My friend’s order at Tulsa’s La Roma perfectly encapsulated the speciality of the restaurant — while he started off with a pizza, he also decided to order a korma platter. The restaurant serves both pizza and Lebanese food, each delicious in their own right. While it’s been open for over thirty years, a recent car crash meant the place has undergone renovation.
La Roma operates with counter service, so you decide what main dish you want as a display case of desserts stares back at you. The two menus are split, so pizza hangs separately from Lebanese food.
As we ordered, workers were making a pizza behind the cashier, rolling dough out and assuring us any food we purchased would be fresh. The cashier was more than helpful in deciding what to eat; she talked each of us through our orders, suggesting a different dish for one friend based on what he’d wanted taken off his original order.
The Italian side of the menu offers pizza and several pasta options. There are pre-designed pizzas and a variety of toppings including gyros, feta and homemade sausage, allowing one to make their own unique dish. For pasta, lasagna and spaghetti are both offered. The Lebanese side of the menu serves appetizers, sandwiches and platters. The majority of the appetisers are pies, dough filled with meat, curry or spinach, but cabbage rolls, hummus and stuffed grape leaves are some of the other options. Most, if not all, of the sandwiches are also available as platters; the platters, a little more expensive, are accompanied by rice, cabbage salad, hummus and pita bread. Sandwiches are wrapped in warm, toasted pita.
For dinner, I ordered a falafel platter, convinced by the cashier’s argument that their falafels were homemade, something you couldn’t get anywhere else and compared to a gyro, more easily replicated. Broken up falafel was spread over a bed of soft rice, covered in thick, creamy tzatziki sauce.
While I normally dislike cabbage salad, their salad was especially fresh; it was still crunchy and not drowned in sauce, so I had a few bites. There didn’t seem to be enough pita with the hummus, and the bread was a little thinner than what came with the sandwich, which slightly disappointed me. Once I ran out of pita, though, mixing the hummus with the falafel mixture turned out well, calming the slight spiciness of the entree.
The other entrees at the table were shawarma sandwiches, cheese pizza and a korma platter. Shawarma, thin-sliced spiced beef, was buried in a thick layer in the wrap, its umami flavor contrasting with the creamy tzatziki and various sandwich vegetables. The cheese pizza was dusted with spices and parmesan, a step up from a typical fast-food joint. The crust was well-balanced between thin and thick — not cracker-like but not an overload of dough. Finally, the korma, ordered by the friend who originally ordered the pizza, was seasoned ground beef formed into log-like shapes.
Though a small restaurant, La Roma offers a wide variety of food and a friendly atmosphere. The owners added to that, talking with us as we ordered and before we left, making it seem like the kind of place where they’ll remember your name. As we barely touched the surface of what they have to offer, we plan on returning in the future.