TLO Restaurant Review: Zarate’s Latin Grill

“Déjà vu…I’ve been here before,” I said eerily to my date as we stood outside of Zarate’s Latin Grill, 706 S. Broadway in Edmond.

The cartoonish paintings of fish ready to die for your meal, happily, on the outside of the blue building were somewhat familiar to me; I ate here twenty or so years ago, I’m sure, and I do remember liking it back when it was a typical Tex-Mex place. I’m pretty sure that I even traded a few AMC movie passes to pay for my meal here.

Sometime in 2007 though, according to the menus, is the year when whatever this place was transformed into Zarate’s Latin Grill, going far beyond the typical Mexican entrees and into such culinarily ignored—in Oklahoma, at least—countries as Chile, Jamaica, Honduras, Puerto Rico, Peru and Cuba, to name a few.

I couldn’t think of a better place to review for my first restaurant in the usually high-priced and higher-classed Edmond area.

Zarate’s, however, was mostly barren the Saturday afternoon when we showed up. There was a single family, maybe another couple, eating lunches there and the staff was mainly a skeleton crew. Sitting in a roomy booth, our server brought the usual set-up of chips and queso, but my date asked for an order of the Chunky Avocado Especial ($7.99) believing that I would wholeheartedly dig it.

And I did.

As we dipped the homemade chips in the Especial sauce, the menu was a minor lesson in the unheralded eats of many Latin American countries that I only dreamed of living to visit; I settled on Venezuela and their hearty Pabellon ($8.99), supposedly a pot roast-styled dish. My date, however, stayed a bit closer to the border with the Garden Enchiladas ($11.99), a vegetarian variation on the spice-riddled favorite.

Discussing all things Edmond, my date—an Edmond native, natch—told me that, not too far from this very restaurant, there is a circus graveyard that is home to the rusted implements of carnival-based connubial bliss; many times, growing up as a rule-breaking local punk, her and various friends would jump the fence and trespass into the forbidden festival.

As I was thinking deep about the urban legends of a town like Edmond—what an underbelly that it must have—our server brought the meals out to us, breaking my thoughts for now. The Pabellon, served on a square plate, consisted of pulled roast beef simmered in a red wine sauce and adobo seasonings, with onions and bell peppers generously mixed throughout.

Of course, it was a delectable-enough portion, the pulled beef maintaining a rich taste that, quite honestly, I’ve never had before but desperately want to enjoy again and soon. Savoring each muscled strand slowly and methodically, it paired perfectly with the Latino standbys of white rice and black beans, a small sliver of fresh crema decked across the top.

My date’s Garden Enchiladas were, honestly, like no vegetarian enchiladas I’ve had around these parts before; the fresh spinach made a wise move, befriending the assorted onions, tomatoes and guacamole, as well as a swell bit of ranchero sauce poured all along the watchtower with a few fresh tortillas wrapped-around to taste. I thought of former friends that would have especially loved it.

Tenderly eating our food and making personal conspiracies to jump whatever fences it took to view this three-ring terror-dome somewhere off the main road, I took a deep sip of my comically-remaining liquid courage—in the form of Zarate’s amenable slushed Sangria, mostly melted by now—and hurriedly boxed the leftovers; visions of rabid clowns and rusted rides were playing their demonic calliope as we made our way out to the field. Cómpralo ya!

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Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler and Instagram at @louisfowler78.

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6 Responses


  1. Great review Louis – one of Edmond’s best.


  2. Your date was telling the truth. There is a property about a mile south of Zarates that has the remains of a circus operation hidden amidst the brush and trees.


    1. I find it hard to believe that there is a square foot of Edmond that has not been turned into a strip mall or whatever. I hope it is true that there is still an area like this left.

      As far as Zarates, I’ve been there a few times. It was really good but way to packed the times I went there.

      There was a place that opened a few doors down where Long John Silvers used to be. It was a Tex-Mex place that seemed to have come from a food truck judging by the menu. Went there off and on trying different things, but never found anything very good. I see that it is closed down now after a few months.

      There seems to be so many Tex Mex places in Edmond right now that come and go. Zarates has stood the test of time and I appreciate that.


  3. Highly recommend the following:

    Lomo Saltado
    Carne guisada
    Brazilian barbeque
    Cuban sandwich
    Cilantro sauce
    Spicy green salsa

    Tona beer


  4. Love us some Zarate’s!
    Pisco, amazing food and Jorge and his wife are the coolest.
    So glad that Edmondites keep frequenting this restaurant.


  5. The Lomo Saltado is Worth a return visit.

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