Caffe Pranzo: a hidden favorite

by | November 17, 2008 | 31 Comments

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Caffe Pranzo

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9622 N. May Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK 73120
405-755-3577
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Lunch
 
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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?

Absolutely.

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.

Caffe' Pranzo on Urbanspoon

More Photos from Caffe Pranzo

Kahlua Torte at Caffe Pranzo in Oklahoma CityCarnegie Deli Cheesecake at Caffe Pranzo in Oklahoma CityChicken Parmesan Salad at Caffe Pranzo in Oklahoma CityMeat Lasagna at Caffe Pranzo in Oklahoma City

This article was posted by Chris Johnson on Monday, November 17th, 2008. It is filed under:

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  • Emily says:
    November 17th, 2008 at 2:37 pm   

    This is my favorite Italian restaurant in OKC. We LOVE the bruschetta.

  • Ashley Johnson says:
    November 17th, 2008 at 3:47 pm   

    My big brother and I also went there for one of our dances and enjoyed their delicious food.

    Good restaurant, good food…good review!

  • ballerinatoes says:
    November 17th, 2008 at 6:07 pm   

    I have been wanting to try Cafe Pranzo for years…maybe this will get me there. Thanks for the review.

  • isaac says:
    November 18th, 2008 at 9:54 am   

    how does the price compare to the chains? is it a good lunch stop?

  • Chris says:
    November 18th, 2008 at 10:11 am   

    Isaac, it’s not too bad for lunch. You’re going to be paying somewhere between $9-12 for lunch.

    ballerinatoes, make sure you check this place out and let me know what you think!

    Emily, glad to hear there’s someone else in town who enjoys this place as much as I do!

  • Bizzle says:
    November 18th, 2008 at 10:24 am   

    I love the steamed artichokes and that Carnegie Deli Cheesecake…Delish!

  • Tom says:
    November 18th, 2008 at 2:41 pm   

    I love there specials. Very unique and being a meat guy myself they are always tasty. My wife loves Chicken Marsala and unfortunately is not wild about the selection at Cafe Pranzo. We love a good fried calamari and while the calamari is good I’m not sure it’s the best in OKC. Even though it’s not homeade, the Carnegie Deli cheesecake is the absolute best. Wonderful.

    Thanks for the review

  • Kevin says:
    November 19th, 2008 at 7:30 am   

    Good food, good decor … add good company and your eve is all set.

  • isaac says:
    November 20th, 2008 at 9:11 am   

    Chris, $9-12 isn’t too bad for lunch. Most of the places besides the taquerias and fast food are about the same. I know the combo at nic’s is about $8, includes a little somethin-something for the Nic. Have you done anything about “Someplace Else” over by the gold dome on NW 23rd? It is very very very good and makes a great lunch spot.

  • Sharon says:
    November 20th, 2008 at 9:48 am   

    My family has been going here for years — we just celebrated my daughter’s 24th birthday there.

    Although they import it, don’t forget the world’s best cheesecake (I think from Carnegie Deli, NY?).

    (Also, correct me if I am wrong, but I believe there is no alcohol in the Tiramisu).

    This is the one of the coziest and most consistent local restaurants you will find anywhere….

  • Nathan says:
    December 2nd, 2008 at 9:00 pm   

    I just went there and I loved it! The only thing that I didn’t care for as much was the tomato bisque soup that I had with my meal, but the rest of it was wonderful. And the tiramisu was by far the best tiramisu that I have ever had. I absolutely recommend this restaurant!

  • Zach says:
    January 4th, 2009 at 5:31 pm   

    I have been looking for a decent local Italian restaurant in OKC for many years now, and I have not yet been able to find one. I went to Cafe Pranzo the other night with some friends, because we were on that side of town, and because I had been wanting to try it. Unfortunately, the food was just okay. It wasn’t anything great, and so my search continues. The service was very good, but I felt the food lacked. I will probably not go back, but don’t let my comment make up your mind about going to eat there. It seems that a lot of other people really liked Cafe Pranzo, so who knows, you might like it as well.

  • Jan Hager says:
    January 31st, 2009 at 3:49 pm   

    Cafe Pranzo is the very best. We have traveled in Italy and visited the Italian Restuarants in NYC and Cafe Pranzo ranks right at the top! The wait staff is excellent,especially Joe. Joe always knows the regulars and what we like, he is also a great recommender of both food and wine. Cafe Pranzo is certainly worth a visit….over and over.

  • Brent says:
    February 2nd, 2009 at 2:37 pm   

    Zach,
    I think Cafe Pranzo certainly warrants another try. Like you I had been in search of a good local Italian joint, and Cafe Pranzo does it for me, especially in comparison to all the other options around OKC. It’s my wife and I’s favorite, and one of my coworkers has been there two weekends in a row now because of my recommendation, and the fact they loved it so much the first time!

  • Holly says:
    March 7th, 2009 at 8:13 am   

    We went to Panzo last night for the first time. The biggest disappointment for me was the french onion soup. The rest of my meal was pretty good, I had the cannelloni as well. What was out of this world was the wilted spinach dish that came with my meal. To die for!
    There was a large number of people waiting for a table when we got there and I was impressed how quickly everyone was seated. Our waitress was a little slow and lacked the charm it seems some of the other waitstaff had but all in all service wasn’t bad at all.
    I am not the biggest fan of Italian food but my husband is, in this case I could for sure tolerate a return trip :)

  • Denise Davis says:
    April 15th, 2009 at 3:51 pm   

    Hello,
    I just want to say that this is the best little restautrant. The food is always fantastic!
    We come here when ever we visit our daughter and son-in-law. I love and adore this place. I’ve worked in the food industry for 15 years and counting, I just simply adore this place and the people. Keep up the great work–oops- look who I’m talking to- no need to tell the experts! Love to all, Denise and Tom Davis

  • JuJu Beans says:
    April 20th, 2009 at 11:06 pm   

    I’ve had fresh carnegie deli cheesecake in NYC back in 07, I hope it’s just as good here when I stop in next weekend!

  • Kevin says:
    May 14th, 2009 at 9:21 am   

    Went there last week, we got in right away and sat right by the kitchen. The food was awesome and the setting was very cozy. I did not get the chocolate cake but I saw it and it was HUGE! I will be returning shortly to try the pizza.

  • Wimpy says:
    July 30th, 2009 at 5:03 pm   

    Cafe Pranzo is good but if you are in Norman you will want to try Sandro’s
    at 914 W. Main St. (right across from the Norman High School). I have been there 2 times and I have only tried the cheese ravioli, I also ordered a salad (I had the house dressing which is tomato vinaigrette) also a homemade garlic roll. All the pasta and pizza are made fresh. I need to try all will keep going back till I do, this is how good it is.

  • Abe says:
    August 7th, 2009 at 11:59 am   

    Pranzo’s is thee absolute BEST Italian Restaurant in NW OKC! The Eggplant Parmigiana – Italian breaded garden fresh eggplant nestled between melted mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce accompanied by linguini alla marinara was out of this world!!!

    On a scale of 1-10, Pranzo’s is off the scale!!!

  • Stacey says:
    August 19th, 2009 at 7:57 am   

    I love this place. Have been going for years. Love the Eggplant Parmigiana and the Picatta is very good. Good service, great food and nice atmosphere.

  • Kaylee says:
    May 4th, 2010 at 10:14 am   

    My husband and I went here after reading your review. Although the food was decent, it didn’t make up for the service.

    Although it wasn’t horrible, when my husband asked if they had sweet tea, the waiter replied (in what I assume was a mock hick accent) “No, and we ain’t got no chicken fried steak or white gravy neither”.

    I know he was trying to be funny, but it embarrassed my husband and made him feel uncomfortable the rest of the time, plue, the tiramisu was not good.

    The food was, but not enough to compensate for the waiter.

  • Chris J says:
    May 4th, 2010 at 11:05 am   

    Kaylee,

    You know, since I’ve written this review I have had a few experiences very much like yours. I’m thinking it’s the same waiter. I really hate to hear that such a quaint little place like this could be getting a bad reputation due to one or two bad employees.

    Have you tried Papa Dio’s just up the road?

  • Kaylee says:
    May 4th, 2010 at 2:29 pm   

    Hey Chris-No I haven’t but that is the 2nd time I’ve heard about it so I will have to give it a try! Thanks.

  • Brian Grider says:
    February 15th, 2011 at 9:07 pm   

    Got a giftcard to here awhile back, tried it, it was great. Food was very good, great portion sizes. For as expensive as it was, I expected a little nicer place though.

  • Jason says:
    February 21st, 2011 at 1:15 pm   

    My wife and I typically go to Caffe Pranzo a couple of times per year. The service is always great and the food is definitely worth the price. Great atmosphere and good prices.

  • Brian says:
    March 14th, 2011 at 11:00 am   

    My wife and I went to Caffe Pranzo just the other day for the first time. The service was superb, and the food was delicious! We will definitely be going back and trying other menu items.

  • Small Italian Restaurant Setting Provides Homemade Ingredients to Oklahoma City Guests — Clearly Oklahoma City — Oklahoma City through my eyes says:
    April 26th, 2011 at 10:18 pm   

    [...] Eat Around OKC blog has a good review of the [...]

  • Laura S says:
    July 27th, 2013 at 10:28 pm   

    My biggest pet peeve when dinning out, is when diners that come in after you are served first. We were there shortly after 5:00 and after two hours had not even been served our salads while tables around us had their entrées and left. Finally after three hours we received our entrées with the statement, “Sorry, but we’re not McDonalds.” Am I so stupid I thought I had stumbled into a McDonalds? And how did the, about 50 or so other diners manage to be served their food in a third of the time it took ours. I have NEVER had worse service, and then just be dismissed by the owner like that before. We were also witness to the owner cursing and using the “f word” while talking to one of his waitresses. Will never return here again.

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