come.
Caffe Pranzo is tucked into a strip mall and it stays fairly well hidden from the bustle of May Avenue. In fact, the first few times I attempted to dine there, I drove past it because of its hidden location. From the outside, it doesn’t look like anything special, but when you enter the doors you are greeted by elegance and class. Dimly lit and very well-themed, Caffe Pranzo makes you feel as if you are dining in a small restaurant in Italy. I was very impressed by the atmosphere, but would my tongue be as impressed as my eyes?
For starters, there are a variety of choices. If you’re in a soup mood, there are options. If you’re in a cheese and wine mood, there are options. You will not be left wishing something else were on the menu. My personal favorite appetizer is the Caprese. The fresh Italian favorite is served with mozzarella cheese, diced tomatoes, and just a hint of olive oil and spices. The fried calamari is also an excellent choice, and Caffe Pranzo boasts that it is the “best in Oklahoma City.” I would have to agree.
The house salad, while tasty, comes off as a bit “plain Jane” in my humble opinion. I think Caffe Pranzo could do better by creating some sort of signature salad to accompany their meals.
For an entrée, I highly recommend the Chicken Cannelloni. Some would argue standard Italian dishes taste the same no matter where you go, but Caffe Pranzo finds a way to top every other place I’ve tried with this offering. The Cannelloni is delicious and it is baked with an amazing tomato-cream sauce that makes my mouth water even as I type this review. The chicken is very tender — not at all dry — and it has a fantastic flavor.
Speaking of chicken, Caffe Pranzo offers an oven roasted chicken which is marinated a full 24 hours before it is cooked. If you’re not in a pasta mood, try this dish which is served with stir-fried vegetables.
Lastly, dessert. You absolutely MUST try the Tiramisu. I can’t quite put into words my feelings about this dish so let me simply post the description that is written on their menu:
“This dessert is truly an international effort. Imported Belgium chocolate, mascarpone cheese from Italy, crispy lady fingers from France and dairy fresh eggs from Albertson’s are combined with espresso and brandy to make this a light ‘pick me up’ end to a perfect meal.”
There’s also much more to explore at Caffe Pranzo. It is, in my opinion, and incredible experience from start to finish. I’ve been recommending it to people for many years and so far, I have not heard any negative feedback from those who have tried it. So, I invite you to try it as well and let me know what you think (positive or negative) in the comments.