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Capers offers Mediterranean food en masse

Capers Mediterranean Bistro and Buffet marks the return of chef Nordeen Bennai.
BY DAVE CATHEY Modified: November 14, 2012 at 11:48 am •  Published: November 13, 2012

photo - Baked tilapia at Capers Mediterranean Buffet and Bistro.  STEVE GOOCH - THE OKLAHOMAN
Baked tilapia at Capers Mediterranean Buffet and Bistro. STEVE GOOCH - THE OKLAHOMAN

Mediterranean food enthusiasts can stray anywhere in the expansive Oklahoma City metropolitan area with confidence that wherever they are, pita-friendly food isn't far away.

The latest quality purveyor of Mediterranean food to open is Capers Bistro and Buffet, 6317 N Meridian Ave.

Capers is owned by Hakim Ait Ahmed and Greg Ahrens. The executive chef is Nordeen Bennai, who, in more than two decades behind the stove, helped establish Cafe 501 as one of the city's top concepts. Bennai left Cafe 501 last year and moved to Lewisville, Texas, to help a friend open a restaurant there.

Bennai said he was initially hesitant to work on a concept built around a buffet.

“As a chef, you hear ‘buffet' and you worry, but it is what is,” he said. “I thought this style of food would work in a buffet, and I thought we could offer our guests a full-service experience even though we do have a buffet.”

At Capers you choose between full buffet, soup and salad, or kids buffet and pay before you enter the dining room. Once paid, you'll be taken to your seat and greeted by a server, who will bring you drinks and dessert and even grab stuff from the buffet for you if you're not inclined to do it yourself.

Local demand for Mediterranean food has grown enough to draw national chain Garbanzo Cafe, which is on the verge of opening on Northwest Expressway.

Bennai brings to the table flavors from his native Morocco plus intensive knowledge about foods from all the countries surrounding the Mediterranean. Proximity dictates that this style of food has plenty of crossover from country to country. Gyros, shawarma, hummus, babaghanouj, harissa, tahini and couscous are found in various forms in the mother land, and Capers offers its interpretations of each.

The salad section of the buffet is perhaps the most stunning. Tabbouleh, fatoosh, Persian, garbanzo and cabbage, and Greek are all represented beautifully and deliciously. I found myself eating so much salad, I could've walked out satiated, but I would've lost my gourmand card had I walked out without some fried cauliflower, moosaka, chicken shawarma, gyros, and kafta.

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