Zarate’s: South American food found up north (in Edmond)

by | April 21, 2010 | 18 Comments



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706 S. Broadway
Edmond, OK 73034

I’m glad to see more of the Latin influence invading the seemingly overrun and tired Tex-Mex landscape in the OKC metro area.  I mean, honestly, after you’ve had cheese enchiladas, refried beans, chips and queso at one place, you’ve pretty much experienced it at all of them. So why not step out to experience more variety in your Latin fare?

Peruvian native Jorge Zarate began cooking for his family at the age of four when his mother became ill and had to leave most of the kitchen responsibilities to him.  She taught him everything he knows, and he has loved cooking for others his entire life.  He cooked at his restaurant the first 1 1/2 years they were open so he could train his cooks in the methods his mother taught him.  When he first opened Zarates three years ago, he initially served the standard Tex-Mex fare, but quickly added many Central and South American dishes.  He says South American cuisine has a Chinese influence as far as spices are concerned.  He imports his spices from South America to keep the taste authentic. He also brings in around 15 different soft drinks from each country.  He said kids love to come and try a different soda each time their families dine.

Jorge said the main difference in Tex-Mex and Central and South American food is that Tex-Mex is based a lot on tortillas and fried beans, and the other is based on meat, veggies and sometimes pasta.  I ordered the Lomito Saltado ($7.99), which is described as “an authentic dish with beef or chicken cut strips, sliced tomatoes, onions, potatoes, cilantro and spices sautéed to Peruvian perfection over an open flame.”  It was served with rice, yuca fries and plantains.  It was deliciously bold with spices, just the way I like.  And although I don’t know for sure, I like to think this was a little healthier than enchiladas smothered in cheese or sour cream sitting next to fried beans.

Mom quickly zeroed in on the vegetarian portion of the menu and went with the Spinach Enchiladas ($8.99).  They contained fresh, sauteed spinach and what looked like a variety of tiny, diced onions and possibly some corn.  They were the best spinach enchiladas I have tasted.  There are five vegetarian entrees, as well as soups and salads.  The menu is extensive and worth a review on their website before you visit for the first time.  Entrees include many varieties of fish, chicken, shrimp, pork and beef, as well as Honduran Banana-leaf tamales ($8.99) which are described as  “one large, homemade tamal – Honduran style -with  shredded beef, potatoes, cilantro, diced tomatoes and rice, inside mesa corn, wrapped in banana leaves and steamed to perfection.”  Next time I go, I’m ordering this.

The lunch menu included entrees priced from $6.59 to $8.99, and dinners run from $8.99 to $13.99.  Jorge says he is coming out with a new menu soon. Everything is made to order from scratch.  He knew many of the customers by name as we sat talking with him, and he said sometimes they will come in and ask him to create something special just for them.  He is always thrilled to oblige.  When we arrived for lunch at 11am, we were the only ones there, but by 11:30, the place was full, including about a dozen Edmond police officers, one of whom is a regular.  Another large group arrived, and their entrees came out almost immediately.  We asked Jorge about this, and he said the group calls in their order a day before, then drives from downtown for lunch.  He said he likes to provide call-ahead seating, take out and catering.

Our server was from Venezuela and was excellent.  In fact, everything about the restaurant was clean and run extremely efficiently.  Mom was particularly impressed to see them cleaning and disinfecting the menus after use.

For dessert, we tried the Churros ($1.99), which looked like a miniature chocolate eclair.  It was a pastry-type shell filled with creme, and then drizzled with caramel and chocolate.  It was just enough for a couple of bites – something sweet – after the spicy meal.  The desserts are made fresh and are in limited supply each day.

I think Central and South American food is going to become my new Tex-Mex.  It’s a lot more tasty, and it’s always fascinating to talk to the owners.  If you’ve been to Zarate’s, give me your opinion in the comments below.

Zarate's Latin Mexican Grill on Urbanspoon

More Photos from Zarate’s

Linguini Saltado Lunch at Zarate's in Edmond OklahomaExterior of Zarate's in Edmond OklahomaBanana Leaf Tamal at Zarate's in Edmond OklahomaLomito Saltado Lunch at Zarate's in Edmond Oklahoma

This article was posted by Sarah Sutton on Wednesday, April 21st, 2010. It is filed under:

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  • Tony Hanadarko says:
    April 21st, 2010 at 6:55 pm   

    You know, I have driven by this place for years without stopping by, but this post has inspired me to hit it up for lunch tomorrow. Looking forward to it.

  • Sam says:
    April 21st, 2010 at 7:46 pm   

    Sarah! You beat me to this review. Definitely got a few positive reviews from people I know and it’s definitely a place I’d consider eating anytime I’m up in Edmond. Good food and good service!

  • Kevin M says:
    April 22nd, 2010 at 6:51 am   

    Have been to Zarates on a few occassions and it is not bad but not anything great. If you want better Peruvian food try Mamavecas in Norman. The food is so much better and the chef is from Peru. They are opening a location in Edmond soon.

  • Katie says:
    April 22nd, 2010 at 9:26 am   

    The description sounds wonderful as does the food…can’t wait to try this place. I am so beyond wanting the cheesed up stuff at normal Mexican fare places.

  • Jennifer says:
    April 22nd, 2010 at 12:38 pm   

    I love Zarates! Delicious, inexpensive, and great atmosphere.

  • Kevin says:
    April 23rd, 2010 at 9:08 pm   

    The spinach enchiladas sound so yummy, I can probably even forgive the use of onion.

  • Anon Reader Dude says:
    April 24th, 2010 at 10:07 pm   

    I really like the lomo saltado at Zarate’s — delicious beef, potatoes, and peppers with tangy herbal green sauce on the side. Mmm, Beefy goodness!

    It would be very satisfying on a cold winter’s day.

  • Rosie says:
    April 25th, 2010 at 7:06 pm   

    I have eaten there, but wasn’t that impressed. The waitstaff were good and all, but thought the food was just so-so. Thanks for the review!

  • Mike M says:
    May 4th, 2010 at 9:32 am   

    Zarate’s is AWESOME!!! I ate there the other day and had the Homemade Jamaican Jerk and it was sooo good. I also had the Cuban Mojito, the mint was so fresh that I could still smell the mint after I drink it. I went back today and tryed the Seafood Saltado and now that is my new favorite dish. I CAN’T WAIT TO GO BACK!!!

  • I like Zarates says:
    May 5th, 2010 at 10:59 am   

    I love the food, the staff and the menu. Only wish they were located more centrally.

  • Omar Noriega says:
    May 8th, 2010 at 6:29 pm   

    Perfect…. I finally found a place that doesn’t just give you cheese and tortillas. I really hate tortillas and Zarate’s does not focus on the Tex-Mex cousine at all, I’m so glad! Also Zarate’s has tostones, Bingo!!!and some other dishes from my home tawn ”Puerto Rico” the only thing they need is mayoketchup pero hecho bien criollo to deed everything in it. I recommend people to try Zorate’s and try the real Latino cousine because if people keep up the tortillas and cheese, most defitnally health problems will arise, such as OBESITY,high blood pressure,cholesterol and so many others,please people stay heathy and looking good. This will be my restaurant of choise without a doudt, is the only place that I’m not looked at like another Mexican, I RECOMEND EVERYBODY TO TRY ZORATE’S OR a PUERTORICAN DISH, you will like it.

  • Devon L. says:
    May 23rd, 2010 at 10:53 am   

    If you haven’t eaten here you are missing out! My husband and I love it. My favorite is the Honduran Banana-leaf tamales. Honestly one of their best items. I can’t say enough good things about it. Great food, clean, and the staff is super friendly.

  • Robert says:
    June 15th, 2010 at 10:39 pm   

    I liked the place when it was Enrique’s. I’ve been to Zarate’s a few times to try the different South American/Central American dishes and I can say without a doubt that it’s just OK. Some of the dishes are alright but I tried the Honduran (I think that was the country)tamales last week and they were just totally awful. They are huge so you only get 2 but that is WAY more than enough. I ate part of the first one and got a few pieces of pure fat and grisle in my mouth, so bad was it I had to take it out of my mouth and hide under the banana leafs or whatever leaf comes wrapped around the tamales. I’ve given them around 5 chances and I can honestly say “I’m done with them”. I can’t go back again even though I enjoy the Dos Equis Amber with salt and lime. Too bad because I really wanted to enjoy this place as much as I did when it was Enrique’s.

  • lk says:
    February 19th, 2011 at 7:56 pm   

    My son LOVES the pork chops. We have only been 3 times but every time was great – the service AND the food. Much better than just going Tex-Mex!

  • Jennifer says:
    April 13th, 2011 at 3:19 pm   

    Brought a friend here on Monday. Everything was fantastic, as usual. Mmm. They made Diablo Shrimp spicy enough to make me sweat.

  • Jimmy says:
    July 31st, 2011 at 12:35 pm   

    BEST PLACE TO EAT!!! I love the spicy jerk nachos. My wife loves the pollo (chicken) saltado. mmmm good! The best service of any restaurant by far! I go at least once a week.

  • Misty says:
    May 11th, 2014 at 10:38 pm   

    As a vegan, I have to sy this is the Latin food place to eat ever! They have 6, yes 6! Items on their vegetarian menu. Easily tweeted to make vegan (so far all I have had to say is hold the cheese)!

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Thank you for sharing about this gem. I would have never known!

David, left as a comment about 4U Cafe