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A machete, a football shaped Mexican street food like a quesadilla, sits on a brown plate with a bowl of dipping sauce. A man’s hand cuts it with a circular blade.
The “El Machete” at El Carlos Elegante.
Kathy Tran

The Go-To’s and Newcomers Dallas Chefs, Food Writers, and Influencers Loved in 2022

Restaurant Beatrice, El Carlos Elegante, and Clifton Club caught the attention of these tastemakers

With so many great new restaurants opening in 2022, it was tough to find the time to try them all out — never mind to stay true to the old favorite spots we loved. Eater Dallas polled local chefs, journalists, and food influencers about their thoughts on the local food scene in 2022. Here are their picks for the best new restaurants and the go-to’s they returned to in 2022.


What were your regular go-to destinations in 2022? What newcomer on the scene excited you this year?

DeQuilla Gennay, Da Foodie Baddie:

“I never get tired of Hurtado’s BBQ, but who wouldn’t agree with this?! With the opening of their second location in Little Elm, they will become a larger BBQ brand to reckon with! Maybe even replacing Franklin’s reputation in the near future? I also really enjoyed Wicked Butcher, Monarch, Vegan Vibrationz, Rodeo Goat, and Papaya Mexican Grill. Each offering some staple plates that I just couldn’t go to elsewhere. Newcomers: Nikko in Southlake and Urban Seafood Company in Plano really wowed me, along with Federales, Sister, Waliya, Enrique Thomas and Atipico!”

Amy McCarthy, Eater staff writer and former Eater Dallas editor:

“My favorite new restaurant of 2022 was Restaurant Beatrice. As a Louisiana native, I often find Dallas’s interpretations of Cajun food to be very lacking, but all the meals I’ve had at Beatrice have been excellent. I particularly love having a vieux carre and green gumbo and pretending that I’m in New Orleans, not Dallas.”

Michelle Carpenter, chef at Zen Sushi and Restaurant Beatrice:

“We didn’t have much time to eat out in 2022 because I was busy opening Beatrice, but I made time for Ari Korean BBQ, Wu Wei Din, Thuy Nguyen Cafe for pho and banh xeo, and PTT for spring rolls, Pate Chaud, and Hu Tieu.”

Allie Adamek, The Real Slim Foodie:

In a blue bowl and atop a mound of white rocks sit three appetizers.
A trio of one-hitter bites at El Carlos Elegante.
Kathy Tran

“The group might not be new overall, but Duro Hospitality was on a roll. Between opening two of the most innovative and interesting concepts this year (Cafe Duro and El Carlos Elegante) and what’s coming next year with a revival of the one and only Highland Park Soda Fountain, their continued creativity and ingenuity sets them apart. There have been some instances of restaurant groups not exactly ‘staying in their lane’ and it being super obvious, but Duro has continued to showcase their versatile skills with everything from restaurant design, innovative menus and classically high-level hospitality.”

Leslie Brenner, Leslie Brenner Concepts and James Beard Award winning author:

“What a pleasure it was to return to dining out! I still wasn’t able to as much as I would have enjoyed, so I probably only hit most of my go-tos once or thrice. Petra and the Beast, Billy Can Can, Meridian, Beverley’s, Tei-An, Anise, Ka-Tip Thai Street Food, Bambu Thai-Asian Cuisine, Carbone’s (the one with an apostrophe-S), National Anthem, Sister, José, Sachet, Gemma, Mot Hai Ba, Alamo Club, Encina, Doce Mesas, Pie Tap Pizza. There were so many others I wanted to visit or revisit, and couldn’t get to. Full disclosure: Meridian and Anise are my clients, but they’d be on my list even if they weren’t! Newcomer that excited me: Knox Bistro – Bruno Davaillon and Michael Ehlert are regularly knocking it out of the park there.”

Brian Reinhart, D magazine dining critic:

“My most-visited restaurants in 2022 were Encina and Revolver Gastro Cantina. That’s the good life. Revolver was one of 11 spots on D magazine’s Best New Restaurants list, and I’m excited about them all, but it’s not often that a new place gets into my regular rotation so quickly. Reviewing restaurants can be frustrating at times because you fall in love with a new restaurant, and then you have to ditch it and move on to the next one. It’s hard to become a regular anywhere with this job, but I haven’t moved on from Revolver Gastro Cantina yet.”

Steven Doyle, craveDFW:

“We still enjoy local favorites such as Parigi and Lavendou, tried and true.”

Rachel Pinn, Eater Dallas contributor:

“I visit my local sushi spot, SaSa Sushi, weekly for sushi that hits just right every time. Next door is Waya, once hot noodle soup season comes.”

John Tesar, chef at Knife:

“Like everyone, I was excited about Meridian this year. I live at The Village at The Drey so it was easy for me to go there and observe as a chef. I found it interesting and a very adventurous project, and I think. Junior put together a great kitchen crew over there. There’s a lot of energy around it and I always have a great experience. That whole project over at The Village was very interesting to me, that’s why I moved there.

“I do really love what Chaz is doing at El Carlos Elegante. I think those guys are really on to something there. I had a wonderful experience, I really felt like I was in Mexico somewhere. The food is creative and the space is awesome. I also like that they took over an old Mexican restaurant because it houses such a vibrant energy. I think it’s the best new restaurant I’ve seen since Meridian in Dallas. It hangs with a lot of really great dining experiences that I’ve had around the country.”

Rosin Saez, Thrillist senior editor of food and drink:

A spread of Cajun food is on a table: fried chicken with peppers, corn, a side dish of pickles, and a bourbon.
That crispy fried chicken at Restaurant Beatrice.
Kathy Tran

“Every time I’ve visited Restaurant Beatrice, I’m wowed. The stories chefs Michelle Carpenter and Terance Jenkins are telling — one of Louisiana, not just New Orleans; one honoring family history and culinary futures — at their restaurant on Beckley are put directly on the plate. Dishes from childhood. As much as possible, if not everything, made in house, from boudin to andouille to the pepper jelly that accompanies some of the crispiest fried chicken in town.

“Double D’s freshly opened but it’s your bartender’s favorite bar. An instant classic. The drinks are both familiar and inventive. It’s an exciting bar debut for sure.”

Dean Fearing, chef at Fearing’s Restaurant:

Eataly and Terra have now become staples at my house. When out of state visitors, we always eat pasta one night they are here, and this is where we go. The pastas are always unbelievably good and always fresh. Also, table side ice cream cart will make anyone feel like a kid again. Unless you ask them to top it off with bourbon and sea salt.”

Leslie Chatman, Eater Dallas contributor:

A whole roasted branzino rests on a wooden board. It is garnished with chopped fresh vegetables and two roasted lemon halves, plus spices that decorate the board.
A whole roasted branzino from Italian Cathedral Bistro.
Kathy Tran

“My regular go-to destinations in 2022 were Steve Fields for the lobster pizza and Cathedral Italian Bistro for chef Rogers’ Italian egg rolls. Both is these dishes are unique and incredibly delicious. I was really excited about Brentwood opening in the space previously occupied by Houston’s. I am always interested in what this restaurant group is doing. The menu at Brentwood does not disappoint. It’s filled with well-appointed American style cuisine. I love it. “

Lily Kramlich-Taylor, Dallasites 101:

Cry Wolf is a place that has quickly become one of my favorite restaurants in Dallas period. The casual atmosphere, the quality of food, the open kitchen — everything is on point and a really welcome type of restaurant for the Dallas food scene. It reminds us of a restaurant we’d come across in New York or the Bay Area, where you can find passionate staff and really good, inventive dishes. Also, Clifton Club was a great addition. The Oak Lawn/Highland Park/Knox area has minimal lounge/cocktail bar options so it wasn’t a surprise that Clifton was a hit for that reason alone, but also because Greg Katz did such a great job with the menu and environment. Looking towards 2023, we are excited for Coupes for that same reason and also excited for Double D’s for bringing the Design District its first true destination bar!”

Nataly Keomoungkhoun, D magazine food editor:

“My go-to destinations this year were Loro Dallas and Homewood. Both have fabulous drinks and great bites! I was most excited to see chef Tatsuya Sekiguchi’s arrival in Dallas. Tatsu has seriously elevated Dallas’ fine dining scene, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this next year in Dallas fares for the omakase restaurant.

Kevin Gray, Eater Dallas contributor:

Uchiba is always a go-to, especially during happy hour when the same great sushi and hot/cold dishes can be had for less money than usual. Give me several pieces of nigiri, a few skewers, and the Hachi No Hiza cocktail (gin, rosemary, yuzu honey) and I’m happy. When it’s cold outside or I’m nursing a hangover, I turn to the beef pho at Pho is for Lovers. Neony Pizza in Oak Cliff, and their delicious 72-hour dough, took my top spot for pizza this year. And one standout newcomer was Brass Ram. The handsome dining room, food, Martini menu and polished service check a lot of boxes.”

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