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A patio is outfitted with brownish red leather chairs, black light fixtures, black wrought iron, and plants hanging from a pergola.
Patio life gets a design overhaul at El Carlos Elegante.
Douglas Friedman

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Enjoy Latin American Vibes Without Leaving Dallas at This Stunning New Restaurant

El Carlos Elegante opens in the Design Distrct

Courtney E. Smith is the editor of Eater Dallas. She's a journalist of 20 years who was born and raised in Texas, with bylines in Pitchfork, Wired, Esquire, Yahoo!, Salon, Refinery29, and more. When she's not writing about food, she co-hosts the podcast Songs My Ex Ruined.

What is it about the Duro Hospitality Group and its designs? Earlier this year, we raved over the maximalist beauty of Cafe Duro on Greenville Ave. Now, our heads are turned by El Carlos Elegante, the group’s new restaurant in the Design District next to the Charles, another of its properties.

In a moment, we’ll get into the food, which adventures beyond standard Mexican fare. Let us start with the gorgeous, unexpected interiors that successfully mix an array of materials, design elements, and styles.

A Mexican-inspired restaurant’s dining room with wrought iron chairs and tabels, a mix of green and gray tiles over the booths, a fireplace, and two black chandaliers.
The dining room at El Carlos Elegante.
Douglas Friedman
A Mexican-inspired restaurant with a marble bar on the left and barstools with orange and white striped fabric, a yellow high-backed bench, and green and gray tiles.
It’s a beautiful wait at El Carlos Elegante.
Douglas Friedman

The idea of capturing a vibe has become the group’s MO for all its restaurants and bars, including Sister, which the New York Times put on its list of America’s best restaurants in 2022. With El Carlos Elegante, the idea was to capture the spirit of Latin culture in the food and the decor.

“Our vision for this project was similar to Sister in some regards. We wanted it to feel multigenerational and cozy,” Corbin See, Duro Hospitality and Sees Design partner, said in a press release. “The space has a residential feel, and we aimed for the pieces to feel collected and added over time. The dishes, for example, aren’t all matching.”

A private dining room features wooden floors, a black accent wall, a fresco of angles, a brownish red ceiling, and a table for 10. Douglas Friedman
An outdoor patio features a large fireplace, open roof, and mixed furniture. Douglas Friedman
A modern bar features a marble top, and above it is a wood and adobe feature. Douglas Friedman

Order those Mezcal cocktails here.

Corbin and Ross See of See Design said their inspiration was that of a Mexican hacienda, a home passed down through generations that shows today’s tastes while feeling as if it has a history. The furniture is mainly mid-century and almost entirely sourced from Mexico, with family portraits hanging on the walls and front and back courtyards for indoor and outdoor dining.

“This project was a complete redesign,” Ross See said in a press release. “We started with the four exterior walls and began work on everything from adding the front and back courtyards, fireplaces, and fountains.”

In a blue skillet, Mexican-inspired appetizers are placed on top of roasted beans.
An tantalizing appetizer.
Douglas Friedman
In a skillet, a whole fish is served with toppings of mint, radishes, limes, onions, and peppers.
A whole fish served with mint mojo, fennel, and herbs.
Douglas Friedman

However, the menu doesn’t strictly stick to Mexico — the Duro Group calls El Carlos Elegante’s food more Mexican-inspired, mirroring Sister’s Mediterranian-inspired approach to cooking. It features Argentinian-style meats and fish, house-made tortillas, mesa, moles — hummus and osso buco dishes also make the menu, blurring the culinary lines.

On the left is a yellow cocktail with jackfruit in a rocks glass. On the right is a coupe with a pink cocktail topped with foam.
Mexican-inspired Mezcal cocktails.
Douglas Friedman
In a rocks glass, an orange cocktail is served and topped with a couple of dried oranges.
More promising Mezcal options.
Douglas Friedman

At the bar, a Mezcal program takes the spotlight. Mezcal has had difficulty breaking the tequila spell over diners at many a Dallas restaurant, making this a big swing for the El Carlos Elegante team. A wine and champagne list will also be available for those who prefer to continue playing it safe with their drinks.

Find El Carlos Elegante at 1400 N Riverfront Blvd., open Sunday to Thursday from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

El Carlos Elegante

1400 North Riverfront Boulevard, , TX 75207 (214) 277-1800 Visit Website
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